Challenge

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Challenge

Challenge, my challenge

My new idea, my new plan, my old struggle

Only you shall feel my touch and fill me with agility to accomplish more

You’re my sporty attire and with you in check, more goals are sure to be scored

Challenge, my challenge

My responsibility, my clock from within

My reminder, my trial, the only arrow in the array of my quiver ready to hunt life down, ready to thwart adversity

My only choice, the only reason to go fast before time and its seconds drag by, with dedication, not even the wall clock will be a thing to look up to but of value we’d be more value than the city clock

With you in check we shall set deadlines and meet them and give account of every milage of struggle that made the nose a tool for breathing and moustache a clear indication of growing time

In your books I’ve read it’s upon me to be me

Challenge, my challenge

My diet, my mastery in the kitchen of life, my easy to prepare nodules at the midnight of adversity

For the love of you, I shall dare anything, I shall try any recipe for a tasty life with dedication

I shall go for more and through thick and thin, I shall want the thick of you and together we shall beat all our odds and earn more than a betting company

My challenge, my lane

My daring feet to tread the road less traveled

My dopping drug, my strong and masculine feet to chase for more,

My only way heading home at the dusk of hopelessness, only through you I must walk ahead although bumpy and steepy you are

In your eyes I’ve read that it takes upon me to cut through your forest of adversity and affiliations

On your wall are engraved the words that I I’m to go far, am to go alone but it takes more courage to walk alone not just ordinary encouragement

Thank you

You see, the only viable challenge to try is to live your life as if you were a day closer to leave your life

Accomplish more, try more, try all

By James Musau

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Last night

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Last Night

Last night was the last day of 2020 although life was fifty fifty for what made life cool was breath and the knut-cracking memes of some excruciating themes throughout the year

Many people still have hands but lost touch of goals they yet were to score not because the goal post was small enough or the crossbar short enough not to concead any shots but because there wasn’t any pitch to game such goals

Some still have feet and know how to run but have nothing to chase and some like me were just sitted waiting for 2021

So last night mr politician was doing research on the meaning of manifestos so as to manifest another term in office,

Although he doesn’t know clearly the office operations and maybe the operation he knows is that done in hospital,

Last night mr politician was somewhere somewhat worried on how to flatten his overlapping belly so that voters would see he’s genuine to have a ballot box full of votes and were it not for curfew he’d go in pursuit of lemmon and garlic,

Last night mr politician was making arrangements on how to walk and learn the art of leaving his few cars at home walk miles to solicit votes and beat the curfew,

Just to make voters see the real picture of a merchandise leader who they can’t afford to let go for like risen messiah he comes to them on foot,

Last night it hit mr politician’s mind to begin practicing speaking swahili and mother tongue, for the first time he began being concerned with the voters welfare and ability to understand the fore face of his manifestos,

Last night mr politician cursed his ego for lieing to him that all voters clearly understood english when he was giving verdict on their grievances

Last night mr politician made arrangements of going to church the whole year and were it not for curfew he’d call pastor, bishop, evangelists and ushers to have him saved straight away,

Last night mr politician didn’t sleep not because there was kesha and fireworks at KICC but was thinking on how to revert the mindset of voters, because 2022 is so near,

Last night mr politician was thinking on where to find good marrum to make the roads at least passable, he was thinking on how to flooded the dispensaries around with quinine and Panadol as if malaria is the only sickness around

I like sleep but last night I hardly dozed off because of dozens of goals I kept strategizing on,

What another 12 wanting months, months of self-realization and charm,

It was late to sleep on because of time just because he that thinks it’s too early is sure to come too late,

Start now… Work now its just January start leveling those mountains now

Thank you

By Musau Poet

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Tomorrow

#poetictuesdays

Tomorrow

Bro! Bro! Listen to my voice however frail

Tomorrow is next year, tomorrow is another opportunity to see life

Be sober enough to see through glasses of the sun and see how the rays points many unmasked opportunities within us

Bro what lies behind us and before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us, see through the sunglasses of commitment and your life will always be at the beach of success

You see good bro, reading books gifts you with the opportunity to learn but positive drive towards life will always push for your name to be on some book for others to read and you to earn

Remember today’s kesha, how we prayed alot but bro, our allotries are just before our striving hands

It’s difficult but difficult is not synonymous to impossibility, it’s just that it had to be difficult so that sacrifice and consistency can appear in one of the pages of human life and not just a dictionary,

For few people know how to read and write but everyone must know how to learn

It’s not difficult when you’re yet to try, don’t complain of the heights of mountains you never tried climbing, just make a start and the ending will be worthwhile

You see bro, life is funny, everything may look similar for men but different all together, when you’re giving up, someone else is making another try,

When you feel like giving up, breakthrough from your troubles is always very near just hold on for a moment and your ending will be the start of your momentum

Bro, time is the only fundamental resource everyone has to partake any endeavor, so choose between 24 troubles and 24 opportunities,

Time can’t keep you or take you anyware, keep time and meet your own set deadlines before you meet others’

Bro, not everyone is a player, not everyone can sport a game but everyone has to game his goals and be involved in his/ her own success story and development

Bro, am not a prophet, but I admit you are a champion 🏆 nothing is beyond your reach

Tomorrow,

Tomorrow good sister go buy a magazine and read of the many female chartered companies,

Buy a newspaper and see how hardwork is the perfect match of beauty, see, read of the many female occupied offices

Look at your feet and be swift of chasing your own dreams, look at your hands and directly be involved in your success story, get in touch with success

Tomorrow, siz go visit those who ate from the cherries of youthfulness and are fat of tummy and foot, ask them “how’s life?” and pinch your ears and cease that opportunity of making something out of life

Nothing siz is permanent in that office even the stepple pins move from one bunch of papers to another,

Believe me you can be the next manager for you are worth you plus a packet of chips 😉

Tomorrow siz is next year, light the fireworks of hope, commitment and sacrifice make for tomorrow’s success

Tomorrow….

Thank you

By James Musau

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My stress

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My stress

My stress, my happiness

My wisdom, my itch

Only for you I shall want

If you are high above, I’ll climb my ego to have you and cringe at your absence

I’ll pick you as a wife of my youth but will also wish to see you with others, because am good, am glad to see the elasticity of other people’s faces in the to of a smile

I’ll stress not so much at your syllable, but how high you lift me even when not in a lift

I’ll always work to see you satisfied for the good that comes with that will always bounce back to me

Only you shall wife my troubles, children my circumstances and parent my gloom till am home with time

My stress, my responsibility, my stretch marks

My drive, my game

Am not used to sunglasses but with you I see far beyond the sun

Thou art my surest  step even in the deepest darkness, with you the size of my step is not proportionate to my shoe size or feet size but your stance in my heart

See you’re good, you made me learn all that

Infact you be my surbodinate heart with your ventricles of commitment and consistency  pump the blood of hardwork to the whole body of success,

You level down my odds and make me tougher than my opponents, bet you’re my sport and together we shall spotify every huddle and still be in game

With you even with closed eyelids, still I believe am going somewhere far beyond the horizon, the sole of my feet are sure to wear out of course but not you because you never go off course

Only for you I shall want, till I do what need be done without waiting for another

My stress, my positive pressure, my sweet curse

In you I house all my troubles

In your windows of self-sacrifice I still mark the reason of my start and together we shall thank each other after the hard drive in every step of the way in the steep and rocky time

With you, I shall knock every door and climb every crooked wall of impossibility

For nothing yet tried is difficult, no mountain unclimbed is hard to climb

My positive pressure, my timeline, let’s rock and troll the wall of stress and stress in anything less we do

Stress ain’t money, for life either aint the value of cents but the sense of value

Stress ain’t relationship, pick a good mother of your children not a good wife for yourself

Stress ain’t the difficulty of stuff, difficult is for the untackled, just start and thank me later

Stress is anything you do below you reach, be happy, be responsible, set your own timelines and deadlines and meet them

Thank you 💗😍

By James Musau

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My Anguish

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My Anguish

My anguish, my heart,

Oooh walls of my heart, be strong enough to carry the roof of patience so that when the rain of hopelessness beat I, we shall be safe

Thou you steep and rocky level things down for every situation to prevail

Things shall be right even when you be on left trust the ribs, they are strong enough to enclose your multi tasking ventricles and easily they won’t reach you

Remember life is not splendor but significance and with significance, life will be splendid of bliss and peace, so let’s peace together and see

Their cars aren’t fast enough to slow the intensity of your scars

You don’t have a face, so don’t disguise your anger, the real you is protected by a number of muscles and ribs

When ribs crack with laughter, let you mend with pain, for many people know our story but only you and me know our history

Infact just pump blood, I’ll do the rest, I’ll dump your troubles

My Anguish, my tongue

Oooh! The sword of my life, always remain in your sheath

I know you hurt, although you have no bones, you break the heart, but have you ever asked yourself where do broken hearts go?

I know you lucky to hide, shrink back to the mouth and command the teeth to close up their open senselessness and wait for food but will the heart hide?

For God foreknew things wouldn’t be right so he kept the heart on the left side of the chest, He foreknew things wouldn’t be cool, so the heart in a position in the body where the sun can beat, or have you never heard of heartbeat?

I’ve seen queit people prevail because they are stoic but because they have less words to make up a foolish story

Remember patience is hidden amongst less speaking and more anticipation

How valuable you are oooh tongue, just roll more chunks of food make the body vibrant and healthy, speak less, let the hands do more of your words and you’ll be hurtless, you’ll be good and I’ll be glad

Make me a man worth my salt

And you eye, just see don’t cry remember I wash my face every morning

And you hands, yours is to hold spoon and fork to eat and not to poke other people’s eyes, not to choke other people’s necks

And you feet, yours is to walk but not away from responsibility and opportunity

And you nose, yours is to breathe not to nose around other people’s affairs, ears listen to the heart and not be trapped by withering stories of I can’t

Ooooooh my anguish, my body, every part do its sole responsibility, I’ll do the rest and wait till we ambush failure

Thank you 💗😍

By James Musau

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What Now?

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What Now?

They say that we are blessed beyond imagination because our leaders shake hands, are fat, travel overseas from time to time and are prominent customers in five star hotels

It’s true, true because they are foreigners and do believe what they see on their T.Vs, because hotels are places to discuss politics as they eat their manifestos

It’s true because of our SGR, how we Simply Gauged Retarded because of the choices we make but we shall train still

Its true because our leaders hide themselves in those cars to prevent their fat from melting of the scorching sun and to hide their faces from the vague promises they gave us, its not that they love to drive, infact they have drivers,

They are divers of the pool of public money, of the fool of public misunderstanding,

It’s only in Kenya where bounds are not made of glue and paper but signatures that even some don’t know the meaning of signatures because they don’t have one, where we share choices with our leaders because we like their sugar coated words for our diabetic hearts, we share ideas with them but not cars interests because our scars run deep

It’s only in Kenya where leaders have good houses with good seats, cars with multiple seats, parliament many seats that never are fully occupied unless discussing the future of their payslips and allowances but they are now fighting for more seats in parliament, I don’t know if its to host they wives and kids, tell me

Its only in Kenya where funds are never enough to pay teachers, doctors and nurses, where strikes and go-slows are a common phenomenon  for our teachers but our leaders will just signal a pinch for each other, go to some expensive hotel and make plans to charter their pay rise, when seating allowances are granted to such that need to be pushed to sit in parliament and we never are granted speaking allowances when we are willing even to speak the whole day

It’s only in Kenya where citizens bend their time, their backs in ballot boxes to make leaders that are never willing to talk in parliament get to parliament, where the hustle is to pay loans for they take in the name development when they are unwilling to pay the time we loaned them for rising up at 3,4,5 am to vote them in

It’s only in Kenya where citizens think leaders will be their social media to air out their grievances, but the same leaders chase the social media for likes, followers and to trend their stories

So they are willing to build bridges that we can’t cross  because of the frail pillars holding them and shallow waters of development that even if we were to fall in the same river we wouldn’t swim,

So they are starting up an initiative to supply blue band to the bread of living that is never enough for us unless they are coloring our minds

So they have hands to wave in those cars sorrounded by men in black and hands to poke in the hands of the pockets of public scoffers, when we have hands to throw stones to make their rampages successful and mouth to shout their names until we choke our lynx

So they only have feet to walk asking for votes that when they get, their feet develop to wheels to moves speedily against our grievances, when stone masons are used to send quotations that never build up to anything,

So go tell them that we got freedom of independence in 1963, remind them that freedom is not the power to change things to suit one’s needs but the opportunity to exercise responsibility, infact some of us didn’t change poverty as we thought but poverty changed our mode of thinking and our drive although our parents didn’t have anything to drive as a car

So remind them that good life is not a result of good decisions but the psyche to change bad decisions into good ones

So tell them that we went to school some even if didn’t, did escort others with eyes, so we were taught how to read and write but never what to read and write

Thank you

By James Musau

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Is this the man?

She had gone through many questions, some of which didn’t require her to think twice like the bunches of forms that went through her hands inquiring of her name and even gender

Infact questions were used to her correct answers, answers that took her to the varsity only to unite all and sundry to bedeck her neck with all champion essentials

She had gone through many books to gain insight, so she was amongst the feminine elites in her village

Infact I was amongst they that said blessed was the man that would ring her finger, we said it even when lining up for another plate of pilau served by some clean chefs at her wedding

So he found a man that she thought would father her kids and maybe further her dreams

It wasn’t long enough before she had to tackle a question inquiring of her “if this truly was the man of her dreams? That if this what was in her dreams then she’d curse that night, wake and maybe go for a kesha and rebuke such nightmares

 

He was good, good because he paid school fees, bought food, so he was the good environment to bring up his children, so that they’d go places he was yet to set feet on, so he was the bow them the arrows

He was good, good because of the sizeable dowry he led to her father’s homestead, good for the glamourous wedding he arranged for him and her and also was he good for the tuxedo suit he wore that day,

He was good, good because he never rose his finger to point her maybe when showing her of something on wall or T.V , infact the hands he raised for her were for clapping for her even when she wasn’t good enough

 

But he was bad, bad because he was becoming a very good lover of the bottle and kegs were the only eggs that fried his mind

Infact kind of this bottle was the car he promised to buy her when courting because “this thing” was driving him in a supersonic speed,

He was bad, bad because the bottle was the excuse behind him womanizing his own daughter and that made him accomplish his courtship promise of buying her a mansion, the prison

He was bad, bad because she couldn’t derive the joy of walking with her spouse in town or even much outfits because there wasn’t any word thick enough for him to throw at public scoffers, he was only sober when drank,

And it would be even worse if his ego would speak for it would say that he was the only man fitting in her life, so cousins and any male characters were rivals,

He believed she wasn’t to go home and shake her parents hands, and that was bad, for one to go further, he has to relate to any stepping stone that kept him up,

And maybe the outtings she anticipated and charisma is just being out of home nothing else and maybe her marriage was the game Park with he as the lion ready to pounce on her peace

He was bad, bad because he had hands to work but slowly was losing touch of hardwork by going to job on own volition, his feet were fast to bars but slow from bars and the only spirit he cared for was that in his belly for even his spirit was against his lethal acts,

 

He couldn’t even think and answer herself if she was to ask herself what happened, was it because of the drink? She’d someday day to also sip and know the feeling and zeal,

He was from University but she couldn’t stop asking herself if truly he went through university education? Or was it a university vacation?

He wasn’t a moonwalker as she thought with the zeal she used to see in his eyes to chase the sky because keg was already making him feeble to only chase the wind

She was forced to go home, a thing she never anticipated, this was the only choice she’d face having wept almost all her face and if tears were to wash the face, then she were feet for a beauty pageant,

Thank you

It’s another episode of poetic Tuesdays anyway, enjoy reading this poem

By James Musau

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BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER

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BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER

Blood is thicker than porridge
My phone rang about a quarter to 7pm, I heard his voice on the other end of the line, I wondered what was wrong this time? You never know what his calls might bring, from his past I was prepared for the worst. “ he said bro you are the only one I could think of calling, I have been arrested again and have not eaten for hours can you bring me something to eat ?” AGAAAIN? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU ……[ MBONA UNATUPEA PRESSURE WW? ] he just kept quiet. In the thick of thin my tone forgot he is 5yrs my senior.
 
Blood is surely thicker than porridge, in the split of a second I went from angry, to sad ,to emotionally nostalgic, by now my eyes had begun to sweat profusely , every tear dropped with a memory I remembered how ladies deflated at his sight, for indeed my brother’s beauty, was only second to his handsomeness, he never spoke much but his appearance was a siren, he had an easy smile, a pleasant personality, his skin tone was not quite black but surely not white, his shade of melamine, had a dense of polished mahogany, his muscle definition was flawless just like his bone structure, there was some shyness in his brevity, but his character, brewed interest more than his beauty, as it was a perfume of commendations.
 
The first tear dropped with a vivid image of a mini me, when I joined class one and he would hold my hand to Ngunyumu primary school for 3yrs before he did his class eight, he was the first one to get to that in my long line of family. His character of a protecting older brother when I had been bullied, with fatherly instincts, he bought clothes for me and my younger brother while he still was in primary school, I remembered the French National team jersey he had bought me, that one which I wore through to its toothless old age.
 
This tear dropped with the sibling rivalry, fights we used to have “ wewe unapendwa sana, ngoja mathe atoke utaona” [mum loves you more, when she leaves you’ll see] I hated that I loved him.
 
This tear dropped with a memory I  wish not to remember, the voice of a neighbor in our single mabati house, that was shelter to my family of 9 “ nmeibiwa viatu, AMA ni mtoto wa huyu mama ndio amechukua? “ [ my shoes have been stolen OR is it this woman’s son who took them] and the next morning he insisted my brother took them. I remember vividly how my brother aged just 16 a form 2 student was arrested like a criminal on our watch. He spent 9 months in remand, how my family fundraised for his bond 3000 shillings for the entire 9 months, I walked with a pen and a book fundraising for 3k this is where I learnt without paying fees, the meaning of blank promises.
 
This tear dropped with a vision of my brother the day he came out of that shit hole remand they call correctional facility, we were happy, but the eye sees what it sees, he was sickly yellowish, with whitish itchy rashes all over, malnourished, his face was as pale as his faded hopes, the eyes bore a pain that went down to his soul that was emotionally and physically malnourished, I wish this is where this memory ends, but there is more courtesy of our misplaced society, he was thrown in a sea of hardened criminals the rapists, murderers, robbers name them, whereby like a small fish he had to learn how to swim with the big fish or become their food, he went in a boy with an easy smile he came out a man with a care free spirit, angry and hungry and his hunger burnt…….
 
This tear dropped with memory of how at home complains were trickling in like electoral  results  during presidential elections, people who had suffered at his hands, talking to him didn’t do much for he felt like he needed to punish the society for what it had done to him, its tough to describe the sleepless nights we had after hearing some boys had been stoned to death or lynched, the constant fear might he be one of them? so many times people came home with a package of condolences from rumours that he had been gunned down or lynched by a mob only to find him in the house. Alhamdulillah
 
This memory is so heavy it took with it a gallon drops of tears, one night a crowd gathered round as group of young men locked horns in a machete party, my brother was on the menu. My mum watched helplessly in the crowd as one of them swung his machete which aimed at his head luckily the machete had other ideas, painfully landing at his left ear and slicing it off that’s how he became “ maskio moja” [ one eared]my mum wept as his firstborn son, lost a part of his body, if that wasn’t traumatizing enough she watched as the ear landed in the nearby mtaro [ditch] and got carried away like sheet and there lied a young man struck down in his prime by the burning harshness of the ghetto.
 
This tear dropped with how he tried to drink his pain a little at a time but he never could get drunk enough to forget slowly by slowly he became a full blown alcoholic it really didn’t matter to him as long as he was drunk, most of the times he would be stoned as a zombie.
 
By now the sun was kissing the earth and my phone rung again another strange number he doesn’t have a phone but he knows my number like the palm of his hand “ he said bro on my way to the court, will you come pay my fines”?
willing and able I was, and I couldn’t have been happier “I will be there in shaa Allah
 
As he walked out, on his long walk to freedom, from a distance I could see all the painful events of his life gathered in one package, and the scar they have left in his life deep enough that a mans palm can disappear into, he did that thing we do, when you raise your upper lip and lower your lower one “smile” he didn’t even care about his disfigured dental formulary.
 
we embraced like brothers are inclined to, a hug with a double smooth touch, as we approached a diner to cool his hunger pangs he did a charitable act to a passer-by that reminded me that although we might have been stitched differently we are cut from the same cloth.
 
He asked weren’t you going to work today? this is more important I replied before he could finish, he said you are the only I called, “ ndugu ni kufaana sio kufanana” and he choked in emotions, bursted into a stream of tears shortly before I followed, his eyes were as red as fresh blood.
 
like a big brother he wiped of his, and mine, he put his arm around my shoulder and said don’t cry, I looked up at him, and through my teary eyes, and through that fogged of a vision of him all I could see is a man whipped by life like puppy and words of Elvis Presley came to life….
 
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto.
And his mama cries Cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need It’s another hungry mouth to feed In the ghetto.
And his hunger burns so he starts to roam the streets at night and he learns how to steal, and he learns how to fight in the ghetto (in the ghetto)
Then one night in desperation A young man breaks away He buys a gun, steals a car Tries to run, but he don’t get far (in the ghetto) And his mama cries
As a crowd gathers ’round an angry young man Face down on the street with a gun in his hand In the ghetto (in the ghetto)
And as her young man dies On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’ Another little baby child is born In the ghetto (in the ghetto)
And his mama cries.

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A LONG LINE OF PAIN

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A LONG LINE OF PAIN

My name is Hassan Hamza and I come from a long line of pain.
I grew up where distinguishing dinner from danger, was an essential life skill. A stone’s throw away from Korogocho one of the largest and deadliest slums in Kenya.
Luckily, for me, I had two angelic mothers, I feel like Abraham Lincoln who said “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” for me after God I owe to my mother Mary Katunge and my grandmother Justina Mwikali.
Where it all started
——————————-
My grandma was born in Kitui in the 1900s, the firstborn in a family of five children. At a very young age grandma witnessed her father’s horrendous death. She vividly narrated to me how one day as he was walking by the roadside, a car came rushing in his direction. He tried to avoid it by diverging into the bush, it followed him there and crushed him. He did not meet his death, death literally followed him into the bush.
From there on her mum and her, had to do whatever they had to do to survive. A while later her mum died leaving her with no option than to become the head of the family. She was around ten years old.
You already know what happened next but I will tell you anyway.
Early marriage
———————-
As a young girl barely into puberty, her family married her off, as the fourth wife to an old man that had children old enough to be her parents. She had no choice as the head of the family her siblings had to eat, and go to the toilet and bathe and her brothers had to go to school.
This was taken care off by the small dowry and sacks of Muthokoi that exchanged hands. And with that grandma was sold. She simply became an object for the old man to amuse himself with.
I am literally in tears as I write this trying to find the courage to narrate to you the pain she went through in that family that believed in and practiced witchcraft.
She told me how the remnants of the water she and her kids used to wash their faces in the morning would be taken by the co-wives. She didn’t know where it was taken to, but results don’t lie.
Deaths and more deaths
—————————————–
Grandma started losing her children in mysterious deaths not one, not two, not three but five children died the last one of whom died while sleeping on the same bed as my mother who was also sickly.
By now grandma had been completely overwhelmed, in between sobs she asked those around to bury this one too, pointing at my mother. Luckily, they understood it’s her pain talking, or else the person writing this wouldn’t have existed.
My mum, my first love Mary Katunge, remains the only child out of six. Grandma had seen it all, she decided to go back home where they say it’s better than east or west.
Siblings rejection
—————————-
She was wrong her younger brothers the one she had taken to school met her with a resistance she had not anticipated. They insisted she had to go back.
They had been accustomed to the small portions of Muthokoi that used to come from the other end. When she refused one of them literally broke her back with firewood and she had to leave. She told me she forgave them for they didn’t know what they were doing and times were tough for them too.
A change of environment
—————————————–
With a broken back, a little girl and no money, grandma left with a determination to go to Nairobi on foot. She didn’t know where, how, and what but she had no other option.
She walked a pretty long distance until a “ not so good Samaritan” appeared in the form of a truck driver. He served his purpose. He even got her a house in the famous Mathare slums. But the man was extremely violent. Grandma could take the blows but when it came to her little girl, she said to him “ Slowly you man, you have come too much” but in reality, she said to herself because she didn’t wait for him to come back.
She left.
She took her little baby girl upcountry and decided to swim in the sea of Nairobi shamba ya mawe alone. She got a job as a waiter in a bar, found a friend who hired her a small space to place a mattress, and used to send most of the little she got for the welfare of her young girl upcountry.
My mom suffered upcountry in the hands of relatives and family friends she tells me she used to go for days without food and when she was lucky to get a warm plate the kids of that family would pour soil into the food and make it not fit for human consumption. At one point she had gone for three days without eating and she fainted on the road as she was returning home from school.
Teenage mother
————————–
Grandma had, had enough decided to live with her only child in Nairobi as now she had become a bit of age.
Nairobi welcomed her (my mum) and it was so kind to her, that it introduced her to motherhood. Just like that, my mom had become a teenage mother to a bouncing baby boy my elder brother.
A few years later mom took a deep breath of warm south coast air and there I was born. While the area is known for its cool sea breeze the marriage was the extreme opposite. It was known for alcoholism and extreme domestic violence. One time she says he came home drunk found her cooking chapati, he removed his shoes and placed them on top of the chapati in a pan and with that she was done. Like he couldn’t even do it on another food?
More children
———————–
Mum would later remarry and got five other children. My grandma couldn’t be happier. It was like she had gotten back her lost children.
But it was not all smiles. Whereas the man was generous with giving his seed, he was not generous with providing for the kids. And so mum had to singlehandedly take care of her mother and 7 children on her own.
She literally took matters into her hands. At times she was forced to fight women and even men who threatened her dignity and that of her children and those who would refuse to pay her hard-earned sweat.
She started a small scale milk business. We used to walk 3-5km every morning before school and evening after school delivering milk door to door across the informal settlements of the Eastland’s of Nairobi from Lakiisama, Korogocho, Babadogo, Kasabuni, Kariadudu Kariobangi to Huruma.
When my classmates were dancing to the tune of the bell ringing to signal we had learnt enough for the day I wore my sad face for I knew the task ahead of me. We would sell milk up to 11 pm. My younger brother Ali and I went the same route. We would sleepwalk our way back home, get home light the jiko, and start cooking supper.
If it was ready by 1 am, we were very lucky.
What do you think were cooking? Sometimes 30 ksh githeri for a family of 9, or quarter kilo of meat which got lost in a sack of Sukuma wiki BUT MUM MADE SURE WE NEVER SLEPT HUNGRY.
My brother arrested
——————————–
When I was 12yrs old, my elder brother 5yrs older was arrested. All because a neighbor who had lost his safari boots said “ maybe the son of this woman stole them”.
We lived in a mabati house, so we heard everything. But the next day he insisted and even went to the police and without a bribe to pat with my brother was taken to Industrial area Remand prison.
I still remember the color of the book I walked with on my right hand and the pen on the left trying to fundraise for his bail 3,000ksh (make sure you don’t add another zero).
I walked for 9 months. I couldn’t raise the amount and my brother my hero the first father figure I knew, the one I learnt how to wear trousers from spent 9 months in remand for a crime he did not commit and a whole village could not raise 3K to bail him out.
When he finally came out he was a different person. A young innocent boy full of face, full of faith, full of future had been thrown into a sea to swim with murderers, rapists, and all sorts of criminals and when he came out he had a fit of anger for society stored in a polythene bag to preserve it and a mission to repay the society for what it did for him.
Suddenly we started receiving complaints from people who had suffered at his hands. Most of his friends were killed either by the bullet or mob justice stoning or burnt alive using tyres and petrol all of which he escaped by a whisker.
Chopped ear
——————–
Then one day he had crossed paths with a gang of rival youths one of whom swung his panga to claim his neck and finish him off. He tilted his head a bit and the panga landed on his left ear and chopped it off. It fell into what we called mtaro [drainage trench] and was washed away
All this happened as my mother watched helplessly.
He resorted to the bottle to drink his pain away. But I don’t think he has ever been drunk enough to forget, he is still trying. But we are thankful he is alive.
Big brother
——————
I had no option other than to assume his birth rite. I became the big brother for my siblings. I also assumed the role of C.E.O of our small scale hand to mouth milk delivery business that our family of nine depended on.
When my mum took, a maternity leave I would take paternity leave too from school for that was the only way the mouth would remain good friends with the hand. A relationship that benefited the stomach more.
Grandma and mum’s motivation made sure I always had the audacity of hope for a brighter future. They often told us walking barefoot today will never prevent you from walking in shoes one day” ( I thought they only said that not `to buy me shoes)
I fought a good fight with the books armed with only a pen. I used to do my homework in the houses of customers who had kids in the same class I was. I didn’t have any other time to do it was a better excuse than we couldn’t afford the textbooks.
In 2003 I sat for my K.C.P.E. It was the only year in my schooling life that I was not sent home for school fees arrears, thanks to president Kibaki’s free primary education policy. Mark you Ngunyumu primary school in Korogocho was as cheap as a ball gum not even PK.
Joining high school
——————————–
My KCPE registration fees were paid by a political aspirant. My mum’s love for education was always in conflict with her empty pockets.
I remember the day I joined high school it was a cold Tuesday morning. I walked behind my mother, my head lowered, my face frowned and shoulders dropped. The question on my mind was huku tunaenda wapi ? (Where are we going? )
We walked past houses made of iron sheets, mud, and some just nylon. Korogocho Glory High School was our destination. Deep in the intestines of Korogocho almost at the exit. Next to it was the sewage sugar-coated as Nairobi River and after it is the largest dumping site in Africa known simply as Mukuru.
Just 4 students
————————-
The school had just been opened in fact when I arrived I found only four students I was the fifth in the entire school.
Our school fees was 2500/- a term, not a month. Still by the time I finished high school I had outstanding arrears that I was denied the school leaving certificate. Instead, the principal wrote a letter “To whom it may concern, I confirm that Hassan Hamza was a student at this school he cannot be given his certificate because of his 12,000ksh school fees balance, Stamped” It was official. I presented it whenever I went looking for manual labor or college sponsorship opportunity.
Life after school
—————————
Life after high school was not easy in a community full of crime, drugs, and other vices. I was about to indulge in such when a friend of mine introduced me to community-based organizations.

I joined as a volunteer, where I met people and opportunities. From this I got networks, experience, knowledge and even sponsorships and joined college. I went to Unity college, did a diploma in social work and also joined

NairoBits Digital Design School

where I did certificate in web design.

In 2015 I was in my tiny bachelor’s single room that I paid 1500 a month. I was debating my options whether to attend a youth motivational event that I had been invited to at K.I.C.C. I decided to go, a decision that changed my life forever.
I watched in awe as various speakers wowed the audience with their speeches and I was introduced to the concept of motivational speaking. One of the speakers Pepe Minambo gave out a book he had authored where he talked about an academy he started for public speaking and knew this was it.
I was burning with a passion I would have boiled an egg. The problem was the course was forty thousand Ksh. Where was I to get that amount? I went to several of my friends who promised to lend me the cash only to disappear into thin air.
An Angel’s hand
————————–
Frustrated but with a strong desire, I approached a lady I had just been recently introduced to – Amina, an elder sister figure to me with a heart so big that it barely fits in a room.
She counted for me 28K cash and even refused to hold my laptop as collateral and with that I got into the academy like a duck to water and a motivational speaker was born.
Little did I know that a time will come when I will join the dots going backward and be grateful for every experience I was subjected to, for it created the man I am today. A man who understands that we are a sum of our experiences. A man who understands that tough times don’t last but tough people do. A man who understands that “My life is my message to the world all I got to do is know an inspiring way to tell it” a man who believes that The rest of my life can the best of my life, only if I make it, in shaa Allah.
Gifted differently
—————————
I mentioned my younger brother Ali, what I didn’t mention is he kept moving from school to school because teachers and fellow pupils used to laugh at him for being uneducable, mentally retarded or simply mjinga [ foolish].
He finally quit school at class 7 and joined Jua Kali sector as a welder and its like he wasn’t created for anything else.
He did so well he was the first to own a Tv and sofa set [ at the time it was talk of town in our neirborhood] in our family.
Last year he bought a piece of land away and far from any family we know of. We came together and constructed a one bedroomed house for grandma. In February of this year, we opened it and relocated her there. You should have seen the joy on her face and the words of blessings that came out of her mouth.
No one would have convinced her that this kids that she brought up in tears blood and sweat would one day build a brick house for her in a land where no one would bother her.
Grandma rests
———————–
The joy was short lived as 2 weeks later grandma passed away. Just as we were getting to experience the other side of life. Just as we were preparing to get grandma enjoy the fine things of life in our small way to try and appreciate her SHE LEFT US ALL ALONE. meeehn, we cried and cried and cried a river at her burial.
On the day she died, she woke up in the middle of the night, woke up my mum and told her in Kamba “ tell my children, I love them, I have no problem with a single one of them, tell them to love each other, they should work hard and I leave them my blessings” she took a sip of milk and she closed her eyes never to open them again.
Grandma did not leave much for us but she sure did leave a lot in us.
Her words are still fresh in my mind “ Hassan, hakuna mtu hukua amewekelewa mawe kwa kichwa ” which means; everyone can make it, or simply put:#UNAWEZA
Today mum lives in that house. With her business mind and experience, she did a market survey and found out no one sells mabuyu and spices like pilau masala, cinnamon, clove seeds etc.
The business picked like bush fire and she now supplies almost half of the County. She is doing so well that she took up extension of the house and sometimes when a message comes from her its Mpesa with nunulia msichana wangu na mjukuu kuku. [ buy my daughter in law and granddaughter chiken]
My elder brother is doing better. I was able to take him to Mombasa where he took a break from the bottle I pray its permanent he dreams of being a driver something that I am working towards.
My other siblings are doing very great. Ali my immediate follower is a father of two. The one that everyone thought was foolish is now very skilled at his craft.
He specializes in building posho mill machines and anything metallic.
My beautiful sister Justina is an amazing businesswoman at only 24yrs. She beat the curse of teenage pregnancy in the ghetto. She travels within and without Kenyan border doing business very proud of her.
James who is after her is an amazing poet and graphic designer. The rest Regina is in form 3 and Richard our last born is in form 2. They currently live with mum.
Reflections
——————-
Looking back from where I have come from I sometimes go back home and can’t believe I have my own house, and can take care of a family. I have a wife I love so much and a young daughter who keeps me hopeful fo a brighter future.
The world breaks everyone but some are stronger in the broken places. I am one of those and so are you.
As I was starting I said I come from a long line of pain. It’s my mission to change that now into a long line of success, purpose, passion, and happiness not only for my family but for everyone that I am blessed to cross paths with,
I do this through my company House of Hope that deals in motivational speaking, mentorship, Training and Team Building. I am passionate to inspire through my motivational videos on FB, IG and YouTube also through talks in public.
I have a project where I go to the slums targeting young boys who are facing the life I have been through I motivate them and provide for them vests, boxers, shoes and most importantly hope.
To do this I sell merchandise branded Unaweza [Yesyoucan], this includes, Hoodies, T-shirt’s, caps, pens and books.
On my day job I am also a journalist I specialize on Human interest documentaries that inspire and also informercials and adverts.
I am determined to spread the salt of my energy and passion to the meat of people’s lives.
I believe :

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Forgiving My Father

#unaweza

Forgiving My Father

For anyone who grew up without a father.

I am proud of you

In the middle of a conversation, a colleague told me I am very proud of you, of course, it felt good, but I wanted to place the feeling on the right shelf so I asked why? She said “you travelled to check on your sick father even though he wasn’t in your life” and then she asked “aren’t you bitter, how did you come to terms with letting him in?”

Half a conversation with my father

The questions were a key to a room I had left locked for a long time. It thrust me black to the first time I sat down with my father in an attempt to have a conversation and ask tough questions.
When two men are involved, a drink is always a good idea for my father and I it was chai rangi (black tea) and mahamri. We sat in a local kibandaski [street eatery] facing each other, a wooden frame playing the role of a table, separating us. surrounded by the warm south coast air.  He sat on a plastic chair while I sat upon layers of anger that I had stored for years in a plastic bag to preserve so that when I decide to unleash it would have warm stench.

The mahamri once bitten twice chai, the teeth were sharper today and so were my eyes, senses and intuition I wanted to unearth the truth detect any lies and read non-verbal communication and body language this was no friendly tete a tete this was a grilling the likeness of which they pretend to have at integrity house while grilling corrupt politicians.

Looking at him, I could see the horses of old age were fast racing towards him and he was too slow to get away. Looked at his face and then looked into my mind for the image of myself stored there, when they say the fruit does not fall far from the tree I wondered what the person would have said had he seen us, for us there is no tree and definitely no fruit falling. we look nothing alike.
I looked at his hand as he took a puff of his preferred poison (cigarette) I saw veins intertwined like cables crossing each other in a server room. I followed those veins and each of them took me to painful road I had crossed in my life.

The first one took me all the way, to how life had squeezed me like a towel, and all those days I woke up and walked with a longing for a father.

The 2nd vein took me to all the stories I had heard about alcoholism, abuse and domestic violence. How one day while drunk he came home found mum cooking chapatti removed a shoe and placed on top of the chapatti. With my love for chapo I just asked he wouldn’t have done it on spaghetti? Or pasta?

The 3rd vein took me all the way to a time when I was in class three do you know how it feels when your classmates are talking about their fathers and you have nothing to share I mean what will you share about a father you only see in pictures? and then one day I go home for lunch and there he was he looked just like the pictures, of course I had seen him when I was a child, a memory I couldn’t rely on. The joy I felt I couldn’t go back to school on time so my mum asked him to escort me to school and talk to the teacher and he did but just a few steps past the gate he slapped the life out of me I don’t remember what had caused it but all I remember is I just ran to class half in pain and half in hope that a classmate would catch me in tears ask about my predicament and I would have gladly said that my father slapped me just to have a feel of it; being a member of “ my father club “

The 4th vein took me to a time I was about 7yrs old I was walking with my mother selling milk in a place called kariadudu suddenly a guy appeared and started punching and head-butting her, for every punch I took the pain with her I just stood there in rage but not able to even swat a fly, it happened so fast I didn’t know what to do other than cry. 20yrs later, I come up with a better idea I should have hit him with stones.

The 5th vein took me to 2003 I was in class 8, in school I had no friends, as making fun of me was part of school’s sports, for I was short, I was dirty, and I was a hawker, selling milk door to door and at home my mum feared nitaharibiwa (peer pressure) then a boy was transferred to our school his name was/is Gabriel his family and friends had no enough time to pronounce it in full, so they just called him Gabby. He was all I was missing he became my best friend in school and my mom approved of him. He taught me how to fold trousers like his father had taught him I hated that I was learning to do this at 15yrs and I wished my father had taught me. I became very close to his father so much that when he fell sick and weak I used to take him to the toilet and take care of him and for the first time in my life I had a father figure together with a father feeling

I follow the 6th vein in pain but in the middle I just feel now more than ever I want to hear his side of the story.

I try to have a conversation but I quickly figure out my father is taciturn his vocabulary is mostly 2 to 4 words, no, yes, okay, don’t, fine and for a moment I just wish we could donate words like we do blood.

Reflections

I look him straight in the eyes and in them, I can see pain or confusion or something like it I want to know about his upbringing his story what happened? Does he ever miss me? Us? Has he ever lost sleep about it? I have lots and lots of questions I look to the one with the answers but he seems to have more questions than I do. I decide to dig within and reflect I look at him and see he is a sum of all he has been through maybe he did the best he could with whatever he had.
I remember our neighbors, families that had both parents, they didn’t have to go sell milk like we did, we wished to be like them, they seemed perfect, but looking back now I am thankful for what we had/were.

One of them was baba Julius our next door neighbor we watched TV there the first people I saw cooking meat without mixing with sukuma wiki (Kales) you say read meat is harmful they dry fried theirs brown, wee but Mimi sikuwa nakula kwa jirani (never ate at peoples houses) I admired this family a few healthy children, smart house, school fees paid on time good clothes and they had shoes, they also used to go upcountry as soon as schools closed especially the long December holiday. The wife and kids would be gone the first Saturday schools closed.  As soon as the bus was ignited baba Julius turned the house into old Trafford and like a footballer he played ball with whoever he saw unmarked he brought home different women everyday when the wife returned she couldn’t say anything after a while he started loosing weight at first you would have mistaken it for toning and even ask what’s the secret, but after a while the belt could no longer hold the trouser and the shirts hang loosely it started raising eyebrows and gave gossipers a topic. He stopped going to work, here is where the soup got thick he always had a tough stance against his wife working and used all means necessary including blows. A short while later he died the burial was a mixture of grief and ceremony but even before marehemu azoee kaburi (immediately after burial) his family came and swept the house they carried everything, but the wife and kids and now mama Julius had no husband, had a house with  nothing in it, no job and painfully no work experience or networks and above all no knowledge of where to turn to.

For a moment I just thought of how my father’s leaving had toughened up my mum how she had literally broke her back to make sure we never slept hungry and I wondered what would have happened if he were there would we have ended up like the Juliuses?

I was deep in thought when a bus with loud hooting and heavy breathing interrupted me ( by the way what do we call the breathing of a bus in motion, the, “ummmchaaaaaaaaa

The bus was on its way from Mombasa to Lunga lunga Kenya Tanzania border and I escorted it with my eyes wishing it were possible to book a ticket for the questions I had and the anger I have held on to for long ivukishe border if only wishes were buses.

I come back from dreamland back to the veins and the painful roads I had traversed and in retrospect; I find that all those painful roads taught me lessons that have become a source of strength. The person that I have become all that I know the rich experiences I have been through, the way I view the World the passion I exude, the skills I posses, have all come out of this and like instant coffee I flip the other side of the coin and now am thankful for everything for he gave me a good name, when I was young, ladies used to tell me aki si ukona jina supuu  ( you have a nice name) you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself Hassan Hamza (its crispy, fresh, tantalizing lol) I wonder why no one tells me that now.

The best thing I got out of it is, Islam I did not inherit it from him I did not grow up a Muslim but him being one led me to researching about it and was amazed it’s the best thing to happen for me in this world and my ticket to the next life, so I pray.

I write this on my way from Msambweni Sawa Sawa beach a walking distance from home, I have been here for a week to check up on him after he suffered a mild stroke his left leg and hand not functional, he has to be bathed taken to the toilet can’t walk but Alhamdulillah my elder brother and I, his only children but who grew up with their mum are here among other family members to nurse him. Amidst all the heat, the she said and he said that come with family gatherings I just feel the breeze and determined to take care of my father like a son should
Afterwards I think of going to our local kibandaski order coffee and vitumbua my favorite. The kitumbua once bitten twice chai

I share this with a lot of respect for my old man not with the intention of painting him as a bad person but some painful truths have to be shared for healing purposes for myself and others who have been in similar situations.

The French have a saying “ tout comprendre c’est tout pardoner” To understand all is to forgive all, of course it’s not easy and sometimes you can be taken advantage of but it’s a god place to start, as Barbara Hunt said : Forgiveness is for you – not the other person. It’s something you do inside yourself that you feel in your body and heart that releases you from your past and frees you to live life fully

Forgiveness is not forgetting, forgiveness is remembering without anger, for anger is the wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.

So forgive your parents your kids your siblings your friends. Pick that phone make that call send that text its no guarantee that they will respond positively but do it for you.

#Tunaweza !!!

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