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Childhood

I had my slice of beautiful experiences growing up. It wasn’t much but I remember being happy most of the times. As life would have it, I was not spared the negative experiences either. Sure, they might pale in comparison to what other kids endured then and continue to endure in the present but when you are a child, everything matters.

It is only when I became a mother that those seemingly small, insignificant bad memories had their greatest effect. For a long time I truly believed the past was forgotten and dealt with. I really believed I had made my peace with all that had happened or not happened. It turned out I was lying to myself, denying truths that my own intuition was screaming at me, reimagining the plot to fit my idea of the strong woman I had become. Sadly that was only a way to escape reality and it was an epic fail.

The reality was, something precious had been taken away from me as a child, I would never get it back, it left a big wound in my soul and no one cared but me. In taking personal responsibility, I guess I should have realised this truth sooner and worked something out by now but as it turns out, dealing with traumatic experiences is not an overnight task. It takes months if not years to come to terms with the event, accept that it happened, acknowledge all the feelings that came with the event and choosing to release the negativity all while attempting to forgive those who did you wrong.

To spice things up, the same person gets pregnant and swiftly jilted, is unemployed and has to move back into the circumstances that damaged her in the first place. Oh, the pranks that life plays on us! I cannot begin to describe the kind of depression, anxiety and lack of self-worth that hits an otherwise normal individual.

What makes me sad and borderline mad, is to know that all this struggle was unnecessary and at the very least avoidable. Had only those who mattered purposed to listen to my childhood pains. If only they had come from a place of love and understanding. If only they could understand the long term effects of a tiny broken heart. But they couldn’t or wouldn’t. And I can’t blame them really, I blame the society.

The society I grew up in doesn’t approve of any child shedding light on so called injustices. This society’s knee-jerk reaction is to punish and ostracize any child who has the nerve to speak up for themselves in any way shape or form. We are brought up to believe that our small minds and opinions don’t matter in the presence of adults. We have been conditioned to believe that because they are older, they know best and thus should never be questioned. They put the fear of them in us for sure.

In examining that system of parenting however, I see great loopholes that cannot be swept under the rug much longer. Most of my peers and older are barely surviving not to talk of thriving. Most of us are out here living on a bare minimum salary, settling for unhealthy relationships and engaging in perceptions and practices we have no real idea or opinion about. When you add technology to this age of information, we are constantly battling one issue or another and it is deathly overwhelming.

As a parent with my history, I can’t help but panic anytime I notice some peculiar behavior and get heavy handed with my child. I freeze in the after moments over analysing my reaction to assess how bad or good I did. This habit irks me because I like to be sure of myself when I’m handling my kid. I always want him to get the best parts of mommy all the time. But even as I hope to achieve this impossible feat, I know it’s good for him to be exposed to some harsh truths occasionally because that’s just what life will serve him up. No amount of shielding can keep him from it and any attempt at doing so diminishes his capability to handle unpleasant situations.

In all honesty, I’m just a mother experiencing parenting in a new age and with some acquired wisdom. One who is scarily looking to the future, furiously wiping tears off her eyes, hoping against hope not to repeat the mistakes of generations past, patiently caring for this unfolding masterpiece who holds his own unspoken truths in his spirit.

My greatest wish is to relate with other mothers just like me who have a wounded past but have nonetheless purposed not to repeat the cycle with their offspring. We all must appreciate and acknowledge the times we live in and realise that the old methods of parenting will not survive the test of time.

We must agree that these methods need to undergo some serious updates and SWOT analysis. We should be brave enough to unlearn those lessons that didn’t serve us and learn new and relevant lessons to teach. We have to connect with our inner child to understand our child’s perceptions on life. It is mandatory that we approach them from a level they understand. Most importantly, we absolutely must not silence their raw yet innocent voices. Even when we don’t like what comes out of their tiny mouths.

If I may add, we must detach ourselves from the imaginary thought that our children are a gift to us and instead see them as an invaluable piece of the worlds large puzzle. We are just but custodians. For a time will come when the world will need them to execute their higher purpose that might or might not include you. Your only duty is to love them with no condition and to nurture and protect them until they can do so for themselves. Anything else, is on them to take on and for you to support.

A lot is changing in our world but the connection to your children cannot and should never be forfeited for the benefit of any other thing that is and is yet to come. So listen to them when they talk, even about the silliest most insignificant things. It could save them a big portion of their young adult years and even maybe save their life.

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Destiny

The story of the MAUMAU has always intrigued me. It’s close to my heart as I hail from where all the action happened. It seems, however, to be shrouded in mystery and this has led me down a path that seeks to demystify its theories.

I just now returned from a trip to Meru where my grandmother is a native. She is well into a century of her life and still strong though now slowly and sadly fading away. Never before have we talked at such lengths about this historical fact. But today my eyes were opened to new perspectives and I can’t wait to hear more.

At the time of the infamous curfew imposed on my people, she was a mother of three and was operating a shop with my grandfather. Here, she was at the centre of the tension from both ends and she witnessed the brutality and bravery of all the players.

As a trader, those who fought for freedom and those who opposed it were regular clientele. She narrated to me the harrowing near-death experiences she survived and it was nothing short of breathtaking.

She told of babies strapped to the backs of their mothers upside down to aid in maneauvering through thick forest seeking hideouts. The reason for strapping the tots in such a precarious position was to protect their delicate heads from being scathed by thorns. You would imagine they would wail and throw up with all the blood rushing to their tiny brains but no. Not a sound did they make. How else you can describe an act of God, I don’t know.

She told of lifeless arms bobbing up and down in government trucks passing through. Their drivers leisurely stopping for a refreshing drink before proceeding on to offload the carcasses at a humongous pit where they then set them on fire.

She told of days the curfew was in full force, when they had to sit in a Chiefs office from dawn to dusk. On these days they had to forgo trading, food and drink and not forgetting toilet breaks. All they could do was sit there silently until the day’s activity was complete.

She told of witnessing, with her own eyes, mutilated bodies sliced open at the throat. These images put fear in her heart and she confided in her husband about wanting to leave. But it was no secret that there was nowhere to run to. There was no-one the war hadn’t touched. She and her family were only safe under the Chief’s protection because to the eyes of the warriors, they passed for sympathisers. And none of them, if ever caught, would get away with their life.

As sordid as the details sound to my millennial ears, something of strength left her lips and I have never felt more empowered. Many females of today will be surprised to hear that the females of that time were the bravest and most tactful warriors. Their attacks were unprecedented, vicious and exacting. When they struck they never missed and always got the job done. They were fearless! Nothing short of magnificent.

Needless to say, this was by far the most revealing and awe-inspiring MAUMAU story I have heard yet. I am pumped and I can’t wait to learn more. It got me back to the reason for doing this project as it is my view that women today pale in comparison to our heroines who have gone unappreciated for so long.

We, as females must put our boots back on, face and fearlessly fight whatever ails our present society. We cannot afford to, any longer, sit on the sidelines and expect things to miraculously work themselves out. We must put on a stern stance and refuse to be shoved any which way.

So, girls, ladies, women, even men, remember who you are and where you have come from. Wake up from those cocoons and manifest yourselves into a force to be reckoned with. If you don’t, no-one else will. God will not come from the skies and make everything alright. So get up and face whichever demons stand in your way. You have the strongest backing that you have no clue about.

Let us all men and women, leave our groups behind and stand alone for what we believe to be true and just. A heavy price was paid for what we now carelessly enjoy: freedom. Pay back by being responsible and insightful in whatever this life throws at you.

Seek knowledge and you will gain understanding and thus be wiser for the next generation. As you bring them into the world and raise your tots, make it a priority to never let them forget how precious their land is.

Let us all be worthy custodians of this priceless history which is now, gratefully, our reality. Own up and don’t delegate. Know your history and let it be the foundation for a great destiny.

From my grandmother and East African Simba, to you, with much love.

E.A.S.T. Inception

Teamwork makes the dream work; The recent happenings and experiences have done nothing short of confirming that. Dreams are conceptions of our mind, heart, soul and spirit. They come to subtly, but more often violently jolt us to an awakened state of being.

What is even more perplexing is how sneaky dreams are.

E.A.S.T. or East African Simba Travels is one such dream that quite frankly has changed face and tactic with every new “episode”. Initially I thought of printing items with logos all over it while I rush through some random location with a couple of paying patrons. Business is all about maximizing profits right? Right…

The excitement of this money minting idea soon ebbed away as I thought about the sustainability of this venture. Even more than my personal values, the values engrained in me as a Travel and Tourism true blood would not allow me to consider Profit over People and Planet. So, I had to go back to the drawing board.

After much self and societal scrutiny, I understood it was crucial to appreciate the land we would be infiltrating and its inhabitants. I was only one person with an idea and some knowledge of the industry and its priced resources. I had to ally with other parties in various respects and hopefully get them to see my vision and contribute to the overall mission.

Mr. Kairu Kuguru, photo-documentarian and Mr. Muthui Wangome, former Chairman of the Kenya Forest Service and a decorated long serving officer of the government of Kenya, graciously and most enthusiastically welcomed me and my ideologies. Their confidence, optimism coupled with words of affirmations both challenged and empowered me to put my thoughts into actions.

Our first team excursion was at Zaina Falls, Miagayu-ini, Nyeri, Kenya. We had the longest most collaborative day E.A.S.T. yet. With Mr. Boniface Munguti as our guide, we had our backs covered and our route secure.

As with all efforts towards a common goal, challenges hit us where it mattered most. Kairu’s powerful camera was antsy the majority of the time and we had to take some big deep breaths and time-outs. Thankfully, that never dampened our spirits nor did it derail the day’s agenda.

Crazy as it may sound, in hindsight, I really appreciate those challenges because it assured me I was in the right crowd as no one overreacted or brooded over how long we had to go. If anything, as the only lady in the troop, I had to keep pace, listen and observe more than I had to in a while. It was definitely the best way to spend a Saturday!

Overall, the 30thof March 2019, the inception of East African Simba Travels turned out great! I learnt to go forward, even fearfully, and with realistic expectations. I experienced, first-hand, the goodwill of positive and big- hearted humans who never hesitated to take my word for it and venture so far on a mission they didn’t really have to go on.

At the time of writing this blogpost, Kairu had shared some unfiltered promotional podcast we abruptly made over coffee at the Zumpini. (listen here) The feedback was overwhelming and as my heart keels over with gratitude I recalled an anonymous quote that said: “You don’t know what will happen when you try. But if you don’t try, nothing will happen.

I strongly believe this dream is worth investing in. Even more because of all the souls who have invested their time, effort, expertise, feedback, comments and recommendations. E.A.S.T. could never exist without any one of you. So, please stay, join the journey and let’s thrive!

This is East African Simba, signing out.

I AM

Life, I have come to overstand, is a paradox. The bad helps you see the good; the pain helps you appreciate the pleasure and you will not cherish what you have unless you lose it.

Undoubtedly, this is true for all reasoning creatures to have walked the earth. Often will you hear it said that history repeats itself. However ugly or beautiful it was, we sit back and watch it happen again and again.

Why?

Do we not agree that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and persistently expecting different results? Are we that incapable and/or unwilling to change our today for a sure tomorrow?

2011 was the “best” year of my short existence. I had a load of cash, an envious career and my, how popular I was! Nothing was too much for me and I outdid everything and everyone, including myself. Smug, vain and proud barely begin to describe my character at the time.

I thought I was on top of the world but it turned out that the world was on top of me. You see, I was fresh out of college and having grown up under my mother’s hawk-eye regime, my resources and new found freedom got the best of me. I was invincible… *sigh* the folly of youth. Smh.

Then came mid 2012 and my world started slipping. My immature emotional attitudes caused me to quit my high salaried job naively imagining I would make a killing as an entrepreneur. Needless to say, that fell through rather abruptly.

As my fortunes dwindled, my network broke apart and I was suddenly alone and unaccepted. My phone stopped ringing incessantly and my life fell deathly silent. What a way to get out of the comfort zone. In retrospect, that was the best worst thing to ever happen to me to present day!

I had no choice but to be my own best friend. I know the movies make it look easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy but boy, do I have news for you: It’s excruciatingly maddening. It’s the reason there are so many suicides, homicides, alcoholics, drug addicts, nymphomaniacs and psychopaths.

People are just not comfortable with who they really are and they go to extremes to avoid working out whatever needs work in their miserable lives. I know because it took me 7 long years to get to this head-space where I can write about my shamelessly scarred and yet amazingly healed life.

Of course I’ll never be perfect and my expressions are biased and limited to my unique experiences but I am who I am right now and I’m freaking proud of that! I am honored and humbled to have identified my individual journey, to have been broken down to pieces of nothingness, to have had the courage to face my ugliness, to have swam in the murky waters of who I was and to have had the strength not to quit on me.

Through the fire, through the wire, through the storms and thorns represented by circumstances and people. To be free and true to me I had to drag my original, authentic self from beneath painful and tearful layers of the world’s opinions, belief systems and expectations.

Material possessions I have lost, in their stead I have gained clarity of vision, mission and purpose of me. Friends? LOL! I have none. I never had any friends. They were acquaintances, alibis, colleagues, cohorts, collaborators… Harsh and true. Am I alone? Yes. Lonely? No.

All this time I have spent solo has helped me know who I am, understand why I feel and see things as I do, appreciate the value of what I bring to any table and identify who and which things are important to me. I am thankfully unattached and the peace that comes with it is unexplainable.

I urge you, simba, to take off those blindfolds, band-aids and imaginary last straws that you keep holding on to. You have the key to your peace and happiness and that key is you. Face your fears, your scars, your shame, the unique life that only you have, fish out the key and unlock your unlimited self. Step out of the fake crowd. Be an authentic individual and the right crowd will find you.

Love you first and we will love you too. The way you’ve always wanted and desired to be loved. The right way.

To my tribe; I know you are out there somewhere. How much joy we will create when we finally find each other. I highly anticipate and manifest your presence in my life.

East African Simba loves you to infinity and beyond.

Inner Guide

Over the years I have come to appreciate the gift of intuition.

Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.

Ever caught yourself say, ‘”I knew it was going to rain.”‘ just when the first raindrops hit you? That is intuition. Everyone, I like to believe, has come across this more often than we care to admit.

Intuition, if/when we use it, is a dependable inner guide that helps us on our life’s journey. Our very own confidant. An adviser who really wants the best for you. A friend on the inside when there aren’t any without.

As with other virtues that we are blessed with, intuition is personal and must be practiced consistently for it to work effectively. The more one listens to and acts out suggestions presented by intuition, the more one can appreciate it.

I have plenty of experiences with intuition. It has taken me to and through so much. Especially when faced with challenging situations where any way you chose you lose. Decisions that have potential to hurt me financially, emotionally and mentally.

It was never easy. Following my intuition. I had for a long time stopped trusting myself. That meant I couldn’t trust my decisions. I couldn’t trust my intuition. I could barely hear it.

Going on a journey inside myself helped me to see and understand the difference between intuition and thought. Thought provokes you and seems to go round in spirals over the same issue (whatever is troubling you) with endless possibilities but no solution. Intuition happens on you when you least expect it. It’s calm, almost soothing in the way it presents a simple solution to a previous mountain of a problem.

The only problem then becomes one’s self-belief. I agree sometimes intuition throws in pretty crazy ideas and our logic mind goes into defense. Kills it before it grows. Then all your logical thoughts come crashing back and keep you stuck in worry.

It’s true that people who may view this as jibber-jabber dispel it as passiveness and unwillingness to act. That’s fine. Understand that it has nothing to do with you. It’s personal anyway so their opinion doesn’t matter.

My point is, don’t allow yourself to be overcome by worry so much that you silence out intuition. We are all suffering in some way and we can’t help ourselves and honestly other people’s advice can sometimes do more harm than good. That’s exactly why we need to let our inner guide be heard. By so doing, silly mistakes can be avoided and risks mitigated.

So, take up the challenge today and go inside yourself. Focus on the burning issue. Identify all that is important to you and what you don’t mind compromising on. Let yourself know and confirm these variables as true. Then release the thoughts you were holding on to. Any possibilities you were floating around. Let them all go and do something you enjoy. When you least expect it, you’ll have the best possible solution. And you’ll love it! Trust me… most importantly; trust yourself.

EASimba say dat!

Know Thyself!!!

I believe in truth. I believe in being straight-forward, honest and transparent. I believe there is no need to waste time being deviant, saying things you don’t mean, making promises you can’t keep. I believe our need to be accepted has trampled our authenticity. From the rich man in plain T-shirt and jeans, to the poor man in his sharp suit and tie.

That’s alright, all physical: we can handle that. But what if it’s psychological, mental or emotional? What do you do when you see someone’s invisible struggle and they refuse to acknowledge it? So many of us walk around with smiles on our faces and go about life in a happy-go-lucky attitude. This is great: what we all need. But only if you’ve done the work on yourself. Some of us have wounds so deep and dark that we would never talk about for fear of ruining lives. Some people have no one to turn to. It may seem like their life is their fault. Like they just chose to be where they’re at but unless you were/are significant in their life, you would never know for they would never tell.

I’ve seen people who, like the old me, capitalize on alcohol, cigarettes, sex and anything that tickles their fancy to escape feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There are people out here claiming that having “standards” means living in a big house, sipping on expensive alcohol and taking trips on a plane. #lanes

Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s dream is valid but I don’t think this is the case when you can see people clearly dimming out their potential. These go-getters entertain any activity including and not limited to orgies and allowing themselves to be battered. It’s true that if you want something you do anything possible to get it but not if that means putting your life at risk.

Then there are those who absolutely tick me off. The catalysts: elements of mass destruction. Who know what is right, preach it to the birds and turn around and do whatever they want. Those self-righteous fools who want to tell everybody what to do and not do it themselves. Those who have a mate who loves you and you know is committed but you are too much of a savage to settle down.

Taking men on rollercoaster rides for their money. Taking girls & women round in circles on a leash. Claiming to love the Lord knowing that He Himself said: “You shall know them by their actions”. Portraying and parading yourself as one thing only for events to unfold, slowly but surely, exposing your true colors because time does tell.

I need us to look within ourselves more often than the current once for New Years resolutions. What about December? We ought to take some time and assess the year’s events and lessons. Without this assessment, how can we then set up realistic goals for 2019?

At the start of the year, 2018, my resolutions included bonding with family, going back to complete my degree, working out, travelling, finding work/ stabilizing my finances and expanding my networks.

Out of these, three happened and I’m pretty happy with that. Unfortunately, my degree is still pending, my finances are still very shaky and while I did bond with part of my family, I ended up losing some and severing ties with others.

It has been a tumultuous year and while I’m glad it’s almost over, I worry about the next year and the years after that. I feel that most of us are ignorant of the reason for life. The purpose that each one of us carries within.

Times are hard and people are more wicked but these same circumstances have historically produced revolutionaries who created the changes we see in the world today. It didn’t take a year or two. It took decades and centuries.

If we start to identify and call out ills affecting our society, we may have hope that it will be better for our children. We are in an age of information. It’s powerful and coming in influx.

Being ignant means knowing you don’t know and choosing to remain ignorant about things. Look. Listen. Learn. Question and challenge your beliefs often; especially if they are not your own. Find your belief and purpose and no matter the hardship, keep believing and acting it out.

As unrealistic as your ideas may seem, they have been revealed only to you and nobody should tell you otherwise. Stand and remain firm in your convictions. Lift up your head and hold it up high. Know that we will win the prize. Be true to others and honest with yourself.

Let your life be black or white and try to minimize or eliminate those unnecessary & complicated grey areas. Be gentle with yourself and your environment. Do no harm: Take no shit. Arise and shine for thy light has come. Stay woke.

EALioness say dat.

Lezbehonest

I can’t decide what’s more annoying; fibs or big lies. Annoying does not, in the least bit, cover my spite for lies. My own description of a lie borders close to infantile, ignant, revolting… you get the point.

For me, lies are an indication of a great lack of respect. A capital offense attracting the highest measure of punishment. That must be why it totally ticks me off when my close associates lie over petty and mostly insignificant things.

In every relationship, business or personal, the small things carry their weight in gold. Something as little as having knowledge of a sensitive matter and withholding that from the needy partner could be the beggining of the end for that union.

However, living in the 21st century is twisted. In this era, truth makes us uncomfortable. People say things like: “I wanted to tell you the truth but I didn’t want to hurt you.” Err… Excuse me?! Didn’t want to hurt me?! That’s total bullshit and a mind game. Why? Because when you finally know, and you realize they knew and never told you, it hurts twice as bad. So, don’t fall for it.

Lying is a violation of trust that fills the mind with suspicion, doubt and fear. It shatters your integrity and subjects you to harsh, though deserved, scrutiny. Without an alibi or a convincing story, it’s only a matter of time before the valued image of you gets distorted and you are, quite literally, lost in the crowd.

The value of truth cannot be over emphasized. So much misery in the world and especially in love could be averted if we were more honest with ourselves and others. Though the truth hurts, at least it doesn’t rob us of our established bond. Together, we can face any mess and come out of it stronger. 

Maybe some day our kids will get it right but that can only start to happen if we practice truth in our daily lives.

However, before we get to that level of understanding, we must guard our hearts. Trust your instincts and listen when they tell you to investigate further. Exact measures that you feel are satisfactory to you. Self-evaluate, identify your weaknesses and find a way to protect yourself from the lies of the world.

Trust me, it will save you a lot of unnecessary trouble and heartache. And remember, honesty is the best policy. Show somebody.