As he turned the pages, he glances at his shaking hands. The letter falls into his lap. Geoff closes his eyes and lifts his head, sweeping away the stirred memories of his childhood and the dark shadow of his past. Tears rolling down his cheeks, trailing down to his chin. He twiddled his thumbs with random thoughts clouding his judgement. His mind racing from one memory to another.

Geoff saw his mother kneeling on the dirt path outside their house, in his mind’s eye, begging their father for mercy. He recalled his father’s arm, whip in hand, raising it once more to lash her. Her grey dress, bloodied and soaked in a gentle drizzle and her perspiration. His brothers were screaming, calling out to their mother, as Geoff bravely asked her to look at him, as they huddled at a distance behind their father, out of his reach. She looked up at Geoff and gathered the courage to charge her father, moving swiftly from her kneeling position, aiming her shoulders at his middle. Her shoulder smashed into his pelvis. Their father was caught off-guard, clearly alarmed by both her speed and reaction. He fell, head first into the gravel patch behind him, with a crunch and a small cracks. The sounds echoed off the side wall of the house, magnified, alarming Geoff and his brothers, as they screamed in hope and relief, that this once, their mother over-powered their dad, during one of his disciplinary episodes.

Soon, their mother’s shadow is cast over their dad. He lies there, eyes closed, trembling. His eyes flutter open, as the boys approach. They pounce back, fearing him lashing out once more. Then they notice the whip lying at a distance. Geoff reaches for it and runs with it, throwing it into the fire at the edge of the compound, to burn with the rest of their trash.He draws his breathe deeper and more freely, racing back to stare down his father, alongside his mother. Neighbours suddenly appear. First one then three and soon, most of them are standing over their father. He jerks, as if to scare them off, abruptly sitting up to fend them off. Their faces are filled with anger and disgust, at the recent and past scenes burned deep into their minds. His trembling gifting them more courage.

Mother looms in larger and closer. Her face is menacing, as she stares him down some more and evenly delivers her final words, ‘This time, it is you who will leave. I say this once and should you ever think to come back or even imagine you can lay a hand on…’

‘We will be wathcing out for you. You are not welcome here, EVER! ‘ the chief interjects. ‘if you do, we will finish you off!’ The crowd cheering their support. One man roughly pulling dad up to his feet. All his pent up anger and power suddenly unavailable and unthinkable. He is out-manned and head down, avoiding all eye contact but face contorted with remnants of his rage. The man smacks his shoulder, daring him to a final tussle. He capitulates, falling onto his knees, face racked with tears of more furor. He is unrelenting and hurling insults at their mum. A few punches are landed by angry housewives smacking the back of his head. His friend and neighbour lands a final punch on his jaw, sending him sideways into the dirt. His reaction is silence, as the din of voices and murmuring grows into shouts of accusations. The Chief calls everyone to attention and the crowd disperses, as he raises dad onto his feet, quickly cuffing him. He hangs his head, unwilling to look at his family, relieved to leave the scene and spend time away.

Mum huddles and hugs us, as they walk off down the trail to his hut. Our youngest brother wailing after dad, calling him home, unable to understand the turn of events, at the tender age of two. Our four year old brother watches and follows my lead. Mum beams at us with a sad face, then finally, realising the nightmare may finally be over, she squeals with delight, jumps to her feet and swings our youngest brother onto her hip. Martin takes her other hand and I follow, feeling less anxious and hope washing over me, as we walk into the warmth of our hut, leaving the kitchen fire gently burning and a pot stering away the contents of a mixed dish of legumes and maize.

Our neighbour, whom we call Aunty joins us, chattering away with mum, celebrating her courage and casting glances at us, as she prepares to feed us. Little Jamie is fast asleep on Mum’s lap, with the back his neck leaning on her arm, between her elbow and up-turned hand. His feet sway as she works to shed the peas into a basket, dropping the pods onto the floor. A baby goat scampers in, picking at the tasty green pods. Aunty shoos him out and follows with a scattering of succulent pods to keep him outside. We eat quickly, eyes searching the door, hoping dad will not return. Mum tells us he will not be back and ends all conversation, sending us promptly to bed. We gather on our bed of straw, onto the blanket and pull another one over our heads. Jamie snoring lightly and soon Martin follows suit.

The letters fall onto the floor and are soon followed by the photo album’s loud thud. I sit up, opening my eyes, to seek out and pick the scattered pages and photographs. The last picture of our Mum, glowing, happy and smartly dressed at my wedding stops my momentary clean-up. I stare at her smile and realise how much she has endured over the years.

My wife walks in and stares at the letters and photos I have placed onto the coffee table beside me. She sees the photo of my Mum and smiling, she sits next me and kisses my lips gently and longingly. Her eyes flutter and she opens them, looking at me intently. She places her head on my shoulder and lingers there, still smiling. I stop and consider my luck at ever finding her. An intelligent, practical woman, small in stature but with a strong but caring heart. Her 154cm frame is slim, with a small paunch around her middle. Her legs are long and slender, as are her arms. She keeps her hair short now. Her small heart-shaped face is very pretty, and her inner glow is accentuated by her elegant pieces of jewellery. The scent of vanilla gently wafts off her soft skin, with the warmth of her neck teasing my senses. Mwara sits up and pours me some coffee, a good cup of Ethiopian espresso. I take many small sips and the warm liquid reminding me of how deeply I am loved.

When we met in 1965, at Nairobi’s Royal Technical College, I was graduating within five months and she had another two years to go. Our courtship lasted seven months and we married, as she continued with her studies. We postponed having children for another two years. She graduated with honours, after I barely scrapped through. It did not matter to her and I threw myself into my new role as a medic at a government dispensary. She later enrolled as an teacher assistant a city primary school.

Mwara understood my family background and her relationship with my mother, led me and later my mother to a place of healing. She loved us to renewed comfort within ourselves and gifted us with hope of a bright future. My father just died and I find my history catching up with me, drawing out all my troubled and forgotten issues. My mother spent her days busying herself but mournful about the few years they had shared. Once he left, he never returned, after earning himself twenty-one years in prison and then a short marriage to a very drunken, selfish woman who terrorised him into an early grave. I came out unscathed and now it is time to say goodbye to the stranger I still call Dad, after nearly a five decade absence. We raise ourselves off the couch and head to the door and down to the Church for his Memorial Service. I am glad I will never see him again, but a twinge in my heart tells me this notion will take me time to come to terms with. We both sigh gently, as we take our seats next to Mum. She is quiet and quite serene in her demeanour. Service over, we exchange greetings with Dad’s wife and leave for the safety and comfort of home, with Mum in tow, to spend the afternoon washing away the last vestiges of a difficult past, over good Kenyan tea and samosas. It is done and I can draw a deep breathe once more.






This is why we pray

fun prayer closet

This is why we pray:

It is impossible for nothing to happen when we pray!

Psalm 37:4 ‘Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.’

It is the Father’s heart to love. As we pray, He delights in our relationship and takes care to cater for our needs.

Do you know Him? He sent His one, and only Son, Jesus to die for us on the Cross. He died willingly, sacrificially and with great love for us.  Give your heart to Him and He will give what is good and perfect!




aged brown chain close
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

The air tasting salty and thick with moisture, made it harder to swallow. Her breathing more laboured, as she came to. Aida clung to her mother’s still, warm body in the forest. Her eyes searching the early morning mist as her wrist chains clattered. She muffles her sobbing, her face buried into her mother’s side nudging her. The morning mist clearing between the low, sparse brush at the edge of the forest. The last of the crickets chirp and the cooing of the birds stirs her to full wakefulness

Aida’s eyes were smarting, as a fresh batch of tears began to form. Her mother had not moved since the brutal beating by their slavers, the night before. The pool of blood seeps into the sand below as Mama’s broken arm lay limp, with the broken bone barely riercing through her skin, with her chains still bound tightly. Mama’s body is still warm but her chest remains still. Her chains still tightly bound around her wrists. The slavers seem to have abandoned them overnight.

An owl’s call in the distance stirring her. Startled, her wide eyes now searching the early morning shadows. No one. She calls out, softly at first, a little less fearful with each passing minute. Finally she screams, as her mother’s lifeless face lolled over.

‘Afande!’  It was the only word she could remember from the language of the kidnappers; sounding similar to one of their own but mingled with strange foreign, harsh sounding words.

The kidnapping of random family members in their Mozambique village had alarmed her. Their long march to the land of sea lasting days. Hunger, thirst and disease claimed its first victims on their long march. All the while, her mother gently reassuring her that her father and brothers would come searching for them. How, she wondered. Her mother had eventually lost hope, as they marched north up the coast, with its warm sticky breezes. She recalled the clear skies and beauty of the waves, the beautiful white sand and the striking colours of the sea.

‘Afande!’ desperate and breathless, she began to cry, frustrated at having to depend on their captors.

Hot tears streamed her cheeks as she placed leaves over her mother’s face, chest and arms.

‘I am sorry, Mama. If only we let them separate us, you would be here to speak to me today. I am sorry!’ she cried, screaming as she released her anger . At nine years of age, it is all she knows to do and is so afraid at what to expect.

The man slipped out from the low bushes closest to her, startling Aida as he appeared beside her. He bent down, felt Abra’s mother’s pulse and turned to inspect her. This slaver picked the keys off his belt and unlocked the shackles around her mother’s wrists, freeing her dead body.

Hussein looks at the shivering child standing before him, aware that he frightened her, staring at her face wet face, still streaming tears and her dirty, damp clothing. He looks away from her, recalling the savage beating the others gave this little girl’s mother the night before but finally, this beautiful young mother had breathed her last. She had been raped and hastily abandoned. None of them cared to separate her child from her, once she lost consciousness. This child was too young to know how, or what to do and he estimated her age at either nine or ten years of age.

He looks into her face and is startled by her gentle brown eyes, brimming with tears. She looks down, to avoid angering him, shivering once more. He notices her smooth, dark skin, pretty face and hair. Hussein nearly reaches out to comfort her but quickly thinks better of it, afraid the others may be watching from the shadows. He is being tested and expects the other men to entrap him.

Hussein picks a short cane from the side of his belt, placing it below her chin. Poised under her chin, he slowly forces her to her feet. Aida holds her breath, eyes wild, afraid to look into his eyes, she stands motionless, with her chains clanging in the morning stillness. He pulls at her neck chain, leading her out behind him, into a clearing out of the forest and past the sand dunes.

With the dense bush behind them, a line of chained slaves came into full view, their heads and eyes cast down awaiting further instruction, as they stood in the heat of the early morning sun. Fear, exhaustion and anxiety visible in their faces. It was clear they had been coerced into obedience. Moments later, Aida’s wrists tethered and chained to the others and the chief slave raised a chant, to which they turned and followed, marching in unison.

The slavers were few but heavily armed with pistols, daggers and whips . These strange men lead the group followed by the captive men, women and children. Some teared up when they saw her. Others cursed the day they were born, each wondering when this endless march would come to an end. They marched across the scorching dunes and back into the scrub land and into a long, damp endless forest.

They huddle in groups, women clinging to children, some of whom they did not know, gently singing lullabies to calm and ease them to sleep. They settle into an uneasy sleep, occasionally stirring, chains restraining their movement. They breathe-in the cooling night air, and are lulled into an exhausted and fitful sleep. Aida dreams for the first time in many nights, interacting with their family and friends their little village, back in Mozambique. The waves lap the soft white sand on the beach on the outskirts of Kilwa, as the moon reflects the expanse of the Indian Ocean, as it stretches out to each of the new lands where the Eastern Africans would later be sold.




A Heart of Gratitude


‘Joy is a grateful spirit, an optimistic attitude and a heart full of love.’ – author unknown.

It is so refreshing to read other people’s messages of gratitude, as they share them on Facebook.  The first ones I cared to read came as I checked into hospital and steeled myself against television and the perpetual noise some channels invade your life with.  What a relief it was, to have limited internet access and to share precious moments reading personal testimonies and heartfelt gratitude of believers in Christ.  Every chance I get, I scour their stories and learned what wonderful things God began and continued to do in their lives. This was a source of great encouragement, relating and commiserating for their audience.  What a time of great learning too!

I really thank God for expounding my boundaries last weekend and into this week. For sending me on assignment to a group of women with troubled backgrounds, from frustrating ailments and an overwhelming sense of loneliness.

The first neighbour in the ward was an elderly woman, who looked eighty years old but was in fact in her sixties.  She was flown into Nairobi for further treatment from Comoros. She coughed and wheezed behind her curtain walls, surrounded by her two anxious and fidgeting sons, one in their twenties and the other in their thirties. Her daughter sat upright next to her mother’s bed silent and resolute as a bevy of nurses and a flock of doctors attended to her. Her head and clothing covered in a ‘buibui’ in accordance to their faith. Then once the labs tests, scans and regular examinations done for the day, then would pull the curtains around her bed and launch into Muslim prayers in Arabic.

I sat in the next cubicle listening as they whispered prayers in turn, shuffling chairs that poked the curtain into my cubicle. A few hours later, over dinner, their mother unable or unwilling to eat, kept saying, ‘La, la’, (no, no) to everything they offered her. Finally, a nurse came and she ate a little, then promptly went to sleep.

I ate in silence, huddling my hospital gown wrapped tightly around me, as her sons strode in and out of her cubicle. Eventually, I woke up at 1 in the morning to a nurse’s voice, checking on my blood pressure and heart rate. I motioned to him about the commotion in the next cubicle, as her sons argued over some unknown issue, intermittently rousing their mother for comment.  The nurse smiled and mouthed ordered them to leave immediately. I sank back into bed and into a dreamless but fulfilling slumber.

The next day, as the nurses prepped me for a blood transfusion, I heard more doctors and nurses check on my dear neighbour. She wheezed out her responses to them and groaned as they sponge-bathed her and put her into new pyjamas and bedding.  She soon dozed off, snoring in a rather obvious peaceful contentment. Peace for another few hours before her rather noisy and communication-challenged offspring arrived.

I soon found myself with an urge to pray for her. The only problem with that is, she neither spoke English nor Kiswahili. My French is good but she had not spoken a word of it to her children or the doctors. So I prayed and asked God to guide me, which He did.

By lunch time, the old Comoran lady had lost her voice and appetite. Her convulsions worsened.  Her Parkinson’s flared up. By early afternoon, after extra blood tests, the doctors were able to decide that dome medication other than their own issued by her children.  They admitted to it, rather reluctantly and hesitated before handing over the offending medications. It turned out, they presumed the particular drug, prescribed at home to manage her blood pressure.  Sadly, it did nothing of the sort and only led to weakened kidneys and her poorly state. Within minutes they were defending themselves, in frayed tempers, demanding the doctor give them something else to manage her blood pressure. Sadly for them, as they hospital conducts blood pressure, temperature and heart rate tests every 2 hours, on every patient, the evidence worked against their demands. An argument ensued and nurses rushed in to contain a rather pathetic confrontation. I later learned that they had all neglected their mother’s health back in Comoros, abandoning her care to neighbours as they lived their detached city lives. Then their mother’s neighbours would call on various health issues, which they chose to ignore, until finally they called to say the old lady had not left her house for a number of days and did not answer her door.

That afternoon, I prayed a lot more for her, asking for her safety and healing.  By four o’clock that afternoon, she sat up and asked for milk, drank the whole glass and had two more. Then she rolled off to sleep. By morning, as I marched back from my shower, I caught a glimpse of her face, eyes bright, skin fresh and complexion a good healthy colour. She looked sixty that Sunday morning.  The nurses offered her breakfast. She ate heartily and slept once more. By early afternoon, the doctors were ready to discharge her. She spoke in a strong voice, confident a sounding surprisingly clear-headed. A doctor who spoke Comoran attended to her.  She sounded do positive and repeated ly expressed her gratitude.  I realised at that moment, that God came in, healed her and she was ready to leave. At around,  six that evening, she left with her daughter, safely and with a smile on her face. My husband met the merry family at the lift and confirmed their departure.

I thank God for allowing me to witness that healing and the opportunity to pray for her. I pray that she gets to know and put her faith in Jesus. I pray for continued peace in her life and a new beginning for her. One of reconciliation and joy. Lord, thank you for this opportunity!


The man she never knew

Ada married young. Her husband, seven years her senior treated her like a child. She loved him at any rate and set about building a family with Davis.  The fifth in a family of eight, Ada relived her middle child experiences and vowed to make her voice heard and eventually make something of herself. In contrast, her husband, Davis, a bright, young doctor relished the prospects of his career and worked long hours to secure his future. He was a third-born, who usurped the place of his elder twin siblings. There was never a moment to lose in his life.

Ada trained as a teacher and loved her training of future teachers.  She rose bright and early, spoiling her husband daiky, with a western diet of bacon, sausage and eggs.  Life in their newly independent nation offered choice, right down to diet and Ada made sure they could keep up with new trends.  She stitched her own clothes, while encouraging him to buy the best in the shops.  He dressed like a dandy on weekends,  looking more like a narcissistic model.  Not to be left behind, Ada took the trouble to hot-comb her hair every Friday afternoon and press her best dresses for the weekend.

Within their first giddy year of marriage, they became pregnant.  Davis was none too impressed but suppressed his angst, while he kissed and hugged his bubbly wife.  His concern  for his work hours and the time commitment a child would need. Ada, oblivious to his true feelings, planned, chatted animatedly and prepared for the baby.  Davis eventually cooled to the idea and hoped for a boy.  Ada secretly hoped for a girl.

Soon, his long hours and the strain of waiting up for Davis began to show.  He had never carried keys and believed it to be a wife’s duty to welcome him home all hours, then warm up his supper, serving him and waiting on him as he ate.  She smiled her way through it the first few times, eager to please but teetering on the brink of serious concern.  Her own father and his, had cared enough to keep and carry house keys in their time, in spite of the cultural practices of the day.  She fretted over this, unwilling to hold a frank discussion about their marriage, to keep the peace. Davis revelled in her over-submissive attitude and gradually shifted to a more conservative position in their marriage.  He loved the power to do so and worked harder to maintain his dominance at home.

As the months went by, Ada saw less of her friends, choosing to handle her worries alone. She withdrew from her vivacious, bright and cheerful co-trainers, eating her cares away.  Her slender figure, now much enlarged, shocked her husband, who chose to keep away from her in silent disgust.  She began to cry herself to sleep. Davis spoke to her, reassuring her daily, that all new mothers dealth with frequent worry and anxiety.  The more he spoke, the greater her fears became.

When her water broke, one Saturday afternoon, Ada found herself alone at home, with Davis unreachable at the hospital. She calmly called a taxi and asked her neighbour to accompany her. Davis failed her calls and Ada busied herself with getting to the hospital, assuming he had a medical emergency. Martha, her neighbour soothed and encouraged Ada to remain calm and soon arrived at the hospital, closest to home, a good thirty kilometres away.   She had the baby within the hour, with Martha at her side.

Davis had taken the day off, to watch a football match on the other side of town and had neglected to tell Ada.  He sensed something had happened but eased back into the gregarious company of his friends he rarely saw. After the match, they went out for roast meat and some beers. Davis unwound in the camaraderie and arrived home late into the night.  Martha, the neighbour, heard him knock at his own door, and rushed out to hand him his house keys. He took them without so much as a thank you, lumbered in and promptly passed out on the bed.

He woke up at 10 in the morning, just as Martha knocked on their door, informing him that his wife had their baby and she herself was on her way to visit. He raised one hand to his throbbing head, slurred his thanks, rubbed his eyes and rolled back into bed, falling asleep once more.

Davis woke up with a start, just after 2 in the afternoon, after a vivid dream about his wife and baby. He rolled out of bed, unsteady on his feet, as he hunted for the telephone. He called a friend, unsure of hjs sobriety, pleading anxiously for a lift to the hospital. He cried as he tried to make sense of how callous his actions were, fearing the hurt he would cause his wife.

Ada heard the nurses whispering and wondering where her doctor-husband could be, after placing calls to his place of work and their home half the night. She cooed over her very sleepy baby, kissing her at every turn, willing herself to ignore the gossip. The nurses in turn, treated her with pity, now certain this young mother and child had been abandoned.

Davis arrived at the maternity ward flustered,  half running and half walking in. His friend cackled all the way to the door of the ward, at his expense, when finally, Davis hissed at him, ordering to him stop and wait outside. The nurses at the station, appalled at the sight, exchanged glances and watched the scene unfold. Davis paused at the door, recollected himself, then strode in, head held up, flowers wilting in his hand.

Ada looked up from the baby and teared. Davis leaned forward to kiss her head,  his arms around her, shoulders slumped as he teared up as well.  They cried for a few minutes and the baby girl moved, seeking to feed. Ada raised her, to meet her father.  Davis’s eyes widened in wonder and amazement, as he picked up the precious bundle of love.  Ada began to cry.  Davis kissed their daughter, speaking gently to welcome her into the world. She cried because of the questions she silently raised these last few months.  She cried in anger at the stranger she married. She cried for their baby, their future uncertain. Davis broke down, telling Ada wahat had transpired. She, in turn listened, forgiving all, willing herself to re-build their connection.  Tensions cast aside, they chatted amicably for the next hour, resolute about their future, silently differing questioning and wondering what the next phase will bring.


How will I know?


Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ.

Making life decisions can drive us to anxiety, fear and nerves. The end of the year is a time many of us reflect on our year and a time for making life decisions and  new year resolutions. God’s Word asks us to ‘be anxious for nothing’. Easier said than done! It is a good thing that we can take God at His word.

A friend ssked me, ‘how do I know God’plan for me?’ A good question. We shared and another friend led us to Romans 8:28: ‘And wd know that in all things God eorks for the good  of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ‘

We can put our minds at peace, as the Great Creator of all life holds us in the palm of His hands, guiding our steps, moulding our characters,  ministering to our spirits, growing us in strength, wisdom and courage. Astounded by God’s love, we fall and rise up throuvh life’s curveballs.  You are loved more than you know, by God, who will never let your foot slip!

Psalm 55: 22
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never let the righteous fall.

Better now? Continue reading “How will I know?”


It’s Not Over (When God is in it)

Israel Houghton and New Breed remind us that God is not done with us yet! It may look and feel bad, but God’s plan is far different from how we perceive it. Is it time to give back the crushed dreams, plans and ideas to Him?


Keep them close!

old couple smack on the cheekFamily can be exasperating.  No matter, we love them anyway and endure life’s journey with their support.  Family.  God’s gift to us: just because He loves us so much.  Family – you are loved!

pope francis kisses babyPope Francis really kisses the babies on his walkabouts in the crowds.  He kisses the infirm and hugs those in need of a hug.  What a change to the papacy and the face of the Roman Catholic Church.  As an Evangelical, this is something I never expected in my lifetime.  Too cynical for my own good, after years of studying Church history through the ages. God is clearly at work here and the world is stunned but blessed.

love on youOh to be love and love right back!  Incomparable joy!  We need to keep family and friends close – loving them as we expect to be love, exceeding expectations where we can.  Why?  It is God’s idea and the best script to follow!  He loved us first before we could understand His love – indescribable, unfailing, unfathomable, unwavering and all-conquering, every day!

sunset kissThis Thanksgiving weekend, remember to love.  Keep them close and they will keep coming back to love you!


Keep them close.



What is your mirror telling you?

What’s your mirror telling you?

The Bible speaks to us God’s Words, reflecting our true selves right back at us.  And that is the best part!  God is no gossip and His approval or love for His people is not dependent on our own thoughts or emotions.  What a relief!  For many of us, it is that aging face and body staring back at us, after days and weeks at the gym, walking or running and wondering when the change is ever going to come!  God wants you loving yourself like the toddler kissing his reflection in the mirror, because all you can see is His reflection.  So go on, pucker-up and kiss away!  If you cannot love yourself then how on earth do you plan to share the love-bank deficit?

heart mirror

As we read our Bibles, the Holy Spirit reflects our spirit-man right back at us, engaging us to permit the character-building He invest in us, bringing us to our best!  As we flow in obedience and His transformation, He births our gifting, to reveal the best you supernaturally possible.  As a follower of Christ, we can strive for change of heart, body, mind and spirit.  Lasting change (and improvement) only comes from God.  So cease the striving – that is for those who wish to live in the busy-ness of the rat race.  You, dear child of God are called to greater things – Holy Spirit transformation!

turtle in the mirrorGo with God’s flow and enjoy the Holy Spirit adventure of pure fulfillment, security, grace, immense, redeeming and unending love!  You are in the safest company with God, so love Him with wild abandon!


Thankful in praise

Thankful in praise

How can I ever thank you, Lord? What a wonderful and awesome sacrifice you paid on the Cross. So I will lift my voice in praise and song; all day long. As night draws near, fill my heart with prayer. As I arise the next day, help my spirit greet Yours in praise and prayer. May my days bless you from minute to minute as I think on the love you give so freely to each and every one of us. Help me Lord to remember You are there and worthy of my eternal praise!


One Battle At a Time To Win the War!


Isaiah 54:17

“no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,

and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord

cand their vindication5 from me, declares the Lord.”


You may be in a time of spiritual battle, struggling from one thing to the next.  Allow me to comfort you and tell you, you are not alone and in fact, you are in good company!  There is so much shifting in the spirit realm that one feels isolated in their troubles.  Have no fear because the Holy Spirit is here!  Jesus Christ by His death, giving us full authority.  The Word reminds us that He left us a Comforter and Enabler, the Holy Spirit.

Last night, two friends and I attended the launch of ’emPowered Woman’ magazine, the brain-child of a friend and member of our Church.  The event although small, warm and so inspiring, gave testament to a very big dream that the Lord laid on the heart of Edith Kareko-Munene. One of the Pastors present noted that women in Kenyan society are expected to walk in their husband’s footsteps, but that God is indeed doing a new thing, breaking societal moulds and expectations.  There is no woman happier than I am!  I studied abroad and struggle with attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of a woman’s place in society.  I had two strong grandmothers, both bold, daring and commercially independent coffee farmers, well into the end of their days.  So  the idea that all my plans and activities are enirely dependent on the men in my life just saddens me beyond comprehension.

The good news?  It’s a new day dawning for the women of my nation and our God is in charge of this transition.  Nothing can stop God and thank God for that!  Pray with me that this battle will be won one battle at a time, as we take up our mantle and fight for what is Godly and right!

Ephesians 6:10-18

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in fthe strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”

There are no chinks in this armour!  Victory is assured – press on, pray on, praise on!



Extra work needed!

Just going to ChurchExtra work in our faith building starts with prayer, reading God’s Word, receiving  the Holy Spirit and living in obedience.  Listen to God and He will lead, guiding your steps and stretching your faith.  The trip is long and can be arduous but the rewards are beyond anyone’s hope or imagination!




Joshua 1:9


be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:9

New International Version (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

It takes courage to trust and obey God.  It takes time and practice.  The best part of the journey is that He does no abandon us to our own devices.  He sends us His Holy Spirit to build us up in truth and love, with courage and strength that surpass all understanding, giving us wisdom, joy and peace!  Happy to take up God’s offer and walk as He commands – a new dignity and joy – I am home with God in my heart, at last!



True Love, indeed!


“Love is not a selfish need.  It is not a hunger we feed.  What kind of love pushes away those around us?  What kind of love is it to be alone?”, -Dorcas Lane, Lark Rise to Candleford – BBC One costume drama.


As a costume drama buff, I hope you will forgive me for ‘this one weakness!’

If God loves us unconditionally and seemingly unredeemable as we are, then why do we as humans find it so difficult to love others for who they are? We attended a ‘Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage’ session today and I cannot remember when I last laughed so hard at a subject that generally fails to elicit a giggle, unless discussed in private.  Mark Gungor expounded on how the world is loving and it was alarming to learn about the increase in pornography, especially among women; not that the figures among men decline.  This world is so lost and cruel, we promote porn and self-love to teens and expect they should mature into loving people, and eventually produce loving children.

The rise of individualism, coupled with globalism perpetuate these myths.  The problem with a lie is that you can say over and over again, but no truth is ever established.  And I thank God the same applies to gossip!  Worth a giggle, I think.  The Bible, our eternal road map advises us thus:

Proverbs 4:23 ESVKeep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Do we have hope – yes!  Lots of it!  We have God who is all love, the source and giver of love.  If we would only take time to visit His word and review what He created us for – to love and be loved – then take a deep interest in how that love is to be expressed, then half the man-woman troubles we dread would be gone in days – banished!  Have we lost our way, well yes, when we invite novels that over-romanticize relationships and give women a false self image and hazy picture on men.  Tele-novellas perpetuate the same thing and we do need to pray and ask God what He would have us read and watch. One of my Bible-teachers told us she sought God’s opinion on her daily choice of clothes.  If appearance matters to God, then why not our reading and viewing?

The trouble is that the flesh-man resists, to the point of rebellion, warring with the spirit-man about obedience.

1 Samuel 15:22

New International Version (NIV)

22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.


If my obedience is about loving God and demonstrating it daily, then I  can make my choice – to love and obey.  I really see that love is all I need if I want to love, serve and honour God.  I can further bless Him by loving those He has placed in my life and spend my life unravelling the wonderful and colourful mysteries of love!



Bathed in praise?

Bath of praise

Life brings tough times and good times.  The Bible reminds us to praise God at all times.  Through praise and worship, we are ushered into God’s presence and receive His Holy Spirit to empower us for the day’s events.  We need daily praise.

Psalm 8:2 ESV

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.


Psalm 30:11 ESV

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,


Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.


God’s grace be with you

God's grace be with you

We are not alone! An aunt of mine arrived back from surgery abroad and when asked by my mother how she dared go alone, she said, “there were four of us – God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and I!”

Well said and may the same apply to you!


One Minute Sermon

Hi there!

A friend shared this sermon. It is a fun, brief, informative and highly entertaining must-share for the followers of Christ!

Enjoy it:  http://gnli.christianpost.com/video/one-minute-sermon-19709


Who are you in the Bible?


There is no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1)

We can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39)

We who are many form one body (Romans 12:5)

We have wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)

We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We become God’s children (Galatians 3:26)

We have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

We have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)

We were also chosen (Ephesians 1:11)

We are for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12)

We have been seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)

We’ve been given the incomparable riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:7)

We who were once far away have been brought near (Ephesians 2:13)

We are built together as a holy building (Ephesians 2:22)

We may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)

We are light (Ephesians 5:8)

Our joy overflows (Philippians 1:26)

All our needs are met according to his glorious riches (Philippians 4:19)

We are holy and faithful (Colossians 1:2)

All things hold together (Colossians 1:17)

We have our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)

We become fully mature (Colossians 1:28)

Are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge for us (Colossians 2:3)

We are rooted and built up (Colossians 2:7)

We have been given the fullness of the deity (Colossians 2:9-10)

We come into reality (Colossians 2:17)

Our life is now hidden (Colossians 3:3)

We will rise from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

We can give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We have faith, hope, and love (1Timothy 1:1, 14)

We can gain an excellent standing and great assurance (1 Timothy 3:13)

We have the promise of life (2 Timothy 1:1)


Sin has lost its power


On the day that some celebrate Halloween, we should remember to keep praying that many would come to know Jesus Christ  and that He has all the power over sin.  We live by grace and by His protection!  What a mighty God we serve!


Shared Values and other misnomers



Back to writing after a seven week hiatus!  Sweet relief and glad to be back!  Events like the Westgate attack will do that to you, especially when children show sign of post traumatic stress.  I cry for Kenya and the world.  Terrorism truly is an act of cowardice, dressed as courage.  That is a meal served cold, no matter how many times it is subject to heat!



The Westgate event turned our sense of security and assurance to a very public spectacle and fallacy.  I am Kenyan and I love my country dearly.  I have lived abroad for a number of years and believed coming back to build our nation to be the ideal, so this post is by no means about casting stones, rather I write about gaining the right perspective of where we are and what we can do about it.  The whole saga left us in an information deficit, as the main characters seeking to calm  the public fears appear to have presented puzzles in place of solutions and answers.

14199329-sign-concept-symbolizing-life-is-full-of-twists-and-turns-with-a-sky-background 6902521-urban-traffic-congestion-sign-saying-expect-delays 6265050-montage-of-numerous-traffic-control-signs-and-signals


What now Kenya?! is the most pertinent question of the day!  What way?  How now? And with whom?

Shared Values as my dear husband put it.  Allow me to explain.  Last January, I travelled to the United Kingdom on a fundraising drive with a wildlife charity I worked for.  One of the many questions raised during my short stay – why Kenyans continue to choose corrupt politicians to run the country!  They pertinently pose the question – why send you money if nothing really changes after 50 years of independence.  Difficult to answer, as I do believe not all 43 million Kenyans are corrupt – at least I pray not!

The trouble is the apparent lack of shared values.  The lowest income groups in urban areas want a particular type of leader and are further divided on which community he or she should ideally belong to.  The middle class want peace at all costs, tribe is not such a strong reason unless you are over 50 years of age and/ or brought up within your own ethnic grouping.  The well-to-do want peace, a chance to continue churning over money and in most cases a status-quo!  This is a very simple picture of what we want for our country.   You will note, we have not tackled the question of ethnic grouping ideals, plans and or sought out the thoughts of more marginalized communities.  One thing that is common to urbanites and rural folk across income and ethnic groups – the shortest route to riches!

The curtain opens on corruption!  We could never imagine it would cost us our freedom, dignity, security and everything we hold dear.  I loathe it and suffer for working against it, to the point of facing regular retribution from well-to-do acquaintances of all ages, about disengaging from the done-thing.  So here I am, late forties and driving a car that has seen better days and delighting in what God is doing.  I relish a clean conscience and often face further telling-tos about not standing up for the ‘right’ tribe or supporting their values.  God has set  me on a different path and no amount of ethnic tradition, ostracizing tactics or disapproval will move me!   Finally, after 24 years of hearing the same thing – I can speak my mind and live in peace in God.  Love it!

Shared Values.  Sounds like training I would like to offer prospecting leaders in our dear nation.  Trouble is, regardless of who won which political seat, if they are not on the same bus with you, then there will be separate and shifting values.  The way I see it is a government is like a bus.  One driver and one   conductor.  The rest are passengers who are assigned seats at the pleasure of the conductor.  Bottom line, the bus has a route map that is neatly spelled out, with pre-arranged pick-up and drop off points and times (read memorandums-of-understanding!)  The key thing to remember, there is only one route and one destination and much like football, goalposts cannot be moved in the course of the game!

Disgruntled passengers are to be dropped off at the next stop to keep up the bus route, plan, dignity and experience of the ride.  If the passengers board the bus assuming a right of free passage, then, “Houston, we have a problem!”  One such problem is competencies – something we would prefer not to tackle, lest we make the offending party feel any less adequate.  Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!  Laughable at least.

Shared values come with shared principles, competencies and passion.  If the passengers are to push the bus out of the ditch, we cannot rely on two well-meaning ones and let the remaining ones loiter about.  We all work or nothing works.  Passengers must be dealt with appropriately, to keep up sanity and service!  Why are we still discussing this?

flag onface


If we fail to pray, we will fail to act and follow Jesus Christ on this incredible journey He has for this nation and her people.  Pray with me for Kenya and our home countries, that we would hear from God and that our hearts would break for what breaks His.  Let us go forward in prayer and trust Jesus Christ with our nation, our people, ourselves and our future.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.




Kenya undeterred!


We stand strong, undeterred and unmoved by the demands of terrorism.  Praying with the Westgate Mall hostages, their families and for all those who lost loved ones.  We will remain a bastion of progressive peace and will not renege!  God is our defender, our strong tower and shield of faith.  Proverbs 18:10.



50-year Jubilee!


Leviticus 25:8-12

New International Version

The Year of Jubilee

8 ‘“Count seven sabbath years – seven times seven years – so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then sound the trumpet everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

flag onface

Kenya’s 50 year Jubilee starts now and the Kenya House of Prayer reminds us that we should bring out our shofar, blow them and celebrate until end of day Saturday 14th September.  Kenya is turning a corner into God’s prosperity and abundance.  Join me in prayer for this great nation and her people!

You may ask, what? with all that is going on in Kenya?!  Truth be told, God’s time-lines and is judgement are His alone.  He is not governed by the news, opinions or viewpoints – fortunately.  Anything that happens anywhere on God’s green earth starts in the spirit realm and manifests in the physical.  So things are not what they seem.  Arise beloved of God and walk into your long-awaited freedom!

Celebrate and commemorate this nation and her people in prayer.  Praise, worship and dance to the Lord as never before!  This is a time of restoration, healing, recovery, rest, new beginnings, reconciliation and harvest that none witnessed before.  Like David, I will hitch up my skirts until the dance ends with those who love the Lord.  He deserves our worship and thanksgiving.  I pray this is only the beginning.

Happy Jubilee! Kenya is now switched on!

eating out


Father God, I thank you for raising up your nation and delivering us from all shackles and bondage.  We commit ourselves to you, afresh, humbly asking for your forgiveness for all our sin.  Cleanse us as only you can.  Allow us to approach your throne in reverence, in readiness for this celebration.  We lift up your name on high and honour you with every word we can muster.  May your name be praised throughout this land forever!  Amen.


Sweet Spot!

ladybugIt has been a while since my last posting.  Blame it on life’s curve balls – our parents fell ill, one went into surgery and another is due for a different surgery; our child is back to school and so we took time to settle after a few close-calls.  In all of this and a year of turmoil later and the sweet spot happened.  Nothing to do with pastry, soft fizzy drinks or anything conventional.

God took me into a hiding place that brings with it a new and very real level of peace that is completely beyond my own understanding.  I relish my time with Him and the best part is when He speaks to me.  God cares and loves each one of us and He chooses to speak to us in and about our very own circumstances.  He blesses us with healing, dreams, visions and promises about our future, as He shows us how much He loves us every day.

The Sweet Spot is reading God’s Word every day and letting His love speak wisdom. discernment, understanding peace and joy into your life,  This is the ultimate hiding place – right there in your heart.  He speaks to you as you worship and praise/ drinking in all His loving goodness.    I found my sweet spot!  Have you?


Psalm 67[a]

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—[b]
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.

6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

The Struggle


Muhia walked the 6 miles to school, often alone and lost in a world of thoughts. He heard his father yelling at his mother, at the back of his mind. His mother’s muffled cries called out to him, after another beating from his father. The sisters’ whispers, as they busied themselves in the kitchen hut fell silent, as their father’s figure cast a shadow over the kitchen hut entry-way. It hurt to know or remember these things, but he could not keep them out of his mind.

He looked at the soft mud, squelching between his large two, as he kept his balance on the dewy green slopes on this cool morning.


The morning mists rose and wisped away as Muhia edged on, pushing and pulling his weight with each hill, balancing his weight, as the soft red mud gave way to his bare feet. His long, oversized shirt flapped between his bony thighs. His shorts were barely visible under his shirt, but he did not let this discourage him, even after weeks of being teased and sometimes bullied by his schoolmates.


This tall and lanky boy, walked tall, balancing the weight of his rather big head, as he walked in a daze. His blank stare belied the fear and anxiety he felt. His big, bright and light-brown eyes blinking away a fading boyhood innocence. His senses heightened as he passed a few feet away from the edge of the forest.


Muhia let out a coded whistle, to let the Land Freedom Army brothers know he was alone and no British troops were in sight, nor were they expected. Suddenly, one of their scouts stood stock-still ahead of him, beside the well-worn path. The smell of living wild in the bush, among the animals and in the dark enveloped the young man before him. The Land Freedom Army scout’s animal skin-scent accosted Muhia, and he struggles to engage past that.


They exchanged silent cursory glances and Muhia’s eyes widened after he passed the man, drops of trepidation threatening to overwhelm him. He breathed evenly, deeply and walked on, slow and steady, as if to prove he meant no harm. His days as a look-out for the Land Freedom brothers were far from over and he found both solace and joy in this minor task. Muhia wondered where his brother could be and fought the natural urge to ask. For fear of giving the impression that he was young, needy and dependent, he remained silent. His father had beaten that out of him, when he had tried to raise this with his parents. So he chose to bear the burden of being the only brother in the homestead, for as long as would be necessary.

It was 1954 and Muhia was doing well at school and just about to go to Secondary School, at the Catholic Mission close by. The Italian Fathers remained diligent but rigid, given the obvious language barriers. He silently chuckled at Father Paolo’s hand gestures, as he spoke. The other Priests had similar mannerisms and he giggled at the contrast between their spoken customs and his.


The anxiety of his studies came to mind and his large eyes began to blink rather slowly, as his breathing rate increased. He suddenly stopped and clicked his tongue. What was the point of all of this, he wondered, as his temper rose and he furrowed his brow. He arrived at the school, with his lips thinned, brow creased and a gentle stoop to betray his emotions. His mates knew well enough he was about to explode and gave him a wide berth. That morning, he got his first set of subject tests back and realized how well he had done, compared to the rest of his class and school. It was the first time he ever received public acknowledgment. He revelled in the triumph!


Two years on and another dewy and damp morning, he met with the same scout at the edge of the forest. This time, the tall man moved toward him and stood in his path, eyes glaring into his. Muhia trembled and waited to be addressed. He was asked his name and he answered. it was at that moment, he received the news of the near capture and death of his brother, at the hands of two new British Recruits on a surprise mission into their territory.

Muhia’s heart ached, as did his stomach, yet he stood there silent and immobile. Unable to speak or express any emotion, Muhia blinked hard and fast. Finally, he caught his breath, swallowed hard, then leaned against the tree next to him. The scout urged him to turn back and tell his family. On his long walk home, Muhia arrives, silently, shuffling and shaking. He falls to his knees, as he shares the news, first with his mother. She wails, eyes searching the heavens, as if for an answer. She clenches her middle and continues to wail, as neighbors run towards their homestead, shocked and worried.

His father takes slow aim as he posits himself on his stool, by his favorite tree. Missing it all together, his father collapses onto the ground, his body shaking as he cries quietly, hiding his face with his thin arms. His sisters weep. Neighbours and friends are all in shock and disbelief. He fears his mother would lose the child she is expecting, as she rolled on the ground, holding her middle. His sisters console her and the entire village mourns with them.


A few weeks later, they receive news of Muciri’s burial, by the Land Freedom Army deep within the forest, for fear of British troops reprisals. The family is notified and they concur with Muciri’s compatriot’s decision. An unmarked grave in the cold, dark forest is Muciri’s home now. The struggle to cope is the family’s new short-term reality.




Growing up African!

via The early years – Adventures of an African father


My uncle shuffles into the room, his jacket turned in at the lower edges. His knees are bent as he stoops forward, arms giving him momentum as he manouvers towards his favourite chair.  Aunty walks in with a tray laden with a flask of steaming mixed tea, which she intends to place on the coffee table in front of me. I rise to my feet and take the tray from her, carefully placing it on the table, then pouring both of them some tea.

The tea, normally rich and dark, with far too much milk flows quickly and is a soft and light brown, with a hint of milk for colour.  After my Aunty’s brief prayer for our time together, we exchange greetings once more and sip the tea in a pleasant quietness.

Uncle clears his throat and places his cup onto the stool beside him. Aunty picks a call on her mobile and leaves the room. He turns to me and spells out why i have been summoned. Aunty swarms in, with a plate full or steamed arrowroot and sweet potato slices and sets them down before us. Uncle throws her a glance, as if to ask her to leave. She ignores him and offers the traditional treats and he takes the plate from her avoiding all eye contact. He bites into his arrowroot pieces and sips more tea which Aiunty quickly tops up.

Uncle leans back, suddenly as if totally satisfied by the refreshments, he picks his notebook and asks about things my sister and I need from our father. I share a short basic list, wondering why an intermediary is necessary, as we are both adults and speak with him often. I am amused, as is my Aunty, whose brow suddenly creases, as she sips her tea. Curious. I ask indirectly, if there is any cause for distance. His words are delivered slowly and evenly, “Your father is taking on another wife.”

I take a pause, calmly placing my tea cup back onto the stool in front of me and listen, noting his particularly cold demeanour and even voice.  Aunty drops her tea cup, the golden liquid staining her small cream rugs. Uncle slowly rises, face contorting with anger and impatience and slowly exits the room. I stand and run into the kitchen for a floor cloth and wipe up the tea, sweeping up the pieces broken cup.  She is my mother’s sister and is as startled as I am at the reason for my visit. Our hearts are crushed and our warm blood spattering within our chests, like the golden drops of tea. We work quickly and in silence, cleaning up the mess. We rise onto our feet, it is then she draws me into her open arms and hugs me for a long while. We are both silent but in shock. Three weeks after Mum’s funeral, a wife has been found to replace my mother of 49 years. The shame is too heavy to bear.

Uncle watches us over the top of the stairs, as he stands in the shadows, watching and waiting. As I pull away from my Aunty, I feel her warm tears soak into the left shoulder of my cotton blouse. She shifts to return with the wet floor rag into the kitchen and I rush after her with the dustpan holding the pieces of the broken cup. It is then I realize how irreplaceable her sister and my mother, is to her. I bid my goodbyes to her in the cold kitchen and she leaves through the back door, gently sobbing with her back to me.  I walk to the front door, perfectly aware of my angry uncle’s small frame lurking in the shadows. Thoughts of angry retribution on him flash through my mind, then I turn and say goodnight over my shoulder. He startles but shrinks further into the shadows at the top of the stairs. I leave, head held high and determined never to speak to him again. It is indeed the end of a very sad little man I had considered an ally. It then occurs to me how cowardly wicked he has become. I smile as I leave his compound, pitying my dear aunty.

A visit to the village of my grandpa

white sheep on farm
Photo by kailash kumar on Pexels.com


The holidays are here! Mum tells me she has a great, big surprise for me. I pack my tiny suitcase and manage to squeeze in my school uniform, eager to leave and meet her at the school gates. Trembling fingers, nervous energy gets me moving faster the. I can think. Is that our car horn I hear? Pulling my jumper over my t-shirt, I free my face into the warm, fuzzy dorm air. Other students in my dorm are packing their clothes and books, desperate to get out into the world of warm sunshine, families and community.

Minutes later, I run across the grounds, my thin legs struggling under the weight of the small suitcase and duffle bag. Heart pounding, shoes thudding, as I make my awkward way to the school gates, only slowing down to meet the gaze of my class teacher, quietly beckoning me to a graceful walk, with her warning stare. As we fall into step, marking the register, as we leave, I glance back and wave goodbye to my teacher. She continues to stare, as if to warn me detention would be my first punishment the next term.

I swing through the gate, undeterred, daring her in my head, as I pick up speed towards my Mum. There she is, leaning against our little car, smiling, with arms open wide. In minutes, our brief embrace is over and we climb into the small white Japanese car, already weighed down with our light luggage. Mum swings her legs in, ignoring the stares of the other Mums, and envious of her independence as a single mother and ability to buy her own car, just as she runs her own life. Leaning back, I turn and wave a friend goodbye. She smiles and waves back, as our car lurches forward. Mum’s driving has not improved over the term, but we speed off into the long drive to the main road.

“Are you excited to visit Grandpa?’ Mum asks, with a glint in her eye. She is humming before I get to answer and I smile, eagerly watching the road ahead, as we speed across the outskirts of town. Before I  fall asleep in the warm, hazy sunshine, we turn into Grandpa’s road. I sit up, watching the trees and fields glide by. Within minutes we arrive and I am craning my neck out the car window, laughing as Grandpa races out of the cow shed towards us. My door swings opens, as I leap out and embrace him with both arms, taking in the smells of soil, manure and fresh cut hay. His fists are full of hay and he laughs as he picks bits of the hay off my hair and shoulders. Mum comes round and greets her father. His eyes mist up and he hugs her too. We walk arm-in-arm into his old little bungalow and the air cools as we step over the threshold. The tin roof creaks as twigs and leaves drop onto it. The rooms are bright and airy.

As we sit by his old fireplace, we sip mugs of strong tea with milk. This is the only place in the world where the tea tastes as good as ice-cream. The slices of bread are fresh and taste heavenly. Everything has been prepared over a wood fire. The tea burns and I gulp down some more, unperturbed by the heat. My body adjusts to the heat of the tea, cooling my whole being. Mum and Grandpa catch up on all the family news. I watch my very sweet and quite domesticated Grandpa spoil his daughter and grandchild.

This is a world I love, filled with open fields, small single-storey houses, some thatched and others with tin roofs. Cows bellowing out to one another and the children herding and chasing the goats back home. The sheep are back and the bleating quieting down. I begin to doze off on the arm of the chair, lost in a world of dreams. Grandpa gently places a small soft blanket over me, barely touching my frame. Mum watches and smiles. Their voices fading into the background, as the sounds of the fire crackle back to life. I drift off into my land of dreams and freedom. Tomorrow brings new experiences and a perfect beginning to my school holidays.

The meticulous manager


Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Katy sits at her glass desk, watching her team through the glass wall. Her gleaming glass top, reflecting the morning sun on her perfectly manicured hands, as they flit across her keyboard. Her iPad screen glowing onto her neatly made-up face. She takes a pause from her busy morning at work, to sit up and pull her skirt over the top of her knees. Katy quickly looks up and through the glass walls at her staff, searching out their movements to determine their output. Every data entry coordinator seems engaged and Katy sits back a little in her chair.

She picks up a dishevelled pile of documents from and begins to put them in order, reviewing their urgency. All tidied up, she began to sort their priority and sorted each pile onto her desk. Katy looks up again and scans the room, watching to see if anyone on the team needs her help. They continue quietly, intent with their transcribing and telephone conversations. She decides to leave soon after five p.m. and re-briefs the shift leader on what the evening’s targets are, as she heads to the door, carefully making uniform strides, her back straight and head up, with her handbag carefully perched on the crook of her arm.

Her car is parked perfectly in her parking space. Katy sits with her legs and chest well distanced r from the controls. She turns the key and waits for the usual two minutes, before driving off. She heads home, stifling a yawn, as she pulls up her windows and turns on the air-conditioning to keep her face from perspiring.

Once home, she takes time to park right between the lines, then locks her car and walks into her apartment. Katy unlocks her door and walks in, throwing her handbag onto the sofa, as she kicks her shoes to the door and undoes her tight hair bun. She pushes her shoes from the day before away from her, as she launches onto the sofa. Last night’s packet of crisps sits open on the coffee table before her, as she reaches for the TV remote underneath them. She takes off her jacket and throws it onto the chair beside her, as she slides onto her side on the sofa. Her head rests onto a packet of biscuits on the sofa under the cushion and she groans, as the packet is crushed and crumbs fly all over the floor. She closes her eyes, drifting off to sleep, as her cat litters the floor with her canned food. Katy turns away and lies on her back, with the chocolate on her crushed biscuits melting onto her cushions. As she drifts off into a light sleep, she makes a mental note to get up early and start cleaning early tomorrow.

Katy’s light snores bounce off her living room walls, as her kitchen tap drips onto her dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Her cat plays hide and seek with a few strewn meat wrappers next to the dustbin. Flies buzz and hit the closed kitchen window in the lazy late afternoon heat. The smells of stale garbage wafts into all the rooms, adding to the warm air of the apartment. The cat looks out of the streaking siting room windows, perched on the messy dining table, covered in used plates and old magazines. Katy snores and the cat shifts to the window sill reclining in resignation, shifting dead flies and cockroaches on the sill, shifts uneasily and finally sleeps.

The early years – Adventures of an African father

The sunlight dancing on our faces, bringing a warm end to a cold night, made us smile. We both leapt out of bed, minutes apart, anticipating a beautiful, warm day. My sister tucked her short round frame into her physical education gear and pulled up her socks, giggling as we sang our happy tune. With my back to her, I sang along, giggling at the difficult bits, tugging my thin hair with our Afro-comb. I stopped and stared at the wooden comb, remembering happy days at the Coast, where we went swimming every afternoon, soon after a tetra-pak of cool, flavoured milk. The sunlight continued to dazzle and dance across our room, as we raided ourselves for breakfast and another fun day at school.

We rushed downstairs, skipping a step where we could. I bounced into the hallway, with my sister’s red cheeks glowing at the effort to catch up. We ate our breakfast of bread and milk, then dashed back, to brush our teeth. Our mother humming away, as she served out our breakfast, then humming away again, as she watched us leave again. Father peeks over his morning newspaper, stern and without so much of a smile. Oblivious, we rush out and bound back upstairs, racing to get ready and leave.

My sister giggles, her cheeks glowing a soft orangey-red. Her nick-name, Ka-Nyanya (Tomato) reflecting her face’s soft red fiery glow. She bounces around, singing as she picks up her tiny school-bag, eager to get to school and learn. I watch her eyes twinkle, as she arranges and packs her reading, writing books and pencils neatly, ready for the day, as she does everyday. I scoop my own books off the edge of the bed, into the middle of my small school bag and hear a small crunch, books crashing onto my pencils, eagerly zipping up the canvas and whirling it onto my shoulder. My sister watches with concern, her tiny dark brows peaked in impatience and annoyance at My untidiness. I look past her dismissively, then suddenly call out, “let’s go”, uncaring for the state of my bag and belongings, as I race on ahead, out of the room and bounding down the stairs.

‘Tomato’ squeals and runs after me. We are out of breath , as we jump down the last steps, gunning for the front door. Mum is at the door in two quick steps, ahead of us and promptly turns to us, laughing, as though she was part of our game. More laughter. Dad walks up behind us, door slamming behind him, with a disapproving look on his face. We make our escape into the car, waving hard at him, making our goodbyes. He waves and manages a smile, then turns to run up the stairs and prepare to leave separately.

Mum drives us out of the gate, waving back at Dad, as she looks at us in the rear view mirror. As soon as we are out of sight, she tells us a short story. The rest of our drive gives Tomato ample time for nearly a hundred questions. Mum answers each one patiently and with a smile and Tomato’s gleam with every questions and answer. I marvel at her mind and listen intently. Before long, I am lost in my own daydreams. Soon, Mum is singing along with us, as we navigate the brief traffic into School.

Our friends arrive soon after we get there. Mum is waving us goodbye and one of the nuns scoops up Tomato, giving her a big hug, as she squeals in delight. All her teachers adore her and so do her classmates. Her shy nature keeps her cautious and watching every interaction. The nun puts her back down and briefly places her palm on the top of her head, wishing a good day. She strides off to class and I turn to look for my own friends, as I too, run to my class.

The day moves quickly, with one good class after another. At lunch, I find and smile at my little sister. She is fine and chatting away with another girl in her class. I busy myself with my friends. We play every game we know after lunch, then race to class, as the bell rings. The school day draws to a close, and the nuns ask us to sit and wait for our parents, in one of the classrooms. We read, colour and write our waiting time away.

The man walking around with a mean, angry expression is my father. I see him from the classroom window. His reputation precedes his demeanor. He flashes a smile at the teachers, then glares around the room, seeking out my sister and I. Our teacher, regaining her composure, stands up, aiming to interrupt him and take charge of the room.

Father gruffly shares our names and I catch my sister’s anxious expression, as she cringes and moves further back into room, hoping to stay a little longer in the safety of the class and camaraderie of her friends. Her sweet six year-old heart pattering faster, as she composes herself and shrinking into the background. Her head drops, as she stares into the floor, trying to avoid his eyes. Her face expressionless, her eyes displaying the terror in her heart. The teacher, watching this, gasps from the front and tries to smile reassuringly, at both of us, as as she motions my sister to her side.

At the front of the classroom, the conversation ends and father rises to his feet, striding out of the room, head held high; defiant but silent. He stands outside the door, staring into space, eyes cold and heart practically still. His expression, a reflection of his difficult upbringing during the brutal and cold colonial state of Emergency in Kenya. Living with unresolved hurt from his schooldays at the Catholic boarding school, in the central Kenya highlands, surrounded by scared, scarred African teens, desperate for an education. Each student living in constant terror of losing family, on falsified charges under a retaliatory colonial government, characterized with paranoia and fear.

The teachers calls out my name, then my sister’s. I rise to my feet, slowly, hesitating. My sister nearly stumbles, her small round frame quickly regaining balance. I look back her, beckoning her to join me. She keeps her head down, dreading every reason to leave the warmth and comfort of this loving and stable environment. I see her and feel her pain. Boldly, I walk through to the back, clasp my sister’s hand in mine, drawing her close to me, with a smile on my face. She smiles back, then nearly stumbles when father pops his head round the door. I hold her hand tighter, reassuring her we are fine. She smiles and moves forward with me. The rest of the students watching us, worried for our welfare but unable to offer a solution, sit resigned in a momentary stupor. Our teacher smiles at us reassuringly and tells us she will see us tomorrow. We smile back and step out into the corridor and the big scary world, waving our friends goodbye, as we step into father’s cold, militant world of narrow perception and misconceptions.