Mocha

I am drawn to the kind of people who are half parts.

Half chocolate, half espresso, half milk, half…

I am drawn to the kind of the people who come in threes,

tantalizing, bitter, smooth,

rough, edgy, refreshing,

They soften the blows of who they are.

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All Rights

Like my coffee, I could always drink them up,

or wash them down after eating a slice of chocolate fudge cake.

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Outside looking in

It’s good to be back in an area with 3G connection. I say this with much respect for Nairobi because I know it’s upgraded to 4G but all the same, being in a place where the network connection is enough to send a tweet is like fresh air to me.
I realize that now.
So, following my travel diaries, I have been up and about in Elgeyo Marakwet visiting different villages and looking into sustainable health and sanitation practices at the household level.

My first day saw us stop over at Eldoret town where we boarded a vehicle to Kapsowar town. These vehicles were the old  matatus with passengers sitting on benches and facing each other as the driver drove like he’d stolen the car. It was dusty and made my back stiff but I appreciated one thing about the touts and passengers: they paid when they got to their destination.

The second shock came when we got to the hotel where we would spend the first two nights. I found the rooms simple and clean plus the shower had hot water which was much needed after that  bumpy ride. Seriously, is it just that Kalenjins love speed so much that they not only run like the wind  but also drive like it? I couldn’t understand that, even when the room attendant said it with pride that they do their stuff fast.

The shock was the night. Our room was directly above a bar and at midnight I had to listen to two women first over who would go with the man. I stepped out of bed to watch the commotion and never went back to sleep after that which was my second mistake of the day.

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View of Kapsowar from Kamok

What I loved most about Elgeyo Marakwet was the hills and valleys and how nice people were despite the fact that I needed a translator most of the time since I do not speak their language.

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My Day so far.

So, hello I am seated in a restaurant in Homabay typing this post in between light and dark.
In between you say? Yes, when the lights go out and they come back in a span of five minutes, that’s what I call a flicker.
I traveled to Homabay County on Sunday for work related duties and it’s been a great joy working with the people here, and I also realized that I could travel for an hour on a motorcycle within the same division like it’s no big deal.
The man ferrying me was stopped by policemen near a stream by the road. The police woman asked him for her due.
She was a short beautiful lady with a sweet voice ( it’s true, I liked her voice) and she said, “Nipe ile uko nayo kama ya soda.” (Give me what you have even if it could buy a soda)
And the man carrying me insisted that he had none because he had to drop me and get his pay.
The police insisted, “Ni sawa nipe hata ya maji, hiyo tu uko nayo.” (It’s fine, but give me at least to buy water, just the little that you have)
He gave her forty shillings and she let us proceed.
After that I went to meet some senior officials and found myself in between them and someone who refused to obey their order, and I had to sit back and look at my finger nails. Have you ever been in a room where suited up men get angry in a flash?
Words were exchanged, insults and threats delivered but in the end the one who was junior had to submit to authority and I had clean fingernails.
But, when you have had a crazy day and you miss home what do you do?
Take a stroll and take pictures of the scenery and in Homabay it’s the Lake Victoria.

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My favorite place to be.

There’s a place I know where you can fly or fall with your eyes closed.
No,  it is not a pub or a bar.
No, they do not serve you changaa, sheesha, weed, or offer you a shot so you can soar to the clouds.
It is a small place with beautiful ocean blue walls and two windows that reveal the world to you. These windows are square and if you try really hard you can squeeze your hand through one of the square meshes and reach out to feel the raindrops it your palm. The window on the right side is my favorite.
You can lift it up and set it aside because someone broke the hinges and it has never been fixed. It reminds me of choices we make in life. Sometimes we wallow in our thoughts so much that the door to a good opportunity remains out of reach to us. Like the window,  sometimes you have to lift yourself up and step up to see the view that is your life.
But, it’s not just  the windows that I love in this place, it is what a mole would call heaven or their sanctuary.
Sometimes depending on the day of the week and the time of the night,  you are treated to confrontations and shouts of joy.
Last week at 3am, I heard Mercy (that’s what he kept calling her) yell at “Babe” for cheating on her with a girl who wore a cheap weave.
“Babe, seriously, what the hell! Kwani hauna taste, I mean, look at me and then her, like her weave is so cheap and you lie to me that you are watching the game, and Babe Kwanza there’s no game… Back off! “
I walked to the window and right there under the moon were two silhouettes, one with hands all over the place and the other trying to hold onto the moving hands. I watched not expecting to see their faces, but to simply listen to their  voices.

If you wake up at 3am, do not go back to bed when you’re here.

You’ll miss out on the pub closing it’s doors at 4am and as such fail to see how gravity tortures the drunkards.

You’ll also miss out on the boda bodas who wait to carry these people home. Have you ever seen a drunk person sitting on a motorbike at 4am while singing the National anthem at the top of his voice?

You will also miss out on the young boys, maybe ten or eleven years old who walk home after selling boiled maize all night to people at the bus stop. You will miss their chatter and wonder just when children started being the breadwinners of their families. And as you ponder about this, you will notice that it is almost 5am and there is a school bus making it’s way down the road picking children.

You’ll also miss out on the two trucks that pass by at half past 5am. The first one supplies charcoal to the local establishments and it always plays the BBC Radio Swahili news, reminding you that things are happening in the world as you sleep. The next truck is painted blue and white and it delivers fresh milk for that morning cup of tea that you’d not start the day without.

It’s along the road, and near a public primary school, but what I love most about this place is the fact that it’s been with me for years.
I  can always leave but coming back is like being in heaven.
I have met Prince Harry (yes,  the one and only Harry, Prince William’s brother) here and we have gone out on dates. I have also met monsters, the headless ones and screamed my lungs off. I have also taken part in the fashion week by dressing up and taking the most glamorous outfits. I have met Leila, Maxwell, Jack and Zora here and sometimes when I think of them, all I have to do is make my way to this place and with time they too will find  me.
This place has five plastic storage containers stacked with books that  you can read as you wait for breakfast. And when it rains you walk in a zigzag motion so the tiny cold drops that make their way past the roof do not hit you.

Sometimes when I am here, I can see my cousins – Amanda and Jackie getting ready for bed right above me, and Leah fighting with Georgina over which side of the bed she should sleep on. I can see my sister Cheryl covering herself ignoring us and the racket we are causing. And when I close my eyes I can hear my mom saying we had better wake up early for school!

I had to bring you to the one place where I discovered that I could align words to share a moment, voice an opinion, confess a feeling and tell a story. I had to bring you to my bedroom.
Thank you for stopping by, you can leave now…

Seriously, you can leave now (or leave a comment to show you visited)

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Check out these blogs in the Friday Feature :
Elly in Nairobi
Flashes of Vice
Coincidence is Cancelled

Amara

Our people say that I speak with the voice of Mie and look like a child. They look at me and wonder how can I be and not be.

I look at them sometimes.

I look away from them sometimes, but they still speak. Their words gush out like the raging waters of a river slicing through rocks. When one woman opens her mouth and says, “That boy…,” all the other women start talking. They snap their fingers, click their tongues and scrunch up their noses. I walk like a man whose leg is being eaten off by a hyena.

They laugh when they see me.

But, I keep walking because straight ahead lies the shade that I need to cool off under. She is called Amara. She is the daughter of a famous warrior, Imara, the Lion and Tiger hunter. The one who sleeps with his eyes open and his strength in the air around him. The one who was struck by twenty warriors but still stood up with their blood on his hands and walked all the way to this kingdom.

Amara comes from strength, because her father is like a rock. He is firm and does not waver.

My love for her is like fire. It burns bright, provides heat, gorges steel but brings down even the greatest of kingdoms down to ashes.