Writing and reading updates

Hello Monday! Is there any #NanoWrimo2017 participant freaking out because it’s three days to the end of November?

So, yesterday I went to the market and got my favorite things: Tamarind ( I used it to make some sauce for the fries), mangoes, lemons and of course the irish potatoes for making the fries! I had a laid back Sunday afternoon and when the sun was up, I managed to bask in it for a few minutes before making some calls.

On writing:

  • I am past 40,000 words on the project I’m submitting for NanoWrimo. It has been a very difficult week because my writing schedule has seen me waking up at 1 A.M. to write till 4 A.M. I’d admit that an hour of it was spent listening to drunkards argue on their way home, like the guy who lost his car keys on Friday and he had to let his friends flag down a tuk tuk for him 🙂 I wish I got the whole conversation, but the man kept shouting “my wife will think I sold the car!”
  • I started working on a new novella. Can I do my happy dance now?

On reading:

I have found myself drawn to a couple of titles this weekend and I am looking forward to reading these four titles this week:

On traveling:

My feet are itching to go backpacking and now that I have completed the 31 Day Fitness Challenge (by totally ignoring the planks and abdominal crunches) I can safely say that I’m ready for some adventure.

I have been listening to JP Cooper‘s album “Raised Under Grey Skies” when I write. This album has kept me company for almost 20,000 words of the NanoWrimo challenge!

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Have a lovely week!

The case of the vehicle that transformed into a donkey.

My colleague told me yesterday that she heard some drivers and touts saying that a matatu (the one known as chopper) transformed into  a donkey at Ahero.  This transformation was witnessed by some people and word of it spread through some radio stations but it never got to TV because by the time the witnesses recovered from their shock, it had turned back into a vehicle and sped off.

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This is an example of a chopper, courtesy of Google Images.

She said, aki ghai unacheka na ni ukweli, ati chopper iligeuka punda!
I asked her what about the passengers? Did they get caught up in the transformation?
And that’s when we both laughed. She hadn’t thought of it in that sense, all she remembered was getting off the chopper she had boarded when she heard that story and waiting for half an hour to squeeze into a Probox!

When I asked if she did so because of fear, her answer was “sitaki kuwa punda afadhali kuwa ngombe lakini punda ati sababu ya chopper, wacha nipande Probox!
(I don’t want to turn into a donkey, it’s better to be a cow but not a donkey worse off because of boarding a chopper, I would rather board a Probox.)
So,on my way to see the District Education Officer today, I found myself seated next to the Driver in a chopper and before it could dawn on me a tout took a jab at the driver, “omera mad ilokri punda to iting’o Jaber! Ne, Jaber idh matoka werigi punda!”
(Hey, you had better not turn into a donkey while carrying this beauty. Hey, there beautiful lady board a vehicle and leave the donkey)

Before I could take it all in, the driver shook the man’s hand and drove off but what was evident was just how fast word of mouth can build or destroy your brand or business. I say so because so many passengers did not want to board the chopper because they didn’t want to turn into God forbid,  a donkey. I just wanted to make it to my meeting in time and I did.

P. S: Wrote this yesterday, and I woke up at 5 am to post it ✌

Madam 07…

My day has been delightful because I was approached by two suitors and let me tell you nothing beats being proposed to while sitting in the boot of a Probox leaning against sacks of dried fish!
I made my first visit to Nyatike today and had to proceed to Sori and Muhuru Bay to visit a few schools.
I loved Muhuru Bay and took a shot of this:

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On our way back I was granted my wish of sitting in the boot. See, I thought that I would sit there all alone with enough leg room to listen to that new song by One Direction, Perfect,see I like something light and once you throw in a word like rendezvous then am sold! So, there I am sitting and setting up my earphones for a great one hour ride when the vehicle stops and the driver picks up two guys.
They are offered seats in the boot and I sit there looking at two men thinking, “please say no.”

But they cozy up on one side and suddenly there’s nowhere to look at.

See, I learned that sitting in the boot of a Probox is not as great as I made it out to be because there’s nowhere to look at but where you’ve come from, and with unwanted company the view gets blurry if not completely unappealing.
So, before I plug in my earphones for a One Direction experience, the guy in green shoes says, “Madam, si you give me your 07 ijaber!
I thanked him and told him I was not willing to give him my phone number because I was in a relationship. He smiled and said it was all right, and then we started talking about Migori and his friend joined the conversation.

When  we got to a place called Masara, one woman seated at the front shouted at us to remind us not to step on her dried fish. I was leaning against a sack and the stench of it had become a great friend, just like the one who farts doesn’t smell the stink of his/her fart.

But the other gentleman who was with us decided to try his luck too, and he said,  “Madam, you have turned down my friend here, but listen to me, I am very light, ratong’ and in Black Beauty si together we can make very chocolate or ango’wa cha? Yes, caramer babies, what do you say Mami?”
The driver slowed down and the women laughed saying that I should accept his proposal. He looked at me waiting for an answer, but all I could think of was the smell of dried fish  that had become one with my skin erasing the cherry bodysplash I had.

My Probox adventures continue…

Probox diaries: Adventures in Kuria

I  woke up at 5:30am leaving my comfortable bed and heading to the bus stop to board a Probox to Kehancha.

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Kehancha is a thirty minutes drive from Migori town and can be as comfortable or uncomfortable as can be depending on which seat you occupy in a Probox. After much travel, I believe that sharing the seat with the driver is the most uncomfortable because of the constant need to adjust the gear. The most comfortable has to be the boot  because no one likes to sit there and you can pay half price.
It gets worse if you have to share it with a sack of potatoes, charcoal or cabbages as I learned today.

So, once in Kehancha I visited a couple of schools and engaged some officials in matters regarding the education and health policies and it was quite insightful. I was welcomed to tea and mandazi in one school but had to take a raincheck because I was rushing to another school.
On my way back to Migori, I contemplated making a stop at Masaba but the heavy rains made it impossible. It got worse as we approached Migori with the driver making stops because he did not have a clear view of the road ahead.
I was drenched as I left the car to seek shelter in an hotel called Zam Zam under the guise of taking tea and mandazi.
So, I guess my footwear will strictly be:

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As for my writing and reading, I have two novels to read and lots of paper to write on:

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But what’s a day well spent and drenched by the heavy rain in Kuria like without a picture?

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I’m getting some tea and working on my reports for now, until then my journey and adventures in the rain continue.

The quest for Madondo in Homabay

The last time I talked to you I was in Homabay taking a stroll along the shores of Lake Victoria.

Well,have you tried scouting for madondo also known as chapati and beans in Homabay past ten o’clock in the morning?
Let me save you the struggle,  you won’t find any.

Madondo is served in hotels for breakfast but after ten o’clock it’s off the menu! This was news to us. We went in every hotel asking if they had chapati and beans and kept getting the same answer “no. In one hotel we asked, and the lady said” aki chapo maharagwe tunatengeneza tu asubuhi sababu watu wa boda ndio wanakula. ”
At long last we settled for tea and chapati at a place called Mellah Restaurant.

So we left Homabay town at eleven for Migori town and I had to endure insults from three touts for declining to board the” chopper” they had. I have a good memory when it comes to matatus. I had boarded one of the same vehicles and the tout refused to give me my change and I had to stand by the stage and watch the vehicle speed off. I could not board it today, and as they insulted me for dismissing their plea they reminded me loudly enough that I had no vehicle to call my own.

We boarded another matatu and now we are in Migori. We checked into this great Lodge with beautiful rooms and the landscaping is good too.

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We had lunch,  but sadly there is no chapati and beans here too so I will settle for Ugali and Osuga.

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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Lessons learned this week.

I  wanted to write something, and I started doing so- on Monday: I  traveled to one school miles away from home.  I waited for two hours for the meeting to start,  and it did so two and a half hours later.  They offered me a soda,  but I had to ask,  “do you have strong tea, see,  I do not take soda.”
The teacher looked at me from the afro on my head to the Bata Sundrops on my feet and said,” No wonder you are so skinny.”
I smiled and looked down.
Sometimes it hurts when someone scrunches up their nose or gives you a stare down and says you are skinny, as though it is a crime to be so.
I gained an ounce of patience that day.

When Tuesday came,  I  found myself on a motorbike along a dusty road for thirty minutes. I  alighted with brown hair,  eye brows and a different shade of color of trousers. I learned that my sister is wise.  Never leave the house without two types of tissue: wet tissue and dry tissue!

On Wednesday,  I found  myself dreaming of the weekend. I  had to sleep or get more than eight hours of rest because my eyelids were too heavy to focus at work. I was asked to  drink a soda and eat biscuits and I  politely declined after explaining why I  do not take soda. If there is one word reason that most people understand and accept when it comes to not drinking soda,  it’s got to be- cavities
I found myself out our doorstep,  hungry,  exhausted and in need of a good night’s sleep. My friend asked,  “why are you so busy?”
I  asked her,  “have you ever scheduled  meetings with people and had them show up an hour late?”
She said, “Sure,  it happens all the time at public hospitals,  sometimes you never get to see the  doctor after waiting for half a day!”
I learned that  I  have a jar of patience,  and ounce of understanding as I climbed into bed in my jeans.

On Thursday morning I learned that sleeping in jeans is the most uncomfortable thing ever! Next time,  I am taking them off!
I  had a cup of black coffee and went to work.
My stomach started rumbling an hour after I  left the house.  I had to buy a banana to fill it up, but I  ended up feeling so constipated to move. I walked for half an hour to get to the  school that day and learned that  I  am as light as a feather. (Well,  someone told me so)

And today? Well,  today is a Friday.
I  did some writing.
I  learned that concluding a week is not as important as how you conclude it. So,  I  treated myself to three cups of coffee,  cleaned the house,  did some  laundry,  worked on my reports,  made supper and sat down to tell you all about it.
So,  I  will share another picture grid that summarizes my week.

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Take your readers to work day!

I work as a Research Assistant, on a project that focuses on School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. I visit primary schools in Kisumu County during school days to assess the standards of hygiene and my day involves:

Waking up
Getting a matatu
Getting a motorbike or walking for miles
Getting to a school
Talking to the administration an health teachers and students
Getting on another motorbike or walking to another public primary school.
Then when all is done, returning home or to the office to share my report.

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Perks: No sunscreen, lots of exercise, getting to negotiate a lot with people especially on the cost of my fare, meeting lots of school children, seeing lots of clouds, meeting different kinds of headteachers (both stubborn and nice), carrying a back pack, wearing flats-converse-or wellies, reading in a matatu, sitting on a sambaza (which is a small wooden plank set on two seats to create an extra seat for a paying passenger).

Highlights of my week.

Saturday’s here, and I am looking back on the highlights of my week. It was grand to accept my friend’s challenge because my vegetable spaghetti made someone drool in the morning. (I am not saying it was my sister). I also spiced up my week by reading “Almost a Turkish Soap opera” by Anne-Rae Vasquez and “Next to you” by Julia Gabriel.
If you love romance and want something to freshen up your day or get you smiling in public well, I’d definitely recommend reading Anne’s “Almost a Turkish soap opera,” but if you are having one of those days where you want to believe in love and good people, then go with Julia’s “Next to You,” there’s a cute little boy there called Aidan who stole my heart!

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It’s been a week full of travel and whether I was walking a mile or two or wading through mud I am glad I had some pop music for company, there’s nothing like listening to  One Direction’s Little White Lies while climbing a hill when it is thirty two degrees Celsius!
I haven’t done much writing this week but there is a lot for me to catch up on.
Here’s a summary of my week in photos:

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