Dedication to Njeri Wa Wangui, an awesome Sister….

I am so excited to be writing another dedication. This gives me a sense of love, warmth and joy of appreciating my people.

When I was in high school, my holidays were what I would look forward to the most. I would close school and in two days, I’m in a matatu heading to Nakuru to see my aunty though I call her Siste, because I can.. ha ha ha. This to me meant so much, as I got to share my holiday with someone who knew so much. She would always teach me something new and I would never be lonely. She would come to get me at the stage and I knew fun had begun. As I entered my Nakuru home, Cucu would be so excited to see me, already starting to prepare our favorite meal – homemade  chips. We would sit and catch up, laugh and enjoy each other’s company so much, it felt awesome to have that big sister, it still does!

Njeri was (read still is) so social, while I was more of the girl behind her shadow. I would eventually get courage and talk to people but after adjusting to them. When I was in form one or two, she had to go for holiday tuition in Mene, she gave me her uniform and we would go together. She would say hi to the watchie, who knew all the students in that school, while I sneaked in. I would pretend to read and share stories with people, till break and lunch time when we would hang out with her and her friends. They were so cool; they would buy me lunch and treat me so well, sometimes I would just stare in awe. I was happy to belong.

On weekends, Cucu would literally chase us out of the house to go party and hangout with friends; we would do so till early the next day. One fateful day, just before going back to Nairobi the next day, we were caught by cops. Luckily for her, she was let lose while me and June* were literally lifted into the truck as we were too short. As I stumbled to get my balance so as to get into the truck, I felt a sharp pain on my back. For the first and last time ever (at least I hope so), I was hit by what you call a ‘nyahunyo’. Excruciating pain is an understatement, to what I felt.  I could feel the swelling lines on my back. The truck started moving and panic struck. How would I explain this to my dad? Where was I going? Worse still, would I sleep in a cell, after all the creepy stories I had heard? What would Njeri tell Cucu?? Luckily June* was able to talk to the cops and for something small he let us go. The downside was, he did not want the driver to know he had had his cake and eaten it, so we had to jump off the truck and run… With my height, you can imagine me jumping off a military size truck. I was amazed at how I did it. We ran until the point where we had been caught and found Njeri, tears rolling down her face, worried senseless. Until today, I feel the love that I saw in her eyes that day, the joy of seeing us, amidst the worry. Thank goodness we can now laugh about it today.

Another special memory I remember was when mum passed on, she left an entire week of high school, and she was in form 4, to come and keep me company. How memorable and great was that? She helped through the hard times, made me laugh, kept me distracted when I needed it and understood when I wanted to just be alone. She was a pillar, when I needed her the most.

In high school, she tried her best to come for all my Vizos and made them ever so memorable. I even remember she was the one who told me that my small sis was going to be born in a couple of months. I was a rebel then and such news made me anxious, a bit irritated and uncomfortable. I guess it was because I had not embraced my step mum and had major teenage issues. Still, she was my rock and gave me advice and direction when I needed it.

I remember her excitement when she came to Nairobi and when we would go visit her at a hostel in Ngara. She had two jobs and school and still held on and fought for a successful life. Seeing the successful woman she has become today, shows how far she has come, her zeal, hard work and determination that has taken her to great heights.

There are so many more memories but for some I prefer not to talk about coz they might be too personal and some a bit sad so I will stop at that. In a nutshell, we have shared life together since we are young, and not a day passes by that I am not thankful.

Njeri,

Thinking of you and the times we have shared makes me want to laugh, some sad memories cry, thank God for you, stand tall and tell everyone that there is an amazing woman, who is going to have a positive impact to the ends of the world. A woman who has direction, determination, conviction, kindness, selflessness, focus and love for so many people. You may not show your love to people the way they expect it, but for me, I have no doubt that it exists.

For the pizzas we ate with Mwai when we did not even know what flavor we liked, Cheers!

For the movies we watched in Odeon cinema, Naks with popcorns for ten bob, Cheers!

For the time, Wahome made us ‘miria mara, Cheers!

For being there for each other, through the loss of the most important women in our lives and being able to live to become what they expected and dreamed us to be, Cheers!

For climbing over the gate to your house in south B just to enjoy each other’s company, Cheers!

For the sleepovers where we would talk until 2am in the night, Cheers!

For my very first Chinese dinner, Cheers!

For all the memories and fun times we shared in Nakuru, Cheers!

For the unconditional love towards me, the great advice, immeasurable help and constant love, Cheers!

Happy Birthday Njeri wa Wangui, May the good Lord continue to bless and uplift you all the days of your life.

I Love You so much and appreciate you this beautiful day.

* not her real name

Quabberian Memories

This weekend we had a meeting with the gals. It had been two months since we met so the excitement was hitting the roof. It was so wonderful to see them and though they might not know it, every time I leave those meetings I always have a sense of encouragement, that I could conquer the world. Thanks gals.

During our meeting, we got to a point where we were reminiscing about high school. That is what we have in common; we were all in the same class and became friends through Quabbz. As we went down memory lane, it was interesting to hear the way some of us did not like each other at first. Coming from different backgrounds and having different views, we had not yet become synchronized. So we remembered the way some us were made to carry buckets of water, sent to the ‘tack shop’, had lights out at 10.30pm the whole of KABA(the name of the form 1 hostel) and the minor punishments here and there. I remember my most interesting ‘pano’ was to go round ‘Kaba’ in gumboots singing ‘Cucu ruka fence’. All this took place when we were in first and second term, of course by the time we got to third term, we had grown horns and refused to be misused by form fours. We had finally known they words were just empty threats.

New hall in Quabbz

It’s so amazing that we remembered a lady who is now famous, of course I won’t mention her name, but she walked into our class last day of term 3 and demanded that about six of us go and help her carry her luggage. Help here meant carry her suitcase and box, while she watched and dictated where it would go to. One of our friends and classmate who was quite reserved, was about to stand and we all told her to sit! We were done with carrying luggage and considered ourselves form twos’. The so called bully could not believe it. She stood and threatened us, “Make sure you don’t come back to this school next year.” Ha ha ha ha. I would like to see her now and ask if she recalls this moment.

Another scenario that came up, was when some of us were sent to carry a box full of books. The owner was left doing her own things and gave us the required destination. When we realized she was not walking behind us, we took her box to ‘Daybugz’ (the loos that were used during the day on the class side of school). I can imagine her frustration as shr looked for it, while we sat in a corner laughing. This was what life had taught us, it was not necessarily the right thing to do but we fought our battles the best way we knew how. Today we can look back at it and laugh.

There are many things  that many of us went through in Quabbz, but I think it’s time to let it go. This was a matter of learning to live with about 800 girls and one needed to do whatever they could to survive. I know a couple of form 1s who said I was rude, mean, snobbish etc and probably believe it until today. I know I meet with some of the girls who were in fourth when I was a ‘rubble’, and I feel like reminding them how mean they were. Anyway, those days are long gone, and most of those people have become talented, hardworking and respectable ladies in the society, great wives and loving mothers.

I just saw photos of the swimming pool that Quabbz got in 2010. I did not know of this till today but I remember a couple of times when we were asked to donate towards that cause. It’s wonderful to see that it was actually built.

The green gates will always be a part of my life with many memories, good and bad. For sure it is that part of my life that taught me self reliance, responsibility and being a hard core girl. Cheers to Quabbz and I hope the alumni can make it for the Moi Girls’ School Nairobi Chapel Fund Raising Concert on May 13th 2012.

Thank You for reading my blog, feel free to click follow on the top left of this page. SheeGal, appreciates your support.

Choosing to do it by yourself

In those moments when I thought relationships were too hard or fate was not going my way, I would sit and think of getting pregnant, having my baby and facing the world with me as the mother and father. My good friends and chama mates would keep telling me they would pray for me to change my attitude and want to have someone to have and bring up the child with.

When I talked about it before, I had never thought in depth about it. The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and he had someone who had asked him to give her a baby. Her reason was he was leaving to another country for a long time (or even permanently) and she wanted a way to remember him, for them to be connected. Indeed this would be true. The baby might have his looks, character, warmth and other traits but will he/she get the best out of life? The mother might be financially stable and if not the father might even send money to ensure their needs are sorted out. What happens when he goes to school and hears others talking about their dads? When there is father – son/daughter day, who will attend this event? When he needs that fatherly love and direction, who will provide it? I know the mother might later get married and thus a father, but is the link ever the same?

I never grew up with both my parents due to differences I will not discuss here. I would move from one to another and finally settled with dad. I learnt to depend so much on him that I would not allow anyone else into his life. Many times I missed my mum and could not wait to be 18 and get to make my own decisions, ask her questions, probably stay with her and get all my inquiries answered. Sadly, life did not allow me to get to share that time with her. I still hold so many questions within me. I still envy people talking about both their parents. I remember how mum would come for my visiting before she passed on, and I would wish they would sit together and we would look like a happy family.  This is just one scenario; I would quote another five easily. Now this was a choice they made later on but at least they had tried it.

 

Now imagine you making this decision for someone who is not yet born, not allowing them to experience that which will affect them for the rest of their lives. They might never tell it to you and they will always respect the hard and great work that you did. However, the questions will always be burning in them. Don’t get me wrong I know people who have turned out great with single parents, my brother who I love so much, who is now a great dad to his baby gal, a sister of mine who has achieved great heights and is looking forward to having her family, my farmer brother and baby sister who is now in university among many others including me. I thank God for them and their success but I also see the passion they have in their eyes when they talk about family, their own children or those they plan on having. There is need to make sure our children do not have to go through the same experience. We want to do everything in our power to ensure they get the love from two other than one person. So for this reason among many others I have not mentioned, I have decided to try my best not to make this decision from the start. I do not want to do it alone. Situations may arise like death, one parent not taking responsibility, family breaking,  but it will not be out of me making this decision to start that journey that way. My chama mates, God has heard your prayer. Thank you for not giving up on me.

This is just my opinion and everyone is entitled to have theirs. I hope I have not stepped on everyone’s toes.

Till next time, SheeGal waves bye bye…..

Reconnect, Support, Experience

Last week was one of those engaging weeks. One of my very good friends lost his dad, it was hurting and painful and many other emotions, that only immediate family would be able to understand. We as friends went to check up on them, after our various commitments, be it work or school or biashara and go through the funeral meetings with them. Amazingly, there were so many youngsters (I am still young) and it was great seeing them giving their support, making him laugh and at least cheering him up even when the low moments would kick in. Death is something that is so final and we can’t really tell how one feels, what they are thinking, what to say or not to say but having gone through it, I know that friends being there goes a long way.

On most nights we slept late as we would leave around 11pm. We would sit outside with one of those really huge jikos and talk about various issues. I met friends who I had not seen for a long time and we chatted and caught up. It was a realization for me that sank really deep. I have known them for six years but for reasons beyond our control, we had drifted. As I sat there listening, I could feel the difference in their talk, what they are doing, what they want to be, what they are doing towards it. It was amazing to see how time and age changes our mindsets and priorities. In fact, we were able to bond through all the major things in our lives that had been achieved. It was an eye opener and made us appreciate a lot.

On the other side, I could imagine the responsibility my friend had been left with. He now has two roles to play in his life and I cannot imagine that it is easy. I do admire him coz he took it strongly and through conversations would mention some of the things his dad had said they would do or that he needed done. In his eyes was the zeal to put all those ideas to completion and make his dad proud. He wanted to see him rest peacefully and be strong enough to assure him that he would take care of his mum and brother.

I learnt one important lesson that despite all the things that go on, reconnecting, sharing experiences, being there for someone has a huge impact. We might have discussed our futures and what we expected and from each of those pair of eyes, I could see the fire burning and the willingness to sustain it. May we always strive for greater heights and remember that though time may never be enough, taking just a bit of time out to reach out and reconnect might be what changes your life.

To my friend, I will always be here when you need me. The wounds might never heal but the memories of your loved one will fill your heart and keep it warm even though it’s still painful. May dad’s soul rest in peace.

To my reconnected set of friends, let’s not take anything for granted. Let’s appreciate the past and how far it has brought us. Let’s support each other and be part of a family that loves and takes care of each other through good and bad, happiness and sorrow, achievements and downfalls.

Unfortunately, one of us was in an accident during the week and though it was hard to see him in hospital because of the hours allocated and not being able to make it on time after work, we finally saw him yesterday. Thank God he is fine, with a few bruises. It felt good to sit at home with him and reminisce as well as make plans on what we should do when he gets well. May he get well soon.

That’s a summary of last week. I know I am not making it to blog enough but I am working on it. Thanks for reading and your support. Have a lovely week.

Health is so critical, remove illegitimate health practitioners

Being healthy is one of the most important things in life. For people who have diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure, it takes sticking to a particular diet and staying away from anything that could bring the body to a halt. My grandpa has had diabetes for a very long time. I remember even when we were young; he would always take a handful of pills every morning and evening.  He has a strict diet that he sticks to and this has kept him comfortable and kept the disease at bay.

Mid last week, he started feeling unwell and it got so bad he was almost slipping into a coma. Luckily, family was there to rush him to hospital and he got tested. His blood sugar was so low that the gadget used to measure it, could not give an exact figure. It read “low”! The doctor was able to diagnose and recommend the required solution and as soon as he received it, he slowly came back to consciousness.

As we speak now, his health is good and he is being discharged from hospital. However, it remains sad because the reason he was in there to start with was because a certain doctor in a dispensary had prescribed and sold to him a drug that was banned years ago, in regards to his diabetic condition. This drug is responsible for lowering the blood sugar level, but clearly, it being banned meant that it was not fit for humans. It could easily leave one for death.

Is the need for money so bad that people result in doing business regardless of value of life? This situation really got me disturbed as I thought of how he would have lost his life, because of a person who sold him a ticket to finishing of his life. What has happened to our society? How can we try to rebuild it? Isn’t there a body that should be going round ensuring dispensaries, health clinics and hospitals are well run and following the required standards?

Today it was my grandpa, tomorrow it could be you, me or my daughter/son. Help me reach out to the concerned parties by either advising on who deals with such matters or just getting information out there for us to research more on the clinics we visit when in need of medical care. Consider getting Health Insurance advice as this also restricts us to visit only listed health facilities.

Let us preserve life rather than take it away. 

Is this it in life??

Sometimes I find myself in that shell that everyone has. Probably trying to figure something out and not getting it or just feeling disappointed by an expectation going in a totally different direction. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my life, my work, my goals and targets and if I have made them. Sadly, I feel like I have not ticked off quite a number of things on that list. However, I am still working towards it but I find myself wondering: Is this routine I live it? If I am not happy doing what I do, does this mean I will be sad forever? I’m I supposed to hold on? When do I know it’s time to quit and look for an alternative? Should I be concerned by what others perceive? How serious does it really get?

I strive to live my life fully and I want to teach my siblings and children valuable lessons. I want to be able to be honest and say that I did my best and though I struggled for a bit, I was able to find myself. Now since I haven’t quite mastered the art, should I follow my gut? Since life does not have a manual, what route should I follow? I ask for advice but sometimes I am tempted to create my own path and see where it leads. I can see the bigger picture and it works, I just can’t seem to see the small pictures that are stepping stones towards getting there.

I am big on words, meaning what people tell me really impacts me and I think a lot about it. Sometimes it’s great because it means you never forget the advice but sometimes it’s sad or even hurtful when others talk loosely or say things without considering my feelings. Not that I am complaining, after all this is not a perfect world and not everyone can be nice. I guess I am just trying to discover myself and my purpose, effect, contribution. I am not just another person, there must be more for me than routines, a life all planned out for me, waking up in the morning and waiting anxiously for 5pm to leave, enjoying the weekends and dreading the fateful Monday that comes. There surely must be more!

What is the missing link?? Someone help me understand.

Be a success, be human

In this day and age, many young people are becoming entrepreneurs at an early age. This is so amazing at it shows high ambition and dedication to achieve one’s dream through one’s creativity, intelligence, talent etc is finally allowing for creation of greater goods and services.

It is a difficult road which needs zeal, commitment and the will power to lift yourself when its down and to never give up when it seems like it’s not working out as good as they thought.

Finally when it works out, they should continue working hard to get to better standards by creating higher goals, getting a mentor who gives you the cold hard truth and drops reality checks to ensure your on the right track.

When the business gets to a level of having employees, remember to treat them well. Be professional, considerate and give them the opportunity to give their ideas, be fair to them and treat them with respect. They might not understand how you have suffered and struggled, but that does not allow you to treat them badly and look down upon them. At the end of the day, how you treat people impacts a large amount of how your business gives back. Not to mention, they might also get business ideas and decide to break out into their own business. Would you want them as a partner / friend or would you want a foe? If it’s a foe, they could leave with your clientele, capitalize on your weaknesses to bring a better service to the industry leaving you frustrated and lost, back to square one.

Thinking deeper the next time your employee gives their contribution or opinion before you lash back at them. All the best in your business.