The ‘Nganya’ Jav Experience

So I have been walking tall still considering myself youth and being really proud of it. Yesterday however, the bitter realization that it might no longer be true hit me hard. It was late evening and here I was rushing through the busy Nairobi streets, to get to my bus stop and get a jav real quick. As I walked through, my youthful side wanted to get into that nganya / bumtwaf jav (I bet there is a cooler name for that now). Anyway, I get to the stop and there are a couple of guys waiting, so someone suggests a queue. So queue moves swiftly and in a few minutes I am closer to getting into a jav. The current one is old. I cross my fingers hoping that the guys before me would fill it up. True to my wish they actually do, I stand smiling sheepishly at the next one, it was new and I could hear the music from outside. As I get in, I realize it already has a couple of young guys sitting on the window seats, bobbing their heads to the music. I have to go all the way to the back seat, no worries, I could totally sit on top of the base speaker (if that’s what it’s called). The jav quickly fills up and as I enjoy the music, though a bit loud. I can still hear some dudes chatting (screaming over the really loud music).

We quickly maneuver through the city traffic, go through parklands and soon we are onto another random route I have no idea of. I figure it’s a short cut, but as the number of trees continue to increase, I get a little worried but everyone else seems pretty calm, so I take a chill pill. We get to a place where curiosity creeps in as we realizing we haven’t moved in about five minutes. There is no traffic ahead just some negotiations between the three kanges and some watchies. Yes three kanges. The area is residential and javs are not allowed to pass through. The watchies prove to be hard nuts to crack and the jav has to turn around. A couple of insults are hurled as we go back where we came from. At this point I look keenly at the interior of the jav, it has proper speakers at least six. As if the driver was waiting to catch my attention, he suddenly turns on the lights. In a few seconds, there were so many flashing lights I thought I would get dizzy, or worse still they would short circuit. Oh wait maybe not, let’s assume it’s the disco lights effect. Well, at this point, my ears, eyes and dangling legs, seeing how short I am, were pressing to hold an urgent meeting to figure out how much longer they would have to go through this. A few deep breaths and turning on my youth element, I found a way to cope.

One of the six speakers

One of the six speakers

Soon we finally join Waiyaki way at Brookside drive and the traffic is really bad. The honks the driver pressed on were good enough to scare the small car drivers into letting him pass. However, where he found bigger trucks, there was no one to bully so he chose to overlap. This is where I called on Jesus, as the driver maneuvered so close to the drainages, I knew the old age had kicked in as I wanted to scream STOP! Again, the younglings were calm and on their phones, while others were discussing the way they would go back for what we called squadi in my days. I wonder what they call it now. Listening to them was a good distraction, I mean my ears could actually filter the music and pick their voices. A couple of maneuvers here and there and we were onto another escape route. This one was quite good as we passed a couple of posh houses, the Muthangari residence was quite catchy. This was plus to my trip.

Finally we got to what was causing the major snarl up, the transformer that had fallen near Kianda School. I thanked Kenya Power for the time taken to move it as it got me to rethink a couple of things. I began to understand that the youth part was slowly letting go and I was getting to the part where soon one of the kanges, assuming it’s a norm these days, would say “harakisha mathe.” In less than ten minutes, I was alighting. The youth part of me was still arguing that I could probably blame the village for my lack of proper exposure. Wait for it, the younglings who wanted to go for the squadi, found out they had to alight too, as it was not going back to town. As they sadly alighted, it hit me, it’s not where I lived, I had moved to the next phase. Through the thought of short circuiting lights, feeling like my ear drums would burst, I stared at the KBZ jav as it quickly drove off and realized then that truly age had caught up with me. There is nothing wrong with the cool lights, the loud music and the three kanges, probably there is a lot of support required in that job. I walked home slowly, smiling and appreciating the point in my life where I was at that level. My peers from Kikuyu must surely remember Alicia & Ng’ombe. That’s as far as my memory goes.

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The 28th year

So my birthday month June went by fast and it was quite cool. Those who know me well, know I never let my birthday pass without some noise, I love attention, I mean come on its once a year. This one however, was a bit more chilled out. I spoke more on phone and received messages, hang out with my boys, Munchkin and Papa, and enjoyed dinner with the Mutaratara group (believe it or not I am in a group bearing this name, and no it’s not a procedural group!)

The birthday celebration

So I sat reviewing how my year was and I realized, amazingly, how fast a year goes by. Since June last year, I have moved out, seen my son walk, run and tantrum. Better yet I have seen him grow tall, repeat a couple of words, communicate with gestures, move shoes to three sizes bigger and learn how to eat our food. I couldn’t help but wonder what I used to do with my life before him. I am hooked to my little ninja. And it got me thinking, as I am raising this absolutely active young boy with a very strong opinion that I need to let go of some stuff if I will teach by example.

Allow me to get you into context, when I was pregnant, it was a bitter sweet feeling. I had close friends and family who couldn’t put it past themselves that I wasn’t married. They did not necessarily say it directly but I could tell there was a certain stigma. Goodness me, I kept thinking, this is a blessing not a disease! And it got me so mad, their reaction that is, that I totally took it personally and wanted to forget about them and ditch them completely. And for the last one and half years, I have kept my distance and my family away from them. Recently though, it hit me that for sure you can’t choose family. I began to realize that some of my family members would sit in ‘my goat negotiations’, we would meet in family functions, both good and bad. I probably would survive putting on a fake smile and getting past the small talk, but that’s not what I want to teach my munchkin. And I want to be real and honest with him all the way. So I guess this is the part I bury the hatchet (my English teacher would be proud). I still struggle with forgiveness especially when there has been no apologies, but I am learning to figure it out.

On the other hand I have grown to respect my parents on a whole new front. My little young man could literally make my heart stop and he is turning two this week. He is so awesome and fun but he also has potential to drive me crazy. I wonder how my mum was able to blow dry and plait my hair herself, as I yelled my lungs out. Or how my dad survived with me as a teenager. How he felt when I forcefully moved to campus or when he knew that I partake of drinks with a certain alcoholic percentage. Parenthood is an experience like no other with major highs and lows. God’s guidance is what enables parents to survive.

On a friendship level, I am so grateful for my real friends. The ones who have stayed with me through all the fun and craze to listening to me talk about munchkin 9 out of 10 of the times in our conversations. Considering I was the first in my group (s) to get a baby, I hope I wasn’t overbearing. I am so excited that now. Munchkin has friends to play with and others are already in the womb, you know yourself. I am lucky to have the ones who understand when I return calls two days later. The ones whom even though we stay a couple of months without talking, when we do talk it’s so seamless, the ones who know they can call anytime and vice versa. On the other hand, it has hurt to lose some close friends, some in heartbreaking situations and others slowly slipping away but I have learnt that some people are in your life for a season and so I am at peace with it.

I miss staying with my grandma and I need to make it a habit to take munchkin more often coz I can see they both really miss each other’s company and shared time. Three of my nieces were born within that year, I have a bigger extended family with siblings who are so genuine, a man that I continue to be so grateful to God for. I always remember my paternal grandma’s words, “God is the one who gives a good husband” and even as we get there, I have seen major truth in it. My work life has become better, one way or another. I still have major business ideas that I need to execute, I need some help with being able to build them and be accountable.

I miss my Mummy and can’t even begin to imagine how impressed she would be by munchkin, being a grandma, how my life continues to turn out, the endless conversations we would have, the great times we would share but I know God has a reason.

Oh well, let me not get you all emotional. That was a fabulous year for me, all things considered. I have seen changes in me that I am liking. I hope to become better with age, just like fine wine. I am slowly but surely letting go and letting God. The journey continues as I count down my second birthday this year, 4 days to my munchkin’s birthday, that day in 2013 that my life changed forever, I absolutely love it.

 

The Miracle Girl – Baby Jena Muthoni

In the early morning cold I couldn’t help breathing in the air and enjoying its freshness. The fact that it is a gift, that no amount is required to enjoy it, is rarely what people walking or driving to the office would think of. Sometimes, the hustles of life can make us forget that life is not guaranteed, that we are not special to be able to see this day, that it’s by the grace of the Almighty that we can walk, talk, see, hear and feel.

Late last year, we went to a friend’s house to celebrate his first daughter, Shiru’s, birthday, as well as an addition to his family, his four months old second born, Jena. We had a great time at the party, children played while parents and friends caught up on their progress in life. At the end of the day, we thanked the parents for hosting and wished both girls the very best in life. On Monday last week, my friend and colleague Gerald, showed us pictures of his now eleven month old and mentioned how much she made him happy, how he loved her and how adorable she was. The gift of parenthood is so amazing, I thought as I fondly thought of my son as well. Little did we know that this was his instinct communicating a message. Two days later, his beautiful baby girl collapsed. Luckily, the nanny quickly called her mum, who wasn’t too far. She ran up the stairs and when she got into the house, one sight of her little baby girl and she knew things were bad. The mouth to mouth resuscitation, that she had been taught by a doctor, a while back ensured the baby was breathing, as a cab driver rushed them to hospital, where the father met them as soon as he could. The little one was admitted in hospital and was stabilized, but a day later her condition got worse. After analysis and scans, the doctors found that she had suffered a subdural hematoma, (a collection of blood outside the brain, under the skull), a term that I had previously only heard in medical shows. As the blood accumulates, the pressure on the brain increases. This led to an emergency surgery to drain out the blood. Baby Jena woke up well and began to take medication. She was in the High Dependency Unit at the Paediatric section, of the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi. As we speak almost two weeks later, this young little angel is now well into the road of recovery, with the kicking of her legs and responding to her name, a very emotional and grateful moment. Jena was moved from HDU to the normal ward on Wednesday afternoon.

The constant prayers and visits by family and friends has held this family together and given them hope at one of the most difficult times. As Jena continues to recover at the Aga Khan Hospital, there is need to begin to raise funds towards a bill of over Kshs. 700,000. Having seen Jena smile and play, I would like to work towards ensuring that she is able to fully recover and that her parents are able to come out of this challenge victorious. However, they are not able to raise this amount of money, on their own. It is in this regard, that I would like to request for my family, friends and the community at large, to assist me in helping clear baby Jena’s bill. I would like to commit to running of errands, service at an event for both individuals or an organization, any chores, cleaning, planting, whatever is within my capability, that I can be able to do during this Easter season, for any donation that is available to assist my little niece and her parents to walk out of the hospital, hopefully next week, and continue the recovery process at their home. Let us help Jena, her sister Shiru, and her parents, Gerald and Schola continue to live and celebrate her turning one year this April, without this heavy load of Kshs. 700,000 plus on their shoulder. One thing I look forward to. is the day Jena will share her story with the world, of how she truly is a miracle baby, and with the assistance of well wishers, family and friends, she was able to make it out of hospital without owing a single cent.

My appeal to Safaricom and Airtel Kenya would be to kindly give us a Paybill number that would enable well wishers to directly transfer funds into.

A special thank you to the Doctors and Nurses, at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, for all their hard work and assistance towards the full recovery of Jena Muthoni.

For any clarifications, kindly reach me on 0721415356.

Munchkin Tales

As munchkin gets closer to the 2 year old mark, I can already begin to see the signs of what they call terrible two. Initially he was interested in my phone and though he would sometimes get angry when I did not give it to him, a toy would easily distract him. Now he is more intelligent and knows exactly what he wants. Usually, I hear it from family or friends that he has grown a little bigger. I think it is because I see him every day and it seems like he is the same little munch. These days, his milestones are what tell me he is growing.

In December, if we did not want him touching anything, it was simple. We would put it on the top part of the seat and forget all about it. Nowadays, he will climb up the seat and reach to the top for whatever you thought you were hiding.  Currently, the remote is our all time favorite. As long as he sees it, he wants it. It doesn’t matter whether its mummy or daddy who has it, he just wants it period. This weekend, I saw his new reaction to “No”. In two seconds, he had tossed himself to the ground yelling at the top of his lungs. I have seen tantrums before but this is the mother of them all. I stared for about a minute, not knowing what to do. Within that time frame, a couple of things crossed my mind. Do I go my mother’s way, slipper and tap his behind a bit? Or do I go according to the reading I have done that says tantrums sometimes are to seek attention, as he is at that stage where he wants to be understood, but still hasn’t got all the words right? Well I went with the latter, but I made it crystal clear that I was not giving him the remote. He cried for a while, but I explained the same thing and when he saw I wasn’t changing my mind, he decided to take it. At that very moment, I actually saw him testing me to see how I would react. Wow, these kids are so intelligent.

On a different note, munchkin is well adjusted to the new nanny, a month later. He has mastered saying hi on the phone, feeding well, playing with his toys and enjoying her company. She might do a few things differently in terms of house chores, but I have learnt how to live with it. As long as my munchkin is happy, I can sort out the rest.

As I wait for the next milestone, this is how big we have become:

Just a week left and I tick the 19th month off...

Just a week left and I tick the 19th month off…

This Muthiga girl reflects, Muthaiga is possible…

Its 2015, February to be precise, this time flies by too quickly. I have already had a roller coaster ride this year, wow my life is soooo, (whats the word?) Dramatic?? Some might say that but all the same, being alive beats all else.

I started out the weekend hanging out with friends with whom I once worked with. We sat and talked, laughed, and remembered the days past, it was quite a reflection. Then we talked about where we currently where in life and though the paths were quite different, there was a level of contentment as well as a hopeful spirit for what was to come. We could not believe that it was 9 pm already and we still had not covered everything. We needed another date to catch up and hoped through life’s busy schedules we could make it soon.

On Saturday, I saw one of my friends get married. It was such a milestone and I was so proud of him. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but remember the campus days and all the crazy fun things we did, how we got through the tough times and just who we were in general. Had you told us about marriage then, we probably would have said it would never happen. Fast forward to today, he looked so happy and ready to be a husband. From his speech, his dance moves and aura, he was ready for the rest of his life with his lovely bride.

On the other hand, one of my girlfriends from high school had a house warming / goat eating as she prepares for her wedding. There was a lot of excitement in the air and the bringing together of friends they have from different aspects of their lives, was humbling. As they narrated their story, I remembered the girl who was once my roommate in high school and the major worry that was to pass KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education), for all of us, and how God had taken great care of her and raised her up more than she would have imagined then.  We laughed at the hardships they had gone through as they started the dating journey, on a light note of course, and stood proud that they had been able to go through it all, come out stronger and find the person who they would share the rest of their life with.

looking back

The thinker in me woke up as always and made me realize how far we have come. Though days pass by really fast these days (hope that makes sense), we actually do move on to greater heights. It might not seem like much but when I remembered high school and campus, there as so many milestones. We may have set targets that we have not achieved yet but I assure you, we are not where we were ten years or so ago.

As I remember who I was in high school through to campus until now, I am so excited and humbled. I still have quite a lot to do but I am on the way, I am not stagnant. I have a beautiful family, great friends and I have matured in so many ways. So much so that I could blow my trumpet, I just choose not to J. I have quite a lot that I need to cover and to be honest, sometimes I feel down and as though I am on pause, but after this weekend, I have reevaluated and just stopped and seen life from another angle. I continue in this race of life, I am a success in the making and very appreciative of my achievements, failures, ups and downs, joy and sadness, the various experiences I have gone through. I realize now that everything truly does happen for a reason and once embraced, it’s easier to move to the next level.  On an entirely different note, someone please tell me why cleaners in some restaurants feel the need to wash the floors with Jik (a bleach brand) and all other detergents with such strong scents, while one is still eating……. I await an answer or probably a solution to that problem.

Munchkin’s life progress

During the week, I sometimes have to sit outside in the evening Whatspping a friend, so that Munchkin can eat his food. Kids are amazing. The minute I walk through that door he forgets everything and remembers the all too cool, nyonyo. Many have said to me that he is too old and should have stopped and I think it too sometimes, but the comfort he has when he is enjoying his right temperature shake makes me push the timeline a bit further.

I remember waiting and being so anxious about him walking. It was quite a while since he started holding on to the seat or stool and there were prophesies that he would walk a week after, then it became two weeks then three and I just stopped thinking about it and gave him his space. Finally he started walking on his own, I was so excited and so was he. He would lift his hands up and walk with pride, seeing he does not need to hold to anything. Of course the excitement sometimes leads to running, underestimating a distance to the door and falling. The experience is scary but for sure lack of an expression on mummy’s face has him up and about in two seconds, not even dusting himself. So we walked while holding a finger or two when he got scared and soon his confidence was up and great.

Of late he has been screaming and wanting all of mummy’s attention. Leaving to go to work is a nightmare as I contemplate hiding then decide, to just say bye so that I do not allow separation anxiety to build up. I often end up feeling like going back to calm him down.  I am so excited and enjoy the love but sometimes I am also worried he doesn’t want to interact with anyone else especially relatives he hasn’t seen in a while. I question whether I am the one who has not exposed him, but then again I am probably just edgy being a first time mum.

So yesterday we went out for lunch with Tata, Nana, and some friends. The new environment had him refusing to walk at all and could only be carried by mum. With time, he warmed up and was playing quite a lot with Tata. However, any attempt to pick him up had him yelling.
Our kind waitress, Mary, saw the struggles and brought him his own menu to play with. That was quite exciting for him, until a few minutes later, when he got over it and was wondering what was the next cool thing to play with. Mum’s juice brought a scuffle, but I stood my ground and did not give him the cold drink, for about 20 minutes, then I figured warm water mixed with it would quench a little thirst. Luckily, munchkin loves food so we enjoyed the fries and a tiny bite of the ribs. After food, Mary brought him a coloring paper and some crayons.

munchkin

He was more fascinated by the different colors of the crayons for sure. Soon he was removing them one by one, slipping them through the space between the seats to the floor. The lovely green balloon was the next captivation; the material rubbed against his face seemed interesting though short lived.  Yet again we were back to the menu. Books are noticeably of interest starting with grandma’s newspaper; his little Lion king story book and menus. I am glad to say he loves books, so I will definitely work at buying enough story books and hopefully he will get into the reading culture. Finally, when he was tired with everything, he stretched out and started to pull mama for his dose of nyonyo and five minutes later, he was fast asleep. Kids have such a interesting life, eat, sleep, play, fuss, explore and repeat.

My munchkin, I am so glad you grow and learn something new daily. I will enjoy each moment I can because I know the attention to Mum will not always be there so if you need to tag my trouser, hold my hand, refuse to picked by anyone else, scream and be dramatic when I am around, yell at the top of your lungs when I leave for work or step outside, I will enjoy before we move on to the next milestone and soon you will be all grown up refusing to be hugged and kissed by mummy. I will enjoy.

 

The Drama that was this morning

My morning started off a bit sluggish, with that feeling of just wearing jeans to the office, which I actually did, then seeing how it goes. So my usual routine went really well, with my tip toe mastery being excellent. My munchkin did not wake up, despite walking into that room almost 15 times. Finally i left the house and all was well. When I got to the bus stop, the current bus had one space left and unfortunately a guy rushed to it. So here I was stuck with the next totally empty bus but at least three other people joined me and we boarded and waited for the other 58 or so, to joins us. I kept myself busy with my phone as I waited for it to get full.

The journey began and I found myself a bit sad because the bus did not have music, but then again, it was an opportunity to enjoy the silence as I read through a few stories and posts in peace. Just before I finished my line of thought, I spotted the preacher just as she stood up to begin her word for the day. I have nothing against preachers, its just that I am not a morning person and I prefer to start hearing loudness from around 10 a.m. Did I mention I sat somewhere in the front? This just means her voice would be that much louder. Oh well, she began on a high note and started praying a few minutes later. It took a while and we paused and gave God the respect deserved. Just as she finished her prayer, the bus conductor’s voice became louder than her’s, “Kaa chini wewe, sitaki kushikwa na karao mimi. Unafikiria 30,000 za excess nitatoa?” (Sit down. I do not want to be arrested by the police. Where do you think I will get 30,000 shillings to pay a fine for carrying excess passengers ). For the next few minutes the lady continued standing silently while the conductor went on and on, until finally she decided to take her seat. All this while the little voice in my head was screaming silently, “Awkward!!”. I felt a tinge of sadness as she whispered that she has never been arrested, or a conductor for that matter, for preaching in a bus in the morning, and she would know as she does it daily. For once, I heard her speak in a fairly pitched voice. A few minutes later, she asked the driver to let her alight, but he convinced her to continue. The conductor now explained that we were out of Ngong road, where there were so many police men, preparing the road for the president, to go open the Nairobi Trade Fair. She could now go ahead. With tears in her eyes, she was able to calm herself down and continued with her planned sermon.

On the other side, traffic had build up and I was running late already. Coming from the village where we use Boda bodas (motor bikes) almost daily, I decided to take one from Yaya to get me to work as fast as possible. I alighted from the bus and headed towards the Boda parking place. When I got there, there were two available, but a guy came almost immediately and quickly picked one. I was left with the only one remaining. I began explaining to the guy where I wanted to go.

motorbikes

Talk of rude interruptions, and quite unceremoniously for that matter, a way lighter skinned guy (simply because I am not racist), came to where I was standing and began speaking to the same boda guy that I was speaking to. He went ahead to explain that he wants to go to Intercontinental Hotel. For the first few seconds, I stood there dumbfounded. Was I an invisible tree or perhaps my dark skin meant I could not afford it or maybe my jeans compared to his grey suit made me less important? When I finally brought myself together, I told the boda guy, its a first come first serve basis and got onto it, seeing as I am a pro these days. The shocked grey suited guy walked off in a huff as I clicked quite loudly. Geez, just as I was cooling off from the drama, the guy gave me the helmet. This one was cute but appeared small. Maybe I have a big head but of course I blamed it on the cornrows and the cute bun at the centre. So I told him, my head could not fit and he started getting angry saying he does not want to be arrested. What was with people and being arrested this morning? Anyway, he decided to give me his instead, to which I quickly agreed as I looked at the time. It fitted yes, but OH MY GOODNESS, the smell of sweat was killing me slowly.Has he ever washed this thing ever? I thought of all the disgusting things i could within that 6 minutes ride where he kept accelerating then decelerating like a mad man. But speed was not my worry as I could barely breath. As I gave him the cash, I thought how many more minutes I would have been late had I stayed in the bus until my stop, then walked to the office vis-a-vis dying out of holding my breath for 6 long minutes. For sure this will be a drama filled day. Try not to have one yourself.

Until next time…..