The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Reflections’

A Last Dance in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain

a last dance in the rain

 

It’s raining outside,
And the sound of gentle drops on my window is beautiful and calming.

So I push back the curtain,
Peek out the window with nostalgic wonder.

And I’m met with a blue-grey blanket of rain,
One that paints a sweet memory of us, silent, listening to our hearts beat.

It’s hard to believe,
All I can sense of you now is hidden in pockets of nature.

Yet still,
Feel robbed of a chance to encounter our nature.

Days go by,
These memories, I fear, will start to fade.

As I dream of a time when you were the rain,
And I ran outside,
And we gently danced our last in nature’s embrace.

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A Widow’s Wish

A Widow's Wish

A Widow’s Wish

Today, I thought about my dear Grandma Jenny and what life has been like as a widow for most of her adult life. She never remarried and at times I find her in the living room holding on to an old photo of my late grandfather.

Sometimes I wonder what crosses her mind when she thinks about her beloved. I wrote this reflection inspired by her and with a touch of foresight on my part:

I wish to grow old with my friend.
I wish to enjoy him still seeing me as the pretty young girl he saw when he first met me.
Oh! How I wish to dance with him every Sunday evening in our old house, dusted with sweet memories.
I wish to hold on to his old hands and still feel safe.
I wish to listen to his heartbeat and find home.
I wish to kiss him, burry myself in his embrace, close my eyes and enjoy his scent.
I wish to stare into his old eyes and know for sure that with him, I would do it all over again.

I wish to grow old with my friend, 
Father of my children, 
Home of my heart,
One whose love will forever echo even in my old heart.

~ For Grandma Jenny.

Scars into Stars – A Lifestyle of Mentorship!

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

 

My failed businesses had a purpose after all! Recently, I learned the positive side to all of my failed business projects in the past.

My mother once looked at me as I cried, one failed business followed by another. I had done my research right. I had prepared a super business strategy; I had already contacted some business mentors. Yet still, my businesses did not pick up and failed in the end. I truly learned the art of trial and error with an extra baggage of frustration.

But today, my mother’s words, “My dear child, don’t worry, one day all these things will make sense.”

That ‘one day’ was today!

I met a young man on my way home who camped outside in the cold selling some warm snacks for passers-by. I was intrigued by his determination and the fact that he was the only vendor within vicinity who was actually standing up, waiting for customers. Other vendors had wrapped themselves in warm things as they curled themselves on their chairs waiting for clients.

I’ve got the blood of a marketer so I simply gave-in to the young man for his commendable appeal. What I had planned to be a one-stop trip to buy a roasted smokie with kachumbari led to a deep conversation about business.

He said that he never got the chance to finish school but he’s using what he’s got to earn a decent living. In the freezing cold weather he smiled with excitement over his small business and said that he would like to try out new products. Other vendors had taken up his idea and he needed to beat the competition.

As he spoke, I remembered all of my struggles; all the capital I had invested, burning the midnight oil doing research and coming up with a business strategy, prayers galore and making my family members guinea pigs for business experiments

I could not leave this young man without fueling his passion for his business.

And so I spoke, and asked him questions, provided him with examples and gave him ideas on how to expand his business. He was amazed that a stranger would take time to motivate him!

Well, at the time my business was failing flat on the floor… my friends had no idea about why I needed to make it work so bad, my mentors suddenly went A-WALL, my family honestly just needed a break.

Then I finally learned my lesson today: my business failed not because my attitude or plans were wrong. They simply failed because of that extra push to greatness that I lacked from someone who believed in me.

I know not if I’ll ever meet the young man again, but one thing is for sure – I made sure that by the time I left that young man, he didn’t have questions but ideas to put into action. After purchasing the snacks that he sold, I am glad that he was more determined than I had found him.

~Even if we suffer through challenges, the least we can do is carry the lessons we learn though it all and use them to inspire another person.

This is the true spirit of mentorship!

Yours Truly,
Ayuma.

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th - 22nd September)

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th – 22nd September)

 

UPCOMING HAY FESTIVAL!!!

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World OR Waza Dunia

Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

 

HISTORY OF STORY MOJA:

Storymoja Hay Festival is a collaboration between Kenyan publishers Storymoja and Hay Festival UK to create a platform for showcasing great literature, poetry and ideas in the country’s capital, Nairobi.
Out of the various editions organized by Hay Festival UK the Storymoja Hay Festival is the only one in Africa. It is arguably the biggest literary event in East and Central Africa. It is held annually in Nairobi and features internationally renowned creative minds.
Founded in 2008 The Storymoja Hay Festival is a four day celebration of our stories and our culture through storytelling, books, live discussion forums, workshops, debates, live performances, competitions, mchongoano and music.
The Storymoja Hay Festival has grown from 500 visitors the first year, to over 5000 attendees in 2012
We have enjoyed the support of over 50 partners over the last four years, including HIVOS, US Embassy, British Council, Dutch Embassy, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya ICT Board, Google, Alexander Forbes, Oxfam,

MENSTRUATION IS NOT A CURSE

Celebrating Being a Woman / ruby-cup.com

Celebrating Being a Woman / ruby-cup.com

How many ladies got their period without knowing what it is? Did any of you think that you were dying or suffering from a serious illness like cancer? Well, that has happened to many of us but it shouldn’t be so and this cycle should stop.

When a lady gets her period, this should not be handled with shyness, disgust or shock but with pride – as a girl is welcomed into the world of being a woman! Women aren’t born with a manual on the best way to deal with the frustration that comes with menses. This is why having a community of ladies supporting girls can help them through this process. If we never got the support we needed, this is our chance to do it right by reaching out to our sisters, daughters, cousins, and even the girls within our living environment. Or perhaps, we could reach out to girls who are facing this alone and don’t have the means to deal with menstruation.

Also, there are various medical interventions that have been designed to help women and girls have a smooth sail through their menstrual cycle. These include sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups. In Africa, sanitary pads and tampons have been quite popular and not many have heard of what menstrual cups are.

Well, a menstrual cup is a bell-shaped menstrual hygiene product commonly made from soft rubber or medical-grade silicone and is inserted into a woman’s vagina to collect menstrual fluid during menstruation. It is often reusable since it collects fluid instead of absorbing. Most manufacturers recommend replacing a menstrual cup once every 10years. This means that it’s economical since it’s reusable and you’ll only get to worry about “replacement” after an entire decade.

Also, the endless reports in Kenya are simply heart-breaking, about girls who miss out school because of their periods. Click here for more… Some of the girls cannot afford pads and end up using rags, old pieces of blanket, tree bark or mud to hide their “shame” which prevents them from presenting themselves in public or in school. This shouldn’t be so, not if we’ve got what it takes to support each other despite our backgrounds.

A Ruby Cup / ruby-cup.com

A Ruby Cup / ruby-cup.com

Ruby Cup is an award winning menstrual cup that’s the first to supply its menstrual hygiene products in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is mainly because there is an increased need for such a product to curb health and economic stresses on access to menstrual hygiene products that are long-lasting. You can use this product at home and those who’ve used the Ruby Cup attest to literally forgetting that they are on their period due to the comfort and relief it brings. But that is not all; you can help in distributing a Ruby Cup to a school girl from an underprivileged background. When you buy one cup you reach out to a girl and help her go through primary school, secondary school and finish College without having to worry about her period again.

Here are some letters from school girls who’ve benefited from using Ruby Cups!
If you would like to have an edifying session with the Ruby Cup team at school, in church or even your group of girls, please contact the team at info.ke@ruby-cup.com.

For more information, please follow Ruby Cup on the social networks: Twitter: @rubycup and Facebook: RubyCup

Yours Truly,
Ayuma.

The Lonely War in Kenya

Poaching for Ivory in Kenya

Poaching for Ivory in Kenya

My opinion is that poaching in Kenya is a great result of corruption in our government. I totally support the fact that Hands off our Elephants is a great campaign to address this matter but my worry is that this time it’s our elephants; next time, it might be our lions, then perhaps our flamingos which are already facing a population crisis. Or perhaps our forest covers which continue to be echoed by the late Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement.

I say “I will not cry over elephants”, not because I don’t care about our elephants but because crying and worrying are emotional reactions to a situation that I feel is caused by our very own leaders. Yes! There is no way that all that ivory keeps escaping our borders without even one of our leaders knowing about it, leave alone blowing a whistle.

Our rangers can’t be out there risking their lives to fight poachers yet our leaders are part of the problem! This is the main reason behind my loud rant and I am glad that I have stepped on a few toes to make people speak up even in the social networks. The problem isn’t just the fact that our elephants are being killed by “foreign” poachers often pinned to the Chinese, China Wu Yi… The numbers of suspects are endless. But the problem is that while we are having sleepless nights about the poaching menace and how our economy is failing us, our very own leaders are part of the problem. This is why I strongly support the fight against corruption. This is the root cause of the problem!

I just wish, truly wish that all the vigour used in the anti-poaching campaign – the determination, the research and filming efforts (which I strongly feel Kenyan filmmakers should take lead on and not foreign filmmakers), the heavy emotion towards the loss of our country’s treasure (elephants) through the poaching crackdown – was put into fighting corruption which is the mother of this poaching menace.

How can we as Kenyan citizens best fight this poaching menace? How can I help to fight in the anti-poaching war in my daily life? Honestly, there aren’t too many options for us that will produce quick results that we need given the current state of the situation. My guess is that it might somehow boil down to raising funds just as we did with protecting the Mau forest, bringing Zack back home, Kenyans for Kenya and many other public appeals to take care of our own people and natural resources. But this shouldn’t be the case in my view. Instead, the country should be appealed to participate in a massive cleaning up of our house in our quest to fight impunity in our country. Yes, it might seem farfetched but I truly believe that if we as a nation put more effort in collectively fighting the big fire and not the sparks, then we would start seeing the change that we need.

Corruption is the mother of all evil

Corruption is the mother of all evil

Guess what? We don’t have to raise funds to fight corruption in our country! In fact, we’ll save loads of money by ensuring that resources go where they ought to go. You and I can simply start the war on corruption in our very own homes; the change begins with us! We could speak up and support the very few leaders in our country with a passion for a corruption-free Kenya.

I believe that all’s not lost and that we do have the opportunity to be a better Kenya and stop hitting global headlines as one of the world’s top 10 corrupt countries. This shouldn’t be, not with all the beauty I still see in my country. If Nigeria was able to fight this monster and be in a better place after the war on corruption…We can do it, we can make it. Not by getting together to raise funds but by collectively deciding, “WE AS KENYANS DO NOT TOLERATE CORRUPTION!”

We need to support true leaders who are managers, not crusaders who we often see in the evening news. It shouldn’t always be about them so let’s give them the silence that they deserve. We need to support our leaders who are true managers and focus on making do with what we have, not demand for more. Those who make strict policies to protect the dignity of Kenyan citizens. Those who don’t complain to every camera that points at them, but those who work and give results.
Then our elephants will forget the scent of poachers and roting blood of their own. Then Kenya will no longer be one of the highest taxed counties in the world. Then our children will grow up to taste the sweet fruit of integrity within our country.

The fight against corruption is big, insanely big, but we do need to start it soon before it’s too late.

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World.
Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Turkey Funeral by @ayumyum

Turkey Funeral

Turkey Funeral

COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO! The farm’s cockerel stirred up life in the farm. Mama walked into my room and found me staring at the ceiling. The carroty rays of the morning sun had pierced through the old curtains creating lovely patterns of light. One pattern looked like a peacock’s tail. Mama thought so too when I pointed it out on my bedroom wall. She then told me to go take the warm bath she had prepared for me and later on head to the hut where Nyanya, my grandmother, was. I sprung out of my mattress and left my little sister Dory* tucked into her bedspread. Mama didn’t bother waking her up. The poor girl was exhausted! She had spent her entire afternoon running around the farm on the previous day when we had arrived at our rural home.

My older cousins had already started doing their chores in preparation for the great family feast in the evening. The boys helped my uncles to choose the best cow for the banquet. The girls accompanied my aunts to the market to buy kitchen supplies and grind sun-dried maize at the millers.

Papa was a busy man. His quick and long strides told it all. He walked from one side of the farm to the other making sure that everything was in order. The cattle had been released. The cows had been milked. The poultry in the farm had been freed from their pens. The guard dogs had been fed. Money had been given to purchase supplies for the feast. A true Kenyan man he was, attested by his special request for a generous order for beer – Tusker to be specific! I never understood why Papa and my uncles liked the soda they called Tusker. I had tasted it once from Papa’s glass but it did not taste nice. It gave people a funny smell in the mouth!

Omwitsukhulu (grandchild) let’s go!” Nyanya called out to me. It was time for our walk. She liked morning walks in the forest. It was the only time she got to take-in fresh whiffs from the Kakamega forest, before the farm filled with activity. I liked accompanying Nyanya. She was the tallest old woman I knew. No one really knew how old she was apart from Kuka, my grandfather.  Whenever she sang, I hummed silently to her tune as we picked fresh wild mushrooms amid the jamboree of trees. She sang in a language that mother had been trying to teach me. Her voice blended well with the choirs of forest birds and the chattering of monkeys. At times I just stopped and stared at her as she slowly knelt to pick mushrooms. The gingery sunrise waves settled on her so gracefully, covering her with a golden coat of light. I followed her closely behind as I picked the mushrooms she uprooted and stored them in a small sisal basket. From a distance, a group of women gathered firewood for their households. They all waved at Nyanya who was quite popular with women from the local church. Every harvest season she gathered women from the fellowship to harvest crop at our farm and go home with a sack full of produce as a token of appreciation.

As soon as we arrived back at the farm, it’s as if we had returned during resurgence.  There was clamour from every corner. People hurried from one point to another. The look on some animals confirmed that I was not the only one in shock. And so I let go of Nyanya’s hand and run towards Dory who was playing with some ducks. Kuka sat nearby on an old tree stump to ensure that Dory finished her breakfast which he held in his hands. The two were inseparable – wherever Kuka was, Dory was just a stone’s throw away. Nyanya said hello to her old love then headed for the kitchen where my aunts and mother were.

As Dory and I played with the birds, groups of men started approaching my grandfather for greetings. It was tradition to do so as a sign of respect. Whenever Kuka wasn’t around, Papa took his place as the eldest son to receive guests at the compound. I couldn’t help but feel so proud of Kuka. He was a short old man but very active in the community’s welfare. After Dory finished her breakfast, he stood up to put the bowl on the stump. Kuka grabbed his brown walking stick and went for a walk near a stream that flowed near his old hut. He did this whenever he wanted to pray. Perhaps he wanted to pray for a good feast and that Nyanya grants his request to make his favourite stew. Or perhaps he wanted to pray that Nyanya doesn’t cook his favourite rooster, she never liked his rooster. “It makes too much noise,” she used to say. Kuka always claimed that the rooster always woke him up in good time. Nyanya often disagreed and took the credit saying that she’s the one who woke it up before other farm animals. I loved how my grandparents got lost in their arguments and then laughed it off in the end.

Dory noticed that Kuka’s turkeys had fed well and gathered under Nyanya’s avocado tree to laze around for a while. The birds were so huge that I thought they would burst if pricked by a sharp object. There was a funny noise they made which I confused for one of Dory’s loud farts. For some reason, she quickly picked up a stone and threw it towards the group of turkeys. The impact it had was unexpected. Suddenly we were scampering from an angry mob of turkeys. The giant ones scared me the most. I thought that I was going to die if even one caught my toe.  “Would it swallow me whole?” But I feared most for Dory and wasn’t sure if a bird had grabbed her already. I cried out loud wondering what I would say if Kuka asked me about Dory. How could I tell him that one of his turkeys had swallowed his best friend?

Luckily, I spotted a clear path that led to the main kitchen at the farm. I could see Mama cleaning some utensils. I thought she was my best chance to prick the turkeys that were chasing me. I hid behind her and watched her scare away the fat birds like a superhero. I clung onto Mama’s colourful khanga tied round her waist and started crying. When she told me to calm down, I let out the secret. “I’m so sorry Mama! Dory threw a stone and the turkeys ate her,” I confessed. “What do you mean?” Mama asked. “Mama, what will I tell Kuka? His turkeys ate Dory!” What I expected to be a loud cry came out as a loud laugh by Mama. I was confused by her reaction then she reassured me that turkeys don’t eat children. I dried off tears from my eyes and jelly from my nose with the hem of Mama’s khanga.

The relief was short-lived as I heard the sound of Dory wailing nearby. Mama and I quickly ran towards the loud cry hoping that she’s alright. I had prepared to see the worst – Dory screaming from the inside of a giant turkey. My heart pounded hard in fright only to find Dory curled up at the foot of the avocado tree. She was crying as she held something in her hands. When she saw us, she uncovered her little hands to show us a young turkey struggling for breath. She asked Mama to rescue it since she was a nurse. Before Mama gave her an unfortunate response, the little bird stopped breathing. I knelt down next to Dory and cried with her. We had never seen anything literally die before our eyes. Mama told us to calm down but Dory shouted, “I killed him mum! I chased his family then his father stepped on him.” We broke into loud cries leading to quizzical reactions from relatives within the compound. To avoid attracting attention, Mama told us to stand up and give turkey to one of the farmers who stood nearby. She said that he would know what to do with turkey. She did not like that Dory held onto a dead bird in her hands. The look on the farmer’s face was so scary that it made Dory immediately surrender turkey to him.

Mama told us to cheer up and go to Kuka’s house to keep him company. She rushed back to the kitchen. Luckily, as soon as our mother disappeared into the kitchen Kuka found us with the farmer. He had heard Dory’s cry which made him worry.

With Kuka by our side, we requested the farmer to let us bury turkey. Kuka told him to let us do what we had asked. He put the bird in an empty packet of wheat flour that had been swept by the wind from the kitchen bin. Kuka walked into his hut and warned us not to get into trouble especially with Nyanya. I think he feared her tempers more than a lion’s roar. The farmer said that we could throw it into the farthest latrine in the farm. Silently, we walked to the latrine as we stared at the packet. The latrine greeted us with a slightly pungent breeze. Luckily, lots of hot ash had been poured into it to mask the full force of a reeking latrine.

A toilet fly kept us company as it buzzed inside the latrine which was made of stone. Dory said that we should pray first before burying turkey, “God please forgive me for throwing a stone at turkey’s family.” I nodded in agreement. “Dear God, please forgive turkey’s father who stepped on him,” she pleaded as she cried. I held her shoulder and helped her complete the prayer by asking God to save some food in heaven for turkey since he would miss food from the feast. “Amen,” we ended the prayer. Dory let go of the packet which landed inside the latrine with a punching plop.

We walked out of the latrine feeling sad that we had lost turkey. But then again we were so glad that he would be in heaven with God who loves turkeys.

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World
Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

My Indian Boy by Michelle Ayuma

My Indian Boy

My Indian Boy

 

“Wake up! You are going for a motivational talk.” Dad woke me up early on a Saturday morning. He always took-up mum’s role whenever she was gone for her field work. Sleep vanished faster than usual as his rude deep voice woke me up to panic compared with the smooth sail out of sleep my mum’s sweet voice. I had to shake my 12-year-old sister, *Carol, out of bed on Dad’s behalf. She was a tough one! She would envelope herself with her blanket, and pulling the thick bed covering meant playing tag-of-war. That is how I often did my morning exercise.

We took a quick shower and dressed up for the strange event Dad was taking us to. He always wanted the best for us. At times I felt that he tried too much, but I also felt that it would be so disappointing if we dared show disinterest in his push towards our excellence. And so I wore a giant clueless smile for him so that he would see my enthusiasm. I often did this to reassure him that he was doing the right thing.

 

 

We rarely mirrored what our peers did over their school holidays. Dad always insisted that excellence meant making some sacrifices in our lifestyle. Mum was working during the August holidays so he kept the home running and our brains fed with wisdom. At times I wondered how it would have been to live like the other kids in our neighbourhood. They always had interesting stories to tell after the school holidays, especially last year’s Christmas. I rarely have any tales to tell, not unless it is about the interesting documentary I watched on Discovery channel. Or perhaps how funny it was when David Copperfield bit his step-father, Edward, in Charles Dickens’ book which I later on watched as a film by Hallmark.

It didn’t really bother me to go for a motivational talk. I always love to learn new things, go to places I’ve never been to, meet people from different cultures, experience things that sharply intrude on the normality of my life. My only disappointment was Carol’s constant nudge to express her discomfort in going to a strange place early in the morning.

“Excellent! We are on time.” Dad announced to prove a point to an invisible time-thief. He hurried to open the car door and ensured that we had carried our then fashionable “Monkey Bags” stuffed with our glittery Spice Girl pencils, Mickey Mouse rubbers and a classic black pen from Dad’s office.

“Hello girls! Welcome to the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training.” A lady reached out to welcome us. She had a shinny face and a warm smile that had no end. I wondered why she exaggerated her smile but I just followed the direction indicated by her arm. “Be the best girls!” Dad said.

A boy, possibly a 15-year old just like me hurried past the main door. It was evident that he was Indian as his father’s voice with a heavy accent echoed though the corridor as he helped him look for the right room. They said their goodbyes and we found ourselves walking shyly into the room which greeted us with big clueless eyes from other kids. The Indian boy let me into the room first and Carol followed. There was a large oval table surrounded by kids who assembled while waiting for the smiling instructor who sat at the front to start off the session. The boy sat on the opposite side of the table right next to Carol who placed her Monkey bag on the table as if it were a pet.

He gave away a gentle smile from across the table and I sent him one as well. During introductions, he picked up a pen and notepad and scribbled away. He only looked up when I introduced myself by name. When it reached his turn, Carol nudged him and he was startled for a moment. He introduced himself as *Raj Pandit and when he saw me smile he suddenly went quiet and gave the next kid a chance to introduce herself. He then picked up his pen and notepad and continued sketching. Carol stole a peek whenever she could and sent reports to me though her winks. Silly girl, but I loved her!

During our break, it was like Raj turned into a robot. He suddenly stopped drawing, stood up straight and marched outside, unlike the other kids who rushed for munchies at the snack table. Carol stuffed herself with snacks and threw some sweets into her bag. As I was about to grab a samosa, Raj grabbed it and then handed it to me. We both laughed and he told me that samosas are the only interesting snacks he could spot on the table. How Indian of him! I told him that I hadn’t taken breakfast and that samosas looked more filling than the other snacks. After our samosa talk, the instructor told us to get back to our seats. Raj took up his pen and notepad and continued doodling.

Whenever we could, we stole a stare or two from each other. Raj was a quiet boy but whenever I made a contribution to a discussion he actively participated by listening. His widened eyes made me realise that he really paid attention to what I said. I had met other cool kids but I was sure to pay a little more attention to Raj who was a little reserved and interacted less with the other kids. But one time, he had a deep chat with one of the boys. I bet they were talking about some boring boyish stuff judging from their gestures and words such as ‘gadget’ ‘Beckham’ and ‘NASCAR’ that escaped their bubble of chat.

The toughest moment came when the training period came to an end and all the kids had to say their goodbyes. Although there was no easy way for kids our age to keep in touch, I made the best of the last moments I had with Raj. I laughed a little more so that he wouldn’t forget my smile. I stared at him a little more so that I would not forget his geometric face and his spiky black hair. The colour of his face that was as smooth as the fresh pies that Dad used to buy from a new coffee house near home called Java. The impact of his tiny yet sharp eyes that pierced through mine whenever he stared and his gentle nature even in his silence as he drew on his jotter. My curiosity swelled with every stroke of pen on paper.

During the last session, he looked at his notepad and took a long gaze at me. I smiled and he rested his notepad. The instructor called him to the side and he rushed to listen to what she had to say. Carol sneakily stole a glimpse of Raj’s drawing then quickly moved away from his chair. When he came back for his notebook, I stood up and walked towards the main door along with the other kids. My heart started pounding as I waited to ask about his drawing.

But all this was in vain when his father’s voice echoed into the room. Raj looked at his father who wore a wide smile that raised his thick moustache and had some round glasses just like Mahatma Gandhi’s pair. He took a step towards me but his father patted him on the back indicating that they should get going. The two hastened past the corridor and I rushed outside as if pulled by his last glances only to find Dad at the end of the corridor.

Carol had followed me, curious to find out if Raj would manage to show me his drawing. Our fathers exchanged firm manly nods on our way out as I literally felt the bond between Raj and I tear away. We were from different worlds but the bond I had with him felt so cosmic and familiar that I didn’t want to let go of his watch. There were no quick means to help us reconnect and we barely shared a lifestyle. As soon as Carol got into Dad’s car, she told me about the notepad. “Raj was drawing you,” she said with a worried look on her face as if we were running out of time to do something.

And so I reached home and sank back into my world of excellence – of books and documentaries. But I soon started one of my own – of imagination and wishful thinking. I grabbed a pen and notepad and wrote about Raj –his smile, his eyes and the samosas that he liked so much. Writing became my new world where culture, technology and time could not get into my way. Writing became my haven, where I could escape and meet my Indian boy whose smile will remain eternal in my words.

 

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013 at the National Museums of Kenya. Follow @SMHayFest on Twitter, and Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook for updates on guest authors, events, pre-fest events and tickets.

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th - 22nd September)

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th – 22nd September)

 

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

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