Looking for excuses, finding them and missing out on life.

I am in one of my moods, or as my sister says “in my feelings,” because I have been on the road non-stop for a week.

I love my sleep and can recharge for hours like a cat. So, this past week had me travel to Nairobi, then Kisumu and now I am back in Mbita because my best friend was getting married and I had the honor of witnessing her wedding as a bridesmaid. It was more of a firsts for me because it was the first time I had on: block heels (3.5 inches) for the whole day, had my eyebrows trimmed, and wore make up!

Days have gone by so fast, and I had been looking forward to being selected as a 2021 IREX Community Solutions Program Participant and for a program that’s very competitive, I felt ready this year, made it past the first round and got my regret letter after the second round of interviews. I was crushed. And what I learned about that moment, reading that email is that my mind completely played out various scenarios for me: I play a role in something I am passionate about and with a great team I get to see public primary schools improve their structures, I see it in the eyes of the children in rural communities when we are constructing classrooms how eager they are to step into new, permanent and well ventilated classes. So, not getting into the program this round, does not mean that I stop working.

On writing: I have been writing a new book and in my head it is complete and perfect, but on paper, let’s just say that I need to go stationery shopping and get everything going right. I have perfected giving excuses every time I want to write and this has resulted in downloading more DJ mixes, drinking more coffee and reading books🤦🏾‍♀️, help!

On reading: This year has been the best for I have bought more books and this has also seen me not read as many titles from Netgalley, and I hope to catch up on the reading soon. I have also read more titles from Pulitzer Prize winners in the fiction category.

I am currently reading Should You Leave by Peter. D. Kramer and he’s writing from the Psychotherapist point on view on advice, when it comes to the age-old question in a relationship, “should I stay or leave?” Coming from a Psychology background and training, reading this is like learning and rediscovering my love for therapy and what it means to help someone work through the dilemmas they have.

I have been making excuses on working out and writing and now I am reaping what I’d sowed and it’s started with a guilty conscience and every time I see the schedule I stuck on my wall, I cringe. Part of me is acting like it’s not bothered and the other one is losing it’s marbles, and the wisest of them is slowly coming to an understanding that I am focusing on the output but not the input and could try and see the growth or set tasks that could lead to the goals I want to achieve, now if only I knew how!

Have a great week, I’m still working until Wednesday when all schools are supposed to be closed here in Kenya.

Goodbye September and Hello October!

It’s the last day of September and I often feel a certain kind of warmth when a month ends mid-week because I am guaranteed a weekend in the first week of the new month! Well, that was before COVID-19 struck and decided to shake us up!

So, on Monday our President decided that well, the curfew is still on for 60-days and stretched the time to 11pm- 4am. He also granted permission for bars to open and my absolute relief was that schools would still be shut until we are better placed to contain the virus. What sucks about this is that the funding they received from the World Bank and other donors goes into their stomachs and not towards the health facilities!

On books: I was going through my Goodreads “READ” page and discovered I have read and reviewed 165 books so far and some of the best titles I got to read were in June (34 books in total). This month, I read more paperback copies and here are some of the titles that kept me company:

I am currently reading “EndGame by Derrick Jensen” and enjoying drinking lots of tea as well…

On writing: I am taking part in the 10k-Novel Writing Challenge that would mean writing 1000 words every day for the first 10-days of October.

I have been watching Never Have I Ever as well and in a weird way, I am now #TeamPaxton because at least he’s single and his sister called him out on how awful he treated Devi, whilst Ben is cute and considers Devi equal and brilliant- he’s still got a girlfriend, an athletic one as well, so hey…that means he’s got a decision to make!

My September song is definitely: Be Praised by Aaron Moses & Naomi Raine off Maverick City’s Vol 3, part 2 album

And, the greatest thing I have done this month is keep up with my laundry! It’s been refreshing knowing that I don’t have any dirty clothes waiting for me to clean them up and fold them!

In the previous update on life and staying at home post, I said I was struggling with consistently working out and this past three days have been a good run for me, I get to do some squats, push-ups, mountain climbers and 20-second planks in the morning and evening and I feel pretty good about it.

I am looking forward to October and we’ve got 93 days left until 31st December 2020, so live as best as you can, love as hard as you can and be kind- the world needs gentleness.

Weekend plans and everything in between

Hello weekend! Is that you? I’m looking forward to staying indoors, drinking tea and reading books- yes, I just bought 12 new books making my tally come to 18 unread books and now they are staring at me like I am doing them an injustice by not picking them up.

I have been on a roll, watching series like I am paid to do so. Let’s just say that so far, I watched: Summertime, Never Have I Ever and Love, Victor! I’m a sucker for romance and drama, so far let me just state that I can’t wait for the second seasons of these shows and if I am still as interested as I am now 🙂 I’ll probably catch up!

On work: I’d say my week has been eventful. I am happy that we are wrapping up most of the projects and this means completed classrooms and happy schools and their communities.

2-classroom block constructed at Kitare Primary, Suba North.

On writing: October is fast approaching and a friend recommended that I join the 10k Novel-writing challenge and when I read the invite I nearly fell off my seat “10 days. 10,000 words. Are you ready?”

I love a challenge just as much as I am freaked out by it because I’ll be on the road pretty much from the 7th to 12th October and so getting to see this through scares me so much that I’ll attempt it! So, how about it? If you are looking to get some writing done, work on that schedule and pace that you so desire, how about joining the 10K Novel writing challenge? SIGN UP!

On studies: I’ve been taking online lessons, doing my best to participate in the New Heights Fellowship Program and so far, I am learning that I can always do my best, pursue and serve excellence in everything I do and I am also challenged to build more leaders in the communities I am working in.

On publishing and book sales: Look, I’ve been on the receiving end this past week especially regarding Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi! Phew! If you got the book and read it, is it truly that deep and difficult to read? I need to know…

I took time to set up the publication of “IN THE QUIET” and this is because I have been exploring digital publishing in Kenya and I enlisted the help of a Tech-Expert I know and absolutely admire to help me with this and as they’ve been working on this, I have been editing and revising the book which I hope to share with you at some point this year. I just want it to be the very best version I could share with the world.

I am looking forward to being more courteous and keeping my word in all that I do. Have a lovely weekend wherever you are and I am sending you love and light and a ton of positive vibes.

Updates on Life, Staying-Not fully staying at home, reading and writing

182 days since we got the #stayathome verdict from the Kenyan government. How are you holding up wherever you are? What have you learned in 2020 thus far?

One thing is certain: we have 108 days to the end of this year and I for one, find myself more aware, present and grateful for every moment I experience.

I have been reading more books because I joined this awesome whatsapp book, admnistered by Prime Book Hubs and simply put- they post books for sale and you get to reserve a copy, pay for it and they ship it to you. So, I’ve been buying books and my first September haul includes a book loaned to me by my sister which I just finished reading.

I absolutely devoured Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and if you are into books that are set in bookstores with some hidden secrets or puzzles, you’ll love how technology meets print and ingenuity in this book.

I am currently reading Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani.

On writing: Let’s just say that I need to travel a bit, change the environment I’ve been in- read more, or just kickstart my brain into actively writing this next book. I’m taking a leap going into non-fiction and I am learning that it’s not that easy to string words along. Research takes time and I am forever at the phase of “would you tell me that again?” and it’s driving me insane. I need some patience juice! No sugar please, just the patience juice.

And, how do you know you’ve got your writing mojo?

For me, this involves shopping for stationery and nothing speaks to me more like pencils in the dozens! So, I decided to put everything I’ve got working for me and share a picture, just to prove that I am not losing it, or rather, that I should open up a stationery shop…

Whereas the Ministry of Health provides us with COVID-19 statistics daily, I find myself inclined to document and journal what I’ve done in a day, and this is what I call, taking stock of the things that I may have overlooked that made my day.

  1. I decided to cut down on processed sugar and this is my third day without it.
  2. I’ve been changing my sleep cycle; now I go to bed by 10pm and get up by 6am. I am working towards going to bed by 10pm and waking up at 5am.
  3. Pitching articles to various editors is something I hoped to do this year and since last month, I’ve sent out 2, hoping to send some more and explore long-form article writing as well.
  4. My Mom is a huge advocate for Education and it gives because she taught for 30 years. Her challenge to me this year was not to give up on fellowships and scholarships because every year I send out at least an application for a fellowship and 2 Masters scholarships- and I get turned down. I got so close last year and it tore me apart- and she told me, not to give up, if I could come in fifth, then maybe I’d get it.
  5. Fitness is not easy. I can write everyday, because I worked on getting this done, but working out has been a challenge that means installing and uninstalling fitness apps- working out two consecutive days then quitting, so I’ll stick to walking. It may do me some good.
  6. I finally gave my visual threshold a chance- and watched two series: The Witcher and Cursed...and can I just say that I am looking forward to the next seasons? Who would have thought that grunting could say so much- because Geralt of Rivia, in The Witcher grunts in response to almost everything!
  7. Comedy! Yes, I’ve always loved Trevor Noah and this month, I discovered K-Von Comedy.

I am looking forward to reading more books, a bit of travel for work because we’re focusing on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) projects this round-and most of the schools I’ve visited are in dire need to latrines, hand-washing stations, access to clean treated water and most of all- in need of some infrastructure development.

Have a wonderful week wherever you are.

New month, some new expectations and old fears

Hello September, it feels like I was enjoying the first week of March and then I blinked and you were at my doorstep!

Well, how are you holding up wherever you are? I’d say that this first day of September holds promise, but if there is anything I’ve learned during this COVID-19 pandemic is that you can plan all you want- but the universe still reigns, the only control you have is on your thoughts and how you choose to react to whatever happens. So, I am choosing positivity and let me tell you, it’s working out…slowly.

I read some good books this past month:

If there’s a movie I’d love to watch this month, it’s gotta be Love, Guaranteed- and it premieres on Netflix on 3rd September.

On writing: I haven’t written anything for most of the past two weeks and my sleep cycle is suffering more because I am worried about work projects and feeling like I have to do much more to impact the lives of children in terms of accessing quality education. I feel like I need to revise “In The Quiet” and explore the option of printing copies but even that is scaring me out of my wits.

I’ve received some good reviews of Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi and I keep asking myself , what next? When and how? So, once I work myself to the right headspace, I’ll start the next writing project.

  • I carry the fear that we’d be staying at home longer due to this virus and also the fear that I may miss out on getting the facts right for my upcoming project.
  • I’m hopeful that I’ll get lots of writing done and ready for publication in the next two months.
  • I’m also super hopeful that I’ll stick to my workout regime this week, okay, let’s just try this week and see how it goes!

Until then, I’ll be reading one of my favorite Poets – Billy Chapata‘s upcoming release “Flowers on the Moon”

Updates on Social Distancing, life, writing and everything in between

It’s exactly 159 days, 21 hours and some odd minutes since the Kenyan government called for the need for us to stay away from public gatherings and essentially #stayathome.

In that time I have:

  • Published a book: Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi
  • Written a shortie short story/ novella: In the Quiet
  • Traveled back to my area of work to see to the construction of 4 classrooms , 2-per community school
  • Gained weight
  • Started, quit, started, forgot about, started working out.
  • Consumed at least 3 cups of tea a day/ some days at least 4 cups of coffee
  • Drank more water
  • Slept in (and I love sleeping in on Saturdays)
  • Signed up for online classes: I just quit the one for African Leadership Institution because with over 1,000 participants and the never ending telegram messages, I missed out on signing in and with 5 error messages- I was done!
  • Got accepted into the New Heights Leadership Program: a 3-month online intensive session that merges both Christian Faith and Leading with Integrity in the modern world.

On reading: I just finished reading Honest to Greatness by Peter Kozodoy and he explores how transparency is key to sustaining organizations, companies and our interactions not just with people but also with what we create.

“To get the most out of your people, you must tell them why they matter.”

Status Check: A friend asked me yesterday, on a scale of zero to one hundred, how pissed off are you with the corruption in the Kenyan government? I shot him a look and he simply said “that pissed off?” See, people have been displaced, lost their jobs, their loved ones, our health care workers are at the frontline yet they’re unpaid, without PPE kits and it doesn’t help that the body set in place to regulate all this is busy trading with kits that could save lives. Wouldn’t you lose it if someone was stealing billions meant to ensure your access to health care which you are over taxed for?

On this new WordPress Editor: Yes, I’m learning that free is expensive, because I don’t like it one bit and switching to the Classic Editor means installing it and yes…I’ve got to be on a paid plan to do that. Or maybe I’m just sleepy- who knows, I will look into it when I can, if I hate it…it’s always good to explore options I guess.

I’m looking forward to September! Who knew we’d be this close to ending 2020 when we started out in January?

Have an awesome week. Stay safe. Stay hydrated. Above all choose kindness, we need it.

Updates on Social Distancing, work, life and everything in between

Friday’s here and I for one would love to sit down by the lake shore and take in the breeze. However that’s not going to happen today, it may tomorrow, but today, I have some work to do and more cups of coffee to consume.

In Kenya, it’s been 100 days plus more since the first COVID-19 case was reported and what’s followed has been the never ending updates from the Ministry of Health that often starts with ‘fellow Kenyans’ and involves the three aspects of their reporting: numbers tested, positive cases, deaths and sometimes…if we are lucky enough we hear the number of those who have recovered.

I resumed my duties at work- and actively started on field duties this first week of June and it’s beautiful to see what’s coming to be. In one of the schools, the foundation of 2 new classrooms has been laid and I cannot wait to see how it’ll turn out in the next month.

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On writing: I published Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi on both Kindle and printed out paperback copies for sale here in Kenya. So far, it’s been a thrill getting feedback on this book.

I am currently working on the next title: In The Quiet and it should be out next month, fingers crossed!

On physical distancing: Let’s say I was the Queen of Space long before Corona took over, and now I enjoy sitting in my house and listening to music- and there’s something beautiful about Deejay Mixes that mean I can listen for hours on end.

Books I am looking forward to reading this weekend and next week:

 

I am looking forward to the weekend and if there is one thing I have come to learn during this re-evaluation time is that indeed the little things count. Who knew something as simple as washing hands or keeping clean would be one of the measures we’d have to adhere to in order to keep a disease at bay?

Now more than ever, I am also learning to take good care of my mental health because this mind of mine could ideally lead me into some deep trenches that I would barely come out of. When it’s necessary, I spend hours out taking a stroll along the lake or even listening to music and steering clear of social media.

What scares me and also challenges me is the Ministry of Education’s call that when schools resume in September and the recommendation that each class hold 15-20 students- we’ll have another crisis. As it is infrastructure in public schools is lacking- and a class holds up to 75-100 students. Like most Kenyans, I find myself questioning how prepared my government is when it comes to handling a resurgence of this virus when schools resume.

I look forward to reading this weekend and sleeping in- or maybe taking a stroll along the lake later on in the evening.

Stay safe wherever you are and above all…I hope you stay sane.

Have a great weekend.

Stacking up the Shelves

I hope that wherever you are as you read this, you are safe, well hydrated and if you’ve got an elderly person near you- you’ve checked in on them. Called in to say hello, or helped share some essentials you stocked up on that they don’t have.

I have been writing mostly and simply trying to get myself in motion in the house- so here are two things that I learned help:

  1. 30 Day fitness challenge App: the 5 to 10 second workouts are great energy boosters
  2. Drinking lots of water and listening to music.

So, I was in Nairobi this past weekend and the Kenyan government’s call for self quarantine came in right after I’d done my book shopping and I’m glad I got to get these titles to keep me busy.

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What are you reading?

Whatever you do, stay hydrated, wash your hands frequently with soap and call your loved ones…neighbors, colleagues, just check in on people.

February going into March

I am ready for March! It’s my birthday month and I am here for it simply because I hope I can catch a break from being in my feelings and out in the field.

In line with this, I thought I’d share some of the insights and experiences I gained in February. When it comes to reading, some of the titles I enjoyed reading this month are:

Some of the articles I’ve enjoyed reading include:

  • The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance: I was particularly drawn to their report on “Agendas 2063 & 2030: Is Africa on Track?” because I work closely with public primary schools in improving infrastructure with the end goal of seeing to increased attendance of pupils in schools while improving the quality of education. I was sad and not surprised that the quality of education has since 2014 reduced in Africa.

I am also in love with Tarot readings and this new obsession/fascination has had me closely following three wonderful humans:

On writing: I reached out to the publisher who saw to the production of copies of SIFUNA, to have my books ( Fire, Water, Wind & Earth) printed for the readers here in Kenya and we are still working around the costs and number of copies.

I know it’d be a great read this April.

The progress on my latest work, “Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi” is taking longer than I’d hoped and this is my fault because I killed my main character and the villain and now I don’t know what to do with the story. I have not written anything for two weeks.

My favorite song in the month of February:

Life lessons learned in February:

  1. Rest, eat well and most of all, rest…you can’t get anything done when you are worn out.
  2. Do not take things personally…if you do, you’ll be bogged down by the wrong things everyone has done against you and that is a heavy burden to bear.

Books I’m looking forward to reading into the first week of March:

So, that’s it for now, I truly hope I can clear my mind, get some much needed rest and focus on writing and making the much needed updates to my work in progress.

Have a lovely weekend,

Stay safe. Live. Love. Laugh and Call the people you love 🙂

Daughter of Dichol: A Short Story

In the kingdom of Kale, long before the gods came to dwell among men, and the waters of the beautiful lake graced every home, there were those who knew what an abomination was. These were the men and women who could look into your eyes and behold the lives of your great grandchildren. No one was allowed to visit these men and women. If your farm was dying and your children wandering even then you could not visit them. They only answered the call of the gods and it is because of one of these gods that I am here today.

Her name, Lando, meaning the fair skinned one. She was the sun and the moon, an ever present beauty at dawn and dusk. Those who beheld her say that she had the eyes that could sink nations, drown fishermen and uproot trees. My people are known to pepper their words. No one has ever held up a picture to my face to prove these things and until then I will agree that she was simply a woman and to any man, a woman is a thing of beauty if he’s not lain beside her.

Lando was the first god to arrive in the kingdom of Kale. It was the season of the full moon where the fishermen prayed to the gods to help them catch some fish, if not a net full at least a handful so they could feed their families. They loved the sun and feared the moon. When the moon was in her full glory, all the fish would never come to the surface and the deeper they went into the lake, the less certain they were of making it back to the shore.

It was in one of such seasons, at the break of dawn when Lando appeared on the shore. The people say that they heard beautiful singing and when their ears led their legs they found themselves before this beauty whose skin glowed like the sun.

When she finished singing her song, she rose and her feet led the way to the King’s home. No one followed her that morning. Later in the evening, the King summoned the people and they feasted on the delicacies prepared by Lando as she sang into the night. For many harvests and seasons, the kingdom of Kale prospered until one evening when the skies could not help but lash out in anger and after the storm, walked in Dichol.

Whereas Lando was sunshine, Dichol was darkness. She was as dark as the night and those who picked a lump of soil from the earth claimed that even that was nothing compared to the god, Dichol. Dichol too upon arrival made her way to the King’s home and she was welcomed by the Queen. It is often said that the Queen had the heart of the Lake, wicked and wild, in everything she did. The people whisper their assumptions because rumor has it that wicked Queen’s spirit still roams the earth ready to strike down anyone who speaks ill of her. Now, they say that she was jealous of the attention the people of Kale were giving Lando and as such, she cried to the lake to send forth Lando’s rival to the land. The Lake being the mother of all souls, mortal and immortal, heard her cries and sent Dichol.

No one has ever described Dichol as they did with Lando and it pains me that they only referred to her as “dark night.”


Daughter of Dichol

Daughter of Dichol is a short story I submitted for the Afritondo Short Story Prize. So, since it didn’t make the cut, I thought why not share it here 🙂

Download a free copy of the story on:

Apple Books

Scribd