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.

What I’ve been up to while staying at home

It’s been weeks of staying at home and adhering to the need to keep physical distance.

Though it’s often phrased as “social distance,” I find “physical distance” to be accurate because in the past two weeks we’ve spent more time connecting online or via phone calls and texts- and it’s not limited our socialization, it’s just made us socialize on a different non-virtual platform.

I’ve been living with my Mom, younger sister and nephew in Kisumu and coming back home when the Kenyan government called for limited movement has been the sanity break that I needed.

So, in that period of time, I :

  1. Started listening to more music, and the highlight of my #stayingathome has been downloading Deezer- a music app that’s introduced me to various playlists.
  2. Downloaded the 30 Days Fitness Challenge app and I have been doing 5-minute workout sessions every day. I can successfully plank for 30 seconds.
  3. Have been cooking a lot- and I discovered that it helps ease my anxiety- just prepping a meal and finally cooking it.
  4. Learned that I totally detest doing dishes- of all the household chores that can be done, doing the dishes is not my go to chore.
  5. Have gained weight, my cheeks are chubbier.
  6. Dyed my hair red

And the highlight of my time spent at home has got to be: writing, editing and publishing Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi

Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi by [Dora Okeyo]

About the book: Every kingdom but Enzi, had a fool. This person was entrusted with uplifting the spirits of the members of the royal court. 
Now, inasmuch as they did not have a fool, they did better, they had a Chronicler.

I will try my very best to explain to you what role the Chronicler played, give a moment, let me light up these dry leaves and settle in my seat.
In Enzi this position was only to be filled by women. As far as I can remember, my Great Grandmother was the first Chronicler and after that, she trained her daughter, who went on to train her daughter and in turn I was trained. Chroniclers never died in Enzi. They would instead accompany the King to the afterlife if it so happened that the ruler died before them. Call me Zuri, I am the only living Chronicler and this is my story…

It’s available worldwide on Amazon Kindle: here’s the link


I’ve also learned a lot from the #WritingCommunity on Twitter and I am constantly inspired and challenged to do better and to read more just by reading what other writers have published.

I’m currently reading The Carpet Cipher by Jane Thornley

Have a lovely weekend, stay hydrated.

Updates on the Writing Life

It’s my favorite day of the week and my working hours have come to an end. So, I am celebrating it by drinking some tea as I contemplate the tasks that await me tomorrow.

I am listening to Hozier’s Nina Cried Power as I write this and take small sips of tea, waiting for the sun to set.

How’s your week started out?

On reading: I have been reading this book on creating more interactive environments for students and educators that encourage learning and collaboration. It’s an insightful read so far and I have taken more notes than I ever did in my Abnormal Psychology course in University. Check out their work history and projects on their website: here

On writing: I was home this weekend and accompanied my Mom to a bookshop and there was no way, I’d walk in and out of a bookshop without getting stationery. So, I was drawn in by a set of pencils and erasers and when I buy a dozen pencils, it means…I am writing.

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On travel and work: I managed to visit a school scheduled in my assessment list last week and I found the ride quite pleasing- though you can feel the motion while in the waterbus, you cannot feel an ounce of it on the ferry, so if you ask me…I’d take the ferry any day!

Have a great week!

What’s in my bag

It’s been a while since I shared a fun post, but rest assured there’s no fun in digging into your bag to see what’s there.

I should probably add that I threw away the various receipts I had crumpled inside there, most of them coming from supermarkets.

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Here’s my bag, I take it everywhere including to work, where a friend said I need some serious help! My sister bought it for me and I can’t resist it 🙂

So, what’s in my bag:

  • A water bottle (Kisumu is always hot and inasmuch as it’s my kind of weather, being hydrated is important.)
  • Books (one is a novel I’m reading and the other is a writing book for all the ideas that come to mind.)
  • Pain killers (I picked this up being on the road, so I always have at least three or four tablets with me, just in case)
  • Coin purse and wallet
  • Pencil porch and stationery (highlighters, pencils, rulers and erasers are a must!)
  • Two varieties of lipgloss and the NIVEA Blackberry shine lipbalm.
  • Hand sanitizer, Body Splash, Hand cream.

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There you have it, that’s what’s in my bag 🙂

Have a lovely weekend.


TMI:

Currently watching: Click on BBC

 

Updates on the Writing Life

 

Saturdays are slowly becoming my update days. I cannot seem to shake off the urge to post about updates on both my writing and reading life. A friend told me that I have a very rich reading and writing life but need serious intervention on a social  life. My response to that is:

Image result for books are social
Photo Credit: TeePublic/ Google Images

So, I had some funk milkshake at Urban Coffee today- it’s a new coffee joint at Mega Plaza here in Kisumu and I cannot walk by the sweet aroma of brewed coffee, so if I’m ever around that place, I sit down for a cup.

On reading:

As I was making my way home, I kept thinking of the dramatic shift my interest has taken especially with regards to the books I’ve been requesting to read off NetGalley. I met my Goodreads 2018 Challenge,  having read 188 of 180 books. The past two weeks have seen me scout for more books on Business/ Investing/Leadership/Social Inclusion/Multicultural Diversity and Mental Health.

  • I just read Jiwe – a short fantasy tale by Kahiki Enjani Strokez. A Kenyan Writer and if you’re into fiction that serves an African theme, then- check out my review here.

Jiwe

I’ve completed all my reports for the week and cannot wait to get started on these two books this weekend:

 

 

On Writing:

Let’s just say that things have been looking up with the final revision of Sifuna and now I am scouting for other online outlets where I can post the books for ease of reading.


TMI

I’ve been listening to the album Cage to Rattle by Daughtry

I’m on my sixth cup of coffee this evening

I cannot stop obsessing about Erkenci Kus– this Turkish Telenovela I stumbled upon on YouTube.

Reading The Name of the Wind

Have you ever read a 722 page novel in one sitting? Allow me to gush over a book I just finished reading called The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Ever heard of him or read his books? This was my first of many and here’s why:

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

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Most of the times when we hear accounts of heroic acts, it’s always passed down from witnesses or people who overheard the stories and so forth. A man happens upon an inn. He arrives at night and almost loses his life in an attempt to get shelter. It turns out that he is a scribe or what people would call a Chronicler. He is the guy who brings legends to life by telling their stories. He takes one look at the innkeeper and knows it’s Kvothe or Quothe, the red-sandy hair, and the eyes give him away and he wants to tell Kvothe’s story. So, Kvothe reminisces his early life, his adventures and all the Chronicler does is note everything down. This is fantasy like I never expected and before I go, I’ll leave you with a few snippets of it.

It is a word. Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.

Kvothe recalls his time at the University and there’s this statement he made about the administration that had me thinking what would happen if that were to be incorporated in Kenya?

Your next term’s tuition was based on your performance.

After his parents and their troupe were slain, he wandered the streets for years and when the Chronicler asks him how he dealt with the loss, he spoke of Four doors of the mind; sleep, forgetting, madness and death.

One thing did ring true of Kvothe, he was restless and his impatience and smart mouth got him into more trouble than he ever asked for. I know temper and fury. I’ve been caller a Simmer more often than I could drink coffee and if there’s a statement that lit up the Simmer in me, then it is:

Besides, anger can keep you warm at night, and wounded pride can spur a man to wondrous things.

I’m moving on to another book today. What are you reading this week and are there any epic fantasies you’d recommend?

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Reading updates

Saturday’s here and I am all for staying in bed and listening to Bryson Tiller’s Trap Soul, but that’s for another time.

I’ve been doing less writing and more reading.

On my to-read list today are:

  • The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett: Having been booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, successful author Burton St Clair invites his old friend Jude to come along. Although they haven’t met for twenty years, Jude is not surprised to find that St Clair hasn’t changed, with his towering ego and somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. What Jude hadn’t been suspecting however was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death. 
    More worrying, from Jude’s point of view, is the fact that the investigating police officers seem to be convinced that she herself was responsible for the crime. With the evidence stacking up against her, Jude enlists the help of her neighbour Carole not just to solve the murder but to prevent herself from being arrested for committing it.China Girl by Ho Lin: In its nine tales, China Girl documents the collisions between East and West, the power of myth and the burden of history, and loves lost and almost found. The stories in this collection encompass everything from contemporary vignettes about urban life to fable-like musings on memories and the art of storytelling. Wide-ranging and playful, China Girl is a journey into today’s Asia as well as an Asia of the imagination.They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen: Joe Chayefski has got what he always wanted: a reputation as one of America’s top neuroscientists, a beautiful wife and two perfect daughters. But his carefully created idyll is threatened when his Baltimore neuroscience lab is targeted by animal rights activists. The attack is followed by a phone call from Joe’s ex-wife in Finland. Two decades have passed since he abandoned Alina and their young son, Samuel, returning to America to advance his career. Now Samuel is somewhere in the States, and Alina fears he is looking for revenge. As Joe struggles to protect his new family from the increasing threat of violence – and to save his eldest daughter from the clutches of an unscrupulous tech company – he is forced to reconsider his priorities and take drastic action to save those he loves.

Which book/s are you looking forward to reading this weekend?

Have a lovely day 🙂

21 things about me right now

  1. I am replaying Hillsong United‘s 2016 album, Let There be Light.
  2. I had tea in the morning and now, I am drinking my first cup of black coffee.
  3. Reading: 
  4. I love taking off my shoes and walking barefoot in the office 🙂
  5. The campaign I am currently loving and following has got to be: ONE CAMPAIGN: The Fight Against Extreme Poverty
  6. I love Java 🙂 and now our office is a five minute drive away from it.
  7. I love the new layout of books at Books First in Nakumatt (Mega Plaza Kisumu), going to get 4 books this afternoon: The Fallen Angels series by J.R.Ward
  8. I can’t go a day without scrolling through the WordPress Reader.
  9. I take this album everywhere I go: Image result for divide ed sheeran because Ed Sheeran just is.
  10. I’ve lost 1.5kgs and it’s bugging me.
  11. Highlighters are my new craze
  12. I have never missed an episode or re-run of Twist of Fate which airs on ZeeWorld.
  13. I am nervous about the release of my new book-> I’d talked of it here
  14. Totally loathe writing work plans!
  15. Looking forward to the Mothering Sunday service at Church this Sunday, because moms are moms.
  16. My ringtone is Work from Home by Fifth Harmony (don’t ask, don’t tell)
  17. I’ve been to the JUMIA Pick-Up station in Kisumu seven times this month alone!
  18. So proud of my myself because a success story report I wrote was published on two sites, and it’s enhanced the visibility of the organization 🙂
  19. Writing more this week and it feels great.
  20. I have a lot more to achieve and sometimes when I think about it, I find myself saddened by the things I am yet to do.
  21. I cry when I watch movies: Have you watched Lion?  I cried so much my sister had to pause the movie and tell me to shut up or we could stop watching it…my cousins just laughed, my mom handed me the third handerkerchief and told my cousin “enda ulete tissue moja umpe Arch.”