Staying on Track: What happens when your plans go South

It’s  nine days to the end of January and I am already dreading February!

I have loved this month because I’ve seen the projects we envisioned late last year come to fruition. New permanent classrooms and smiles on kids faces because they get to enjoy studying in well ventilated, spacious and solid classes!

I intended to write more so I could have the final draft of my next book done by February but that won’t be happening. I think I killed the villain, and in her place another one sprouted and I don’t know what to do with her! So, this turn of events has thrown me off balance- and being a planner, I am frustrated to the point of not being able to align my thoughts to writing anything else.

What do you do when things go south?

I have had tea, taken a walk along the Lake, had some fresh mango juice, taken a nap, done some push ups (awful ones!), listened to my playlist on shuffle, set aside the draft…all these within a week and I still can’t get myself to calm down and get back to writing!

One of the greatest highlights of my day has been reading “Break your glass slippers” by Amanda Lovelace

 

My favorite lines…

“create a safe space

for yourself to go to when

it feels like the whole world

has turned against you.”

 

 

I am struggling to stay on track, trying my very best to follow this through and maybe going with the flow would help see to the completion of this draft, maybe not.

I guess I’ll not know unless I try…

Have an awesome week!

10 lessons learned this August

It’s the second last day of August and can I say that 99% of me is screaming with joy because schools open in two days and that means your girl will be out and about initiating dialogue and meetings to set up infrastructure in public primary schools.

This means a lot of travel, field work, engaging diverse views and most of all, it means that I am closer to my purpose- seeking to positively impact the quality of education children get today, one school at a time.

This month’s been an interesting one. I lost three of my friends this month and it goes to show that life is as precious as  you live it.

So, I thought of wrapping up this month with some of the most memorable experiences I’ve had this month.

1. I experienced varying degrees of emotion when it comes to love, attention, and intimacy.

If you can please watch this video. It’s one the talks that spoke to me in my phases.

2. My experience one, shared above, led me to check out Esther Perel and after her insights on Red Table Talk, I have watched most of her talks on YouTube, trying to reconcile my expectations versus reality when it comes to love.

3. It is possible to go without coffee for 21 days. I repeat, it is possible to go without coffee for 21 days, but the struggle means consuming a lot of tea and in my case, I had at least 3 cups of black tea every day.

4. Everyone wants something.

5. Everyone you meet has a whole lot to offer it depends on how you approach and engage with them.

If you think you know it all, chances are you know nothing at all and sometimes when you are seated at a table, negotiating terms and working around policies that would impact livelihoods, it’s best to engage silence.

6. There is something exhilarating about taking online classes.

I took 2 courses on +Acumen on: Adaptive Leadership and Environmental Sustainability Practices.

7. People call it a ‘Bucket List’ but Emica Mao, author of, Plus One Plus None, calls it “Do-While-You-Can-List.” So, whatever it is to you, write it and pursue those things relentlessly!

8. We regret the things we don’t do more than those things that we actually do.

I learned this when a colleague approached me with the latest office gossip, and given that I was the heroine of this tale, she chose to tell me that people were saying I was having an affair with one of our associates (who is married). I listened as she spoke and when she finished I asked her ‘is that so?’ and did not say anything after that. In fact, I haven’t said a thing since then and it hurts me that this tale, founded on a lie, hurts me to date. I wish I told her off.

9. Fear is good sometimes, it keeps us going.

I struggled writing my latest book, Sifuna. I wrote it, released it and then de-listed it and edited it and just cast it aside for three months, until this August when I shared it with a couple of readers. It feels good to get positive feedback especially after struggling with a story for so long. It’s more like ‘I’ve still got it.’

10. I’ll end this list with two words ‘stolen kisses.’

I am looking forward to September and what it brings. Hoping to grow more into my own and travel some more.

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 I learned by playing music on shuffle

I put my playlist on shuffle yesterday at 7:43pm. I was writing a meeting plan and thought why not just click that icon that looks like a pair of scissors and let it entertain me?

Well, world, there’s something intriguing about shuffle. So, the first ten songs that came on were:

  1. I’m not the Only One by Sam Smith
  2. September by Daughtry
  3. Wanderlust by James Bay
  4. L’Origine Nascosta by Ludorico Einauchi
  5. Romantica by Il Volo
  6. Unconditionally Bae by Sauti Sol & Ali Kiba
  7. No Scrubs by TLC
  8. Calypso (Remix) by Luis Fonsi
  9. Sexy Dance by Fally Ipupa
  10. Not Over You by Gavin DeGraw

When Fally Ipupa’s song came on, I was on my feet dancing till I spilled some of the tea I was drinking on the floor and it didn’t help that the lights went out right when I’d gone to fetch a mop from the bathroom.

Image result for is that my song gif

But, that’s not why I am writing this post. I am writing it for a host of reasons aside from vanity.

I am writing it because I learned that:

  • I have a lot of albums that I have barely listened to.
  • Playing songs on shuffle mode is like taking a stroll, you don’t know where the trail will lead you but you cannot help but take in every moment, enjoying every new thing that comes your way.
  • Songs can distract you from work and shuffle follows no theme or order, one song is melancholic the other is upbeat, it just plays as it goes.
  • It’s been three months since I listened to any song by One Direction and in my world that means that I have been of sound mental health for their songs are what I go to when my mood needs lifting.

Have you ever hit the shuffle button on your player? What’s your experience been like?


In other news:

I am currently reading: You vs You: 12 Ways to Kick Your Own Ass and Win by Todd Cahill

Image result for you vs you todd cahill

I’m drinking: Tea

It’s: 28 Degrees Celcius here in Mbita.

 

The thing about ringtones

Is this…if your ringtone is John Mayer’s Heartbreak Warfare, I’m going to strike up a conversation with you. I am not declaring my weirdness, just the profound understanding of what that song means to me.

Image result for heartbreak warfare gif

I was meeting with a group out of town today. I had just strapped myself in when one of the guys in the back shouts to someone outside, “Weh! Ali, simu yako…”I could have cared less but then it was Heartbreak warfare and all I could think of was laying my weapons down and turning to get a good look at this Ali dude. Ali comes back, looks at the caller ID and then says “wacha tu ilie,” and at this point I’m thinking it’s a conversation he is not ready for.

I dig that. I get that.

Two magic words: Airplane Mode

When I’m not down for anything be it a text, call, notification or beep, I set my phone on airplane mode and read a book or two. Sometimes, at night, if I am unable to write, I would look up random policies on children and read them comparing what each government has to say about child protection. (I find Singapore’s policy quite refreshing; but Liberia does take the cake when it comes girl’s education and gender bias and merging it with their basic education policy, that’s kickass if you ask me. I’m yet to read Japan’s but I feel like South Korea could be worth a read some night.)

Ali comes back to the van. The driver steps in and introduces me to the team. At this point, I know two things: they are working on health and sexual reproduction in a community and they need me to help them plan out how to reach out to the women and young girls. I am introduced to; Anne (Sociology major, cute glasses), David (Masters in Community Development, Unapproachable facade), Ali (Communications, hence the John Mayer vibe and I tell him that I was once a Communications Assistant at my previous job), Stella (Project Manager, the one who reached out to me) and then Humphrey (the driver whom I like, but know he’s the senior field manager and he’s just too modest to admit that he’s the boss). Stella is keen on clarifying that this is me just giving me a guideline and that I wouldn’t be employed by the organization they work for. She hands me some liability documents and I take them and sign them. Ali asks “won’t you want to read those?”

“No, I know my way around them. The only document I ever read is anything that deals with photo and video consent and it’s not here. So, this means that any photos you take of me while we are working would not be shared without my consent. Is that so?”

“Eh, I have the consent forms but I thought I’d give them to you once we are in the field.”

“Why did you pick heartbreak warfare as your ringtone?”

“Ati what?”

“Your ringtone, that’s John Mayer’s song Heartbreak warfare off his Battle Studies album. Why did you pick it?”

“I like it. Do people have reasons behind the ringtones they assign?”

“Yes, you just said you like it. I love that song. It’s cool that you have it. Can I take a look at the consent forms you had in mind for me?”

“Sure, let me just get them for you.”

At this point, Humphrey looks at me and smiles, “You are not what I expected.”

“What did you expect?”

“Someone taller, older or let’s just say a bit different and serious like most consultants are, but you are…easy to talk to.”

“Why do you say so?”

“Ali does not talk to anyone while we are driving. He would have his earphones on and listen to music the whole way, but you come along and suddenly he’s talking. I don’t know what to make of that?”

I nodded and we talked about everything including why it was important to buy bananas at Kisian and not Ndori. They dropped me off at home an hour ago. I wished them well but Ali jumped out of the car and reach out to me just as I was opening the gate. He dipped his hands in his pockets and leaned closer and said “I really like you. I mean, I like how you talk, but don’t get any ideas, it’s just that few people can…you know, speak, yaani hawawezi kuongea vile unaongea and that’s dope. Na, juu ya hiyo ringtone, well, sometimes you like someone and she’s not yours and it’s like war every time. So, see you next time, I’d love to hear your suggestions on a success story I’m working on. We could do something together, I mean…nitanyamaza sasa, bye.”

“Sure, bye Ali.”

I knew he was cool from his ringtone because you’ve gotta have something in you to set heartbreak warfare as a ringtone.

Image result for heartbreak warfare gif

My week so far

I am glad Saturday is here.

It has been an epic week for me because it involved a little bit of travel, planning and most of all a conflict that made me wish for an escape.

It has also been the week in which I listened to “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction five times!

So c-come on! I don’t know why….it just happened.

I learned a couple of things this week:

  1. Your solution to a crisis might not be someone else’s solution and they may condemn you for taking action.
  2. Respect to those who are in the 8 to 5 grind, working with people every day for the same work hours in a confined office, takes a lot of patience and understanding.
  3. When you want to cross the road and an old lady is beside you, please ensure that you help them cross the road. I neglected this and once my foot hit the road, she followed me but could not keep up with stopping in the middle of the road to avoid incoming vehicles, we were treated to hooting vehicles!
  4. A decision won’t wait for you to act upon it. Make up your mind, act upon it and be consistent in your actions if you want to achieve a goal.
  5. Ombeyi is far! It’s some place in Ahero town- and besides I took this cool photo of a church I saw there.

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I am looking forward to some quiet time after work today, and I am thinking something along the lines of a three hour nap!

Have a wonderful weekend!