Monday, June 27, 2016

Taking Stock 003

Cows!!!!!!! How nice is this picture :-) :-)
Making:A lot of duas(maybe too many) it is the last ten days of Ramadhan and if you aren't making duas,praying for forgiveness what else are you doing, Also making idd plans and by plans I mean cooking and eating plans :-) :-).

Cooking: Nothing as I write but I have this huge cooking plan for idd. 3 days of idd anyone??

Drinking: Lots of water and less tea(win!!) plus I discovered Vimto (read the foreign market segment of this page) this Ramadhan and I am a little embarrassed to say how much joy it brings to my Iftars and Ramadhan nights.It is like having an endless supply of fanta blackcurrant with the control of how sugary you want it to be, pure bliss.

Reading:Year of Yes,how to dance it out,stand in the sun and be your own person by Shonda Rhimes and trying as much as possible to read the Quran.

Wanting: To maximize on the benefits that I reap from this holy month.

Playing: I haven't played any games recently but I will tell you about hula-hoops. I have a few small nieces and cousins who I have come to realize sing variations of songs that we used to sing when we were in nursery school so a lot of the times I am the one who is doing the skamares with them but one thing is for sure they might sing in school but they do not play outside as much.There was this one day I found some of them with an old bicycle tyre and back in the day we used to them as  hula hoops and they are holding it and I think they wanted to play but I was mistaken,I decide to them show how to hula-hoop, the shock on their faces when I put it on my waist and did what its meant to be done with, I gathered I was using it wrongly and walked my dinosaur self away letting them be and use the tyre for whatever purposes it was they were planning to use it for.Seriously though what out-door games do children play now?? skipping rope is alien to a 6 year old I know and now hula-hooping is also alien???

Wasting:I don't know if its only me but do all Muslims have this feeling of what have I done with my Ramadhan, have I wasted this opportunity or is it just me. 

Sewing:Creating:This Quotes board on pintrest,I have come to love pintrest so much because if ever you wanted any sort of creative ideas its the site to visit, but as me and Mresh discovered tailors can disappoint if you make them make dresses from pinterest but its pretty dope and I am slowly becoming addicted to it.

Wishing: Ramadhan could slow down just a bit.

Enjoying: This mini web-series I found on youtube An African City. and because I am me, I went on and watched Nana Mensah and MaameYaa Boafo doing their TEDx talks and they are not only really good actress but such excellent people.Disclaimer if you watch this show do not judge me based on some of the scenes on it.

Liking: Ramadhan and the small fact that I am now an 'expert maker' of viazi karai thanks to a lot of practice.

Loving:How disciplined I have been with my reading schedule this year but noticing that I am definitely a fiction reader and struggle to read self-help books but I must soldier on and on and on because how else will I get a return on my money if I only read fiction.

Hoping:That all of my prayers are answered!

Needing:To learn to say no without explaining myself and in the words Nayirrah Waheed; No,might make them angry but it will set you free,If  no one has ever told you,your freedom is more important than their anger.

Smelling: Is it possible to smell the wind?? because all I am imagining to be smelling is the wind.This is to say I smell nothing just clean fresh air.

Wearing:Is this question necessary because always I am wearing a dirac,Maybe I should start saying the colours of the diracs :-) :-) and how pretty they are.

Following: All the old things I always followed but I am currently liking Patricia Kihoro on snapchat, If you do not follow her and are on snapchat consider it, she will make your days,she even has a Meru alter ego.I am also loving Ramadhan Notes that a girl called Sarah Elhassan posts on a daily basis, as in one note for each day of Ramadhan.

Noticing: That YouTube is the ish,because just the other day(before Ramadhan) I forgot the title to Chris Brown's don't judge me and I searched using all kinds of sentences and I got the song using -Chris Brown kills himself going to space (I know, me and my search history can win awards).

Knowing:That I trust too much and too easily all the time and this has caused me so much heartache and learning that not everyone who laughs with or even smiles with you is your friend is something I need to cement in my forgetful head.

Thinking: Where is this year running too?? just yesterday(it sure does feel like it) I was loving Sharon and Lonina's best present ever pose  and now its 3 days to July!!

Feeling:Lost.Have you ever felt lost,like you do not know what you are doing and you look at goals and resolutions you made at the beginning of the year and you wonder 'so not one thing on this list has been achieved??? not one?? was I setting things that were way beyond me or what is going on!!!!!'.But I have read more and improved on my timeliness :-) :-) which are something.

Bookmarking:Still bookmarking easy recipes online like I found this kaimati and mahamri ones and they are officially on the Idd plans list

Opening:This social anxiety disorder online test because I have my moments and sometimes think maybe I am just weird and I love to hang out alone or with people I really really know and there is nothing else to it but based on how much I am not into social interactions of any sort I might just have this social anxiety thing or I am just a loud/noisy loner.

Giggling: At some of the stories in the Year of Yes.I am just starting on it  but so far it has been  very insightful.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The secret lives of Baba Segi's wives.

This book tells the story of Baba Segi and his four wives, when you start reading it you think (atleast I thought) the only person who had a secret is Baba Segi’s  fourth wife who is educated,is pretty,modern and yet she decided to be a fourth wife to a polygamous, old,uneducated rich man but I figured money talks.As you read on you will realize all the wives have their own individual secrets as to how they got to be his wives and one shared big secret(the mother of all secrets) of how they each got their children.

The family tree of Baba Segi's family.

Iya Segi

She is the first wife and fondly called the mother of the home by Baba Segi.

How she became his wife: Their mothers were neighbours J J, good friends,had raised them as single parents and were both old and feared that they would die before seeing their grand children and therefore decided that their two kids will marry  and so they did.

But there is a back story to it and it's that Iya Segi was this go-getter as a girl and she did businesses and wasn’t too keen on men because of the messages about men and how they are good for nothing that her mother had taught her over the years. 

‘Men are nothing they are fools.The p**** between their legs is all they are useful for. And even then,if not that women needed their seed for children,it would be better to seat on a finger of green plantain. Listen to my words .Only a foolish woman leans heavily on a man’s promises.’

After a long while the same mother realizes that Iya Segi needs to get married and so she talks to her neighbour about her son and how it will be good if he could marry her daughter. Baba Segi is rich right? but only because the mother of Iya Segi gave all of her (Iya Segi's) money to him but secretly through his mother so that he will never know the true source of his wealth because he thinks it's from his mother.

'When I got home that evening,I opened the bedroom door and immediately the shadows cleared from my eyes.My room had been ransacked and all my money was gone.My heart beat so loud that the sound filled my head.I couldn’t scream lest demons rush out of the forests so I opened my bedroom door to report the tragedy.Mama was standing there filling my door way. ‘’It’s all gone’’,She said,I have given it to the man who will be your husband.He will need it to look after you.''

Iya Tope

She is Baba Segi's second wife and the kindest one who is not involved in the scheming of the other wives(Iya Segi and Iya Femi) to do bad things to wife number 4.Also is she very timid and doesn't talk much.

How She became his wife: Her father was a cassava farmer and sold his harvest to Baba Segi and I think maybe he gave him money for farm inputs.One year the harvest is so bad that to appease Baba Segi,Iya Tope's father gives her to Baba Segi as a  gift to say sorry for the poor harvest.

''She is not a great beauty'', I had my father saying,as I closed the door, But she is as strong as three donkeys and thorough too.What she loses in wit,she gains in meticulousness.Even a child could have worked out why my father was extolling  qualities that had previously vexed him; I was compensation for the failed crops. I was like the tubers of cassava in the basket.Maybe something less,something strange-a tuber with eyes,a nose,arms and two legs.

Iya Femi

She is the third wife and one who is the most selfish but she has her reasons which are; her parents died when she was really young and left her under the custody(implied custody) of her uncle,who instead of taking care of her took all her inherited assets and sent her to be a househelp for some rich people in town who treated her so badly, so she made it her life's mission to take revenge on all the people who have wronged her and she is using Baba Segi as a means to an end.

''Don't get me wrong.I don't hate Baba Segi; On the contrary,I have several reasons to be thankful to him.He gave me a place of refuge when the wicked of the world were ready to swallow me whole.You see,when the world owes you as much as it owes me,you need a base from which you can call in your debts,In return for his kindness,I have worked tirelessly to make him happy.I cook his favorite meals the way Grandma taught me.The people in this household are easy to please:cook them a hearty meal and they worship you.''

How she became his wife: She paid his driver- Taju to talk him into marrying her,which he somehow miraculously did.


She is the fourth wife and the only one amongst his wives that he choose for himself and wooed.His is very proud of the fact that she agreed to marry him and is constantly showing off to his friends.

How she became his wife:They met in his shop and he liked her(love at first sight for him),he wooed her and much to his surprise she said yes.She said yes not because she liked him but because she was running from her past and her secrets.

'Somehow, it all made perfect sense when I met Baba Segi. At last, I would be able to empty myself of my sorrow.I would be with a man who accepted me,one who didn't ask questions or find my quiteness unsettling.I knew Baba Segi wouldn't be like younger men who demanded explanations for the faraway look in my eye. Baba Segi was content when I said nothing.So,yes I choose this home,Not for the monthly allowance,not for the lace skirt suits and not for the coral bracelets.Those things mean nothing to me.I chose this family to regain my life,to heal in anonymity.

The big secret in the book is............................Baba Segi cannot have children and yet he has seven children.His first wife found out about this and decided to have babies with their driver and informed all the other wives except for Bolanle that if they wanted to make Baba Segi happy because the man valued children above anything else they would have to go out and bring those babies so each of them did exactly that except Bolanle.

I know almost everyone has read the book but if you haven't, you should definetly read it because it's fun(I laughed quite a bit),it's easy to read and a page turner and all the time I pictured Iya Segi as Gaby Sidibe :-D :-D.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A small slice of Ethiopia

Food forms an important part of every community's culture and identity such that each community have their own traditions in relation to food,how its prepared,how its eaten and what specific foods should be served during special occasions.In different cultures people prepare their food differently, it might be the same ingredients but no two communities use them in the same exact ways.

If there is a group of people who have tried to preserve their food culture and are even are selling it to others its the Ethiopians.There are a number of joints that offer Ethiopian food in many places some high-end ones but mostly ordinary places and if you are in Nairobi and are looking to eat Anjera but on a budget Big-Mack (I am hoping this is the correct spelling) in Eastleigh is the place you should visit,not classy (what is classy again?) but they have some decent Anjera and key word is food on a budget. .

The special Anjera at Big-Mack in Isli (picture from a while ago)
There is a section of Hargeisa town that is known as Jigjiga Yar which means the small Jigjiga.Jigjiga is a town in Ethiopia.In this part of the town there are some Ethiopian businesses and I think a lot of them also live here.In Jigjiga Yar there is a restaurant that specializes in Ethiopian food aptly named Ethiopia Restaurant.

I went there for an evening out to 'explore' the town because you don't want to be the person who goes to visit other towns and not make the most of it.

The Ethiopia restaurant is a really nice small place that serves Anjera, cold drinks(sodas and juices) and Ethiopian coffee.They have 12 kinds of Anjera (yes 12!!!) you could choose from.I realized that what makes the Anjera different is the kind of topping you choose.My friend went for cocktail and I went for special and we both loved what we got :-) :-) although special is more on the meaty side of things and I am not a meat person but it was really really nice and cocktail had all kinds of toppings;meat,vegetables,potatoes and an egg.

The place has this traditional village feel to it and I imagine a traditional buun/anjera place in some Ethiopian village will be like it because they have colours of the Ethiopian flag for some of the writings on their wall, a lot of cultural things like wooden kettles,calabashes and reed walls(reed mats covering the walls).

We also tried out the Ethiopian coffee (they serve it with popcorn) and there is this lady in the place whose job is to specifically make and serve this cofffee. Now I know why its served in such small cups because its too bitter nobody can drink more than that little amount.

Wall hangings,paintings and writings on the wall

Ethiopia meets Somaliland
Special Anjera
The coffee preparation place
If you are ever in Hargeisa and you love/like Ethiopian food or want to try it out you should definitely pay it a visit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Ramadhan is the holy month in the Islamic calendar and whilst during all the months in the year we are expected to do good deeds and avoid as much as possible those things that are forbidden in Ramadhan you are expected to be at your best.It is the blessed month so that all the good deeds are rewarded many times over in this month,such that if you pray on time,read the Quran, give in charity,be kind and maybe avoid something that you love and is haram (like say music) then you hope to go to Rayan :-) :-),There are seven gates to heaven and one of those gates is called Rayan and it's specifically for those who fasted and did all that was required of them during the holy month.The prophet Muhammad(SAW) in his teachings says that there is no greater loss than the one who goes into the month of Ramadhan and comes out of it without reaping maximum benefits because its like going into a market where everything is free and you can fill your bags but you pick nothing.

10 days into this month and I can't help but think '10 days already,where does time go,am I the person who is in this market full of free goods and I am taking very little'.The good news is there are 20 more days to go :-) :-) and what these first days have been so far.....................

The realization that time does fly!

You know when Ramadhan is beginning and you have plans to make it better than last years and a friend sends you this check-list at the beginning of the month to keep track of your good deeds and I guess for you to use to reflect on how much of the benefits you are reaping from this blessed month, this is me check-list and all. I look at that check-list often and my ticks(virtual ticks) and I wish I could have done more but at-least having this check-list for me is a constant reminder to try and do better and be more religious.

Iblis has been locked up.

At the beginning of the holy month Iblis is put in a jail and locked in there so he can't do his usual whispering to lead people astray,but still we all find ourselves doing some sort of sin like delay in saying our prayers,our minds taking walks when we try to read the Quran,the temptation to listen to music and such things,Does this mean we are all just bad people??

I read somewhere that yes Iblis is locked during this month but the effect of his whispering is like when you use a spoon to stir say tea,when you stop stirring the tea still swirls for a bit so these sins that people commit during Ramadhan is part of that swirl.I also think its a really scary thought that all the bad things you do in this month are all you! nobody is influencing you!

Food :-) :-)

Islam is definitely against using Ramadhan as a feasting month but a lot of people use it to cook and eat more than any other time and so all those deep fried foods that you wouldn't eat everyday make huge comebacks during the month. I don't know the reasoning behind this but it sure makes the month all that more special :-) and I guess that's why some people when they are sending their Ramadhan wishes say things like 'We would like to wish all those who celebrate the month of Ramadhan a happy and blessed month' because all the food that is eaten,the month has to be one of celebrations :-).

During the first few days of the month the most difficult thing is to wake-up for Suhoor and if you are me and would want to drink tea at the very last minute,just before the morning adhan,chances are you might sleep through suhoor time (this has happened to me yesterday) and I thought the day will be difficult!!!! but surprisingly it wasn't too hard :-).Lesson learnt is even 10 minutes before adhan is good enough what you need is belief in yourself and your ability to handle  a day without tea,

Taraweeh prayers

I am lucky enough to live next to a mosque but going for these prayers has proved to be quite the challenge and not because I over-eat but because of something that I cannot explain. Taraweeh prayers end by 9 PM which is early but sometimes I lie to myself that after Iftar I will sleep for like 20 minutes (because full stomach and all)  and I wake up past 9 PM :-(  the trick I have found out is to not lie down or anything close before going for the prayers.

The joys of Iftar

Hot day-time temperatures mean that you will obviously get really thirsty in the course of the day such that you start watching the clock soon after the Asr prayer and nothing beats the joy of drinking cold water at the time of breaking the fast :-) :-).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The thing around your neck-part 1(Book Review)

My attempts at blog-worthy pictures and pre-ramadhan ice-cream :-)
The thing around your neck is a collection of 12 short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The good thing about reading a collection of short stories is that you get the advantage of reading many different stories in the same book which is a big win because if one story does not do it for you, then another one will. All the stories in the book are different but are around the themes she has always written about because I am a true Chimamanda fan and have read 4 of her books; Americanah, Purple Hibiscus, Half of a yellow sun and now the thing around your neck and watched her a lot on you-tube I can for sure say I know what she writes about and that I think her books are female books :-) :-) because she is definitely writing for a female audience.

The stories in this book cover the following themes;
1) The Biafra war
2) The stories of immigrants(Nigerian immigrants)-perception of  those left behind at home have and how they struggle abroad.
3) Issues around parenting and siblings (family)
4) Women and women empowerment
5) Identity issues: traditional practises versus white man and his new religion.
6) Media freedom and police brutality (Nigerian politics or should I say Kenya recently?)

She  is an excellent story-teller and all the stories in the book are nice, The stories I LOVED the most are: Shivering, Ghosts, The headstrong historian and A private experience.

Since writing about the 12 stories in one post will make it a really long one. I will write three posts each with 4 stories :-) :-) because keeping it short and sweet is major key right? (read in DJ Khaleed's snapchat voice).

Cell One

'You cannot raise your children well, all of you people who feel important because you work in the university. When your children misbehave, you think they should not be punished, You are lucky, madam, very lucky that they released him.'

Cell one tells the story of a teenage boy Nnamabia who is jailed because he is suspected to be a gang-member of one of the many gangs in the university he goes to that are causing havoc and need to be taught a lesson and to set example to other students-‘The cult problem was serious, Big men in Abuja were following events. Everybody wanted to appear to be doing something’.

His parents are lecturers in the university that he attends and the story has flashbacks that show his mother and how she always forgave him for big mistakes and covered up for him when if she corrected him maybe he could not have been in jail.

The story also has elements that show police and their corruption and that they allow his parents to visit him and bring him food every day provided they bribed the officer on duty.

Cell One is where all the bad criminals are taken and it’s a place that is feared even by the worst prisoner. Nnamabia is taken to Cell One a day before his release after he defends an old man that is being treated unfairly by the police-men.In some way it shows that he still has some good in him.


'Then she met Obiora on a rainy when he walked into the reception area of the advertising agency and she smiled and said “Good morning, sir. Can I help you? And he said, ”Yes, please make the rain stop.Mermaid eyes'', he called her that first day. He did not ask her to meet him at a private guest-house like all the other men, but instead took her to dinner at the vibrantly public Lagoon restaurant, where anybody could have seen them. He asked about her family. He ordered wine that tested sour on her tongue, telling her,  ”You will come to like it,” and so she made herself like the wine right away. She was nothing like the wives of his friends, the kind of women who went abroad and bumped into each other while shopping at Harrods, and she held her breath waiting for Obiora to realize this and leave her. But the months passed and he introduced her to his friends at the boat club and he moved her out of the self-contained in Ojota and into a real flat in Ikeja. When he asked if she would marry him, she thought how unnecessary it was, his asking, since she would have been happy simply to be told.'

Imitation tells the story of Nkem and her husband Obiora. Nkem is married to a rich man which something she never thought would happen and because of this she lets him ‘dictate’ her life and make choices for her even when she would have preferred other things than his decisions as she is so charmed by her new life that is coveted by many. They live apart her in America and him in Nigeria because of his businesses and he visits for two months each year and her and the children go to Nigeria for Christmas.This arrangement is Obiora’s and Nkem simply fell into it.

'All is well until a friend of Nkem (Ijemamaka) calls and tells her in detail that her husband has a taken a younger mistress back in Lagos, how the mistress looks, how she does her hair, that she has moved into her home and even drives her husband’s car and as expected Nkem decides to move back home to keep an eye on Obiora.

Quotes/Passages I liked from this story

''At first when she had come to America to have the baby, she had been proudly excited because she had married into the coveted league, the Rich Nigerian men who send their wives to have to America to have their babies league. Then the house they rented went up for sale. A good price, Obiora said, before telling her they would buy. She had never imagined that her children would go to school,sit side by side with white children whose parents owned mansions on lonely hills,never imagined this life.So she said nothing''.

''Oga Obiora is a good man, madam and he loves you. Many women would be jealous, maybe your friend Ijemamaka is jealous. Maybe she is not a true friend. There are things she should not tell you. There are things that are good if you don’t know''.

A private experience

''Chika’s hands are trembling .Just half an hour ago, she was in the market with Nnedi. She was buying oranges and Nnedi had walked farther down to buy groundnuts and then there was shouting in English,in Pidgin,in Hausa,in Igbo.Riot!Trouble is coming,oh! They have killed a man!”

A private experience is about a riot that happens in market. It is a tribal riot where Hausas and Igbos are fighting. The two women in this story one rich Igbo girl who is visiting her aunty in Kano and a Hausa market woman meet as they are running from the market and the Hausa woman helps the young Igbo girl by directing her to a safe hide-away so that they could hide together until the riots/fights end. They both loose people  close to them during this riot, the Igbo girl her only sister and the Hausa market woman her eldest daughter.During the time they are hiding they talk to each and help each other irrespective of their social/economic class and tribe differences and talk about the loved ones whom they had some-how  ran in different directions when the riots began and the Igbo girl who is a medical student examines and offers medical advise to the Hausa woman.

Quotes/passages  from this Story that I loved

’She will look at only one of the corpses,naked,stiff,facedown,and it will strike her that she cannot tell if the partially burned man is Igbo or Hausa, Christian or Muslim, from looking at the charred flesh. She will listen to BBC radio and hear the accounts of the deaths and the riots-‘’religious with undertones of ethnic tension’’ the voice will say.And she will fling the radio to the wall and a fierce red rage will run through her at how it has all been packaged and sanitized and made to fit into so few words’’.

‘’……………………riots do not happen in a vacuum,that religion and ethnicity are often politicized because the ruler is safe if the hungry ruled are killing one another.’’


''Ikenna? Ikenna Okoro?” I asked in the tentative way one suggests  something that cannot be:the coming to life of a man who had died thirty seven years ago.''

I loved loved this story and in as far as quoting passages and quotes from it I might end-up re-typing the whole of it here.

It’s the story of a retired lecturer,his dead wife who in this story still comes to him and they hang out because after all Chimamanda is Nigerian and such things seem to happen there and a revolutionary called Ikenna who everyone thought had died during the Biafra war but the retired professor on one of his visits to find out of his pension has been processed sees him at the University administration block.Apparently he had been able to escape and went abroad and worked for charities that supported Nigerian communities during the war.Talking of charities and the Biafra war has anyone read Half of a yellow sun and noticed the way Chimamanda throws shade at humanitarian agencies for bringing food-aid that the people cannot eat,instead of say finding out that these people are rice people and bringing them rice

Quotes/passages I loved from this story

''We had not been good friends, Ikenna and I; I knew him fairly well in those days only because everyone knew him fairly well.It was he who, when the new vice chancellor, a Nigerian man raised in England, announced that all lecturers must wear ties to class, had defiantly continued to wear his brightly coloured tunics,''

''…….He is still a shrunken man with froglike eyes and light-skin,which has now become discolored,dotted with brown age spots.One heard of him in those days and then struggled to hide great disappointment upon seeing him,because the depth of his rhetoric somehow demanded good looks.But then my people say that a famous animal does not always fill the hunter’s basket''

''Chris Okigbo died,not so? Ikenna asked,and made me focus again.For a moment I wondered if he wanted me to deny that,to make Okigbo a ghost-come-back,too,But Okigbo died,our genius,our star,the man whose poetry moved us all,even those of us in the sciences who did not always understand it.''

''So what do you do these days? He seemed curious,as if he was wondering just what kind of life I am leading here,alone,on a university campus that is now a withered skin of what it used to be,waiting for a pension that never comes.I smiled and said that I am resting.Is that not what one does on retiring? Do we not call retirement in Igbo ‘’the resting of old age?.''

''But we hardly talked about the war.When we did,it was with implacable vagueness,as if what mattered were not that which we crouched in muddy bunkers during air raids after we buried corpses with bits of pink on their charred skin,not that we had eaten cassava peels and watched our children bellies swell from malnutrition,but that we had survived.It was a tacit agreement amongst all of us,the survivors of the Biafra.Even Ebere and I,who had debated our first child’s name,Zik,for months,agreed very quickly on Nkiruka:what is ahead is better.''