Friday, August 19, 2016

The Front Lines

Nairobae (Picture stolen from Mutua Matheka's twitter taken by him)
Every day, humanitarian aid workers stand on the front lines of war and disaster, braving tremendous dangers and difficulties to deliver assistance to those who need it most. World Humanitarian Day (WHD), which takes place every year on 19 August, recognizes the aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilizes people to advocate for humanitarian action. The day was designated by the General Assembly years ago to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq-Proffessor Google(Seriously though the UN home-page)

Today is world humanitarian day and it’s a day that was set aside to commemorate the 22 UN employees who were killed in Baghdad in 2003, to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.This year's theme is One Humanity and there are many activities one could do to mark the day and one that is suggested is to write about what inspires you, I will not exactly do it(at-least not today) but I will tell this story of how I stumbled upon the humanitarian world..............................what I like the most about it outside the alleviate suffering and saving human(and livestock) lives, is that you can wear anything you want as there is no dress-code, the adventure it comes with in-terms of new places and new people you meet and friends you make.

How the humanitarian world is organised is that there are front-line people and the people who have desk jobs.The front-lines more commonly known as the field is very relative as there people who work out of Nairobi(yes the city in the sun that looks as seen on the picture above)  and it is the field to them, because when you imagine the field you think far away places with no electricity and running water  right? but yes the big city is also the field to some guys. I am a (drums roll) field person who I would like to think has seen/experienced her fair share of the field.

Which class will have the most students assuming students didn't have compulsory classes,I am thinking the Math class (hides face)
Before I got to do what I am doing now, I was a teacher in a boys school,that at the time had only male teachers and they treated me like some royalty, my own office, my own thermos of tea,chapatis........................all this is important because I was new and only the heads of subjects(I think,I am not too sure what their titles were) had their own offices.It was a teaching match made in heaven but I left and sometimes I think how different my life would be if I didn't leave.

The joint’s admission’s board sometimes calls people to do courses they really are not into and this was my case, I spent a lot of time in my first semester trying to change courses but I wasn't able to and therefore did four years to be a teacher which is a taught skill that nobody actually respects, because how many schools do you see calling back their star students to be untrained teachers before they go off to college, many right?. What they don’t know(or seem to have forgotten) is that teaching is an art(or a science for those science subject teachers), you don’t believe me it is a skill,I will show you; Say you were to start teaching a new topic for example communication(form 2 business studies :-) :-)) such an excellent topic for the crazy form twos, teaching dictates that you start from the known to the unknown, so you would ask the students 'If today you needed money to go for a trip and you didn’t have it what would you do?' and I am assuming they will say call home( phones as means of communication), two if you are those cheeky teachers now bring in the example of, 'If you saw a girl in school X during the tournament/or some school event and you want to tell her how you are only seeing her face in your books, what would you do?', write her a letter (letters as a means of communication) and on and on before getting into means of communication that are new to the students,you don't go there and start talking about big things the students have never heard of before trying to show off and all :-) :-).

The teaching skill :-)

My mum and smallest brother(who is in high school), do not believe me every-time I tell me that people are taught how to be teachers when they take courses in education, so one day I tell them this story about what you are supposed to do when you enter a class; first you greet the class,assuming the blackboard is clean you write the date,the subject you are teaching and face the class and start talking to them, do an introduction, start from known to unknown (remember?), after which you write the topic for the day, never talk to the students while facing the blackboard and walk around the class to ensure all those back benchers are actively listening. My brother goes like Kumbe!!! Nishajua siri zenyu.

But I hanged my teaching boots after 6 months of being a teacher and I became an aid worker. Not 
because I knew what it was or was passionate, I just got lucky and now there is nothing in the world I would rather do.I cleared campus and I did not know what NGOs were and I really wanted to work in a bank because all the successful people I knew then were bankers, I was not alone as most of the people I cleared campus with went into banking so much for all those units on pedagogy.

My grandmother (God rest her soul and grant her Jannah) lived in Elwak, I taught in Rhamu the greatest school of all those sides-Sheikh Ali high school :-) :-), schools closed for April holiday and I went to visit, at about this time there was an agency in Elwak that had an advertisement for a position for a field monitor, I freaking did not know what a field monitor is, what they do, but I badly wanted to stop being a teacher so I applied,and when I got the call for the interview I went out and bought these really pretty shoes because they would see my shoes and think we have to take her,have you seen her shoes,she will kill it on this job and I got the job :-D :-D.Some of the happiest days of my life were the two years I had that job, no pressure, no responsibilities, just go to village X and make sure they know who the agency is, their rights as beneficiaries, identify beneficiaries and your work pretty much ends there. Get this we didn’t have computers and work ended when you stepped outside the gate and on most days we would just stalk people on FB on the shared office desktop.

Here I am, years later and cannot thank God enough for the bullet I dodged by him not answering my prayers of getting a job in banking,why you ask? have you met me??? I am awkward around strangers,don't talk much to them and shout while talking on the phone and bankers as I have come to learn sell financial products and have targets and to hit these targets it's mostly dependent on how much you can fake laugh at the right times in a conversation with a potential customer and how many times you can walk upto a stranger and win their trust..................................................., difficult things to do if you ask me,but I know a lot of guys doing so well as bankers so it cannot be as hard as I make it seem.

To all humanitarian workers out there do something special this day like say a prayer for the world. I would say happy World Humanitarian Day but it's a day that commemorates grim things so it wouldn't be proper.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

With age comes wisdom

‘Let me tell you one thing; with age comes wisdom. To run a country like this, with all its problems, with all its complexities, to put this country in the hands of the inexperienced, It will be a fatal error’-Victor Rivera in Our Brand Is Crisis.

It’s my birthday this month(on the 15th), I am growing old, the horror!!, I am joking, I am so very grateful for this blessing and pray for a long long happy life.My skype account thought I was born in July, I am rarely online on Skype and I use it mostly for work so, you can imagine my utter shock one day when I logged on and I had 20 messages, my first thought was, log off now, something is up, only to find people and their wishes for happiness, long life and health (all really nice and kind messages).

The truth is the older you grow, the more things you learn through the experiences that you go through, some happy, some sad but they all teach you something and the things learnt from the same exact circumstances could be different for different people, thing is, everyone is different and what you think is a key thing you’ve learnt can be so trivial to others and vice-versa .

I know all the things I have learnt aren’t anything new and I have always known them but they are all becoming clearer each passing day because with age the noise dies down and you begin to realize what really matters.

Be obsessively grateful

All of us are blessed differently and we all want for something (even the most blessed person) because that’s just our nature. You might look at another person and think they have everything but this person who is being looked at is also looking at another person and thinking this other one is more blessed than me, they have all I want, such is life. Therefore be grateful for all you have because the more grateful you are with what God has given you, the more content and happy you will be.

There is this story that is told in jest and it goes something like this; In heaven there is a post-office for receiving all correspondence from human beings and there are two desks, one is always busy, receiving so much contact and correspondence from human beings and the other is not busy at all and on most days they get no correspondence at all. Do you know which two desks these are? The busy one is the one receiving prayer requests and the not so busy one is the one that receives the ‘thank you notes’ when prayers are answered/blessings received. So how about all of us try and send as many thank you notes to heaven, everyday, everytime you pray before you ask for all the things you normally ask for just say-‘Thank you God for all my blessings, I take nothing for granted’.

Fearless be yourself

People are different right? Because of genetic make-up, social environments they grew up in, things they hold close to their heart and all that but the world as it now has these set standards for what a perfect woman should be or what a perfect man should be. This is ingrained in our heads both consciously and unconsciously through programs on TV, characters in some books, friends, acquaintances and we all try to be the nearest to society’s perfect which is wrong because then we deprive the world of our true selves and worse we loose ourselves, what is important to us and what makes us happy.

I know this is not the best of examples but it’s the most appropriate one that I can think of now; I totally cannot eat chicken, any kind of chicken, I find the smell not too nice, but the person I go eat out with most of the times (because there is no way I am cooking it) thinks chicken meat is the shiznit and because I am the captain of team fitting-in, I will always also get chicken but extra crispy and spicy and even then I would end up exchanging my share with their fries all the time, until one day it hit me, it’s not a crime to not like meat or chicken because I know people who don’t eat cake and I don’t judge them so now I just say I don’t like chicken and I eat what I want.

Do not compare yourself with others

Everyone’s journey is different and for this reason only there is no point in comparing yours to that of others and crying about it (or feeling yourself). Of-course if is something you can have control over and can change, change it, but only because it makes you happy and it is what you really want, not because so and so has it or has done it.

Social media is good for keeping in touch with family and friends but it’s not a true measure of how well one is doing because trust me people post what they want others to know and in most cases they only want others to see them happy and doing well.


What school did to most of us is that it made reading a chore and a difficult one at that because you had to read a lot, memorize stuff and apply it to pass exams and passing exams was the only thing that mattered and still matters even if I decided to go to back to school today.

Therefore reading was the thing that you did when you had no choice and a lot of us after school never read again, but as I in the recent past have discovered reading is good, it informs you, you learn new words (big words that you might never use, but you know them),you write better and if you read self-help books and books/documents related to your profession you might rule that world so to say. I think for me it has opened up my imagination because all the characters in the books I read I seriously have this idea of how they look and most times I draw different endings to the books.

You don't believe me,this article should make you want to read or find someone who reads :-).


I don’t know about speechless but I am sure travelling turns people into story tellers, how else do you explain all the travel blogs out there :-) :-).

If someone ever checked my Google search history they would honestly just find me a travel plan because the number of travel blogs I read and reviews on Air BnB I have been reading off-late!, I could easily tell you where to sleep for 1,500 KES per night in Lamu and has good reviews (yes I am a bargain hunter like that). I don’t necessarily want to go to far away. I want/my plan is to do all those touristy sites in Kenya starting close to home because Lewa is in Isiolo, Meru national park is our neighbor, Marsabit, Samburu, Ol-Pejeta then Nairobi and all it has to offer and on and on like that because really, charity begins at home. Now lets hope and pray that these plans actually happen and when they happen this blog will turn into a ‘travel blog’.

Point of all this is; travel, go places and you will learn something new like; people play football on the sea or camel liver is cheaper than goat liver or something more profound than this. Also that you don’t have to break the bank to travel because truth be told expensive hotels are nice and all but at the end of the day, you pay all that money and you don’t carry the bed home :-D :-D.

Live your dreams (or works towards your dreams)

It’s expected  that at a certain age, you will have your life figured out and everything, some people might be lucky enough to have their lives figured out but if you are like me, you will constantly wonder what it is you are doing but when you take a serious look at your life,you realize you may not be where you want to be but you are definitely going there.

What I have learnt is you can want everything but as one Pintrest quote says-the dream is free, the hustle is sold separately, if you want to travel the world( or Kenya and it’s neigbours like me), plan, prioritise which place is most important to you, save-up for this and be patient. Even if your dreams are big like I don’t know becoming president plan and start small and build political capital.Most importantly always have a plan and stick to it.

Take risks

Take risks, small risks, big risks if you are courageous but take risks because you might have some regrets but they will not be nearly as bad as if you didn’t take them and risks taken make for really good stories. Do you want to be that old person who has no intriguing stories to tell? I sure don’t want to be that person.

Believe in yourself

Don’t let anybody tell you, you cannot achieve your dreams, everything can be done if you are passionate, are willing to put in the time/resources and pray about it. I have learnt things can take years to happen(patience is major key people) so you can work hard, pray, sacrifice a lot and still not see much progress but one day everything will fall into place and all the hard work and sacrifice will be forgotten.

In everything you do give your 100%.

In everything you do always give your best, it might not be what someone else thinks is the best but let it not be that you did something half-heartedly, go in and give your best, if it works out then you will be so proud and if it doesn’t you will have no regrets. You might learn what you didn’t do well to improve on but it will never be on the same level as the regret knowing it didn’t work out because you only put in 75% effort.

Learn to say No.

It seems pretty easy right? but for me it has to be one of the hardest things to do. The more you say No and are able to be guilt free after the easier it becomes and then suddenly you are free to say yes to  only the things you what you want to say yes to and that comes with so much freedom.

Be kind.

More than anything it’s important to be kind because kindness is such a gift in a world that is increasingly unkind. It’s in the normal things like buying your groceries from the market women and not bargaining for a 10 bob cut, calling a friend whose child is sick to ask about their child or better yet going to visit the child in hospital, talking to that stranger who is willing to talk to you, sharing stuff, Whatever your version of kind is be it.

Find joy in the ordinary, everyday things

People think that to make memories you have to go to some exotic place,far away or do something really big. Yes this will make memories but the happiest times you will be surprised are when you are at home doing the simplest of things like one of the memories I hold dear is me and my niece watching Mresh’s wedding video and dancing so much and Mresh sitting there with this dreamy look in her eyes :-) :-) .Do people consider other people at home watching TV and dancing (by dancing I mean moving from side to side because I can't 'dance')  to what is on TV out of ordinary, I’m sure nobody thinks it’s anything but boring,

Another one I hold close to my heart is long time ago my mum used to come to the bus station to pick us each time we went home, now she doesn’t (why, oh, why) but arriving and looking out the window and seeing her there, waving is a memory I cherish,  even now each time I go to home, I see a lot of people picking their loved ones,  is it out of the ordinary?, no it's not but it sure hold a big space in my memories cabinet.

So you might go out to faraway places and spend huge amounts of money to make memories and yet if you look hard enough inside your head(the memories cabinet) what is there as memories you cherish you will be surprised.

Chase opportunities,chase people

If you really want something(or someone for that matter) go after it/them because we loose so much to fear and pride.The worst that can happen is you might not get what you want but you will not have what ifs, which trust me should be listed as the number cause of stomach ulcers and sleepless nights.

Choose your friends wisely

You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with, therefore be wise in who you choose to spend your time with, because in-time their character will rub-off on you. If they have good character ,are intelligent ,kind, religious and good people you will become like them but if they are the opposite then you might just become unrecognizable even to yourself.

Take care of yourself

Look at Iman, 61 years old and looking like this, there is hope, there is hope and the secret is out too.

The older you grow,the more you need to take care of your body,by eating right,exercising,taking care of your skin and hair.I am not playing,you know when you are younger and every thing takes care of itself well unfortunately that time comes to an end,you eat cake,your tummy sticks out, and that’s not even what scares me the most,what worries me is skin and it loosing it’s elasticity,now here I am googling skin care products with anti-aging properties, foods that are sweet but non-fattening and stuff like that (sometimes I laugh at myself).

Seriously though drink loads of water, exercise a bit and find products that work for your skin and hair and stick to them. This is my plan to staying/looking young forever, if it works I will be sure to let everyone on in the secret. Reading this you will think I actually exercise right? It’s an ongoing struggle and what I call exercise is skipping rope and doing two round on this 7 minutes exercise app on my phone.

Here is to many more years Insha aa Allah and I pray that my best years are yet to happen,

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Thing Around Your Neck-part 3 (Book Review)

Finally here are the last 4 stories in this book, I decided to write 4 stories per post and reviewed the other eight stories in part 1 and part 2 .Three months and 4 other books later, It’s safe to say I could score maybe 70% if someone examined me on the stories in this book because it has taken me so long to write the reviews so each time, I had to quickly read through the stories which had me thinking am I wasting time in quadrant four activities(not important, not urgent activities) how am I going to be more effective and all that, anyone who has read The 7 habits of highly effective people? It is a really good book, I am about to finish it and I am already feeling like I am highly effective (ha ha ha) or atleast when I start doing activities, I think; In which quadrant is it or when I am passing judgement on people/situations, I think am I using my personal experiences and not trying to understand the situation from this other person's point of view this is to say read it if you are looking to be a better person and haven’t already.

Writing book reviews is not my thing I realize, therefore I wouldn’t write reviews to each of the books I read because that would be crazy to say the least but once in a while I would, like I totally have to tell how EPIC The Year of Yes is and the Obama stories from Auma Obama’s And then life happens and Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father.

Here goes stories 9-12 and this is one long post hoping you, reading this have like ten minutes to spare. I promise it will be worth your time :-) :-).


Ukamaka dished out some stew beside the already warmed rice on Chinedu’s plate. ‘’ If God prefers some people to others, it doesn’t make sense that it will be Udenna who will be spared. Udenna could not have been the nicest or kindest person who was booked on that flight she said. 
‘’You can’t use human reasoning for God, God’s ways are not our ways’’. Chinedu held up the fork she had placed on his plate. ‘’Please give me a spoon’’.

Shivering tells the story about God’s ways of solving problems/issues that people usually won’t think of. Udenna and Chinedu live in the same building and have never spoken to each other, they are both Nigerians and the news of a plane crash in Nigeria is what brings Chinedu to Ukamaka’s place so that they can pray about it. Ukamaka knows someone who might have been on that plane so she is really worried and Chinedu prays with her and for their country because the story says that the government has really destroyed their country

‘’God has to take control of Nigeria’’, he went on. ‘’They said that a civilian government would be better than the military ones, but look at what Obasanjo is doing. He has seriously destroyed our country.’’

The person who Ukamaka knows who might have been on the flight is her ex-boyfriend Udenna. Who she is still in-love with but he decided they can’t be together anymore. When I read the story I thought Udenna is typically/the stereo-type of the 'Kenyan middle-class peeps'.

'Udenna never said ‘I love you’ to me because he thought it was a cliché. Once I told him I was sorry he felt bad about something and he started shouting and said I should not use an expression like ‘I’m sorry you feel that way ‘ because it was unoriginal’. He used to make me feel that nothing I said was witty enough or sarcastic enough or smart enough. He was always struggling to be different, even when it didn’t matter. It was as if he was performing his life instead of living his life.'

Ukamaka teaches at Princenton and she always thought that Chinedu was doing his doctoral studies in Chemistry and that’s why they never met on campus as she is a lecturer in literature, but as she will realize he was a construction worker and was hiding in Princeton because his papers had expired and if the authorities found him they were sure going to deport him.

Here comes the ‘God’s ways are not our ways’ part both Chinedu and Ukamaka in their teens had a crush on Burkina Faso’s president Thomas Sankara which means they basically have the same taste in men, incase you are wondering why this is important Chinedu is gay!!!(I know even me I was shocked).So newly single Udenna and Chinedu agreed to find a solution that will make all his papers related problems go and if you know Chimamanda as well as I know her although this is not said in the story, these two people agreed to a fake marriage.

Phrases I liked from this story

When she stopped at Wild Oats, where she and Udenna had bought organic vegetables, Chinedu Shook his head in wonder because he did not understand why anybody would pay more money for the same vegetables just because they had been grown without chemicals. He was examining the grains displayed in large plastic dispensers while she selected broccoli and put it in a bag. Chemical-free this, chemical free that. People are wasting money for nothing. Aren’t the medicines the take to stay alive chemicals, too?’’

I think I’ll get your favorite, sushi, instead of a sandwich,’’ she said, her tone teasing. She had once asked if he liked sushi and he said,’’ God forbid. I am an African man. I eat only cooked food’’. She added, ‘’ You really should try sushi sometime. How can you live in Princeton and not eat sashimi?

He leaned close.’’You know,I had a crush on Thomas Sankara, too’’.
‘’No!’’ Laughter was bubbling up in her chest.
I didn’t even know that there was a country called Burkina Faso in West Africa until my teacher in secondary school talked about him and brought in a picture. I will never forget how crazy in love I fell with a newspaper photograph.’’ 
‘’Don’t tell me Abidemi sort of looks like him’’.
‘’Actually he does.’’
‘’At first they stifled their laughter and then they let it out, joyously leaning against each other, while next to them, the woman holding the baby watched.

The arrangers of marriage.

They did not warn you about things like this when they arranged your marriage. No mention of offensive snoring, no mention of houses that turned out to be furniture-challenged flats. The arrangers of marriage only told you that doctors made a lot of money in America. They did not add that before doctors started to make a lot of money, they had to do an internship and a residency program, which my new husband had not completed.’

The arrangers of marriage tells the story of Chinaza whose family arranged for her to be married to a Nigerian man who lived and worked as a doctor in America. They all thought how lucky she was;

'What have we not done for you? We raise you as our own and then we find you an ezigbo di! A doctor in America! It’s like we won a lottery for you!’’ Aunty Ada said.

Only for her to go start living with him to find out how mistaken she was and that this new husband of hers was so brainwashed and thought everything African so wrong that he had taken on two English names, spoke only English at home and even asked her to stop cooking coconut rice, bought her a cook-book titled Good housekeeping all-American cook book and worse (well according to me) forced her to start taking tea without sugar and milk because supposedly this what American’s do.

'Look at the people who shop here; they are the ones who immigrate and continue to act as if they are back in their countries.’’ He gestured dismissively, toward a woman and her two children, who were speaking Spanish. ‘’They will never move forward unless they adapt to America. They will always be doomed to supermarkets like this.’’

The final straw in this marriage breaks when he tells her that before he married her, he had been married to an American woman for purposes of sorting out his papers and now this woman on finding out that he had gotten married has refused to sign the divorce papers. Chinaza gets really sad and moves out but comes back after a while when she realizes she cannot explain to her people why she wants to leave this perfect husband and she decides she will stay and get her papers and make her own living in this so called land of opportunities.

Phrases I liked from this story.

You never say his name, you never say Dave. Is that a cultural thing?’’.
‘’No.’’ I looked down at the table mat made with waterproof fabric. I wanted to say that it was because I didn’t know his name, because I didn’t know him.

You left your husband? Aunty Ada would shriek. Are you mad? Does one throw away a guinea fowl’s egg? Do you know how many women would offer both eyes for a doctor in America? For any husband at all?”.  (This because I laughed so much when I first read it, because I know so many people in real life who can/have said things along these lines and me-certified marriage advisor has said something like this a number of times when someone tells me the way they are considering becoming a single mum because their husband has become intolerable).

Tomorrow is too far

‘It was the summer you asked Grandmama why Nonso sipped first even though Dozie was thirteen, a year older than Nonso, and Grandmama said Nonso was her son’s only son, the one who would carry on the Nnaibuisi name,while Dozie was only a nwadiana,her daughter’s son.It was the summer you found the molt of a snake in the lawn,unbroken and sheer like see-through stockings, and Grandmama told you the snake was called the echi eteka, ‘’Tomorrow is too far’’. One bite and it’s over in ten minutes. This is the summer you knew that something had to happen to Nonso so that you could survive. Even at ten you knew that some people can take up too much space by simply being, that by existing, some people can stifle others.’

This story I did not like at all. It’s about two siblings a boy and a girl. The parents and their grandmother have a clear preference for the boy and do not hide this in any-way from the girl and because of this and her insecurities she decided to scare her brother so that he falls of a tree so that he is hurt and maybe maimed but he fell off and died!.

'The branches were weak, and Nonso was heavy. Heavy from all the food Grandmama made him eat. Eat a little more, she would say often. Who do you think I made it for? As though you were not there. 

Your mother brought Nonso up, finally three months after his funeral, when she told you about the divorce,she said that the divorce was not about Nonso,that she and your father had long been growing apart.Then your mother asked how did Nonso die?.You still wonder how those words tumbled out of your mouth.You still do not recognize the clear-eyed child that you were.Maybe it was because of the way she had said the divorce was not about Nonso-as though Nonso was the only one capable of being a reason,as though you were not in the running.

I think the moral in this story is even siblings can be rivals so love all your children equally.I always thought this is a given based on the parents I know because they all swear they love their kids equally but just in-case this story has some truth in it do not show more love/preferential treatment for one child over the others.

The headstrong historian

‘It was Grace who, as one of the few women at the university college of Ibadan in 1950, would change her degree from chemistry to history after she heard, while drinking tea at the home of a friend, the story of Mr.Gboyega. The eminent Mr.Gboyega, a chocolate skinned Nigerian, educated in London, distinguished expert on the history of the British Empire, had resigned in disgust when the West African Examinations Council began talking of adding African history to the curriculum because he was appalled that African history would even be considered a subject.’

I really really, did I say really liked this story. It starts in the past far away in the past when people still walked bare-chested, before the missionaries came and introduced white man’s education and the ways of the white man.It tells the story of a family’s three generations. Ngwaba (the first generation) who was from the old times, her son Anikwenwa who she took to a school so that he learns the white man’s language and his daughter Afamefuna(Grace) who is in the new generation.


‘Her father found her exhausting, this sharp tongued, head-strong daughter who had once wrestled her brother to the ground. After which her father had warned everybody not to let the news leave the compound that the girl had thrown a boy.’

She is the grandmother of Grace aka the headstrong historian. In her marriage she got a son and unfortunately her husband passed on. The husband had two very greedy cousins who then decided to take everything that her husband owned because she is a woman and can easily re-marry. At about this time the white man had come to villages around theirs and she heard stories of how someone was able to win a case in the white man’s court because said person spoke the language of the white man.She decides to take her son to school for the sole reason that he learns this language, he learns the language of the white man and is able to take back his land/property from his uncles, he also becomes a priest and even changes his name.

‘The plate of breadfruit seeds she had offered him was untouched-he no longer ate anything at all of hers-and she looked at him, this man wearing a trouser, and a rosary around his neck, and wondered whether she had meddled with his destiny.Was this what his chi had ordained for him,this life in which he was like a person diligently acting a bizarre pantomime?’


‘When it was time for his ima mmuo ceremony,he said he would not participate,because it was a heathen custom for boys to be initiated into the world of the spirits, a custom that Father Shanahan had said would have to stop.Nwamgba roughly yanked his ear and told him that a foreign albino could not determine when their customs would change,so until the clan itself decided that the initiation would stop,he would participate or else he would tell her whether he was her son or the white man’s son.’

He is the son of Ngwaba, whom she takes to school to learn English, which he does and goes on to be a priest, marries a girl that his mother doesn’t know which was unheard off in those days and they have two children a boy and girl.


‘From the moment Nwamgba held her, the baby’s bright eyes delightfully focused on her, she knew that it was the spirit of Obierika that had returned; odd, to have come in a girl, but who could predict the ways of the ancestors? Father O’Donnell baptized her Grace, but Nwamgba called her Afamefuna, ‘’My name will not be lost’’, and was thrilled by the child’s solemn interest in her pottery and stories, the teenager’s keen watchfulness as she struggled to make pottery with newly shaky hands.

She is the grand-daughter of Ngwaba that despite being born to her father’s Christian ways,is strongly attached to her grandmother because in the story she is the spirit of her grandfather come back(does this happen in real life???) and when her grandmother got really sick and wanted to see her, without anyone telling her she became restless while at school and was sleepless for many nights and she instinctively knew something was not right with her grandmother so she went home to see her. She goes through the education system and what she does with this new world education (drums roll…….) she re-imagines the lives and smells of her grandmother's world (through a lot of research) and she writes a book called; Pacifying with bullets: A reclaimed history of southern Nigeria.

Phrases I liked from this story(I liked all the words/sentences and phrases in this story)

From the moment she first saw him at a wrestling match, both of them staring and staring at each other, both of them too young, her waist not yet wearing the menstruation cloth, she had believed with a quiet stubbornness that her chi and his chi had destined their marriage, and so when he came to her father a few years later bringing pots of palm wine and accompanied by his relatives, she told her mother that this is the man she would marry.

She was determined to dislike her son’s wife, but Mgbeke was difficult to dislike;she was small-waisted and gentle, eager to please the man to whom she was married, eager to please everyone, quick to cry, apologetic about things over which she had no control. And so, instead, Nwamgba pitied her. Mgbeke often visited Nwamgba in tears, saying that Aninkwenwa had refused to eat dinner because he was upset with her or that he had banned her from going to a friend’s wedding,and Nwamgba would silently curve designs on her pottery while Mgbeke cried,uncertain of how to handle a woman crying about things that did not deserve tears’

It was Grace who would read about these savages, titillated by their curious and meaningless customs, not connecting them to herself,until her teacher,Sister Maureen,told her she could not refer to the call-and-response her grandmother had taught her as poetry because primitive tribes did not have poetry. It was Grace who after laughed loudly until Sister Maureen took her to detention and then summoned her father.

My recommendation on Chimamanda books is; If you haven’t read any start with Purple Hibiscus then Americanah, then Half of a Yellow sun and then The Thing Around Your Neck because in this way you read two really fun and easy to read books first and then a some what serious book (Half of a Yellow Sun) and then stories in The thing Around Your Neck that will feel so familiar like you already know everyone in the book and their back stories.

I have soft copies of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun so if you want these books let me know :-) :-).

Monday, August 1, 2016

Garowe International Book Fair

People who attended the book fair having a look at the books and getting to know each other.
A book fair is a display or exhibit of books by a group of publishers,book-dealers or authors for promoting sales and stimulating interest of people to start reading/develop a reading culture.

Garowe held it's second ever book fair this past weekend and the event was very high key with the president officially opening it and then buying a lot of books to donate to libraries in the town so that people and especially the youth can read more because as they say books are eye-openers and if there is group of people who need to have their eyes wide open it is the youth(who the youth is, is what I really can't say because increasingly everyone is a youth and nobody is old :-D :-D).

The event ran for 3 days and I went for it on the second day and I really liked it (at the risk of being that person who likes everything because mostly I talk about the things I like).It was very well organised and I will for sure be going for more book fairs Insha aa Allah.

The book fair was;


Some of the books at the book fair.

Somali children stories.
There were a lot of books at the book fair,mostly in Somali but some had English translations.The books covered a lot of different genres and I am sure they must have been a treat for all the people who could read Somali.What I really liked about the way the fair and the book exhibition was organised is that they had a sitting area where if one wanted to check out a book they could sit with it for as long as they wanted,which meant that if you really wanted a book and say you couldn't afford to buy it,you could just sit and read it.It also helps in avoiding make purchases you might end up regretting like I was so happy to see Fatima Jibrell''s book 'Peace and Milk 'only to look through to find that it's a picture book, a good one but I wasn't willing to pay 40 USDs for it and because of this sitting area,I sat and looked at all the pictures and their captions :-) :-) and read it for free!

Cultural Exhibition

In addition to the books there were pictures and drawings showing the Somali culture :-).The ones I loved the most are:

Hair stories-I recently decided to stop relaxing my hair and nobody supports my decision(although they are warming up to it) so anytime I ask 'niambie nywele yangu inakaa aje? the answer I always get is 'kama ya watu wa zamani'.and I saw the top pictures and I almost laughed out loud.
This crash course on Somalia-Somalia's Livestock and wildlife,Somalia's handicrafts,Somalia's national dishes and the pictures of the Somali currency from 1900 till now!

Lectures and Talks

Dr.Kapchits who did the talk on the role of Somali proverbs and yes he spoke only in Somali.
In addition to the book exhibition where you could read any of the books,the event also had lectures and talks and on request the organizers gave you a program so that you would know which talks were on for each day, so that you could plan to attend the ones that interest you, What I didn't know was that the lectures/talks were in Somali.I went for the talk on the role of Somali proverbs but shock on me; no English word was uttered in the one hour that I sat through it but going by how much people laughed and clapped it must have been good.Also the lecture hall was always full which means that definitely people loved these sessions.

Meeting the stars

Books of Somali folktales that I got for Sokor and Maryaney signed by the author :-) :-) and he was kind enough to write them messages of how they should be writers in the future.
I will be lieing to say I know any Somali authors because Warsan Shire is British-Somali right?. I was so excited when I saw Fatima Jibrell promoting her book because she is some sort of celeb, I think maybe her book wasn't mainly why she attended because God knows she has enough money(I think) without the sales of that book.She also attended the lecture/talk on the role of the Somali proverbs, and was sitting only two people away from me,at this point I thought maybe I should have bought her book and I would have had a reason to say hi and ask for a picture.

The Garowe Book fair was such a good and fun experience for me :-) :-).