Whose Baby Is This?

By Agnes Opondo.

Earlier before that random Friday, I had the following conversation with HR after she looked me in the eye and told me, “You need rest! Take a day off.”

“How do you know that?” I asked

“I can see it in your eyes”

“I know my glasses have no tint but, can you actually see the fatigue through my glasses?”

“Agnes just take an off!”

“But there is a lot of work!” (Me pretending to be employee of the year hihihi!)

“Work will never run out, you look tired…..plus I have noticed with great concern that you don’t use lipstick lately.”

“Well…..pretty hurts.”

“What is so painful about dabbing some lipstick? Huh?”

To cut the long story short, I took an off day on that random Friday. Not because of HR’s concerns, but because I wanted to. I wanted to wave my middle finger at the universe and tell it, “No matter what you throw at me, I run my life, motherf*cker!” (Breathe Agnes, take it easy). Have you ever been at a point in your life when you feel like you are losing control? Have you ever wanted to do something crazy like get a tattoo? Or an extra piercing? Or even propose marriage to a random person? How about get into a relationship with a random person and make sure that it is as peaceful as Rob Kardashian and Black Chyna’s romance just to prove to the world that you run your life? OK, don’t look at me like that, I didn’t keep up with their reality show. That is general knowledge.

Anyway, because I was not going to work, I decided to do some cleaning. This may sound weird, but dirt removal and organizing my stuff is super therapeutic for me. After cleaning, I showered, dressed up and headed to the CBD just to prove to the world that I can go to town if I wanted to because, it’s my life damn it! (OK, enough of this proving to the world madness). I boarded a matatu and while the conda was wooing pedestrians into the matatu, I noticed two women standing at the bus stop. One was carrying an infant and the other was carrying a toddler (there is a difference guys). They were deeply engrossed into a conversation which I could tell was either good news or gossip, juicy gossip for that matter. I mean, they looked happy. The conda approached them and asked them where they were headed and after talking with him, the two women exchanged the babies they were carrying. The one who took the toddler got into the matatu and took the seat next to the conda’s seat.

Hell broke loose immediately the matatu took off. The baby began crying she became louder as the matatu progressed. At first I thought that crying was caused by fear of motion. I hear there are babies who are terrified of being in a moving vehicle and considering the seat that this lady had occupied, that could be true. The lady tried to silence the baby lakini wapi! The baby had no intentions of hiding her protests to this journey. This attracted the attention of other passengers and one man turned to the lady and asked her if she had breastfed the baby. The lady who was now beyond frustrated, ignored that question. I could tell that she was about to cry, the veins on her forehead began to show and eyes were getting bloodshot. She kept trying to calm the baby down but her efforts hit the wall, a good one.

A certain middle aged man seated in front of me turned to the lady and asked her, “Madam huyo mtoto ni wako ama umemwiba?” This sparked murmurs among the passengers. A lady seated at the back seconded the middle aged man, “Exactly! Tumwambie kama mtoto ni wako!” Hobee! The lady with the child was now already crying, “Sijaiba mtoto, mimi si mwizi” This argument irritated the baby and she cried even louder. The conda, who by now had an assistant, (ama what do you call that guy who dandias the matatu along the journey not as a passenger but as a conductor number 2?) asked the passengers to calm down.

For some weird reason, the assistant conda caught my eye. I don’t know, maybe it was his blue black complexion or his big dry cracked lips. In fact for the purposes of this read, let’s call him, ‘Crusty’ in honor of his cracked lips. I like the name already, I will call my next pet Crusty, sounds so exotic, right? So Crusty, sat next to the lady with the child looked her into the eye and asked in his heavy Dholuo accent, “Madam hii mitoto ni chako ama wewe nilikuja Narobi kufanya opareson kama mwisi?” If the DCI ever needed someone to coerce criminals into confessing the truth, then trust me, Crusty would do a legit job because this question triggered the tear glands of the lady! Elnino style! This interrogation was interrupted by a sweets vendor cum preacher who boarded the matatu some few kilometers from the CBD. He was fully armed with his tools of trade, a packet of sweets and a Gideons International bible, but before he could introduce himself to the brethren, the baby who had been quiet for a while now, unleashed the loudest cry. Meeen! This baby will grow up to be such a hater. So the preacher, took a French exit never to be seen again.

Finally we got to the CBD and while people were alighting I chose to stay behind, I mean, I witnessed this baby owner drama from the start and surely I must see how it ends. We got to the Railways bus terminus and everyone else had alighted apart from the lady with the baby, the baby, a certain old man, a middle aged lady, the conda, Crusty, the driver and I. Crusty upgraded his interrogation techniques by yanking the phone from the poor lady’s hand. He then asked her, “onasave aje baba ya hii mitoto?” “Anaitwa Godfrey!” The lady replied amid sobs. Crusty dialed Godfrey’s number on the lady’s phone and upon calling him, the guy admitted to being the child’s father. When Crusty asked him whether he knew the owner of the phone, he said that this lady was taking the child to his mother.

Makosa! Mistake! Crusty turned to the lady and yelled, “tunapeleka wewe kwa polisi sai!”

The poor lady whose wails were now in perfect harmony with the baby’s crying, pleaded with Crusty, “Nimemchukua kutoka kwa mama yake, mama yake alishindwa kumlea juu akona mtoto mwingine mdogo kushinda huyu!”

“Sasa akisindwa kulea, mama yake napatia wewe mtoto. Madam! Iwalo koda!” Crusty was now boiling with rage. The conda tried to restrain him from doing something stupid.

The old man, turned to Crusty and told him that he should contain his anger as it is wrong to hit a woman. “Huyu mama hasemi ukweli, unajua nimewahi kudeal na wezi wa watoto nikifanya kazi kwa hospitali kama nurse!” The middle aged lady said. “Na mimi nimework na watu wa children’s rights najua wezi wa watoto!” Added the old man, I don’t know why I did not believe this old man. Crusty was quick to jump in, “Mwisi ni mwisi!” then the driver, “shukeni mmpeleke kwa polisi basi, nataka kuendelea na kazi.” The conda who was a bit empathetic to the lady said, “pigieni mama ya mtoto kwanza ndo twende kwa polisi.”

Now that everyone was giving their parting shot, I couldn’t be left out. So I said, “Guys despite having two left feet, I can burst decent Bazokizo moves and even better, I have ever gone live on Kilimani Mums!” I know. My comment was totally unrelated to the issue at hand, so that is why I didn’t say it. I kept quiet and observed the whole drama unfold.

Can you guess what they did to the poor lady? Am so sorry to disappoint you dear reader, because I also don’t know. I had to leave to go do the nothings that had brought me to town. I run my life, remember?

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Now am pretty sure you’ve all enjoyed this piece. Perfectly penned by Agnes Opondo. Click HERE to connect with her on Facebook. And HERE to view her blog for more interesting stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A WITH LEWIS MARTIN

The other day I was talking with a long gone friend. She suggested a coffee meeting in town. Instead of worrying about what to write here while at the same time trying to come up with what to wear when I will be meeting her, or even to fail honoring the meeting altogether, I deemed it fit to have content from you. Please don’t crucify me, it is not that I value this place less, it is only that this is an ex I will be meeting. She cleared school when I was in my second year. She was the sweetest taboo. So I have to give it a good thought.

I was surprised that some people had been waiting for a chance to ask me questions, I don’t know why they have never got to me and asked before. I am an easy person and open for talks, even small talks. So feel free.

Here are your questions and the answers;

Q. What would you do if money wasn’t an object?

A. In my life all I want is to travel. I want to experience different cultures. I want to watch topless women on the beaches in Rio De Janeiro. I want to view the earth from a hot air balloon in South Africa. I also want to see tall buildings and see the wonders of the world. I will create a museum in Seme with a piece from every traveling destination I get to.
I would also get a huge chunk of land and create LewisMartin forest. A place I would dissappear to when I want to go away and interact with the wild as I appreciate the work of God.

Q. If you could go back in time what do you think you could do differently?

A. Well, mostly I have made good decisions in life but if I was to go back in time I would not take a degree in communication, it’s not like it’s bad, I would go for a skill like Web design and the likes. I would even do more sciences and mathematics. I feel I wasted a bigger part of my brain taking easy courses. I did not even have to read or attend classes and I don’t remember getting a retake, not unless they give me one at the moment.

Q. Are you married?

A. I am not married yet. Though those guys back at home have started asking suggestive questions. I hope when they get me leads it won’t be someone who wants to sign a prenuptial agreement.

Q. Are you dating?

A. Nop, I am single.

Q. How deep in of a crush do you have for your blog mate?

A. Eheh well Paula Norah is what I would call beauty meets sophistication. She is the most beautiful lady I know. I like everything about her. We can easily talk about anything in the face of the earth. Some even out of the earth. I would say she is atypical. You guys interact with her every other week in this platform and you can attest she sure is worth her weight in gold. All that combined, I love her, so not a crush.

Q. What is your most Outstanding Character?

A. This is a question that is best answered by someone else who knows me well other than me. But I would say I am spontaneous.

Q. What are your greatest and most embarrassing moments as a writer?

A. I have had some great moments as a writer mostly when I go to some place and someone out of nowhere tells me, “Hey, I have been reading your work.”
The other day I attended an event full of the Kenyan celebs; musicians, actors,media guys and even the great business guys in the country. It made me feel good about being a writer. The event with Khaligraph Jones, Fena Gitu, Elani, Nyashinski, and several big shots in the capital, it was more like a Kenyan Music Academy night. Then you interact with such and have drinks on the same table with nobody all over them. It was a great event.
About the embarrassing moments, I don’t think I have faced any yet.

Q.Its actually raining around here and I’ve always wanted to ask you what’s your frequent thought when its raining heavily and you’re just staring at the raindrops and you have your thoughts magnified?

A. I was born in Kisumu city, at some point in life shit happened and we had to return to the village. We left everything in town and headed home empty handed. Our house in shagz was what befits the term shackle. It was a small grass thatched one room house. The grass on the roof was placed such that the side of the bed was well done while, on the other side you could be able to tell any changes on weather conditions. You would feel the strength of the sun when a sun ray pierced through, and count stars as well as see how big the moon was by looking through the roof. That would tell you what it was when it rained. In short rains were nightmares and it sickened us. While other kids would be rejoicing and playing on the rains, with us it was as if rains were a way to ridicule us for being poor.
Well, the situation changed to the better after some years. That is why nowadays when I see the rain and just look at the raindrops, all I say is, “God you are good.”
There is also another part of me which wants to get someone pretty and go get soaked in the waters as we do inappropriate things in the rain.

Q. Biggest challenge as a writer in PepperLife

A. My biggest challenge as a writer in PepperLife is also my greatest motivation. The challenge is having a great partner. Paula writes so well, you read her articles and feel that she has done good. She writes with passion that keeps growing. People rave about her, I go to places and people talk about how awesome my partner is. It is really good, but wait till you open Ms Word and you want to bring a piece to life. I do feel like I would bring shit and this is a good motivation. It is really not comparing stuff, it is just the feeling that you won’t want to go down when she has taken the bar so high. So she better keep it going the way she has always done it.

Q. Are you interested in men?

A. Yes, I am interested in both men and women. Given that I am a man I have to be interested in men, like I have to know what men face in daily lives. I have to know what fatherhood and marriage life entails, coz with time I am going to be a dad and a husband. I have to interact with different men and see how life is for them. I am interested in men in all things except sexually, I am straight like a wall.

Q. What do you think about your university friendships?

A. I had a very good stint in campus. I at times miss the place. That would only be possible with my friends. I had great friends. They impacted my life and I also impacted their lives I believe. Without the friends I would be an animal peg in a soggy ground.

Q. How many ladies have you dumped and what was the reason?

A. I am not really the person who dumps ladies. I am a person who is open minded, we just agree on what we both want from the word go. We can always agree about these things, it is never that serious.

Q. What do you think of Kenya?

A. I think Kenya needs more men like CJ David Maraga. People who will uphold the rule of law and with the fear of God.

Q. Have you found your dream girl?

A. Yeah.

Q. How and when did you decide to be a blogger?

A. I have always wanted to be a writer. In my second year I was already writing for a publication. The problem is that websites would start on a good path but then on a need to gain quick traffic they would go to sensational news and I would quit. I definitely cannot write on something I don’t like. I kept writing and keeping them or sharing with only one person who did a good work keeping the fire in me burning. I am sure I couldn’t have started blogging on my own, I kept letting procrastination have the better of me. So with the immense help from my partner(sole reader, editor and critic by then), early this year, I got a feet. Shortly after, we moved to this site together as partners.

Q. You run PepperLife with Paula. How’s the partnership like? Is it a 50-50 partnership/ a Co CEO situation or does one of you get a higher percentage if it were to be in terms of shares?

A. PepperLife is a balanced and equal partnership. Everything goes 50-50.

Q. I always doubt your relationship with Paula. Are you dating or have you ever dated?

A. We are not dating and we have never dated. We are great friends though I am not ruling out that option.

Q. Would you be a man and confirm in this blog that Paula is your dream wife?

A. Yes, I will be a man and confirm that she is a super lady, any man will be extremely lucky to have her.

Q. If Lewis Martin wasnt taking kiswahili mawasiliano, what would be his career now?

A. I am really not sure about that, by the time I was headed to that course I didn’t even know what I wanted, at one point I was thinking of KMTC. What I am sure though is that I would still be writing no matter the place I ended.

Q.If Lewis Martin was to write a book on his life, what would the title be?

A.IT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE’. One day you might meet it in a bookstore. I know it will be looking relaxed like a guy on holiday at the coast who just wants peace and a good time, please smile at it and strike a conversation. The conversation might lead to other things.

Q. Are you ever curios of who you’d be in an alternate universe, like if you were born maybe in a different time, to a different family and in a different environment. Or who do you think you would be and what talents would you think you’d have?

A. In another universe, I would be a pigeon. They are never into anybody’s business. They are just peaceful and relaxed. They have a way of just keeping it together. They don’t crave too much attention, they are happy with what they got. Those are the things I like. I know I would fit in that team.

Q.If you were to go back in time relationship wise, what would you do differently?

A. I would keep everything the way they were except maybe slow on my rebounds game.
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I really tried answering most of the questions. Someone wanted to know if I had taken supper one night and she insisted I answer it here. Yeah, I had taken supper. A cup of tea, bread and cake.

I think this is a session I will be taking annually as I think of a way to drag my partner to have a session of her own. I mean, if she was one of the guys who used Sarahah, she can easily handle this.

Thanks for your questions, if at all you still have some for me, wait till next year same period.

Paranoia Or Just Too Much Fear?

I am not a popular person. I would say am not a celeb but let’s all agree there are no celebs in Kenya. We just have popular people. I freak out when people look at me when am walking on the streets. I freak out when they try talking to me. How am I supposed to meet ‘Mr. Right’ when every time someone attempts to have a conversation with me I think of sprinting to the left? By the way, there is no such thing as Mr. Right. No such thing. It’s a made up sham to prey on the emotional balance of vulnerable women who have been hurt a lot. But it provides hope though.

I also freak out over minor issues like too many friend requests in a day. Before accepting, I go through the mutual friends list and ask myself why would this person send me a friend request? Did one of these mutual friends whisper something about me and now curiosity got the better of the person? Is someone out there sharing a link to my profile? It can’t be my posts, I tell myself, because sometimes even I am shocked when I read some of the things I write. This week, I received over 100 friend requests in a span of two days. That freaked me out.

When I open my mobile data in the morning and find over 10 conversations on WhatsApp, especially when there is no group message, I freak out. Like I said, I am not a popular person. Even among my friends. I am the kind of friend who will have a lively conversation with you but there are minimal chances that I started that conversation. It’s never fully pride; I just really suck at small talk. Like skip to the point already! So when I find such messages on my phone my first instinct is to ask myself ‘damn it girl! What did you do?’ It is a relief when I find it’s just a lot of hello(s) and hi(s). But it’s also questionable. Like why are they all saying hi to me today? What have they heard? What are they driving at?

I am a very paranoid person. I overthink situations, and not with a positive angle, I think towards the negative. My What Ifs are 99% of the time towards the negative, and in equal percentage towards life threatening situations. I can’t help it. I have tried. I also fear a lot.

When I was still a child, at around 8years or younger, I accompanied a group of school mates to a home whose owner I did not even know. There was a funeral going on and the late was somehow relevant to my school at the time. Even after several warnings of ‘Do not follow people to their homes’ ‘Come straight home after school’ and ‘If you want to go to a friend’s place, ask for permission’. On that day, I did not even think twice, I just followed people. In a matter of minutes, we were in the home. Then there was a line. And it was full of my schoolmates, so I went and joined it, and slowly the line started moving. I did not know where we were headed, I just followed them. It was not until I also turned my head to the right like everyone that I saw what the line was for. We were viewing the body. Before that day, I knew when someone dies; they immediately go to heaven if they are good and hell if they are bad. No one mentioned the motionless body being part of the equation. I freaked out and froze on the line. This was someone I didn’t even know and there I was staring at what used to be him.

For over a year, I could not be sent into a dark room and go willingly. I would tiptoe to the room already having a panic attack, switch on the lights and once am halfway calm, I start imagining things. What if I turn my back to search for whatever I was sent and then something comes in and I don’t know…does something bad to me? Because I was already paranoid and scared, I would not have enough time to search and instead I would quickly run out of the room without switching off the lights and innocently say I haven’t found whatever it is that I was sent. Someone else would be sent and they come back with it almost immediately.

I watch NatGeo Wild more times than I would want to admit. I know so much about animals now. I know how to differentiate a crocodile from a monitor lizard. Since am being honest here, there is no point in knowing the difference. When you see any of them, RUN! I know some animals I never even imagined existed. It is common knowledge that hyenas are very selfish and gluttonous animals. This is true, but wait until you hear about the Tasmanian devil tiger. Small predators but they are so mean and selfish. The children chase away the mother just to eat as they fight amongst themselves. NatGeo Wild is a great channel, unless they are showing doctors biting sheep balls off, then it gets disgusting and you can never unsee that.

As a constant NatGeo Wild watcher, I thought the knowledge on everything I fear would help me relax. Instead, I now have more reasons to overthink and thus keep my paranoia at an increasing rate. The other day I was taking photos in the compound and then I remembered a segment in the channel where a snake hid in a very similar tree. That was the end of the photo session.

I have always had an ardent fear of spiders growing up, I still do. However, my fear of the real thing is not such a big deal as compared to the fear I have towards all the imaginary spiders in my head. I once ran away from a room because my own hair brushed unexpectedly on my neck. It is not helping that I have an overactive imagination. When I see more than one ant around, I imagine there is something sweet somewhere around, which could mean there is a bee or two around. And what are the chances that that bee has not attracted a bear. What are the chances?

For someone like me who also has a fear of irregular patterns, and a cluster of small holes and bumps (Trypophobia), opening links with the caption ‘Top 10 most disgusting things in the world’ or ‘This woman was uncomfortable and when she visited the doctor…this will shock you’ or ‘17+ strange places where dangerous animals hide’ is not an option. I have however out of curiosity opened some links; I am still recovering from that sight. My skin still has goosebumps when I think of such times. When a part of my skin gets itchy, I imagine all sorts of negative things related to whatever link I opened last.

Is this paranoia or just too much fear? Don’t tell me it’s the same thing.

I could go on and on about my paranoia, and fears but am already feeling bored of typing.

JOURNEY TO REDEMPTION

There are some moments you never want interrupted. You want to keep them in any medium possible and play them anytime you feel like. Such moments could come when you are at the shore of Lake Victoria, as the afternoon breeze smashes on your face, gets past your ears and you feel your body blocking its flow. The waves of the Lake flow gently with a little sunshine giving the breeze all the time in the world to ask yourself why you took so long to get to that place. Besides you stands a gem, with vivacious features and eyes that sparkle brightening your day. It is her idea that you are there in the first place.

You move close to this beautiful being as if to point to her something on the visible shore across you, and you steadily move your left hand to rest on her lower back, your right hand still on your side. Just when you are slowly moving your left hand even lower, your phone starts ringing. Phones never let you have your moments. I believe phones are the neediest devices in this world; they don’t want you concentrating on any other thing. If your phone has ever rang at such a moment to remind you that you belong to this world, then you will get it.

You are torn between picking that phone and just silencing it. You then check it only to find it is that call that you cannot miss. It’s mum calling, and when mum calls, you will pick. She is enquiring why you never got home the previous day. Apparently she had saved you some food knowing you will get home. She is worried that you have not stopped your behavior of randomly coming up with plans and go missing.

Just after the call, a new number pops up on the screen. It’s a lecturer informing you that he will be assessing you the next day. That means you have to go back to your work station. You have to leave the beautiful view of the lake behind and get back to the crowded madness which is the city of Nairobi. You break the news to the beauty and already notice the disappointment in her voice as she asks you if there is a chance that you might not go. Those are hard times, hard choices. You have to weigh your options. Well, you know you have to travel, and again there stands the lady you have been waiting to spend the evening with. Quite a tempting offer she gives you. You take in the breeze one last time as you stroll by the shore waiting to watch the sun setting in the horizon. Evening first approaches and you head back to the house bidding your better half a kiss goodbye, and just like that you are on the road.

My life happens in a flash. I rarely plan for stuff I do because it has proven time and time again that I do not get to those places. I know of people who plan their life in a diary and religiously stick to it. That is pure genius. I am one of those people who live life in the fast lane; you can wake me up from my sleep and tell me that we are heading for a trip, and I show up whatever the time. All I need is a reason and accessibility. Motivation is always on point.

I remember how I left my village the other day. I was ploughing the farm when I received a call informing me that there was a gig opening for some few days in Kisumu. I headed home, and even without taking a shower, I changed into fresh clothes and off I went. I told guys at home that I will return in the evening. Three weeks later, they are still waiting for me. I had left home without any set of clothes to change and yet here I was, going to spend one week in town. I am not sure if that’s crazy, I only know that I will survive. I would have to make do with what I have. Isn’t that what creativity is for?

One time seeing that beauty out, I had bent next to her. She then pulls up my shirt and on asking why she says she wanted to see the brand of boxer that I had on. I don’t know what she would say if after some days she would look and see that I am still in the Gildan brand. Or wait, did she notice and just keep quiet about it? I now have the sudden urge to ask her about it.

This has been me for a long time. In school, I didn’t know whether I would get back to the house by evening or not. I never knew where the sun would set in with me in. I stopped going to bashes because almost each and every one I attended, I would wake up in unfamiliar territories the next day. I had even started influencing my friends. One time a brother of mine got into a vehicle heading to school, and he ended up meeting a stranger who offered him some lunch she was carrying. After enjoying the scrumptious meal, he found himself at the lady’s house the following morning.

Living an adventurous lifestyle has its setbacks. I am missing out on opportunities in my career and even relationships. Having lost my focus on what I prime in life, I am now convinced that it was a phase that I am soon growing out of. This is the most serious statement I have ever written in my life.

After deep thought, I am considering quitting this life. It is not for me anymore. Times are changing, and responsibilities are piling up my way. If you were like me, what has helped you out throughout the months, or even years?