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Category Archives: Undeterred

I heard, I read, I saw, I realize, I think….

I read somewhere that you should not beg God, that you are his daughter/son and you are deserving. All you need to do is ask. The begging attitude must really irk him. The author continued to write that the word BEG appears only thrice in the bible as opposed to 103 times that ASK appears. So, BEG not or less.

Someone confessed to having a visceral prejudice *working mans * prejudice against anyone who doesn’t produce some tangible value to earn their daily bread. I must say that i share this sentiment somewhat. Wherever you are, society of least possible opportunities or the opposite, a holder of the lowest level of education or non at all, the sheer fact that you wake up every dawning day, is proof enough of your potential to produce value. Your underproduced value is very much within reach.

I realize that everyone has an axe to grind, but there are times i will encounter and have to endure, ridiculous and hogwash conclusions drawn by people who know absolutely nothing about me. Conclusions about my inabilities, my limitations, my non-conventionalness, mostly it will be about stuff that’s meant to break me. So, i’ll keep up my 2 month old idealogy. Being completely invisible to self – i’ll divulge more about that later after it’s gone past the testing period.

I took a statistics class a while back about correlation and causation, that correlation between two variables doesn’t necessarily imply that one causes the other. Two events occurring simultaneously, are viewed as having a cause and effect relationship.  What interested me most was the fallacy; in latin cum hoc ergo propter hoc. This simply means that ‘with this or because of this‘ Its adverse would be Post hoc ergo propter hoc which means ‘after this’ I have always thought of my life being personifications of correlation causation events but i now realize that a basic statistic class can go a long way in giving a very needed perspective in my seemingly quizzed up life, 

After a crazy house party that spilled over to the club, my criminally hangover friend’s first word *2pm next day* was ‘know your poison’ That was because, poor dude had downed a mixture of every liquor available in the house. I have encountered, that phrase before but for some strange reason, in the process of writing this post, it kept popping up. There are times, when i think i may have made wrong moves in some of my career choices, then other times am perfectly confident and proud. Now, all mature and notably aware of the implications of my picks and more importantly, not too far from making a huge leap into new territories *fingers tightly crossed* knowing my poison couldn’t be a more suitable axiom.

I realize that am so interested in diaspora studies, especially knowledge transfer. I get a kick every time i read matters diaspora. I am on an abated path to educate myself in this field and hopefully one day in the near future become an expert in knowledge transfer and the African diaspora. My journey starts next month as i attend my first ever international conference The Africa meets Europe- A Forum for Young Leaders (AME)  (Berlin, December 3rd-7th , 2013). I think i will dedicate a new category just for that.

Hope

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Undeterred

 

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Packing

Today i was hanging out with a group of senior citizens (i do that twice a week – pure volunteering) one particular lady showed me something that got me thinking. You see, this lady is 89 years old, has survived three strokes, one cardiac arrest and a severe bout of depression. No, she is not bedridden, walks with a faltering step though, is pretty coherent in her speech, has an intact long term memory (her memory of the winter war, continuation war and Lapland war are impeccable) never mind she was barely 15 when it all begun and ended. Her short term memory is something else altogether, i get to repeat the day of the week countless times she forgets it as soon as i utter it – can be quite droll. Enlisting for this cause is one of the most gratifying things i have done in my lifespan. You see when you live in a society where you are likely to encounter negativity, indifference, sectarianism etc intermittently, a geniune show of appreciation, or a desperate display of neediness and the evident reminder that poverty (i don’t mean access to resources – i mean any form of deprivation) is not the preserve of few, can mean that push for another extra mile. I still believe that the good Lord intended for us to co-exist symbiotically, the human race especially but…..

So, this particular day after watching a black and white old Finnish movie with my lady, she decided to play dress up. She was intent on educating me on matters medieval Finland. Dress code was todays subject. So she attempted to drag this sizable antique chest, (it’s just amazing how much willpower people get when they are at a certain age) she wouldn’t let me help her so i stood there for a couple before she finally gave in. Out of the chest comes this hand embroidered long frock and matching slippers *elf like* and she made me wear it. I was itching for photos but all my instructions on handling my phone for pictures were futile – talk about a willing spirit but really weak flesh. I have fortunately found a similar looking one online. So it was my turn to talk about my native dress code and of course that was easy. Just needed to hit google and show some maasai images. I really need to educate myself on my own ethnic dress code *side note* Next week we will attempt to have cornrows on her head simply because she’s fascinated by my very versatile afro hair.

mediaval

This post was about something she showed me and no, it’s not the dress. As i was leaving, she asked me to keep my fingers crossed for her to get her placement to a hospice approved, because she’s so tired of living alone. ‘This loneliness is killing me’ her words exactly. That’s always sad to hear. So am keeping every crossable anything on my body crossed for her.

It was at this point that she pointed her already packed suitcase. She said it’s been ready for a whole year all she’s waiting for is the call. Wow! I think that was my zenith moment. I started thinking about how i am always inclined to want and wish for change, new prospects, new locations and how unprepared i usually am or feel when and if they materialize. This lady taught me about something most of us take for granted. Ever been in a situation where you have to re-locate *anticipated re-location* only to realize that you have valuable assets and no time to liquidate them only to be forced to dump them or give them away?

As i continue to cross my fingers for my lady, am determined to apply this lesson and who knows, i may need to cross some fingers for myself too.

Hope

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Undeterred

 

Lest I forget

I am the Lord, I change not. – Mal 3:6

Hope this stiring continues with every dawning day that is ordered and ordained me.

It is well for us that, amidst all the alterations and vicissitudes of life—that there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter—and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All other things have changed—all other things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age. The world is waxing old—the heavens and earth must soon pass away and perish!There is One alone, who has immortality—of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore—is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth, “I am the Lord—and I do not change!” The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian’s hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth.“With Him there is no variation!” Whatever His attributes were of old—they are now! His power, His wisdom, His justice, His truth, are alike unchanged.He has ever been the refuge of His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble—and He is their sure Helper still.He is unchanged in His love. He has loved His people with “an everlasting love!” He loves them now as much as ever He did—and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, His love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that our God never changes! The wheel of providence revolves—but its axle is eternal love!

PEACE  Hope, yer i sign out this way, because that’s how i feel today.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Undeterred

 

IF YOU CAN……

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same….

If you can bear to watch the things you gave your life to, break, and stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools….

If you can make one heap of all your winnings, and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings, and never breathe a word about your loss…..

Rudyard Kipling

If i may just embody this, read it as my own script, own it, hum it, when fully comprehended, and heeded, I can lay claim of the earth, one with the dust.

The good book illustrates the usefulness of dreaming seeing dreams ‘….YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND OLD MEN SHALL SEE DREAMS…’ I am a dreamer, i have always been one, but is there a contrast between the two? Dreaming and seeing dreams? A dream is an illusion a vision – A noun. A dream consists of conjuring scenarios – A verb.

So which of these categories best describes me?

A thorn in the flesh, a commonly used antidote for times of adversity, despair and loss. As would be expected, it tugs along numerous expressions for jubilation and moments glorious. The gap between these two moments; highs and lows, is where I find, I easily wander to near oblivion, a dangerous impasse. If you like limbo. A fall from glory, a form of retraction, without a moment reflection on a past story and victory, can lead to earthly purgatory.

So, can my dreamer attributes conjure words, symbols, phrases that bear my flag in my valley moments?

Ever experienced a blessed moment? i mean the epitome of no eye has seen, no ear has heard no mind has conceived…. kind of blessing? I have, I know overflow. I also know overthrow. Clinging, believing it to define my genesis and cease. Thrusted back to the buried past, forced back to the attic, the jagged streets, lessons long learnt and forgotten.

Is a reluctant comprehension that rusty, mangled tools conceal new springs; like dust to dust to life my Garden of Eden?

Why this strange feeling? That of one who has never taken a leap. Oh i know, the dreamer me, a probe for dreams moderation remain, and without maim, my triumphs vis-a-vis mishaps -limbo phase- will resonate not my cup of overthrow, but remnants of my overflow, which when regurgitated, guide me down medicinal corridors of introspection.

….If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Undeterred

 

Blossom and Wilt….a paradox

We, are unfolding. It is a time of expectancy

and we’re at the brink of Birth. Already, the water’s broken

the contractions have started on personal, national, global scales

Our work now is to lay back and let the body PUSH.

There might be a brief flash of pain as the baby comes out.

But God in his mercy will cut short the pain and the period of labour.

The work is to lay back, be open, be still and PUSH, when we feel, it is time.

We’ve been in labour so long, we’re horribly overdue.

All to do now is to lie back and be still to listen, to trust and obey.

In the past we sometimes got hyper-active and would stand up-agitated

just when the baby was at the brink of emergence

when all we really should have been doing was lying back, trusting, lying and being still

and knowing….He is God.

PUSH.

Larry Liza

Lately, i draw a substantial amount of stimuli from poetry. I bumped into this one today and felt inclined to post it here. Largely for self, but in no way thus restricted.

Putting this piece in context, the year is 2000, freshly, graduated from college and relishing my first job, first paycheck, first bank account – Postbank, (in those days, bank cards were for the affluent, so we had bank books,clumsy ones at that, but that was then, and it worked best) firsthand experience of awkward freedom *i still have curfew* first investment experience Nairobi Stock Exchange, I was a shareholder, an owner of one of the best companies locally *EABL* I start thinking about my first car * yes i had a fat purse* I want a toyota starlet or VW beetle *old school* and actually start looking around until dad breaks it down what owning a car really entails. I ditch the thought instantaneously. I obtain a megarider and become a consumer of my hard earned tax deductions *moment of awareness* in my native tongue, i was now officially a jui húúre loosely translates to *on my own* or so i thought. I was wrong, The year is 2001, time to stow away to alien lands in pursuit of literacy. I still remember the mixed emotions. The adventurous me was aroused and i was ready for the unknown. Penning down my experiences through this decennary does them no justice for they are ineffable.

Back to the poem. Birth, is synonymous to a dawn, a creation, an outcome after struggle and toil. My lifetime has bore amazing creations, conceptions all bearing these characteristics. Another native saying analogizes this in relation to a woman *bearer of life* Ítunyagwo mbúí ní gúciara which translates to ‘a woman’s beauty is spoilt by maternity’ a more conventional translation, would be ‘a plant looses its blossom as it bears fruit’. So does this mean that as i continue in my pursuit of fruitfulness, i loose my blossom, my beauty *whatever you define yours to be*  probably, YES. Yikes! scary, I always want to correlate my outcomes with longevity and not the opposite.

In one of my past posts, i quote Criss Jami ‘ As long as i am breathing, in my eyes, i am just beginning’ so am auspiciously cognizant to this symbiotic relationship between blossom and wilt. Another of life’s paradoxes *note to self* So does it necessarily mean that a life that bears no fruit is blossomed and filled with charm? Absolutely NOT. So just as in the poem above, I must push, give birth to, produce, for in fulfilling this possibilities, callings or expectations, i guarantee my timeliness, i avoid being horribly overdue and position myself in a place where I can trust a superior being.

I wrap this up with another native saying…gútire úndú útarí kíhúmo. *everything has a beginning* Take every new endeavor as a beginning and realize that there is a very high likelihood that blossom will manifest in productivity.

blossom-end-rot3-big

Peace:)

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Undeterred

 

Of medals, friendships, beautiful nature, road trips…..

‘I can start training and get in shape for a quarter marathon with you guys,’ i excitedly said to my sisters in May 2013. I knew i could do it but it didn’t dawn on me then that the journey would be this amazing, inspiring and that i would eventually outdo myself. I especially anticipated an uphill task.

Its unbelievable how even after living in my neighborhood for close to 4 years, 5 months was all it took to really discover the beauty beyond my front and back yards, that familiar walking track i tread every morning and evening, the mundane driveway * I honestly believe i can maneuver it eyes shut* The only real variation occurs when the trees acquire the alluring autumn colors that i fall for repeatedly. Then comes the first snow, that white carpet morning. Magnificent.*That is before the minuses hit* And just when am thinking, i can’t last another jacket or winter shoe or frozen fingers or….i hear a bird chirp, or so i think. Two days later, i spot a tiny impeccable bud, the trees are coming back to life. Spring time. Time to wear less, have my jeans sag from the weight of street puddles *winter meltdown* the numerous under dress incidents, occasional smiles and eye locking on the streets serves as a reminder that summer’s knocking. I just added one more reason to yearn for the season of the lights.

So, my countdown *right side of my blogs timeline* caught my attention in my last week of training. It begun sinking that my run was indeed here. This time round, it was not for 10km but my very 1st half marathon. Quite chaotic i must say, not knowing how long my pre-run should be, the fear of wearing myself out, what to eat and not eat, when to eat, how much water to drink, if my running shoes were perfect……and then my thoughts would shift to the running track. Porvoo is naturally a beautiful summer town so i knew it was not going to be a let down.

So, team mims and i started off from Turku 01.09 at 8am 9am *frowns* the drive on the E18 was nothing close to ordinary, characterized by fickle weather conditions and a lingering jittery feeling that we would ran late *we should really do better* the ambience in the car however impelled a feeling of positivity for the day. In no time, we were in Espoo then familiar signs like Koivula and after one or two wrong turns Porvoo welcomed us with its summer splendor.

The time 11:45, my ran 12:00 *panic* i had to register, change *was dressed more for the summer than the run*  pee, yes badly needed to pee, warm up and self hypnotize. All this in 15 minutes. Well, you guessed right, not possible. So there was no time for warm up. I was in a frenzy but still managed to be at the start line at 12.

DSCN6714

As a result of no warm up my first 3kms were hell, no amount of self hypnosis was working. My body and mind were revolting against me but i knew i was going to conquer them. Calmness checked in when the track opened up to this beautiful array of boats docked on the river *did i mention i looove boats* in that moment of calmness and daydream my body and mind broke even and i was in the game. At this point my tracker updated my distance at 4kms. My first water point was in vicinity. I grabbed a power drink and soldiered on, all this while expecting a cramp on my side or knee discomfort or… nothing *was accustomed to this during training* Smiled and reminded myself not to get too excited i still had 18kms to cover.

The track then led me into an expanse of brick red wooden houses, an interconnectedness that would make one conclude that the inhabitants knew each other on first name basis. The tapping of other runners feet on the asphalt jilted me back just in time to gear up for an uphill climb. There was no room for drifting off. My time was quite good *for a first timer* at 6kms in 33mins, well energized and no physical complains my medal was beckoning. A right turn, murram road through a forest, the smell of water and sand; we open up to the most amazing view of a lake on one side and a row of beach houses on the other *tempted to stop and take pictures* this stretch ended my 9th km. I revitalized my energy level at the second water stop and celebrated my almost half way there.

My mind shifted back to my run, i started wondering where team mims was, and what they were upto; i was empathetic for their having to drive 230km just to hang around for 2.15hrs *my target time* as a sign of team mims solidarity. I had a lump in my throat and it had nothing to do with dehydration. I was going to finnish this ran *extra mojo* So when my tracker indicated 10km in 58mins i was utterly proud of myself, simple calculations pointed out that i would easily hit my target *all things constant* the clouds were beginning to well up and there was a very suggestive wind and i knew any rain wouldn’t aid my run because i considerably rely on bifocals. So i crossed my fingers, said a prayer and wandered back to……only to be jolted by cheering and screaming by team mims. That feeling will remain with me eternally, as i ran past them *they even ran alongside me* I had a Kemboi moment. I now know the burden of carrying your country’s flag *team mims became my flag* With renewed energy and valor, my remaining 11kms felt awe-inspiring short.

porvoo team mims

To complete the half marathon and claim my medal i had to circle the track a second time. This time i was well acquainted and therefore expected to improve my ran substantially.

Remember the fickle weather? the swift wind? well, it made good its promise. On my 15th km, the clouds gave way, it wasn’t hard and harsh it was gentle and steady. Perfect! I started battling rain drops aimed directly at my eyes *as if to taunt me* straining my visibility. It ultimately subsided but had its toll on my time. I was at 19kms in 2.05hrs i knew my 2.15hrs target was slowly dwindling. I set a new target and pushed on. As i winded my last 3kms i celebrated this milestone with great pleasure and concealed emotion *there were no tears*  i did it and i had my team *best friends* to witness, nudge and share it with me.

As i crossed the finnish line, i was full of energy and when the cramping and lethargy i had anticipated failed to strike i knew i had prepared well. I embraced my medal and as i put it in my purse, i was admonished ‘that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, or riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all

DSCN6786

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Undeterred

 

Colors of my land

Let my flag remind, of my sacred duty. Black for the people, green for the land, red for the price of freedom and white for peace in Kenya, my pride, my strength, my joy always will be Kenya. This without a doubt evokes a good measure of patriotic emotionalism right? *mission accomplished* But what really is Kenyan Patriotism? Was I less of a flag-waver 13 years ago when i lived back home? or was the ultranationalist me confined to the pride emanated from watching our athletes bag gold medals in the Olympics or that one time the Survivor series was shot in my homeland *was it even televised locally?* I am in a continuous state of pondering; what really typifies homeland patriotism? If the last 8 or so years are anything to go by, locally Kenyans fill the bill. Laudable advances in appreciation of our beautiful country as shown in statistical increase in domestic tourism *gone are the yonder years when Nairobi was the only mod thing* In pursuit of emancipation and egalitarianism, people locally have never been more dead set on educating themselves on matters Political, *evident in the current pro-activity visible in civil society* Health *my mothers prudent platter shames me* Social solidarity unwavering support for homegrown Kenya *7’s phenomenon, appreciation of local brands* Economic* micro-finance advancements *we still are a micro populace* Technological *iHub, Ushahidi* this list is inexhaustible. In these onerous times, such headlines are undoubtably endearing. This indomitable spirit attests to a journey begun.

So what does this have to do with patriotism? Well, that’s simple. As i go about my day-to-day affairs domiciled in a country other than my own, I proudly wear a beaded wrist band with the true colors of my land and boast a pennant competing for space on my cars’ foreign license plate, * an inspection officer threatened to fail my car on account of this* my footwear bears the court of arms.*soma lebo (read the label)* These are just strewed examples of my diasporic definition of patriotism.  It’s a wash the outside and overlook the inside of the coffee mug  affair. Am so tempted to bow out on this self confrontation right now as numerous justifications spring left right*voices in my head*

Are all my symbols bona fide portrayals of my patriotism? In plain terms do i need to strap myself with the 4 colors to demonstrate to the world how nationalistic i am? Why can’t I commit to palpable undertakings as demonstrated by my compatriots back home? Wait, I think am been too tough on myself.  Am a constant remitter of money southwards *well, informally* My résumé speaks volumes *still waiting for domestic advancement signals* I stay abreast with current affairs *am mostly put off by the grimness* i could go on but for the sake of self preservation i think i have put my point across.

I will not put down my symbols *i’d feel naked* but i make a deliberate shift, to create value for my emblems. I want patriotism for my beloved motherland to emanate from within me as opposed to without me. Then maybe, just maybe i won’t need my ornaments.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Undeterred

 
 
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