Farewells and More Sad Things

No one else knows how to stage the farewells drama like an Arab daughter. Arab daughters?! Nobody. And this is none of those stories of Hare and Chameleon I don’t know Elephant. I spent enough seasons in the flare of the Sahara to earn myself authority to talk about Arabs and their daughters and even Bashir would tell you this if he were a clever person.

We would go to the Khartoum Airport almost every week. At least every week someone was coming into the City of Patience, or running away from God’s wrath. The trips didn’t just offer us the opportunity to get the freshest first-hand news from home; they also put us at the right position in the field when fate’s midfielder would bring that cross of maize floor or tilapia and we would be at the right position in the opponent’s defense to fire the goal home. It wasn’t about greed or even the food per se. When you are in a foreign land you always want to get a piece of anything from home even if it is a piece of shit from your neighbour.

So on such occasions I would see Arab families swing into the Arrivals or Departures. Heavy Arab fathers smelling juneyr notes in their jalabiya and scarfs making staircases to the sky above. Huge bodies from Omdurman or Wad Madani or even Al Dabbah in the north. They would sit with us in the lounge and we would all watch Al Shorook and see Al Bashir issue warnings to Amriykia. All along they would be talking in low tones and sometimes Father would kiss Daughter on the forehead. That is how brutal Arabs were. They kissed their daughters while we stared and prayed that they leave the job to the rightful candidates. But we seemed to have left our gods back in the villages because God never struck their necks. A jealous mother would enter the discussion and pinch the daughter or her father. Then there would be a chuckle, followed by calm and talking in low tones as Al Shorook breathed on the screen.

Then would come the hour Leopard ate her child. Father would rise to leave, and would hug the family before hugging Daughter a long passionate one. (Picture young man gritting teeth). Then he would turn to leave.

He never would leave like that…..

And this is where I will tell you Arabs are beasts, and that small beautiful Arab girls are worse. For when you ask me why I didn’t marry an Arab it will not just be that they were unreachable. They were also small spirits, explosives. These small creatures would coil and turn wild and wail.  They would run to their fathers and grab their jalabiya not to leave. It always was a small Gulf War. Many of them collapsed right before our eyes. Many remained at the lounge hours after the man had gone. Many needed police to help the mother carry them back to the waiting car.

In the Sahara I learnt one thing, that goodbyes are the hardest experience hunger.

For I felt so broken on behalf of the father. I tried but failed to taste how the old beast himself felt leaving behind Yellow Flower with round lips and eyes of Eve.

Farewells have always been tough for me. I think it is because I tend to attach sentimental value to almost everything around. I remember one time I secured a job in another town and so it was a must to move. Yes I went, but I kept paying rent and coming back for pilgrimage. I think it was also the time I had lots of the president’s head and tails. And dung between my ears.

It’s been quite a while since we began doing stuff here. We sometimes stumbled upon sense and made it right. Sometimes we pulled a crazy line and we were happy. Or sometimes a sad one until we were happy that we were crying. We’ve traversed the world and met people. But I’m not sure that if war broke out today happiness and sense would still stand on our side anymore. I think what I’m fearing to say is that this place has become vague. You can’t expect to write boring stuff and then hope to have fun unless the person who bewitched you was also bewitched.

Or perhaps it is just the burnout.

Whatever, we need to go back to the drawing board.




Guys, this is a bachelor’s way of saying bye. For the moment. There is a long literary project I’m working on and I felt Eke the bird will fly away if I shoot with half an arrow. Perhaps you will be there to buy a boring book with my name when November cometh. And who knows, School Girl will be grown already and I won’t need police papers to show her around and tell Arabs to remain with their little beasts. And I will have a phone with a camera; you know what that means?

But most importantly, we are taking this break to breathe back the energy into this page. So roll that frown and make bread from it. (Big Emoji)

Bye (and I’ll miss you, and remain sad) till 7th November. 8 am.



A Story Without Direction

My other sister wanted to be a banker when she grew up. A curious career. Sad too. Spend whole day behind thick and cold glass walls and attend to sad clients who were appointed by God Himself to dress as they please and not even flinch. Work with a sad manager, sad receptionist, sad colleagues and assume there is joy in this sadness. Wake up every morning and believe that the sadness you see in your mirror is actually joy.

I sincerely hate sad. Many people do. Sitting alone with the chin overlapping the eyebrows in an award-winning frown. Nothing sexy about looking at people and hoping they pity you and understand your predicament. So I am wondering how a small child of such good parenting could decide to sit down and choose the noose over life. Such a young girl with a good brother who wanted to be an engineer.

I had my own sadness before I grew old. Maths was it. And my teacher was the messiah of sadness sent to deliver the message of sadness and conquer the world with it. Why didn’t they just take an engineer with distinctions in religious education? Sometimes as an engineer you get tough situations. Metals knock your hands and you need to sit by the road and cry. And pray. And there is no prayer in Maths. It was only later I came to realise that if there is any career that requires religious education, it has to start with being engineering. But Our White Man of Musenda would never hear that.

He was the authority. Children feared him. Parents worshipped him. What he said was the Taurat and it was strictly written on white tablets in our parents’ heads. And having your say involved understanding this.

Why don’t we just make our own world? People who can’t leave us with our choices should all be jailed.

Every time I use the Kayole buses I think about options and choices. If you have never been on a bus screaming that West African noise then you don’t know what respecting other people’s choice is. You have never seen that Indian who smokes at his gas station. You have probably never seen young Nairobian girls out on the streets with dogs.

I don’t mean dogs of hotdogs or dogs that break deals. I mean dogs wu-wu-wu. The parent of a bitch.


By the way, what is this thing I see in Donholm? I don’t know about over there but here things are getting messier. Every evening you will see a group of girls in flimsy tops and sweat pants strolling behind a dog. White and with a belt round the neck and with wu-wu-wu in the head. Sometimes they cuddle the thing. Sometimes they carry it on their lean backs. Sometimes there will be a male fool, doing everything to the animal just to get credentials with the girl. Sometimes the dog does something, and they burst out laughing. Donholm. They don’t wait for darkness. They do it when the sun is still awake. Every evening I alight at Mwea Plaza and along that 200 m lane I see these things. And those young girls are not crazy. Now what is that?

The place of a dog is in the bush, running after squirrels. Or in the home waiting for trouble. And when it does wu-wu-wu we know something is up. Either a thief has arrived or a Chinese is around or a bitch wants food. Or, the canine is just testing its constitutional right and checking out what you’ll do after all. That wu-wu-wu.

So I am always sympathising with the people of Donholm. In Kayole, the pets we know are chicken. When a visitor comes, you can negotiate with your pet and the guest gets food. But a dog! Chinese men must tell us their secret because I don’t think they toss their juice over real dog meat. I read in a book about people who would play gambling and the most expensive part to place a bet on was dog ears. Sweet. Go away.

So every evening at Mwea, when I go to get my daily bread from the Somali mum, I’m uncomfortable. But people here are so deaf they won’t realise this. Or they are playing safe. They must play safe around Tatiana with mascara and polished nails.

And you Tatiana, because I know your name must be Tatiana with a tattoo, Tatiana, what will you say if that dog bites you? You are so small, poor thing of God. Where’s the fun in caressing a guy with four hands and a tail when young men working for Somali moms are around?

Let me not go there. Do what you want. Let people choose what they find joy in. If I bring this dog talk too high, people will say I am single that’s why I am picking this war. That I’m picking a war with Tatiana to try meet the deficit in the word count. Okay. Tatiana you win.

Let bankers be.

Let engineers be.

Let Tatiana be.

It is a choice.

That is my story without direction.

Image Credits

2016 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops Call for Applications

Here cometh another opportunity for emerging writers. I think it is important to go out there and do things. Plus, they’re looking for the unpublished writers, meaning that only fellow small people are in the race. In fact we are applying already.
Source: 2016 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops Call for Applications


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Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.

Susan Sontag