Giving credit is a key ingredient in being a good human being. It so happens that this is something that I have learned the easy and the hard way. The key is in giving credit it does not necessarily have to be for a good thing. We should also give people “credit” for their bad manners….and this my friends requires (as they say) some jaws of steel and some balls!
It’s been a while since I last dug in here and let my words pitch tent permanently. It possibly has to do with the many thoughts in my head about everything and nothing in particular. It so happens that there are some important responsibilities as an Alumnus. It is a great privilege and feat to be […]
So happens that its been quite a while since I penned something. I guess i let it really go. Sometimes the best way to go back to get back to the beginning of it…
I variation of my name is OTIENO B.C. WHY because I believe names are versions of yourself. I’m told I laugh alot, I smile alot, I’m loud, I’m tall, and if this is what is seen then it’s true. I think I’am shy, but I’ve seen myself overcome it day by day!
I love the outdoors, find humour in people (our behaviour, our words), enjoy ideas from people, and adding value to what is there around me. I am a communicator, who i think as a bridge to what can be and will be.
I’m a collector of sorts, every item, picture, scrap, is connected to some story. In my next life I will probably be the ocean, so that i can travel wherever. In my past life… well this is it. I think I have used the word “think” so many times and will continue to do so till my last breath because thinking and ideas are the greatest asset of my generation..
These writings are what happens at various times in my year if my name was a year. The year OTIENO B.C.
I have never done this before, so here goes……
It’s that time of the year again where an invisible flying baby, goes around shooting arrows at people causing them to buy gifts, snacks and junk-food for each other; while the affinity to colour red grows exponentially. It is as they say, the month of Love. It so happens that we (my country folk) love a lot of things. We love our random plots, we love our language, we love our organization and disorganization, we love our women and men and love hating on them, we love talking about love, but also importantly we love love love politics.
Imagine being on a restaurant or bar and at 7pm the music is paused to tune on the TV for news just to see nini iko kwa siasa leo (what’s in politics today)? We love the games and tricks and politicking that our politicians do all year round without fail. We fret and curse at these antics but still stop some talented Dj with “mad skills” to tune in to a show of political circus, only to go back to cursing and fretting at how wrong these men and women are
But before I digress too much, this February it’s not just the month of love but a countdown to the general elections. A time where we get to show some love to our Country and un-love to politicians and put in anew, more like a pageant of sorts to pick the fairest of the pack. This time we’ve got to show some real love for our country, because we cannot dare not to. We cannot afford to; because as it happened in history to Martin Niemöller our version will be;
First they came for those at jobless corner, but I did not speak out because I was in the office.
Then they came for those breezing at the park and I did not speak out for I had better things to chat about
Then they came for those in the market, bus-stops and jua-kali sheds, and I did not speak out for I was detached from “those guys”
And when they came to the nominations, I did not speak out because I did not “feel them” or the process
Now they’ve come to me at the ballot and I’m stuck with indecision because none of them is worth their salt; and there’s no one to speak out for me as I’m forced to make a choice
It so happens that some things are indisputable even in another universe.
Fact 6 is probably the reason I opted for locks.
About fedoras (#10) well….It’s all in the framing on the head.
27 Indisputable Facts That Everyone Knows Are True
1. Sunglasses are always more expensive with writing in the corner:
2. The main difference between cats and dogs is this:
3. This will happen every time, no matter how well you know the song:
5. Your signature will always look like this:
6. Haircuts always go like this:
8. Sadly, this:
10. Fedoras are always a mistake:
11. Some bread is useless:
12. School busses make no sense:
13. You should never accept friend requests from anyone with this name:
14. This will make you cry everytime:
15. And this flinch everytime:
16. Everyone feels this way when bowling:
17. Gary Busey should never, ever pole dance:
18. This happens every birthday:
19. The maximum amount of swag a person can have is 41:
20. This ruins whatever you just bought:
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It so happens that I lived a life of the slum. My friends and all of my generation too. Nothing bad really, and in no way I’m I trying to seek sympathy from anyone who cares but the facts say that I did. Well I have evidence to this conclusion. It was a simple reading test. Really
It is a very happy and (I think) a common feeling when one reads a text and feels a profound attachment and connection to it. The story seems so real, it’s like the writer was there. In Mombasa there is a phrase storytellers use to put emphasis on their yarn “Tru story I was thea” . Meaning that it’s a first person real-time evidence narration; front row observer status my friend.
This slum life is not the “uuh aaaah” of Slum Dog millionaire movie. No! Its rewards were a million times more than the money in the film. So I have always wondered alone and aloud with friends if the generation after ours (yeah you can call it talking about our yet to be born children) will know of and enjoy our slum-life.
The priceless joy of having school shorts with the bottom torn from sliding on sand/ground; of coming back home from school with shoes full of dust, soil, weeds (I think to some extent we contributed to soil erosion and pollination); The triumph of scaling 2M walls to gather mangoes not caring about the “Beware of Dog” or “Mbwa Kali”(Ferocious Dog) sign; The knowing the power of the phrase “…I will slap you to sleep!” and most of all the ingenuity of our stories (lies) to get out of trouble on getting home (forget about TV Series, seasons and episodes).
That right there was the slum life. Tell me it doesn’t sound familiar. He (Ted) thinks so, and apparently, missing that slum life has some consequences……
When the adult becomes a baby
By Ted Malanda
When the adult becomes a baby
Nothing warms my heart more than watching a dusty looking boy or girl walk home from school. For me, the picture is never complete unless they have dust in their hair and socks, or what remains of them, look like they have been dug up from an archeological site. Often, their shoes are caked with mud, never mind that it is the dry season, and their school sweaters have holes exposing awfully dusty elbows — on a Monday.
Then I know those children had a fruitful day. They played, wrestled, fooled around, got into mischief, lied their way out of it, got caught and whipped and generally got an education.
But such children are getting rare by the day. Children as so perfumed these days, so tidy and programmed to be clean. They must wash their hands before every meal, not swim in ponds, not step in dirty water, not play in the rain and not eat things that fall off the table. It is a miracle they even manage to fall sick.
Put differently, we are raising a generation of youth who can’t take risks, a people averse to danger and adventure.
No wonder it is no coincidence that the most innovative survival techniques and small time business models emerge from slums, and not in middle class homes and universities. Thank God slum children remember adventure. Our children are protected to ridiculous heights. We even escort Standard Eight pupils to the bus stop to catch the school bus and have a maid waiting for them at the same spot in the evening.
Even when they are in Form Four, we insist on taking them to school and picking them up on closing day. We escort them to university on the day they report and buy them furniture when they graduate.
And then we get shocked when they regress as young adults — drinking themselves into stupor, driving from one pub to pub till morning on Friday nights and remaining drunk all weekend.
We get surprised when they go to watch rally cars perched on the rooftops of their cars, sitting on car doors with their heads propping out of the window, yelling like lunatics and hoisting beer bottles. We get shocked when this mindless recklessness kills them, forgetting that they are being the children they never were.
We merely protected them so much that they never were that dusty looking, hole-in-the-elbow, nicely educated child trudging home on Monday evening.
Eating the national cake
It is a picture an artist would kill for — the matronly woman perched on the rear end of a bicycle taxi, her arms wrapped protectively around an enormous cooking pan and a cooking stick.
The rider will deposit her at her doorstep. An army of children will emerge. Noses running, distended bellies rumbling, they look at her — eager and impatient for whatever tidings her basket brings.
Meanwhile, her good for nothing husband watches, loafing from beneath the shade of a tree that has, like his children, grown up on its own.
Occasionally, he swats an imaginary fly away with a flywhisk and barks at nothing, his face contorted to mirror the furious generation of wisdom and thunder where none exist.
In a short while, the sweet scent of baking ugali wafts from the kitchen to his nostrils, causing his tummy to rumble, like a gunshot. And then the much-awaited call: Lunch is served, his turn to eat.
But just when she is pushing the table closer to him like the feudal lord he is, a gay voice hails her from the doorway. That voice suggests a level of bonhomie that only exists in the caller’s imagination, something akin to “wananchi wapendwa”.
“Oh… Not again!” the long-suffering woman groans inwardly.
She grunts, “Karibu,” without meaning it or dignifying her helpless “You are welcome” with a smile. And as she offers a plate to this new loafer, her eyes glance with irony at a framed picture on her wall proclaiming Jesus Christ to be the ‘uninvited guest at every meal’.
And this new loafer, he is an artist. He can really jaw it. He talks all the time, dramatizing for effect, mimicking and laughing. But it is all a ploy because as he yaps, he hogs.
His style of eating is horned from many years of experience. Instead of focusing on the portion nearest to him, his hands meander to the side of the mountain of ugali nearest his host. He rips off a huge chunk, molds it into a humongous chunk — all the while talking his head off.
Then he ponderously swirls it in the thick gravy and flings it in his mouth, his face taut with expectation. So huge is the bolus that it twists one cheek sideways, yet he is still rapping.
Even when he forces it down his bulbous throat, where it slums down with a ferocity that could wake up anti-corruption officials if their outfit wasn’t a ghostly graveyard, he is still yapping.
Four more chunks and the ugali is gone. His host, a fellow loafer, but who in manners eating is a mere councillor, a small but corrupt city council askari, a lowly traffic policeman, curses. He is still starving.
But behind the house, in the small sooty kitchen, the woman of the home sits surrounded by children in various stages of malnutrition fighting over crumbs.
And when she emerges with a kettle of sugarless black tea, the uninvited guest at every meal waves her away, saying it is no good for his stomach. He only ‘drinks’ tea when it has milk — lots of milk
I’m off to re-live my Slum life
think I have a fairly good hand writing I must say. I spent a better part of my day scribbling notes next to people with terrible hand writing. Not saying that mine is any better, but my dear lord. Sadly, the scribbling was in trying to take in evidence for the endorsement of these 6 amazing young individuals who had in a 2 day window for preparation managed to come out the best us beauty Queens and Kings. Actually If the judging process considered handwriting, none would be here.
For a brief moment I felt or came close to feel like my primary school teacher (whom back then, for reasons only known to her), painstakingly ranted and breathed fire about my handwriting. I think my parents especially my mum got the same memo from her because the story was the same at home. Then came the buying of felt pens and ink-pens, (or fountain pens as we called them, do they still call them so?); drawing an additional middle line on books to guide our words and ensure even ness in lower-case text. Heck we even used graph books for a whole month!
So now I have an excuse that, it’s my notes and not for public consumption so I write the way I want, break the rules so to say. I can say (and do say) that my hands are impatient, I cannot take to focus on how the writing looks.
So what has hand writings got to do with anything? Well ask that to graphologists and you’ll probably get a ton of reasons. For me it’s this. With Computers; Notebooks and Ipads; “Qwerty” keypads and touch screen; Styluses and OCRs…we seem to want to archive the idea of writing by hand (How sad for Mrs. Magara my primary school teacher).
Amazingly we “write on walls” on Facebook and comment on statuses as we follow tweets and retweet. But in all this instatnces we don’t really write by hand do we?.
So on this day of celebprating Women Internationally, let’s make itsa special, don’t “wall it, or tweet it, or share it no r tag it (I know you want to). Just get a paper dras in an additionall line if you have to; or better yet get a graph paper, No shame about it. G et one of tjhose fountain pens; hand-write a message to that sister, mother, cousing, girlfriend, daughter, collegue, wife, fiancée, that special or too famialir lady. (Hand) write down that “happy women day message”. Just remember to cross your “t”s and dot the ‘i”s straighten the “b”s and “p”s and ensure that the lower-case are the same height.
Don’t worry when you go wrong you will get a feeling that your version of “Mrs. Magara” is standing over you telling you to maintain the length and height of your “m” and “n”.
I scanned this (OCR) from my notesand in the spirit of keeping with the message I did as liitle spell check as possible.