Archive for September, 2006

Baada ya kutumia baadhi ya masaa ya asubuhi yangu katika eneo la kupumzikia la Uhuru, yaani Uhuru park, imenijia akilini kwamba maneno ya wakongwe wa kale wa Kiswahili waliosema, “tembea uone mengi”, yalikuwa ni ya ukweli mtupu.

Hii leo niliamua kwamba kwa vile niko na wakati, ningeweza kutembea kutoka nyumbani kwangu hadi Mjini Nairobi nikizuru mji wenyewe. nilipofika hapo Uhuru park, niling’amua kwamba kuna madiliko makubwa kwenye eneo hilo.

Nyasi zote zilikwa zimekatwa sare na ndogo ili zikaonekana kama zulia za hali ya juu za kutoka huko Uturuki. Watu walikuwa ni wengi na walio tapakaa katika shughuli mbali mbali. Kulikuwa na watu waliojiandaza kwenye nyasi na kulala, wapenzi walikuwa wameketi kando ya kidimbwi kilicho katikati ya eneo hilo, wakinong’onezeana maneno matamu, na wahubiri walikuwa wakijitayarisha kwa ibada za mchana wanazozifanya humo.

Ikielekeana na mnara wa jomo kenyatta kwa nyuma ukivuka gurufu la uhuru yaani Uhuru highway kuna mnara fulani ambao jina lake sikilipata lakini ulioandikwa maneno matatu katika kila upande: peace, love, unity (amani, upendo, umoja). Imani yangu ni kwamba mnara huo ulijengwa na kuwekwa hapo na serikali mojawapo ya kanu katika miale ya themanini. Katika mnara huo kulikuwa na harusi iliyokua ikiendelea na nilipofika mahali hapo, ilikuwa ndio wachumba hao walikuwa waki pigwa picha.

Ama kwa kweli lau ungelifika humo eneoni la Uhuru miaka mitano iliopita, zoezo lako halinge kuwa kama langu hii leo. uchafu ulikuwa ni mwingi, wizi ulikua kawaida, na minara ilikuwa imedhoofika kupindukia.

Ikizidi jiji la Nairobi limetwikwa kivumi kibaya kwa miaka kadhaa iliyopita hasaa kwa sababu ya uchafu, hali duni ya bara bara na ukosefu wa usalama na ulinzi. Nilipokumbuka kwamba tumeufunga mkutano mkubwa wa jumuiya ya serikali za kimwetu (yaani local governments) ndio africities, nilijiuliza kama huo mkutano ndio ulio fanya tufanye juhudi hizo.

“La hasha.” Gerald Owino, ni mfanyi kazi wa mji anayejihusisha na mambo ya usafi katika eneo la Uhuru. “Tulianza kuwa serious na hii kazi mwaka elfu mbili na tatu september, wakati mji ulianza kutupatia vifaa tunavyo hitaji. At least tumeona wadosi (matajiri) wanataka Uhuru park iwe poa na sisi tukitumwa tunafanya iwe poa.”

Ukimsikiza Owino utafikiri kwamba yeye hana motisha ya kazi yake lakini ukimwona akikwonyesha miti aliyoipanda, majina yake na usafi aliyoutekeleza, basi bila shaka utapata kuiona furaha yake.

Sally Koskei (ambaye hana uhusiano na aliyekuwa katibu wa baraza la mawaziri) ni afisaa wa polisi anayelinda usalama wa wananchi ndani ya Eneo hilo la Uhuru. Yeye na mwenzake, Albert Kandiri ni askari doria na wao huzunguka katika kila pembe ya Uhuru park ilikuhakikisha usalama.

“siku hizi huku hakuna wahalifu.” walinielezea kwa ari, “tukokazini bila mzaha.”

Nilipata kuzumngumza na wananchi kadhaa kama Milka wambui ambaye huja uhuru park kilasiku kwa maombi. milka mekuwa akienda uhuru park kila siku kwa miaka minane sasa, kuomba nawenzake na anasema kwamba ameyaona mabadiliko makubwa kwa mda huo.

“Zamani hungeweza kutoa viatu au kuongea kwa simu hapa. Ilikua ni hatari na hata kama hivyo viatu havikuibwa, basi ungepata rough time (wakati mgumu) na miba na vijiwe vidogo vidogo. Siku hizo tulikaa chonjo kwasababu chokora pia walikuwa si kidogo”

je, wakati umefika wa sisi kama wakenya kutabasamu?

Kesho nitakwenda kwenye eneo lingine hapa mjini, eneo la Jevanjee niwaelezee nitapata vipi.

mawazo yenu tumeni.

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August 1 1982, Nairobi Kenya.

It was the day that changed a lot of Kenya’s history to what it is, today. It was the catalyst to the Mwakenya Movement Crack down that saw many Kenyans, tortured and murdered by Secret agents of the government

From that day, people really feared the police. People looted, many were killed, guys had to walk with their hands held above their heads and ID cards in their mouths. Whats your story?

25 years later, record where you were and what the foiled Coup of 1982, means to you.

Gray Spots

Call Out for Writers

Do you have a passion for Africa?
Are you passionate about brands and branding?
Can you write captivating articles?

 Brandscape, a  brand strategy think tank which runs a web portal at www.brandscape.co.ke shall be happy to give you an opportunity to get published. 

Original articles of about 500 words may be submitted via email to brandscape@brandscape.co.ke. All material shall be acknowledged and copyright for published material shall be vested in the author unless otherwise agreed.

Grey Spots

I have just published the first of the quarterly “Colour” ebooks, called Gray Spots. Do download it and enjoy it as much as you will.

Read it, Republish the work, Share it, do with it what you will – just attribute it to the writer.

Featured this quarter is Al Kags, Alli and Vee. If you’d like to be featured in the next one, just drop me a line.

Here it is: Gray Spots

I’m tired.

Its 5:16am on Tuesday 5th September 2006 and I look at the clock and realise that the night has just whizzed by. I have been sitting here since 9pm last night holding a pack of valium and feeling depressed. I have decided to write this, I don’t know why.

I have actually been weighing the option of taking all the valium in the pack, going to bed and sleeping the BIG SLEEP. I honestly feel like doing it. even now that morning is creeping in and the cock’s are crowing and the first of the early birds are (hopefully) catching the worms. I just want to end things.

Yesterday, I found out that my childhood friend, a girl that I grew up with is dead. I found out that she killed herself two months ago in her house – that she had left her office late as usual, cheerful as always, passed by her mother’s house and checked up on her family and then she had gone home. There was no indication that she was stressed or depressed.

As the story was later put together, Shiro got home, made dinner and opened a bottle of wine and had dinner. She then took a whole lot of valium, got into bed and slept. That’s it.

What’s worse is perhaps the way I found out. I met with her mother as I was walking home from the Panafric – a distance that is not far from my house. I could have taken a matatu as usual but I decided to walk. Her mother works in the community area, for the ministry of lands and I had not seen her for at least a decade and a half.

I was so happy to see her. She was quite happy to see me and we embraced and she kept saying, “How are you, my son.” Eventually I got around to asking her how Shiro is and her smile faded from her lips fast. A sob came in its place and she started to weep right there on the side of the road – “You don’t know.”

It was after she had calmed down that she told me the story.

The shock that I met with is indescribable. Shiro was the last person in the world anyone would expect to commit suicide. She was the strong one in her family, the one who kept her friends afloat emotionally, the one to whom people ran for leadership. She was always so cheerful, so vivacious, so very ambitious.

No one knew. No one had ever noticed that she was stressed. Her last note, found on her dining table simply said. “I am very tired. I cannot go on like this.” As it turned out, her business was struggling; she had been looking for an equity investor for it for a long time. Her family and several of her friends could have bailed her out but they didn’t take her seriously enough – she was too young, too ambitious.

When we parted ways her mother kept repeating, “If you have problems don’t keep quiet. Tell someone. Don’t allow yourself to tire alone. Tell someone.”

I have been sitting in my kitchen all of the past night and I have been almost absent mindedly looking at a packet of valium that I’ve had since the days I was suffering from a painful tumor a couple of years ago. I completely identify with Shiro.

The feeling that I have right this minute is to take the valium one by one and to go to bed. The GREAT SLEEP would envelope me and a lot of what I am going through will be over. Its really just packing my bags and moving to The Other City. I hear its hot where I’d be going but I can’t imagine it will be worse than where I am. I’m thinking about the fact that I am a moderate person to all intents and purposes. Don’t drink much, Don’t rave much, I try to live responsibly and to take responsibility for me and mine. I try to work hard and with purpose, continually aiming towards my vision. I read as hard as I can and I handle myself as well as I can.

I don’t complain to anyone about much and I take care of myself as best as I can. I live day by day juggling payments and trying to get paid and working and juggling between work and my hospital regimen and my extra-official activities.

I write my poetry and update my blog and work and do all that I can. I try to do things right.

Yet it is interesting. I know so many people and I have never been so alone in my life. I thought hard about mama shiro’s admonition: tell someone. And the interesting thing is that I have no one I can tell. There is no one that I feel confident enough that they are available to listen and to bail me out. I see no light at the end of the tunnel. Other times when I feel down, I perk myself up.

But today is a unique day. I am tired. I am so alone in a crowd of people. I am so tired of holding my head up and trying harder to be self sufficient. I am so tired of trying to smile and keep things afloat. I am so tired of living everyday.

I see no reason to continue to trudge carrying the weight of my unsupported ambitions and my fears and my hopes and dreams. I see no reason to keep up trying to make myself live another day in the hope that things will be better, that I will achieve what my heart desires so badly. I am at the point of my life when, I feel like letting go. I want to let go. It’s no ones fault, it’s just my weakness.

I am tired.

Why write this and send it to you? Just so that it is on record. Just so you know and you can tell someone what you know if you ever need to. You may look at this as a cry for help. For me, it’s just resignation, an acceptance of my grim reality. I am alone. And I’m tired.

I haven’t slept in days. I get into bed, toss and turn and wake up. I am tired in every way.

That’s the thing. Life has made me tired.

Disclaimer: if you are reading this on my blog as opposed to my dinning room table, it is recommended that you treat it as simply a work of art – role play writing. This may not be as serious as it sounds.