Nairobi

Taking Stock – 17

Talk about a hiatus! It’s been what, two months now? I’m sorry y’all, I really am. I have so much to talk about (read write about) but the time to do it though?? So I recently moved back home to Kenya from London about 1.5 months ago and the whole adjusting and get right into work thing took over my life for a while hence my silence on here.

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Kenyan Politics and Feminism

Politics in Kenya is like a constant movie with parts one, two, three, four… you get the drift. There is always so much drama, always so much talk but never ever, any action taken – until two days ago.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Mrs Anne Waiguru, has been making headlines since two months ago when she confirmed an audit that was done that revealed $7,750,000 has been lost within the government due to illegitimate contracts.

A few weeks ago, Waiguru was making headlines yet again because alleged claims had been made that she was overspending on miscellaneous items for her office. The claim stated that her budget was overly exaggerated with pens being priced at $80, money spent to buy condoms and sex toys and a grand piano being bought and placed in her office. All of which are very unnecessary for the Devolution office and their work.

The Cabinet Secretary has since succumbed to pressure from the public and the opposing party, ODM. She officially asked the President to relieve her of her duties on Saturday, November 21st citing health concerns and wanting to protect her family from anymore scrutiny and humiliation.

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#TembeaKenya – Pictorial 6

Been more than a minute!

So being back in the motherland has prompted me to want to travel more locally and experience Kenya for the beautiful country that it is! The past few weekends have been filled with random hiking trips, long drives and visits to parts of Nairobi and Kenya in general that I never thought I would ever go to before… Never say never guys.

First up we have an extremely random drive up to Machakos that my friends @mumodotexe and @TishJr convinced me to come along on.. visiting Kamba land with two of the coolest Kambas I know = funtimes! I didn’t take as many pictures of the place as I should have, but I know there’s going to be a next time, yes @sonniekbby?? haha..

Next… Hiking Ngong Hills. This was the smart idea of my ever bubbly @Abbakidenda. Never listening to her crazy ideas again until I know I’m fit enough to participate haha. Here I was thinking Ngong Hills can’t be that bad if I’ve hiked icy mountains in Southern California right?? WRONG. Those hills were no joke for little old me but I’m glad I pushed myself to complete all 7 even though I wanted to kill someone half the time lol.. Stay fit guys, it’s highly important.

 

View from the top! Kajiado County

 

The windmill farm is located right at the bottom of the hills, such majestic machines.

 

 

@Abbakidenda – the true Cocacola ambassador

 

Because when you’re climbing 7 hills you must take a breather on a tree

 

By far the fittest person I have ever met… dude was also smoking and having a tusker the entire 22km btw – guys meet Andrew, one of the guides. He does this almost every weekend, next month he will climb Mt Kenya!

 

The feeling when you are done is so indescribable! Hopefully this picture speaks volumes lol

 

 

Hiking buddies!

 

Last trek!

Last but not least… this past weekend. @sonniekbby and I woke up after a night out on the town.. read – a night at Qz lol.. and we decided to go get some lunch, chill out, enjoy a sunny saturday. Until she suggests we should go for a drive. I didn’t see why not so fast forward 2 hrs after calling up the crew and what do you know.. we are out on the deserted but particularly serene streets of Kiambu, Tigoni and Limuru. Kenya is really beautiful… We took in the sights of the area and the tea farms that produce the best tea in the world. Yes, Kenyan tea is the best tea in the world, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon. Definitely need to do more out of Nairobi city drives.

Thanks for stopping by. More pictorials shall come if I get to travel again before the year ends, so far I’ve been quite the local wanderlusterer!

Typewriter Tuesdays – We Should All Be Feminists

“Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

Thanks to Beyonce, we all know this snippet from Chimamanda’s powerful TedX talk. Ms Adichie has gone on to write a short e-book based on this talk, the book suitably titled- ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. That was going to be the title of this post but I have to stick to the typewriter tuesdays theme because this is actually also a review of the book though I know I will go off on quite a number of tangents. Bare with me:)

Of course I agree with my all time favourite author that indeed we should ALL be feminists because it is quite necessary in this day and age; not just women, but men as well. Chimamanda did a sort of extension of the TedX talk because she wanted to fully explain why she is so adamant on her feminist stance and also why she thinks we all need to join the bandwagon. Being a feminist myself, I know you all may think I will be biased on this post but I will try my very best not to favour my opinion so much.

Chimamanda starts her book by telling a story about her long time friend, Okoloma who passed away in 2005. Okoloma was the very first person to ever call the author a feminist. She explains how at the time she had no idea what it meant but the way that her friend had said it, she thought it an insult at the time. Fast forward many years later, after the release of her novel, Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda was called a feminist yet again by her peers such as journalists, academics and the like. The word feminist according to these people was an unhappy woman who could not find a husband. Feminism was ‘un-African’ and an influence from the Western world; being a feminist meant that she hated men. Chimamanda took the moniker with pride and made it the exact opposite, calling herself a happy, African feminist who does not hate men. As the constant criticism kept rolling in, she could see that the word feminist was associated with so much negativity and she wanted to change that.

She tells another childhood story of how she was appointed class monitor but immediately lost that position to a boy simply because he was male and she was female despite being top of her class and earning the right to be the class monitor. Because boys were usually the ones that were class monitors, it became a norm that could never ever change. It is sadly not just an african mentality but a global one as well… ‘If we do something over and over, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over, it becomes normal’. Chimamanda talks of her life in Lagos, how extremely male dominated it is that even a simple girl seen walking into a hotel is looked down upon as people assume she is a sex worker as opposed to someone who really is just coming to the hotel for say a meeting or for lunch with friends.

A woman footing the bill at a restaurant is looked down upon, as if she cannot afford to pay her own bills. I have seen that a lot here in Nairobi as well, though I must send a shout out to the waiter at 360 Degrees, who placed the bill right in front of me at the end of a meeting I was having with a friend. I think because I got there before my male friend, he assumed I was the one who planned the meeting. When it’s a group of 2, even just 3 people meeting at a restaurant and one of them happens to be male, waiters/waitresses automatically assume it is he to pay for the meal. It is something we have been so accustomed to since time immemorial and hence, it became normal. So when a woman pays the bill, the man usually takes it as an insult to his ever fragile ego. When in essence, she is just doing what a man would do as well. She is paying for lunch/dinner/drinks etc, just as he would normally pays for the lunch/dinner/drinks as well. It is OKAY. She is capable of doing it herself so let her. Don’t judge her for it or take it personally. In fact, you should be glad she can pull her own weight in whatever situation just like you as a man, can as well. Equality can’t be that hard a thing to fathom can it?

Chimamanda emphasizes the fact that as humans we have really evolved but our ideas of gender are clearly still stuck in the medieval ages. Here in Kenya it is not as suffocating for an independent woman as it is in Lagos and that I am thankful for. Seems we are slowly heading in the right direction. A woman in Lagos cannot be able to do practically anything without a man, and it is not because she is fully dependent on a man but the society there has made it such a norm there that sometimes she has no choice. A woman in Lagos cannot enter clubs alone, she has to be accompanied by a man otherwise she will not get in. When seen hand in hand with a man, the man will be acknowledged but not the woman. The woman is basically invisible. She is just an object as opposed to a human being. I’d like to see the clubs in Nairobi try that and see if they’ll ever have a full house.

The work place is yet another place where people really need to understand why feminism exists and fight for the injustice that women go through on the daily. We all know how condescending some men can be, I say some because it’s not every single man who feels all high and mighty towards women. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook wrote an entire book just based on this. Assuring women that they have a right to sit at the table as well, they can give their ideas and opinions and take action without the fear of being judged or even worse getting the sack. If we kept living in that fear, the Daily Nation would have a very hard time finding Top 40 women under 40 candidates for their annual Business Daily segment.

Chimamanda teaches a writing workshop in Lagos and she talks of some participants who have been warned to stay away from her workshop. That listening to her ‘feminist talk’ would make these women absorb ideas that would destroy their marriages. I don’t know why marriage is such a heavily talked about issue in African communities. I am only in my early twenties, but the pressure to tie the knot in this generation right now is crazy! I know some families that wait for their daughter to graduate from school and then the next thing is to find her a husband. Not get a job and build your career or even possibly get another degree, no… It’s all about – Get a man. Get a reputable man, get married, have kids. That is your role in life as a woman. Finding a life partner is not to be looked down upon of course, no man is an island after all. But this man should come into your life because of how you live your life. Not because that is all you want in life.

She not only focuses on women alone though. Like the title says, Chimamanda wants us ALL to be feminists. She has a section on men as well and how we as a society have done a great disservice to them in how they are raised. Masculinity is defined in an extremely narrow way and putting young boys in such a cage so early life teaches them to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of being human. This has left most men with very fragile egos. Any small thing, like say paying the bill at a restaurant instead of letting him do it, bruises their ego so much and they feel like you are challenging their manhood. Guys its okay to not be all put together, it’s okay to accept help when you need it. One of the quotes from this book that really spoke to me and relates to this was a quote Chimamanda said when asked whether she worries about men being intimidated by her… “A man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.”

Back on the marriage topic, it is quite sad that women are being pushed to get married by a particular age but men can stay single all through his life if he wants to. An unmarried 30 something or 40 something year old woman is seen as a failure yet for a man the same age it seen as him taking his time to choose a wife. Society needs to change its stance on these gender ‘rules’ if at all equality between the sexes is to be achieved. Women will give up jobs, career dreams, even going to particular places or acquainting herself with particular people all to please the man whilst in a relationship. Why do we never see a man making the same compromise?

The sad thing is we live in a society where men seem to have all the power, and why? Because it happens all the time that it has become normal. Feminists are not bad people. They are not trying to say that women and only women should rule the world, all we are saying is that society should really give us a break. We can’t wear what we want without being judged or some man seeing it as his chance to take forceful advantage of our bodies. We can’t go to work everyday and come home without a man expecting us to cook and clean and raise the kids as well yet he is quite capable of doing that himself. We can’t expect to be as successful as the man because the man expects us to be seen and not heard. So many rules and gender expectations are placed on the woman, especially the African woman and people are still wondering why Feminism is on the rise? Chimamanda talks of men feeling threatened by the idea of feminism, she feels that this is triggered by how they are raised… ‘Their sense of self-worth is somehow diminished if they are not naturally in charge as men.’

Culture may have stated many years ago that women are to be subordinate to men but culture is constantly changing and we should adjust accordingly to the changes. Chimamanda perfectly concludes her book with this powerful statement- ‘Culture does not make people. People make culture.’ She posed a question to her readers that I will post here as I am posing the same question to all of us…

‘What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?’

Would like to know your responses to that so feel free to comment below! This book though only 70 pages long is quite the short story, one I won’t forget anytime soon.

P.S: I think is the longest post I have done this year, goodness!

A One Way Ticket To The End Of 2013

11:45pm, Christmas Eve. It baffles me how I get weird writing urges so late in the night. #NocturnalTendencies. ANYHU… It’s been quite a while hasn’t it? About 2 months me thinks. Well a lot has happened since my last post, and yes, still haven’t read a book since hence the #TypewriterTuesdays hiatus. But with the New Year comes a new review hopefully! You know how December holidays go, so let’s make it by February latestJ
So I recently moved back home. Yes, permanently. I literally woke up one day, and made the decision to book a one-way ticket to Nairobi. And to be honest I really never thought this day would come. Not this soon at least. But then again it was about time. My extended stay in the US after graduating was basically me not wanting to face the reality of my life as it was post everything that happened within the last 2 years of my life.  I always thought of going back home as taking two steps back when I was finally ready to take my first step forward.  I was scared. Scared of being back in my mother’s house after being on my own for so long. Scared of being the only one not succeeding, not doing something amazing with my life, scared of facing some cold hard truths such as the reality of my single life. It never really hit home until I was actually home. I first came back for a brief visit this past summer and the latter hit me harder than a ton of bricks.
I left home once again but this time with no school to distract me and no concrete schedule to follow. Meaning I had time to let my mind wonder and figure things out for myself without anyone whispering over my shoulder. I was truly and fully alone. Captain of my ship, master of my fate… The past 6 months have been hard, extremely hard but also life changing and filled with so much growth and I think that’s exactly what I needed to give me that time to ‘find myself’ for lack of a better euphemism and make the sound decision on my own to come back home and start this chapter of my life afresh.
2013 has been a year and a half. And as the year comes to an end I choose to celebrate the positives that have come out of all the negatives in this year. Positives such as my column on The College Tourist, my slowly but surely better relationship with my mother, the Godson I acquired this year who I love dearly, and the amazing people I have crossed paths with throughout this past half of the year. You don’t know just how much you impacted my life. 2014 feels hopeful and I like that feeling a lot. This life is one and one alone. I have to make it count for something right?

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great last 5 days of the year guys, have fun but stay safe, I’d still love to have my readers with me come 2014!

Pictorial #2

So sorry for my absence… college tries all it can to kill me but never succeeds, I still come out alive… BARELY. Anyway, due to the ltd time I have on this computer I decided to make this post my 2nd attempt at pictorials. I just gathered a few pics of my own plus quotes and images here and there that inspire me… Take a minute and enjoy:-)

This is so true, lol… for so many of us!

I found this on http://www.stumbleupon.com it’s really cool:)

I got this courtesy of @TheBabyNat’s tumblr, reppin the 254 always!

I LOVE OREOS. The end.

I have a ‘slight’ shoe obsession as well… operative word being the punctuation marks lol

Music is the fire that ignites my soul…

I love this girl, Alot. How we became friends is still a mystery to both of us but I know when I need reassuring, that everything is going to be okay, I know I can turn to her. Plus she is really adorable(“,)

My uncle and cousin.This baby wasn’t even a year old when this picture was taken, but he was conversing with her in a way that was so precious. He watched her ‘talk’ and listened and laughed with her; perfect father-daughter moment right there. I want my future husband to be that kind of father to our child. A father who puts his child first before anything or anyone else.

Have a good end of October guys, 3 weeks to thanksgiving break, yay!:)