Showing posts from 2019

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for,  and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.  It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking  like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if  you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by  life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with  wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without  cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling


I turned 38 on Tuesday last week. I feel happy. As I was reflecting on Sunday (if you're ever in Kampala, Bahai Temple is a wonderful place for reflection and prayer), realised, finally, my default setting nowadays is contentment and happiness. And what a joy it is to learn this. I love my life; the people in it, by choice or default I'm happy with my choices; even the no so smart ones I love my body; the workings, shape and size of it I love my mind; how it helps me interpret and interact with the world I adore my heart; how she feels and navigates me My spirit embodies all that I am , the foundation on which I'm built It's taken blood, sweat and tear to get here and I'm grateful me rallied and marshaled for this fight. I'm bloody proud of myself. Girl, you did good *highfives self Well done

13 months

13 months ago I left the familiar territory of the Gender and Development and took up  a position in a social enterprise . It's been a steep growth curve and here's my key 13 lessons: 1. Learning goes both ways. There's a lot to learn and a lot to teach  2. Cultivate your voice. Showing up as your authentic self is critical  3. Delayed decisions charge interest. The sooner you decide and act on the decision,the better  4. Your team is your biggest asset and liability. They will make or break you.  5. You have to be the bigger person, all the time, every time.  6. Courage is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger and easier it gets.  7. Murphy's Law:everything that could go wrong does after everything that goes right.  8. Know your tribe. Figure out fast who to go to for what.  9. Ask, ask, ask. For help, clarification,favours ,information. Always ask   10. Everything takes longer than you think. One of the co-founders, Jay, drummed this into me


My week has been a mixed bag. The awesome part was Ann's visit. You truly don't know how much you miss someone till they are gone. I've had a blast in the one week she's been here. The visit to  Kigali was  particularly special In his second attempt, my cousin Kabiru ended his life on Sunday and was buried yesterday. George my colleague fell sick ,alone in his house .The hours it took for someone to get to his house and confirm he was alive were nerve-wrecking . The chemo and radiotherapy effects on Mum are taking a toll. On a work trip, the truck broke down and had a 9hour wait before we could proceed. As I sit here on my  couch taking stock of the past 7 days, I've realised I struggle with accepting things as they are. Especially when I make mistakes. I have platinum membership to the What If and Should Have club and it's exhausting. Any ideas on how I can reduce this?It's doing my head in, I'm perennially swinging  between a utopic

Boda Boda stage

So much happiness

  3 friends in the last one week have commented that I'm glowing, and on it's heels who is he jokes. I have no clue what's causing it; will gladly take it though;-) Then I came across this poem that made my heart sing  So Much Happiness by Naomi Shihab Nye It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness. With sadness there is something to rub against, a wound to tend with lotion and cloth. When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up, something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change. But happiness floats. It doesn’t need you to hold it down. It doesn’t need anything. Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing, and disappears when it wants to. You are happy either way. Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house and now live over a quarry of noise and dust cannot make you unhappy. Everything has a life of its own, it too could wake up filled with possibilities of coffee cake and ripe peach


I'm weathering the grief. At time it's a wave. A smell, picture, memory sets off the ripple. The build up is slow and it ebbs in and out . The constancy makes it easy to bear. The lighting strikes out of nowhere. I can be at work, typing an email and suddenly, I'm in tears, hands shaking, wailing  and crumbling on the inside. The wounds is pierced afresh , the pain sharp and deep. It helps that I have my own office where I can sit this out Fog is the commonest and it carries me effortlessly . I'm a battery that need charging all the time. Eating, getting up, interacting with others takes 10x more energy than usual. The pain is a dull constant ache humming in the background. The cloud is the hardest to bear. It drizzles a steady stream of pain. Everywhere, including my hair hurts. The umbrella is sleep May your soul keep resting in peace Master Matindi  wa Ng'ang'a  . You are missed


For years, I wouldn't cross the Kenyan border. Nowadays I regularly travel across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. So regularly, I've stopped appreciating  the blessing and privilege it is to be able to cross these borders with ease. This joins  a long list of things I take for granted : - Waking up - Mum - Health - Being literate - Internet - Books - Earth - Life - Shelter - Employment - Freedom - Family - Friendship - Water - Air - My body - Peaceful region - Language - Moon - Medicine - Plants - Universe - Gadgets - Laughter - Sleep - Jokes - Ideas - People (Thinks of I am Legend ) - Faith - Etc etc  I'm hoping to experience this more often; the reckoningof how rich and wonderful my life is, even in the midst of a cyclone.

Steel Utensils

Last year, I struggled to get images of a steel cup and decided to take photos of Mum's  utensils when I went home Mum, her friends and most of her age mates use this. Those who prefer ceramic cups have to say it as this is the default. DO NOT serve Mum and/or guests using a chipped cup. This beseni(basin) is older than me. Mum was gifted by her cousins in 1979 when she got married. The reason it's still intact? only used during special functions.

RIP Matindi

A post I read keeps circling in my mind 'A child who has lost a parent is called an orphan A wife who has lost a husband is a widow A husband who has lost a wife is widower There's no word for a parent who has lost a child because it's indescribable' My son, George Matindi Ng'ang'a was electrocuted to death on 25th May 2019. The darkest day of my life so far. He didn't come from my womb and was thrust in my care when he was 1.5years old. Since then, he has been my child in all the ways that count. As the Swahili saying goes 'Kazi si kuzaa, kazi ni kulea (the work isn't in giving birth, it's in rearing up the child) And now I'll never hear him calling me Mum again. This pain, this pain hits different. It paralyses and leaks from every pore. The slightest touch, whiff sets it off It clings to my body, firmly wrapped on my neck making it hard to breathe sometimes And I've learnt the well of tears never runs dry Some days


I always thought coaching and counseling were synonymous. Met  coaches Laimani of Alabastron back in 2010 and  Rosie Lore in 2014 and these interactions were therapeutic for me so I didn't quite make the distinction. Enter Anne Prabhu of Leadership That Works. Oh my goodness *****Didn't know I needed this in my life. It's eye opening ( hums I can see clearly now ) Where is a gif when you need one??? For me, this is one of the best investments in my professional life. Attempting to describe it is like telling  a 1st time mother about labour pains;words are woefully inadequate. If you can, try it for yourself. And let me know how it goes. It's a big industry and there's all sorts of coaches now, whatever you need. Thinking of engaging a dating coach next.

April 2019

I didn't post anything here all of April . Of course I planned to  and something always came up. Realized this morning I've deluded myself for a long time, that I create from a dark and painful place. Have no idea when I picked and internalised that. Most likely because some of my favourite artists talk of operating from their dark side and many are glorified for it. #sidebar, learnt this week of this Pyotr Pavlensky . This April has been one of the toughest months I've had in years. And I couldn't write, even journaling was hard. Had my Aha moment early this morning, I create best from a place of calm, not chaos. Hmmhh, how about that?


This week has been a mixed bag of emotions. Despair and frustration walked in holding hands with excitement and hope . My gratitude practice has buoyed me and here are some of the things I'm grateful for: - Ability to read and write - A comfortable bed - Sleep - Tears - Ripe sweet bananas - Mercy's visit - Grace's birthday - Kayak The Nile - Data - Whats app - Live music - Neighbours What are you grateful for?

Feb 2019

My blogging and journal-ling patterns are good markers on the stress levels in my life. I barely wrote last month. Putting my thoughts down gives me joy and yet I avoid it when I most need it. There must be a German word for that. The sea in Feb was rough and I'm glad the storm has somewhat passed. This March I'm hoping to land on an island and lie on the beach enjoying cocktails for a little while.


I've always known books are able to shape one's perception of people and cultures. It's hard to track it in my own life, cannot see the log in my eye after all. I learnt exactly how much last week. Living in Uganda, I often get asked which Kenyan tribe I belong to. Was asked this last week ,said Kikuyu and thought nothing of it. A few days later, the enquirer told me he assumed I was circumcised . He thought this because he read about it in  Ngugi Wa Thiongo's The River Between. I've never thought this would be a trait tied to my tribal identity and it was refreshing to learn a new stereotype to my ethnicity. It wasn't off the mark. My grandmother was circumcised and Central Kenya has an estimated 16.5% FGM prevalence rate . I now can't help but wonder what stereotypes I'm harbouring from my love of books.

2018 Reads

I love reading. Actually I'm addicted to reading. I MUST read -articles, books ,reports you name it. In 2018, managed to read 44 books and here are my top 10 favourite; Fiction: 1) Kintu  -Jeniffer Makumbi 2) Stay with me - Ayobami Adebayo 3) The Power -Naomi Alderman 4) Pachinko   - Min Jin Lee 5) Taste of Mel  -Wanjiru Ndung'u Non Fiction: 6) We need more wine - Gabrielle Union 7) Weapons of math destruction -  Cathy O'Neil 8) Everybody Lies - Seth Stephens 9) How to change your mind - Michael Pollan 10) Unlocking Potential -Michael K Simpson

Hallo 2019

At this time last year, I had no idea that my daughter would start high school in a different country or that I'd be leaving Jinja and moving to Kampala for a job in a  different field. Or would read 44 books 😊 That's life for you- full of surprises. 2019 has started on a high personal note- Kami and I ushered in the new year in Jinja  with my cousin and her daughter. They left on Friday morning and my friend  Christine and her colleagues arrived a few hours later. It feels good to have a full house. Let's see what the  rest of the year brings