Archive for August, 2013

Second Letter to Mama and Papa


Sorry for being too quiet. Things have been pretty busy this side. I’m not to take the whole blame though. I was wondering why you guys didn’t respond to my first letter. I thought maybe the angels set a bar but then brushed it off as illogical. Anyways, I’m fine. This is awkward to ask but how is the going over there? Grandpa says it’s all merry so I can only imagine how much fun you guys are into. It makes me kind of jealous. I heard one time this preacher say that when we go to heaven, we turn to our youthful lives. You guys must have fallen in love again because dad would become irresistibly handsome and mum, a beauty.

Mama, I’m an uncle of two now. Big Sis has two children, Harriet and Hamlet. Hamlet is this 13-year old energetic young boy whom I’m made to believe acts like I used to. Playful and aggressive, he’s dubbed kichwa ngumu. It might be a phase in his life but I can’t resist sympathizing with his mum. If he’s a replica of what I used to be, then mama, I’m deeply sorry. Trailing behind him is Harriet. She’s two classes behind her elder brother. Harriet is an angel. She’s laid back and would make a perfect grandchild for you. I love the way she twitches her eyes, takes a deep breath and informally shouts my name, “ankooo”.

As for dad, Kenyan politics is all different now. We never grew up together that much but I’m certain you were a fan. Do you remember young Uhuru Kenyatta who used to walk most of the time with fierce mzee? He’s the president now. Kenyatta’s legacy still thrives. Sadly, they still haven’t established those behind the deaths of Robert Ouko and J.M Kariuki. Though you can now shout “Hatutaki Moi” without fear, intimidation is far from over. That aside, I’m growing to be as handsome as you used to be dad. The boys are good so is big sis.

Sad news; your business empire is no more. I can’t point an accusing finger but that’s exactly it. Dad, you were the greatest businessman I knew and mum the greatest manager. Things went sour immediately mum left. It’s no big deal though. That’s what earthly treasures do. They come and go, right? Half way with my university education, it’s been quite a journey. Haha…Mama I know what you’re thinking now but let me just put it straight. I haven’t found the right woman for myself yet. A whole life still ahead of me, I’m in no rush. I have an eye for one though.

Looking forward to your response this time round. I miss you guys so much but till we meet Inshallah.


The distance is nothing compared to our bond. Although same breath we might not share, we live side by side each and every day. Someday in glory, we shall celebrate to the applause of the heavens. So stay put, wipe the tears and cling to the hope.



I want to be like you.

I want to smile at a girl and see her blush.

Drink with the boys all weekend long and keep my wife at bay.

Be muscular so I can hide my cowardice.

Kill spiders without a lending hand, no screams

Wake up no make-up, no weave.

Take Physics and Chemistry.

Watch horror movies all alone.

And talk little.

I want to take my rightful posture, pee while standing.

Be a man in grief and cry deep in the night if need be.

Be an heir too, father!

No heels no more.

Fight to prove a point.

Have a deep voice and shift place in the choir.

For once not to care how I look, to just be.

So look me in the eye and say yes!

Because I want to be like you.

The Only One Like You.

A jovial mood sets in. It happens, probably because the exams are finally over and you can’t wait to restore Breaking Bad from your ‘recycle bin’. For ladies, it’s time to go home – meet family. The last paper was done hastily, trying as much as possible to balance excitement and focus. A tactical sweep of the exam room showed total calm, even for the ones alien to tranquility. A good example would be Jose, the crazy schmuck in your the class, who earned the title speeder because of the time he takes to finish his papers. Well, he calls himself a choppy – word used to describe those in love with books – but everyone knows too well what Google can bring out of a ‘genius’. You take a deep breath and slowly retreat to match the rhythm.

It’s a different mantra for the boys; ‘East West, free Wi-Fi is best’. This is the time to make those huge downloads before going home. You figured anything that’s free deserves total attention. Most students have already left by now and this is good news. Not only will internet speeds hit an all-time high, but you’ll also avoid the preying eyes of those quick to judge; women. In a sudden twist, two of your great buddies inform you of a change of plans. Something has come up and scheduled day for going home has been edged closer; matter of hours. Worst still, the school’s bandwidth has just gone down. Communication to your Indian employer cut short. You resort to buy your own internet bundles to chat the way forward with Rajesh. Rajesh is your first employer. Despite poor pay from the article writing job, you always find yourself after him to renew your online contract. Rajesh is offline, last seen: a month ago. Tick tock, you’re on the move.

The journey home is no different. You’ve done it uncountable times, never been a fan. Nauseating feeling marred with constant headaches worsen the five hours trail. This at times leaves you wondering why it features in the list of hobbies of most girls. You arrive home to cheerful hugs of your younger siblings – experience has shown you this is a mere way of saying umetuletea nini this time?. Mama is still at work so you settle in, take a nap then wake up to your younger brother’s nagging character. Keeping his tone in check, he narrates to you the story of how baba Jonny – a local celebrated farmer – slashed his chickens to death. Apparently, the father of two came in one evening from a drinking spree, sharpened his grass cutter and tore the birds to pieces. Credible source had it that this move was in protest of the daily sukuma wiki meal mama Jonny prepared. You laugh not thinking too much of their fate.

It’s only after supper that you get a quiet nice time with your mum. She asks how you’ve been fairing on, quick to notice you’ve lost quite an incredible amount of weight. Deep inside you’re like “you’re to blame, the hustle was tough”, but you suppress it. She informs you that Sarah came home a week earlier. Sarah is a childhood competitor who lives few blocks away. Back in the days, your mama used to vehemently insist Sarah wasn’t supposed to defeat you in end-term exams. You didn’t understand why but then thought that boys were just supposed to lead. Probably that’s the very reason why you’ve always been intrigued by the fact that it’s always ladies first in many queues you’ve been in. You kept the gap and never disappointed. Now both of you grown-ups, you’re among the few in university at your local. The comparison is still on. Sometimes Sarah’s mum comes to your home to scale if her daughter is on the right path by your books. This has brought Sarah and you close. You laugh at the fact that your parents expect you guys to chip in to the family budget from what they regard as ‘hefty’ HELB loan.

The third day home and boredom is being well felt. You log onto your Facebook account to see what the world is up to. All your friends seem to be doing something fun. A normal human you are. You put on your Sunday best, think of a ‘swaggerifiic’ pose then ask Toto to shoot you a photo all smiles, making sure the home theater, plasma screen and Xbox are well seen on the background. Next, you post the photo on your account. Hash tag, ‘just chilling in my hood, nice moments’. Now the short holiday seems long. You take your phone then put it down wondering why it’s always you who should start all the conversations. Finally you swallow your pride and ask those in your circle when they’d be returning back to school. The answers are a shocker. It is only then that you realize you’re the only one like you.

Janet's Planet

Please note this is not an official Peace Corps site. The views expressed are not those of the government or the Peace Corps but are Jane's own, unofficial musings about her life and travels. All material is intended for friends and family, not the paparazzi.


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