Category Archives: Opinions

Reckless


Travelling is reckless. It’s like drugs. It alters your senses, gives you crazy withdrawal symptoms, makes you think you are something you are not, makes you imagine things. It makes the bizarre normal, and the normal bizarre. They don’t call it a high for nothing.

When I got home-after 2 years (I know it’s a short time) – my friend asked me what I would blog about. I gave her an answer I no longer remember. I knew inside that she was right, there would no longer be anything to blog about. No sources of inspiration, like when you see someone has a pet flamingo, and another a mistreated hamster named ‘Hamlet’. I didn’t want to admit that I felt that I had nothing to blog about anymore.

Either way, I settled into the status-quo. I opened my wardrobe, took out a suit last worn in 2011, and looked at how badly it fit. It used to be so fashionable. Now the legs were too loose, and the blazer too long. It was like a borrowed suit.

Even my camera protested. No inspiration was found. There were no new mountains to see, no perfect moments, only the boring familiar. There was no eagerness about life, there was no eagerness to shamelessly capture every moment because I was no longer travelling.

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bouncer/ticket seller

 

It didn’t help that the status quo wasn’t working either. I wasn’t (still not) getting any jobs. When travelling, you get knocked around but there’s always something to look forward to. You miss your bus and try sleep on the street corner, because tomorrow will be a good morning. Your stuff gets stolen, but you laugh because they didn’t take the undies. You save money, waste it on visa rejections, then end up talking to a prostitute that reminds you of a friend of yours. (I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but it wasn’t in a bad way). When you’re travelling, you roll with the punches and punch harder. Travelling makes you feel invincible.

So, without my drugs, I could not write and I could not take pictures- I was made mellow like a castrated dog. I think it’s very cruel to castrate dogs. I think it takes something away from their personality. Is that true? Can any vet confirm effect of scrotum/ovary removal on personality? I assume it’s true, because we once had a VERY boring bitch from KSPCA that had had its ovaries removed. That was the most miserable looking, zero personality dog I ever met. To make it worse she was a boring all-white colour. She walked with her neck drooping, and she never even growled, she never barked. She just was, she let life dictate the terms. I will never castrate a dog if that’s what happens.

Like that poor bitch, I walked with my eyes on the ground. I began to trudge through. I refused to be excited, I decided to be practical, to be realistic, to be ‘mature’. I didn’t pay attention to myself, what I felt, what I wanted, I decided to be well-behaved…I decided to survive…to abandon my drugs…

My head was down, but my thoughts never left me. I saw that the suit didn’t fit. I saw in the mirror something that I didn’t remember from 2 years ago. Something new, yet familiar. This thing haunted my sleep- it showed up in memories of the past 2 years. I remembered the exhilaration of setting goals, climbing mountains, learning new things, fighting new battles- even if was only the battling of finding long strands of hair (not mine) in the toilet. I remembered experiences and people endured, situations bested, situations learnt from.

I woke up..I discovered, that I didn’t travel to get reckless, I travelled because I am reckless. I take chances, I do stupid things, I think I am invincible, sometimes I think it’s God telling me I am invincible with Him, other times I just think it’s the universe, or Him making the universe do it.

I’m high all the time, and therefore I can take pictures and write all the time, because when you jump off the cliff, in that rush before you crash into the water, you always notice something new – the sound of the wind, the sight of your feet in the air under you, the sensation as your arms are lifted to your sides, the seconds that pass, the water rushing up to meet you, the rumble of the water as you go under, the first breath you take, the rush.

I’ve been here, but I feel like I am truly back. Here’s to the next year of adventure!

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I want to go to Americaaaa


I want to go to AMERICA!

Why wouldn’t any urban Kenyan want to go to America? We aren’t talking ultra-urban like Nairobi, we’re talking about bordering on rural, like Rongai…hehe, but on a serious note, we’re talking about a place that is really rural, like 100m past Rongai. Everyone in peri-urban Kenya is Americanned in a way.

America’s influence on Kenya is undeniable. Let’s drop the usual boring shit about economies and capitalism because those are now synonymous with globalization, but let’s just talk about something as fun as entertainment:

1. Standup: Churchill Live is essentially modelled after shows in the states, e.g. Saturday night live. He even borrowed ‘Live’ (#facepalm).  Although, after a little research, stand-up comedy and offshoots like comedy showcases have origins in both the US and the UK. But more on the UK later…

2. Disney dominated our childhood lives. Disney brought to the urban and peri-urban Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzela etc. Well that’s gay America talking,  America also brought us She-ra, Spiderman, Superman, Batman and whoever else. FYI, Danger Mouse and Super Gran (KBC favourites) are British.

3. Maybe you’re not convinced, you think these are things that only Nairobians or middle class city dwellers were exposed to…so let’s talk about more rural/ poor areas. One random afternoon in 2008, I was in Marurui- a ghetto not too far from USIU. My friend Masha  and I, stepped into one of these rooms that show translated movies, standing behind like 70 smelly kids, we watched Van Damme tearing people to pieces screaming in fluent kikuyu. Van Damme and his french name or whatever Belgians are, moved to the US of A in 1982 to become a star, and that’s how we know him, he was brought to us not from Belgium- his home – but America. Forget Van Damme and his weird fake tan:Jean-Claude_Van_Damme_2012 Bruce ‘the greatest’ Lee was brought to us from Hong Kong…BY America.) This video for example, was definitely shot by Muchirimentor, heavily influenced by Bruce and co.

4. What about black and white pictures of our folks afros? What was that? Afros were once not as globally  widespread as they are now…where did they originate from? You guessed it! But you possibly guessed it wrong, because afros originated not in Africa America, but Africa original – all 55 countries.  Read this…though off course we often associate afros with America and Black Power…

Enough with the lists of reasons and chart records and all that ‘conclusive evidence’ bullshit I was trying to give. We all know it’s true, we are influenced by America, we are Americaned…and so is a huge part of the world. Few countries can claim to have exported their culture (and thus influence) like the US has. It doesn’t matter that some of these cultures were actually imported by America, re-packaged, and then re-exported – because we now think them American, and therefore America’s influence is yet again undeniable.

However, in my limited experience, I must say that Britain’s stubborn hold on their own culture, has allowed it to export a lot of it successfully… the Brits for example have maintained their English, and their accent, and definitely their values. It is no wonder that despite living in the UK for a year, I can barely count the Brit friends I have. It was hard as an Americaned African to understand them, their lad culture (read obnoxious groups of loud, very muscled, very drunk boys), the British over polite behavior, and something I enjoyed in cities, the racial integration (as long as the minority involved were British).  Brit stubbornness is evident in global icons like Amy Winehouse, Adele and 007… remember the show ‘Mind your English’?

Long and short,  that’s why I want to go to America, to meet this absentee yet omnipresent father of cultural ideologies.

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