This is my book. It is based in Nairobi, a lovely glimpse into the lives, hopes and fears of Kenyans as reflected in the lives of my characters. Meet Michelle, a young girl from a very poor background who is determined to claw her way out of poverty - by whichever means. Follow Kenneth Kimani, who harbours an unhealthy infatuation with his brother’s beautiful wife. Jagathi’s single-minded scramble after wealth is almost the end of him, and his marriage. From the wild and beautiful Mara plains to the bustling streets of Nairobi, the book is a journey of pure pleasure and entertainment. If you enjoy reading, you will enjoy this book. Available on Amazon as a paperback and also kindle e-book.
Our Father, which art in Heaven… The first line of the Lord’s prayer. I can’t remember when I first learnt the words to the prayer, but that is probably when I started to associate God, in some deep unconscious way, with my father. My father was not a very approachable person, especially for us little girls. He seemed stern, unbending, almost forbidding. His courage and strength in the face of any danger seemed to us to be boundless. But we had no idea of our place in his affections. We lived in dread of incurring his wrath, and perhaps, experiencing our first taste of the formidable strength in his short fore-arms. His word, on the rare occasions when he chose to involve himself in our childish affairs, was law, indeed, more than law. It was an edict, to be obeyed instantly and without question, purely because we presumed the consequencies would otherwise be too awful to contemplate. We could argue and answer back when Mum yelled and ordered us to do something, but not Father. And yet mum would, occasionally, be roused to inflict a beating on any of us, and Father never raised his hand against us. When angry, his voice would fall to a low and sibilant hiss which struck terror into my poor eight year old heart and reduced me to a sleepless, terrified wreck…
One day, a classmate of mine claimed that I had borrowed her book and lost it. I was not so sure that I was the last person to have seen her book, but she insisted, and at the end of term, when we had to hand back all text books to the class teacher, she told the teacher that I had lost her book. I denied it, sure that I was not the one who lost her book.
The next day was a Saturday, and I was still lying in bed, half asleep, when there came a loud rap at the door. Father opened the door, and I jumped out of bed and listened behind a door as a woman’s harsh voice broke the early morning silence.
“Your daughter took my daughter’s book, and lost it. I’m afraid you will have to buy a replacement”, she said, or words to that effect. Ever the diplomat, my Father assured her that of course he would buy the book, and the woman left. As soon as she was gone Father called my name in a terrible voice, and I thought that my day had finally come. Would he annihilate me with one terrible punch to the face, or whip me to shreds with a sisal rope? In fear and trembling, I crept forward, and his anger broke above my head. He seemed to be most annoyed that I had not told him about losing the book, instead waiting for that nasty woman to come to the door at seven a.m., demanding a replacement!
“Go and get ready straight away, we are going to town to get the book immediately. I don’t ever want to see that woman at my door again!” he said finally.
In those days, going to town was an unbelievably wonderful treat for us children. It happened, on average, about twice a year. The ride on the bus, the wonderful tall buildings, and, on great high days, a ride on a boat round Uhuru Park, and very possibly an icecream to follow, was like heaven to us. And now, unexpectedly, I found myself going to town with my father, wearing my best Sunday dress and school shoes, and leaving behind the envious gaze of five jealous siblings who all wished they could come along too!
As the bus carried us further and further away from the house, my father’s look of stern rebuke quickly relaxed, he was happy to introduce me to people we met on the bus and in town, and when we bought the book, he took me to his place of work where all his colleagues shook my hand and stroked my head affectionately. At the end of the morning, too, I found myself clutching a Dairy Maid icecream in a cup, licking every last, creamy drop from the tiny plastic spoon with relish.
My father, however, did not pat me on the head with soft words of love and reassurance. He did not joke with me, although his voice did lighten up in company. He played no games with me. I had no idea what he felt towards me or my siblings.
I loved him, but my love for him had an underlying layer of dread, uncertainty, and yet, hope that he did love me. |I would have liked him to tell me that he loved me, so that I could be sure of my place in his affections. My faith in God seems to have been based along similar grounds. Deep down, I know he loves me, but I have never been able to demonstrate that love. I cannot stand in front of people and Say “He loves me”, with true conviction. Those verses in the bible which talk of unbelievers and sinners seem to speak to me with a terrible accusation. I fear to come before him, incase he finds me out…