Kindly Finance Your Stupid Wedding?

My inbox is full with text messages of friends and family asking me to join their wedding committees. I even got one from my ex. (Jesus!)

I’m not quite sure what happens in other countries, but in Kenya, when someone asks you to be part of their wedding committee, it is never to play an advisory role. Were your siblings and friends just honest enough, they’d probably say, “Hey! I’m demanding Ksh.800,000 from you to make my chic happy for one day.”

Now, I would understand if we were raising funds to assist a loved one with their medical expenses, or to give them a dignified send-off once they pass away. It’s even better when we pool our meager resources to pay school fees for an orphan.

But for a wedding?! Seriously? When did that become a need?

Some may argue that it all boils down to culture. ‘We’ve always done it this way. Africa is a communal society. A woman doesn’t just get married to her husband, she get’s married to her husband’s community as well. I say that’s bullshit. Marriage is about two people. When they wed, when they make love, when they make babies, when they fight and when they break up, it’s just the two of them. Even in a polygamous marriages, it’s about two people. Ask Jacob Zuma and while you’re at it, read your Bible, Genesis something something all the way to Revelation. You won’t miss it.

What you might miss is my take on weddings, wedding committees and inflated wedding budgets.

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Still Invisible

Sometimes reality hits you when you’re not ready for it.

My mind was clouded as I got off a matatu near Nyayo stadium after a long day of meetings and bad coffee. It was late and I was ready to go home and collapse on my bed. But clearly, this matatu driver wasn’t as eager as I was to get to town so he stopped the vehicle and told us to get out.

As I walked to catch a connecting bus into town, 3 street kids stood up and blocked the path about 30 feet in front me. I was entirely too tired to entertain being robbed, so I tightened my grip on my laptop bag and balled up a fist just in case. Then I engaged the tallest one, obviously in his mid to late teens, in a stare-down. To my surprise, his expression wasn’t that normal angry, removed smugness you see on thugs. He just looked sad. Desperate and sad. I didn’t let that detract me and kept to my regular protocol. Then he said: “Please. Stop. Listen.” In English. Fatigue, frustration and past experiences had told me that I knew better. I continued walking and they let me pass peacefully. But they followed me. And when he began to plead again, I retorted quickly: “Sina pesa.”(I don’t have any money) Then one of the smaller boys said “No. We don’t have money.” Again, in English. So I stopped. “And we don’t wan’t money. We want food. And water.” And then he nodded at the little doggy bag I had in my other hand.

It’s easy to get so preoccupied living your life that you forget that others don’t have that luxury. It’s easy to get so blinded by the overwhelming mischief and deceit, that you overlook the real need of your neighbors. It’s easy to feel helpless and find solace in that excuse. Continue reading

Begging in Kenya & The Art of Story-Telling: My Answer is Still No.

Me hungry long time..

Is it just me or has the number of beggars including human-waste-wielding streetkids asking for money dramatically reduced in and around the CBD? Ok, I know I’ve been out of the country for long but still I’m sure a lot of you would agree with me that most of the streetkids, that would literally follow you around town begging for change, have significantly reduced. But it seems something else has taken their place. Something that I am having a lot of problems fathoming let alone accepting: I call it: ‘story-telling’.

Lemme try and explain this using the following three scenarios, all of which have happened to me this month alone:

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