Sunday, 28 June 2015
Turn. Toss. Curl in blanket. Smell of an undying fabric softener emanates from my pillow, the soft splattering of rain becomes louder and louder each second. My hair is now covering my face, almost strangled by it after my routine morning yawn. I brush it behind my ear with my index, reach for my phone, barely opening my eyes. The light from my screen is blinding, I squint a little to make out the time; its 2:47 am.
I am wide awake. It’s the fifty third day and I still find trouble sleeping. Disordered sleep pattern? Perhaps. I usually stayed up until noon clocked in then sleep overcomes me unfortunately due to classes and extracurricular activities, the bed is usually just a state of mind. Throughout the day I would be cranky and on the verge of a breakdown. My mind would process things faster and people’s actions or my actions would be slower by a whole notch. The frustration could kill.
I slept three hours today.
“You are improving” I say to myself while making a cup of coffee. The previous night I slept for an hour and thirty five minutes. I had a rough day afterwards, skipped an afternoon class when a migraine kicked in. The irony of drinking coffee when you can’t sleep, but for some reason, it makes my brain tire faster. Plus other beverages like tea do not fancy my taste buds and hot chocolate taste like sand mixed in water, I won’t even begin with porridge.
The coffee hung heavily in the air, it was ready, I preferred boiling instead of using a coffee maker. It gave it a more refined taste and its scent when ready was purely nerve calming. It was hotter than I usually make it and smelt a bit like roasted nuts. Perfect. I was fond of my mug; it had a nice grip, its curvature allowed it to settle perfectly on my lower lip and was the perfect size; not too big, not too small. It lasted me the whole night and sometimes I wouldn’t even finish it. I slurped to taste the sugar content, it was just enough to get me going to the dentist by end month, nothing spells out perfection like a cup of hot coffee opening up all cords.
I sit down for a minute, my room is chilly, probably the window is open and mosquitoes have become my roommates of late, pesky little annoying bugs. They must be looking for hideouts. This aggravates me, I shake my clothes to make them more disrupted, I walk around with a slipper in my hand, jump on my bed trying to reach the furthest part of the room, and throw pillows hitting the ceiling. This shenanigan goes on for half an hour. The wall suffers a blood bath, one of the pillow hangs loosely on the edge of the bed, my slipper is lying upside down on the floor next to the dustbin. It’s a mess. I reach for my coffee, my right palm filled with traces of blood and mosquito parts, I am their Adolf Hitler now. Bow down mosquitoes. I smear on one of the dirty laundry but it doesn’t help. I start drinking with my left hand. Its 5:30am.
Saturday, 13 June 2015
Being raised by a single parent makes us a lot of things and one of them can never be weak. It gives a certain balance of grit and encouragement that settles well when one grows or becomes an adult. A social scientist insisted that one raised by a single mother whether rich or poor will tend to end up in jail, as a pregnant teen or a drug junkie, however this is not the case in contemporary Kenya. Living in era where deadbeat fathers and single mothers outweigh the number of couples, it goes against the odds to have a nuclear family.
In every résumé; age: 45, status; Head of the family, nationality; Depends on where I am. Two decades have already passed, she is surprising herself with cake as a desert this evening. It’s her anniversary, more an anniversary of singlehood. Despite she championed in raising four children singlehandedly. In marital circles, two decades is an achievement of sharing toothbrushes, confusing towels, respecting each other’s sides of the bed and being asked where the socks are but in un-marital circle, it’s more of failure of the prior.
Research show children do better in terms of behavior, grades and socially in homes that have a single mother than a single fathers household. This data however is non-essential and downright bogus as one’s upbringing and outcome has nothing to do with the number of guardians sleeping down the hall. However there is a strain whereby there is only one parent under one roof, the same strain can also be a perk.
There is beauty in every struggle, refinement in every strain and constant happiness in emerging champion in the impediments. Major milestone is whether the parent is able to provide financially. Put food on the table, clothes on their back, walls around and a roof on top and will they graduate school or not? Money is not everything nonetheless, support, love and attention carry as much importance as the former. Money won’t instill good morals, will not prevent pregnancy and it will certainly not keep them in front of bars. Though It may bail them out of jail.
The misconception that families with both parents have twice the love, twice the attention and twice the financial security is faux. A survey of children under the influence coming from a nuclear family was 4.3% and that of single parenthood is 5.7%. A difference of 1.4% is definitely not a reflection of the case study. Growing up in a family of a single parent, values such as independence, diligence and humility will be impacted by default. Don’t get me wrong, children from two-parent families can develop these values from other situations. There is power in the negative, I have witnessed it first hand and I took it positively.
All children hailing from a single-parent family, you are not shortchanged just because you are shorthanded.
Wednesday, 3 June 2015
BRUSH ON CANVAS BY JACKTONE OTIENO
Did you choose painting or did painting choose you?
FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN WE CHOSE EACH OTHER PAINTING CHOSE ME AND I ALSO CHOSE IT
Being able to produce such amazing work definitely requires a lot of practice and sacrifice. When did you start painting? And what was your first artwork?
I STARTED SERIOUS PAINTING IN HIGH SCHOOL FORM THREE AND MY FIRST WORK WAS A SYMBOLIC PORTRAIT OF MYSELF
Painting requires a lot of tools and with them a work room comes along. What is your most important tool and do you have a working station?
MY MOST IMPORTANT ARTIST TOOL ARE MY COLOR PENCILS. AT THE MOMENT I DON’T HAVE DEFINITE WORK STATION SINCE AM STILL IN SCHOOL BUT I DO OIL PAINTINGS AT HOME IN THE MOST QUIET AND SECURE ROOM.
Artists work with inspiration. What motivates/inspires your work?
GOD INSPIRES ME A LOT I ALWAYS WONDER HOW HE CAME UP WITH ALL THAT SURROUNDS US. PURELY ARTISTIC. I ALSO LIKE LEONARDO DA VINCI AND RAPHAEL’S WORKS: ANATOMY AND MACHINERY
Which is the greatest and most challenging piece you have ever done? And why?
THE GREATEST AND THE MOST CHALLENGING WORK IS THE MULTIDIMENSIONAL MAN: A CUBISM ABSTRACT PAINTING BECAUSE IT’S A SINGLE PORTRAIT CONTAINING MANY PORTRAITS.
Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?
THE ELEMENT OF ART I ENJOY WORKING WITH IS THE USE COLORS BECAUSE ALTERING ONE SHADE CAN TELL MANY STORIES.
Painting like all the other types of art requires a lot of focus. How do you stay focused and in sync while painting? Describe your ideal working atmosphere
MY IDEAL WORKING ATMOSPHERE IS A QUIET ROOM WITH NO PEOPLE AND EARPHONES IN MY EARS. MUSIC RAISES MY CREATIVITY AND TAKES ME WHERE I ONLY UNDERSTAND AND NO ONE ELSE.
In Kenya, painting is not known as the most lucrative job, do you do it for the money or the skill?
I DO IT MAINLY FOR THE SKILL BUT IF SOMEONE IS VERY INTERESTED IN MY WORK I MAY CHARGE THEM IF NECESSARY.
With such a high level of skill, you can merely paint anything. What is your dream project?
MY DREAM PROJECT IS TO OWN A BIG ART GALLERY AND POSSIBLY BRING TOGETHER THOSE WITH SIMILAR SKILLS. ALSO MAKE A PORTRAIT OF PRINCE OF UAE.
Where do you see your work taking you?
I SEE MY ART TAKING ME TO PLACES LIKE MARVEL STUDIOS AND FINE ART MUSEUMS OF EUROPE.
Painting involves a lot of inhaling of chemicals. Can you pass a drug test?
AM NOT SURE WHETHER I CAN PASS A DRUG TEST BECAUSE I DON’T USE ANY BUT SINCE I PAINT A LOT THERE IS A POSSIBILITY PASS OR FAIL A DRUG TEST. (Laughs)
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Moi University suffers the same fate as JKUAT Juja. Men. They are everywhere, in the library, in their hostels, at the ladies hostels, at the barracks, in the lavatories heck! Even in my head. We all know what happens when the ratio is inversed and women outweigh. There is a new breed in town and campus boys know no old breed. All of a sudden the natives are too old, too boring and to some we are extinct. But thou shall not worry, for Jesus did not die on the cross for you to perish in Kesses.
People have different ways of healing, some lash out in anger, others drown in their sorrows until they sorrow no more, some prefer a little silent prayer but in main campus, you either heal or you will get healed. There is zero personal space and maximum cohabiting going round. Do I blame us? Not really. We are in a village somewhere close to Kesses; anything goes. A student gets strangled by barbed wire; you will still find comrades at 2am walking to God knows where, a local gets bewitched and eats grass for stealing; five laptops go missing the following morning, a Garissa student suffers a tragedy; welcomed with open arms and beds. Do not be mistaken; it’s called comforting not cohabiting. So they say.
It is indeed saddening that we nullified all attempts to send away the souls of the departed with the due respect. Given the fact that we are Main Campus yet we take zero initiatives to carry any flexible exercises, is a tragedy in itself. Sigh. It’s Eldoret. Away from the campus with a defect, back to our fellow students. I respect, honor and cherish every single individual that had an open mind with regards to the incoming lot. I disrespect, dishonor and denounce every student with a regressive mindset. Garissa students don’t say no to comrades, say no to \teamfisi