August 2008


I’ve been walking for what seems like ever. I know the general direction from here though, my compass is the white house way over there with the red roof.

Ma-a-mi, the sound that sighs off my lips when I spot the house. My stride briskens. . . Only 45 minutes to go. I’m almost home. Ma-a-mi. I’m at the cow-pen gate. Ah! this child-lock type contraption is not allowing me through.

Ma-a-mi. I put my bags down and in my weakened state I attempt to open the gate again. Oh bother! It’s through the barbed wire for me. I’m finally home. Ma-a-mi.

My tired legs have carried me round the house to the kitchen. Ma-a-mi, I say weakly to myself. She looks up and sees me, and though she was expecting me, she squeals in delight, running to the door.

I get a hug and a kiss – “Keru!” she exclaims. “Ma-a-mi!” “How are you Keru?” She’s laughing and talking all at once. “Ma-a-mi. Haki nimechoka!” My legs feel like cooked spaghetti.

I collapse on the favourite seat in the house, the sofa in the kitchen – exhausted but energised by the wonderful welcome from Ma-a-mi.

I’m home.

They stole the land from under you, but today you’re still standing
Strong-black-African-woman, my mother’s story inspires me.

You look ahead, you see hope
You look back and have made peace
Strong-black African-woman, your heart gives me strength.

There’s a secret in your smile, your soul’s bright light’s luminescent
Strong-black-African-woman, the future is simply at sunup, tomorrow.

Looking at you a thought occurs,
If the world were run with half the spirit you possess
Strong-black-African-woman, this earth would be a special place.

The rhythm of your life is in cadence with the song in your heart
Strong-black-African-woman, there is no dissonance.

Oh wise mother, I respect you immensely
Strong-black-African-woman, you live, you love
And this is all that matters when the day closes at evensong.

My mother’s story inspires me.

Each time I contemplate my existence
I think it so TRIVIAL, so unimportant
In the greater workings of things.

A bruise could lead to death
A sore throat to heart disease
A thoughtless word to a broken heart
Trifles really, but a tot of water is to an ant an ocean.

So, being conscientious is not pretentious
Being Mother Teresa can mend death
And finally being true to a noble self
Will, in the great workings of the universe
Grant at the very least contentment if not peace.

Queueing. Classic behaviour, developed due to the fact that we thrive in inefficiency.

There’s no air in this room. The mingled body odours stun you as soon as your toe crosses over the threshold.

This is madness. I watch the clock tick away. It was 12.00, then 12.30, now, its 12.48.

My service provider steps in for a minute, serves a single person, then walks out again. He’s been gone about seven minutes now. Oh brilliant! He’s back!

“You see, I told you there’s a problem with tall people,” says a voice behind me. I turn back, intending to say that its usually said about short people. I hold my tongue. The commentator is quite short – fully explaining the genesis of his persuasion.

Lo and behold. Everyone’s ‘scrambling’ for him. He not only serves as the issuer of ATM pins, he’s also responsible for bankers’ cheques.

Please note that the space here’s about the size of a magician’s box. People are pressing up to you as you stand at the counter. There’s a sense of chaos. Hot breath. Pressing bodies. Claustrophobia sets in.

Everyone’s looking over my shoulder. What’s she writing?

“Fridah? Fridah?” my service provider calls, “your pin’s not ready. I’ll have them in the afternoon.” It’s 12 something pm, afternoon already! “So what time exactly?” I enquire in a controlled voice. “4.00 pm.” The man says. “4 pm? Don’t you close at that time?” I ask, incredulous. “Shortly before we close then. . .” He says dismissively.

I leave. It’s now 13.05 pm. The saga continues. . .