‘I’m just wondering why this is happening to us, what did we do wrong? Didn’t we pray enough?’ Those were the words of one of the members of our small church group after we were kicked out of a public park as we were having our picnic. I will tell you how that happened.
As part of our activities we decided as a group to go outdoors to have fun, discuss some topics and just bond. So we went for a picnic in one of the parks in Nairobi. It was a beautiful sunny day and we found ourselves a good shade to enjoy the day. As we relaxed and got comfortable after our lunch, a guard came by and he asked if we had paid for parking fees (one of us had a car). We showed him the receipt and he went his way.
Barely two minutes later he came back; asking if we had paid for the meeting. ‘Pay for a meeting in a public park?’ Continue reading
Christians in South Sudan. (photo credit:REUTERS)
In one form or another most of us have encountered this question; that Christianity is not an African religion, that we Africans abandoned our gods in favour of the white man’s religion, that our traditional religious practices were good enough but then we embraced Christianity because of the goodies it came with.
My real encounter with this question came when I was a 1st year student in Russia. The few Russian friends I had made kept inquiring about my religion and when I mentioned that it was Christianity they would feel like the answer was not complete. They would comment that Christianity was the religion brought by the white man and so I should tell them my ‘African religion.’ I could not, Christianity is what I knew and still know to be my faith. From their comments I could tell that they could not reconcile the fact that I was a Christian, and I later realized that ‘being a Christian’ meant different things to us.
But it is a fair question and it deserves a Continue reading
Have you ever wanted to change your race? Not because your skin colour makes you feel inferior, no no no, not that, but because suddenly your race is superior and in a way that seems uncontrollable and looking to cause some trouble. That is what happens when a bunch of drunk, loud French speaking West Africans enter a quiet public bus that you have boarded on an otherwise cool summer day in Saint Petersburg, Russia and, and they are keen to announce their presence.
But before the bus drama on that sunny evening in the summer of 2009, I have to tell a little about how we got there. Summer in Saint Petersburg is the best season ever, of course because of the sun and the holidays but also Continue reading
If you live in Jamhuri and you go to town early in the morning, between 6 and 6.30am, you have probably seen Rachael (we call her Rakel, aka the highly favoured). She is the lady who prays in the first bus that goes to town from Jamhuri, a Citi Hoppa bus labeled 461. This is the unique story of how she started to pray in the bus and it is nothing like the image you may have about bus preachers. It is a story about Continue reading
‘What did you do?’ She asked in passing as she went into the bedroom. I couldn’t respond because my boxed mind just wasn’t connecting. I continued washing the dishes wondering what that was all about and then it hit me. I couldn’t help but just laugh. My wife was actually shocked at seeing me wash the dishes and to her the only logical explanation was that I was making up for something I had done wrong. I think I had not done anything wrong, as much as I know, but you just never know what a lady is thinking. You could have forgotten a promise you made or answered a wrong question right or bought the wrong spices, cumin seeds instead of cinnamon, who even knows what these are.
A man can be confused. Yes, the disruption continues….
This happened at about 3 months of our marriage and Continue reading
Getting married comes with its changes and adjustments, like having breakfast at home. I always had my breakfast in the office prior to the ‘friendly invasion’; am not a morning person and that means that I used to wake up just in time to refresh and be at the office just barely on time. Having breakfast at home means having all that is necessary for a good breakfast and honey is one of them. One morning as I enjoyed my tea and honeyed bread, I took the honey bottle and started reading the sticker. I noticed the halal logo on the sticker and wondered why it was there. I always thought halal was about meat since I have seen it mostly on restaurant posters in town and in butcheries.
Questions welled up in me; what really is halal? Is it some kind of Islamic spiritual cleansing? Have Islamic prayers been spoken Continue reading
I watched a documentary about 2 years ago on one of the international TV news channels. It was about the American juvenile justice system. Typically I don’t believe everything I watch on TV because I know it is never the whole story, it is just a story as wide as the camera lens are and as true as the reporter’s perspective and opinions. Being that as it may, this documentary just caught my attention and from what I saw Continue reading
The year is 2001. The month is March, maybe. It is another day in the life of a 14 year old in the first term of the first year of high school in a boarding school where survival is the name of the game. A little bit about my school: Chewoyet High School is located in West Pokot County, a few kilometres from Kapenguria town. The school sits on approximately 300 acres of land and boasts of a rich history and many achievements over the years. Among a long list of its alumni is a former vice president of Kenya and Continue reading
I honestly don’t remember whether this happened in the year 2008 or 2009, such is my biased memory, but it is one of the events that shaped my views of the Russian people early on in my stay there. I remember it was in winter and for some reason I had traveled to Moscow. I cannot really remember whether I had some embassy issues to sort out or was visiting my friends. Moscow is about 8 hours by Continue reading
A while ago I went to get a routine haircut at my usual barbershop in the neighborhood. They know me there so I usually don’t have to explain my shaving style every time I am there. However, this time I found a new barber and he asked me in Swahili how he should shave me. I looked at the poster on the wall with shaving styles and said number 35 in English.
He seemed not to understand me. Again I said thirty five. He pointed at different styles trying to find what I wanted but I Continue reading