Posted in book review, my library, politics, race, reading

The Heart of a Woman

“The black mother perceives destruction at every door, ruination at each window, and even she herself is not beyond her own suspicion. She questions whether she loves her children enough- or more terribly, does she love them too much? Do her looks cause embarrassment- or even terrifying, is she so attractive her sons begin to desire her and her daughters begin to hate her. If she is unmarried, the challenges are increased. Her singleness indicates she has rejected or has been rejected by her mate. Yet she is raising children who will become mates. Beyond her door, all authority is in the hands of people who do not look or think or act like her children. Teachers, doctors, sales, clerks, policemen, welfare workers who are white and exert control over her family’s moods, conditions and personality, yet within the home, she must display a right to rule which at any moment, by a knock at the door, or a ring in the telephone, can be exposed as false. In the face of this contradictions she must provide a blanket of stability, which warms but does not suffocate, and she must tell her children the truth about the power of white power without suggesting that it cannot be challenged.”

This is how Maya Angelou’s journey was like in her book, The Heart of a Woman. Writing was her A game that was supplemented by singing in clubs to make ends meet. She started with short sketches to song lyrics that most comprised of liberty songs and then to short stories. Having been married to a Greek man whose marriage went south, she had lived in five areas of San Francisco with her fourteen year old son who was born in her adventurous teen world and always dragged him whenever she moved. She was looking for that haven in heaven where black skin was not regarded as one of nature’s more unsightly mistake. Her mother Vivian supported her move to New York when John, Maya’s friend, critiqued her to join Harlem Writers Guild.

The Killens (John’s family) welcomed her and son to their home and days later she had her apartment in the neighborhood. The Harlem Writers Guild also applauded her to the group after she read one of her works One Love. One Life. For two months she worked miserably in the Lower East Side club singing and it is after resigning that the Apollo Theater came calling. Here she used her song Uhuru (freedom) as her encore and many thronged to this theater as she enchanted them with African songs. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had just been released from prison and as he addressed a mob who had come to listen to his historic journey, she met Godfrey and together they mobilized dancers, actors, singers to raise money and help Luther King in his Southern Leadership Conference where he would make Northerners aware of the fight being waged in Southern states. Approaching the SCLC offices was the hardest part but they later came through and Cabaret for Freedom was born.

Guy, her son on the other end was making it in life and he was growing into a man with a high notch for political matters. Together with the Killen’s children, they attended freedom conferences and protests that opposed capitalism. Gate of Horn in Chicago made Maya a request to be a singer. She took the offer but it was while she was there that back in NY her son faced a confrontation with a white rowdy group called the Savages forcing Maya to return home. Upon return, she faced the leader of the gang at his home armed handy with a gun and threatened to kill his entire family if he came any closer to her son. The savages were never heard of again.

She was love-struck by Thomas who on many occasions never exchanged talks with her on her nature of work. Bored was the syndrome taking over the relationship although they were engaged to be married, a South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make, Vus for short crossed her path. He was a member of the PAC (remember PAC in the review of Nelson’s Mandela autobiography?). He chased her and after playing hard to get she gave in and they were secretly married. With no work, living in expensive neighborhoods with the latest decors, life was sailing smoothly for her. She mingled with the mighty and dined with their wives where they formed the Cultural Association Meeting for Women of African Heritage to support all black civil rights groups. They attended conferences which hosted the likes of Malcom X, Sojourner Truth who left the crowds agape with the sentiments they echoed.

Fights, travels across nations, threats from South Africa, cheating Vus became the norm of each passing day and it is after an eviction notice due to unpaid rent that they left NY for Egypt. Guy was already fond of Vus and the bond grew day in, day out. The same high class life was adapted in Egypt and Vus like any other African man, decided to take his cultural behaviors to higher heights. Polygamy was one, not allowing Maya to work was another but after feeling like a Brer rabbit in the briar pitch she decided enough was enough. She secretly contacted a friend who connected her to the Arab Observer where she was hired as an associate editor. Vus never agreed to it but to avoid political controversies in his career, he gladly accepted her to work. Love between them was drying up and after deciding to leave him, a surprise birthday party for Maya organized by their friends led to a six months stay ruling to work it out.

It didn’t work out and after few months they decided to let go. Maya left for Ghana to enroll her son at Ghana University and she was now as asset in Liberia where she would head to next. Fate denied her the Liberia opportunity after her son was hit by a passing vehicle. With a broken neck, leg, arm and internal injuries Guy recovered slowly. Denial of her son’s entry to the university as he lacked the junior college qualification was later approved as a way to accept black Americans into the African society. More so, his brilliant mind in tackling political questions earned him a double bonus. Maya was hired in the university as an administration assistant.

That is how it unfolds and allow me to add some marvelous words uttered out by characters in their quest for freedom.

“We, the black people, the most displaced, the poorest, the most maligned and scourged, we had the glorious task of reclaiming the soul and saving the honor of the country. We, the most hated, must take hate into our hands and by the miracle of love, turn loathing into love. We, the most feared and apprehensive must take fear and by love, change it into hope. We, who die daily in large and small ways, must take the demon death and turn it into life,” Martin Luther King Jr.

“Every person under the sound of my voice is a soldier. You are either fighting for your freedom or betraying the fight for freedom or enlisted in the army to deny somebody else freedom,” Malcom X.

“Yoked like an ox, I have ploughed your land. And ain’t I a woman? With axes and hatchets, I have cut your forests and ain’t I a woman? I gave birth to 13 children and you have sold them away from me to be the property of strangers and to labor in strange land. Ain’t I a woman? I have suckled your babes at this breasts and ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner Truth.

“Never allow yourself to be cut off from the people. Predators use the separation tactic with great success. If you’re going to do something radical go to the masses. Let them know who you are. That is your only hope of protection,” Vus.

“Animals can sense fear. They feel it. Human beings are animals too. Never let a person know you’re frightened. And a group of them…absolutely never. Fear brings about the worst thing in everybody..,” Vivian, Maya’s mother.

PS: Have you noticed lately my eyes come across books where racism was at its peak? I have noted that too and this is my last review this year of any related discrimination concept. My next queue of books contain hard copy books that I ransacked in someone’s house and it is a breather to avoid soft copy books for now for the love of my eyes. However, there is something with soft copy because all I need is to highlight what intrigues me, share it and still have it with me forever. Now to hard copy, you have to share it, never get it back unless you remember and unless a pen and paper comes in handy for note taking, my eyes can as well adjust to glasses….(sigh).

 

 

Posted in finance, management, personalgrowth, planning

Money Matters

I had my money well accounted for to take me through for two weeks. Then I met a shoe, a trouser, skirt of my liking and then that accounting discipline was washed away by my impulse buying. Came 1 and a half week and the difference between me and a church mouse was the term POOR. In fact the only coin left on my wallet was transport money to take me to and fro to my destination. How the next day journey would be, only my head knew best from the vigorous thinking and scratching I had made it to. This was not a one-time thing but it had occurred to me on several occasions

Accounting for money requires one major SELF-DISCIPLINE. After realizing that I needed to grow up and not squander money aimlessly I came up with a practical plan.

  1. Piggy bank- this is not that pink pig that kids are excited to drop a coin they receive but I needed my own custom made “piggy bank”. One of my girlfriends asked me what I did with the balance I got from buying things. To me that change was a bonus to buy airtime, sweets,a snack or top up to the rest of the money. Then she told me to be keeping it separately from the rest of the money and all my balances would go there. So I improvised a “balance wallet” that would not be touched till maybe end of the month or when I was really broke. I tried it and to my utter surprise that has been one saving method right there.
  2. Fixed savings bank account – you don’t need to be earning a lot of money but that little savings in a day can be deposited in your bank account that of course limits your withdrawal rates and on the other hand earns you interest.
  3. Close my eyes and block my ears – temptations are everywhere and the hunger cannot be satisfied unless you buy or eat that thing you like. So whenever I bump into something and someone says it’s my type or it would look good on me I just assume I didn’t hear or see it. I only buy necessities and luxury things will have to wait until am earning real good or when it’s that time to pamper myself.
  4. Mobile banking – the gadgets we carry around are a useful tool especially the M-shwari in the MPesa in my country that is. Upon receiving money and you have no idea on its usage just take it to the M-shwari account. At least it’s safer there plus the more you save, the more your loan borrowing rates increases.
  5. No loan – have you ever borrowed money as little as it is and after it’s over you wonder why you borrowed it in the first place? That is because it did not benefit you and instead it ended up satisfying your ego rather than handling constructive issues. Well, never ever borrow unless it’s EMERGENCY.
  6. Tag my money – I once saw it in a movie and I do not know how applicable this may be. So you see when you have all your money at the table and take different envelopes let’s say each bearing a name of the things you want to do. E.g. envelope 1 write bills, 2 food, 3 clothes etc. then on each envelope you allocate a certain amount before saving the rest. Take note that if the entertainment one runs down, you are not allowed to go to the bills one to top up. At the end of the month you are able to account on your spending habits and cut down on it. (that can work, right?)
  7. Chama – let me enlighten you, you digitized, proud folks who think that been in the so called “wamama” /women savings group is old fashioned. Am not talking about the merry-go-round groups where you have to wait until the calendar tires from been turned due to the big number of people in it; and at the end of it all maybe paying debts and family expenses is the best thing that can ever happen from it. No. Am talking of those chamas where you save up to buy a portion of land somewhere and build apartments or resell it, those where you start businesses, those that you shall learn from and see the world from a different angle. BIG investments. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a women group but even workmates or youth mates who share same sentiments as you to avoid its end before it starts. (Am searching for one or start one)

That is my nitty gritty on my money handling. What about you, how are you handling it?

Posted in blogging, happy birthday, writing

Happy BirthVersary

25, the age am turning today. 24 years down the line, my body hasn’t changed that much, my brain has and so has been the way I do things. That year I conquered, had it tough, smooth at times, hated life’s pressures and everyone who was becoming a nag in it. Old and new friends summed up my days with love, laughter, positive energy and the visions we shared.

I give thanks because this is another year added unto me to make a difference. To understand the real world in the lower strata, inspire and together make changes; dear God help me. Apart from that, I think it’s time I get really serious into dating matters. My bucket list number 1 right there. Huh! Girl you growing old now. You know when you hit 25 no one looks, whispers, winks at you! But since I look 15 I think am going to pass that. Do not forget the judging eye society gives when you have no man, not making babies or inviting a man to your parent’s house for lunch/dinner between 25-28 years. Now listen carefully rumor mongers…continue keeping an eye on me, I go at my own pace so there I can’t (Ndingehota! Aca ). Gimme a break now.

1, the year Sentiments makes it through into the blogosphere. This was actually a birthday present to me by me last year. Still writing it one key at a time and grateful to the beautiful and handsome bloggers I’ve interacted with, let’s take it higher once again.anniversary-2x

Today I was to go to work and it been my first week, of which am already drained, I had to seek for this one off. My intern has really been the best thing so far, so busy I rarely take note that it’s 5pm, learning a lot and the company around me is the bomb. Stomach matters are well catered for here for free as tea, scones/bread is provided at 10, lunch where the menu even has chapatti to it is a blessing. (I think am going to add my weight).

Well, that’s it from me. Delighted to see this day and looking forward for many more. Happy birthday to me and happy anniversary to Sentiments. Cheers. (Now allow me to go back to sleep and of course waiting for those sweet wishes).

♥♥♥

Posted in #life, inspiration, personalgrowth, religion, writing

Test of Faith

What is the hardest and weird question you have ever been asked in an interview?

Curiosity killed the cat and mine got killed when I approached an international NGO for an intern opportunity about a week ago. Prior to this day all I did was joke with my mother. After doing my research on this organization I found out they were Christian based and you know organizations guided by a statement of faith are a no-joking matter. My desire has been to work with the NGO world, dream working institution is the UN and from all that experience and skills, I want to establish my own NGO.

My instincts told me the kind of questions to be asked and that is how I ended up making it a laughing matter to my mother. “I know I’ll be asked which church I go to. I even know they will ask me if am saved and more so ask for my pastor’s recommendation letter,” I told her. She been the supportive mother to her stubborn daughter asked, “Of course you believe in Jesus don’t you?” Was she doubting my faith now, I wondered. “There’s a big difference between believing and getting saved” I answered but who was I fooling, she knew that. So to avoid her preaching to me, I voiced that I needed to make copies of my baptism and confirmation cards. To justify her look I guaranteed her I needed them just in case they needed prove.

The D-day came quit nervous, I had to go for it. Dare-devil is my middle name so I got this, I frequently reminded myself. I was received warmly and I explained the intention of my visit to a certain guy. He was so kind to even tell me “yes, we looking for someone like you.” Like me? How? He went ahead to explain about the organization, information I well knew thanks to Google and even gave me the go ahead to ask questions. We interacted, he gave me a cup of tea as I waited for the chairman (he was away) who had requested if I was in a hurry I would leave and he would call back.

No way was I leaving, everything else could wait. So patiently I sat there, waiting and waiting but this guy could not keep quiet for a minute engaged me into conversations. The likes of, “if they take you I’ll show you how it’s done, you will like it here, you will learn a lot.” He even went and bought water-melon since lunch was almost. Huh we friends already. Lunch was served and as I was busy munching, the chairman arrived, my heart started racing.

The introduction honor was done by his majesty “my new found pal if am to stick around.” He took a look at my CV and then those questions I joked about were asked. “Your CV is ok but are you saved?” Dang! Are you for real like now? Foolishly, proudly I replied “NO.” My guts must have told me to explain but no way was I defending myself. “It is what it is.” As if to get what part of Christianity he didn’t get right he asked, “You believe but the step to getting saved has not come your way.” “Yes am not yet there,” I replied. “You know the problem with the youths is that you refuse to get saved for just a small thing. I have children your age so I know how it is.” That’s us. Fyuks at least he understood. Then my guy friend assured me not to worry about that. I was now at ease.

“We will be having a meeting shortly we shall decide if to have you in our organization. We like saved people here since we collaborate with churches. Getting saved is an individual’s choice so we hope if you are to be in our midst, we shall journey with you and God shall do wonderful things unto you. Who knows maybe when you leave here you shall look back and say ‘that institution changed you’.” Mr. Chairman was doing his father-daughter talk to me. After that, I left.

Back home I narrated my ordeals to those close to me and my friend had the guts to tell me I should have lied that I was saved to save me the drama. He got to be kidding me but I knew from which angle he was approaching it from. My mind, heart and body told me to forget about that organization because from the look of things, I was not qualified for it. So I forgot about it till I got a call on Tuesday afternoon that I was in. I couldn’t believe it and when he told me to start the next day, I was too quick to interject and say I needed a day or two to get ready as if I was the one giving orders now. “Ok, Monday it is.” Getting ready was for me to prepare my mind mentally that I was to be a black sheep for a couple of months with people who were staunch Christians. People who would approach me to go for a fellowship and not partying. People who would put the music so loud in their radio stations to the slow gospel jams (not that I don’t listen to them, I rarely do) when I would be tempted to switch to my rap hip-hop things. People for one reason or the other I would not give my social media handles. My work attire needed to be looked at. Not tight, not buggy, no cleavage I don’t want to be tempting anyone- just fitting and decent.

So you might be refusing to turn the wheel of your life for fear of been judged, ridiculed because you lack something in it. Hey, let that baggage go and just go for it. You got this. Jesus reigns and we better start getting saved rather than just believing. He makes all things possible and without Him we doomed. (Preach Sister…)

My friend in a loving, joking manner told me “I think by the time you out of there, you will be a nun.” Hehehe seriously? Am so ready now. Compassion International here I come.

♥♥♥

 

 

 

Posted in book review, my library, reading

And the mountains echoed

…..they echoed when a div in a certain village would knock at people’s door to take their beloved child and take them up in a hill to a cave. When it did knock one would not reject its demand but kindly give in. What the villagers did not know is that the div never ate them. Deep inside the cave was a beautiful garden where it fulfilled the joys of these children as they ran and played in the beautiful grounds. However, these children lived their entire lives happy and never remembered anything about where they came from. Now , that took you to those bed time stories we loved to hear and it was a story Saboor narrated to Pari and Abdullah inseparable siblings who lost their mother and unknown to them a div was to separate them. This time not a creature but their own father. And in it there are also so many other divs.

Poverty was striking hard in Shadbagh and family demands were escalating day and night. Parwana, Saboor’s second wife had just given birth and Uncle Nabi( Parwana’s brother) who worked in a rich man’s house in Kabul had the perfect idea to end his sister’s misery. Unknown to the two siblings they accompanied their father through a long journey to the desert and finally to Kabul where their uncle had found a job for their father.

Mr and Mrs. Wahdati never had children as Mrs. Wahdati womb had been snatched from her in a mysterious surgery. Mr. Wahdati took solace in drawing and reading books. Nabi who was in love with Mrs. Wahdati decided to trade Pari to his boss to make the her happy and fulfill her motherhood desires. That was how Abdullah and Pari who was so young at the time were separated.

This book takes a reader through war striken days in Afghanistan and the different lives this siblings lived. One had it all though never knew her origins. The other missed his sister although never knew of how to relocate her. This two different families come to be when Nabi through a confession letter opens up to Mr. Markos who took over the Wahdati’s property. It’s all about each one finding a piece of oneself into someone else.

 

According to good reads :

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

 

PS; I got lost somewhere when the reader took me to Baba Jan, Thalia and other characters I can’t remember. My focus snapped. I just scanned through the rest of the pages and then I remembered Francis Bacon’s quote “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously and some few books to be read wholly, and with diligence and attraction.” So if you ever feel disappointed for scanning through a book to just get over with it, do not feel sorry for yourself. It happens.