Four-Nil?

I’m halfway through university and boy am I excited. It seems like just yesterday I was a young girl, fresh out of high school, who believed the best of everyone. Of course, I still do, but I’ve also come to expect the worst. I’m not here to write about what I’ve learnt and all that. A time for that will come…lol. Recently, my friends and I were having a heated debate on random stuff from the economic policies necessary for Africa’s development to the myth of Sisyphus to the meaning of life. Who am I kidding? We were probably talking about the latest couple on campus, who is interning where and all the whatnots. Dare I not bore you with the details.

Then a friend randomly asks if we have heard of the term four-nil. I almost zoned out thinking it was football we were about to start discussing. Apparently, four-nil is quite a popular name among Ghanaian youth, especially in university. From the best of my understanding, four-nil is used to refer to someone either boy or girl who happens to go through their four years of university without being in a relationship. The relationship is also meant to be with someone within your campus, no long distance things here aye? (Hi Kelly ♥). And no, one night stands or short stints in the name of a relationship do not count either. So if you are part of the unlu‏cky (or is it lucky) group who finishes university without being in a relationship, you have gone four-nil. I remember laughing so hard at this concept until I realised that I might just be one of those (un)lucky breeds who go four-nil.Publication3

This four-nil theory is quite absurd and who the hell came up with it? It annoys me even the more because it favours the male species over the female species. See as a lady in her freshman year; I have a wide pool of who to date to choose from- there are my fellow freshmen, the sophomores, juniors and even the seniors. But as I move on higher in the rank, my pool reduces and for example as a junior, I can only date my fellow juniors and the seniors- who are usually too busy chasing the new breed of freshmen in town to give a hoot about you. God forbid if I date a freshman or a sophomore! Shoot me! I said it.  I’m not vain here, but that is just how the world runs. I wouldn’t be comfortable dating a younger guy. For the gents, on the other hand, life seems to get brighter with each class rank they progress to. A guy in his final year can date anyone, from his mates to the freshmen. Bringing me to the conclusion that a guy has fewer chances of going four-nil than a lady. It’s just not fair. Then again, life is never fair.

After a lot of ranting, I decided to stop stressing about this four-nil crap and just go with the flow of life. After all, the guy who probably came up with the four-nil term was probably some geeky over the top nerd with the most awkward fashion sense.  Who also went out with the hottest girl on campus in his final year (she probably needed help with her thesis) but because he couldn’t believe his luck, came up with the term to gloat and spite his fellow single friends. I’ve even lost the main point why I was writing this. Damn you four-nil geek guy. Point to my single fellow campus comrades, you are not alone. (Right Dedo? ♥). Enjoy your single life…random nights out, endless flirting blah blah blah. And you get to third wheel on your friends’ dates just for the sake of it. Don’t sweat it! Make campus memories while you still can just don’t go beyond the five-nil point. It’s just unacceptable! #TeamFourNil.

 

 

The Perfect Miracle

“I don’t need eyes to create my vision,

I don’t need ears to hear my calling,

Neither do I need limbs to chase my vision.”

-Farid, Political Science Major, University of Ghana

Picture this. A young mother just receives the news that she is pregnant with her child, a daughter to make the news even better. She is beyond elated and is glad that her two boys will finally have a sister they can play with, protect and keep away from the preying eyes of the neighbourhood boys. She pictures the pink and sparkly ribbons she will use to decorate her daughter’s hair, the bonding moments between mother and daughter, the secrets shared just between them, the inevitable shopping trips, the teenage fights they are bound to have and eventually the day she will walk her daughter down the aisle and hand her over to the man of her dreams. These are just but the hopes that a certain Mary had for her daughter. Three years down the line after the birth of her daughter she receives the shocking news that her daughter is autistic.images Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted and repetitive behaviour. Saying that I understand how she felt at that moment would be a blatant lie and I can only but imagine the feelings of despair that must have engulfed her on receiving the news. For most, this would have been the beginning of the end and would choose to wallow in self misery. The last thirteen years have not been the easiest for Mary particularly when it came to raising her autistic daughter especially in an African society with majority of the population knowing little or nothing about autism. Her social life she says became close to non-existent as friends who came to visit them could not understand the odd behaviours her daughter displayed. Friends shunned her and even the church where she expected to seek solace claimed that her daughter was possessed by demons and she remembers with a faint smile how she attended several prayer camps with the hopes that her daughter will get some miraculous healing. It was after this that she decided to take her daughter’s destiny into her own hands.

She chose to stand against the odds, she chose not to give up on the dreams she has for her daughter and she chose to stand up and fight, not only for her daughter but for others like her daughter. While most parents complain that their children talk a lot, Mary’s prayer over the years was that her daughter would just call her ‘mummy’. Thankfully, it has come to pass. Mary’s daughter turns thirteen in a couple of months and she can sit still for several hours despite the distractions around her, a task that was unimaginable in the past, she can speak a couple of words and has an amazing beading talent. Mary and her daughter serve as a symbol of hope and encouragement to other autistic families that there is hope and not to give up. One of Mary’s mantras that helped her overcome the challenges she faced along the way was the constant belief that and I quote, “Nobody has the right to decide in advance what you can do in your life.” She also believes in the power of positive thinking as she has witnessed how her positive thinking changed the thinking of those around her. For Mary, getting to spend each day with her daughter as she witnesses the small progresses that her daughter makes are nothing but the prefect miracle. autism3

Research on autism estimates that 1 in 87 children in Ghana under the age of 3 years are affected by autism and globally 1 in every 500 children has autism making it worse that diabetes in children. It is believed that the cases of autism in Africa have been on the increase with most of them going unreported due to lack of awareness on the disease. In some regions, autism is attributed to evil spirits and mysterious causes with autistic children being hid from public attention because of the stigmatization the family members face. Intensive public education is necessary in order to sensitize people on stigmatization and also to ensure that affected families have the right support needed to care for the children. Although the condition still has no cure, seeking medical treatment early will ensure that it’s properly managed. This can only be done if people are aware about autism, its symptoms and how to care for autistic persons.

As the World Autism Awareness Day draws near, let’s make a conscious effort to create awareness on autism, love and care for those with autism and even volunteer at some centres around you designated to care for those with autism. Spread the word, reach out to  as many people as you can; who knows, you might be the perfect miracle in someone’s life!!! Remember autistic people are not disabled or ill, they just see the world from a different perspective…!!

Oh mama!

Oh mama! You are probably sitting by the fire blowing your lungs trying to rekindle the dying embers. You never give up do you? Probably not. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here scribbling nonsense in the name of writing. Speaking of writing. Do you remember the day I told you I wanted to become a writer? Oh! remember that day clearly coincidentally, so does my backside. Now at the mention of backside you remember.Hahah. You always were a funny one.Teacher so-and-so called you to school and you were infuriated you had to leave the sizzling market gossip to come and tend to my misdemeanors. Teacher said I didn’t have any friends…no she said that I refused to make friends and that my nose was always immersed in a book. You didn’t understand why you had to leave your daily dose of gossip for this. After all isn’t it why you went to the market? Was it not so that I could learn and go to a big university in the city like mama Shiko’s daughter? This was not the problem. The problem came when teacher told me to tell you what I wanted to be when I grew up. To this, I proudly stated, “Mama, I want to be a writer”. That is when all hell broke loose, so they say. il_fullxfull.440188929_otxi

I will never forget the look on your face. You just couldn’t fathom the idea of how you…a daughter of the renown Chief Odhiambo of the prestigious lakeside…could be the mother of a writer. The thought disgusted you. Didn’t they warn you that this would be the backside of sending a girl child to school? But you never listen, do you? Oh mama! You yanked me out of the woody rickety chair I was seated on speaking an incoherrent tongue. You took out your belt and asked me to repeat what I had just said. I knew that look in your eyes. Its the same look you give me in public. “Dare you embarrass me”, it said. Was I scared? Definitely! I figured since I was going to die either way so why not die defending that which I love? Books. I said my statement again…more boldly this time.

Do I need to remind you what happened after that?Needless to say, my backside has never been the same. Do you remember telling me that I should become a doctor just like mama Shiko’s daughter so that you could have something to boast about at the market place? Well, I did. I did it for you. I see how you walk around on airs in the village and how you beam when they refer to you as mama daktari (mother to the doctor). Oh mama! I am not happy! This is not what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write books. Tell the tales of the unspoken. Travel with my words. Have an affair with literature. I wanted to be enthraled by words just as lovers are entangled in each others arms. That is what I yearn for. Oh mama! I wanted to be on the New York best seller list. I wanted my name to be mentioned alongside those of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chinua Achebe and the likes. But that will never happen. Oh mama! The other day you called me and as usual, you did not beat around the bush. “When will you bring a man home? I need grandchildren. Did you hear mama Shiko’s daughter got married and she is now pregnant with twins?” Not with mama Shiko’s daughter again! I tried understanding why you didn’t want me to be a writer. After all, coming from a village whose only writer became a mad man, writing wasn’t the most desirable profession. As I grew up, I realized the problem wasn’t with the mad man. The problem was not mama Shiko’s daughter. The problem was you. You wanted me to be like mama Shiko’s daughter. Why?  Oh mama!

FUTURE ME IS A BITCH.

In my freshman year of university, they made us write a letter to the Future Me and they would hand it back to us to read in a year’s time. This was the most preposterous thing I had ever heard, then. I still went ahead and wrote it but really, who is the Future Me?

The Future Me is tall, slim and thick with an ass like Nicki’s, waist like Kim’s, boobs like Beyoncé and hair like Jennifer Lopez. Future Me is also waay taller than the Me writing this. Future Me thinks she is Anastasia Steel and has a Christian Grey waiting for her somewhere in the world. Future Me also happens to think that she is the solution to almost every problem. This is partly the reason I think Future Me is quite a bitch. And she is mean too though people think the Present Me is quite sweet. Hmmm…I wonder how that will work out. download

The Future Me is someone ever present in my life, though I try to hide her from the rest of the world but she still manages to come out, that sneaky little bitch. Future Me is forever always present in my life in every little decision that I make. She is my zeal, my hope and my dreams all in one. She gives me optimism, though many at times its blind optimism that she gives, but optimism all the same. She is the good to my evil. She is my nemesis and I, her ever present villain. Future Me also happens to be an idiot with all her poorly thought out intentions and plans. Future Me will see a slot at the school’s football team and will convince the Present Me to give it a try, despite the fact that I have never kicked a ball my entire life. Future Me convinces me that since I can sing*scratch that* perform in the shower and I should try my luck at the school choir…let’s just say where Future Me is involved, it’s bound to be disastrous. Future Me happens to have a very weird sense of logic and rationale that is always convincing me to do stuff that I would never have thought of. Like this one time for instance I was watching a music video with very cool Azonto dance moves and guess what? Future Me managed to convince me that Azonto is one of the easiest dances ever known to man, after all its just contorting your body and booom!you have a dance move…it didn’t end so well when I tried showing off to my friends how yours truly is an Azonto Queen. That bitch, I will forever blame her for the embarrassing moments in my life.

Ok…Future Me is not always so bad. Future Me knows me. She knows everything. My hopes, fears, secrets, illusions, resolutions, you name it all. She knows my limits and sets targets that she pushes me to achieve. She is constantly always chastising me for not attaining my goals and applauding me for those that I do achieve. When I’m almost giving up, she reminds me of my dream and gives me the zeal to soldier on. When faced with negative criticism, she gives me the ability to see the positive side and block out the rest. Future Me also scares me. She has become a part of me so much I wouldn’t know what to do without her. She sometimes makes me feel vulnerable and I think she is a bitch for making me feel this way. Future Me is a Bitch. Period!!

WHAT LIFE HAS TAUGHT ME IN NINETEEN YEARS

Exactly 19 years ago today…a change maker was born. I’d also like to believe that I am that change maker. This is despite the fact that I think I am more of a trouble maker than a change maker. Abi, my dreams are still valid…Lol. I’d also like to believe that the many years that I have sojourned on this earth have accorded me the tittle of being wise and experienced…heheh. I am also wise because my mama didn’t give birth to no fool. Anyway, that’s beside the point. My main point is that I have learnt a few tips here and there that help ease my survival in this very tasking world. Also, being the very generous one I am *y’all can thank me later* I decided to share them with you…hahha.

Firstly and most importantly, there is a Supreme Being…one who controls the universe and ensures that everything runs smoothly, no matter how chaotic your life may seem. It is therefore important to believe in this deity. In cases like mine…the Supreme One happens to be God, unto whom I owe my very existence on this earth. Keep calm…this is not going to be a sermon. My point is that it is important to acknowledge His very existence.

The other very important thing I have learnt is on mothers. Never ever lie to your parents…your mother in particular…no…African mothers rather. They always know when you lie…believe me when I say always. I know you are probably thinking of the numerous lies you have told and you think you got away…haha…here is a newsflash my friend…you didn’t!! She just let you look like the fool. Instead, as she stood there and watched you lie, she let you dwell in your foolishness by not exposing your lie. This was probably out of shock and pain that her very own offspring would look her in the eye and lie to her. Also, as evidenced by the numerous encounters my backside had with a ‘mwiko’ or slippers while growing up…lying always lands you in trouble. I still strive to tell the truth to my mum always but once in a while there is that kadevil in my mind helping me to come up with what I think is a very convincing story…but flee from the devil and he shall flee from you…heheh

There is no such thing as fate, destiny or chance. The decision you make each and every minute of your life shape your future.

regretAvoid regret…at all costs. My high school class teacher always told us “Regret is the worst pill to ever swallow in life.” It is like a weed that is constantly stealing away the sunshine from your life, letting you wither into the Guinness World Book of Records as the world’s most bitter.

It is ok to fail. Failure is not a crime. No one is ever perfect. What really matters when you fail is how you deal with the failure. This is what really creates your success story. Make your own milestones and celebrate yourself along the way. Do not wait for the world to notice your achievements because it will not…rather, it will notice your one great failure and judge you by it.

Finally, have a mantra you live by. It doesn’t have to be constant throughout your life, it may change as you go along. My very own mantra is “Wild flowers survive in the desert because they reserve their strength, they wait for the rain, they reach for the sun and finally they bloom.”

Be happy. Take risks. Do not worry. Laugh. Cry. Sing. Live life as it comes. Fall in love. Dance (if you have two left feet like me that is all the more reason to keep dancing). Not everything on social media is true. Eat what you want. Forget the calories. Avoid dieting. Love your body. Most importantly, be yourself.images

That is what life has taught me in 19 years.

LETTER TO MY FUTURE HUSBAND

boy and girlI was thinking that we should definitely own property by the beach…and have those long walks barefoot on the sand, chase each other into the ocean, build sand castles with our kids (this is the part you interrupt me and tell me that I watch too many movies). ooh…pardon my rude behaviour. How are you doing today?? How was your day?? Now where was I again…ooh…the beach house.

Have you ever wondered how I look like? Because I have…I think I have conjured a million images of how you look like in my tiny brain. Are you tall, dark and handsome? Are you part of the #teamlightskin dudes?? Do you have a six-pack? Ok…all that doesn’t matter because I will still love you either way but please please do not be short. Then we will have a problem. You see the issue is that I am reasonably short and I compare a short couple with two minions who are in love…and that is definitely not cute. I also want to fit into the crook of your arms, lean on your chest anytime I feel like it and experience that cute feeling of slightly tiptoeing each time I angle in for a kiss.

minions

At times I see an old couple who are still in love with each other after more than 60 years of being together. And I wonder, will we still look at each other and our eyes sparkle? Will we still share secret touches under the table at 80? Will our hearts still beat when we see each other across a crowd? Or will we get tired of seeing each other’s faces by the time we are barely thirty? How will our kids look like? Do you think they will look more of me and less of you or vice versa? Or maybe they will end up looking like neither of us and end up resembling our parents.

Have you ever imagined how we will meet? Because I have. And I have noticed in this our karelationship I am the one doing most of the imagining…hahah… maybe we will bump into each other at the mall or on some random street and fall in love at first sight…blah…blah…blah…you know the rest. Or maybe I will be lost somewhere and you my prince charming will come in flying like superman and rescue your damsel in distress. Lol. Or maybe we have already met and we are yet to realise that we are meant to be. Or maybe you are the guy I met at the dentist’s last week and dismissed without as much as a second glance. Or maybe you’re the guy who smiled at me today morning on my way to class. Who knows? Don’t you just hate how life is full of maybes??

Did I mention how cheating is a deal breaker for me? So that being said, I obviously do not expect you to cheat. Have you ever heard of the expression that every lady has a ‘nyeri’* spirit in her? If u cheat on me I will nyerify you and you will be too ashamed to go running to Maendeleo ya Wanaume* for help. I will tear you apart limb by limb (ok…not really…I just heard that line in a movie and I’ve always wanted to say it…hahaha) yeah you get the picture.

I also expect that you are working hard coz babe truth be told, I don’t expect to lead a miserable life, I deserve and demand to be treated like the princess I am but then again I don’t need to remind you coz you already know.

I know things will not always be rosy between the two of us but heck am sure that we shall overcome through our strong cords of love. I can ramble on and on about our future together and make endless plans but I had a really long day to day and a princess does indeed deserve her beauty sleep. Sleep tight my husband…till next time.

I love you and always will.

Love,

Your future wife.

*nyeri- one of the tribal communities in Kenya that is synonymous with husband battering.

*nyerify-the process of husband battering.

*Maendeleo ya Wanaume- a male support group that is believed to champion for the right of men who are battered by their wives.