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Captured on camera 3rd instalment

Caught on Camera – continuation

The story of the Man who caned The Politician continued to make ripples. Newspapers and social media were full of jokes and commentary providing a welcome relief from the real woes of day to day living.

Meanwhile, at 10:30 am at the down town offices of Uchoyo Property Developments, Gregory Uchoyo sat at his desk. He was staring at the newspaper photograph absently adding sugar to his milky tea. His sister, Baridi sat opposite watching him, unamused.

“You take too much sugar, Greg, It’s disgusting. Nkt. And why is the tea here always so milky?” She looked around the room, her lips curled downwards. Continue reading

The self help city boys

It is not yet ten o’clock but the place is heaving. The music is loud, the dance floor is crowded and the punters still at their tables must shout to carry on speaking.

In the wash room, Lawrence stands by the sink, running the water over his hands. He shakes his head slowly watching his reflection in the mirror on the wall. Continue reading

erstwhile kindly landlady(iii)

Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. ~Robert Brault

It was all settled. I would be staying for supper. It was a situation which, when I thought about it, was most excellent; Rubina was said to be a wonderful hostess and her house was warm and comfortable on this cold and miserable evening. I felt honoured to be asked to stay and I was also a little curious to find out what the evening ahead would reveal. I made myself useful and helped with final preparations, tidying up the sitting room while Rubina laid the table. Continue reading

Erstwhile kindly landlady (ii)

It was twenty-past ten when I finally got to the office on a cold, wet morning after the night before. What a night it had been. I was still trying to get my head around what I had learned from Rubina. Babu was standing at the office reception and he did his usual annoying thing of looking at his watch when he saw me. Continue reading

My burden is light: Decluttering for dummies

The holiday season is upon us once again. Schools are now closed. Looking around this city you’d be forgiven for thinking that this town is coming like a ghost town. Notice how quiet it is as most people have gone away on their holidays. In their place is a whole new lot of tourists together with European and Asian language exchange students. The Spanish, French and Italians make up the bulk of European kids and most Asian kids come from China and Saudi Arabia

Taking it easy

Whenever Woolie and the clan go on holiday as a family, there is always the great debate about how much stuff to pack. Woolie likes to go with something for every eventuality. They have such a small luggage allowance. Taking just what you need, so that your time off is not cluttered by possessions or decisions about what to wear is an important lesson in living daily with all we need.

Do you look at your emails inbox daily whilst on holiday? What about twirra? Na Skype je? Being held hostage to the clutter of life is bad for our relationships. It is all too easy to be keeping in touch by email with everyone around the globe, 24/7 and at first it seems like such fun to be constantly available. But to be free of such distractions, even just for a short while, refocuses our lives on what is really important. Twitter and Facebook must be shown the door if you are to enjoy your break.

Clutter is anything that takes up our time, moves our focus away from what is really important. A recent survey in the news indicated that the average adult in the UK now spends more time each day looking at laptop, mobile or tablet devices than sleeping. But resting in is vital if we are going to be aware of everything that goes on around us. Baggage can literally weigh us down and hold us back from listening to our families and friends or sharing our lives with them.

There is a great danger that the baggage of modern life will fill up our every waking moment, becoming even more falsely important and ambushing us at every turn. We need to travel light.

Like the good book says : ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Erstwhile kindly landlady (i)

The Friday evening with Rubina was totally awesome. Can awesome be an understatement. We had a great, wonderfully fantastic time. I use a load of adjectives but frankly it is difficult to describe that enchanted evening in words.

That was the night when I believed I had finally cracked it. I had found the secret to happiness at last. Later on, that same night my ship of optimism and expectation would crash against the black rocks sending my lifeless dreams down to the bottom of the sea. Continue reading

Ten O’clock Prompt

I feel sad when someone turns up late for an appointment and I get annoyed with myself when I am late. Lateness is rude. It suggests that you have no respect for my time and by extension for me. It is said that punctuality became history with the arrival of mobile telephony. People can now be late with impunity because they can call to let you know they will be late.

One Friday evening last month I stopped by the swanky offices of a city law firm to pick up a friend. As I entered the threshold I glanced up at the large clock on the wall above the receptionist’s desk and it said tick tock tick tock tick tock (sorry). The time was showing 5.50pm.

I was a few minutes early. I always like to be early so that the person that I am meeting feels relaxed. I grew up in an extremely time deprived home background, always the last kid to arrive at a party and the last one to be collected by the parents after everyone else had gone home. If we were going to catch the 7.00 train we would leave the house a few minutes to 7.00. Everything we did was so last minute that I grew up to become a clock watching tyrant.

Rubina had said she would be finished in the office at six. I had arranged to take her to see a short play as a surprise. I thought she would like Oscar Wilde’s The importance of being Earnest by the Mashinani Theatre Company. There would just be enough time to have a quick coffee before the seven o’clock performance. I hoped that after the play perhaps we could do something else. I was thinking dinner; or dancing if she preferred. We would see. I picked up a random magazine from a pile on the coffee table and sat down in the middle of the large brown sofa.

I was leafing through the magazine in an idle sort of way when an article by well-known writer and commentator caught my eye. I wish I could tell you the name of the writer or even the magazine. Sorry I just don’t remember. The article’s main theme was that society was in terminal decline. According to the writer we were heading the way of the ancient kingdoms of Ashanti and Old Zimbabwe. All that would be left of the modern east African cities would be ruins for archaeologists and anthropologists of latter years to pick over.

Now you might be thinking Wars, Insurgencies and Revolutions or Corrupt Politicians and Tribalist Leaders or maybe Al-shabbab and Boko-haram lunatic terrorists. You might even think Global Climate Change or perhaps Catastrophic Seismic Events and Solar winds as the most likely candidates to lead to the end of life as we know it. You would be wrong. You see according to this eminent writer our society is doomed because of our failure to understand the importance of punctuality. Interesting, I thought

I was just turning the page to read more of this fascinating theory when the double doors opened and Rubina stepped out of the lift. Sometimes one comes across funny writing and strange sentences like ‘She can light up a room just by walking into it’ and one often thinks : sweet sentimental poppycock. I honestly don’t know. The big clock had stopped ticking – or perhaps my racing heart was pounding in my ears, blocking out every other sound. Whatever the case, I have no recollection of anything at all that occurred before six pm that Friday evening in late June.

We now fast forward events to this morning to find that I have woken up with the early birds before 7.00 am. I have a shave and a quick shower. I am ironing a shirt when the phone rings. Rubina has called with some information regarding our current case. We talk shop for a while and once that is over she asks me what time the wedding will start. I am looking at the invitation card which they sent and I say to Rubina, “It says here that The service will begin at Ten O’clock prompt.”

“Is that Kenyan time”, Rubina asks, drily. I laugh and after a short while we conclude the conversation.

The time now is 10:57 people have been seated quietly in the church for nearly an hour and still there is no sign of the bride. Ushers and other important and stern looking people are walking quickly in all directions across the floor looking at the clocks on their phones and tut tutting. There are parents with restless toddlers. Earlier they were looking at one another in some bemused sort of way but now it seems some are getting slightly agitated. Nobody seems to know what has caused the delay. One man remarks how it is incredibly unfair for people to keep others waiting for so long. A lady usher observes quietly that this is a record in lateness for their church. Still we wait.
A fellow guest seated beside me says ‘Brides are special. We need to give them time. It is our Kenyan way. Let’s just grin and bear it.’

‘But it is unfair, I retort. ‘Other people have made sacrifices to be here on time. There are folks here from different countries too. What image are we giving them of ourselves?’

My friend chuckles and says, ‘Look, there is literally nothing you can do about it so stop fussing and just relax. You are their captive for the day. You should have brought a book or something. Better yet avoid the church ceremony altogether next time.’

It is 11:20 am now and reports are filtering through that the bridal party have been held up in a traffic jam caused by a serious traffic collision on the highway. We are assured that they are not too far away. Everyone is more understanding. Nobody likes to hear of traffic collisions and most people are just relieved that there are no reported casualties.

At 11:41 am a huge cheer goes up. The white stretch limousine carrying the bridesmaids has been spotted turning slowly into the road that leads to the church. In front and leading the way is a yellow old type classic car. Travelling in this car the bride and her father look out to see the cheering and waving crowds. The one overwhelming feeling that is coming across is that people don’t really care that they had to wait so long. The person they had all come to see has finally arrived. That is all that matters. The wedding ceremony begins late but is already showing the signs that it will be a great
success.

Finally here

I feel sad when someone turns up late for an appointment and I get annoyed with myself when I am late. Lateness is rude. Have you been punctual for all your appointments this past week?

The killer stalks his prey

After Joseph Pume had left, Coughing Man wheezed again and said to the rest of the gang, “There goes a very foolish man. Just out of prison, cough, cough, cough… and his first job is to find the cop who put him there. It will end badly. Just mark my word.” He put an affectionate arm round the barmaid’s shoulder and winked at her. There was another sudden attack of desperate coughing and tears streamed down his eyes as he squinted to avoid the harsh tobacco smoke. The others shook their heads, sucking on their Pilsner bottles like babies. Continue reading

Trying times for Babu

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness….” (Charles Dickens, A tale of two cities).

It was the worst of times. A dark period in our recent history that is now sometimes referred to as the Error. Continue reading

Happy Easter

Ultimate Sacrifice

Every year round about this time I imagine many people across the country taking a moment to ponder over the meaning of Easter and why it is so important to their Christian faith.

Why is Easter said to be the real centre piece of our faith. Why do they say that it is like a bridge. A meeting point for Old and New. A new world order put into place as God makes His promise to mankind.

I also imagine that this is the time that a number of important concepts come into focus as we contemplate what is important in our lives.

Service – Before the Last Supper, Jesus is said to have washed the feet of his disciples, something that was considered a servant’s job. He told the disciples ‘ You must be willing to serve one another, just as I have served you.’ Jesus leads by example.

Betrayal – Judas a disciple of Jesus, was like any one of us. He felt disappointed upon discovering that Jesus had not come to lead a military uprising against the Romans. He was therefore prepared to betray him for chapaa. He was paid 30 pieces of silver for his treachery. Greed will be our own undoing. In a postscript we are told how Judas felt remorse when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. He went back to the Chief priests and threw the money at them. He then went and hanged himself.

The Eucharist – At supper, Jesus took bread, thanked God for it and broke it to share with the disciples. He told them, ‘This is my body, I am going to be broken up like this bread. I am going to die for you. He then took a cup of wine, gave thanks to God and told them, ‘ Tke this, drink. This is my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant which will be shed for you and for all men. Do this in my memory.’

The Cross – Jesus is put before Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor and charged with treason. Pilate cross examines Jesus and concludes that he is not guilty of the offences. He decides to release him. The Jewish priests have stirred up the crowds who are now chanting, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pontius Pilate, coward that he is, gives in to their demands, fearing rioting and disorder which will look bad back in Rome. Pilate washes his hands to say he is not guilty of whatever fate that Jesus may meet.

Jesus is flogged and made to carry his cross. They crucify him outside the city walls in a place called Golgotha. At three in the afternoon, Jesus utters his final words, Oh God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ And he dies.

The Resurrection – Sunday morning, just before dawn. The ground trembled and the earth shook. An angel came and rolled away the stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus. The frightened guards fled.

Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene and she went and told the others that Jesus was indeed alive! The penalty for our sin had been paid and death had been conquered. Christ the Redeemer offers salvation to everyone who believes and comes to him for a new life.

According to Galatians 3:28 -29 ..” For all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

We each have our own struggles in our lives, both at work and at home. On a national level we are confronted daily with insecurities, Jihadist terror and threats of war. In the world arena uncertainty looms as we enter what is increasingly looking like a new cold war era.

Let us remember what Easter offers us for free by quoting an old simple prayer:

May the angels protect you, May the sadness forget you, may goodness surround you, and may the Lord Jesus Christ always bless you. Happy Easter!

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