Price of the Ticket

We sat in that cafe, catching up on new thoughts and theories I might have discovered. My presentation was due the next morning and I was giving it a test run with my boss, a retired Captain with a voracious appetite for philosophy and painting. He said- You know, I’ll tell you about this one…

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Study War

I’ve never been in a war situation. Never woken to the sound of bombs and wailing of mothers and the wretched rage of men left with absolutely nothing to show for all the years they spent raising families. I only remember waking up to the sound of birds and the vastness of blue skies, the…

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Indoctrination in 5 Courses:

When we were kids and new to the magic of learning, we did Number Work in Standard 1 (first grade). Then I think it was in Standard 2 when we graduated to Maths. What numbers become when + – x / was applied to them just totally confused me, especially if the answer was more…

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The Teacher

My languages teacher in primary school was probably my biggest inspiration ever. She taught us English and Kikamba, both part of the school syllabus in that part of the country. I think Swahili too, although I don’t quite recall any Swahili text book. She was from Taita, and I know for sure at her home…

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Warp and Weft

/ 3-minute read. There was this day I got a zero in Home Science. ZERO! Really, Mrs. Mungai? Form 2, 14 years old, my first and only zero ever. You need to hear this. This was the practical exam. Mrs. Mungai had taught us how to make two sets of decorative stitches around the hem…

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American Belonging

We got there and weren’t sure which of the two houses was the “last on your left” as per instructions we got from our host. They both occupied that same curved stretch of bay at Cape St. Claire. We decided we weren’t going to come out of the car until we were absolutely sure of…

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Love and Half a Side of History

When I was 11-and-a-half I fancied a boy. I remember exactly why. He was the only one with a book bag that had graffiti on it. I did not know then that I was attracted to things creative, but there it was, Boy X and his green canvas backpack. On it were huge blocks of…

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The Prefects

Power: They were only 16, give or take a year. But so powerful were they their mere appearance caused dread in girls no matter what we were doing. You could be sitting quietly during study hour and see a maroon sweater pass by from the corner of your eyes and your blood pressure suddenly rises….

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The Gift of Passage

One day, my mother pulled me out of school. Just for a day. I was 17. It had occurred to her that I needed to be given a rite of passage. That rite turned out to be an Anglican one. The Church of England had erased our cultural rites and bequeathed us theirs. Ok, so…

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Karen of Voi

I got into a bit of a tiff with three young ticketing officials at the Voi SGR train station. This was over legitimate tickets that needed name-change to indicate the travelers, not the buyer. They said the only solution acceptable by “the system” was to cancel them, get fined for it, and take a 50-50…

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