Some spaces that carry magic in them, simmering with the promise of stories. If you listen carefully to the trees whispering, the water roaring, the birds humming, at first everything sounds like separate strains of meaningless noise but keep listening and watching and the music starts to form before your eyes.
In our old family home (and probably yours, too) there’s a cabinet that’s filled with photo albums. We’d look at them once in a while on our own, but when they really came out was when we had visitors. After lunch, or during tea, guests would receive a stack of photo books whose height was directly proportional to how long it had been since they’d last visited us. First time visitors got the whole tour: spanning pre-baby photos to present day reality, more common guests only got only the more recent ones. People who visited all of the time usually would get nothing. The ritual was reciprocated when we visited other people as someone played the narrator, giving us context as we pored over volumes of family memories on our laps.
The first few minutes of the new year found me riding on the back of a moto (motorcycle) in Kigali, my black scarf waving behind me, tulle skirt shaking in the wind. As we zipped down the road from Remera to Kimihurura, on either side of us you could see the hills rising, on their faces painted white and orange dots: white ones from the street lights on either side of the roads that wind their way around Kigali, the orange ones likely filament light bulbs inside and outside the homes. Kigali was a lot of things, and while my first post was a lot of gushing, there were a few things here and there that I did not like, as is the case with every experience. But all in all, it was some much needed time away, and almost as soon as I was back in Nairobi I found myself intensely craving the adventure of travel again.
Freedom Interrogations, by Michael Onsando: “Last night, just before I fell asleep, I thought of a lover. I often do. I haven’t learned how to put it off yet. Love is always a present, never a past. But there are many things that distract me. Like listening to India Arie and writing. Or, reading My Ngoc talk about pain in more ways that I had previously considered possible. Or going the roof and listening to the silence of a city that dreams of freedom.”Continue Reading
I don’t tell this story much, but the first time I cut my hair in college, I hid away for a day or two. When I finally left my room, I kept my hair hidden under a Kenyan flag bandanna, so that for about 2 days none of my friends– with the exception of Princess Daisy, who had cut my hair– had any idea. I felt like the self version of Coyote Ugly. Before college, I’d only had my hair this short many years before as a five year old, an age during which I looked so incredibly awkward that my hair would have been the least of my concerns, if I had even cared about how I looked.