Blog Feature – ELove Poetry

This week, The E.i.N blog takes a break from writing, and goes on a Nairobi Fictionspiration Trip.  I will share stories from fellow writers from my area code (254).

a16-kiss-of-deathTo start off the Monday is Elove Poetry with this scintillating story named: The Assassin’s Diaries: The Kiss of Death.

This is a short excerpt:

In my room I go through the file. It is a dossier of my next target. I read through it. At some point I feel that the target really needs to die. He is the source and part of the problem at the Coast. He is a drug baron, his drugs have made the youth at the Coast vegetables and useless.

Nonetheless, I feel that I should not be a political solution to government problems. The target is the financier of the Mombasa Republican Council, a secessionist movement that has been giving the government sleepless nights. The group uses the drug-addled youths to fight its wars with the government.

Pwani si Kenya! MRC has been claiming.

The extreme violent organization, I read, needs to be neutralized. The government does not want to address the group’s grievances. Killing its leaders is what they think would solve the problem. Really?

The MRC claims that successive governments have marginalized the people of the Coast—no jobs, they don’t get fair share of the national resources, historical land injustices, and a lot more grievances. Because of that, the movement wants to secede from the rest of Kenya, and the government, instead of solving the root cause of the problem, wants to neutralize the group. Is there an end to bloodshed in the world?

Thoughts:

This is a story with a dash of hidden identities, government agents, and corrupt officials. Yes, this Assassin is sanctioned by the government. Definitely read worthy as there is no holding back here, simply written, this story sends the reader into a world of crime and action.

To read more, check out Elove Poetry’s blog

Definitely follow on twitter for news on The Assassin’s Diary stories.

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Atlantic by Phil Dass

Atlantic

9dmzyieg4oi-frances-gunnReta eased her running, slowing the treadmill, as she let her muscles relax in relief.

Two minutes later, she went to her yoga mat for cool down stretching exercises, nimbly extending her legs and arms as far as she could.  Then she lay flat on her back on the yoga mat, her face and palms glistening with sweat.

When she started her exercises, it had been cold.  So, she dressed appropriately.  She wore a black seamless lurex pullover and high-waist leggings with her feet ensconced in Nike running shoes. She lay for a few minutes savouring the rush of warm blood coursing through her taut veins as her muscles relaxed after a two-hour long onslaught.

Her reverie broke only when she heard her phone buzz for the umpteenth time.  She never picked up the phone when she was working out and all her contacts knew her routine.  She sighed and stood up, walked over to the window sill and picked up the phone.  She looked at the caller’s name and her shoulders arched up.

“Hallo,” she said softly, trying to hide her excitement.

She listened to the caller for a minute and she cut in, “That’s great…”

Her face fell a few minutes later, her glowing pretty face suddenly losing colour, turning into a frown, and then sinking further into a distressed woebegone look.  Her eyes crinkled up.

“Oh,” is all she said, and then continued to repeat herself – inserting an “ok” now and then, in-between the conversation.

“Ok,” she said again, for the final time.

Then the conversation ended with, “Yeah sure! I am getting into it.”

Gone was the exuberance she had felt when she finished her workout.  She felt drained and incapacitated.  She looked through the window and saw the ocean churning a frothy tide.  Some distance away, she could see the other houses by the cliff.  Further way down, a few miles away, she could see the white beach trying to get one over with the sea.  It was still daylight. She turned to look at the other end of the window and could see the wind gaining speed as the shrubs and the few barren trees swayed dangerously.

She looked at the phone again, tempted to make a call, but seemed undecided.  She put the phone down and walked out of the fitness room.  She crossed the living room and into the open kitchen and poured a glass of water from the jar on the table.  She sipped the water slowly, her face still reflecting a numbed feeling.

“What do I do?  Talk to John and end it once for all?” she frowned at the thought.

She had waited long enough.  This was getting ridiculous. After everything, this!  When everything seemed to be going fine!

She was getting agitated and even more upset.

She placed the glass on the table, and left the kitchen.

Damn, this was not the end!

She went into her bedroom, entered her closet and absentmindedly picked the colorful kanga on the edge of a shelf.  She tied it around her waist, then delved through the overflowing wardrobe, pulling out a sleeveless woolen top.  She wore it too, and left the closet.  In her bedroom, she looked out the windows, and shivered involuntarily.  It was going to be cold and windy outside.  Should I? she wondered.  She wanted to go out.  Clear her head.  Do something other than think of the phone call.  She returned to the closet and picked out a cap, wore it and left the bedroom.

She was about to walk out the front door when she froze, midstep.  She smiled wanly at herself, and detoured.  She went to the bedroom across hers, opened the door and peeped in. She sighed with relief and then gently walked to the cradle to check if the baby was breathing.  Assured the baby was fine, she left the bedroom, and hurried to the gym.  She picked up the baby monitor on the yoga mat and put it in her pocket. 

On the way out, she peeked at herself in the large mirror by the back door and saw that she had become pale.  She tried to smile and pinched her cheeks.  She tried to smile again, failed and shook her head at her own naivety and left the house.

She walked slowly, trying to ignore the cold and the wind.  The sun was setting fast, lending to the gloom around her.  The path was rocky, the shrubs and the grass around the area were losing their colour.  She saw nothing of it – her mind still not coming to terms with the new situation.  After a turn here, an upward stride there, she was soon at the edge of the cliff over 300 feet up from the ground.  The rocky cliff itself fell ninety degrees straight into the rocky edges where the Atlantic Ocean met Africa.

stoat
Stoat- Cute deadly creature…^_^

She stood at the edge, the wind whipping her kanga into a frenzy, she looked back at the lights in her house, checking if John was back.  But no, it didn’t look like it.  She took out the baby monitor and held it to her ear, to see if it was working.  It was.  She put it back into her pocket and turned back to stare into the cold Atlantic Ocean that seemed to be frolicking with the wind.  Her kanga fluttered wildly threatening to come loose.  She felt her waist to see if it was tucked in securely.  Her kanga was going wild and it reminded her of the stoat’s so-called ‘dance of death.’ She had watched it on the National Geographic Channel – the stoat– a puny animal that looked like a mix of a rat and a beaver or a weasel.  Her Kanga was behaving like a stoat doing its famed dance:  flapping, swirling around with frenzied leaps, and upward rolls at dizzying speed, creating a psychedelic vision that was at once riveting as well as dizzying.

She looked up and shook her head, clearing her head of the vision of the stoat and her unruly kanga.  The cold was now penetrating her skin.  Her face was going numb but she did not seem to realise it.  There was a lump in her throat and then the tears flooded down her cheeks and she cried loudly.  The howling wind helped her along.

No, she had to do it.  She told herself grimly while trying to control her sobbing.  It was just two feet away.

She took one step forward.  The wind seemed to support her decision.  She paused and then the baby monitor came alive.

“Hey Love!  Where are you? I’m home!” Her husband’s cheery voice broke through the wind.

She stepped back from the edge and turned around to look towards the house.  She had to wait a few seconds before her husband came into view on the porch, with the baby in his arms.  He seemed to be scouting for her but it was getting darker and she doubted he could see her.

She put the monitor away and walked swiftly back to the house.

“There you are!” John kissed her on the cheek while trying not to suffocate the baby.

“Yes,” she replied. “Was by the cliff – Phew it is cold and windy!”

“So, any good news?” John asked as both of them walked back into their warm and cozy living room.

Reta took the baby from him and cooed into her face making baby talk. There was no sign of her gloomy self by the cliff. The light was back in her eyes and her skin glowed in the light of the fireplace.

“Sure is,” Reta replied. “I am being called for another screen test tomorrow.”

“Swell!” John said. “Congrats – and what role is this for?”

“That screenplay we read together…of the love triangle? They offered me the wife’s role. You know – the one who is supposed to be schizophrenic and suicidal…”

“Nice,” John said. “You will surely get the role.”

”Of course, I will. I just had a practice run by the cliff and I was awesome.”

Reta had a flair for dramatics at short notice.

The End

Story by Phil Dass writing for the Prompt: She stood at the edge of a cliff, the wind whipping her kanga into a frenzy, she looked back….

This little gem was written by Phil last week for a writing prompt exercise.  I loved the dancing kanga in the air, colorful, and fighting with the wind like a Stoat.  ^_^ Didn’t even know there was an animal like this.  You learn as you read more!  Tidbit from Phil: – The story is titled Atlantic as Reta’s emotions are turbulent and changing like the Atlantic Ocean.   I look forward to reading more stories by Phil Dass.

 

The Enchanting Violinist – 2

The Boiling Hot Day and Weaves with Celebrity Names

Midday, the sun was high, almost suffocating.  The television newscasters were calling it an equator equinox, such a fancy name for boiling-hot, as in, step-out-into-the-sun-if-you-wanna-roast days.  The heat wave was making her stupid.

Nyambura heard the fans working overtime above her.  Still, it sorta felt like they were circulating the hot air faster.  Moraa from a salon across the street walked in, wiping sweat off her face with a handkerchief.

“Nyams, give me two Rihannas, one Cici, three Full Stars and a Dora,” Moraa said.

Nyambura entered the shop’s back store.

She turned on the light and found the boxes with the weaves.

“Two Rihannas,” she said under her breath, getting two packages of weaves.  “One Cici,” she continued, getting one packet.  “Three Full Stars,” she stared at the different colors in the box.

“What color?” she shouted out into the shop.  “We don’t have no. 33.”

“She wants blond anyway,” Moraa said.

Nyambura shrugged and got two Full Star weaves, blond and a Dora packet.  Her arms were laden with her loot.  She walked back into the main shop.

“Don’t you think someone would think we’re playing a joke with these names?” she asked Moraa as she rung up the sale.  “Two Rihannas, as if.”

Moraa laughed.

“It sells the weaves though,” Moraa said.  “Who doesn’t want to look like Rihanna?”

Nyambura packed the weaves and thanked Moraa.  She’d never thought to make money from selling fake hair, but the world she lived in, women wanted beauty.  Beauty was most certainly judged with first appearance and many of her fellow ladies believed it started with the hair.  Weaves were easy installation and they looked good if done right.  They brought her money.  So, yes, she sold the weaves and wore them too because to convince a client, well you gotta believe in the product too.

She was selling beauty here.

But damn, she reached for her handkerchief and wiped sweat off her forehead.

If the weather didn’t let up soon, women were going to put down the weaves and put her out of business.

“Rachel,” Nyambura called to her best friend and business partner across the room.  Rachel was busy braiding corn rows on a young girl.  “Maybe we should offer cold drinks?  Our customers might run away at this rate.”

“Forget the customers,” Rachel said, fanning herself.  “How about buying us cold drinks first?  I’m so hot!”

Nyambura reached into her pocket and found a two hundred shilling note.  If she used it, she’d have to give up buying data bundles to watch Lindsey Stirling YouTube videos.

Glancing at Rachel, she saw her friend swipe a hand over her forehead.  The heat was taking a toll on everyone.

Oh well, Lindsey Stirling could wait.

Nyambura went around the counter.

“I’ll go get drinks,” she said to Rachel.  “What do you want?”

“Coke baridi,” Rachel said.  “Juice for the little one.”

“Sure,” Nyambura went out into the hot day.

On her way back from the shop across the street, she almost dropped the cold coke when a black Mercedes practically turned into their shop’s parking space in front of her.  She clutched her drinks scowling at the tinted windows.

Damn drivers, she thought as the driver’s window opened slowly.

“I’m sorry,” Phillip Keitani said, smiling at her.  “I wasn’t trying to kill you.”

“Could have fooled me,” Nyambura said, climbing the three stairs to her shop’s veranda.  “I’m too young to die, friend.  Got lots of business loans to pay off.”

Phillip chuckled and got out of the car, closing the door.

“Can I talk to you?” he asked, when she didn’t wait for him and started to enter the shop.  “Please, Nyams.”

She held up the drinks.

“I need to save two people from the heat.”

Phillip locked his car, glancing around the busy shopping center.

“Jeez, the thieves are sleeping in this heat,” Nyambura said with a small grin.  “At least for now.”

She entered the shop.

“What took you so long?” Rachel asked, reaching for the orange juice first.  She uncapped it and gave it to her the little girl on the short stool.

“Phillip is waiting outside,” Nyambura said, handing the cold coke to Rachel.

She glanced at the counter.

“I’ll watch the store,” Rachel said, after taking a healthy gulp from the bottle.  “Don’t brush him off, gal.  You keep doing that and he might really give up.”

Nyambura frowned at the disappointment that flooded her at that statement.  She was surprised to find out that she didn’t want Phillip  to give up his quest.

***

To be continued….Thank you for Reading ^_^ !

Previous Chapter

The Enchanting Violinist – 1

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The Enchanting Violinist – 1

Multi-tasking : Gotta Make a Livin’

There was no water in the house.

Nyambura sat at the dining table fighting the urge to scream.  Frustration was hard to escape.  Her Nairobi home came outfitted with two huge three thousand liter tanks, indoor plumbing and even a washing machine.  Granted that the washing machine and indoor plumbing might have contributed to the now empty tanks, still, here she sat, no different from the people who needed to fetch water from the river.

Nairobi’s water company had a special way of cutting the citizens down to the same size.  Granted those with more money than she did solved their water problems with one call to a water broker.  One full water truck about now would solve all her problems.

Sadly, she was broke.

It was the end of March, that no-man’s land between payday and tight budget.  All the money in her purse was strictly reserved to basic needs: food, fare, credit for her phone.

Nyambura sighed again.

Curse the water company, to think she paid her water bill on time.  Why couldn’t they service her with water on time too…such a one-sided commitment.  She scowled.  Sorta like love in Nairobi these days.

All the men she met had commitment phobia.

Nyambura laughed then.

Of course, water problems all led back to the lack of love in her life.  If she had a side-dish, she would call him up for the four thousand shillings needed for the water broker.  The water broker would bring her water, fill her huge tanks…

“Ah…,” she sighed.

She couldn’t do it though.

She couldn’t be the woman who called up a man to sort her problems.  It wasn’t in her DNA.  She’d never tried it anyway, and didn’t even know how one started.

“Nyams.”

She looked up from staring at the dining table to find her best friend and housemate staring at her.

“What?”

“Talking to yourself is considered a sign of madness,” Rachel said.  “Worrying about the water?”

Nyambura shook her head.

“I’ll call up Shiro.  She can get us a water broker, and we’ll pay her later.”

“What about Phillip?” Rachel asked, her gaze filled with mischief.  “He wouldn’t have a problem sending us the cash.”

“I’m not calling Phillip,” Nyambura said, shaking her head.  “You shouldn’t either.”

Rachel gave a dramatic sigh.  “Why do you judge him this way?”

“I don’t need a man to sort my problems,” Nyambura said, heading into the living room.

Her phone was on the coffee table.  She found Shiro’s number and called her.  Shiro was their Mama Mboga.  Shiro had a great network of traders, from shoecobblers, plumbers, fundis, painters, computer repair guys…water brokers.

Nyambura smiled when Shiro greeted her.

“Eeh, Nyambura!” Shiro knew everyone’s number.  “I’m guessing you need water.”

“You know me too well.”

“Can you pay him next week at least by Tuesday?”

“Yes, you know I’m good for it,” Nyambura said.  “I don’t like to keep my debts.”

“I know, that’s why I like you, Nyambura witu**,” Shiro said.  “If you leave the compound keys at the kiosk, I’ll make sure your tank is filled.”

Nyambura felt a weight lift off her shoulders.

“I’ll make sure to pay you back for this one, Shiro.”

“The concert tickets you gave my daughter last month were more than enough.  She was so excited, she hasn’t stopped praising you,” Shiru said.  “I’ll talk to you later.”

Nyambura ended the call with a happy smile.

“I guess that’s how you deal with it,” Rachel said.  She was perched on an armchair.  “I’d have called Phillip.”

Rachel had a serious obsession with Phillip Keitani.  A software developer working for a prestigious IT company in the city.  Nyambura had met  him at a function sponsored by his company.  She’d been the entertainment, while Phillip had been the esteemed guest.  Of course, Rachel had thought it a match made in heaven.  After all, Phillip was a man with a stable job, a big fat paycheck and great business connections.  He was single, or so Rachel said.

However, Nyambura was wary of Phillip.

In this Nairobi town, men had a tendency to hide their wives well.  Shaking her head at Rachel, Nyambura placed her phone on the coffee table and wondered if she’d ever trust again.

Her last relationship had left her scarred.

Literally.

She touched the long scar on her left arm, a jagged disfigurement, from the inside of her wrist to her elbow.  It was dark against her soft brown skin.  A memorable souvenir from her ex-boyfriend’s wife.

The woman had meant to kill her.

Nyambura sometimes saw that woman’s crazy gaze in her dreams.  She frowned.  To be honest, it wasn’t sometimes, but most times.  Most nights when she closed her eyes.

After surviving that incident, Nyambura had promised herself to never again allow childish dreams of love to color her world.

No, now, Nyambura focused on making money.

After all, she was Nyambura Gatano, the enchanting violinist.  The enchanting sprite who did wonders with a violin.  By God, she was going to play for the bloody President one of these days.

“Nyambura,” Rachel interrupted her dreams.  “Now that water is sorted, can we go figure out the shop downstairs?  Yesterday we were running out of stock.  I’m sure we’re going to need to order more weaves.”

Rachel listed all the hair products the shop needed, squarely bringing Nyambura back to her day job.

Yes, the enchanting violinist needed to eat, pay electricity, the damnable water bill and membership fees to the growing quartet she played with on her free time.

To keep up, she ran a small hair salon that also sold hair products in a shop downstairs with Rachel as her partner.  Her day job wasn’t boring, but it took time away from her precious passion.

The violin was her dream.  The salon was her livelihood.  One day, she hoped to make the violin her livelihood.

“Stop daydreaming, Nyams,” Rachel said, pulling her out of her thoughts.  “Dress, and do something about your hair, will you?  It’s not helping your image at all.”

Rachel hurried away to her bedroom and Nyambura sighed.

Rachel was the beloved nemesis in her world.

Rachel was the one who brought her down whenever her thoughts went flying into the ether.  Rachel was the brave one, the one who could sweet talk men into doing anything for her.  Even get a water broker….the only reason she didn’t now was because Nyambura ran their house and wouldn’t allow it.

Nyambura went to her bedroom, reached for her favorite jeans and a nice white sleeveless top.  She ran a comb through her weave.  Thankfully, it was easy to manage.  Straight and short, it fell into place without a fuss.  The only make-up she owned was a stick of strawberry lip gloss.  She applied it now with liberal abandon, smacking her lips as she slipped the tube into her jeans’ pocket.  She gave herself a critical glance in the mirror.

The woman looking back at her could pass for a twenty-seven year old.  Hardships had a way of slimming you down.  She was thirty-one: a struggling violinist, a small business owner, and very single to her mother’s chagrin.

She left her bedroom ready to face a day at the salon downstairs selling the merits of fake hair to women.

Life was good, Nyambura decided patting her hip.

***

Nyambura witu – Our Nyambura

To Be Continued….Thank  you for reading!

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Longing to Heal the Earth – Day 13

Longing to Heal the Earth 

People don’t realize the earth is…alive, her grandmother would say.

events_crystalitas_gaia_mother_earth_healing_meditation_elementars_180x120Before…when her grandmother was young, the world was lush green.  Thick trees grew tall, so tall, one couldn’t see the highest branch.  Green grass in fields, vast and wide, as far as the eye could see.  Her grandmother would run down the hill, to the valley where the fresh spring flowed.  The water sweet, cool and clear.  So clear, the rocks in the riverbed were visible.

Those days, her grandmother would say that all she needed to do was scoop water in her hand and take a sip, drink a gulp, dunk her face in the fresh spring water and drink her fill.

There was no need for machines to clean water.

Not like now, Mira thought, her gaze on the clear glass of water on the table.

All her water came in bottles sold at the supermarket.  She was thirty and had yet to see a clear spring or river, one safe for her to dunk her head into the precious water and drink her fill.  Mira gagged at the thought of dunking her head into the Nairobi River for a drink.  The river was sick with muck, garbage, waste….God knew what else…one sip and she’d end up in the hospital with poisoning.

Her grandmother’s stories sometimes sounded like lies.  Yet she knew, her grandmother would never lie to her.  Mira believed her when she spoke of lush green fields and tall trees.

On days like this, she wanted a taste of the water in a clear fresh spring.  Mira took the glass and drank deep.  It was hot outside, and she still needed to go to the market.

Letting a sigh escape, she got up, wore her hat and took her purse and a light bag she used for shopping.  She stopped at her door to wear the nose mask that had turned essential in the past year, then left her apartment.

The sun was hot.  Scorching hot.  Mira walked along Ngong rd heading to the junction mall.  Pedestrians she passed wore similar nose masks, their heads covered with hats and dark eyeglasses.

The masks were for the dust.  In a frenzy of progress, the country had lost eighty percent of its tree cover.  Forests, fields of green and lush valleys replaced with forests of sky scrapers, apartment buildings and factory buildings.  The rivers had turned to muck-filled waters thanks to the factories dumping at will without regulation.  The streets became filled with trash, as the population increased and no garbage regulations were imposed.  Garbage, muck, chemicals in the air…no trees, the air changed, the soil changed…the earth started dying and so did the people.

She was lucky.

Mira worked in one of the factories that manufactured portable home-water cleansers for those who could afford them.  Water was an essential commodity.  One that the entire nation needed to live.  The water cleansers brought in enough revenue to keep the factory going.  It was a good job, a secure one.

Her job allowed her to afford an apartment that provided clean water, air conditioning to escape the relentless heat and sealed doors to keep out those who couldn’t afford it.

Her people were killing the planet with progress.  The reduction of trees had led to a drastic rise in temperatures.  Summer weather turned deadly, those living in the semi-arid areas suffered first.  The heat spread through the nation like wildfire, it dried the rivers and lakes.  By the time the government started responding to the crisis, essentials like water had turned into a precious commodity peddled by opportunists.  Water was the new Oil.  Oxygen, the second highest money-making commodity.

Air conditioned houses were an essential now.  No living soul could withstand the heat at midday.  Unfortunate souls caught in the daily heat wave met their deaths within the hour if they couldn’t find air conditioned shelters.  It wasn’t easy as the government commissioned shelters got overcrowded.  This daily scramble to get into these shelters was even more deadly.

Mira shivered.  She made a conscious effort never to be outside at midday.  Once, the newspapers were filled with stories on politics, now they were filled with the death toll numbers from the daily heat wave, the severity of water shortages, and what to do to escape the heat.

Mira reached the supermarket.  She stowed away her nose mask, just as she saw customers running to the vegetable stands.  Vegetables were a rare commodity.  She caught a glimpse of leafy greens and found her self running too.  Slipping in to the throng of struggling bodies, she slipped under a thin man’s arm and reached out her hand to the shelf.  Her fingers searching, searching, then they closed over a bunch.  She gripped it tight and fought hard to pull out of the human scramble. 

When her hand was free, she hugged her bundle tight against her chest in case an opportunist tried to take it away from her.  She kept walking and didn’t stop until she was in the canned food section.

A smile escaped when she saw the bunch of fresh green spinach in her hand.  She hadn’t seen one of this in three months.  The price on it was high.  One thousand shillings.  More expensive than chocolate.  Lord knew how long it would take until she could get her hands on another one like this.

Fresh fruits and vegetables were hard to come by.  Mira headed to the water aisle and got a ten bottles which she put in her cart for the week.  She took one bottle and stared at the label.  The ice-caped mountain, with flowing streams and green trees on it’s hills seemed surreal.  She doubted anyone in her generation had ever seen anything so beautiful.

No wonder her grandmother insisted that the earth was alive.

If we had only stopped killing the trees, stopped abusing the earth by dumping garbage, pumping gases into the sky at will…my dear Mira, you might have seen how clear a spring can be,’ her grandmother would say.  ‘I miss that sweet water I tasted, my girl.  Nothing like this garbage you drink.’

Mira sighed and placed the bottle into her cart.

She too wished for that sweet spring in her grandmother’s past.  If only she could heal the earth…

***

Thanks for reading!

100 days Writing AdventureDays go on, this week a prompt on writing for the earth.  Collect the garbage, don’t cut your trees, and ride a bicycle or walk to the bus stop.  Love the Earth as she’s alive.

 

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The Hyena’s Marriage – Day 12

Prompt: Three children are sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and says…

The Hyena’s Marriage

spotted-hyenaThree children sit on a log near a stream eating sweet ripe mangoes from their grandmother’s garden.  Mango juice runs down their chins, none of them stopping to wipe it away, to eager to savor the taste.  The sweet delicious feast oddly exciting, as they had to climb the tree to get the mangoes.

After their grandmother explicitly told them not to climb the tree.

The fact that they had not listened to her, and had then gone to climb that mango tree, with the threat of her finding out, made the mangoes all the more sweeter.

Now, one of them looked up at the sky, and saw an old hawk fly by in a hurry.

“Where do you think Kito is going?” the boy asked.

“To cause trouble no doubt.  Why?” the girl in the middle asked.

The boy wiped his chin on his sleeve and stared at the mangled mango seed in his hand.

“Kito carried a sweet potato vine in his beak.  Where do you suppose he is taking it?”

“You’re seeing things, Munya.  Why would a hawk carry a vine?”

“I don’t know.”  Munya shrugged, licking on the mango juice escaping between his fingers.  “Aren’t you curious, Lena?”

“No.

Munya sighed.  He was the curious one.  Everyone in his home knew it.  He asked too many questions, and got into trouble because of his curiosity.  Once, he asked his mother if being curious was a bad thing, but she’d smiled and said it was the best way to learn.

Oh well, Munya threw the mango seed and stood.  He went to the edge of the stream to wash his hands, otherwise he would be sticky all day.  Besides, their grandmother would take one look at their sticky fingers and know they stole her precious mangoes.

“Lena, Karua, don’t forget to wash your hands,” Munya said.  “Grandmother might really beat us with that cooking stick she waves this time.”

“Yesterday, she wanted to hit me with it when I forgot to close the chicken house,” Lena said with a giggle as she rushed to his side.

Karua moved slower, he was the youngest in the family and often followed Munya and Lena on their adventures.  Munya worried about Karua more than Lena, because Karua was slower.  He didn’t like running as much as Lena did.  Lena was a tomboy, or so their mother said.  Whatever that meant.

“I want to know where Kito was going,” Munya said, looking above the trees near the stream.

The small forest near the stream bordered their family’s farm.  Their mother and grandmother often sent them to collect firewood.  That was how they met Kito, the old hawk that lived deep inside the forest.

“Let’s take Karua home first,” Lena said, watching their youngest brother splash water at the stream.

“That will take too long,” Munya complained.  “Kito moves too fast.  Please, I’ll look out for him.”

“You said that last time, and I ended up falling behind taking care of Karua.”

“Lena, I promise I won’t leave you alone,” Munya said.  To convince her, Munya went to Karua, took his left hand and led him toward the forest.  “See, he’ll walk with me.  Let’s go, Kito is surely going to cause trouble.  I want to know.”

“You’re going to get us in trouble,” Lena complained even as she followed them.

Munya ignored her and with determined footsteps, led them into the forest.  Sunrays from the sun shone in intervals, breaking through the tall, tall trees with leaves that sang when the wind blew.  Soon, Munya noticed they weren’t the only ones in the forest heading in the direction Kito had gone.  Rabbits raced by, each carrying a gift in its mouth.  Monkeys laughed overhead, swinging from tree to tree.  More birds flew by, the great big elephant who sometimes came by the stream for water stomped by.

Each animal carried a small gift, and Munya wondered if he’d been wrong about Kito going to make trouble.  They soon came to a clearing and Munya clutched Karua’s hand tight when he started tripping over a stone.  Lena took Karua’s left hand and together they steadied him.  They looked up to find the animals waiting in a circle in the clearing.

The silence was unusual, even the chattering monkeys sat in silence on the edge of the circle.  Munya glanced above and saw Kito resting on a low branch on the tree next to them.

“Old Kito,” Munya said, his voice in a loud whisper.

“Shh…” Kito answered, not looking at him.

“But…” Munya started only for Kito to fly off his branch to land on Kito’s right shoulder.

“Stop making noise,” Kito said, dropping his sweet potato vine.

Munya caught it before it touched the ground.

“What is going on?  Why have the animals in the forest gathered?” Munya asked, trying to keep his voice low.

“You’ll see,” Kito answered.  “Here it comes.  Look to the sky, my noisy friend.”

Munya and his siblings all looked up in time to see the sunrays dance into the middle of the clearing.  Bright and pretty, they were golden yellow and almost blinding.  Munya gaped when he saw two hyenas walk into the clearing from opposite sides.  They moved slow, and only stopped when they met in the middle of the clearing.

Before Munya could ask what the hyenas were doing staring at each other in the middle of the clearing, a light rain started and all the animals cheered.

“Munya,” Lena said, her tone amazed.  “Look, it is raining and it is sunny at the same time.”

“Yes,” Kito answered, his voice too pleased.  “The Hyenas are getting married.”

Munya smiled in wonder as each animal walked up to the two hyenas in the middle and left an offering close to them.  Munya lifted the sweet potato vine he held, looking at the old hawk.

“Why did you bring a sweet potato vine for the hyenas?”

“So they may have a prosperous and long life together,” Kito answered.

Munya gave the sweet potato vine to the hawk and watched him take it to the new family.  The animals then included them in celebration and Munya and his siblings had a fun and exciting afternoon celebrating the hyena’s marriage.

***

100 days Writing AdventureThis post is part of the East Africa Friday Feature entry.  Still going with the writing challenge.  I went out last week and it started raining while the sun was out and I remembered this story my grandmother used to tell us.

 

Read Other Stories from Participating Bloggers

The Other Woman – Olufunke Kolapo

Alien Abduction

 

Day 2 – Words: Conversation: Inspiration

2 – Words: Conversation: Inspiration

masterclassMy sister woke me at the crack of dawn today.  I don’t do well with mornings without coffee.  This determined fire cracker got me out of bed, dressed, and out the door…all these without a cup of coffee.  I give her props for the feat.  I’m incredibly unsociable without coffee.  The world always seems like a serious battle zone, and everyone talking is the enemy racing it at me with battle axes, arrows, swords and machetes.  I was a disgruntled zombie.  My focus only on what I have to do to get to point B, and anything extra turned into an annoyance.

We were heading to a finance master class my sister runs, the venue today was along Ngong Rd.  The matatu driver was plugged to the loudest reggae music I’ve heard yet.  The treble in that joint turned into a small torture device.  I was a tad disoriented when we arrived at our destination.

Of course, my little task master knows me well.  We ended up in the lovely Cakes & Muffins restaurant along Ngong road.  Minutes later, I got my hit of house coffee, and the world righted.  I’m starting to think coffee can be used as a weapon against me.

The master class started an hour later than we had planned and in the short span of time it ran, the ladies in attendance turned into my inspiration.  Women in business inspire me on most days.  These ladies were no exception.  Starting a small business is often the most difficult task one can take up.  The challenges always out weigh the merits, but meeting these group of ladies, the waking up was worth it.

The talk on managing cash flow ensued.  You would think the topic would be enough to get them sleeping, but everyone was wide-eyed, and taking notes.  Then, the conversation started, and I got a first class seat to women facing real struggles in their businesses.  The baking industry has grown in Kenya.  Breaking into the industry requires more than bravery.  Contenders face stiff competition from fellow bakers, and consumers who are well educated in the type of products they want.  Despite the challenges, these ladies are focused, and determined to keep going despite these struggles.

When the class was over, one of the ladies comes up and says, “Thank you, so much.  Thank you for doing this, it keeps us going.”

I smiled at my sister, because she’s the determined firecracker who made this day worth it for a half-dozen women, and there is nothing more powerful than that for inspiration.

***

*matatu – public PSV

100 days Writing AdventureDay 2, the goal today was to hit 400 words talking about what happened during my day.  I had a good time meeting the ladies today at the masterclass, and their stories truly made me smile. Fighting!