“What inspired you to write?“
“Why do you want to be a writer?“
Sally asked holding her coffee cup with both hands to warm them.
The cold season is here…
How would John Snow say it? “Winter is here…“
Dang! I miss GOT.
By the way, do you guys remember Sally?
She’s the one who came up with the idea of Biblical Boots, the New segment we started a couple of months back. She’s the Author of the previous article Biblical Boots – Joseph I realized she did even take credit for it as I was reading it, and she’s is also been our somewhat editor.
And yes… she is born again and a Pastor with a wicked sense of humor!
We were having Latte at Java, the one at the entrance of TRM (Thika Road Mall) opposite Simbisa Brands Africa. Simbisa is the franchise behind Chicken-Inn, Pizza-Inn, and Creamy-Inn just to name a few.
“Ah, it’s funny actually..“
I replied and chuckled after sipping my double macchiato, after all life begins after coffee..
“Back in high school…“
I started explaining myself.
“Umm, being confined in a perimeter 3 months straight, for four years, tends to feel a bit Prison-ish.”
I recently realized I’m not made for confined spaces. During the height of Covid, when the government was trying to mitigate the spread by placing lockdowns, I suddenly felt the urge to be outside Nairobi.
I want to be free as the wind. I want to travel; see new and old places. Can’t a young ukuyu guy see the world anymore!?
“So I used to enjoy spending time in the library, not to read just so you know..”
“Our school library,” I realized it’s no longer our school.
“The library for the school that I attended”, Is that proper grammar?
“The school’s library was built on higher ground, separate from the school compound. The idea was that it would serve the school and the community at large. I don’t know which politician came up with the idea.“
In all the four years I never bumped into anyone other than my fellow ‘inmates’ in uniform picking, reading, or returning a book.
Plus in the library, the books on the shelves were school curriculum content based. Not all of them of course but the majority.
How do you build a community library in the heart of Murang’a county, Kandara district to be precise, known for agriculture mainly tea farms, and not even stock up Agricultural books?
Ama what books do farmers read?
“So my frequent visits to the library given its position gave me a sense of freedom“
“I was in school, but outside“
“It was the legal way to sneak in and out of the compound without a consent from the Deputy Principal or the teacher on duty“
“The building was a two-story building, the library was upstairs.“
“As you approach the building that was painted white it read, ‘Gichagi-ini Community Library’.”
“Just at the end of the staircase, you could see the school and the several homes around with huge valleys of tea farms, the land is green. The trees are in an array and the horizon that place where the sky and the ground meet was beautiful.“
“The air is fresh, the breeze is cool though sometimes it would get cold. Not just cold but very. That place would be July almost all year“
“Inside the Library, were huge windows one could see the westside of the landscape.“
I know it’s west because the sun set on that side.
“I’d often go in to borrow a storybook after classes, mostly Pace Setters, and sit at the benches by the window. To spend more time admiring the view as we (my fellow inmates and I) awaited the bell for supper.”
The difference between this place and Prison was that we did not walk around in handcuffs and the guards here weren’t armed with sniper rifles on watchtowers, strategically placed on the perimeter. Here they were armed with broomsticks and flashlights. Other than that, everything was done like clockwork just like a prison.
At 4 am, the bell to wake up rang. You are supposed to jump out of the warmth of your six-by-two bed and head to the bathroom. The cold morning, the cold water and he who thought he hadn’t had enough sleep for one night would meet the fierce broomstick of the boarding master. One Mr. Gilbert Githenji, also popularly known as GG.
That guy is a bear. A bear is a huge, pretty, fury/warm you just want to cuddle it from a distance until you get close and it roars and swallows you whole. That guy was also my ‘English teacher‘ and he taught us we don’t say English teacher. It’s teacher of English. [Subject noun]
That place was a boot camp.
At 5 am, another bell rings you are supposed to be in class for morning preps. As you await the other bell for the tea break.
“Storybooks give you nostalgia. You read something and the writer takes you to the event with them.“
“I’d read a book ‘Perfect Imperfection’ and the writer would take me to Ghana first hand.”
“Mentally I’d be in Ghana, but physically suffering glare that would be reflecting through the pane from the setting sun.“
“These books gave me a sense of freedom, mental freedom. I was high and far away from the place like a drug I just didn’t want to lose that high“
“Before you knew it the gong for supper time, would ring and everyone had evacuated the premises like it was on fire and that was the fire alarm! Teenagers and their appetites.“
“My stomach would be grumbling but I didn’t want to come back from Accra“
“I felt in me-“
I am interrupted by a couple as they walk past our table and the lady almost fell and everyone was rushing to help her.
“I felt in me, I wanted something like that.“
“I want my audience to read my pieces and get that too..”
“It’s a nice feeling, it gives you a break and allows you to create your own mental picture as you see fit.“
“For example, if you read a book/novel like ‘Game-of-Thrones’ by George Martin, that guy from NJ. You see the series in your head.“
“That is what I wanted and still want. I want to do a book some day, maybe a short story, a novel or even a screenplay. I’d love to give my audience what I get. The suspense, the humor, and the assignments.“
“Writing is art, writing is fulfilling, writing makes you escape, writing allows you to be anybody.. anywhere.. it pushes you to also crave for more.“
“I’m even saving up to attend one of Bikozulu’s masterclasses, I could learn a lot from the guy.“
“What is your niche?” She asked.
A question I had no answer to.
“What are you passionate writing about?“
She asked another one before I could give her an answer.
“Personally, I love God and I want people to know and love Him as much as I do. For them to love Him they need to know him. For them to know Him, they need to understand His word.”
She elaborated further.
Now I’m thinking, I should order another cup of coffee because when she starts preaching we are going to be here for a while. I find another comfortable pose.
“It bothers me, when people perceive the men and women in the Bible as supernatural and not human.“
“They see them as people with special abilities to serve God and do exploits, I want them to see them as they are. Human beings and encumbered with the same fears, doubts, societal pressure, with family issues as we do.”
“For instance, let’s look at Abraham.“
“People perceive him as this larger than life figure, with some serious authority and a very submissive wife because she used to refer to him as lord. Yet, the day she told Abe“
“ ‘Naenda ivi soko kubuy mrenda, na nikirudi ivi nisipate hicho kischana Hagar ama hautapenda.’ “
We both laugh at that, I found it funny but that is your typical today’s woman.
“We don’t see him telling her, I am the man of this house and whomever I like to stay stays. Khalas!!”
“I mean he was a man, a husband who knew his limits with his wife and what buttons to press and what not to press. That is why he went to God and told him”
” ‘hapa Mungu usipo ingilia, na lala kwako leo’ ”
“He accomplished all he did in the face of the same challenges you men and husbands face…”
“Another Instance we can look at is Peter. When Peter was called by Jesus he left everything, his fishing business to follow him. This was a married guy with family obligations following a single guy with no marriage or family prospects in sight.”
“What do you think his peers and the society in general thought of this career move!?“
“Ungesema nini kama ni wewe?” this is another question directed to me even after not answering the last two.
“Pinchez siku izi akona mbogi ingine ya Nazaromboteth na kiongos wao ni boi flani alikuwa anaunda ma viti na vitanda uko, wanadai ati sai ni ao Jeshi ya Ku-fish watu.”
Only my Kenyan audience will understand the previous statement. Here is the translation for you my diaspora audience.
“Peter these days rolls with some gang from Nazareth and their leader is a some son of a carpenter. They now call themselves ‘fishers-of-men’ “
I laugh and am amazed she knows the new slang on the streets. I am still processing these facts. I didn’t give her an answer. It was a rhetorical question.
I am still trying to find my niche. Allow me to feel the room first, try out a few chairs and corners. It is now getting late we need to be on our way. Before we head out I ask her…
“Who’s the next character coming up on Biblical Boots..”
She doing something on Esther so stick around for that. For the subscribers you guys will be first to get notifications when that drops. The likes of Patrick Muhingo and Pamzok Lemi the new guys thank you, even you the silent followers thank you for taking your time to read.
As always Like, Share, Subscribe and give us Feedback. We’d love to hear from you. Till next time, PEACE!