UNDER THE DESERT SUN- Day 1

 

I am happy. After countless arguments with the girls and cancellations and postponements, we finally settled for today. I have barely had a wink of sleep because my mind has been racing all night. I put on a black ripped vest and black leggings. I then cross my sling bag over my chest.Of course it’s black. I drag my suitcase hurriedly to Mweembe’s to say bye. She is a disappointment, I think as I throw myself on her bed. A let down. We would have had so much fun together, but she has prior engagements, (which I selfishly feel can wait) so she has to stay behind. My mind runs off into the distance as Mweembe asks me REPEATEDLY if I have carried this and that. She is so motherly. Gosh! We laugh a little at her overprotective streak and I assure her that I will be okay, then we are interrupted by the long awaited phone call from Tasha.
Ring.. Ring..
On the climax of the ring tone, I pick up. I always wait for the climax. The girls are outside and I get up from the bed to leave. Mweembe sees me out and as I enter the shuttle it hits me that she isn’t actually coming along. I try to wear an un-bothered face, but my frown has already betrayed me. I guess you can’t fake that first expression, can you?

 

The girls feel just as bad as I do. A heavy dose of sadness camouflaged with excitement fills the car, then Chipo leads us into prayer. The driver turns the key at a 45 degree angle and the car immediately grumbles to life. We set out.

 

We speak on top of our voices, seldom letting each other chair the discussion. Girls always talk at the same time, I think. We take selfies. We laugh. We update our parents.  The music is making good company. In the passenger’s seat, I can see Chichi bop her head to the sound of Tekno’s ‘Pana’ while she snaps away.

 

At some point, the thrill has to wear off, so we all become silent. Me, Chipo, Tasha, Chichi and Tasila. We just look outside the window and gush at God’s work. The rolling hills on either side of the road have accompanied us all this while. Some look like hips and hips of sand with dry shrubs scattered across, while others look like huge rocks. We look in awe-struck-wonder, not speaking to one another. Just enjoying the silence. I can’t help but appreciate God’s generosity with Namibia’s landscape.

 

Still in that muted embrace of the beauty we’ve just witnessed, I bury my face in my hands hoping to fall asleep. My efforts fail entirely because I keep picturing our destination’s splendor.

 

My nose detects the smell of burnt rubber as the tires spin against the tar. We have been driving for a little over three hours. A chilly breeze whistles suddenly and Chichi lets us know that we have now entered the Erongo Region of Namibia. The driver parks the car along the road  and we step out to the feeling of dusty , yet gentle winds.

We have arrived. We are in Swakopmund.

 

We don’t waste any time. Soon as we locate the bungalows where we’ll stay for the next few days, we walk to the beach, contrary to our agenda because we can’t resist. The air is moist. Ripples of  turquoise  creep up on our sand sunken feet and right before our toes can bathe in the water, the ripples gracefully drift back into the depth. They always go back because they know that land is not their territory.

 


The sun smiles as it bids farewell to us behind a puffy cloud. We walk across the shores, writing our names in the sand. Other times we make haste when violent waves chase after us, bringing along sea-weed and debris from the dock in Walvisbay.  This sequence repeats itself.

As we walk to town, we all look back at the scenery behind us. Our eyes are fixed upon the shores of the Atlantic ocean. Nobody wants to go, but we must. At different times, we give the ocean one last nostalgic gaze and move along.

 

We need to come back tomorrow.

 

***

Ring.. Ring..

 

Mweembe is calling.

 

I pick up.. On the climax of the ringtone obviously.

 

“What have you guys been up to?” she asks.

 

I can hear the excitement in her voice. I smile as I tell her all about it.

 

To be continued

MY WORLD IS BUILT FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON

My world is built for the average sized. Not the little, giant, obese or skinny person, but the one whose stature and/or height falls in between. Not many buildings I see are structured for the physically challenged person because we take it that everyone is able bodied. Not even many churches have taken up deaf/dumb/blind ministry because they take for granted or assume that the majority of congregants are able to hear/speak and see.

My world, which is enhanced for the average person, to me is an inconsiderate one because it bends towards one side to facilitate the needs of able bodied people. The needs of those that are physically challenged come last; most  basic apartments are not constructed with ramps and elevators, only flights and flights of stairs.

I remember in primary school, some kids were slow and our teachers had no patience for them because they delayed the rest of the class. Whether these kids had been diagnosed with social/mental problems, I don’t know, but our teachers were really mean to them and bullied them verbally by calling them dull. Yes, teachers move at the pace of the majority of those who understand, but my point is to say that there’s need to give more attention to those that lag behind. I remember failing math at school, not because I was dull as my teacher called me, but because numbers just confused me a lot. I was afraid to ask for help from my teacher so I got a private tuitor to help me and I eventually improved my grades. Our education system is also one that was designed for smart learners. Kids that perform poorly are made fun of by their friends because smartness is praised and slowness is frowned upon, and punishable especially at government schools.

Our comments and stares towards people who are overweight or skinny create insecurities. We need to stop treating them as if they’re misfits. I’m barely above 1.5m and all my life, my height has been a subject to laugh about. Even though It’s never bothered me, I know that it does others so there’s need for people to be more emotionally intelligent before they poke fun at short people. *Side note: don’t be the reason someone wishes they were taller. Or wish that their unborn sons will be tall and handsome so that they have it easier in this world where good looks seem to matter more than character 😂😂*

We look at people who are obese,physically or mentally challenged as freaks because of their appearance and we have done so little to make our world, which should be one, less challenging for them. We need to see more schools, churches, appartments and offices that are accessible for all us.

 

Begin Again.

The sun’s rays peek through the window, giving my room a scene of light and dark shadows. That’s how I know it’s morning. I open the windows wide open to let fresh air in, but it’s just warm and dusty. It is reminiscent of a certain time in my life. A time when I would wander off into the neighborhood where I grew up, never minding whether it was too early or too late to play with mud dolls outside. That attracted a good beating from my mum. She had energy then. She had time. Time for me, time for herself, time for us. I remember her racing me and she’d win all the time. I think she didn’t let me win because she wanted me to know that even though she was older than me, she wasn’t old. I remember when she’d have to sneak out of the house to go to work because I wanted to go with her. I remember when I called her by name; Valerie, because everyone else did. I miss my innocence.

My innocence left me when I stopped asking my mum if I could go where she was going. It left me when I begun to understand that mommy is working hard for me. It left me when I attached myself to bad company in primary school. It left me when I had my first heartbreak, but I’m okay with it now because I had to grow. I’ve grown. My mum has grown. With her I’ve learned that every stage in life brings with it a hunger for different things. I’ve seen that you begin to value life more when you get older because your body begins to fail you. You eat healthier food because you want to prolong life even just by one more day. You want an effective fitness program because you can’t afford to be over or underweight. You want to spend more time indoors because the atmosphere is polluted with filthy substances that could damage your skin. On the contrary, you want to be outdoors more often, appreciating nature so you’re torn between the two. Your visits to the doctors office are more frequent than they were when you were younger because you might be diagnosed with Diabetes, Cancer, Parkinson’s or Dementia at any time. You want grandkids too. If you have grandkids already, you want them around you all the time because their company keeps you sane while your own children are busy being busy. My mum isn’t old or getting old, but I see how she tries by all means to hold on to dear life because she knows that she’s approaching the evening of it; life expectancy is short in Africa. It kills me knowing that I’ll have to go through that, probably even much earlier. I’m young, but I won’t be young forever.

I wish could go back in time to live and let live. To immaterial childhood friendships. To indecision between strawberry and vanilla flavoured ice cream. A huge part of me wishes that I’ll never have to use anti-aging cream when I’m in my forties. Even still, I cannot stagnate my age because neither science nor God can allow that. I wish my mum would stay a little longer. I wish everything could begin again.

An empty street.

I’ve walked an empty street several times before, the distance always feels much longer than it usually is. If you have no company with you, it’s even worse because your idle mind does not want to be idle anymore and so it turns a thought out of everything you set your eyes upon. Our Minds are our greatest and most powerful assets because they never stop processing information; they try to make sense out of the nonsense and they make memories out of embarrassing moments even though our conscious would rather not remember them.

Women have fallen victim to rape and murder many a times and guess who  provided the venue? An empty street! It’s been known to host the most tragic and horrifying scenes ever; gruesome murders, robberies, car accidents, domestic fights and love affairs because no one is watching. There’s no witness to attest to you drawing a knife out of your cheating lover’s chest except her, but she’ll be dead so you might get away with it. There are no kids in sight to shout “kawalala!” so you break into somebody’s yard and steal a mop they left hanging on the line because their vicious dog scared you away. There’s no traffic officer to fine you with a speeding ticket so you speed up even higher until you lose control of the breaks and ram your car into somebody else’s wall fence. No one knows you in this street so every evening at 6 you covert your neighbors husband in the car your husband bought for you on your 3rd wedding anniversary. An empty street is uglier than people think.

On the contrary, an empty street can make a good companion for those that like to clear their minds. It sometimes makes you envy the luxurious lives of white folks living in white picket fences. I meet this couple every Sunday at the same time, walking their dog, they seem to be in their 60s yet so in love. I want that when I’m old.

I will never have everything I want because Basic Micro Economics taught me that our wants and needs are unlimited, but our resources are limited, so the next best thing is to fantasize about things that I know are damn near impossible to have. My Sunday morning walk to church in my empty street allows me to wish and aspire for great things which I can’t pen down because I don’t want to jinx it; I’m superstitious. It also allows me to have conversations with God. I recite my prayers to Him which are now a Sunday norm and my excuse is that I’m a flawed being that forgets, but in the depth of my heart I know that I owe Him more than 2 hours on a Sunday. I know I owe Him more attention than I give Him and my hope is to work on that. My hope is that it doesn’t end as hope, but action. Maybe I could make that 2016 resolution.

Boulevard of Broken Hearts.

When a man and a woman procreate, they are held tightly together. Their child is a bond between two beings that set aside their imperfections in order that they co-parent their offspring. However, that wasn’t it in Mwamba’s case. His brain and liver were in atrophy from thinking and drinking excessively. His wife, Helen, ran off with his best friend, living him with their five year old son and a big, four bedroomed house in Salama Park. It was their house together, but she wanted nothing to do with it, or anything else of theirs together. He had failed her and to remedy it, she took off with his best friend Charles. He took a long, hard sip of whiskey as his mind took a trip down memory lane while staring at the ceiling in his bedroom.

Both Mwamba and Helen had rich backgrounds. Their parents had arranged for them to marry because Mwamba’s mother wanted her son to marry into a good and rich family. She thought nobody could make a better wife for her son than her rich friend’s ambitious and pretty daughter Helen. They were classmates in Law School at UNZA when their parents told them of the arrangement. Neither could refuse because their parents were well known people of high and reputable caliber, plus Mwamba’s mother bullied him all the time. On their wedding day, he thought he’d grow to love her in the course of their marriage, like all other arranged marriages. Helen did however, she grew to love him, but he didn’t reciprocate. He tried everything he could; expensive gifts, exorbitant vacations, time, attention, kindness towards her… He thought giving her the child she always longed for would make him love her, buy that didn’t work either. He loved their son more than anything in the world, but not Helen.

He didn’t try to win her back because he knew that she was better off with Charles. Charles may have broken guy code by sleeping with his best friend’s wife, but Mwamba knew that his ex-best friend did a better job at being her partner, than he did. In fact, it was not Helen’s betrayal that took him apart, it was Charles’. They had been having an affair until their consciences felt it could no longer be a secret anymore. They shamelessly confessed their adulterous exploits to Mwamba in his office, who punched Charles on the nose upon receiving the news. He had them both thrown out by security, never seeing or hearing from neither…  He dozed off as his mind continued to wander until his thoughts turned into nightmares.

A violent knock on the door woke him up the following day. It was his maid describing whom he made out to be  Helen. A short, curvaceous, pretty, dark woman with waist length braids. She loved braids; he always told her they made her look younger when they were married. He made his way to the lounge where he found her waiting; she had brought her lawyer along so he guessed then and there that she had come for the child. He swallowed hard for he knew that it was going to be a long, dirty legal battle.

He was now just a forty year old handsome, successful man living alone in a big house, trying by all means to prevent his nightmares from becoming a reality.

51

She springs steadily, yet fiercely from the Kaleni Hills of North-Western Province, drifting away as she creates tributaries into Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. She inhabits hippos, crocodiles, fish and many other animals because she is vast in size. Her name is Zambezi, which means river of God. It is from her, that the name Zambia is derived.

She spills her waters over a chasm that is 108m in height and 1708m in breadth. The waters glide widely against the black rocks, forming a black and white cascade. The wavy black and white stripes on Zambia’s coat of arms symbolize this scene.  Here, her name is known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means the ‘smoke that thunders’. She certainly lives up to her name because when she is enraged, she exudes dense mist, lightning bolts and thunderous outbursts. This time of the year however, she is peaceful; in anticipation of the rain to revive her soul.

Many rivers like the Zambezi meander through the country; it is no wonder Mother Zambia is boastful of a vast, bushy land. A cob of maize can be seen at the bottom center of the coat of arms, signifying her agricultural activities. She possesses a wide belt of copper and other minerals which are presented by the pick and hoe. The men and women that hold the black and white shield symbolize her people.

‘’One Zambia, One Nation” is her cry.

But she wasn’t always free like the fish eagle on her flag. She was enslaved by her master, Britain, in 1924. She wasn’t weak, she wasn’t barren! She was strong and fertile! She bore men and women that fought tirelessly to reclaim her liberty from white oppression. They spilt their blood for the common man and woman, which is the red stripe seen on the National Flag. The black stripe signifies her people, the orange signifies her minerals and the green signifies her rich vegetation and natural resources.

Flying for the first time at midnight on 23rd October, 1964, her people chanted “Kwacha, Ngwee!” exuberantly and repeatedly because freedom had finally dawned.  Those that were present give an account of that fateful night countless times. Those of us who were not, can only listen in wonder and make up scenarios in our heads.

Today, her people will drink, eat and dance in her honor. They will sing the National Anthem, pledging their allegiance to her. 

She looks even more beautiful today because she is painted in green, red, black and orange. 51 surely agrees with her.

Stuck!

I’ve never been to Swakopmund, but I hear it gets so cold that the morning’s due forms ice.  I’ve seen it rain here in August… even September, but it’s October now and it seems as though the rain is stuck in the clouds. At my house, there are plants that never wither no matter how hot it gets. But the leaves of the Palm trees do turn yellow and die. I guess they thirst for water that is somewhere far-fetched unlike the cactus plants, which stretch their roots further down into the ground until they find water.

This is the hottest it’s been ever since I’ve been here. I have a tan because I wear sheer, sleeveless tops due to the heat, it’s an oven here!  I’ve never bothered to buy an umbrella, or sunscreen, I just go outside and allow myself to get sun kissed. The clouds have formed outside and it kind of rained….. I lie, it just drizzled for thirty seconds. Now I’m wondering why it just won’t budge?  Do we need to go to the mountains and pray to the gods so that the rain can pour out? If we do, I’m more than ready to go because this country is blessed with an abundance of mountains. Maybe we need to appease the ancestral spirits with a rain dance?.. I’m just thinking out loud.
Maybe we’re like those cactus plants. If they didn’t stretclh out their roots, they’d die because they’d never find their water. Much like them, we die inside if we don’t find that which fulfills us. Some people find fulfillment in God, other people find it in their careers while others find it in family and friends (love).

Or maybe we’re like the rain right now, stuck in something. Stuck in love with someone that doesn’t love us back. Stuck in love with an abuser and that Stockholm Syndrome has us feeling as though abuse is love. I’ve heard some women say, ‘he hit me because he loves me’. Most people are stuck in jobs they hate passionately. Others are stuck in situations because of permanent decisions that were made on impulse. I know a man that left his wife because she couldn’t have kids, turned out he’s the one that couldn’t have kids and he couldn’t go back to her because she remarried. I feel sorry for him because he has to live with that decision for the rest of his life. Then we have people whose minds are stuck in validation. Their confidence thrives on
retweets and Instagram likes, smh!

But it’s possible to move away from that. It’s possible to break free, because you’re only a prisoner in a situation you tolerate.
Oh! It’s raining now, someone must’ve summoned the rain maker. 😂😂