Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Showing off!!!

Knitting is my number one hobby. It has kept me sane and stress free, especially in the early part of this year. The ponchos I have made are snatched out of my hands even before I finish the last fringe. This green one is part of a "thank you" project to some very special people.

I pleased to boast also that I have learnt how to work a digital camera and download photos to the computer. Never too old to learn!!!!

Yes Nick. You are on the list, I promise!!!!.

Monday, September 19, 2005

All relative?

The other day I started a little argument between two boys. The two boys, one Bengali and the other English were playing outside our little flat when I as I walked by. So the Bengali boy says "Hello Auntie," and I answered "Hello Sweetie" (or whatever) and talked to him as Aunties generally do, then walked on. Then I over heard the English boy say to him "She can't be your Auntie!" and my boy says "Of course she is". I did not hear the boy's explanation because I was out of earshoot.

Were you to follow me around my neighbourhood, you would think I was related to every race in the world. When the young people are outside, I am followed by an echo of "Hello Auntie, Hello Auntie!!" Someties I do not even know who is shouting the greetings, but I always shout hello back. Sometimes some of the "nephews" behave typically - asking me for chocolate money and making those face no grownup can ignore. Sometimes I will ask one of the many "nieces" and "nephews" to ran to the shop for me - just as if I were back home.

My first young friend when I first moved to this place about 7 years ago, was a Bengali boy. In his cheeky way he asked me what my name was - so I looked at him and said quite sternly "To you, I am Auntie" and that started the whole Auntie business. Sometimes, I will meet my "nephews" and "nieces" in the presence of their parents who look at me in some confusion when their offspring say "hello Auntie" to a total stranger.

I do enjoy walking around in my neighbourhood, especially in the summer when most of my "family" is playing outside. I do not feel so isolated in the company of all those children who despite racial differences know that we are all part of the same human family. We should all be like children - accepting each other without questions.

Friday, September 09, 2005

God is The DJ

The other day a voice in the telly said "God is the DJ". He was advertising something this person and is likely one of those who are rather careless about taking the Lord's name. To begin with I was rather offended, but on reflection I realised that the person was right although not quite in the way he had said it.

God is truly a DJ. His musical arrangement is in the voices of the birds as they sing the morning chorus waking up the world, in the sound of the wind as it rushes in the trees, making the leaves dance. He choregraphs the voices of the insects in the evening as they sing the end of the day, singing His praises and thanking Him for His bounty as they prepare to rest.

God is the DJ. He conducts the rain, and the thunder and the lightening. His spinning technique is unsurpassed in the rushing of water, the crashing of the waves and the thunder of waterfalls.

God's DJ skills are awesome in the laughter ofwomen, in giggles of girls, in chuckles of boys and the gaffaws of men. But most of all is His skills are beyond compare when one hears the laughter of children.

Look for laughter not for tears. Look for joy not saddness. Celebrate in the music that God, the ultimate DJ creates for us to hear.

Now Mshairi, put this in prose form

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Random Act of Kindness

Sometimes, strangers give us a helping hand, and it is only afterwards that realise the enormity of the gesture, then it is late to give thanks to the person. This story is about an act of kindness I have no way of repaying.

Many years ago, after visiting my sister in the eastern province of Canada, I had to take a few trains to go back to the Mid West of the USA where I lived. According to directions, the last train I had to take would stop in the Canadian city that borders Michigan, USA. I would then walk accross to the border control and take a bus to my home town. At the planning level, we often forget about nighttime, delays or getting lost.

I started a converstion with the barman in the train, mainly because there were only the two of us black people on the train. We talked about our home countries, him from Aruba, me from Kenya and so on, until we got to the story of my travels. It was almost 8.00 pm before we got to the station and it was getting dark, so this young man asked me if I know exactly where I was going. Being young and naive and confident, I only had a vague idea of where to go but was sure that all would be well. This person looked at me and suggested that I spend the night at his hotel suite - it came with two rooms. He said that the street I would take was not very safe, and there were no buses to Michigan after a certain hour.

After he had done his paper work, he walked me to the hotel, showed me the bed room and said goodnight. The next morning, he woke me up, bought me breakfast and walked me to the Canadian passport control office and said goodbye. Just like that.

I cannot remember his name or how he looked like. He was just your ran of the mill black man. I know we did not exchange phone numbers or even last names.

Anything could have happened to me that night. But nothing did.

All I can do is to thank God for directing my feet in his direction, and to pray for his safety and wellbeing. What else is there to do?

So this piece is dedicated to the gentleman from Aruba especially and all people who do acts of random kindness without waiting for reward or thank yous. May God bless you all.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Suffer the child

A while back, I took the children to a gallery. A nephew is a budding artist, and I thought the works of artists long gone would encourage and challenge him. While in the gift shop I noticed a lady being stressed by a little boy about 3-4 years. So in my usual helpful (?) way, I went to see if I could be of service. It turned out that the boy - her grandson wanted a picture of a lion - he had just seen the "Lion King" and he was not impressed by the Turners, Picassos and Titians postcards and calendars being sold.

So I helped grandma look for a picture of a lion. There was none - but we persuaded him to accept a picture of a leopard. So I said to him in my cheerful, keep-baby happy voice, "Here pumpkin, see a leopard, he has spots" or words to that effect. The young man looked at me and said in a matter of fact voice - "Pay". It was a demand. "Okay Sir," I said "You are so right, stay right here, I will pay for it, and bring it to you right now". I paid for the postcard and brought it right back. His grandmother and mother - who came while I was paying for the postcard - were horrified, how dared he ask a total stranger to pay for his postcard. They were so embarassed, and could not apologise enough. Before the little drama became a great scene, they wanted to give me back the £1.00 something I spent, or the boy to return the postcard to me. (He was not having any of that!!) I assured the ladies that I was not offended. I explained that I am an aunty and things like that happen to me all the time. So I gave the child his card and asked for a kiss and a hug, which he did willingly.

The boy, who was blond and blue-eyed did not see my colour, all he knew was that before he could take the card, it had to be paid and since I picked it up, I was the most logical person to pay for it. There was no bad manners on the boy's side. He taught me a lesson - do not be afraid to ask for what you want. He so charmed me, I could have bought the whole gallery for him if he had asked for it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

BLOG wedding

So now there is going to be a blog wedding. The Blue Poet has proposed to Ms Mshairi. I wonder if Blue knew what "makelele" and furore he would generate from his simple statement.

Our weddings are usually very formal and fussy affairs (to my mind) and the prospective groom has to appease so many relatives - aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grand parents, in-laws and several family members who rejoice in creating chaos. And chaos is what this blog wedding becoming, with everyone putting in their 0.50p worth of comments.

Among the loudest protesters of this wedding are Mama Junkyard and Nick: they don't like the way Blue proposed, they want to see the engagment ring and know the size of the dowry (bride price). When MJY and Nick got married they did not tell anyone, including and especially the family. Suddenly there were new links - wifey and blog husband - on their blogspots, a done deal. No comments allowed. It was a bush wedding (or ohiki wa mabebeini)

Meanwhile back to the proposal. It is clear to me that this was a well-thought out strategy on Blue's part. While waging the war on Nick, he saw the vast numbers of supporters on his enemy's side and has decided to join the winning family. Numbers do count. He is insuring that for whatever reason, he will always this large (and growing) family on his side. GOOD STRATEGY BLUE.