Geek Opportunity

Once upon a time, long before ‘Operation Linda Nchi’, I worked in the Dadaab refugee camp. During this time, the camp was home to about 60,000 refugees; there were three camps each, so far apart so that if any of the refugees decided to walk from camp one to the other, my guess is that it would take a whole day – it is a guess. As you can imagine, there were many humanitarian agencies in Dadaab. Each agency had its compound; everything was scheduled – meal times, departure times, etc. and dining and entertainment were shared. OK, so much for the context, but you get a picture of where I met the geek.

It is said that you do not know the girl in you until you meet that ‘knight’ (me and knights he he he) – well this is an overstatement. Let’s just say even if the description of the place does not sound great, I  still managed to meet an Adam who I liked, he was one of the camp doctors who was giving medical care to refugees. I think he had noticed me, I am not sure but given the nice lass that I am (grin), who would not?! But you know, we are sort of socialized to believe that a girl should not walk up to a guy and tell him she thinks he ‘shivers her timbers’ – OK, maybe not in those words but you know what I mean – Eves are not meant to say something ‘to get the ball rolling’, that is Adam’s role.

Anyway, finally an opportunity presented itself – an opportunity for him that is; the setting was the TV room (I told you the spaces were shared). The action was that Manchester United (Man U) was playing a team which wore blue uniforms with a ‘Thomas Cook’ branding. I remember very well this was the time when handsome Saha was playing for Man U. However, I have since learnt that he moved – I learnt to Everton and then to Tottenham and now I do not know where he is; and they say Eves watch soccer just to have the chance to look at toned asses and protruding gastrocnemius and pectoralis muscles. Anyway…….

So I went and sat somewhere near him, more like being ‘loudly discreet’. He looked and smiled and told me to “take a Fanta”. I was wondering how he knew that I drink Fanta .

So, there I was with this dude who I had been eyeing for days were, my Fanta in hand watching Saha’s toned ass. And what does he start to do? He asked me if I knew much about soccer. Now I think I do because I know, for example, that there is an English premier league – that is something important to know . I also know that if you touch the ball with your hands, the guy with the whistle will blow it so loud, your ears will burst. I have also heard that if you sit next to Adam and you start talking when the inflated leather thing is in motion, you might see a side of him – a negative side – you never knew existed. So I was quiet, and followed the match; I do enjoy a bit of soccer actually. Anyway the match ended, we bid each other goodnight and I thanked him for the Fanta and he thanked me for company and I was thinking “which company?” We had barely spoken to each other. At this point it was difficult to know what to think of the ‘encounter’.
The following day he met me at the ping pong table. I was waiting for another buddy to play some ping pong. He joined me there and this is how I sort of became convinced (grin) that maybe he fancied this lass.

I am told that you can tell what someone feels about you by looking into their eyes. He said: “Today was a very busy day. I did a CS on a woman who had refused to go through a CS and finally when we got the baby out, the baby could not breathe”. He added, “A life was lost in the building today”, pointing at the small operating room. I was sad, but my eye were peering through his vest and roving over his toned biceps (not sure where from, maybe from lifting babies out of the wombs) and some kind of nice fitting pants – I think they had were fashionable at this time. So here I was thinking that he would seize the opportunity, we would get to know each other as we played ping pong – but nope, he went on to say, “You know I read a report that one harsh reality is that young refugee mothers face is the chance of giving birth and suffering vesicle vaginal fistula”. Dang! OK, I know these things but I am not a doctor, and honestly, this was not what was on my mind at this moment, and I thought “what a geek!” This guy could get the stethoscope off his chest but he couldn’t get it off his mind! I looked in his eyes and I did not anything.

We sat there in silence, and then he asked me how long I was planning to be at the ping pong table because it was getting dark. I told him the power would come on and that I would get someone to play with in a bit. Well, he continued to sit there. After a while, he asked what I thought about deliveries by young mothers – I am not ignorant, there are a lot things to say about young mothers-to-be; heck! -, I can even quote what the W.H.O says about high mortality rate linked to young mothers but this is not what I wanted to talk about with this young dude with toned biceps.

The next scheduled item was up next – it was time to eat. We left together to the dining hall which was buzzing with people, conversation and clinking of cutlery and crockery. The food was not very appetizing but one has to eat to live – you get the gist. We sat together; thank God there was no fistula discussion at this time, but more of politics in Kenya; everyone on the table contributed and it was time to go. I left because I did not want to look like I was accosting him.

The following day we met on my way from the office, it was one of those evenings when the Dadaab breeze is kind of enjoyable. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him, “The breeze is good today, perfect day for a walk”. He looked at me and asked, “To walk to where?” My brain raised its eyebrows. To him, people had to walk heading to somewhere! I had started giving up on this one. I thought maybe his life revolved around his work and that I may have read too much in the Fanta. We ended up taking a walk actually, and talked more and more delivering healthcare to vulnerable populations. We met on a few occasions after that, more like bumping into each other in the shared spaces.

Now that I write this, I am reminded of the series called ‘Big Bang Theory’. In one episode, one of the characters told his mate something to the effect that he was not sure how to act around his mate and his girlfriend anymore because he didn’t know what to do around people who were having coitus. He then asked him if he knew the amount of bacteria in someone’s mouth. Back to my geek….
One blessed Saturday afternoon, my geek turned up to tell me that he was going on leave. Then after a long silence, he asked me what I was looking for in a guy because all along, he had been trying to show me that he was interested but I had seemed quite uninterested in him. I looked at him and smiled.

There are things they do not teach you in medical school.

By Fridah

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Pushing Adam

The reason many of us are here “Restoring Sanity” is that we want to have and maintain happy and fulfilling relationships. Now, that does not mean that we expect our love-lives to be all smooth sailing, but that we learn how to deal with what the relationships bring along in ways that will be fulfilling for us and our partners.

In this day and age, there is a lot of motivational rhetoric urging us to go out there and take what is ours, what we want; that opportunities in life will not come knocking on the door of the 6th floor flat where we live. Heck, the lesson of working hard for what we want was instilled in many of us from a very young age. We imbibed that wine but with time, I have come to ask myself whether that question applies to relationships. (The violent shall take it by force?)

Gone are the days when most Eves wait for men interested in them to come and plant a spear outside their parents’ homesteads (or whatever other feats men had to accomplish to make their amorous intentions known). Time has evolved and Eves go out there to search for opportunities in life – here we talk about career, education, a new lease in life and more importantly, in love. I believe that there is nothing wrong in going out there to find what is good for you and your heart – if you don’t find it for yourself, trust me, no one else will do it for you. However, in the quest to find and keep Adam (hopefully not by tying him on a leash or handcuffing him to the bedroom furniture), Eves sometimes act in a way which Adam makes good use of his feet and walk (sometimes even sprint) in the opposite direction.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind to stop Adam from sprinting:

  • Sex and Adam are buddies, but Adam’s chemical reactions from the waist down can be so disconnected from his emotional feelings that you wonder if they are part and parcel of the same being. So if you give him the cookie jar, he will dive into it, and Eve is not allowed to demand a relationship based on the fact that Adam now knows what the cookie tastes like (or is it how the cookie crumbles? ;))
  • Most Eves like Adam to call/text at regular intervals but this is a desire that Adams sometimes have difficulty fulfilling. Yes, waiting for communication can be unnerving especially in the early stages of the relationship. He gave you his number but you don’t need to instantaneously put him on the speed dial just yet; unless he has shown you that he does not mind you calling and texting at 15 minutes interval, you are contributing to a sprint in the other direction.
  • Now that you and Adam are looking to spend time with each other, please do not make him feel like you are Siamese twins. You both need to have your own lives; otherwise one of you will begin to feel stifled (in most cases Adam). Yes, be unavailable sometimes (absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that). Besides, you had a life before you met Adam, right?

  • Public display of affection (PDA) is not something that most Adams are keen on. Yes, Adams are less verbal and more of action/inaction and this is one area where inaction is characteristic. Yes, you want to mark your territory and let other Eves (or even his boys) know that you and Adam have it going on, but unless you are sure that he is a PDA type of Adam and he may not sprint, this is usually a great turn off for most Adams.
  • That most Eves want to walk down the aisle is no secret, but Adam will for sure sprint if all you do is drop hints at every opportunity; conversation does not always have to lead to the priest and the aisle. Generally, men tend to have an adverse reaction to the word ‘commitment’ especially when they are not ready for it. Now, being ready for commitment is a whole other topic, but suffice to say that some of those reasons remain unknown to Eve if she only looks at the relationship through Eve’s lens (ever heard of Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady?). No one is asking Eve to become Adam-like but sometimes trying to look at a relationship through a different lens can save you a lot of time which would have been wasted in a foiled relationship or can help you better things in your relationship.  Due to the delicateness of this topic, it is advisable not to shove the topic of ‘settling down’ in his face – wait until he brings it up, unless you have been dating since karne ya ishirini (the last century) and there seems to be no ring (or spear) at the end of the tunnel.
  • I have been told before that laying down an ultimatum for Adam is basically throwing the ball in Adam’s court. Now, Eve may think that this should work in her favour but the likelihood is that instead of dribbling and dunking the ball to score a basket for your relationship, he will take it and run off with it – in the opposite direction. This is not to say that there are no situations where Eve needs to take a stand – in fact, be sure to establish standards from the get-go and communicate these throughout the relationship. In the event that you find yourself having to give an ultimatum, maybe it is just a sign that something needs to give. Remember, the likelihood is Adam will not respond well to an ultimatum. If you do issue one, be ready to stand firm by what you said you would do if he doesn’t meet your ultimatum otherwise you will be a lame chicken in that (lame) relationship.

Have your say, won’t you?

By Joyce

The Path We Deviated From

Somewhere along the way, most deviated from the path. Lost direction. Turned priorities upside down. Began paying attention to irrelevant statistics, appearances and wealth. We locked personality and character out. We flushed simplicity and character down the drain. It’s all gone now. We are without direction.

A guy who drives a Range Rover Sport, wears Hugo Boss suits and lives in a leafy suburb, can rest assured of a lady of his dreams and ‘marriage’. A lady with a pretty face , delicately rounded body- 34-24-36- is not short of suitors. Bachelors seeking high political and corporate offices are frowned upon. My point: As days go by we are slowly losing the point of marriage. Partner suitability is now based on wealth, appearances and other irrelevant factors hence the increasing divorce rates.

Marriage should know, no matter what a crappy day one had, when you get home and look into each others eyes, you have a reason to smile. Marriage should not imprison individual’s dreams and aspirations but rather it should lend an extra hand to achieve dreams. It should not involve sacrificing passions, ambitions and lifestyles. It should add to self care. Tighten the grip to what one holds dear.

Marriage should not be an end to adventure and exploration. It should create new experiences. New experiences and adventure. Procreation is not the sole purpose of marriage. It should be a plus. A cherry on the cake. Marriage should be an icing on the cake. The cake of companionship and partnership. It should not be settling down. It should be a continuation of the lives of individuals with a little more spice.

Marriage should not necessarily be a stage in life. It should not be a rite of passage. It should be an option. A choice. Without coercion. So should suitable partners. Marriage purpose is union of hearts not fusion of groins. It should not be based on status or appearances but on compatibility.

Marriage should not be a ‘life sentence’ curtailing freedom. It should instead be a measure of how strong two free souls can be. It should not be a one man’s show financially, it hinders development. It should be a team effort. Willing team effort. Individuals’ families should not dictate on marriage. Theirs is to watch from the sidelines. Spectators. Pasts should remain in the past. Only the present should determine the future.

Marriage should be sincera (sincere). With clear eyes and a clear heart. It should bring happiness, joy, life and strength. Unfortunately, it mostly brings unhappiness, insincerity, stress and death.

However, life always offers us chances. A chance to redeem ourselves. A chance to get back to the path we deviated from.

Sound track: Afro- Les Wanyika.  (Heard this song today morning, it doesn’t get better)

By isincera – Guest Writer

Read isincera’s blog at http://isincera.wordpress.com/

ACCOSTED!

It has been three months since I ‘arrived’ in my village. Three months which seem like just three weeks because I have enjoyed myself thoroughly; I like the peace and tranquility in the village, reconnecting with my roots. During this period, I have built a shed for some two little goats, I have waited for hens to hatch eggs and some squirrel like creature ate a number of chicks as soon as they hatched. Then I became wise  and sealed all holes in the little shelter, after which another hen hatched eleven chicks but as nature would have it, eight survived. Then there is the other more serious chicken rearing project, which I have watched as my little brother has taken care of small chicks, slaughtered and sold (after they have grown) and shockingly deposited all the cash in his account he he he ( ok, it was not pure ‘thuggery’ as I

‘Grade’ cow

make it sound). Then we went to some distant land to buy what is referred to as a ‘grade’ cow. Now, the dilemma with this cow is that when it is on heat, it does not mount other cows, it is hard to know when to call the vet, and I am sad to announce that it has missed insemination two times. Treason!

Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with being accosted. Stop wondering if these animals and birds are not accosting me (I don’t mind when one of the goats comes and wants to be cuddled – yeah, even goats, village goats love cuddles). But this is not what I am talking about. See, much as village life is nice and moves at its own pace, there are things that village folk consider to be within the norm and will not shy away from voicing their concerns and dishing out unsolicited advice, and this is what is accosting me – the questions and advice. Here is the root cause of my problem: the fact that an Adam has not turned up with his clan to tether a goat or a cow or a sheep in our homestead is what is getting some village folks very worried. This ‘accostation’ is disturbing my peace and tranquility in the village. It is threatening to make me pack up and leave the other hen before it hatches its eggs he he he. Accosted to the extent that I have written about it? Yes, I am accosted!

One family friend came home and told me, “Fridah, if you do not want to get married, you should just get a baby”. You can’t blame me for wanting to ask her if she knew of a place I could do some sperm harvesting.  But I let go, I realized she was giving me what she considers to be valuable advice. I can understand why she decided to take matters to this level – she is 70 and I am sure by the time she was my age, she had finished popping out them babies, so she must be at a loss wondering kai ni kii? (what is it?). For your information, here in the village, it does not matter how much you have

‘cuddle lover’

achieved, or how happy or responsible you seem, if you are of ‘knottable’ age and you haven’t shown any serious indication that you intend to head that way, as sure as day and night, you will be accosted.

Then there is my cousin who came to help us to harvest coffee. She saw a ring on my finger and asked me if I was finally engaged. The conversation went something like this:

Cousin: “Wow! Were you given a ring?”

Me: “No. I bought one for myself.”

Cousin: “It is nice; where did you buy it?”

Me: “From the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

Then she went to my room and saw another ring

Cousin: “You have another ring?”

Me: “Yes”

Cousin: “And where is this from?”

Me: “This is from Jerusalem, some place near the tomb of Mary.”

Cousin: “Tomb?”

Me:”Yes. Why do you look surprised?”

Cousin: “Is that a good sign that you bought a ring some place near a tomb?

To be honest, I am not sure why this would generate interest. I thought maybe I should have bought one from the resurrection place of Christ to signify life?

Me: “Stop being superstitious.”

She just does not seem to understand that Eve can buy a ring and slip it into her finger just as an accessory.

Me: “Let’s go harvest coffee now, mum is waiting.”

She gives me a look that says “we will talk about it later” and off we head out to the plantation.

Mind you, I have only given you examples of the ones that stand out the most; there are others such as when an acquaintance asked me “hujapata bwana?”(you, have not found a husband?”) or when one told me that I need a ‘ndume’ (which when directly translated from Swahili means a bull). Now I did not know that Adam can also be called ndume – this is the village.

Anyway, at the plantation, it looks like the coffee harvest will never finish, so everyone was kept busy. But coffee or no coffee (break), my cousin was not done with me. After a long silence, of which I thought she was either thinking about her hubby or kids or something important, she said “Fridah, I think you just do not want married because I do not understand “hao wazungu unafanya kazi nao,waarabu na hata wayahudi unakutana nao,hujajishindia mmoja wao?” (“Fridah, I think you just do not want to get married because out of all the ‘whites’, Arabs and even Jews that you have met ,you have not won over one of them?”)

I was not sure how to tell her that it is never that serious without sounding like I was brushing her off. See, village folk sometimes do not seem to know when to stop pushing the button. Or maybe they know but they decide the button needs to be pushed and they just leave it on buzz mode?

One of my close friends said that this ‘accostation’ sometimes makes someone feel like a miserable failure and it takes a grounded person to ride above that, even joke about it and let people be.  This is especially when some meetings and even family gatherings look like an emergence from Noah’s Ark – everyone is paired and there are all manner of

Loves to eat he he he

questions about why you are alone:). What these ‘accosters’ do not get is that we are not called to the convent, so we acknowledge that the desire is still there (for those who desire), but it will not take precedence over everything. I mean, you cannot just take that step for the sake of ticking a box. Now, this seems like common sense but no, it is not that obvious to all.

So this is to all Eves who are still in the maze, waiting for the moment but are accosted by external forces; take heart, get busy doing what you love doing, take care of yourself the best way you know how, make yourself available and I am told that when you do not overthink it, that is when ‘ndume’ cometh !

Have your say!

By Fridah

Breadcrumbs

For bread lovers, it is a joy to eat the wholesome pieces of baked flour. The connoisseurs will know their types of bread: rye, breadstick, loaves, naan, brown, white, sourdough, etc; the varieties are many. What many bread eaters and lovers will not mention are breadcrumbs. Yes, breadcrumbs will only be mentioned in reference to when they cover a succulent piece of meat, fish or other dish. In essence, the breadcrumbs are mostly neither here nor there.

Some of you might wonder what bread has to do with Eve and Adam and I might be tempted to say, “a lot”. I was in a relationship for two years, give or take, because actually in hindsight, I can no longer say when the relationship started – I can only (vividly) recall when it was no more. Now, I am probably partly to blame for not sticking up for myself more, demanding more for myself, etc but I want to look at the log in the other eye and ignore the speck in mine. Truth be told, I am not a great fan of bread, especially not white bread but I can recognize a good loaf when I see one. It just so happens that in this relationship, the bread-knife was see-sawing on the loaf and instead of getting wholesome slices, I was getting crumbs. I will admit that I put up with the crumbs, until the day I woke up and realized that there was no loaf, just dried remnants.

To make a long story short, this was a long distance relationship; we were introduced by a mutual friend and as life would have it, we ended up having to be miles away from each other. As it goes with these sorts of relationships, a lot of effort goes into keeping the relationship afloat, given the distance and time spent apart. Since you’re only hearing my side of the story and may not have the benefit of listening to his side of the story, you will just have to believe me when I say that I put my all into it – I was knee deep in those boots, working it away with more hope than assurance that this was all worth it. In hindsight, I was getting breadcrumbs: all I got from my ‘virtual-half’ were emails, chat messages or text messages and very little human interaction. A lot of words were said but there was little action to show I was in a relationship with a real flesh and blood Adam. The online communication was safe and although a lot of time was committed to it, it was just that – time. If he knew what he wanted from the relationship, he would have done more – we would have done more. Instead it was lazy, convenient communication throughout and in the end, it just didn’t do it. I realized this after many, many moons had passed.

Some of us are in relationships where we are getting breadcrumbs instead of enjoying the bread that we deserve. Now, many might ask how we can tell if we are enjoying the loaf or all we are seeing are breadcrumbs. Well, I guess relationships are different and maybe you might have to put up with breadcrumbs for a while. What is unacceptable is prolonged spells of breadcrumbs. Here are a few that come to my mind when I think of breadcrumbs and relationships.

When the person you are romantically linked with is finding time to spend with everyone else and their cat and little quality time with you, that is breadcrumb time. This is especially when he or she is spending such time with ‘just friends’ of the opposite sex.

Breadcrumbs is when you are dating someone who is emotionally unavailable – yes, you will definitely be on the receiving end of the crumbs if s/he is married or already with someone else or if his only way of expressing his (her?) emotions to you is between the sheets. Now, it takes some time and wisdom to learn to detect emotionally unavailable people but sometimes it is just staring you in the face and you’re just making excuses for him or her.

Breadcrumbs is when a significant other tells you stuff but you do not feel it; for example, s/he tells you that you mean a lot to her/him, she/he loves you etc.  but to you, they are just mere words because there are no actions to back up those words.  Ever heard of that song by Extreme, More Than Words?

Breadcrumbs is when there is a lot of attention showered on you once in a blue moon. You are dating someone, they treat you so well but it is so sporadic, more like throwing something at you to keep you around longer.

Breadcrumbs is when the person you’re dating cannot let go of his or her ex – remember when Project 44 wrote about the smoldering embers? Enough said!

Respect is a fundamental element in the sanity of any relationship and when you’re getting less than the respect you deserve in a relationship, only crumbs of that relationship are falling on your plate. Now, no one is asking that Adam or Eve lays down a red carpet for each other (laying down a carpet of rose petals once in a lifetime will not hurt ;)), simple acts of respect will suffice.

Breadcrumbs is when one party is making 90% of the effort to keep the relationship afloat. I think the writing would be on the wall for such a situation and all the ‘90% party’ has to do is read it. Breadcrumbs is also when you do your part in keep the relationship alive and kicking, but your effort simply doesn’t seem to be appreciated. I think there is a strong link between bread crumbs and signs – you know those vital signs that one ought to be able to read about a relationship.

A healthy relationship is one where two individuals come together to share life but also recognize that they are not joined at the hip and are separate individuals. Breadcrumbs is when one party in the relationship is manipulative, controlling and even unfortunately, abusive.  Actually, this is less than crumbs – it is actually bread dust if there was ever such a thing!

Breadcrumbs are when the Eve or Adam you are with cannot keep their word – inconsistency is almost always a red flag. Sometimes we try to give things a chance, to see whether the flag will flap in a different direction; sometimes we just have to accept that even if the flag flaps in a different direction, it is still a red flag.

Bread can make crumbs, but crumbs make no loaves.

By B.S. – Guest Writer