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Just the other day I stopped at the school where I have a project for primary school children (after almost a century of not doing so) and I was amazed at what I discovered. I discovered mothers have the power to change the world. I mean, there I was thinking 'what a waste of money and resources after we spent months (20 years to those who are actually counting!) clamoring for a new constitution.

Now I know better. All that money went down the drain for nothing. The government would have instead given every woman a million shillings each and the job could have been done at the click of a finger. Real change, to me, starts with women; the wives, the mothers and the daughters in law. I don't know about other people's mothers. But I know about mine (and luckily for me, she doesn't read my stuff!) and so I will use her as an example.

I am a Luo, a nilote from the lakeside. I am as dark as they come. When the sun shines bright, it burns through my skin, searing deep into my very soul. Many times light skinned women (what else do think I would do?) like looking down on the kind of food I like. I loooooooove fish. There is a kind the light skinned women hate. It is called omena. When fried the whole house gets engulfed in smoke. Now the girl next door, the same one I have a heartbeat (haha haha) for, despises it. I think she shouldn't blame me for that. I didn't write a letter to my mom asking to be born a Luo.

Now my mom is a born again Christian and has a passion of hating women from the light skinned tribe. She says they are up to no good. One day I paid a visit to the girl next door's home, upcountry - deep in Kikuyu land and you know what? Her mother also had very nasty things to say about people from my tribe. She is also very much born again. All I am trying to say is that to change the country, we don't need the new constitution. What we need is a change in the way our mothers look upon the other tribe.

Wait. I can hear the girl next door passing by my door. Let me say hi to her.

"Hi, Gloria. How are you?"
"Fine, now that you no longer cook that filthy fish."
"Which one?"
"The kind that smells!"
"Oh, omena?"
"Yes that one!"

She too needs changing! She is going to be someone's wife, a mother, a daughter in law. She needs changing NOW! I am going to do that through the thirty-five girls I am having in my reading project. The constitution was a waste!




Zippy's picture

Lifesong, It is true. Mothers


It is true. Mothers have a lot of influence on our attitudes and perceptions. It is also true that I love Omena:-)

Thanks for posting.

"A human is a human because of other humans"

wanjirumungai's picture

Lifesong yawa!

Lifesong -

Let me start by saying that you made me laugh this morning. I read your post and I laughed - long and hard, so hard that I teared. To think of how right you are. Yes, I am from what you call the 'light skinned' people. And yes! I simply CANNOT stand Omena. But surely, Lifesong, I am thinking to myself that we can reach a compromise. Fish is fish - not so?

What if I promise to finish my plateful of Tilapia? Or NilePerch? You know? Please, Lifesong, remember, we know 'ngwaci', and 'nduma', and 'ikwa' and 'mukimo', and that to some of us (you know this already!), omena seems to be a cousin of sorts to the baby frogs (tadpoles) - so why not reach a compromise? Please understand me, Lifesong, for this is the way of the people of the valleys...

Another thing - your name, Lifesong. I like it. Like music to my ears.

Finally, my five year old daughter - what do we agree? That I teach her to eat Omena (how, when I can't bear to look at it, let alone cook it), or shall we agree to settle on Tilapia?

Keep up your good work.

Blessings to you.

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