The past two years have been a journey of self-discovery. As the year 2017 drew to a close I was able to experience moments of total clarity in terms of my goals for the year 2018. My main goal this year is to do more to help others. I do acknowledge that I do not have millions stored away in the bank but I do have ideas that I can share towards projects that are working towards transforming lives. So today I want to share with you the story about a project that is close to my heart.
I was raised in a Christian home by parents who have always been active in the church. When we were very young my parents together with Japanese missionaries living in Kenya started a church. They called it Kyuna Christian Fellowship, Loresho. It didn’t take them long to realise that there was a need for quality education for the children in the neighbouring slums of Kibagare. Koinonia Education Centre was then established in 2003 with a student population of 13 kindergarten-aged children. The school continued to grow and eventually they had to seek for larger premises to accommodate the growing number of students.
This brought them to their current location at St Stephen’s ACK church hall in Redhill off Limuru road.
Koinonia is a purely non-profit organisation that runs solely on donations from well-wishers. It is through these funds that enabled the school to acquire a piece of land in Mai-Mahiu with the hope of releasing themselves from the high costs of rent and finally settling down in their own ‘home’.
I have watched the school grow over the years, seen the transformation in the kids, seen my parents and the management team toil over the years to ensure that the Koinonia vision continues to succeed and flourish. Finally I have accepted the call in my heart to help out in telling their story with the hope that you will send your donations towards the project to build a school in Mai Mahiu.
No amount is too little, no amount is too much. Find it in your heart to join this noble cause. I will be happy to provide as much information as you require. In the coming months, I will be sharing ways in which you can participate in fundraising for Koinonia Education Centre.
In the meantime check out the links below and read more about the Koinonia story.
My husband and I woke up early this morning as it was a normal work day. The roads were deserted ,no traffic at all which is completely abnormal for a Friday in Nairobi.
There is still palpable tension in the air as people await to see what happens in the next few days. I woke up at peace today. You see for the past few months since August 8th my heart has been bleeding. All you have to do is google Kenya elections and the stories and images that pop up will tell you the whole story.
When I voted in August I had hope that things were going to change. Since then I have become increasingly aware that I had no idea of how things work in the political world. I am but a mere pawn in the quest for political power and it pains and angers me. I do not trust that any of our current leaders stay up at night wondering how they can improve the lives of the people. I do not believe that any of them are heartbroken like I am at the tribal hatred among Kenyans. I feel like they do not care. As the second election day draws closer and as I continued to hear the different stories on the ground , I realised things were progressively getting worse. Nothing from our leaders was done to quell the mayhem.Political campaigns continued as families from both sides of the divide nursed their injuries and buried their dead.
So on October 26th, I a Kenyan of Meru and Kikuyu descent chose to abstain from voting. My conscience could not allow me to participate in a process that was has been marred by so much pain. Let me be clear ,currently I support no one and in the future will only participate when I feel that the status quo has truly began to change.
As it is Kenya needs a clear path to healing and I pray that one day a leader will stand up ,and guide us to true reconciliation.
I have peace , I made a choice for myself and I can account for it if I faced God today.
Enjoy the rest of October .
One of the things I always strive to do as a writer is to be open as much as possible. If I cannot be authentic about my experiences as a parent then what is the point of this blog? I know you enjoyed my previous post on Taji’s cute toddler lingo, but today you will be enjoying the ‘ugly ‘ truth about raising this cutie.
Before I continue first some background facts.If I was to describe my personality I’d say I am more intuitive than anything else. My husband, on the other hand, is a doer. I’d relate him to a charging bull sometimes ! ( hides ). My 21-month toddler appears to be taking his personality traits. She is extremely confident, is not afraid to speak her mind and likes everything her way.
I find myself struggling daily with whether to discipline her or try and decipher what her latest tantrum is trying to communicate. Let me give an example, earlier today I had her repeating the word water over and over again. I was in another room and didn’t go running to see what was going on because I knew I had left her water bottle close to her in case she gets thirsty. After a few minutes of her saying it over and over, she came to find me. She marched over to the laundry basket and picked a t-shirt and took off. I chased her down and tried to take it back and she screamed in frustration! I took a breath and in that instance where I was tempted to spank her, decided to give it back to her and asked her to show me the water.
She took the t-shirt and ran off towards the sitting room and led me to a puddle of water on the floor. She then proceeded to wipe the water with the t-shirt. That for me was an aha moment in this parenting journey. I felt proud of her for knowing that she needed to clean up the mess that she had created after pouring some water. If I had spanked her and moved on I wouldn’t have ‘listened’ to what she was trying to tell me. I will try and remember to take a breath the next time she pulls a mind numbing tantrum that makes me want to hand her over to the highest bidder!There are times I feel like she is possessed by an evil spirit because of the never ending crying spells and tantrums and the word MINE! being repeated over and over. On days like that, I feel depleted and like someone has sucked out all my energy. As much as I do not like chaos, as a parent I have no choice. I have to dive into the chaos and continue to learn how to correctly raise and discipline my strong willed child.
I hope and pray that I do not spank her too much, that in my disciplining I do not stifle her creativity and confidence. There will be times for the ‘rod’ and there will be times to listen. May I always have the wisdom and the patience to figure it all out in the journey ahead.
How do you discipline your child? How do you deal with tantrums? Do you believe in spanking or talking? I found this infographic on this page HERE that I think is pretty helpful to decipher a child’s behaviour.
Romans 12:2New International Version (NIV)
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
I have a confession to make, I must admit I have been feeling broody lately. Especially when I see tiny baby boys. I melt on the inside and if the baby belongs to a friend of mine, I have to spend some time holding him. Aaaaah, that new baby smell . That experience of enjoying the cuddliness of a new-born baby, is almost enough to cause amnesia. The kind of amnesia that almost completely erases the experience of the first few months of parenthood. I said almost. A few hours later after the newborn novelty has worn off. It all comes back to me, and I literally have a conversation with my ovaries.’ Stop it DON’T even think about it!’ I am definitely not ready for another one, at least not yet.
Lets throwback on my birth-day , and I will show you exactly what I mean.
DISCLAIMER : I will get descriptive. You have been warned
I had a natural birth which I am thankful for, yes I am. However the pain is unbearable. Forgive me but I will have to use CAPS in this section just to emphasize what it felt like.
My water broke early and after waiting for a whole day, my OB-GYN advised us to allow him to induce labor. The pain is indescribable. I remember the hospital nurse explaining what would happen as she attached me to the drip. I remember her saying it would take about an hour for the drugs to take effect. LIEEEEES! I remember distinctly feeling the drugs coursing through my body and the contractions starting instantly. Nothing prepares you for that. If labor progresses as it should, there are breaks between contractions where a mother can take a breather untill the next contraction. There was no such break for me. The contractions are seconds apart, and so is the pain. I had an amazing midwife/doula who helped me through breathing exercises that helped. But still , THE PAIN. Lucky for me my labor only lasted four hours .but still, THE PAIN.
Thankful for small mercies, therefore Taji was tiny so I didn’t tear and therefore I didn’t need stitches afterwards.
As a new mum I shed a lot of tears and still feel sad to date that I was unable to breastfeed my daughter for at least the first year of her life. I had so much milk after birth, it was so much I had to keep changing my hospital gown every few hours as I overflowed. During my hospital stay the nurses literally used to drag my nipples and place them into her mouth to show me how to feed her. It was degrading and painful and never seemed to work. She would suck for a few seconds and then cry and cry for hours until she fell asleep. I remember one nurse telling me it was my breasts that had a problem and after fashioning a plastic syringe to her liking, she used the air vacuum to repeatedly pop up my nipple. The discomfort is out of this world.
Nothing worked, she just never did latch properly . When we got home I started expressing milk and feeding her with a bottle. The poor thing hungrily finished it up. During our first Doctor’s appointment she had gone down to two kilograms. The milk I had wasn’t enough, she kept losing weight and eventually we bought formula and never looked back. She drank expressed breast milk for two months and then I went completely dry.
In hindsight I took the whole breastfeeding experience for granted. I didn’t think she would ‘reject’ her food.Maybe I should have fed her with a cup and spoon, no one told me that. I will get a lactation consultant next time around , who knows maybe It may help.
3.Growth Spurts /Sleep deprivation/ Teething , they all happen together.
In my experience from around four months, we never seemed to sleep normally again. Once we introduced her to formula she slept well, from 11pm to around 6am. After four months sleep became elusive until around 9 months. I do not know what happened.My husband will tell you I should have let her cry. ( He blames me for her bad sleeping habits ha-ha). I even attended a sleep seminar (ha-ha let me laugh at myself). Nothing worked and eventually she set her own sleep schedule. She is asleep right now, on the sofa . She had slept an hour ago and then woke up. It seems to me she stays up for her dad and rarely settles down until he comes home ( ha-ha it is your fault George). All I know sleep deprivation drove me up the wall. Days merge into each other and the exhaustion never ends. Even when she would sleep through the night the sleep was never enough. There was so much ‘sleep backlog’ to catch up on.
One day she will sleep at normal hours , without waking up even once until then we trudge on.
Taji was born in a private room in a private hospital. The labor ward had amazing nurses and my doctor and mid wife were the best.I loved my experience . After birth I was moved to my own private room. The nurses there were the worst. I learned later that new mothers are supposed to get a chance to rest and recover from birth as they keep the baby in the nursery. She was with me throughout . I never did get to sleep anyway. The nurses during the night shift would blast loud reggae music for hours on end. It wasn’t until my husband complained that they would turn it down.
Secondly , my OB-GYN cleared me to go home after two days.The hospital pediatrician who was present at birth did not clear Taji for discharge. Apparently they had sent a culture to the lab that would take 36hours for results to show . She was concerned that Taji may have an infection. We had no reason to not trust her judgement. We ended up staying from Tuesday to Saturday. During this period we never got a full report as to what was happening. It was a cat and mouse game with the nurses and pediatrician who changed with every shift. One would tell us the results were out , the other would say they were not ready. Eventually my husband , the poor sweet man who had been spending the night on the little sofa in my hospital room to give me support as I tried to breastfeed , finally demanded to see the results and suddenly they were ready and voila the culture showed that there was nothing to worry at. Ofcourse by then my maternity cover had been depleted .
We know better now , if we do have a baby in a hospital next time we will have our own trusted pediatrician who will guide us through the process and if there are any concerns explain them better .
5. Domestic managers
My husband and I love our space and had decided that when the baby was born that we would survive without a live in nanny/house help. I was able to hire and train a young lady with the help of my mother in law. She would come early morning and leave in the evening. She was a good cook and cleaned the house well . BUT a month later she was giving me sob stories and asking me to lend her a huge amount of money. I declined, a days later she sent me a text asking me to give her some stuff from our house. I declined. Then I accidentally found out she was 6 months pregnant A Fact that she had not told me about during the interview .I then saw her with some of my stud earrings that I had put aside in a drawer as they were not pairs anymore. I did not feel like this was someone I could trust my child with let alone my house . She was gone . Since then we have not hired anyone on permanent basis. Maybe this year we will be lucky
When I look back at this collection of stories I am more amused than traumatized. We had a baby and survived through the grace and strength of GOD.
Maybe we will do this again.
First post of the year. I feel truly blessed to be alive to see another year come to be. I am not one for making New year resolutions because if anything 2016 taught me , it is that resolving to get through each day is enough. After all tomorrow is not promised, we only have today .
So ,it is 11.12 pm , the house is quiet save for the music i am listening to as i write. Hubby and Taji are asleep . It feels good to have a few minutes to myself. Our baby is now a 14 month old toddler, she has boundless energy . This week she decided to fully start walking. It feels surreal. In my eyes she is a walking,breathing miracle. My heart explodes with joy at-least 20 times a day as I reflect on just how much she has grown. I still have not mastered this motherhood thing.Let me show you just what i mean.
Pray tell, what does that even mean? I gave up trying to sleep train Taji. She has a mind of her own, and yes Mama doesn’t have the heart to let her cry it out. I tried everything, i read all the books and articles online. She sleeps when she wants and in our bed. DO not judge me , yes i see you, you with the perfectly sleep trained baby who sleeps in their own room. Move along , nothing to see here. I feed her, give her a bath, read her a story,pray with her, give her a last bottle for the day and put her down. Sometimes she sleeps sometimes she decides shes staying up until Daddy comes home. She then sleeps with us for about an hour then i put her in her bed.
I stopped feeling guilty about not having a sleep trained baby. I put her in our bed one exhausted night when she was teething and going through a growth spurt and she finally fell asleep. I figure she wont be with us much longer as she needs to move to the next room. Stay tuned, let us see how that goes!
Taji eats as she sits in her feeding chair. Thankfully she eats well. She is now fully weaned and eats whatever we eat, spices and all.Depending on her day to day appetite i will feed her three meals or smaller ones spaced out through the day. Including fruits and water to keep her hydrated especially in this hot January weather. We were lucky that she transitioned to whole cow milk without trouble , yes there was a celebration in our house when we stopped buying formula. Kshs 1050 per tin, how did we do it? God truly provides.
If you do not already know, Taji is a fully fledged daddy’s girl. She says mama maybe twice a week, and Dada 50 million times a day. The injustice ! Oh well. She now says Mama, Dada, pupu (when she poops) hi and ba-byeeee , and sings /hums along to her favourite YouTube videos. Our daughter is a dancer (yeah she got that from me, I had a short career as a dancer ha-ha). She can stand upright and now takes lots of steps around the house. At the rate she is going she will be running by the end of the month. My baby is growing up. Bittersweet.
My daughter loves people thankfully. Mama not so much. Whenever we go for social gatherings i struggle to keep up with the conversations. I used to be a social butterfly ,guess that happens when your daily companion is a baby. Social media doesn’t help ,i wistfully watch as all my friends go on with their lives. I miss having an ADULT best friend, one that i can call and go for coffee with and laugh as we catch up and talk about our lives.
So in a nutshell, that is where we are at. I have a happy healthy baby , a happy marriage and for that I am thankful for. I am praying a lot as I figure out the next step for me. I need to work on becoming whole , reconnect with the social being that I was, reconnect with my gifts that are meant to be shared with the world. Getting out of this mummy hole with my dark thoughts is proving hard. But I have made a few steps out and each day it gets better and better.
Thank God we made it.
Happy 2017 everyone.
Matthew 7:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Narrow Way
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
It has taken me a while to gather the courage to post this but i feel the urging within my soul to tell my story . I consider myself a writer and the best kind of writing is done when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open. No masks, no hiding behind the words ,there is a lot of freedom in expressing yourself truthfully. Here i am setting myself free and hopefully encouraging others on the same journey.
I have been a Christian since i was a child . I was raised as one, truthfully i have strayed from the path in my adulthood but i did find my way back and in the past five years i feel like i have grown to know God more than my whole life combined. The thing about this relationship is i didn’t really truly know what it meant to follow Christ until i understood what obedience was. I am finally on that journey .
Last year on October 26th 2015 i left employment. i was 8 months pregnant.There were layoffs happening at my place of work ,five people were to be cut from the department and so most of 2015 was spent in anxiety not knowing who or what was going to happen or even when. Finally in October we were informed that the jobs would be cut by the end of the month a few days later we were told that if anyone wanted to volunteer to be laid off there was going to be a severance/pension package available . I talked to my husband about it and we prayed and we felt like this was an answered prayer and i volunteered my name. It had been my desire to be a stay at home mum even before i met my husband i felt that this was what God wanted me to be and when i met George he felt the same way and we decided to keep praying about it until the right time.However we didn’t know how we were going to go about it sorting out all our bills and obligations. It never seemed like the right time for me to leave employment.Now here i was ,pregnant and an opportunity had arisen,with the package i was getting it would be like still receiving a salary and i could stay home for at least a year before thinking about pursuing other income generating activities. It was perfect, it was scary. You have to understand i have never been unemployed i didn’t know what it was not to have a salary, everything was always taken care off. Now after praying and hearing the go ahead God was asking me to trust him and go on journey of complete reliance on him.
So i took it. I took the leap. Most of the people in my life think i was mad to do it.I was bombarded with many statements.. How can you leave work? You are about to give birth! How can you leave your job and rely totally on your husband, men cant be trusted! It must be your pregnancy hormones, do not do it. ..Only a few encouraged me and prayed with me and understood that i was embarking on a journey of obedience.So the agreement was i would receive my severance the next month and my pension dues within 90 days.
The next week after leaving work my baby was born,yes she came a month early! How crazy is that..everything seemed to be aligned! My motherhood journey had began and now i could enjoy being with my baby with no pressure of worrying about having to go back to work. It has been so rewarding to see her everyday, to see every milestone .I have no regrets.
I did receive my severance but four months later i am still waiting for my pension dues. There have been delays with the processing and no amount of praying and phone calls or email correspondence has brought it forth and so i continue to wait. It has been financially difficult as the one income is quickly sucked into the vortex of bills and obligations. The past two months have been the hardest as we have basically been living day to day ,we have been blessed as we haven’t lacked a single thing and we continue to WAIT and pray.
So our wallets are empty right now but our hearts are happy and at peace. I continue to trust that eventually i will receive my dues sooner than expected . We both know that all things will work together for good and although some days we are sad and worry about what the next day will bring. We can trust that God has it all under control . So many may think we are crazy and stupid. I mean i should just GO and get another job right? It seems like the easiest option so that we are able to live a life of comfort and be able to acquire the things we desire. But that is not what i have been called to do right now. I have writing projects in the pipeline and they are not fueled by the need for money.I want to use my talents and my gifts to bless others and bring them closer to God.For my time on earth is short . So i pray for his strength to.. trust and obey , for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey! ( a song i learned as a child)
1 Corinthians 3:19New International Version (NIV)
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a];
James 4:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.