Celebrating East African Writing!
Dear Mama D,
I am sorry that I’ve had to resort to pouring my heart out at a time I find most inconvenient but I really have no one else to talk to that would understand what I am going through.
Mama, I try! I try, I’ve tried, I have been the best person that I can be. I try to be kind, considerate, selfless, understanding, sensitive but it’s all in vain. Sometimes I wonder if in my past life I was the bitch from hell, because no matter how good I am shit still lands right at my door step and I’m kinda worn out trying to keep my front porch clean. Right now it’s piled up and I can barely get my foot out the door.
I haven’t slept a wink all night. At the crack of dawn I sat outside on the swing to cry my heavy heart out where I couldn’t be heard by the kids. I searched and searched for answers and nothing but a thought to maybe share my heavy load with someone. Its 7.30am now…I’m trying to share this with you.
I feel despair. All along I’ve believed in what I’m trying to do here but today I feel like maybe I’m just a dreamer with no real backbone to do anything right. I’ve made stupid ass decisions but this one just has to take the prize! Who do I think I am for heavens sake? I’m not on cocaine to be living in some illusion that I am invincible. I’m just a weak human being or maybe not being at all! I’m I crazy coming out here with nothing but 2 kids and 2 more in my belly? I’m I crazy in believing in an Almighty being that’s going to look over me?
I just want to climb that mountain top and yell out loud! Wail and wail until I’m voiceless. I feel so trapped in my body and thoughts. I am tired of wearing a shallow smile. I resent my well-practiced and controlled niceties. I want to be able to be angry and emotional and I want to feel betrayed in peace…without feeling guilty about offending the happy and the free.
I liked myself plump and fit, glowing and wild. Why am I shedding all my weight? Why do I wear this serious face? What happened to my humour? Why are my eyes surrounded with darkness? Why is my skin dull and grey, peeling and scaled? Why is there no joy in eating or drinking? Why doesn’t Kaya lift me no more? Why doesn’t alcohol spark me! Why is everything trying to crack me? I feel my head splitting.
Am I being fair bringing two more kids to this world? Will they survive even this pregnancy? Should I have just terminated it? Next week I’ll be 4 months pregnant. I’m half way there. Another 4 months and I will have 2 more lives to be responsible for. How do I do this ma? You got any ideas? I don’t have any more money left. I don’t know how to beg. I can only work. Who is going to give a pregnant woman work? I got no money to invest in anything…how do I then create work? All I got is this laptop to create designs but who in this village is going to pay for a design? What do I do ma? What do I do?
My own mother doesn’t know I’m pregnant. What am I doing? I’m not even eating right. I don’t even own a kettle to make herbal tea. I drink a cup of black tea for breakfast. We get 1 slice of toast and about 20 grams of fruit, 1 piece watermelon, 1 piece orange for breakfast every day for the past month and a half. I let Nina and Kama have it. I never thought a kitchen was a luxury. Now even if I had one I couldn’t afford the breakfast I’m talking about.
You know all I brought with me was the kids, our clothes and 3 months rent? I had on me the equivalent of 400,000 tsh. I figured in 3 months I would find some income. Instead…all that money is gone!!! Do you know where its gone? I think I got all the receipts here somewhere…I have bought ceiling boards, nails, screws, bolts, doors, paints, glasses cutlery, iron, bed sheets, a jiko all in the name of trying to find comfort and a home where we can find peace. You know, the sad thing is…even after all that…I can’t move because I’ve ran out of money! I still have to buy beds, mattresses, blankets and a whole lot of things. Not to mention that I still have to sprinkle water in Mama Nuru’s room to douse the dust before I can even attempt to sleep on her floor. How do I move to a place with no running water? And by the way…I haven’t paid the fundi’s yet!
Do you get my predicament? Let me lay it down for you…now that the tears are all dried up…I had to leave Nairobi when I did. My father was trying to hold me back…,if I stayed any longer I might have as well put myself in solitary confinement…because that’s where things were leading to. I was a prisoner in my own home. That’s another story for another day. I wanted to consult my mum but mum is unwell almost everyday of her life…I just couldn’t burden her with my issues. She has enough medical bills to take care of, not to mention my late sister left behind her two kids in mom’s care.
I tried to sell my belongings but it was too difficult because my dad has security watching me 24/7. I couldn’t have people coming in and out of my house to view the stuff nor could I take it out without causing speculation. I sold very little. My glasses and a bit of my art. I came to Arusha with the knowledge that I had a fully furnished house and all I needed to do was pay rent and put food on the table. I did my calculations and validated my move. Perfect amount of money to get me to December. By December I would have rested and familiarised myself with Arusha in a month and 3 months of working or hustling. Piece of pie!
Not! No fully furnished house. So what next? Keep searching! Nothing! But wait…there’s a lovely lady next door willing to rent out her en suite guest room. Would I be interested? It could work. All it needed is a bit of paint and to connect water. I can afford that if she doesn’t charge rent. Mzee John said it would take maximum 4 days before I could move in…not a problem! Talk to the O’Neals they could help out with beds for a while, while you organise yourself!
It’s been a month! Mzee John is too busy! He left me a fundi to work with who under quoted everything!!! I’ve done what I could do ma! Mzee John came to check on the work a month later and to see how he can connect running water…he’s now saying it’s a huge job that’s going to cost a lot! We need a bigger water tank and water pump etc etc I got no money left to buy those kind of things. As a matter of fact I got 40,000tsh left between me and poverty. That is my emergency hospital money. So in reality I got nuddah! Nothing!
I still need to connect water and sink to a little makeshift Kitchen I had to make because there was no Kitchen. I still need bed mattresses and blankets. I need a few pieces of furniture and running water before I can move into Mama Nuru’s. She’s been so helpful and even said I could use her cupboard and gave me a bit of material to finish up the renovations. Even if I get those, I got no money for food. I got a girl to help with laundry I have to pay her 20,000tsh end month. I owe the fundi 40,000tsh and the painter 10,000tsh. That’s 70,000tsh. I got 40,000tsh. If there was a good time to think of putting myself out of misery…that time is now! I can’t believe I’ve invested in a place that I can’t even move into!
Meanwhile back at the centre…I don’t even think I should go there! But then again its good you get the whole picture. We are still in the room you left us in. Remember before you left I was trying to find a more suitable place to stay and asked to be put in the main building and Mwanaisha wouldn’t have it? To be very frank, she’s been of no help whatsoever no matter in what regard. Everytime I ask her anything…she smiles and says no problem sister Njeri…then she does nothing about the matter. When I persist…she advises me to talk to Mzee Luke. I feel so bad disturbing him over small issues.
Where we are staying both toilet and sink leak. Our floor is always wet! The ceiling needs repair…all sorts of creature droppings come through. When it rains I spend my night up shifting things away from the droplets that come through. The kids won’t use any of the top banks; they share one of the bottom banks and I take the other. They are scared of the spiders, bugs, slugs and lizards; also climbing into a bed that has critter droppings is no fun for anyone.
It may not sound like a big deal but little things like that compromise comfort. It also creates very moody people. I got the kids at each other’s throats because they don’t have personal space. Yesterday, they had their first physical fight which was very disturbing. Kama gets unruly because he knows he can walk out the door and get sympathy from people outside. I am a clean/order freak and right now I’m living in chaos. It’s affecting me. I look like a floor duster.
Little Kama runs into the house to use the loo and forgets to remove his shoes and lands straight in the leaking water and our room is muddy again. I don’t know how many times a day we have to deck the place. Something is up with the bed I sleep on…I think the bed boards are messed up. Didn’t sleep a wink last night. Now the kids are up I’m going to lie in their bed and catch some sleep. And trust me even if the bed was better. I’m just at that stage where nothing is very comfortable at all. Not even the chairs I sit in. I am miserable and tired!
Excuse me for telling you such inane things but I just need to vent and let go! Bottling up my problems is just going to make me lose my mind…although at this moment it seems like a welcoming thought! I kinda envy that young man in the kitchen, Rashid, he just seems to have no worries in the world! Do you know he was bathing outside last week and playing his manhood like a guitar? He’s in another world! He’s always happy and energetic though…dancing and singing as he works.
I’m going to sign off and lay my tired head down now. I feel better already! Please don’t remind how pathetic I can be… oh and another thing I feel shitty about today…is that both my kids and more so Nina because she was an ‘A’ student are not getting an education. The home schooling thing is just not happening! However, Nina is doing dress making and beadwork, Kama is the best fundi in town!
When all is said and done…I’m really appreciative for you and Mzee Luke being here for me. If I didn’t have you I’m not sure I’d have anything at all at this moment in life. Thanks for listening! Jah bless!
Love and respect you, Mama!