Perception Africa

September has been one of those months, that we’ve uttered Greenday’s famous line: Wake me up when September ends quite a couple of times, and true to the woes that have come with this month, today we woke up to some very sad news, Prof Wangari Maathai passed away after a long battle with ovarian cancer. Yet she fought for our right to enjoy the breath of fresh air we do in Nairobi. She was a strong woman, who always believed we all can make a difference in the society just by planting trees. When I woke up at 5am today and so the RIP tweets on Twitter,I didn’t want to believe it was true that she had passed away. She was a remarkable woman and I couldn’t help but share a poem I wrote back in 2005 called Perception Africa, she was the first African woman to win the nobel peace prize and helped change the perception people had of our continent. It’s sad that she had to be recognized and appreciated outside, instead of in her own country by the leaders of her country.Kenyans and Africa as a whole have really lost a hero. Because of this poem I wrote six years ago inspired by her, I won a slam competition(but do I shout about it)thought I would share it with you guys

Third world Africa
Known for its poverty ,hunger and pestilences
They perceive Africa
as a dying continent
The little knowledge they have about Africa is what they see on CNN, SKY or BBC
They focus on our suffering,
How women and children are dying
of war, aids and starvation
They judge us as being a poor nation
Oh! how wrongly they’ve perceived you Africa

They don’t know how rich your soil is
How vast your beauty is
They focus on the killings
But if they could only see how hospitable, loving and caring you really are
I think they would change their perception
If they could only capture that sunrise
or watch the beautiful migration of the wilder beast
Natural beauty for their eyes to feast
they will see how wrongly they’ve perceived you Africa

The mother of all nations
They forgot you sprang forth rich minerals
They don’t remember how painful it was for that child whose legs was blown up
just for them to marvel at the shiny rock on their fingers
a painful song lingers
But you put on a brave face Africa
Ignoring the slanders laid upon you

At least they’ve recognized some of your offspring Africa
how proud you are to have outstanding children
who for their efforts to change their perception about you won the noble peace prize
The likes of Mandela who fought for peace and an end to white minority rule. The likes of Wangari Maathai who fought for our right to live, breathe free and enjoy the shades of the trees, hear the birds chirp while sitting in the park.
Though many haven’t been recognized yet

Sure we are dying of poverty, hunger and AIDS
But how will we move forward
If they keep focusing on your negativity
When will they turn their attention
To the great rift valley
The amazing Victoria falls
The beautiful white sandy beaches
or focus on our unity
our affection
The ever smiling face of a hard-working African
Wouldn’t it be nice if the headlines read:
Africa’s beautiful people
Rather than the war on Sudan?
Or the corruption in Nigeria?
I hope they will change their perception
Africa is a charming continent.
And that’s the right perception!

We can all show our appreciation and honour her by planting trees, and join a worthy cause by @AKenyanGirl on Twitter this Saturday

“You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them,and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” … Wangari Maathai. 1940-2011

Peace and Blessings, Vionna


Morning Dew

Have you ever woken up bright and early in the morning, your legs step on the wet grass as the wetness seeps in through the sole of your feet? Morning dew, that’s what it’s called. Now I know you all know what morning dew is, but have you ever wondered why it only appears in the morning? Well, we only see dew in the morning because for dew to form, air must be cooled to its condensation point; there must be little movement to the air. These conditions usually occur overnight when the wind dies down and the air becomes still.(I’m not that smart; Wikipedia came through with that definition, but let’s just stick to the part where you’re impressed by my smartness shall we?)

This year has been one of those years that have just been morbid for me. I’ve joined more Rest in Peace pages on Facebook than I have gotten friend requests. Death is one of those enemies that comes and steals something so precious to you. That’s where morning dew comes in, I’ve come to realize life is like morning dew, just like morning dew comes in the morning and gone during the day, that’s just how short and precious life is. We never know when our morning dew will fade, and this got me thinking, as corny as it sounds; life is short. Sometimes we tend to live our lives as if we are immortal, the all lets live for today for we don’t know what tomorrow brings kind of life. But with all the friends I’ve lost this year, one thing I’ve come to realize what it really means to live life to the full. It’s not about partying, drinking to the max like there’s no tomorrow. It’s making the best of the time we have now, because like morning dew, we never know when we’ll fade away. Making an impact in your life. A wise woman once told me, if you want to know just how much impact one made in their lives or those around them, everyone always wants to chip in on their eulogy at funerals. And no I’m not talking about MPigs who use funerals as their platform to beg for votes and for some silly attention seeking airtime. I’m talking about the close family, friends and those who mattered to the deceased.

Lately it’s been heart-wrenching watching news. I’m one of those people who are very empathetic. I would cry just by hearing a friend of a friend lost their loved one. It’s because when you lose someone close, a family member or a loved one you know the pain one goes through and you kind of feel their pain. The ferry tragedy in Zanzibar that took so many lives, those are people who had plans; they were looking forward to seeing another day not for it to end so abruptly. The Sinai Fire tragedy this week, it pained me when some friends of mine were talking so coldly about it. Not all who perished in the fire were out there siphoning fuel. Some were kids going to school, some were still at home waiting for the rain to die down but due to bad timing they were caught up in it. For a fellow human being to say I hope they learned their lesson, is just sadistic. There’s a Ghanaian Proverb that came to mind when I heard all the idiotic conversations about this all: It is a fool who rejoices when his neighbor is in trouble. Think about the child who will grow up without a father or mother because the dad was trying to make a quick buck maybe to provide for the family. Them being rained on, homeless, everything lost because they were caught up in man-made disasters. Now we can go on and on about who to blame and what not, but enough about that.

Sometimes I always wonder if I had a flash forward of my life knowing when it will end, would I do things differently. Would I be a better person as it were? But the beauty about life, it’s a mystery. We never know when our morning dew will fade away that’s why we need to live life without regrets, make amends, forgive and let go and try to make everyday count. As I write this post, I can’t help but shed a tear or two, I just lost another friend, we might not have been close this past few years but what pains me is the newborn baby she left. The child that will live without her mummy, the child that will not suckle on its mama’s breast but feed on formulas and powdered milk. The child that will not feel its mothers touch, her warmth and her protective arms, and it just makes me cry and pray for that child and the family. Life is short beautiful ones, just like morning dew it comes and fades away.

Now this is one poem I wrote when I lost my dad, and thought I’d share it with anyone who’s lost a parent, a friend or anyone who mattered to them. Promise not to be so morbid and sad on the next blog post, but writing it out has helped me much. Take care of you.

Had I Known

Had I known four years ago I wouldn’t have a daddy to call my own.
Had I known that my heart would break slowly, dismantling itself into unrecognizable plots of misery.
Had I known that emptiness would entangle itself upon me with a grip so strong I couldn’t break free?
Had I known that mama would never dance with my father again?
Had I known the pain would haunt and stifle its grip on me.
Had I known that I’ll get to walk down that aisle someday without you by my side?
Had I known that I’d never get to call you daddy again and hear u whisper “I love you baby girl”.
Had I known that four years later I’d still be shedding tears writing this down on paper?
Had I known, I would have told you how much I love you.
But I didn’t know, I couldn’t fathom the impact it would have on me, with its deadly blow.
Had I not known that one day this enemy death will be erased?
Had I not known and held on to the hope.
But I do know, and it makes my heart glow.
I know, hope and pray, that I’ll get to see your face someday..
For now, I do know I miss you night and day…

Peace and blessings always, Vionna