Off Zippers and Shebeens


I have no idea why Wangui set the alarm for 5.30am. If she had not made it shut up, I would have kicked it to oblivion. But she was faster than me at reaching the bedside table between our beds and hushing the damn thing. We then proceeded to sleep for two more hours, until a door banged in the house and I realized that our kind host was trying very hard not to wake us up, even though the girls we are to work with had already arrived.

The girls; our brief while we were in Nairobi was that we would work with twenty five 16/18 year olds, who were actively interested in creative writing. Reality is that we are looking at 50+ girls whose ages range from 8 to 18 years of age. My first instinct was to say, “Hell, no, I’m going home.” But the kids have the sweetest eager faces, and I am a sucker for kids with sweet eager faces. So, Wangui and I are going to teach this workshop.

After we split them up in two groups, we then tried as best as we possibly could to open up the doors into the wonderful world of words, expression and creativity.

At 2pm, I have a bit of a migraine, and the girls are a bit tired. After Lunch we break the classroom mode and go off for a game of Kati. It is kinda fun, except we have a very large audience, I am a bit stiff and my blasted zipper keeps sliding down. Reminds me of silly conversations I used to have with a certain accountant. What is the big deal about an open fly, really? Yeah, the men think its funny, so I go off to change.

We assigned the girls their writing for the night, and then hang around with some of them in the computer room. I envy their youth and innocence. You would never even tell from the beauty in their eyes that some of them are orphans or that some come from really poor homes. The awe and wonder in their eyes as they discover and learn is the reason I came here.

Wangui and I are going for an evening walk through the lazy quiet Kakamega town. I love it here.

No. We SHALL NOT explore every crevice, chang’aa and beer den, and shebeen in this town. We will go back to our room after dinner and prepare for another day tomorrow.

Boa noite!


3 thoughts on “Off Zippers and Shebeens

  1. Zipper talk? That must have been fun!

    Anyways, enjoy the stay. At least the town gives KK a different meaning from the Kikuyu Kalenjin alliance every politician talks about. But don’t rule out the brews.


  2. 5.30 am lol. I am trying to be an early riser myself but my relationship with the alarm is better perhaps 🙂

    Good work you are doing Juliet propping up young talent. Keep up the good work and the good writing.


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