7th Heaven at Moof Africa

7th Heaven

7th Heaven
When I see their happy faces smilin’ back at me
7th Heaven
I know there’s no greater feelin’ than the love of family

Where can you go
When the world don’t treat you right
The answer is home
That’s the one place that you’ll find

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I found this at the entrance of the Moof Africa grounds, not really sure what it is though but it kinda looks artistic :-)

Family Time

I always thank God for the gift of family. Every second that I get to spend with them is a great blessing and I hope and pray that I will never take them for granted. They have always been there for me through the tears and laughter and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Going home and spending time with your family and your real friends keeps you grounded.
Jennifer Ellison

I remember in 2013,when I was involved in an accident ,the first person that I thought about was my mother and despite the fact that I was far from her and it was 4:00am, I called her and she answered on the second ring. By 6:00am, she was on Mombasa Road following the ambulance that was taking me to K.N.H. She spent the whole day with me as I went through one test after the other and took me home where she stayed for a week nursing me back to health. That is what family does, they bail you out of tough situations that you get yourself into and they stay with you long after everyone else has left.

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outside seating area at Moof Africa
I remember years back after moving out of my folk’s place after getting my  first job, I thought I was finally Miss Independent. However, my first salary got stolen during a robbery at my workplace and so I had to call home and ask for assistance in paying rent .This was a reminder to the young and naive Miss Independent that I was trying to be, that I will always need my family.

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A toast to Moses

It was a dark and grey afternoon. The clouds were heavy and the rains threatened to fall at any time. It was quiet. No children playing. No laughter. Nothing. There was a stillness in the air that weighed down on everyone.

I walked past a freshly dug grave. The flowers were still there, standing alone, the only living things in the area. ” Truphena Maria, daughter, mother and friend”. The headstone had no other details. I liked knowing the dates of birth and death so that I could calculate the age at which the person died. I thought of the children as angels, the young adults as the people whose lives were cut short and the old people…well, it’s about time I guess. When someone dies at the age of 80 they have already lived their whole life; what else is there to see after 80?

Read the rest of the story here:      http://www.shortstoriesclub.com/2015/05/a-toast-to-moses.html

Marto wa Ungem

“Niaje mnutty.”

He greeted me as he took the seat next to me in the dark theater. As usual, I thought of doing the snob thing and pretending that I had no idea what language he was speaking.

“Poa.”

I muttered under my breathe making it clear that I did not want to engage in conversation with him. I clutched my handbag closer making sure it was zipped up and tried scooting away from him. Luckily the play started and so we didn’t have to talk anymore.

It was a hilarious play and after a while, I found myself laughing so much that I relaxed the grip on my handbag and forgot about the man seated next to me.

“It’s nice to see that you have a sense of humor.” This time he spoke in good, clear English that caught me by surprise.

“By the way I am Marto…Marto wa Ungem.”

“I’m Linda… um… from Kilimani.” I don’t why he felt the need to tell me that he was from Ungem or why I even bothered to tell him that I am from Kilimani.
Marto was relentless, I tried playing the part of the snob but he managed to get me chatting away. He was easygoing, unlike anyone that I had ever met. With time, I found myself wanting to impress him with my laid-back personality even if I had to fake it. On the other hand, a part of me wanted to distance myself and show him that we didn’t quite belong in the same social class. I wanted him to feel honored that I was talking to him but at the same time, did not want him to think I was stuck up. Marto wa Ungem evoked so many different emotions from me.

You see, I had lived at Kilimani for 2 years. Before that; I was a resident of the sprawling Eastlands area, a fact that I never disclose to people. I can speak sheng, probably not as good as he did but I can hold my own for sure. I had used in matatus almost all my life; do not let the Benz that I now drive fool you. Nonetheless, unlike most people who had grown up in the ‘right’, I had a lot to prove.

The elite society had expectations. I had to learn proper use of cutlery, dress properly, drive the right car, live in the right neighborhood oh and definitely get that gym and yoga membership. Nothing says bourgeois like keenness on fitness. You need to jog, go to the gym and at least do some yoga. I did everything to fit in. Nevertheless, this was not a very accepting society but I was determined and so I clawed my way into the society. I wanted to have everything that I never had growing up.

I guess that is why Marto wa Ungem intrigued me. He saw past the English accent that had taken me years to perfect. Perhaps he saw through the act.

After the play, I walked outside and stood waiting for him until I caught sight of him. Oh dear Lord, his dressing was appalling, tight jeans, a loose Bahamas looking shirt and Sahara boots. I stood there in my Jimmy Choo heels making sure that it was clear once again that I was not the kind of girl that he was used to. I have no idea why at that moment it was so important to me to impress Marto by showing him just how classy I was. Why did I feel the need to prove anything to a man I hardly even knew?

“Come, I’ll buy a cup of tea.” I hesitated for a while wondering why he thought he could afford to buy me anything. However, once again I was intrigued by Marto wa Ungem.I have to admit, his confidence had my heart doing back-flips that afternoon.

We walked outside and naturally I headed towards my car.

“Let us walk and then you can come pick your car afterwards.”

I looked at Marto wa Ungem incredulous. He must have noticed that my Jimmy Choos were 6 inches high. I had spent a fortune getting those babies. I looked at him already walking out of the parking space and decided to be real with myself. I did have a pair of Bata Ngoma in the trunk of car somewhere. I always get them out when in places where my Jimmy Choos can never reach.
It’s amazing how relaxed my feet felt when in the comfortable shoes. They were unsightly but the relaxation was priceless. I caught up with Marto and down the road; we walked like two old friends. He talked all the way, telling me random jokes that had me in stitches. He had all these stories from his life that made me feel like I had led quite a boring life. For instance, we came upon a small stream which reminded him of mud slides and swimming in quarries as a child. He was an animated narrator and just looking at his hands and face as he told the stories was enough to crack me up.

We stopped several times as he explained random facts to me. He had these theories that I am sure would have made my friends roll their eyes at the absurdity. For instance, he kept telling me about being one with nature every time our feet hit the ground and connect with the dirt and pebbles underneath. He also had a theory about experiencing life as opposed to going through life. At some point, we came upon some sunflowers and he gave me one. That was Marto I guess, so simple.
We came upon a mabati structure and I hesitated as I watched Marto confidently walk in. It was not well lit and the ceiling was darkened by soot making the place look darker. However, it had small wooden tables and benches that looked clean and neatly arranged.

“Chapati mbili and chai,” Marto ordered without even asking me what I needed.

We sat for a while before our order arrived. The tea was served in large enamel cups with the chapatti rolled up and held in place with a fork. Without hesitation, Marto dug in and went on with his stories and so I took my first bite of the chapatti. It was heavenly. I had stopped taking all wheat products since apparently wheat is full of calories that like settling around the belly region and in my society, you cannot be seen walking around with a ‘muffin’ top’. Soon, I asked for another chapatti, not worried about belly fat anymore.

“Manze si ulikua ubao!” Marto teased me.

I found myself talking to him about my childhood. He was delighted although shocked to find out that I grew up in Eastlando. We talked and laughed and in no time, my English accent was forgotten. I can’t remember even laughing so hard. He reminded me of so many things especially about the woman I once was. I have worked hard for the life that I now have so I can’t regret living in a nice house or driving my beloved Benz but I couldn’t help but wonder if at some point I had lost myself in pursuit for the wonderful life and in an effort to fit in.

We walked back to the theater after the sun had gone down and darkness had crept on us. As I got into my car and watched him walk to the matatu stage, it struck me that I would probably never see him again. The impossible had happened and two worlds had met albeit briefly but at the end of the day, we all had our lives to live and I especially had an appearance to maintain.

Golden Gates Hotel

Nyeri

Golden Gates 2

For the longest time, the only leisure/ entertainment spots well known in Nyeri were Outspan and Green Hills Hotel. However, i discovered that Nyeri does have a lot more to offer. If you are thinking of visiting the town, one of the places to check out is the Golden Gates Hotel. Although still fairly new having been in operation for less than a year,the hotel is already quite popular and it is easy to see why.

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One random weekend, My family and I decided to try out something outside Nanyuki and we decided to go to Nyeri and see what the town had to offer. We considered going to the famous Tafaria Castle but upon making inquiries, we found out that it was a bit far from the town. It was then that I called a friend from Campus who recommended Golden Gates Hotel or Giraffe Ark. The later sounded really good but unfortunately seemed a bit far and so we settled on Golden Gates.

One of the things that i  loved about this hotel is the good service that we received. We called the hotel to get directions and the lady who took our call was patient enough to stay on the phone and answer all our questions. In addition, right from the security guards to the waiters and waitresses, everyone was super friendly.

There is a lot to do at Golden Gates Hotel  and most parents will appreciate the kid’s playground with a bouncing castle.

IMG_20150405_144027 I had to take this pic at an angle so as not to capture any of the kids since i didn’t have authorization to photograph them.

gallery-4This is what the bouncing castle looks like(pic from the website)

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The Hotel has plenty of space both inside and outside. This is the restaurant area in the hotel.

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Golden Gates Hotel

I was again unable to get photos f the swimming because it would have been weird to photograph strangers in a pool :-) However, this is what the pool looks like.

Apart from the inside space, there are also two outside seating areas. One is in front of the hotel and the other one is at the poolside.

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I didn’t stay overnight but heard that the hotel also has accommodation.

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This is why i liked Golden Gates Hotel;

1. It is near Nyeri town, just about 10kms

2. The location is really good, scenic views of Nyeri, including mount Kenya

3.A great place to relax and also a children-friendly enviroment

4. Great service, tasty foods especially the nyama and a huge pool perfect for a swim on a sunny day

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You can get more details about Golden Gates Hotel here;http://goldengateshotels.com/

Info about Tafaria Castle and Country Lodge;http://www.tafaria.com/

Here is a sneak peak of the Castle;

tafaria 1

wow

wowzie

I would really love to visit the Girrafe Ark especially after taking a look at their website;http://www.giraffeark.com/

Below are some photos of Giraffe Ark Game Lodge, looks really amazing.

Girraffe ARK

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No More Tears by Atieno Mtoto Mzuri

A Review

Atieno Mtoto Mzuri
Whenever we hear of Kenyans living abroad we always imagine them leading a life of luxury. I live in an apartment which is owned by a Kenyan living in America and know a number of other such apartments all around Ruaka. You only get to meet a House Manager and only know the owner’s names from the rent bank deposit slip. Up Country, there are  those homes that people will point out to you as they tell you that baba Kamau’s son in the States is the one who built the house. There are places where young people have only one dream; to fly out. I once visited a Coastal town where I kept hearing this phrase, ‘Huyo alibarikiwa akapata mzungu hadi wakaenda ng’ambo.’

We imagine that foreign countries can offer us more than what Kenya can. In some cases, this has proven true and there are many Kenyans who have found amazing opportunities abroad. Contrary to popular belief about the kind of jobs that immigrants do, many Kenyans have built careers and are living quite comfortably. However, not everyone living abroad is living the dream. In No More Tears by Atieno Mzuri, gives you other side of the story that we don’t get to hear often. Atieno’s is a story of an immigrant struggling to survive and fighting to stay in America at all costs.
I found No More Tears in an online group where the author had shared it for free. Curiosity got the better of me and I quickly went through the 214 pages in just one evening. It was an easy captivating read, well paced and fast moving hence quite the page turner.The book is based on the life of Atieno,a Kenyan girl who leaves the country and heads to United States of America in search of a new and prosperous life. She has big dreams of what she wants to achieve in America and already has made plans on how to spend the fortune that she will make. One of her main plans is to take care and provide for her daughter and her parents and build them a house. Her family also has expectations and so they expect to start receiving dollars from her to help them improve their living situation. Unfortunately, Atieno quickly realizes that the American dream does not come that easily especially for illegal immigrants. Despite having a Masters Degree from Kenya, she realizes that her ‘papers’ will not help her much in America. Atieno learns that she needs to become a citizen and one of the ways to acquire this status and avoid getting deported is by getting married.
No More Tears by Atieno Mtoto Mzuri is mainly about her search for a husband in an effort to get citizenship. It will shock you and also break your heart when you learn the things that she went through during her search. It will also change your view of the life abroad. So often we assume that everyone who flies out ends up living it up in the land of milk and honey but turns out that not everyone gets to do this. You will be surprised when she starts talking about living in a house with no water and making trips to fetch water in America. It will also surprise you to learn how much people are willing to exploit the desperation of others in this case, an an illegal immigrant, deportation was constantly used to threaten her.

There are also light moments in Atieno’s story that will have you smiling. The book will have you on a roller coaster wondering whether Atieno will succeed, find love in the process or end up being deported after all.
Atieno shared the pdf version of her book online and that is how i got it. I hope to read more books from this new author.

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Eleven Minutes

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. “Once upon a time” is how all the best children’s stories begin and “prostitute” is a word for adults. How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let’s keep that beginning.Excerpt from the book

Review

I went on a journey recently. This journey lasted two days and came to an end last night at almost midnight, it came to an end. My companion in this journey was Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho.  A lot of people speak highly of The Alchemist and I agree, that was an eye opener, a gentle push towards pursuing unrealized dreams. However, Eleven Minutes went deeper. Some readers may say that the book is just about sex and prostituition. However, to say it’s only about sex would be to limit it. I think that it is about sex and love, sacred sex which is a different type of sex based on the context of love. Others may have found a different meaning behind Maria’s story. To some it was a love story complete with a dramatic ending straight out of a movie scene. Other readers may call it a journey to self discovery. In my case, this was a book about following dreams. Eleven Minutes reminded me that we are all allowed to have dreams and love in our lives.

Sacred sex. A paradoxical, utopian impossibility or a life- sustaining, attainable goal? This is the major question that underpins Paulo Coelho’s new novel, Eleven Minutes, the tale of Maria, a naive young woman from Brazil who becomes a high-class prostitute in Switzerland‘. The Washington Post
Eleven Minutes is a story about Maria, a young girl from a village in Brazil. It takes you through her transition from a girl to a woman and her journey towards discovering her own sexuality. An encounter with a boy leaves her heartbroken and teaches her a lesson on lost opportunities. However, a chance meeting with a stranger at Rio leads her to Geneva where she goes to seek fame. In Geneva she found a lot of things but not the fame that she wanted. Another chance encounter with two millionaires from two very different worlds again changes her world. One millionaire introduced her to the world of pain and pleasure and the other one introduced her to a world of sacred sex. She loved both worlds but could only choose one.
As I said, I enjoyed reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho because it reminded me about dreams. I admired Maria in so many ways. She always went for what she wanted. Going to Switzerland was a bold move that she took. When her first job didn’t work out, again she made the bold move and got out. The whole time that in Switzerland; she remained focused on her goal of going back to Brazil at some point. She worked hard, made enough money and gave herself a deadline, the date when she would go back home. A lot came her way to distract her from her goals and she could have given excuses had she wanted to. However, she relentlessly pursued her goals, stayed focus and left when it came time to leave.
Maria compared prostitution to working in a job that you don’t like. Whether it’s a banker, business person, an administrator, as long as you are selling your time, body and mind to people just so that you can get paid, then you are no different than Maria. She hated what she did, spent time with people she didn’t like and went through things that didn’t make her happy everyday all because of the money. It’s just the same thing that people stuck in dead end jobs do. They end up in careers that they do not like, giving their time, mind and bodies each day just for the pay check. You do a job that you loathe, spend time with people that perhaps you do not like and each day end up losing a part of yourself all because of the money.

I have always loved books that i can relate to. Eleven Minutes was one such book. I could relate to Maria and hence think about my life as i turned from page to page.Paulo Coelho drew me in and made me part of the story. That is probably why i liked the book so much.Such a passionate story of love, life and surrendering to both in pain and pleasure.

I would recommend Eleven Minutes to anyone who loves Coelho’s work and to all readers looking for an enjoyable yet thought provoking read. I am also curious to know what stood out to other readers, was it all about the sacred sex or did the story mean something different to you?

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

I have written reviews for Adultery and Alchemist on the links below:https://dwgitau.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/adultery-by-paulo-coelho/  and https://dwgitau.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/the-alchemist-by-paulo-coelho/

The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer

lost boy

The Lost Boy is a memoir on the life of Dave Pelzer. This is one of those books that captivate you right from the first to the last page. The story is quite moving and will engage you emotionally from page to page. The story is well paced and has an easy flows. It starts from his time in his mother’s house to  foster care and finally to his adulthood. This makes it an enjoyable read as he takes you through the different phases of his life.

This book was quite sad and most of the times I found myself angry at David’s mother. David was physically, emotionally and psychologically abused by her. In turn, despite everything that she did to him, he still yearned for her love and attention and blamed himself for the abuse.

Why would a mother mistreat her own child? It was hard to figure this out and I went from page to page looking for answers. David’s journey became my journey. He also wanted to understand what had happened to him during the abuse period. In his mind, he also cant seem to understand the abuse, he calls it ‘games’. Every time his mother does something horrible to him, he thinks it’s another game.
I just couldn’t understand David’s mother. There are instances when it seemed like she truly cared for him. In other instances, her cruelty becomes so evident. Even after he gets into foster care, she tries to get him admitted into a mental hospital. Once again I ask, what would drive a mother to treat her child like this? A mother who is such a sadist to her child is something unexplainable.
Things are not any easier for David once he enters the foster care system and once again we can see the struggles that he goes through to fit in. He tries hard to fit into different families. He also struggles to make friends and along the way does so many desperate things that keep getting him into trouble.
Dave Pelzer’s story is a story of hope, courage, love and strength. It’s hard to imagine how a ten year old boy gets through what David had to go through. It is truly is a story of survival, some may even call it a miracle. The book will inspire you but be prepared also for the heartbreak. Naturally, you will find yourself rooting for David to succeed. You get to see the worst of humanity, cruelty and disregard for fellow human beings. However, a number of people come into his life and will restore your faith in humanity once again. You will also get to see the two sides of the foster care system. Most of the time, we only get to hear of the ugly side of this system.However, the story tells of amazing people that David met while in the system.
I researched on Dave Pelzer and found out that ‘The Lost Boy’ is actually a sequel to his first book title, ‘A Child Called It’. I look forward to reading it and perhaps get some answers on David’s mother.

a child
The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer is definitely an amazing read, one that I recommend. If possible, start with the first book ‘A child Called It’ before reading ‘The Lost Boy’. However, if like me you end up with ‘The Lost Boy’ don’t worry; you will still be able to follow the story.