Transitioning to Natural Hair: What You Need To know.

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My photo editing skills though…

Natural hair care is probably one of the most tiring and fulfilling things you’ll ever do in your life. There is always a satisfying feel to seeing change and growth in anything you put effort to. Be it losing weight, starting a business, or even moving away from bad addictions. So you’ve decided to return natural and have no idea how to start or maybe you do but still do not have the courage to. Going natural is totally a personal decision and let no one (including me) shove it down your throat. But once you are ready to swallow…

Decide if it’s a big chop or transition

There’s actually no formula for going natural. If you are bold enough to rock short hair, you could chop off all your relaxed ends and start on a clean slate. This is actually the simplest option because it’s so easy to care for short hair. The other alternative for the faint at heart is transitioning. You will stop applying relaxer and after a sufficient amount of growth that you feel comfortable with, your relaxed ends will be begging to be chopped off and you will happily let them go because dealing with two textures would have driven you nuts.

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Trying to pull the one-eye lol

Do a thorough research

Now before you stop putting relaxer on your head, you need to be well informed on what you are getting into. The internet should be your bestfriend. There is so much out there on how to care for natural hair. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos and essentially be armed with information that is going to suit you. Start with the basics as you move on instead of trying each and everything you see/read on the internet. Remember knowledge is power.

Get a curlfriend

You need someone to hold your hand in this journey. Someone who has been in the game for years and understands the struggles. Along the way, you’ll encounter setbacks and even feel like quitting. Get someone who can challenge you and encourage you to maintain your hair. Hey there Georgina!

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Must have swallowed blue ink jeez

Use the ‘right’ products

You will probably have to dig deep into your pockets if you want to maintain healthy hair. Natural hair products are quite pricey and you probably have to turn a blind eye when purchasing. Don’t turn into a product junkie, I always insist on starting with the basics. Get a good co-wash, sulphate-free shampoo, deep conditioner, essential oil, butter/styling cream. As you feel more confident and generous with your wallet, start investing in protein treatments, leave in conditioner, apple cider vinegar, henna, bentonite clay, aloevera juice, and all good things that make the natural hair world go round.

Your wash days will never be the same

My Sundays are sacred because of two reasons: A day to spend time in the house of the Lord and secondly washing my hair. Wash days take time and require a lot of patience. I noticed weekly co-washing and deep conditioning ensures my hair is moisturized 24/7. Some people can go up to two weeks, it’s all a matter of understanding your hair’s needs. Those who go a month without washing, I honestly cannot speak for you.

Practice protective styling

Twists, braids, weaves, wigs, crotchet braids etc might just save your hair as you are growing it out. Hair tires. Constantly touching and combing  is one of the main reasons we have hair breakage. PS is meant to protect your ends. Look for the style that will make it easy for you to protect your hair underneath. Ensure the PS is not too tight or too heavy and also does not stay on your head for too long if you want to retain length.

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My twist out on point though

Heat will become an enemy

I have a confession. A few weeks ago I flat ironed my hair after staying heat-free for over a year. Despite following almost all the rules of the book, the front part of my hair got heat damaged. Sigh. I made a few mistakes knowingly and I now have to live with the consequences. Heat will not become an enemy if you :

  1. Minimize usage or completely remove the word bone – straight hair from your vocabulary unless it’s a wig or weave.
  2. Use it in the right way. Indirect heat like steaming during deep conditioning sessions actually help to open up your cuticles. Direct heat like flat irons, curling irons are just a no-no.
  3. Do not allow the stylist to flat iron more than two passes on each section. Your hair will probably never enjoy a straight sleek finish without damaging it.

Natural hair is beautiful and versatile if you accept it. There is no right or wrong way of doing it and what I’ve shared is mostly out of my own experience. Embrace it and love it and it will love you right back!

The Other Side

Last weekend I turned a new leaf. I changed – I loved- I hated – I chose -I let go. I didn’t become new, I became me. The me that is liberated, sloppy, care-free. I never cheated, I just wanted to see what the other side looked like. I wanted to feel it, touch it, smell it… I sold my hair to the devil. I straightened it.

The Process

Despite swearing off heat, I knew a day would come I’d be too curious not to.  A month before the D-day, I gave it extra TLC. I deep conditioned weekly. With two protein treatments incorporated to the session.

Tip: Hair has to be in its best form before you choose to subject it to harsh elements like heat because it dries out the hair completely and breaks the protein bonds that are responsible for the curly nature of your hair.

Mimi Shy shotThe night before

I was tensed. You can never be prepared enough psychologically. Anything could go wrong and heat damage is one of them. I kept second guessing myself. I made excuses. It only took one person to discourage me from doing it. I did the exact opposite. I went for it. I’m a very rebellious Pisces.

What I did:

Step 1: Prepoo with coconut oil for 30min (I didn’t have time). Otherwise for best results, do it overnight.

Step 2: Wash off the coconut oil with warm water to open the cuticles and apply a clarifying shampoo to remove residue and build up. ALWAYS wash your hair in sections to avoid matting. If you do not cleanse your hair well, you will be in for a disaster when the iron burns your hair. This step will probably strip your hair of all goodness but oh well, we are already set for battle, no retreat. Rinse shampoo.

Step 3: Apply your favorite conditioner for detangling purposes. It should provide enough slip to make the whole process seamless. Try as much as possible to finger detangle. Rinse out conditioner after you are done.

Step 4: Apply your favorite deep conditioner to all sections of the hair. Put on a plastic/shower cap, a scarf on top to heat up the process and let the moisture infuse in your hair strands.

At this point, you can choose to stay with it for 30 min – 1 hour -2 hours -overnight. It was midnight at this point, I went overnight. Was it uncomfortable? Not the slightest.

Mimi Diagonal shot

The D-day

That morning I kept hoping my hairdresser would cancel on me. She didn’t. I rinsed off the deep conditioner with warm water and final rinse with cold water to close the cuticles. I squeezed of the extra water using an old t-shirt. (Don’t use towel please- it causes friction & eventually hair breakage).

I let my hair air-dry and applied a dime size of leave in and sprayed my favorite heat protectant all over my hair. You really want to use as little product as possible if you are preparing your hair for heat.

 

Mimi Backshot

 

Arrival at the lion’s den

I was a nervous wreck! Last time I straightened my hair was December 2015. I timidly walked in and asked for my hairdresser. I had never met her before since this was a referral. When I saw her, my nerves were calmed by the fact she was a natural! I felt safe. What I liked most about Irene is she listened to my preferences and took direction from me. I could tell she was a little intimidated by my bossy nature but after I cracked a few lame jokes she loosened up and did my hair perfectly.

After I was done with my salon visit, I realized my hair was bulkier and healthier than before and of course a few inches of considerable growth. I like how the results turned out. Save for the fact that my morning routine has been reduced by 15min, I’m not completely blown away by this look. I like my hair in its curly coily kinky state. It gives me my identity. But for now, let’s enjoy it for as long as it lasts in this hot humid coastal weather.

 

PhotoGrid_1489481029044.pngMy secret? Maximum finger detangling, using heat only once a year, and most importantly, following a consistent regimen. Believe in the process and you will get there.

PS: Apologies for the many months of silence. Juggling between sleep, eating and more sleeping  has been real. lol! What matters most is I’m back.

Stay encouraged!

Building a Regimen | Natural Hair Care

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We can never underestimate the role our hair plays in our overall looks and that’s why the hair industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. We spend quite a sum in an attempt to look good and presentable and sometimes we tend to forget about our hair underneath that protective style.

Our natural hair will not grow to our desired length if it is not nurtured well. Natural hair requires consistency and proper care to see any considerable growth. As I mentioned in my previous post, our kinky hair does grow from the roots, about 1/4-1/2 an inch per month, but due to breakage, we are not able to retain this length. Now how do we counter this?

Building a hair regimen is one of the most important things you will ever do for your hair. A regimen is a set of rules/routines one follows to achieve a certain goal daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Each person is known to have different regimens based on the type of hair and what it needs.

Following a consistent routine allows you to see change in your hair behavior and ultimately increase in volume and length. I have been following a consistent regimen for the past 10 months and my hair is responding pretty well to this. I am still learning and haven’t incorporated a lot of things. It is always good to start with the basics and as you grow in your journey, you will get to know what works for you and what doesn’t.

Sleeping under a satin bonnet/pillowcase.

Satin is soft and very gentle to our tresses because it does not absorb moisture from our hair. If you sleep in cotton pillowcases you might have noticed oil stains on your pillow despite you wrapping your head with a scarf. Sometimes you wake up to extremely tangled hair. Satin scarves reduce friction between the hair and the pillow or bonnet and chances of ending up with dry, matted hair in the morning is minimal.

Pre-pooing

Short of pre-shampooing, as the name suggests, these are the steps done prior to washing your hair. Prepooing basically involves coating your strands from roots to ends with coconut oil/Olive Oil prior to shampoo day and washing it off after 15-30min or even overnight! Aside from softening your hair thus making it easier to detangle, pre shampooing  helps mitigate the drying effects of shampoo on your hair. Shampoos are known to strip hair of their moisture and this step is very crucial in preventing that from happening. I’ve never used Olive Oil to prepoo my hair because coconut just does the A-Z for me 🙂

C0-washing/Shampooing

Co-washing is short for conditioner wash. This means that you use a conditioner to wash your hair instead of a shampoo. This has always been the second best part of my regimen because it’s basically a 2 in 1 function. Your hair is cleansed and conditioned at the same time! Isn’t that amazing? Co-washes are slowly replacing shampoos but it can’t really function as effectively as a shampoo when it comes to clarifying the hair.

I co-wash my hair weekly and cleanse using a sulphate-free shampoo after every two weeks or so depending with how ‘dirty’ my hair feels. Sulfate-free shampoos do not have sulfur-the most common ingredient in shampoos that is responsible for producing lather and also stripping hair completely of moisture and oils. This is why many argue that despite this drying effect on natural hair, these shampoos guarantee complete removal of product build-up. However, as a natural, this ingredient is very harsh to our strands and I wouldn’t recommend to anyone who struggles with dry hair.

Deep conditioning

This is my favorite part of my wash days. Deep conditioning ensures your hair receives the extra moisture that was stripped during the washing process. It’s the climax of the whole regimen process and should never be skipped on any wash day.

Deep conditioning is composed of two elements: moisture and protein. It’s very important to learn how to alternate between these two to create a balance. Moisture treatments should be used regularly, at least once a week while protein treatments can be used every 4-6 weeks. The protein treatment is meant to strengthen your hair so look out for treatments with ingredients such as keratin and hydrolyzed proteins.

I normally add a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of honey into a plastic cup. Add my favorite moisturizing deep conditioner, mix them and heat it using either a microwave or place it in a bowl of hot water just to add the extra oomph. Since I do not have a steamer at home, I put on a plastic cap and a beanie to add in the extra heat making the deep conditioner work efficiently. You can rinse off after 30 minutes but personally, I rinse off after an hour or two and the results are amazingly soft well moisturized hair.

Sealing in the moisture

Liquid/Water Oil Cream (LOC) or Liquid/Water Cream Oil  (LCO)  is the method most naturals use to seal in the moisture. This step is most effective when the hair is damp and not dripping wet. Once hair is about 60% dry, apply a leave-in conditioner to yet again condition the hair. This doesn’t require any rinsing. Apply oil (Coconut/Olive/Castor/Avocado/Jojoba) etc  along the length of your hair from roots to ends. For extra protection, completely seal with a heavy butter like Shea butter or a styling cream. Water and oil repel each other so this method ensures the water is “locked” in the hair strands thus trapping it all in leaving your strands moisturized. In between the week before wash day, if your hair feels dry, spritz a little water to dampen your hair and apply some oil to seal the moisture. Get in the habit of moisturizing your hair when necessary.

Protective styling.

Tucking in your ends, keeping it away from brushing against clothing is important when it comes to length retention. It’s sad that most people think we put on weaves or braids because of esteem issues. I remember while I was transitioning over 5 years ago, I wore my hair in braids a lot and it really helped my hair grow in fast. Presently, two-stand twists are my go-to style. Protective styling is meant to ‘protect’ your hair from harsh elements like wind and sun but if misused, it can cause massive hair loss.

Natural hair care doesn’t have to be complex. Understand your hair needs. Do not take  word for word of what I tell you or what everyone out there says. Each head is unique in its own way. What I offer are guidelines that should lead you to your own journey. All you need is to remain consistent and be patient before you notice growth.

mimy

All the best in your journey. Stay motivated. Lots of love. ♥♥♥

Popular Natural Hair Myths

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High Puff

The fascination about going natural for the last 5-6 years that has taken the black community by storm and Nairobi was not left behind. The wave is yet to reach the slow-paced city of Mombasa but with my kinky head full of hair roaming around the city I guess they are slowly getting the memo. Growing up in this coastal city I never fell short of hearing these myths about natural hair and I think it is high time they are laid to rest.

  • Hard to Manage 

The only hair that is difficult to manage is that which has been neglected. Proper hair care involves very simple tasks that you can perform on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and doesn’t take up much of your time. Following a consistent routine will save you the headache of having to encounter unmanageable tufts of hair brought about by your negligence. Even the people with the kinkiest hair (4c) know that it is an old aged myth that needs to be put in shackles asap!

  • Natural hair is Very strong   

Natural hair looks and feels tough but it is actually the weakest hair out of all the other hair types. The curlier the hair, the more potential for it to easily break. If you take a good look at your strands you would obviously notice that they coil up a lot meaning that its very easy for combs to get caught up in these bends and snap! Don’t rake in that comb carelessly or manhandle your hair thinking it is tough enough. Be gentle with it when detangling and treat it like silk material.

  • Very cheap to maintain

Natural hair can be very costly and empty your pockets dry if not careful. People with natural hair will rarely confess that they spend a fortune buying hair-friendly products. Natural hair involves having 100% pure natural hair oils, a good moisturizing deep conditioner, a sulphate-free shampoo, a good leave-in conditioner and a hair butter or butter based product. If you research the market prices out there for both the international and local based products, you will understand why they call it a natural hair journey. It is a journey of emotional and financial investment. Even though there are cheaper options in the market, it highly depends on how much you are willing to invest in this journey.

  • Can never grow to waist-length

Type 4 hair can grow to whichever length you want it to grow only not as fast as our Asian and Caucasian counterparts. Their hair is straight or wavy thus it’s easier for their hair’s natural oils to travel down from the roots to ends.  Our kinky hair is coiled up tight making it difficult for sebum to travel down the hair shaft. Which explains why retaining length is difficult but not impossible. Due to dryness, manipulation and other environmental factors, the fragile nature of our hair causes it to break mid-shaft hence difficult to ‘see it grow’. There are several African bloggers I know who have very long (mid-back, waist length) hair and all it takes to get there is proper hair care that promotes length retention.

  • Natural hair is Unprofessional

Just try and google ‘professional’ and ‘unprofessional’ hair and you would be shocked by the images that come up. Some time back my friend had to install a weave on her head before going for an interview because she believed it would boost her chances of getting the job. There are several natural hair style options that can keep one looking neat without having to change your whole personality to please someone. As much as first impressions matter, be real with who you really are. Besides, we have our First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who wears her hair short and natural and looks absolutely stunning! KTN TV presenter Joy Doreen Biira is up on our screens rocking her beautiful mane. Just keep it simple.

  • Water is our enemy

Water is and should be our best friend! Natural hair is made up of protein and moisture and without moisture, your hair is as dead as a plant. You will notice people who drink lots of water during the day have good skin and thriving hair. The sooner you start accepting that your hair needs to be watered on a regular basis the sooner you will see healthier hair. Get into the habit of moisturizing your hair either daily or when you deem it necessary and deep moisturizing weekly or after every two weeks and not beyond that. 

  • Natural hair Is voluminous

I hate to break your heart but not all natural hair is big and voluminous. This is where genetics comes to play. You might have done all the steps required, stuck by all natural hair rules and still wonder why your natural hair isn’t as thick as you expect it to be. Hair is made up of individual strands and it’s possible to have coarse texture (thickness of an individual strand) but have low density hair (number of hair follicles on the head).

  • You should trim every 6-8 weeks

Tell me you’ve walked into a salon and never heard this statement from your stylist before? What trimming or dusting does is make your hair look healthier because it gets rid of split ends. Most people with natural hair do not need trimming this often especially if you’ve been taking care of your ends. I trim my hair only twice a year and only if necessary. If after 2 months your ends still look healthy, why chop them off? It really beats the logic of wanting to retain length if you keep getting scissors-happy.

  • Soft hair means mixed heritage

I get this from a lot of people asking if I’m mixed or one of my parents is mixed (African-Asian/Cushite). Both my parents are 100% black Africans. My hair is soft and supple because it’s always moisturized. Haven’t you gotten the point yet? Moisture is everything.

Now that we’ve debunked some of these myths and I’m sure there are a lot more, are you planning to go natural?  What are some of the myths you’ve encountered about natural hair? 

 

My Natural Hair Secrets

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Twist out.

A number of you have been asking me what I do to my hair and what I use on it. To be honest, I lead a simple yet cautious and conscious life and my hair is no different. There is nothing like good or bad hair, it all stems down to how you look after it. I’m sure you have come across these hair tips before and I’ll just share what has practically worked for me. I am 6 years post-relaxer and I have experienced it ALL when it comes to hair. Ranging from bad hair days, to thinning hair, to extreme breakage to having nice healthy looking hair, I wish someone had told me this before I big chopped back in 2010. You can never be too late in this game and if you don’t know what you’re doing or how to do it, thank me later.

  •  Accept it
    This wasn’t hard for me given that I have been natural all my life save for the 4 years in high school. There is just something about seeing an African woman donning her Afro that radiates beauty all over. Natural hair has been categorized into kinky, coily or curly and understanding your hair type is almost as important as knowing your blood group (analogy fail). The structure of our hair is weak and fragile contrary to what most people believe, with each curve of the hair strand being a potential breaking point. It’s this uniqueness that makes our hair nappturally beautiful.
  • Build a hair regimen
    I can’t even emphasize enough on the importance of building a hair regimen. A regimen is a set of goals that you aim to achieve either weekly, biweekly or monthly. Depending on how your hair feels, it’s good to set your goals according to your hair needs and being consistent with it.. My hair loses moisture really fast and to combat this, I deep condition my hair on a weekly basis on clean hair. As a result, I said goodbye to dry, dull hair that easily breaks. My hair has never felt so soft and easily manageable.
  • Avoid heat
    Can I just say that direct heat from blow driers and flat irons are just the devils? If there is something I could take back, it’s me paying Ksh100 every week to get a nice sleek flat ironed look from the salons in Kesses, Eldoret town. It was cheap, affordable but I didn’t realize that it was killing my hair follicles slowly. By the time I was done with my 4th year in campus, I could count the hair strands on my head. Heat damage is irreversible and to date I’m slowly chopping off the damaged ends of my hair as it grows in. I stopped using heat completely and my hair density and volume has increased tremendously. If you must use heat, I recommend using a low heat setting of a blow drier or flat iron and ALWAYS use a heat protectant.
  • Finger detangling
    This is the use of fingers to get rid of knots and tangles instead of using detangling tools. It is easier to feel tangles and knots with our fingers and gently separate the hair unlike combs where you would just rip off hairs along your shaft. Finger detangling is very time consuming and I won’t recommend it to someone with little patience or with a busy schedule. However, it is the most effective way to reduce breakage if you want to retain length.
  • Moisturizing and sealing
    Natural hair thrives with moisture. Hair just like any part of the body needs water to flourish. Moisturized hair is full of life, you can even feel/see it smiling back at you. It is soft and very easy to manage. I spritz my hair thrice a week with a mixture of water and rosewater, then seal using my natural hair oils (coconut, olive and castor oil) and to prevent all that moisture we worked so hard putting in from escaping, I trap it with a heavy curling cream/ heavy butter. This process also known as the LOC (Liquid/Water, Oil, Cream) method is what you need in your life right now. Others use the LCO (Liquid/Water, Cream, Oil) method. Always make sure to pay extra attention to your ends as they are the oldest parts.
  • Protective styling
    Natural hair likes being left alone with very little manipulation. I can honestly say my hair blossoms when I two-strand twist or bantu knot it. While I transitioned to natural hair, I mainly did box braids and my hair grew pretty fast. Currently, my go-to style is two stand twists and every Saturday I unravel the twists to get a twist out. Weaves and braids can also be used as protective styles as long as you protect your hair beneath.
  • Exercise and eating healthy
    Incorporate good eating habits into your diet for the sake of your body and your hair which is an extension of your body. Exercising has been a good way of releasing toxins from our bodies. As it promotes overall health of our body, it does for our hair too! Don’t be afraid to sweat it, Health over hair innit?
  • Patience
    Our type 4 hair grows 1/4-1/2 an inch per month. Our hair does grow. Let no one tell you otherwise. The problem comes with retaining length and that’s why our hair barely grows past shoulder length. Do not expect your hair to grow overnight. Don’t give up because you are seeing someone else’s hair growing faster than yours. It will take time for you to see change but once you remain consistent, you will notice the growth, I promise.
     

    The mane topic is broad and wide. I hope these tips help.Are you taking care of the overall health of your hair? What do you really do to your hair to maintain health and retain length?

The Ferry

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There are 10 things I fear in life and water is one of them. Strange innit? Given that I have swimming medals displayed in our living room and also coming from Mombasa you will never understand why I fear water. I am a fairly good swimmer, rusted a bit over the years but can swim to save my life.

I have never liked crossing the ferry. I have seen and heard many stories about the Indian ocean. My phobia stems from these weird stories. I have been to the ferry not more than 20 times in my life. It always gives me anxiety and I’m always holding someone’s hand. I have never crossed alone.

When I was 14 I almost died at the ferry. It’s also the cause of another fear I have- mammoth crowds. I was caught up in a stampede and being the extra skinny me I was back then, I cannot remember how I got out of it but there was a lot of push and shove and almost suffocating to death because of trying to get into a damn ship (excuse my French) called Doulos. Mum see that key holder you have to date? Yes same one, it was almost the cause of a tragic event. Thank God for my dear life.

While on the ferry, you can barely feel it move. It is calm, a little crowded but calm all the same. I see us drifting further away from the Island and in roughly 10 minutes we get to Likoni. It’s a rush and everyone is eager to leave. Looking at me you’d know I’m not a regular user of the ferry. I impatiently wait to get on land.

On the other side of the Island, everything is beautiful. Delectable sea food, white sandy beaches, I kid you not, Diani has the best beaches along the Coast. All these young lads will tell you that Swahili Beach is the ‘baddest’ of them all (not my words). There’s a cool ambience in this place that makes you appreciate the hassle from the ferry.

Come to think of it, I have been to the ferry more than 20 times in my life. Everyday there is a fear I face and plenty of times I have crossed over from my comfort zone to see the good things life has to offer on the other side. Just because I’m afraid of large water bodies does it mean I have to hold back from seeing the beautiful Wasini Island? We have all been at a place in our lives where we must transition from one stage of life to another.

I have witnessed friends and family taking chances in life. Truphena Naliaka  paved way through her mother’s womb to come make a difference in this world. Isla Ambiyo got engaged the other day, Marion Ngio graduated, (congratulations are in order guys) and some were promoted to glory and are dancing with the angels in heaven; Timothy Mbela and Cornelius Kiptum, your memories live on.

The ferry doesn’t always lead us to happy endings. People have lost their lives trying to cross the channel. People drown physically, emotionally or spiritually  So much has happened around us while we try to make significance of our purpose in life.

At a seminar  Mrs Zeinab Jaffer challenged us to live our calling. Ask yourself: “what on earth are you here for?” Have you already made the bold move to finally go back to class and applied for what you have always wanted to study? Have you gained confidence  and finally asked the girl you’ve been crushing on out for a date? Did you face your boss at work today and asked him for a well deserved promotion long overdue?

Everyone makes a conscious decision to cross over from one stage of their life to another. The risks are many but the rewards are a fruitful bunch. Most times we do not have the power or skill needed to navigate through a channel. Let Him guide you. Say a little prayer and hold His hand when you are unsure of where this ferry might lead you. It might breakdown, it might stall or worse deviate from its course. Everything is under control when the right Captain navigates for you.

Before I feel like I’m preaching, I have to digress. My niece was born (o5.o5.2016). It has been confirmed that Truphena Naliaka is not her real name much to my disappointment. Her birth certificate is officially out with different nouns. Yes she was born female (hurrah) and has a very common ethnic name (no hurrah).

Truphena’s mum wants me to stop calling her Truphena but such a name is pretty hard to forget. I mean it’s not like Liz where people will keep calling her Eliza even though her birth certificate reads Liz. Liz??!! Seriously though wouldn’t Elizabeth have sufficed? Well maybe it’s just me and my old school way of thinking. Probably  20 years from now it would be cool to have ‘Liz’ as an official name.

End of rant.

Falling in Love…Again

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Courtesy : Shaima

The brighter days are gone and so are the beautiful melodies of the chirping birds. The wet season is here and it has been dull for the past few days. Let’s face it, as much as we complain of the hot temperatures down at the Coast this ‘highlands’ weather doesn’t suit this town at all. Mombasa is ugly when it rains. The traffic is ugly, the roads and drainage systems are ugly and the attitudes are even uglier. What is it with matatu touts hiking fare whenever the rainy season is here? Yes I’ll get my own car soon thanks for the reminder.

There’s a glimmer of hope these rains bring. Conceived during the short rains and now expected to be delivered during the long rains. I already have a name for her…Truphena Naliaka. We don’t know her sex yet but my gut tells me it’s a girl and I’ve never been so excited to welcome a baby into this world. I find myself more drawn to the kid’s stores and I’ve already spotted a nice pink dress for her. It would suck if she couldn’t play with dolls and call her princess because my emotions are already too invested in her being a she. But if it’s a boy, I’ll love him equally all the same. Lies people tell.

Several years to come this child will call me Aunty. I like being called Aunty. I make my little cousins below 10 years of age address me as Aunty because there’s a feel-good moment that comes with being respected. I dislike kids who think they can hit/bite/pinch/spit at me and get away with it. You know the spoiled brats? How their mothers look on while you get physically assaulted by these little monsters and don’t do anything about it and expect you to smile and ‘play’ along. Aunty Miriam will do none of that. When your kid hits me I’ll discipline him/her for you. Your welcome.

Truphena Naliaka will be straightened like an arrow in case of any overindulgence by her parents. We might opt to squeeze in a Kikuyu name in recognition of her other heritage in her birth certificate but that is subject to debate from my side of the family. If it were entirely upto me, Truphena will never know how it feels to be identified by her middle and surname. Her victories and losses will never be ‘betrayed’ by her ethnic names.

Coming from a minority tribe that I rarely identify with, not because I’m not proud of it but I dislike the cynicism that emanates from someone who asks ‘which tribe are you?’ It’s like the determining factor whether we can hold a conversation or not. You guys who ask this question, what do you really want to know? Understand my personality to feed in your already preconceived stereotype? I guessed so too.

Minority groups are always seen as the novelty in a story. A person belonging to this group is deemed to be treated as a special case by the society surrounding them. They are never treated as competition because they are assumed to have an added advantage. Their victories are always marred with ‘oh he got sympathy votes’ or ‘She got the promotion over me because she’s from a minority class.’ Society has a way of taking credit for all their success. They will always say you were favored because minority is misconstrued to mean neutral.

“There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame, But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know it was you and the people who love you who put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” [Taylor Swift, 2016]

I hope Truphena Naliaka never goes through this. Maybe her generation will have a different mindset. She will never be given credit for her big arse because she has the Luhya genes. She will know God is the only Supreme being who gives arse regardless of which tribe one hails from. She will know doing her squats regularly earned her a big future from behind.

Truphena better come soon because I’m anxious to meet her. I’ve already planned how we are going to conquer the world together. She’ll never have to speak against all those common tout sayings that go “Mama gari ni sabini” because she’ll be riding in a cruiser. Am I the only one who finds this insulting? Not the hiking of the fare but a matatu tout calling me ‘mama’ seriously have I aged that fast?! LOL. Aunty is fine but ‘mama’ scares the **** out of me. It makes me feel like I should stop wearing very tight jeans and my short skirts.

I want to be a parent to this child and I’ve already fallen in love with her before her grandiose arrival. She might just be the one to fill the void Milan left in my heart. I still wonder if he’s alive, I think about him every time I write. Does he think about me? Does he miss me? For those of you wondering who Milan is you might want to read Forget me not first love

My blogging niche might take a dramatic turn and I expect the male readership to quickly take a deep surge. Why do men repel baby stories like like poles of a magnet?

Hopefully in my next blog post, baby will be with us and I’ll share with you my many firsts. Wish me luck 🙂