The Abscondita Effect

Maggie has a uniform.

It was her only request when she started working with us.  We agreed and had some made, including aprons.

My father in law is a mechanic, so he spends a lot of time on overalls. As Leo has not started school yet, he spends a lot of time with his grandpa tinkering around. We decided to have an overall made for him so we do not have to struggle with grease on his clothes. You should have seen how excited he was when he wore it for the first time, he even wanted to sleep in it.

Now my princess felt left out and asked for a uniform like Maggie’s. Complete with an apron so she can help out in the housework. I was taken aback at first as I thought she would ask for an overall like her brother’s. But no, she was adamant. Uniform with an apron, same design and colour as Maggie’s.

I thought it was a phase and ignored it for some weeks, but the girl was persistent. Turns out she even requested Maggie to take her to the local tailor to have her measurements taken. This Mum still thought it was a joke, until I was asked for some money to pay the fundi yesterday morning.

I came home from work to find my girl brimming with pride over her uniform. I have never been so jazzed up as I was yesterday. The girl is so excited she can now look like Maggie as she helps her.

I am learning a lot out of this; I am a young parent but I am learning to let my kids be. If it does not harm them and will help them, who am I to deter them?

I have learnt to appreciate Maggie more. She is excellent with kids and it is obvious they love and respect her. A LOT. She loves them too, see how she just took them to have measurements taken and even picked the clothes herself. Men the kids do not even talk back at her (unlike me). Yani, I do not know how I can ever repay her for the great job she is doing with my kids.

I have also learnt that written education is not everything. In many of the Moms groups I am in, mothers are looking for young, educated help for their kids and a whole endless list of perfect qualities they must have. Ours was only for Maggie to love and care for our kids and she has done a fabulous job, without even knowing how to read. Yes, you read me right. The first time she told me she was semi –literate I thought she was joking but yes, she cannot read written instructions. And yes, she was able to measure formula well and has never mixed up the kids’ medication.

I have learnt to be patient. Maggie is much older than H and I. We have learnt to take some things in stride and overlook some, because nobody is perfect in this world. And she is much wiser than us, raised more kids than us and lived longer than us, so on some issues, she knows best and me and my degree certificates just take a back seat. She also cooks porridge better than me, according to my angels 🙂

This has also challenged me on the gender stereotypes we have, and I am still working on this. We have exposed both kids to the same environment, they both tinker with their grandpa on the cars he is working on, both help in house chores including the cooking, both help out in the shamba, both play with the same toys (they have full blown tea parties) but Njeri just gravitated towards household chores. I need to dust off my developmental psychology notes as I am lost on this. Have we subconsciously taught them gender roles or is it just Njeri growing into her gender identity? Leo has more blurred lines but you will hear him say some things are not for boys, or for girls.

Raising kids is a whole degree in psychology I tell you.

PROCESS OF BUYING LAND IN KENYA

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There have been complaints on this page on people buying land but not receiving the title deed from the seller. In the spirit of buyer beware, allow me to take the members through the legal process of acquiring land in Kenya.

Firstly, it is not the seller’s onus to process the title deed for the buyer. That should be done by the buyer himself or through his Lawyer.

Before acquiring a piece of Land, there are some pre-requisites which you need to adhere to so that the land you buy is legitimate and you don’t end up losing your heard earned cash.

Below, I will take you step by step on the process you need to follow to acquire land. In every land deal, It is highly recommended that you use a Lawyer. It is costly but safest. BY ALL MEANS NEVER CUT CORNERS.

1. Conduct a site visit

Identify…

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Election Season +254

A few months ago we had a sermon series in Church about the role of a Christian in the political space. There was a phrase, “When Good People do Nothing, Evil prevails.”
Out of that we were challenged; if you are not happy with the status quo and have the means and conviction to do so, run. Run for office and change things from within. That sermon made an impact on many of us. For Samantha Maina, running for MCA in Kileleshwa Ward, that was a sign. She was frustrated by a couple of potholes outside her home for the longest time, and had tried to engage the current MCA but to no avail. So she decided to run and change things from within. Boniface Mwangi announced his candidature for Starehe constituency after years of activism. You may not agree with him, but he has also taken a necessary step to change things from within.

Many of us do not have the courage to do so, but we can support those who do. Look around you guys. We cannot afford to be apathetic. We all have an active role to play in our country’s decision making process. Refuse to conform, be concerned for ALL, and have the courage to intervene.
We need to make an effort to understand each other’s differences and appreciate our diversity. We have to seek healing and reconciliation and begin to trust one another again.

Our leaders are there to SERVE us. Let that sink in guys, SERVE US. We are the ones who employ them. So look around you, examine all those running for office around you. Look at the MCA candidates, those running for MP, Women’s rep, Senator, Governor and President. Do they have manifestos? They should, every one of them, because that is the only way you as a voter will know what they stand for and what you should hold them accountable to for the next five years. Especially MCA, MP and Governor, The buck stops with them. How will they manage the funds allocated from Central government? How accessible will they be? What are their plans for the county? Etc. Devolution is new to us and the past five years have shown us the loopholes that need to be sealed. Examine the candidates guys. Wachambue kabisa.

We also need to examine ourselves as voters. Hii mambo ya kuuza kura and benefiting from some candidates’ handouts needs to stop!
Dagoretti South constituents, I am looking at you. Eh! Dennis alituacha, wanted to run for Nairobi governor saw he could not make it, ran back to the constituency, lost Jubilee nomination, now splurging funds east, west, north and south so he can retain his seat. Folks, do you seriously think he has our best interests at heart? Think deep and hard about it, in fact go stand outside his recent development something “meadows” hapo Naivasha road and think hard and deep if he has the constituents’ best interests at heart when he says he wants to retain his seat. Ha!
As for our governor , the least said the better, let’s just say the suit doesn’t hide the thuggery. Women’s Rep, what is that again? Senator? No comment. President? None of these so called “two horses” deserve to lead. None. Do you honestly think they have our best interests at heart? Really? Really? Think hard and deep. And there are OTHER candidates by the way.

We cannot afford to be apathetic guys. We have a responsibility and a role to play as the citizens of this country we need to be strong and courageous enough to make a difference. So we have until Monday to read those manifestos and chambua those running for office in our counties. Tulale unono, tuchaguane Tuesday kwa Amani. Vote wisely peeps!

Moroccan Beef- My style.

My dearest friends, my love for potatoes is no secret. I love them boiled, baked, fried, stewed…

It has been a while since I shared a recipe so here goes last night’s dinner.

My take on a Moroccan Beef stew, accompanied by potato wedges and coleslaw.

Moroccan Beef Stew

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg beef, cubed
  • 2 onions
  • 1tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves mixed together
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt to taste

Method.

  • Heat oil, add meat and saute for about 15 minutes till it turns a beautiful brown colour.
  • Add onions and mix well till soft, then add the ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell is gone.
  • Add the ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, mix well but make sure they do not burn.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes, honey, paprika, salt and water. Stir everything well and bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer for an hour when covered.
  • End result is a thick rich stew, serve with starch of choice.

PS: You can add raisins or dried apricots when done, then let it simmer for 15 more minutes uncovered.

For my potatoes, I parboiled them with garlic and salt then pan fried to get the crispy and charred taste. Served sprinkled with salt and freshly ground black pepper. My coleslaw is the easiest, shredded cabbage and carrots, salad cream and a bit of sugar to enhance the flavour.

Kindly try it out and let me know how yours turned out. 🙂

 

It Takes a Village.

This past Saturday, H and I attended a parenting forum that had been organized by one of our Church departments. They had sent out texts about three weeks earlier and has asked folks to RSVP to confirm attendance.

It was an early meeting, from 8-11am, So we were able to plan that day well in advance to be there on time. Not much information had been given, but since it had been billed as an open and free parenting forum, I assumed many parents would sign up. Wrong. We were exactly 12 people. TWELVE! Out of a church with many members, most of whom are young parents. TWELVE. And these twelve included the facilitators and church staff present. Never mind that the texts had been sent to all church members with kids aged 12 and below. TWELVE. To say I was shocked and disappointed is an understatement. I know some had work and urgent commitments but 12 is such a low number.

Anyway, those who did not come missed out on a lot. The forum was basically an open discussion on how we are raising the children we have now, to be the proper adults of the future.

A lot has changed in the world culturally, socially, technologically, scientifically, education wise, but there are still core issues that need to be ingrained in the children we are raising.

  • What values are we instilling in them, and how will they be able to maintain those values? Exposure is key, but there have to be boundaries set on the same.
  • What determines our children’s self-worth? How will they know who they are? From a young age, they are taught everyone is a winner, till they grow a bit older and realize it does not always work that way. We need to start celebrating the right successes in them and with them.
  • Do our children have a relationship with God? This is taught by the parents, not the Sunday school teachers. They need to know how to pray and that God answers prayers. God does not make mistakes, and He listens, even if He does not answer immediately.

Role modeling.

Are we appropriate role models? Who are your children’s role models? In our parents’ time, our aunties and uncles, even neighbours had a right to call us out when we did wrong. It is not the same these days. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” has changed, or is no longer even valid in some places.

Fact is, as parents we NEED that village. You need fellow parents to encourage you, your child needs village members to learn from as you may not be able to do it all. You could have a grandparent, an auntie, an older cousin and an older friend who know your values, agree with them and are able to impart the same to your children in a way that it does not seem to come from you directly. There was even a great example given to observe how our children treat those younger than them, who look up to them. Observing such interactions speaks volumes on what our children are learning from us. Remember the saying, “Monkey say, monkey do?”

We need to be deliberate and intentional about the people around our children.

Transferable Skills

There are those things we can be able to teach our children to equip them for the world ahead:-

  • Communication skills. Both verbal and non-verbal. When we teach them how to communicate, they are able to express themselves successfully. For younger ones, understand but do not encourage the tantrums.
  • Taking Initiative. Do not decide everything for your child. Allow them to verbalize what they want.
  • Creativity. That is, encourage free flow and expression of the ideas they come up with. Do not schedule their every minute, it is alright to allow them to get bored a bit.
  • Integrity. How do we handle the first “white lie?” Do we lie to them?
  • Attitude. “Talk to the hand” should be nipped in the bud as soon as possible, they need to learn how to have the right attitude.
  • Work Ethic. Always think about the adult your child will become. Let them not think that work tires and is a drudge. Work can be fun, work is rewarding. Encourage them to learn and enjoy work.
  • Team Work. Teach them how to work within a team, how to partner with others. How to interact well with others. Let each have a turn in doing something and celebrate the joint successes.
  • Leadership.How to lead themselves and lead others. Also comes in with patience, honesty, attitude, taking initiative and working well in a team.
  • Time management. We need to teach them how to divide time between different things. Schedule but do not overdo it. Routines are good and teach them there is a time for play, for chores, for others, etc.
  • Listening skills. Reading to them hones their listening skills. Also listen to them as a parent, expect a response from them to know whether they are paying attention or not. Ask them if they understand what you have said. Use age appropriate language and terms so as not to confuse them.
  • Personal Development. Appreciate the milestones. (Do not reward) Make them look forward to each stage of development.
  • Research and Critical thinking. Let them find solutions, do not always give them the right answers.
  • Information Technology. Let them know what it entails just limit the exposure.

There was a lot more and some of these skills were expounded in detail that each would probably need a blog post on its own.

It was a great session, H and I as well as the other parents in session learnt so much and agreed to another forum in future, but most importantly, agreed to share with others what we learnt.

It is never too early to prepare your child for the adult they will become in the future. We are not just raising future scientists, teachers, politicians, engineers, chefs, musicians etc. We are also raising future fathers, mothers, aunties, uncles, workers, and role models.

As I look at our two children right now and how H and I are raising them, we are now conscious that what we may not nip now, will rear its ugly head in a few years, and what we water now, will blossom wonderfully in a few years too.

Have you been to any parenting forum? How was your experience?

The Folly of Being Human

2017 is turning out to a very interesting year. Interesting and revealing. Both about myself and other people too.

It has had its highs, but the lows have faithfully trudged along too, unwilling to be left out.

A lot of things have been revealed about people close to myself, both consciously and unconsciously, and I am learning to guard my heart. It is not easy but it has to be done.

Human beings are generally good, but some of us are downright evil, conniving, jealous, envious, just bad. To be kindhearted, a person of integrity, humble and just have a good heart is turning out to be a tall order for many.

Why are we not happy for each others’ successes? Why do we feel like we always have to put each other in a box and clamp down real quick and fast on the other person as they try to break free of what we are constricting them to be?

You think you have real friends or support from family? Try being at your lowest….. even better, try being at your highest and see how quick some will drag you down. 19554823_1105430506259451_5948960505584611437_n

 

 

My Java Relationship

I know I am not the only one in this town who has an abusive relationship with Java House.

Java, our beloved coffee house that used to have real nice brownies, great pepper steaks, fries and great coffee to boot.

Despite lousy service, lowered standards, slugs/ worms in salad, we still trudge back to Java as it has sentimental value to many of us. For some, it was the first place you had that great date (that ended in marriage a few years later), where you would meet friends and catch up over chocolatey milkshakes, prepare presentations over giant samosas. Sigh. Those were the days.

Java is still a great meeting place but to be honest the standards are not the same. Whether this has to do with the rapid expansion, or the changing of investors, who knows? But I know I am not the only one who misses the old Java.

Recent incidents have just made me mad. From two cockroaches at their sister outlet, delayed and orders delivered piecemeal, (the whole brunch ended up being on the house courtesy of / due to intervention by their marketing manager who was present at the time), soup overloaded with white pepper at Java Yaya, what is not happening to this source of pride for many Nairobians? Despite this, my two feet and silly brain keep returning.

Earlier today, H and I decided to have lunch with Njeri at their Upper Hill Branch. We have been there a few times before with nothing wrong happening. But today, despite it not being busy, we sat a cool fifteen minutes without being served. Oh, we had a menu on the table and Njeri had started her coloring but none of their staff bothered to come pick our orders.  A cool fifteen minutes with a hungry kindergartner and two hungry adults. Sigh.  One of their waitresses passed by three times, without a pause. Three couples got served before us. Fifteen minutes was too long a time to wait. So when the same waitress passed by I had to stand in her way to get her attention, but H was not having it, he had already picked our stuff and headed out. The waitress rushed to get the manager who followed me out begging us to come back that she would serve us ourselves. Ooook, I asked her why she would want to serve us, if her staff were not bothered and anyway, it was not going be a pleasant experience after my daughter asked “Why do they not want to serve us?”

How did I know it was fifteen minutes? I had my phone timer set as we had an order at a nearby chemist that we had been told will take fifteen minutes to be ready.

Am I done with Java House yet? How much more can I take? I do not know 😦