where are those songs?

‘Where are those songs’ is a poem by Micere Githae Mugo (1972) that I like and find inspirational especially in light of a quest for memory and recovery of once remembered things. It starts off a bit despondent, the narrator is seeking songs and memories only to find them lost- unremembered. But it ends on…

kwani? literary festival – gems

If you are familiar with African writing, then you know that the question of what language to write in, and how to justify your choice, if not to others most certainly to yourself, is one often asked. It is also a question that spills into other spheres of life and drags along with it…

on poetry, and agosín’s ‘i lived on butterfly hill’

“Poetry is a violence from within that protects us from a violence without” Wallace Stevens One evening many years ago, I stood up in a modestly filled room at the Goethe Institut, Nairobi, walked somewhat unsurely to a seat at the front and read some poems from my ‘Pink book’ notebook collection of poetry. The…

an ode to brasilândia

What is Brasilândia? A many layered thing- literally. A mix of textures, colours, sounds, “lá tudo nublado, aqui tudo colorido” as my host sister put it, The day she took me on a walk Through her colourful neighbourhood. A slice of life all in one short street. Where the church and local pub vie for…

why make one?

“Why make one when you can buy one? Why bother with all this wood-hammer business, Wouldn’t it be easier to go to the shop and buy one?!” My host brother in Brazil, Dimas, and I made a shoe rack from pieces of discarded wood he found at a dump on his way home. While we…

at the agricultural show: reflections on research to action

A few weeks back I went to the agricultural show in Kisii town in Western Kenya as part of an exhibit combining soapstone sculptures (something Kisii is famous for) and rock art. I had the chance to walk around to other exhibits, and this time I was more interested than in my younger days when…

on travels and life

I’ve been back home for the past few months, and between applying for school, looking for a job, managing family pressures and expectations, as well as finding ways to share all I have learnt with the world, I have had to learn patience. A friend from IHP used to quote me a line from the…

at a swap fair in granja viana

I attended the monthly swap fair organised by Transition Granja Viana, a Transition Initiative in greater São Paulo. According to them, these (now weekly) swap fairs are the greatest success of the group!

a feira de troca em granja viana

Read the English version here A Issa mora em Granja Viana e é uma das representantes do Transition Granja Viana. Ela acha que a feira de troca é o mais grande sucesso do grupo Transition. Ela me contou isso quando estávamos dirigindo pra casa dela num sábado para aproveitar este evento, nomeado Eco Feira, bem…

bartering for sustainability

A reflection on a culture of exchange as I experienced it in São Paulo, and on how bartering contributes to an alternative value system- featured on This Big City.