msafiri hakuna barabara – machado in kiswahili

Msafiri, nyayo zako Ndizo barabara, sio vinginevyo; Msafiri, barabara haipo, Hutengenezwa kwa kutembea. Kwa kutembea watengeneza njia, Na ukiangaza macho nyuma Utayaona mandhari ambayo katu Hutarudi kuyapitia. Msafiri, hakuna barabara, Bali mawimbi baharini. ya Antonio Machado imetafsiriwa na Wangũi Kamonji Linapatikana hapa katika Kiingereza na Kihispania Huku nikifanya juhudi ya kulitafsiri shairi hili katika Gĩgĩkũyũ…

environmental lessons

-Rosemary likes sunshine, so we planted it over there where it’ll get lots of it- Interwoven with observations about where the sun rises and sets, -it rises on that side and sets on that other one- an explorations of smells: of soil, of compost, -compost contains dung from a cow or a horse- The fear…

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…

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…

a year later: on being ‘back’

It has recently been making itself known to me that it is a year since I finished my travels on my fellowship. Perhaps it’s because it’s now getting warmer in Nairobi- and it had been a while since I was in one place long enough to see all the changes in weather over a period…

nairobi in winter

This cold that takes residence in, chills, and sets your bones. You’re seated inside but you might as well have been walking outside in a Wellesley winter. Seated in these stone houses: borrowed, gifted, stolen, forced- they were not meant for the unwarmed cold. They come with chimneys, diligently built into every sitting room. And…

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…

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…

first night

We walked up, We kept walking up. I was sure I would never leave the place- What? And suffer this treacherous walk again? No way. Slightly drunk- it was the holidays- he stumblingly stopped, at a dark spot on the curved road. Dark because of the ravine, from which shot up tall tall trees. Dark…

memory making

We curate our own experiences. Our lives. So that they don’t say we were never here, we did not exist. We were here. We are here. I was noticing how at every event held at La Escuelita, they were always taking photographs, some which would end up in the annual newspaper/magazine, La Calavera, that they…

a meeting

Drinks in hand, Director with lives in his as well. Gestor, hopes and dreams in his- And they fly everywhere- An effort at transferring these intangible tangibilities Into our hands, into the director’s. Young man, bright looking- So much responsibility. Eco-hotel. Tourists. Sips. Stories. Of a land that rejected those who had left it. Somos…