Friday, April 30, 2010

conversations with God

I had a dream where I was having a conversation with God. I was actually complaining, saying I don’t know why some people are so extraordinary yet I am so average. I told God you bless some people with everything. Money, talent, ambition etc.

God looked at me and “said take my hand, child”. He led me to a room with a huge treasure chest and told me open it. I thought I'd find gold or silver. Something to make me stand out from the crowd.

I was surprised at what I found. The treasure chest was deep so I couldn’t see everything. There was a sling with five stones, a net, a wooden staff, some scrolls, a makeup bag, a jaw bone, a Technicolor coat, a basket with five small fish and five small loaves of bread among other things.

I turned to God and asked, “why are you showing me these? I want something that will make me extraordinary. Not this boring things that cant help me.”

“Patience my child,” God told me. “The right thing in the right hands can turn someone from the ordinary person they were to an extraordinary person who can achieve a great purpose.”

He pointed at various items.

“David used the sling with five stones to kill Goliath the giant fierce warrior of the philistines.

Samson used the jawbone of a donkey to kill hundreds of philistines.

Moses used a wooden staff to strike water from a rock and to perform other miracles for the Israelites.

Esther used her beauty to save the people of Israel.

Joseph used his dreams to save the nation of Egypt from hunger and ultimately his family.

The disciples used their skills as fishermen to feed Jesus the messiah.

The small boy gave all of his lunch to the disciples and this was turned into food for a crowd of thousands.

Paul used his writing skills to write letters of encouragement to people and the churches and ultimately become the author of two thirds of the New Testament.”

God said to me, “what turns someone into an extra-ordinary person is using what they have to do the best they can for me.”

He told me, “open your hands and look what’s in them.”

I opened my hands. In one hand I found pen and paper and in the other hand a basket of fruits.

I asked God, “what does this mean?”

God said, “the pen and paper is your talent which you can use to turn from the ordinary to extraordinary. The fruits are a symbol of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. They will help you achieve your purpose.”

After that I woke up and pondered on what I had seen in my dream. I realised that I was the one holding myself from being extraordinary. So I prayed and told God to take my hand in his and make me extra-ordinary through my talents.


Monday, April 26, 2010


Am afraid.
I know I shouldnt say it out loud,
Shouldn't show weakness.
These are things you tell yourself in the dark.
Dark recesses of the mind.

Am afraid of failing,
Falling to the ground.
Am so far from the ideal,
From where I thought I'd be now.

Seem to be on the snail's track,
While others are on the fast horse truck.

Am drowning.
Can't get my head above water.
Struggling to save my life by swimming against the tides
but the whirlpools they get me,
toss and turn me,
barter me against the sharp rocks.

Am bleeding and drowning,
Am afraid because I dont know if I have the will to fight on,
to get to a better place.
Will i drown in the tides of destiny.

Raylitpoems 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I aspire

I aspire, to jump.
To reach for impossible dreams that have settled in the clouds.
Let it rain, let the clouds give up their load.
Make the ground wet with the tears from my eyes
When i see what i have planted bear fruit.
Dont want a barren tree,
that bears no fruit or grows bitter unpaletable food.
Want the fruits of my labour to be sweet.
I aspire for sweet dreams to be turned into solid blocks of success.
I aspire to jump, to soar in the air.
Build castles in the sky that are made of my aspirations,
that i will live in when i make solid my dreams.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Something inside is broken, crushed by life and its many minions called disappointment, favoritism, unfair treatment and bad luck. Spirit has bended over so much backbone has cracked and spirit walks on crutches and sumtimes a borrowed wheelchair. Irony is spirit is so broken it doesnt have spirit to heal, to walk again on upright feet. On the surface things are working, movement is fluid. Brain functions like a scratched record, pausing for hours or minutes on one bit unable to move on to the next sequence, next scene. Heart it runs but it doesnt have the steam , the power to dream, to co-ordinate with brain to create dreams and maps on how to get there. Sumthing inside is broken, enslaved spirit, scratchy mind, powerless heart. Sumthing's not right but no will to fight. Broken.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beyond death

There's this hole in my heart where your love used to be. And it cant be filled.

There's this pain that i feel, and it cant be healed.

There are memories that play like a movie in my mind and they make me laugh or cry.

The things you taught me that now help me stand tall.

I mourn the man you were. Kind, humble, caring yet stern when needed.

How can I forget the many nights in hospital when you held my hand when I struggled to breath,
when you soothed me and told me I would be alright.

That i would get through this, that no matter how bad i thought things were I could get beyond it.

Somethings though you cant get over. Like when the grime gripper comes, takes and rips your heart apart.I feel anguish because there are times i would have loved you to hold my hand but you werent there. My mind understands but my heart, my heart bleeds.

No love, no man, no one can replace you. Replace that blood and love connection.

You are still my hero, the man i look up to. Death cannot end the love we had and have. You were, are and will always be my Dad, and i will always be Daddy's little Gal.

We will live through you and you will live through us. Your part of me, of us. In blood, in DNA, in love.

My heart is yours for all time. My love for you shall soar, I send it to you on the wind and hope that its warmth shall reach you beyond death.

Love - hate

I love you but I hate you sumtimes.

When you dont call and you said you would. When i send you texts and you dont reply. When you're supposed to spend time with me but you end up being late because of doing stuff, or hanging out with the boys. Or sumtimes you dont turn up at all and you break my heart.

I hate how you say you will spent time with your child yet your always too busy yet you make time even for non criticial things.

You take me for granted, never noting that everthing you do that makes me mad or cry is just another deadly stab in our relationship. The devil is in the details and you aint seeing them.

I dont want to hate you but the things you do, they slowly change love into indifference or hate.

Am just a gal and you are just a boy. We are women and you are men.

Dont be to hard, too much of a man that you cant bend to do some little things that make me happy. Because you dont bend our relationship breaks into little pieces that cannot be put back together.

I love you yet I hate you for breaking my heart.

Pesa (Mr. Cash Money)

Why can't I stop thinking about you?
You’re like a virus on my computer (brain),
Refusing to be deleted and running
And rerunning no matter my attempts to delete you.
I think your seducing me with your smell and colour.
At night I dream of you, wanting to hold you
And during the day I chase after you.
It’s like your flirting with me, smiling seductively,
Drawing me closer to you
But when I reach out to touch, you varnish,
It’s like a mirage!
At the beginning of the month, you’re my friend,
At the middle you’re my acquaintance,
By end month we are strangers.
I want you; no I need you so badly.
Don’t want us to be passing ships in the night.
Please be closer then a lover and dearer then a friend.
Come my friend, Pesa and embrace me,
Tukuwe kama chanda na pete.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Am grounded,
Cant fly no more,
Fallen from grace,
Wings clipped.
Cant run on divine spirit,
I used to soar,
Above the oceans and the mountains,
Mounted up like an eagle,
Flying until I could reach the heavens.
Took my eyes off the goal,
Forgot that I need the wind to fly
And tried to soar on my own.
I slipped, dipped and then tipped to the ground.
My angel wings got clipped,
Hurt I cant fly no more,
My pride is in tatters,
I have no where to turn.
Everywhere I look,
They laugh that I have fallen,
Never liked that I could soar,
Others they fly,
Not at all bothered that I am fallen.
I want to rise,
Pick my self up
But am ashamed,
Am damned
By my actions.
I want to fly again
But I don’t know how.
I need new wings,
New hope,
I cant do this on my own,
So this is my S.O.S.

Monday, April 5, 2010



I stand at the doorway and look at the children hurrying off to school. I envy them. I wish I could go to school. Am stuck at home looking after my ailing mother. Besides, there is no money for school uniform or those other fees they ask for in school. My brother gush has gone already, trekking to town to go sell some groundnuts.

My name is Kamau and I am 8 years old. I am a skinny short boy. Chocolate brown in complexion and curly hair. There is nothing special about me. Nothing that would set me apart from any other boy you’d see on the streets. Oh, did I mention I have HIV!

I can see you’re shocked. You didn’t think a young boy like me would have it. I do. We only found out after dad died of AIDS. Mum got sick and went to be tested. She was also advised to have us tested. Njuguna was found to be negative. The rest of us were found to be positive.

Apparently, children of a HIV positive mother can be born without HIV. But it can be passed through breast milk or during childbirth if there is contact of the mother’s blood to the infant. Because my mum did not know she had HIV when my sister and I were born she was unable to prevent us from getting HIV by not breastfeeding.

I am not sick. Well, at least not right now. Sometimes I get sick. Especially when it is flu season. I get really sick because my immunity to fight disease is really low. At the health centre, some caring donors have given out nutritional supplements for children. I take this to boost my immunity. I am not on ARV’s though my sister Njeri was taking some before she died.

I miss her. Njeri. She was so full of life. She loved to play and laugh. Even when she got sick she would joke and laugh. She died two months ago. Her body had become too weak and when she got pneumonia her body could not fight it. One minute she was sick and the next she was gone.

I am scared. I know I am healthy but if Njeri could die just like that after an infection so could I. mum is dying. I know. I stay home to take care of her. She has given up on life. It’s like when Njeri died, mum’ spirit to live died and was buried with my sister.

I go in to check on her. “Mum, mum. Please take some fruits.” I try to persuade her as I seat by her bedside. She was once very beautiful, my mum. She had the most beautiful smile. She used to be fat, round but now she is a skeleton. She does not want to eat and it hard to make her eat. But she has to eat in order to take the drugs she is given at the health centre.

I force her to eat something then I give her medicine. Then I go get my books and go over what Njuguna taught me this morning. Usually we wake at 4 o’clock. That’s the time mum is to take her first dose of medicine. Njuguna makes tea and washed the house and I wash the clothes. We alternate duties on different weeks.

After that Njuguna roasts groundnuts. At around 5 O’clock to 8 O’clock we study. Njuguna does not want me to lose out because we can’t go to school. Since he learnt for three more years then me he teaches me what he learnt. We do maths, geography, english and a few other things. Sometimes the kerosene lamp makes our eyes sting but there is nothing we can do about that.

After that Njuguna goes off to the city. I used to teach Njeri’s her ABC’s when Njuguna was gone. Then we would colour pictures and play games. I look over at Njeri’s stool. I find it so hard to accept she is gone. That I will never see her and play with her again.

Looking around I look for something to do. There is nothing much to do in the house apart from take care of mum. We do not have a TV or radio. Actually, we barely have anything. After dad died we had to sell almost everything to get money for food and rent. Our house is bare. All there is are one bed. The one mum used to sleep in with Njeri. There is a mattress on the floor that I share with Njuguna. Then there is the jiko, a small table, one chair and three stools for us.

I wish sometimes that gush would let me go with him. I used to go with him you know. That was until something happened to some of our friends. Our friends Martin and Otieno used to sell groundnuts with us. One day, a man came with a car and offered them a lift. He asked them where they were going. He offered them a lift because he was going in the same direction.

Martin and Otieno were never seen alive again. They were found five days later. Their bodies dumped in the river. I heard whispers that bad things had been done to them but I didn’t know what. The man was never caught. But after that Njuguna decided it was not safe for me to keep selling. Njeri was also very sick at the time so I went to help out with looking after her because mum was still working at the market.

I spend the day daydreaming about how good it used to be. Checking up on mum as the day progresses. I have to give her medicine on time as the doctor instructed. I also have to try and turn her as she gets sores when she stays in one spot for two long. She already has them even though we try to prevent them. Ugly white sores that remove pus and blood. I have to keep cleaning them and applying a salt solution. We are supposed to use disinfectants like dettol but we aint got no money for that.

Its 5 O’ clock. Time for me to make way to the other side of the slum to go to the market. There I look for fruits and vegetables that are going bad that are going to be thrown away. Most times you have to buy even these from the market women. But they are my mum’s friends. They understand how it is. How things are at home. So they keep some just for me. I don’t have to buy. But I have to clean up for them their spots. Make sure there is no rubbish. Help them repack the produce.

Once in a while we get fresh fruit. We have a friend. Her name is Carol. I sometimes find her at the market. She gives me some fruits and vegetables sometimes. She used to be our neighbour but her parents died in a car accident. There was no one to look after her. Another lady whom people fear called Mama Salma took her in. I don’t know what she does but she seems to have a lot of money. Carol is usually dressed well. Better then when her parents were alive.

There is something different about Carol nowadays. I can’t put my finger on it. She is different. She smiles but it doesn’t reach her eyes. I don’t think she is happy. I don’t understand why and she seems to have everything. Good clothes and she is taken to the salon frequently.

I guess am too young. I don’t understand that there are some things that an eight year old boy would not understand. That the world is a much crueller place then I thought. That some times the things you are forced to do to get money are very bad things.

Today Carol is not at the market so I go home with what I have. I pick some unga ya kupimwa at the kiosk near home. Gush will pay when he comes home. Today the pickings are not some good. I didn’t get any sukuma’s. They are being sold at a premium because there is no supply. I have a rotting cabbage, some over ripe bananas and some half rotten mangoes. I guess this will have to do.

I enter the house to start cooking. I feel hopeless about our situation but I guess there is nothing I can do about it. I don’t think anything will change in the near future. I don’t want to think about mum dying because I don’t know what will happen to us then.

We do the best we can, I and Njuguna with the cards life has dealt us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


My name is Njuguna, gush for my close friends. I know you don’t really see me, am there but its like am invisible. Am the boy who sells you groundnuts on Uhuru highway. Am the short boy with slightly curly hair, a face with pimples and one missing main tooth. I guess you still cant see me. I guess no one does, am just another boy on the streets selling groundnuts.

i sell groundnuts made at home. I wish I could say that my mum makes them but its not her. mum is sick, very sick. She has something people call the mdudu or HIV. In her case I hear the health worker who comes sometimes refer to it as full blown AIDS. I don’t know what that means but I think it means mum is going to die just like dad.

Dad was a truck driver. He used to make a lot of money transporting goods from one area to another. We never used to see most of the money though. Apparently he had a girl in every town and he was well known in all the bars. By the time he would get home most of the money made on the trips would be gone.

Dad started getting sick about 4 years ago. He would complain about his chest and how he was in pain. He went to the hospital and was told he had pneumonia. He was given drugs and for a while he was better. Then he started getting worse. He went to hospital again and was told he had TB. He was also tested for HIV and was found to be positive. This mum found out later. He did not tell mum that he was very sick.

Soon dad could not work. So he came to stay at home. He would always disturb mum to give him money for changaa and mum gave him. I could not understand how mum would give him money yet he never used to give her much money.

By the time dad died 2 years ago he had gotten very very sick and thin. He was coughing blood. Frankly I was scared to go near him. There was this sickening strench on him. Its like he was rotting from inside.

When we went for the funeral they said he died of TB. But someone stepped up and said Dad had AIDS. Mum was so shocked she fainted. After that Mum was never the same old sweet mum that we used to know.

Mum used to sell peas and carrots at the market. In essence she is the one who brought us up. That’s me, my brother Kamau and my sister Njeri. But nerd is dead now. She died two months ago. Apparently she was born with the HIV virus. Mum didn’t know it at the time. It seems her body was too weak to fight the virus. She was 5 years old only.

When Njeri died I think mum gave up the fight for her life. She had been getting sick but she was on medication. They say they are called ARV’s or something. She had been doing well her health was getting better. She had been really sick after she found out about dad but she got better. After all she was the bread winner and she had children to take care of.

When she had not been working we used to be given some food by the neighbours. It wasn’t much but at least we had something to eat. But after awhile the neighbours started grumbling. They had their own children to feed and there was no money to go around.

So mum got off her sick bed and went to hospital to get treatment. It was hard surviving. The thing that hurt the most was walking down the mud corridor to the mud house that we used to live in. my siblings and I would hear the other children laughing and when they would spot us they would scream and run away. I don’t know who told them that you could catch HIV just by being near someone you thought had it.

I used to cry sometimes in the bed that I shared with my siblings. I know I am a boy and am not supposed to cry. But sometimes you have to cry. Cry for your lost childhood and innocence. Cry because you know nothing will ever be the same again. Those children crying in horror at seeing us, that used to be us. Doing the same when we heard someone’s parent had died of AIDS.

“Njugu, njugu. Ten bob” I hold my groundnuts that are wrapped in paper that was waste paper for some bank. You can actually see someone’s account sometimes. I wonder how some of this people have so much money and we have none. Life is so unfair.

“Kijana, why are you not in school?” a motorist with children at the back asks me.

I don’t know what to tell them. I have heard this questions so many times. “Go tell you mum to take you to school.” “School now is free. You should stop selling groundnuts and go to school.”

I sometimes look at this people and think, “Do you think I don’t want to go to school. I want to seat and learn. I want to do math and English. I want to play football with the other children. But where is the money? We don’t even have enough money to buy enough food. Where will the money to buy uniforms come from? I don’t even have good shoes. If we had had money Njeri would not have died. We did not have enough money to buy good food. That’s why she died. No good nutrition.”

In the end I don’t answer. I just say “njugu, njugu. Ten bob”

These people they presume to judge me according to what’s right or wrong to them. But do they understand that some of us have no voice, no money to make things happen. They drive in their air conditioner cars and some in the matatus'. All they worry about is where they are going to drink or taking their children out for a meal of chips and chicken.

Ah chicken. I can’t even remember the last time I tasted chicken. It was years ago. That is now a luxury. We can’t afford it so we can’t eat it. Our menu is the same day in day out. Ugali and sukuma and on alternative days it is githeri. Oh for a taste of chicken or even some meat.

Sometimes on my way walking back home I pass restaurants. I look inside and see people eating with gusto. I wish it was me. But it is not to be.

Every day I wake up at 4. I have to give mum her first dose of medicine for the day. Then I make black tea. We can’t afford anything else. My brother goes to the markets every day when it is closing to ask for rotting or spoilt produce. That’s what we eat in the morning. Decaying mangoes, squashed or over ripe bananas.

After that I prepare the charcoal jiko and roast groundnuts in a pan. While they cool, I wash the house and my brother washes the clothes. Because mum is very sick she tends to spoil the sheets so we have to wash a pair every day. The sheets are now frayed but there is no money for more. I don’t know what we will do when these ones get torn.

After that I take the groundnuts and wrap them. I then put them in a paper bag and start the 2 hour trek to Uhuru highway. Nowadays the competition is very stiff. When I started we weren’t too many. I had to drop out of school to help mum with getting money. I started doing this business one year ago. Mum then was ok and she used to make the groundnuts for me. I think her groundnuts were better then mine.

On getting to Nyayo, I first go seat under the flyover. The journey is usually tiring and I need to rest. There are other boys there and we laugh and tell each other jokes. This is how we syke ourselves for the very long day. Sometimes it gets very hot and it rains hard. But we have no where to go. So we have to stay under the bridge or sell even when it rains. Because our sales determine whether our families will eat tonight.

I come up to your window. You’re driving such a nice car. It is beautiful. I wish I could get a ride. I raise my packets to ask whether you want some. You nod and pull down the window slightly.

“leta za twenty, na ulete kubwa.” You tell me.

You take the packets and give me a twenty bob. You don’t even look at my face. You don’t care. I am not your responsibility. I am faceless. Nobody. Invisible.

Raylitpoems 2010