Shift to New Site

Good morning everyone,

I would like to thank you for following this blog and for your contribution to my posts. You really are the best! ūüôā

It is because of this contribution that I felt the need to further organize my posts on a better platform.

I would therefore like to inform you that this blog has now moved to mwikali.com. I take this opportunity to invite you to subscribe and read my posts there.

Thank you once again and I look forward to interacting with you on mwikali.com

This will be the last blog post on this site.

Love,

Mwikali.

Fathers Day Could be Tragic

Fathers-Day

It is the one day (apart from his birthday) when your dad has the right to terrorize all his loved ones with sky high demands. It is also the one day when mothers have to be extra nice to their other halves, because men do not get other holidays when they can walk around the kitchen in underwear celebrating the milestones of fatherhood/husband-hood. It’s a real snapper, this fathers day thing.

Personally, I like fathers day because it reminds me just how much my father sacrifices each day to see me happy and in good health. When I was an undergraduate student, fathers day was a painful reminder that I needed to stop squandering my father’s hard earned cash on parties and alcohol. Eventually I did quit, but that’s another day’s discussion.

Though Fathers Day is an international sensation with nothing but wisps of joy in the air, sometimes it swoops in and shoves itself down our throats leaving a quinine aftertaste. I’ll tell you why.

A few months ago, my father began calling me often. You see, this is strange behavior if you consider that my dad is quite the introvert. He is the kind of guy who calls once a fortnight to check up on how I’m doing. And I get it because I am almost twenty five now. I don’t need that much goading anymore.

Anyway, the calling began and the intervals between calls got shorter. During our conversations, he talked a great deal about the importance of family, and how we all needed to meet to discuss the way forward with regard to family investment projects. The charisma in his voice mirrored a focused, revolutionary man. Probably the man my mother fell in love with all those decades ago. Halfway through those decades ago, however, my parents disagreed on pretty important stuff (I bet) and filed for divorce.

It has now been five years since our family met together in one sitting. It has also been more than seven years since some members of this same family spoke. I am worried therefore, if this same family will be able to agree on ‘investment projects’, now that everyone is hoping for a piece in the gigantic pie we want to bake.

That said, the numerous telephone conversations between my father and I recently culminated in a meeting. My father and mother met after all those years and that was pretty cool. They were mature about it and even shared a mobile phone when they called me to announce this unbelievable event. I have to admit I am very proud of them.

Later, my mother returned to the city she now lives in and called to let me know she had arrived safely. In addition, she gave me a few highlights on the “meeting” (date) she had with dad. The next few minutes of our telephone call froze me to the core. ¬†My father told her he went to the doctor after a growth began emerging from his cheek and they told him he’s got lymphoma. I didn’t know how to respond. I still don’t know what to think. Fathers Day is suddenly tragic for me. He is the best father ever, even though he’s got his faults. I hope he makes it out of this. I hope we all make it out of this.

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Worst Case Scenario

I wonder what our office electrician does when everyone’s electricity is functioning just fine. Every time I call him to inspect one issue or another, he greets me enthusiastically before following me to the matter at hand. And that’s the problem. Right there. After this jovial hello, right then, the conversation stops. Instantly, the curtain of his grand salutation is lifted to reveal an otherwise bored and probably lifeless individual. My attempts to create humor don’t do any good either because, usually, the joke becomes:

1. Too dry to be swallowed, OR

2. Too wet and therefore slippery/ambiguous

While driving back to the office last week, my friend and I happened to spot our now famous electrician (this post may be the most famous he will ever get) creeping through the winding stone paved walkways of the shopping center, seemingly half drunk. I remember asking myself what his best day looked like (from the outside). Did his best day translate to a late night drinking at a dingy rat infested pub? Or did it mean watching football in his tiny living room while his wife sweated in the kitchen? Had the man ever travelled to a place with different people -people who lived healthier and wiser- or was he comfortable with the south side of Nairobi? What did the man define his worst day to be? Was it the result of bad debt after a day spent fixing short circuits in South-of-Nairobi homes? Was it when he got home to find his teenage daughter waiting with a letter from the headmistress demanding that school fees be paid? Was that the worst it could get?

Everyone has a worst case scenario embossed in their brains; a situation that may potentially topple life’s balance as they know it. One thing I’ve found in common with all worst case scenarios is that they revolve around loss. This loss may be death of a loved one, losing a source of income, departure of friends and family or even a lost pet.

Just yesterday, a friend told me that when he gets stuck in traffic on his way home from work engagements, he looks at pedestrians plodding home in the muddy winter of June and thinks, “What’s his story?” Or “What Africa does that girl in jeans represent? What are her aspirations and why are they so different from her mother’s?” These questions reminded me that everyone has a story. Only an unfertilized egg lacks a story. As it sits there floating in my ovaries, it’s the only thing waiting for a story to happen to it. It’s the only thing wondering what life would be like on a good day, and what a worst case scenario looks like.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I am tormented by the uncertainty of my future. That’s turning out to be a worst case scenario, because I am a slow transitioner(if that’s even a word). ¬†I like to over think my schedules and choices. I like to know what will happen next week, next month, next year. I like to be ahead. For the first time in a long time, I feel left afloat an infinite sea. There are no islands, no gulls flying overhead, nothing. ¬†I will soon be tackling new challenges. I have to learn to swim and that scares me.

Rosenthal and The Social Circle

According to the Rosenthal effect, also called the Pygmalion effect, greater expectation placed upon people results in better performance. Having attended the Canon Kenya Photography Awards 2015, I agree that pressure sometimes leads to some kind of genius, be it creative or scientific.

When we arrived at the event which was convened yesterday at KICC, the first thing I realized was that I was left out of the memo which stated that the event would be black tie. I can’t say I was dressed terribly, but my clothes had definitely drifted away from the theme, like palm tree debris pulled into the ocean by an evening tide.That was blunder number one.

Blunder number two happened when I walked away from my best friend to the cocktail section. I scanned the room looking for a familiar face but eventually it dawned that most of the people I knew were not guests; they were working the event. ¬†Spotting some girls I had met during the struggle to find the ladies room earlier on, I went to their table and requested that I stand there while I waited for my friends. Unfortunately, no “friends” came so I hurriedly finished my cocktail and walked awkwardly ¬†to the picture display section. I am definitely sure those girls laughed behind my back.

The pressure was escalating and anytime now the lava of my worries would escape the tiny craters of my goosebumpy skin in form of cold sweat. I had to find something interesting and useful to do before anyone noticed how out-of-place I felt. After speaking with Caroline on an upcoming project and seeking her wise counsel on the same, it became clear that moments like these were rare and as such, I needed to capture them.

The nuts, bolts and wheels of my brain went to work and before I knew it, I was taking selfies with the stars.  Yes, selfies. This might seem a bit odd owing to the fact that I was in a sophisticated gathering of people who had better things to do than take pictures. I decided to have a whack at it even though a little voice warned that this venture may backfire in my face at any moment. So off I went, pulling out my Huawei in front of every dignitary I could find.

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Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of Kenya

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Jacques Pitteloud, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya

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Boniface Mwangi, Social Political Activist and Founder Pawa 254

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Alice Oldenburg, Canon Photographer of the Year 2015

   

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Mutua Matheka, Award Winning Creative Photographer

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Sylvia Gichia, Director Kuona Trust

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Peter Ndung’u Kamau, People’s Choice Award Winner

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Samwel Soko, Production Director at Lightbox Africa

The Rosenthal effect was clearly at work, igniting and propelling increased social interactions between little old introverted me and the mavericks, simply because there was an aura of pressure; the pressure to be remembered by the great.

What’s great about February?

Well, a lot actually. First, the weather is pretty neat for weddings and that means I’m enjoying being in the field this time of year. My job can get pretty dull in the cold months because apart from the pinch in my bones, newlyweds seem so happy that I tend to feel rather empty. It’s a dreadful feeling.

Secondly, It’s the month of love and with it comes a strange excitement. Said excitement usually leaves me super spent by night time and that means when I sleep, I sleep like a baby.

Most importantly, this is the one month when I appreciate my reading slump. Because of the above slump, I have been able to explore new things. For instance, I have picked up French, selfies and collage-making.

La semaine prochaine nous parlerons plus! Hopefully my reader’s block will fade before the short rains begin late March. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. That’s what I’ll be up to. That and lots of coffee.

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