Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Found Photos: Haiti

Going through photos in my computer and I find these. Then I realise it has been a year since I was in Haiti. It was a very intense experience for me, going there just after the earthquake and seeing the people struggle to rebuild their lives. I wrote a post about my experience here , here and here.

So for now I leave you with some more pics of what I saw there!

Port Au Prince, people struggling to rebuild their lives

Public transport in Haiti, equivalent to what in Kenya we refer to as matatus. Here they are called tap tap, apparently from the noise the tout makes by tapping a coin to the body of the bus as they signal the driver to stop

The Sri Lankan UN soldiers that manned Jacmel. I became good friends with the commander as he loaned us a truck for the film screenings

Yes, space for putting up tents was at a minimum, so some put up tents in the middle of the road!


Port Au Prince

FilmAid screenings

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Of Weddings And How I Got Married (Or Was Married Off)

Ok, this is how it works here: Boy meets girl and soon proposes to her. He is either rejected or accepted. If accepted, girl insists on a memorable wedding ceremony. My phone rings and I am informed that a committee is being put in place to organize the wedding. As a committee member, you are committed to contribute a certain fixed figure, let's say 10,000 shillings. You can even be compelled to spend a certain amount of money on the attire to wear that day. You are also required to mobilize friends to contribute to this wedding on top of being assigned some work, like organizing transport for all and sundry, making sure food and refreshments are catered for etc. By the time the wedding is done, you have spent unquantifiable amount of time on this wedding, not to mention a fortune. And because you will have fallen short of the money required to pull it off, the bride and groom could have borrowed money to finance the shortfall. When back from their honeymoon, they will be scratching their heads on how to deal with the debts.

This is a typical scenario of weddings in this country. Except the part where I receive a call to be a committee member. This is because my relatives and friends know better than to call me to be part of a wedding committee. They all know that I will either decline, or if forcefully prevailed upon, I will simply go awol/mia. And I normally have my standard line: I have not had a wedding ceremony, not because I don't want to but because I cannot afford, so why pay for someone else' wedding? Of course even if I could afford to I would not want to (but my wife does not know this). It is a discussion that I have agreed to disagree on with many friends but my position is that one should organize a wedding that they can afford. I have never seen the need to burden everybody else with the cost of a lavish wedding if you cannot afford it.

A lavish wedding does not necessarily make a marriage. But all the glitzy images of weddings on TV are making all the women yearn for the same, not necessarily knowing that those are either the filthy rich or it is just a soap opera set. I know most of the women will vehemently disagree with me, but my wife will not. She will look at that budget and tell me, why don't we buy a piece of land and build a house? I did not need to have a lavish wedding to marry my wife. I did not even go down on my knees to propose. None of us wears a wedding ring.

After going out with her for sometimes, I simply told her that if it too late to get back to her place she could spend the night at my place (with some selfish intentions I must admit). But because she did not want the rest of the people at her place to know she had spent the night at my place, she would get up to go home very early in the morning. The only hitch with this arrangement was that I did not have the keys to the compound gate and because we did not want to wake up the rest of the people we shared the compound with, she had to jump over the fence. I think she got tired of jumping over the fence every weekend so she eventually just moved in. And then I was forced to explain to her folks why she was living at my place. And here we are many years later. With two kids (my first born came as a result of the fence jumping episodes).

This weekend I attended the wedding of a dear cousin. All I did was show up at the wedding and enjoy. She did not invite me to be in the committee, which was a good thing as I might not have had the guts to say no given that I hold her in high esteem. I wish her all the best

I would be interested in hearing your take on weddings...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kris & Rita: Fallen Angels

I recently came across this video. When I was a kid I liked this song, we had a cassette album of the UNICEF concert and this was my favorite song in it. Now it sounds a bit cheesy because I am older but anyway, I just thought I would share it

And for those who love to sing along, below are the lyrics as well!

Fallen Angels

It's sad to see we may never be the way we were before
We don't believe in the magic of the music anymore
And everything's older now and colder and grey
Oh darling I believe there's got to be a better way
It seems to me we've forgotten how to let our feelings show
We seem to be so much farther from the dreams we used to know
And too many more my friends are dying today
Oh darling I believe there's got to be a better way
Listen to the fallen angels learning how to spread their wings
Now will they make it all alone
Look into the children's laughter tell me what tomorrw brings
For those so far away from home
I can say I'm not sorry for the things we tried to be
But I'm afraid what we're headin' toward is up to you and me
(Cause we got a choice) the future is ours to see
(We got a chance) to change today
Oh darling don't you believe there's got to be a better way
Cause we got a choice (the future is ours to see)
We got a chance to change today
Oh I believe together there can be a better way
Oh if we believe together there can be a better way