The Worst Foul

The two young men walked leisurely along one of the busiest street in Nairobi. The city popularly referred to by most people as the – city in the sun. It was around nine in the morning. And it was their second week in the city, having come all the way from down coast.

Omari and Sudi had really enjoyed their stay, and had toured various places of interest since their arrival. Everything they saw to them was amazing. The people hurriedly walking to their destinations and somehow, minding their own business.

Unlike Lamu town, where they came from, Nairobi was absolutely different. They were overwhelmed by the many cars they saw, moving mostly along the three lane avenues. A sight they were not used to back home. This made them even have difficulties, when crossing the roads. For back home, the mode of transport they were used to, was mostly the mules carrying heavy luggage on their backs, striding on narrow streets.

“Oh, look at that car,” Omari said, looking at a sleek Mercedes car passing by. It was a very long one, and a rare one to find where they come from. It was the type usually used by presidents. His face, beaming with great joy, he slowly shook his head in amusement.

“This is wonderful,” his companion, Sudi said. “I’ve never seen this before. This is quite a rare car to me. This is great.”

They both stood to see it pass. It moved on slowly in the midst of the other vehicles. The traffic at that morning hour was so heavy. They watched it as it moved slowly, until it was out of sight. And they turned to go on with their walk.

“Let’s visit one of the markets today,” said Omari , putting his hands in his hip pockets. “I want to see how they are, and see what I can buy.”

“Aah, why can’t we go to the library,” said Sudi, “we can try the markets in our final days here.”

“What is there in the library?” queried Omari.

Sudi looked at him with a smile. “At least we can go and look around, see what magazines and books they have. I love libraries, you know.”

“Ooh,” Omari said with a jeering smile. “I see no point in your view. I don’t see why we should come all the way from Lamu, just to while our time in a library. You see, we are here on a real tour. Not to visit libraries.” He paused. “So far, I know we have visited places, in the one week we have been here. And we still have plenty of time.” He looked at his friend, who had been gazing down, as they walked along the pavements.

“I think libraries will be the last places to visit in our last days here. That is once we are through with all the other places.” Omari concluded.

Sudi did not see any use, arguing with him. Furthermore, it was him who financed almost everything in their tour. It was him, who took him as a companion in the tour to the lovely city. And he saw it wise to side with his suggestions, without any argument.

“Okay,” he said, patting him on his back, “you are the boss,” he smiled, facing him. “I have no objection, we can do as you wish.” He knew, as the people always say; the boss is always right.

They walked in silence for a moment. Crossing the wide roads and streets here and there. Everything they saw was beautiful, and they really liked it. They enjoyed everything. Indeed, this was the real city-in-the sun.

It was a relief to them, when they arrived at Muthurwa Market. They had really had a long walk, and they were tired and very thirsty. The market was jammed with people everywhere. Everyone looked busy doing something. They settled to a nearby kiosk to relax, and have some drinks.

“Hey, hey, hey, this place is far,” said Omari, sitting on a stool with a bottle of soda. They had both ordered the drinks to quench their thirst, and the kiosk owner had served them well.

They relaxed, sipping their drinks as they watched people going around the place. Muthurwa Market was a very big place, with all sorts of businesses. Most traders there, were small time people; in other words, they were the young and up-coming business people, starting with small businesses. They sold almost everything – farm produce, clothes, utensils, and many more merchandize. There were those who sold their wares in the kiosks, scattered everywhere. But most traders displayed their goods on pavements. Some were mobile, moving about with all types of assorted goods, selling them to people all around on their way.

“I think we can now move around, and see what the market has,” Omari said at last, paying their bill. They had relaxed enough and had gathered enough strength to move on.

They slowly left the kiosk, thanking the owner for his service. They moved on. The sun was now slowly taking over the chilly morning. But it was still cool and the two-some, seemed to be on their grounds, and very well relaxed, enjoying themselves. They were indeed so happy with what they saw in the market. Everything to them was so peculiar, and quite different to what they were used to back home in Lamu.

Soon they were at another kiosk, that sold mainly T-shirts, and men’s trousers. And Omari was really moved and attracted by a T-shirt, which was well placed there.

“Let’s have a look at these T-shirts,” he said to Sudi. There were an assorted type of T-shirts, very well arranged in order. “They look so nice to me.” They calmly moved on to the kiosk, and the owner welcomed them, with a very wide grin. He looked so friendly, cheerful, and no one could suspect him of anything.

“Oh, young men,” he said, “You are very much welcomed.” He stepped aside to let them in. He was a huge man, with a protruding belly, gentle and with much respect.

The kiosk was really big, and very well stocked. It had a variety of T-shirts, most carrying the names of big English Premier League soccer teams, well printed on them. And Omari was very much attracted with the red one, with the name of his favorite club —Manchester United. He really loved it, and it was of very good quality.

“How much is this?” he asked the owner.

“That goes for five hundred shillings,” he said, moving towards him, smiling.

“That’s too much,” Omari said, holding the T-shirt, and examining it closely, turning it on both side and feeling the texture with his fingers.

“Oh, my friend,” the owner said, “This is of very high quality .You can hardly get it anywhere, apart from me. This is imported stuff, not the locally made ones you find in most places. No one else here in this Market has this kind of stuff. This is original material, young man.”

“You see,” he continued, holding the other side of the T-shirt. “You can feel the quality yourself.”

“What is the last price?” Omari finally said, a grin on his face, absolutely satisfied with the stuff. It was really good.

“That’s the last price, young man .In fact, I reduced the price just recently, they used to go at eight hundred.”

Without hesitating, he took his wallet, and got the five hundred shilling note the seller had asked, and handed it to him. The man took the T-shirt from him, and immediately moved to an inner room, partitioned by a large curtain. “Let me go in and wrap it for you.” He said.

It took him some minutes to do so. He came back with a hard brown paper, neatly wrapped, and handed it to Omari.

“Here is your property, young man,” the seller said, jovially.

Omari was so much pleased with the man and his service, and took the well wrapped parcel from him. He didn’t even bother to look at what was wrapped. He confidently knew that what was wrapped in the paper was the T-shirt he had bought, and nothing else. He thanked him so much for his service, and they left.

They went on with their rounds in the city. It was now some hours after they had left the Market, and they decided to take a break. It was past noon.

“I think we can have some lunch somewhere,” said Omari, looking around to spot a cafeteria nearby. And as they walked, they spotted one across the road, and they hurriedly crossed towards it.

It was a fine cafe, and the waiters were busy serving people. They settled down at a table near the door, close to the cashier’s counter. And as they waited to be served, Omari decided to have a look at the T-shirt he had bought. He slowly and cautiously opened the tightly wrapped parcel. By that time, the waiter had turned up, and was waiting for them to give their orders.

Omari didn’t believe what he was seeing in that bundle. “What is this?” He said to himself. There in that bundle, was a bunch of green vegetables, and not the T-shirt he had bought.

“Ooh, my God!” he exclaimed a bit louder his eyes wide opened in disappointment. “Do clothes in Nairobi turn out to be vegetables .What is this?” He slowly removed them from the hard brown paper.

The people around the café, were all looking at him, wondering what could have happened to the young man. The waiter still stood, waiting to serve them. He himself couldn’t understand at that moment, what the young man was up to or what could have happened to him.

“What’s the problem young man?” he asked him, looking at the green stuff Omari was holding. His companion, Sudi watched with his mouth wide, disappointed and unable to understand what could have gone wrong .He couldn’t believe what he was seeing himself.

“I thought we bought a T-shirt,” Omari said, his mouth slowly shaking in shock.

“Of course we did,” Sudi replied, slowly shaking his head. “I can’t believe what I am seeing here.”

“What happened?” The waiter insisted.

“We have just come from the market at Muthurwa, where my colleague here, bought a T-shirt. But what we have here is unbelievable.” Sudi said, trying to explain the situation. “How come the seller gave us the vegetables?”

At that moment the waiter, going by his experience with life in the city, understood what had happened to the young man. He was a longtime resident in the city. Such occurrences were not new to him, and were very common. He understood that the young men were new in Nairobi. And the seller must have taken advantage of that fact.

“You seem to be new here in the city, are you?” he asked them to confirm that fact.

“Of course we are?” Omari replied, his hand still shaking with the green stuff. “We are here on tour… we are touring.”

The waiter and everybody in the café, felt sorry and pitied him a lot. They knew the boys must have fallen victims to the very notorious games of the city.

“You see, we happened to be at a market, when I saw a very nice T-shirt that attracted me so much,” Omari tried to explain the incident. “The man operating the kiosk was friendly, and welcoming. I didn’t expect him to do such a thing at all to me.” He paused and bitterly swallowed hard.

He continued, “I asked for the price and without bargaining much, I paid him five hundred shillings, he had asked for. He took the T-shirt from me, and entered an inner room, partitioned by a large sheet, telling me that he was going to look for a paper to wrap it for me.

“We waited for some minutes, and when he came back, the package was tightly and neatly wrapped. I never bothered to look at what was wrapped at that time, for I precisely knew it was the T-shirt I had bought —

“Young man,” an old man, seated next to them interrupted him, “That was the worst foul you made. This is Nairobi, you must remember that. Such happenings are common here. You only need to be cautious when dealing with people.”

“But the seller —” Omari tried to say something. But he didn’t know what he really wanted to say, for he was completely lost and buffled with what happened to him.

“Where do you come from, young man?” The old man inquired calmly, a feeling of pity all showing on his face.

“We are from Lamu,” he replied. “Down Coast. We are here on holiday This is our second week here.”

“Why didn’t you check the package when the seller handed it to you?” the waiter standing by, asked.

“Aah I trusted him, and I didn’t expect him to do anything silly like this.” He glanced at the bundle of vegetables he was still holding.

The waiter slowly shook his head, and again he really felt sorry for him. Other people around the cafe felt the same, having comprehended the nature of the problem he was already in.

Omari was now in deep thought, figuring what to do. He could hardly believe on what was happening to him. He sadly looked at the bunch of vegetables still held in his hand. Is this real? He thought to himself, shaking his head.

He abruptly said, “Sudi let’s get back to that market and see that stupid man again. He must give me back my money, or I get my T-shirt.” He almost stumbled as he tried to get up.

“Aha, my friend,” the waiter said, stunned, “Do not dare, young man. Don’t do that. It can be fatal.”

“Why?” Omari queried in bewilderment. “How can it be fatal? I must get my money back!” He yelled. “I can’t let it go just like that.” He was so bitter.

“As I’ve said, it could be fatal to do that .You may end up losing your own life, young man.” The waiter kept on saying.

“But how?” Omari wondered, his eyes wide opened. He just couldn’t understand, how his action of going to claim back his money from a rogue businessman, could be fatal. He was really confused, and in great anguish.

The old man, on seeing where the argument was heading, decided to be of some use to him. Much as he had so far known that the young man was new in the city, he thought it wise to explain to him about the situation he was in.

“You see, young man,” the old man said. “What this gentleman here is trying to say,” he glanced to the waiter’s direction, “is that you may go back there, and find yourself still in more problems than you are already in.” He paused, looking at him.

“You see,” he went on, “I can tell you a story of a certain man, who happened to be in the same situation just like you.”

“A man went to buy a trouser at a market. But as the seller tried to wrap the trouser for him, the man pardoned himself, and went to buy a cigarette at a shop, just across the street. When he came back, just in a couple of minutes, he found the trouser already wrapped in a paper by the seller. He paid the seller his amount, took his package and left.” Almost everybody in that café, listened to the old man.

“Hours later,” the old man continued, “the man returned and in a very furious mood.” He paused, “You see, here in the city, most thugs work in cahoots, with other people, and in particular those doing business like the ones you saw at the market you’ve just come from. The markets are full of them.

The old man went on. “The man came shouting that the seller had sold him rags, and indeed it was true. The seller did not wrap the trouser he had bought. Instead, he had put rags in the package. This is a very common game here, especially to visitors like you.

“The man did not believe on what happened to him, next. A mayhem broke out, and no one wanted to listen to the other. A fight followed, and the other people around, mostly idlers, sided with the seller, calling the man who came with the rags, a thief. The man was rounded up, and beaten mercilessly. As we are talking now, the man is not alive. He died hours later, when the police who happened to be patrolling around, came to his rescue.

“That’s how it is here. You may go back there, and find yourself in a similar situation. And it can be too bad.” he paused a bit, looking at the young man. He could see a state of panic and anxiety, all on his face.

He continued. “What I can say to you, and this is for your own good, is that take what has happened to you easy. Don’t risk your life. Some of these places are extremely very dangerous. Just leave whatever has happened to you to God, and He will take care of everything.”

Omari was now at a cross-road. The old man’s story was so shocking to him, that he could feel a terrible fear taking control of him. He just didn’t know what to do at that moment. But the old man’s words, of leaving all that has happened to him to God, really touched and consoled him. The story the old man narrated to him was terrible.

He looked at his friend, Sudi, and he could see him having the same mood just like him. He regretted, why he did not heed his suggestion of going to the library that day. At least, he wouldn’t have found himself in such a terrible situation.

Oh, my God, he thought. What is all this?

They quietly gave their orders to the waiter. And as they waited for their meal, they could both be seen to be in a very irritating mood. They hurriedly ate their meal, and left, leaving the green vegetables on the table.

To Omari, it was a very devastating experience that he had undergone. And as they walked back to the hotel they were staying, he sadly tried to think about it.

How could such a thing happen to me? He thought, all throughout his life, such a thing has never happened to him. He tried to figure out the man who had sold him the T-Shirt, but he could not even recall his image. His looks faded, immediately they left his kiosk. Even if they were to trace their way back to the place, they could hardly find it, for they were so many of them. The man had been calm and very friendly. He could hardly imagine him to be a con.

“You know what?” He finally said to Sudi, who had been calm all throughout the way. “Once we are back at the hotel, we shall pack up, and travel back home.”

“Today?” Sudi said, puzzled.

“Of course, today” Omari said. “I cannot keep on staying in a place where people are conned in broad day-light. This is foolish.”

Once back in their hotel, they calmly gathered their belongings in their bags, paid their hotel bills. And immediately left – the city in the sun, back to their ancient town of Lamu. The land of mules, narrow streets, and the vast beautiful Indian Ocean.

– END -

To God, To Man, To Self

As she wraps the ghungroos around her slim ankles,
she can feel the pinch her delicate skin and winces in pain.
She gets up and stamps her feet lightly praying they won’t fall off
And then she does her pranam,
Thanking Mother Earth for allowing her to stamp on her
And then the melodious thump of the Table fills her ears
And she begins her form of worship to her god.

She peeps out of the curtain to see who is all watching
She hopes there are many drunks tonight because they usually tip the best.
Pulling on her hot shorts and midriff top, she stretches.
Yesterday she learned a new trick around the pole
And Friday nights always mean more money for her especially with new moves
And that will help pay for her children’s school fees and a new flat.

As she pushes herself onto the class,
She already hears the music playing and sees her partner coming to her smiling.
He helps tie her feet so that don’t move around and spins her around in her chair.
She likes the Rumba because it makes her imagine that she has working feet.
And today, as every other day, she dances for herself without the care of being different.

Addict

I clenched my fist and took the antidote
Painful as it penetrated my heart
Sharp needles entered into veins pumping
Love
I became immune
Just barren hatred left
This flesh inside chest
Ripped out
I’m immune to you
The magic 4 letter word spelled HATE
My words twisted
I have no guts
Then death came
Reversed I turned EVIL into LIVE
Someone walked away with my……
L ….Shhh don’t say it
Whisper
Alive I became
Immune
I had the remedy
Heartache……
Love is my drug
I am an ADDICT

Cloud Of Rain(Love) – By Antholeen Petersen

Love is the shower that rains down when you don’t expect it.
When a cloud hovering over you intends rain and you think you’ll do well to reject it.
But let’s perfect it
And say that Love rains down like a storm at sea, tempest tossed at every turn Churning the inner workings of your being
And truth be told from the words of Antholeen
I’ve never seen love up close and have not yet felt it’s rain
But unlike anything else love is an act that allows a spectators gain
As I’ve seen one try to make on their own And then fall into a trap, love strapped
To making a home.

Love rains down and though we tend to frown at the arrival of a cloud
Before long rain turns to bells as we’ve hear the wedding sound.

Romeo, He said Marry me Juliet, and then we’ll never be alone.
I’ll be yours like a ray of sun, where the two of us shall become one.
For what God had joined together, let nothing put asunder
As the rain of love had pulled us under
Under a cloud intending rain
And Before long we had much more than rain to gain
And I see it
Spectator at much, looking on to the arrival of an everlasting love.
And I wonder
What God had joined together let no man put asunder
as some enjoy the plunder
Of falling time and time again
Into love with 2 hearts to one just as God would intend.
See I’ve only but seen it.
The showering rain of love
And love can only come from above.

Because Love is the shower that rains down when you don’t expect it.
When a cloud hovering over you intends rain and you think you’ll do well to just reject it.
But let’s perfect it
And say that Love rains down like a storm at sea, tempest tossed at every turn Churning the inner workings of your inner being.
And so I’ve seen it. – Written By Antholeen Petersen

Tears

open your ears and listen to the sound
gravity pulling it towards earth
tears from the sky dances on rooftops
nature’s heart beats………
listen closely
tugged in between sheets
Oblivious
mother earth blooms
opens her arms to receive the blessings
creation tremble in its roots
drink this magical potion
trees sing as soft winds sway them in motion
flowers with droplets on their cheeks rejoice
birds nestled in trees do not venture
it dawns upon them
first light
red horizon silvergrey
look carefully
there’s a hole in the sky
rays playfully slides down
water reflects
adjust your eyes and look carefully
light brings life and water alike
nocturnal beasts from both sides
hibernate
the time has arrived
clear your lungs
sound nature’s alarm
sound nature’s alarm and make it known
Creatures calling themselves humans
awake
systematically synchronised
plugged into the system
streams flowing as it falls
earth transforms into puddles of mud
‘when will the rain stop’ she asks
‘what rain’ I asked
if you listened carefully
it wasn’t rain
it was droplets falling from the sky
harmoniously
dancing on rooftops
blessing falling on mother earth
her body swollen with water

for you
for me
for us
and them

A Story about a Girl

I have to tell a story
About a girl who had no glory

Outspoken yet so broken
Being rude,
Always in a mood

Never had luck with guys
They will take one look at her and realize,
That they want her friend in the dazzling disguise

She felt very unattractive
Yet wanted to be active

Always taking a back seat
Never felt strong enough to take the lead

Wanting no-one to know
The true beauty inside, who wants to burst out and show

She started to analyze and delve
Within herself
Believed that there was something within her,
She just needed to stir

She became beautiful and bold
She discovered gold

Humble and kind
With an open and wise mind

She realized the fight was never external
It was always internal

She is now happy and content with her beautiful soul
She has reached her utmost goal
Her inner beauty is what makes her glow
Yes from insecure to bold she did grow
The way she sway her hips when she walks
The kind words she says when she talks
Her heart filled with love, compassion and integrity
This is her serendipity

What is God?

God is Air.

God is in the atoms of the elements
that rustle the leaves of a sycamore tree.

God is Breath.

God is the deep calm we inhale
to steady the breathlessness
Grief and Anger
hit us with.

God is Being.

God is You and Me.
God is Everything.
God is Anything.

God is what God is.

The Independent Woman

I’m listening to the radio, playing a love song
Suddenly for love I long

I have a house and a car
But this does not make me happy by far

I worked hard for what I have today
But believe you me; there is a price to pay

When I go home and turn the key
No-one is there waiting for me

No-one to hold my hand
No-one to understand
No-one with whom to talk
No-one with whom to walk
No-one to be there
No- one to care
No-one to make you smile
Even just for a while

Sometimes I think it’s a curse
Or something way worst

To be a woman who is sorted and needs nothing
But in actual fact is in need of everything

Especially someone to warm the bed
Why use a blanket instead?

No-one to hold my hand
No-one to understand
No-one with whom to talk
No-one with whom to walk
No-one to be there
No- one to care
No-one to make you smile
Even just for a while

I will exchange it in a heartbeat
In order to feel the heat

For someone to love you so
And who never wants to let you go

BEING OLD

When you are born
People celebrate the birth of a new innocent soul
People are overwhelmed
By happiness, love and laughter

With hopes hanging high like white clouds in the blue skies
With expectations standing tall like sky-scrapers and
Longing for the far Future to come nearer…

Tick tack tick tack
Tick tack tick tack…

Until it comes
When time allows you to be old
Until it comes
When experience allows you to know…

Its painful…
How people look at you with disgust
How people look at you as if you don’t exist
How people look at you and feel like you are too needy

When all you need is Love
When all you need is care
When all you need is support

Its painful…
How when you have have become a child again
But a child of no innocent soul anymore

A child who’s nothing but a mere burden
A child who’s nothing but a distraction
A child who’s anything but a time delaying tactic in LIFE

Its painful…
How when time and experience has broken down ur strength
How when being Old has cut short your knowing hands
How when being Old has held your magic feet captive
How when being old has dried the wisdom in your mouth
How when being old has deprived you of your educated eyes
How when being old has stolen your careful ears

Its painful because people think you are too much

When all you need is love
When all you need is care
When all you need is support…

When you are old and have become a child again
That’s what people really take you for; a ‘mere’ child
But I can’t think of why they fail to afford you what really a child needs

Because all you need is love,
Because all you need is care
Because alll you need is support

And that’s all.

life of greatness

He saved a pupil soiled and earmarked with the blood of innocence
With his return cries of freedom were sung from shallow graves
As a formidable contender against prejudice he was undeterred by his limitations
The bearer of a nation founded on prejudice displayed a grandeurs nature
Tata Mandela, a fabric to which a whole land was cultivated and sown back together
A warrior who portrayed divine providence and liberated pupils after years of incarceration
As the rainbow that shown light into a dark nation he was flawless in his ways but unique in his take
Through his charismatic leadership he brought peace, liberated minds imprisoned for centuries and created a safe refuge for the displaced
Those who passed but never forgotten were praised with prose from a man who understood their sacrifice
Many words of endearment have been used to speak of his bravery but none of which fully encompassed his greatness
A leader who’s charismatic ways were admired by many worlds over
His courage and ability to forgive his perpetrators was like none other
He refused to let his past experiences cloud his vision for a united nation
On to the future he statuously marched with his magical aura and unique shirts
He embarked on a long walk to freedom filled with sacrifices and bittersweet moments
He coined historic phrases of wisdom that have inspired enemies to mend fences
He softened the hearts of those who only knew to hate thy neighbours
He influenced the desire to forgive in the hearts of victims who only knew decades of injustice
He exhumed elements of a saint but man he remained
With a defiant spirit he negotiated an end to a lifetime of structural indifference and hardship against people of colour
In his mind’s eye all man were born equal and none was inherently hateful
There was a magnificence about him that stood the test of time until his death bed
He remained constant throughout his life through a display of common humanity