Of Coffee, Rain And Blogging Everyday

Of Coffee, rain and blogging everyday

If you were having coffee with me, we would be watching the rain drizzle and it would be a welcome delight; it’s been such a hot past couple of days, I have been contemplating digging a pond in the backyard, so I could sit and chill like the fish that is my star sign.

The rain seems to mark an end to the chapter of September and the blog everyday challenge I have been doing themed Africa Stories from home. The reason I picked this theme can be summarised in a footnote I read on Mpho Mashita’s blog

Here’s to our heritage and preserving it for future generations! Legacy cannot only be financial, may we be committed to building a legacy of our culture as well.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that that this is post 27 of my blog everyday challenge which means I am three posts behind, 27 out of 30 is a 90% pass mark that’s not too bad right? Unforeseeable challenges come up, like there was a time when we had an electricity blackout for three days and the other time my internet service provider had network challenges and in between that the were days I had  to babysit my nephew.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I have a new found respect for “mummy” bloggers, imagine trying to write a post with a whole young human being demanding your attention, the yoghurt spills and sticky fingers. In a totally related issue I would also tell you that I now know why the YouTube videos with the most views are the ones for children’s nursery rhymes; you simply press play and the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round all day long…..

baby sitter

Also now my YouTube video recommendations are full of children’s rhymes.

youtube

What have I learned from this blogging challenge

  • Life will get in the way but have back up plans
    • The schedule function is a lifesaver, your posts can upload while you are away
    • The email post function also helps to post on the go
  • In my head it takes 30seconds to complete a post but in reality it takes way longer
  • When you get an idea for a post write it down, memory is such a fickle thing.
  • A challenge is called a challenge for a reason its not easy

There’s three more posts due and they will becoming awooah

If you can blog consistently,
come rain or shine
if you have a writing schedule,
and posting on time
if you can write while the world spins wildly around you,
if you can hold courageous conversations, 
outside of your comfort zone
and post selfies of your naked soul
then and only then can you hold your head high when you call yourself a blogger my friend…

If you were having coffee with me I would wish you all the best in October and I would thank you for the visits, oh look the rain has stopped since neither of us has an umbrella I suggest you run…..

~B

PS Day 27 Africa Stories from Home

PPS Here’s a few posts that I liked this past month by bloggers from home

teemadzika a lesson on time

Soulfulmiss – mangoes

Tembochiseche -Afrotheology

mydialectics – Religion, Tradition and Culture

wizbex – Midway

makupsy – Why I blog

thinkingoutloud1204. The average Nigerian Parent

MoreToGetty Africa The land of the Educated

ceechikk – who is as hungry as you

iamb0627 – in which household

Advertisements

Of Taking One’s Leave

large.jpg

saying goodbye

Why is it so hard to say goodbye? Separation anxiety is real, put effort in how you say goodbye……

You know how when the parent has to leave a child behind, they have to employ various tricks, cons, promises and sometimes downright threats.

Scenario 1 For the strong:

You ask someone to hold the baby. “Goodbye” you say firmly, as you walk away, not looking back not even once, you don’t turn around because you don’t want to see them breaking and because truth be told you really aren’t as strong as you are pretending to be.

little-girl-crying

Scenario 2a For the chicken:

You distract the child with a treat or toy and while they are playing you sneak out of the house and out of their lives (but not forever right?, only till you come back…)

toy

Scenario 2b For the chicken

You send the child to go play at the neighbour’s house and while they are away, you make your escape.

kids playing

Scenario 3 The Promise Breaker:

You tell the child “We are going together. We are leaving as soon as you finish bathing and put on some nice clothes” or “Go put on your shoes and we can go” And while the child is dressing you take your leave, child comes back and you are gone, and the water works fill the hole you left.

shoes

This scenario might be the reason kids grow up to have trust issues right there.

Scenario 4 The Bully

You tell the child you have to leave and they start crying you shout at them and tell them you will beat them, even threaten them with the branch of a peach tree as a whip, plus that you wont bring them back anything when you come back

Scary mom

Scenario five For the little grown up

You explain you that you must go but that you will be back and tell the child not to cry and they are grown up now you even entrust them with looking after the house and ask them what they want you to bring them back when you come back… when they tell you a pony, that’s when remember they aren’t quite the grown up you like to think of them as “ok sweetie ho about some chips instead

vector-silhouette-family-on-white-260nw-189150053

Of course all these methods are put into use depending on the age and ability of the child to comprehend language but one thing is always common you bring back treats when you come back.

Once we had real drama with a nephew when the child over heard the mum telling me that she would bring me “something” as a bribe thank you for looking after the kids. The mum comes back gives the child Charhons chocolate coated biscuits which is quite a level up from the normal sweets and corn snacks

charhons

but the child threw a tantrum throwing away the biscuits demanding that they want “something” too. Their logic was that if they got biscuits and uncle (that’s me) got “something” then “something” was better, bigger testier and more expensive…. Go ahead good luck trying to explain what something is.

After a certain age though the child understands that the parent must go and that the parent will be back, they actually understand a whole lot more too; like when you explain you cant bring them treats when you come back because you don’t have any money to spare, basically you have no money at all because the economy is….well no need to cause unnecessary alarm and despondency…

mother-daughter-goodbye

Just when you think you have dodged the bullet they reply:

I know how I can help you make some extra money, if I pull out all my teeth and put them under my pillow, the tooth fairy will come and leave me lots of money and I will give it all to you

Bless their little hearts

mother-daughter-welcome-home

~B

PS Which methods have you employed or been used on you and any alternatives I might have missed

PPS when you start dropping them off at school or kindergarten or creche thats a whole new level up…..

Day 26 Africa stories from home

 

 

Of Voting Wisely: The ZimElections 2018

 

zim decides

In a few hours Zimbabwe will be having its historic harmonized presidential elections. Historic because they are elections without Robert Mugabe at the helm, historic at the level of peace and tolerance (not counting the bomb incident) for divergent views considering the history from past elections where citizens where openly intimidated and when talking anything remotely political was practically taboo, if a random speaker asked for your opinion you just shrugged it off non-commitally because having an opinion was hazardous to your well-being.

On my evening commute from the city in a public taxi, after everyone had paid for their fares, the conductor surprised the passengers by donning a graduation cap and declaring that he was University Graduate and yet here he was working as a Sliding Door Operator, opening and closing doors for passengers just like us, who just like him have dreams too, but working as a “hwindi” (the colloquial name for the minibus conductors and touts who try to get passengers to board their taxis; said to be derived from the sound the minivan door makes as it rolls on its railings and slides shut….. hwiiiiiiiii Ndiii) was never his dream, nor a job opportunity he would never pursue willingly.

He chronicled how he left for work at four in the morning and the earliest he got home was half-past ten in the evening; how he wasn’t even sure if his wife was beautiful or not since he only saw her at night. He is a stranger to his children, they cry when he tries to play with them; never play with strangers they were taught well; he leaves home before they wake up and returns long after they have gone to bed.

Even on the few off days he does get, they just stare at each awkwardly and his wife will be away, working. She is a qualified teacher but runs a tiny flea market right next to the cash dealers, the ones who hold thick wads of cash and sell money at a premium,

and sometimes she comes home with groceries and crisp new notes in a country where cash is a scares commodity, he worries that maybe she sells more than just pirated DVDs and secondhand clothes but he never asks, she isn’t really his wife, he cant afford a wedding, she is just someone with whom shares living expenses with and oh yeah they have children together.

At some point he asked the passengers to show by show of hands if they had family who had left for distant lands in the diaspora whom when they said goodbye at the airport  said that they would be gone only for a little while, its been years and now you wonder the only time they are coming home is in a coffin (that is if you can pay for the international body repatriation fees) Everyone raised a hand, me included, the family structure has gaping holes left by those who sought economic asylum in the better world and sometimes as I rub the dust of my passport the only thing that keeps me here is that I can’t a plane ticket to greener pastures and not out of love for country…..

You could tell as he spoke this colourful account of his life that he was somewhat intoxicated, even he admitted that he had imbibed some cheap strong spirit alcohol known as “Musombodhiya” the only kind he can afford to drown his woes but the fact that he was drunk should not diminish the gospel he was preaching all he was saying was “Please Vote Wisely on Monday

Someone asked the conductor whom he meant when we should vote for when he said vote wisely he laughed and replied “Isnt it obvious? The are three schools of voters those for whom the current regime has been good to, puppets of the regime those who cant think for themselves and those who want change, if you are in this taxi and not in a car of your own you need  change in your life…Vote Wisely

Vote Wisely wise ……. Who am I voting for? Ha! Isn’t that obvious, my preferred candidate talks a good talk but even though he talks such a good talk not enough people are listening, and this is all a numbers game, and out of 23 candidates.

I would vote for anyone who is willing to give him a chance in their next government because man mad great points well the the future is about to begin, dare we relive history…..

As I got to my stop and was getting off, the conductor concluded by asking if anyone had seen the eclipse, it was an omen, the end of an era, “ane nzeve anzwa tosangana paVotelet him ears listen: Vote Wisely

~B

 

 

 

 

Of Love In The Time Of Chocolate Cake

Guest Post

Love in the time of chocolate

Chocolate Cake

The rich chocolatey smell of the cake overwhelms my nostrils, coating the fine hairs with thoughts of warm crushed cocoa beans. I savour the heft of the slice in my hand, marvelling at the glossy, delicate swirls of chocolate butter cream. My mouth is heavy with saliva. I close my eyes and lean in for that first eager bite.
A bright shaft of light pierces my eyelids and a voice drills into my head: vasikana havasweri vakarara. Confused I open my eyes. Where is my cake? Where is the chocolatey goodness that was meant to transport me to confectionery seventh heaven? As my mother continues to bustle around the room, the clouds lift. It was all a dream. A beautiful tantalising dream cruelly snatched away by another person’s intervention. I was too young at the time to know that it would be a recurring theme, though sadly too often it was my dreams being snatched away in real life, with no warm bed to snuggle back into.
As a black girl growing up in Harare, I learnt early on that I did not have the luxury of sleeping in during the school holidays. By 6am my mother would have woken me up to get about my industrious day. Because my training to be the perfect wife could not be left to chance and circumstance and sleeping in after 6am.

Zimbabwean society places a very high value on a woman being married. As a young girl, your waking moments are devoted to furthering the cause of your future marriage. A family does not just raise a daughter, their combined efforts are preparing a wife. A woman who will not only be an excellent cook and homekeeper, but one whose focus is on keeping her husband happy. And if she can issue forth from her loins strong strapping sons to carry on his family life, she has fulfilled her God-given purpose. She has earned her title of A Real Woman. But A Real Woman training takes time and sacrifice. When you are younger, the unfairness of watching your brothers play outside, with their ball made from the brightly-coloured sacks the potatoes you spent hours peeling came in, becomes something of a permanent friend. You don’t yet possess the sophisticated lexis to describe the unfairness, but you feel it deeply. You feel it when you are the one to pluck that live chicken. Smell it when you need to clean and squeeze out its intestines. Bleed it as you cut deftly through the bones to make sure there is enough chicken to go around at dinner time, in the hope that no unexpected visitors drop by as dinner is to be served. Season that tomato and onion chicken stew with a large dollop of unfairness and as you suckle the marrow of those bones and lick the juices dripping down your arms, unfairness cuts off your contented burps because the mountain of dishes still awaits you. To be a good young black girl is to know service and unfairness intimately.

  • Zimbabwean society raises us to be perfect wives for imperfect men

A girl born into a relatively traditional Zimbabwean family is a potential return on investment in the bride price that can be charged for her. For those lucky enough to be blessed with natural good looks and child-bearing hips, their value increases exponentially. As early as when you are a chubby-cheeked toddler, aunts are already exclaiming what a pretty wife you will make one day. Before you even have full command of your own bowels, plans are already underfoot to offload you for a few beasts and healthy wad of cash. Because your beauty is not your own, your beauty belongs to the family to financially maximise on, at hopefully not too distant a point in the future.

So now it’s 6.01am. You have lifted your head off the pillow. And you groan inwardly at the thought of pillows because today is a laundry day and all the sheets need to be washed. Six pairs of sheets and pillowcases that need to be washed by hand, hung out to dry, ironed and then beds remade. All before 3pm because the evening meal needs to be prepared and ready by 6pm. You don’t want to miss the start of wrestling on tv by not getting your timings right. You trudge to the bathroom and complete a cursory ablution. You will bath once the laundry’s done and the house swept and floors polished and breakfast and lunch dishes put away and the meat simmering on the stove. 12 years old and you already have the house running like clockwork.

As you proceed to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, your older brother trudges in from outside, trailing muddy footprints to the fridge. Sadly, you don’t yet know any expletives to tell him what a fucking cunt he is for dirtying your floor. But the anger is real and hot and burns in your throat. For all he knows about clean floors, there is a Floor Elf that whizzes in every afternoon and abracadabraes all the dirt away. You don’t hate your brother exactly, but you swallow the unfairness each time he walks into the house dragging in smells of sunshine and rolling around in the grass and the happy dampness of hosing each other down in water fights.

You go back to clean up his muddy footprints and look on the floor with a kind of grim satisfaction. You are confident you have done enough to ensure not being made to re-do it as your mother’s opprobrium rains down on you, warning you that uchatinyadzisa wadzoswa. What could be more humiliating than your future husband returning you to your family because you could not scrub a floor properly. How would you ever live down the shame of being a slatternly wife who could not maintain hearth and home? There wouldn’t be enough earth to swallow you whole!

To be an average Zimbabwean woman is to know the fear of never getting married. To be one of those women looked down upon with a certain degree of contempt and pity, with a side of What If She Steals Our Men fear for good measure. So you learn early on to comport yourself in a manner that makes people remark kuti mwana ane tsika iyeye. You sit with your legs tightly closed, and in lax moments where your legs betray you and fall open, one eagle eyed glare from your mother is enough to jam your legs back together, straining your muscles in abject fear of dropping your guard again.

Requests to bring more tea for the guests are a blessing in disguise as you can discreetly wipe away the sweat that has been pouring down your legs in superglued legs exertion. You are young, but the need to be nice in company has been drilled into you. Cautions of not running around like a wild animal chasing each other in your head. The burn marks from the carpet as you greeted each adult on your knees still stinging slightly. You answer questions politely, just enough information so they don’t think you are a bit slow, but not so much that they leave thinking that chimwana chiye chinoganhira. You serve guests with scalding cups of tea and chocolate cake, harnessing both your culinary skills and generosity. You clear cups and saucers quickly and quietly, making sure not to disrupt the adults. You know what it is to be a good girl. How then can you fail to be a good wife?

Through all this, the mud-trailing brother has come in and said a perfunctory hello and gone back to his outdoor games. You are told later on that boys don’t mature as quickly as girls do. You believe it because Mud Trailer can barely wash the skidmarks out of his own underwear, or make himself a decent toasted sandwich. Don’t even think about getting him to get that neat crease in his white long-sleeved school shirt. Somewhere else in Zimbabwe, your co-labourer is perfecting her skills so she can do all those things for him. She knows as well as you do, that a man doesn’t need to be able to not burn a hole in his shirt every time he picks up an iron. All these lessons in cooking and cleaning you have been learning have been for his benefit and for that of his family. Without a husband to validate those skills, really what is the point of having darkened your knees on so many floors and strained your neck hanging up those thick wet winter blankets?

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

2/3 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 T vanilla

4 T cocoa

2 ½ cups sifted flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ t soda

½ t salt

1 ¾ cup ice water

Method

  1. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla till fluffy for about 5 minutes (electric beater or by hand).
  2. Blend in chocolate (sifted if lumpy).
  3. Sift flour with soda and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with iced water..
  4. Bake in a round tin in a moderately hot oven until done (approximately 30 mins)

 

Guest Post by Eleanor Madziva

Bio

Eleanor is an itinerant Zimbabwean with a passion for picking lint out of her navel, while trying to find the best ways of not turning into a charred mess in the desert heat. Less a writer, more a person who writes.

Eleanor Madziva

Twitter @Madziva_Eleanor

Of Pure Love

A Guest Post
My name is Rachel and am a Nigerian. Am a wife  and a mother of three. I have tried to participate in this challenge but failed. This may be my only contribution to this challenge (sorry B I tried). I don’t have a blog so am sending this by e-mail. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I love to read, well it’s worth mentioning that Big B, as i like to call him has put in two of something I wrote on his blog as a guest: (Coffee With A Musing Stranger and Blessed woman)
I love acting especially in Church; smiles :). I have written a few gospel stage plays and I acted in one film. Two of my poems were published in my department news paper during my university days. But I love to  read, even though I need to revive my  reading culture ( being a mother is not easy) that brings me to the main story,  sorry for the long intro…. .
AWKWARD CONVERSATION AND PARENTING.
How are you mummy?” l always answered “am fine“.
I remember an incident with my elder son “Jojo”. We had traveled home to my grandparents place, he was about four years old. At night we all went to bed and he was all so sleepy, but insisted on the ” how are you mummy” question he always poses at me. He loves saying that a lot and I do my best to answer him each time “fine dear“, I answered, but  this time he kept repeating it and each time I answered  “am fine”, then he said, “Mummy say how are me” meaning I should also ask him how he is,   “how are you dear“, I said, immediately after he answered fine and was already asleep soon after.
It is my younger son ” Isy” that made me realize what it all really meant, it means “I love you mummy”. So whenever they tell me Mummy how are you, my answer will always be. “I LOVE YOU TOO“.
i-am-blessed
THE JOY OF BEING A MUM. “You get paid with pure love” 💓
Day 24 blog everyday challenge.. A special guest post by Rachel
~B

 

PS Thank you Rachel ♥♥