what’s in a word?

Saying sorry to a person you feel you may have annoyed or actually intentionally annoyed frees you from carrying the burden of guilt around with you. It  clears the way for making up or “patching things up” as they say. Why would anyone think it is belittling to eat humble pie? It is, to say the least, rather quite  unconscionable  for a right-thinking person to hold the view that making an apology is reversing oneself in any way. You apologize because you have acknowledged wrong-doing. No one is going to reach out to strike you. It is a noble gesture and one which shows a sort of sophisticated morality. It is the gentle thing to do.

I am preparing my bits now. I will then keep reviewing my statement of apology. I need to use a sensitive approach as i go about it. Just saying sorry? Oh come off it! Genuinely and without a dab of pride signifying  some high-minded notion of intellectual supremacy. We get so caught up with the socially-observed “effects” of such gestures. When you genuinely apologize for a slight, slander, malicious utterances etc, you get it out of your conscience and breath easy afterwards. It should also remove feelings of rancor on the part of the aggrieved party and help you live long. We all deserve to be unconditionally happy(even us adults).

Are you with me?  Pick the correct time. If the fall-out was really bad, get some advice first, from a trusted confidant. Choose your words carefully. If you must, involve a third party. Should it happen that the other person refuses to take your apology, for lack of grace or such, you the apologist needs to take it in stride and back off gently with plans to try again later (perhaps at a better time). They’ll eventually give in if your  efforts are sincere enough and whether you are doing it for the sake of peace.

We all err, believe that. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes because we are, er…only human. Guilt is a burden. Believe that also.

stay blessed


The main course


image courtesy NPR

A world in peril. Rebellious winds and persistent rainfall that foils your plans. A long agonizing hiatus away from my blog and a spanking new laptop i had just got from my sister. huff! Unexpected events that yanked me away from some rich plans i had, all of this on my mind and the sojourn in a desolate hopeless little town where men sit on shop verandas from morning to dusk-when the shops open. They sit there, sheltered from the sun sipping gin, playing some cards or other game, ludo-the old ones prefer only to talk to each other, looking at the road, watching chickens crossing the road and young boys riding bikes past; to Isimba  HEP project being built by the chinese. They wave at people they know and take their time talking to strangers they encounter in the area, a dusty town of old folk and young men who have come to find work.

It’s a drab life out here save for the cacophony of jukebox  bars and a wooden movie ‘theater’ with crackling sound and occasional staccato of gunfire emanating from the kind of movies popular with village youth yearning for excitement. They are war movie buffs. A friend of mine invited me out there and i stayed for a month, eating an unvarying diet of cornmeal bread and vegetables and beans. The weather changes have severely hurt the farmers all around. All the seeds they sowed dried up or sprouted but are now stunted with yellowing leaves. The only plant to survive is a sugar plantation next to the dam being built. The Chinese at the site like to eat pork and to smoke. They smoke all the time.

I thought in the world where we live, people are beginning to adopt to frugal habits. You know when you walk around with a righteous feeling looking around you to catch someone doing evil. It is hypocrisy to believe you are connected to mother earth then go behind other folks backs and snatch it’s prized babies and take them away somewhere to butcher and make stew out of them. For health reasons. Why pick on the precious Pangolin, why now? How about considerately developing a taste for some of those numerous bird species? Over time, who knows, you might come to love it so much your body takes a liking for it it craves and starts asking for it. Perhaps you might start raising them or turn it into sport hunting like they do, the English and have full fun. The Chinese, billions of them, held it down as a conservative society for a long time and had much respect as conscientious livers but some devil got into them and they have become materialistic and now love  living life lavishly. So they say in the papers.

But shouldn’t one ask themselves why as tasty as pork is and quite so dear especially to my country folk we call it ‘the national delicacy’-have the good old Chinese picked on the prized and rare Pangolin for choice meat regarded very highly now we either figure out plans how to ruin their party by killing their appetite for it or find somewhere to hide our precious Pangolins. Alas, the wise men from the east, now avid global investors so prized by government keep strolling in through our airport lobby, carrying a lot of love in their hearts! Woe to my clan, that’s our totem god knows where it will end. The Pangolin is scaled, very rare and shy and is an endangered species now being eyed by a burgeoning Chinese middle class gourmand eye. The scales and skin are used for medicine in china. I know you have heard a bowl of it so i will shhh. In other sad news, much of the old gold is gone or ailing, it bruises my heart and they are too many to name. Carry on brave ones, the sun is a mighty force and will not leave us soon, stay blessed.



It feels good to be back. It’s been days, weeks months into this. I haven’t had the greatest of times in between but i am happy to be back to wordpress.  I had plenty of meaningful  exchanges with different people whereby i got away with precious nuggets of information to which i have augmented what i already knew. Being products of our environments,  i am happy to say i feel  enhanced by this experience so what you see on here is partly the result of being thus inspired. It is often the case the good is to be more desired than the rot. But being at once also human, i have  had prolonged, fruitless arguments with people and learnt to avoid impending disaster by abridging conversation. By saying what needs to be heard. I have tugged at my mustache and sighed inaudibly and it ended there.

It is right to acknowledge the difficulty of ending some conversations when there are many divergent views.  One may have wanted to put in one last word to highlight their point.  Should the same person always prevail in a discussion? How much does it matter to them? If i initiated the conversation, i ought to steer it in the right direction and have the good grace; as well, to bring it to a discernible point of conclusion. They say communication is many things so if you feel so bad about shutting up, get yourself a pack of cards, find a playmate. Win a few games and everyone keeps breathing. Wanna be the only pet in the house? I don’t think so. I am a cat and i like to be stroked even though i have a lot of independence and i can find amusing things to do with myself. Cats know that well. If you lock a cat in the house, it won’t back.

There is something oppressively stifling about any four walls so get out more and look for fun in other ways, take in some air. I have thundered and blundered into things, ignoring the proffered door. I lived to regret it. Now i just want to slow things down a little. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. There  is the rest of life to live and a  lot to see. Take charge. Be the one, just don’t cringe at the thought of giving way. God bless you.

Back from the eclipse.

Hmm. Last evening i watched the moon try to block the sun from shining, with frustrating results. The sun shone on bravely, fighting from behind to repel the moon’s puny efforts at living the glory and all it conceded was just reduced light intensity which was really eerie to experience. I couldn’t  describe how it felt to see it but perhaps say it seemed to me like we had lived through some cataclysmic event and those there still living were lucky to be, just to be still breathing. Go brave sun, one! The celestial event was watched by millions around the world and there’s an image to die for online. The image i saw through a strip of film was one of a frown!

So much for the heavens, back to earth and still breathing, taking lots of deep breaths lately, readjusting to life in the third world-you know, simple stuff like learning to wait (without considering to file a lawsuit). Tolerating the jostling and sheer mindless physicality of moving through an open air market. There have been, of course, plenty of exchanges and i have had a lot of walking away and learning to live with it. Real stuff. I’ll let you know, have a good day.

“i am not happy neither ami sad”

Donald Duck-internet image

Those of you with short tempers beware, as i have discovered that as we head into the holiday season, people are commiting all sorts of atrocities the most enraging being the improper, trifling use of certain words. I think nowadays the term ‘class’ is bandied about too much. You hear of ‘classy restaurants’, ‘classy neighborhoods’, ‘classy jeans’ etc. It’s alright to live how you want, but that’s too much class-i can’t take it! But really, what does it mean for somebody to say that they have class or why is it important for one to have class? You’ll have to answer that yourselves, i’ve done my part and registered my disapproval, but class dictates that we consider the use of the term only where it applies; strictly and in reference to it’s implied sense of place. Quick example:

“ooh i think that was classy of him to apologise”.

You’ll hear this on tv sometimes. The use of the term in this context cheapens the noun. Why should it be considered classy for a man in the wrong to apologise? I want to say that you could replace the term with ‘decent’ and not lose any meaning. I suppose it’s decent for a man to conduct himself like a gentleman in the first place, so as to avoid the embarrassing act of having to issue an apology later on. ‘Gentleman’ in this case should not be construed to mean ‘high-born’ or ‘blue-blooded’; i would take it to mean one who is cultured or who exhibits characteristics of good upbringing and of a calm demeanor, although it has also been my observation that some gentlemen exhibit an animated manner sometimes but i am discussing matters of class here. Alright, let’s continue. I am going to give it to you all, all of it now, they’s not a story for another day. Early into the 21st century but late in the year, the class thing has acquired lots of connotations and people are beginning to confuse it’s meaning with other things. This is impropriety and should not be allowed to continue. So my point is that class is inborn, it’s a ‘state of grace’, an innate characteristic of some people-you are born with it, either you have it or you don’t. Here i am reminded of a poem about charm that i read a long, long time ago and it reads in part;

“…it’s a kind of bloom on a woman,

when you have it..

when you don’t,

it doesn’t much matter what else you got…”

That’s it folks. I hope this piece allows for some reflection on other words we use in our daily lives. I will be back with more, have a good day.

“what to do should you begin to feel you’re getting ahead of yourself”

Lily Pond. Image-Wikipedia

Is it possible for one to get ahead of themselves? How does it happen? There are a number of ways but i’ll get to that later, for now i have to tell you a little story. This past weekend, it was  Saturday i think, i had just come out of the bathroom and was back in my room when i looked out the open window and saw an endearing sight. There was a boy of about 12-14 yrs old who was teaching his little brother how to ride a bike. He held the handles and guided little brother as little brother also held tightly on, his little hands clenched tightly around the handles. I looked intently to witness for myself the dedicated efforts the young man was putting in, teaching his most eager brother the way to ride a bicycle.  I was looking down through the open shutters, breath held and careful not to make any sound that would disrupt the ritual taking place down below and also feeling that i needed to just see for myself instead of making a sound that would break the little boy’s concentration.

So i looked on as big brother kept repeating the rules, “right foot first, put both feet on the pedals, keep…keep peddling, look where you are going…” After a few steps, he let his little brother at it and little brother peddled away determinedly without missing a beat. On and on he went like they do on the tracks, all speed, no caution, oblivious of danger, on and on he peddled. When he wanted to turn and head back, it was hard because he could not yet coordinate his motor reflexes, so i watched him fall a couple of times-they were not great falls and he wouldn’t let go of the handle, noooo…man- nimble fellow that he was, he just you know, needed to learn how to balance on the bike. I continued watching, the brave little fellow would rise up from a fall and mechanically get back in the saddle and resume the exercise. There is an elderly lady that lives across from us and the moment she heard the commotion outside, she opened her door and came out, leaning on the rail. She at once developed a keen interest in what was going on and urged him on, promising him a dollar if he could ride to the end of the driveway, a distance of some 20-30 feet and turn around without falling off the bike. I must say the scene was oddly touching, witnessing the passing on of knowledge and experience; just watching all this took me back to my boyhood days, remembering my own experience, and i laughed, a stifled, small laugh. I laughed some more when i realized the reason i laughed at first: i had laughed at him because i thought his actions were puny, and in my heart i think i mocked him for that. I laughed some more when he fell. The things of men!  You got to crawl before you can run. After that, i watched a little more and he seemed to be getting the drill of it (as though he knew he was being laughed at) As he went on, he fell less often, staying longer on his runs up and down the driveway. Soon i lost interest in the show but it was an eye-opener. Here was a young man learning something most boys are so keen about; the independent operation of machinery, any machinery.

As they say, boys will be boys, progress was made after all and our good man soon got the hang of it and is now a certified cyclist although i can’t put money on it until i see him doing his thing on the road, besides the steady hum of motorcars and the hustle and bustle of human traffic. When i see that, i might congratulate the dude for putting on a brave face (when his heart was in his mouth, that time) and for hanging in there. Alright, now to the meat of this, what do folks mean when they say; “don’t get ahead of yourself?” They mean don’t put the cart before the horse, follow the prescribed way to your destination. Here is a current definition of the phrase from thefreedictionary.com:

Fig. [for someone] to do or say something sooner than it ought to be done so that the proper explanation or preparations have not been made”

The little boy’s experience taught me something: to listen to the voice speaking to me and to follow orders. It also taught me the value of perseverance while learning something challenging, something real, something mighty, but most importantly, that one must keep going despite the bruised knees and scraped elbows. A lot of times we quit because something is not coming soon enough. Other times because we think it’s too much of a bother and we are too impatient to get through with it and so we give up. Don’t give up, keep going.

Are you getting ahead of yourself and does it make you feel bad that you let yourself get ahead of yourself? I have got ahead of myself, at my workplace, with colleagues, with girlfriends and even with my boss. Sometimes the culprit has been coffee, so i don’t do coffee anymore, mostly because it alters my mood and makes me want  to go ahead of myself. Do not say i told you not to be on top of things, it also does not pay to be behind times. G’day to you.