Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I didn't choose the color of skin to be born with,

didn't pick the family to be born into,
neither did I pick the first school or church to attend,
nor pick my siblings, 2 came before me and one after, I never had a say.
But time changed everything.
As the hands of time moved, I had the opportunity to choose.
I picked a major and a university to attend,
selected friends, made enemies and savored different music genre.
Lived my life the way I wanted within the boundary of my power,
fell in love, proposed, and married the woman of my dreams.
If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Life dealt me a good hand...

I saw a little girl running in the afternoon heat, a pair of tattered flip flops on her feet, held together by strips of rope. She had a rapturous expression on her face, unfazed by the burning heat. She had barely any clothes on save for a pair of old frayed panties. You couldn't tell what color it was, it had aged gracefully but even the fabric couldn't withstand the harsh conditions it had been subjected to. The little girl didn't seem bothered by her near nudity as she ran up to an old woman laboring under the weight of  a basket, bursting at the seams with cassava stems.

The basket was old, very old and worn. You could almost hear it sigh with every step the woman took, the silent complaint of an inmate who had given up on the possibility of parole. Baskets may be inanimate but they groan too, their lifespan wasn't meant to be this tough. The white man coined a term for it,"MTBF: Mean Time Before Failure." The basket had served its time, failed, been patched up, died and resurrected by prodding fingers that wouldn't let it rest peacefully in raffia paradise. But it's plight didn't seem to bother the old woman who had loaded it full with cassava.

She grinned as the little girl hugged her tightly around the waist, balancing the basket deftly by shifting her feet so the cassava stems wouldn't spill out. The woman's face was weather-beaten, her skin stretched tightly across her face, barely covering her jaunt bones. On closer inspection you could tell that the woman wasn't old at all. Her eyes were still young, but her bones creaked and ached like a rusty machine pummeled by the hardship of a struggle-filled life. The woman's smile revealed a pair of gleaming white teeth in sharp contrast to the dull glow of her skin. The woman had never been to a dentist, toothpaste was a luxury she had never been exposed to. All her life she had relied on her chewing stick and it had never failed her. She looked down at the little girl's hair,  trying to decide if it was due for plaiting, her face creased with concentration. The little girl's voice snapped the woman out of her reverie. "Mama, nnoo! Ka m nyere gi aka..." (Mother welcome, let me help you)

The little girl didn't pick the family to be born into, life had dealt her a tough hand. Only time would tell the choices she would make...

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