Posts

Showing posts from February, 2009

The Day The Kiln Did Not Fire

Image
This yellow batz glaze is highlighted with terra sigallata underneath to show off the great texture. The texture was hand stamped with an old batik stamp. My friend Todd over at Peace through Pottery was kind enough to let me illustrate the story using this lovely piece. It reminded me of the vibrant pottery produced over the years at our Gallery, Paa Ya Paa in Nairobi, Kenya. Please visit his blog and esty shop .

The Day The Kiln Did Not Fire - a Short Story by Hana Njau-Okolo

Saturdays usually started early, when Baba’s booming gramophone record player interrupted dreams and their endings.

Guantanamera
Guajira Guantanamera
Guantanamera
Guajira Guantanameraaa…

The 1970s song was Baba’s favorite; about a man’s longing for his chiquita bonita from Guantanamo Bay. I remember the chorus well since its first release; we had the 78 rpm vinyl.

Back then, I liked the way the singer held the “aaa” in “Guantanameraaa…” I still do, because endless possibilities lie within that note; it captures free…

Opportunity Knocks

Image
I work at a national law firm, and in the single ugliest day for the legal industry since the economic downturn began, eight major firms announced a total of 748 layoffs last Thursday February 12th. Read more here.

The gloomy announcements in our office began early in the day, just moments after the switchboard opened, and folks had logged in and settled down with their first cup of tea or coffee.

One by one, my coworkers and friends were summoned, issued the bad news, provided with boxes to pack up their personal belongings and where necessary, escorted off the premises. As the morning wore on and the scythe continued to fly, the office grapevine seethed with suppositions. No one was safe!

It was almost the end of the business day when the survivors were advised of the final number of those who had lost their jobs.

I know all of them well, most are women, heads of households, with small children, with health concerns, and now without medical insurance. What are they all going to do?

Retrospection

Image
I keep revisiting a photo album containing pictures of the Paa Ya Paa ruins after the fire in 1998. Maybe it's because I was thousands of miles away, on the receiving end of an international call alerting me of El Nina and her wrath, when it happened.

The phone call that put my fears to rest; the news that Baba na Mama were okay, that Baba had been hospitalized for smoke inhalation because he kept running back to retrieve some of the gallery's permanent collection of over 500 works of art, produced in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The record of contemporary East African art from pre-independence to the present.

Do I wander through remembrances path perhaps because I need (here's the tired word) closure? Or is it simply because I have been slow to recognize the unquestionable life-force embedded in the photographs?

Look at the strong facial features that survived. They intrude upon the darkest places of the heart.

Baba's lifesong stil…

Oh, Dear Ambassador!

Got this from a friend today. Rather funny. Could not resist sharing here...vichekesho!!


The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c Oliver's Travels - Kenya Daily Show Full Episodes
Funny Political Videos Important Things With Demetri Martin
More Funny Videos

Do. Me.

Image
Baby, break the boundaries
between what I see, what I feel, what I do.
In the order and sequence of every fibre of my being,
help me reach the unseen.

These last few days contemplative,
elemental in many ways.
My brittle body weakened.

Prompting a perspective focused inward
on renewal, like never before.

The imperatives
manicure, pedicure, shop, dance, sleep-in
manicure, pedicure, shop, dance, sleep-in.

Delegate!
Remote-control in hand, agitate the crew.

Do. Me. Baby, and I'll emerge
fully able to deal with existence.

Play hookie,
girls' night out,
kick-it-old-school
put the mind at ease
search no more for unfinished business.

Do. Me. Break the boundaries
between what I see, what I feel, what I do.

Mama Shujaa.

Copyright © Hana Njau-Okolo 2009. All Rights Reserved.