Tuesday, October 27, 2009


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Vipi marafiki?

I've been inundated with our fifth grader's homework assignments these past few days. And truth be told, I am definitely not smarter than a fifth grader. Last night I spent two hours trying to help him finish his math homework - Problem Solving Strategies - six problems consisting of three sentence questions involving the division of decimals.

The problems were so confusing, I was convinced they were trick questions. Thank God we have a recent college graduate now living and working in NYC. I told her I would just have him ask his teacher for help at school and she said, "No, mum don't give up so easily!!"

Then his Dad came to assist and further progress was made - this was about 9:50 pm last night. After reading the questions a few times, he used a strategy of elimination and with our daughter on a conference call, the two were able to come up with the correct answer.

Wow. All this time, I've been admiring his looks, you know, his strong bow-legs. Remember, I told you about them here. His creativity, energy; not knowing that he is quite the problem solving genius. If only he was as good at balancing our check book.


Mama Shujaa.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trespassing Prohibited

I couldn’t wait to tell Nadia. She lived on the other side of the bougainvillea lined path that separated our properties. I had not talked to her for a few days. And once or twice recently in the evenings, I caught a glimpse of her through the hedges as she walked alone towards the main road. I wondered where she was going and made a note to ask her, then decided to follow her the next time I saw her pass by and surprise her with the good news.

The opportunity presented itself easily enough, right after an early dinner that Saturday when she made her way through the path behind our house. I gave her a few minutes to get ahead and then set out after her.

It was not long before I realized that she had turned off the main road and was heading towards Sir Michael Blondell’s coffee farm. What was she doing? His was the colonial ranch to be feared, avoided. I followed stealthily behind, the double dose of excitement almost too much to bear.

It wasn’t long before I came upon her, standing near the man-made lake, a Trespassing Prohibited sign impaled on a Jacaranda tree close by.

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Nadia’s diminutive frame swayed slightly towards the water. Its translucent topcoat reflected the gigantic red petals blossoming on her lacy dress as it wafted umbrella-like in the light breeze, revealing a set of knock-knees precariously tilted towards the edge.

She reached behind her neck to unclasp the single hook-and-eye of her dress.

My heart’s staccato rhythm pulsed in my eardrums, thoughts colliding as I anticipated her next move. Within seconds she had slipped off her dress and her chocolate nakedness disappeared into the lake.

Except for the shallow gasps coming from my mouth, I stood transfixed, cursing my non-photographic memory.

Chocolate shaven armpits were all I could remember. Caramel pointed breasts, a flat stomach with a ring-less bellybutton, and tight thighs; body parts I barely glimpsed and yearned to see again.

Nadia mouth was open as she tilted her head back and took a deep breath, she spread her arms out to her sides like an aeroplane, looking relaxed, her whole body, the peaks of her bosom barely visible above the water.

I worried about the millions of things that lay ensconced in the lake’s murky depths as the brown, syrupy water slowly moved around her body.

Nadia's tongue caressed her lips as the beat in my ears slowed to a steady tempo, the blood circulating in my belly. Her brown eyes lingered on the lake’s surface, the fragrance of passionflowers encircling the lake rising in the air as Nadia moved towards the water’s edge.

Time stood still when she emerged from the lake. Her body’s contours shimmered like a polished diamond. Dazzled, I took it all in. The contours of her high cheekbones, shapely full lips, and perfect nose and chin, the peaks of her succulent breasts, sensuous stomach and slender thighs, left me with a drumbeat pulsing, persistent, concentrated.

(Excerpt from my book-in-progress)

Ji-enjoy! Mingi Love,

Mama Shujaa.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Balancing Life

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This young man could very well be a college graduate or a high school graduate.

He may also not be a graduate at all.

Regardless, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Believe it or not, this young man is a tailor.

And balanced on his head is his workstation.

Due to the inability to find employment he has resorted to fulfilling a need. In all likelihood, his place of business is somewhere in Lagos, Nigeria.

What does he do? He walks the streets looking for customers that need this or that stitched, a button here, a button there, pants hemmed, a skirt stitched. And on a good day, he may be hired to design and sew trousers, a shirt, or a dress.

He has steady customers you know; it may seem an odd career but he is fulfilling a need.

If he was in America he could have a bunch of uniformed tailors walking the street like him, or driving brand name trucks – franchised!

Mama Shujaa.