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To read part 1, click the following link: https://lubnah.me.ke/31-hours-part-1/

Our view is still the same restaurant we had been at from the previous night 3 a.m.
It is now past 3 p.m. and you could vividly see all our energy had been sucked out of us.

“You know, at some point, during this journey, I thought of Nabii Yunus and the boat he was on,” I say loudly.
“Why,” my sister asks.
“Perhaps there is someone weighing us down and jinxing this entire trip. Who should we be kicking out of the car?”
They all burst out laughing.
“Saeed, I didn’t see you at the masjid for I’sha. Did you really pray?” Farouq jokes.
“I was late for masjid but I actually did pray.”
“Ehh, maanake this is not normal,” I say.
“So we write down our names in small pieces of paper too and choose randomly who is to be kicked out,” someone says. And we laugh again.

Asr prayer soon arrives. We went for prayers then went to eat at another restaurant across the road. Chips soaked in oil nonetheless. We eat reluctantly as we entertain ourselves with nothing and everything. We then see a matatu drive into the previous restaurant we were at. Our help had finally arrived. Finally, we thought.

My brother in law Ali had come with two other men, a driver and a conductor for extra help. We take the car to the mechanic and fix a towing bar ( a metal bar on the back of a vehicle that is used for towing a vehicle) between the two cars and off we set.

My sister and I sat comfortably at the car seat, set our chairs back and closed our eyes. We were barely three minutes away from the mechanic, the towing bar falls off from our car and screeches loudly. We both open our eyes,
“Oh what now?” I say with a sigh.
The mechanic rushes to us and checks our car.
“Reverse the car. We have to fix this again,” he says.

So we reverse back and it takes another moment to fix the towing bar. We set off again and as we cross the road towards Mombasa, guess what? It falls off again. All the men come out of the car and somehow fix it. We set off AGAIN. At this point I am so convinced that this entire trip is jinxed.

For a while we drive at a good speed with no complications. In fact, at some point, Farouq who was now the one driving the matatu, was over taking other cars.
“We are now over-confident huh?” I said to my brother who was in the car with us.
He laughs while I went back to sleep.

Close to dusk, I woke up and started taking videos of the forest and images of the sunset. I even got to see a deer and a giraffe huh! Silver lining 😀 At this point, we believe that we are fine and we will totally make it home with no further complications.

In between my short naps and taking videos, another loud screech woke us up. All men hopped out of the two vehicles, fixed it again and embarked on our journey. It was already dark now and just a few vehicles on the road with us.

As if testing our patience, the towing bar now kept falling off almost after every 10-20 minutes. Whenever this would happen,I would imagine the car losing entire control and perhaps roll off to our devastating end. Despite this happening too many times already, I would still wake up with a hand on my chest, screaming ‘bismillah’ like this might just be it. The last trip of our lives. Mind you, this trip happened just a few days before eidul adh-ha. I never thought we would live to see it.

Past midnight, we stopped at a petrol station with a cool, posh, cute restaurant beside it.
“Is she asleep?” my brother asks about our sister.
“Yeah,” I say as I gaze at her. She’s been asleep for a while now. And I kept wondering how she wasn’t hearing all that commotion in the dead night with no one but us on the road.

I wake her up to ask whether she needed to use the washroom.
“You’ve slept quite a while. Weren’t you hearing the constant commotions?” I ask her.
“I took my pills remember? They make me drowsy and sleepy.”
“Makes sense.”

We walk to the restaurant. The setting was beautiful and the toilets were CLEAN and neat. Do you know how important that is when you have a break down in the wilderness?!!!
“I wish our car had broken down here,” my sister says. Yeah, same sis. Same. We laugh.
We come back from the washroom and find all the men standing between the two vehicles. Two of them were hitting the bumper of our car with a huge rock.

“What’s happening?” we ask as we wear our jackets. It is pretty cold now.
“The bumper is becoming loose. It can no longer handle the pull of the towing bar. We have to remove it entirely and connect the towing bar directly to the metals of the car below the bonnet,” my brother explains.

“Do you know how suspicious we look right now?” I say. Five men and two women, in the middle of the night, damaging what seems like a perfect car. The sound of the rock echoes in the very silent petrol station. No one from there asks anything though. The bumper is finally removed and kept inside the matatu. They attach a rope and the metal bar between the matatu and our bumper-less car and each one of us takes our places in the respective vehicles. We take off.

“We are lucky we took this trip at night you know. If it were during the day it would be way more difficult with other cars on the road and traffic police,” my brother says. Lucky indeed 😀

You’d expect with the bumper being out our trip wouldn’t have any other issue right? You couldn’t be more wrong. The car still kept on freeing itself. And as fast and efficient as possible, the guys would hop out, fix it and we’d move on. They were becoming too good at the job, with no complaints even 😀

At this point it was like we were at a state of delirium. Whenever we’d close our eyes and open them again, we’d see someone else driving our car. The guys were taking turns in driving the two vehicles. My brother Saeed and brother in law Ali are now at the car with us.

“I am sleepy,” Ali says as he drives.
To make our trip more interesting, Saeed starts telling us of another road trip with a friend who left him driving the entire night while he slept.
“The silence just makes it worse. I was literally fighting with the sleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes fully open,” he says as we listen.

At this time, almost all our phones were off. Had we died, it would have taken a while for our families to be contacted. Okay, not the time for bad thoughts.

Saeed starts eating the mabuyu that we had at the beginning our trip. My sister is back to sleep.
“Are these mabuyu nice ama ni njaa niko nayo?” (or am I just hungry)
“You are hungry,” Ali and I laugh.

I close my eyes again for another moment before we had the loudest screech yet. Both my sister and I woke at the sight of our car moving to the extreme left down a slope, the matatu moved towards the right while the towing bar screeched loudly. I screamed something, my sister’s eyes were popping. We all held our breath, our mouths agape, horror written all over our faces as the car moved fast towards the edge of the road. We could now see the ocean below us; imagining us plummeting and dropping like feathers to the ocean below. The car then came to a slow stop. We were at ‘Dongokundu highway’. The streets totally empty and the ocean almost daring us. There was a moment of deep silence as the men alighted once again. If there was any moment we felt terror to the extent of finding it tangible, this was it. Imagine waking up to find yourself almost falling off a highway into the ocean? I don’t think words can ever precisely describe the horror we experienced at this point. Maybe we should turn this into a movie so you can vividly experience the terror alongside the characters. From this point, no one dared to go back to sleep. Even my sister with her sleep-inducing pills. We had lost all the appetite for it.

‘What if our car fell off into the deadly waters?!’ I kept thinking to myself.

We were right at the road when a trailer drove past us at a super high speed, startling the guys away to the side. It was a close brush!

“Why do you keep being scared whenever the bar falls off?” my brother asks me after they were back in the car.
“I keep imagining the car losing control and driving us to our demise.”
“That can’t happen. Despite the engine being dead, we are still controlling the car…unless God wills of course.”
“Oh…” I say with relief. How comforting to know 😀

We finally drive past Changamwe into Mombasa. Wow, that came with an excitement of its own, ‘we are close enough to home!! Alhamdulilah’ Only that home is in Mtwapa and we’d need another hour or so to get there with this constantly falling metal bar.

As we drive past Bamburi cement, we stop again. The men hop out as usual. But this time, we have an audience. The bodaboda guys start speculating us closely. One of them is seemingly drunk and starts threatening the men to report them.
I’m at the back of the car and I don’t get it.’Report us for what?’
The bodaboda guy then signals to his fellow to note down our plate numbers and I think to call the police or something like that.
He is shouting loudly at the guys, throwing insults at a time.
“What is wrong with this guy urgh!’ I say.
“And why are you agitated?” my sister asks.
“Because these guys have been driving the entire night, and he is pushing their buttons. People are exhausted! We don’t need any more problems bana!”
As I had guessed, Ali and Farouq starts answering him back. Not on full blown angry mode but you can see they are REALLY trying to ignore him.

Suddenly we see a police car drive by. We all freeze for a second. But the police just slow down a bit to peep what we were and they went on with their way.

The guys come back to the car. Farouq comes back and joins us as Ali takes up driving the matatu.
“What was the bodaboda guy threatening about?” I ask.
“He was assuming we had caused an accident thus the missing bumper,” Farouq replies.

Saeed drives the car past Borabora and we are thrilled.
“Getting home soon in shaa Allah,” Saeed says.
“Hehe not yet. We are yet to be stopped by the police,” Farouq laughs.
“Don’t jinx it,” we urge him.

We drop the matatu driver and conductor at some point around Shanzu.

We get to Mtwapa bridge and just as we cross, guess what? The police stop us.
Ali explains it to them that before coming with the Matatu to pick us from Mtito, he had talked to their head about it and had approved.
The police became agitated.

“Are you teaching us our job?” They were around four or five of them.
“No but why do you want to hold us back while we got the approval from your boss,” Ali is officially pissed.
“Kuna leo na kesho,”one of the policeman says.

And we all know what that means in Kenya. You could find yourself in a very muddy situation you were never really in.

Saeed and Farouq take Ali aside then talked to the policemen, trying to calm them down. They apologize on his behalf. They say it has been a long journey and bargain with them. They fold a note into one of the hands and finally let us go.

Broken system. How sad.

“That was close,” one of us says.
“Si mimi nlisema,” Farouq laughs. (Didn’t I say we’d be stopped by the police?)
“You’re the one who’s been jinxing us Farouq,” we all say as we laugh at him.
“I am not going to be excited anymore till we are finally INSIDE our home,” I say as we get closer and closer.

“You’ve had a lifetime adventure you will never forget,” Farouq says, “Mwanzo, have you guys ever been on such an adventure?”

“Of course not 😀 We can rejoice about the adventure AFTER it is over,” I say.

We can now see our home at the vicinity and I still say, “I am NOT going to be happy till I am inside. No less. No more.” This is the kind of trip you think, ‘Oh I am finally home. Nothing bad can happen now. I am safe.’ Only for robbers to appear in front of you with pangas. Okay maybe that is too movie-ish but can you blame me at this point for thinking of the worst?

I see my dad waiting for us at the door. I quickly alight and head towards the door. Guess what happened?!

Nothing. Relax. 😀 I just hugged him. Never felt happier to be home. Alhamdulilah.

I rush into my room and my younger sister is startled from her sleep.
“Oh you’re back?!”

“I am baaackkk!! Alhamdulilah!! You won’t believe what happened oh my God. Very long story. Will tell you tomorrow in shaa Allah.”

It is past 3 a.m., closer to 4 a.m. I rush to the washroom, clean up and repay my missed prayers. I am thrilled to be home. So excited. All the while during that terrible journey yet thrilling adventure, I couldn’t stop thinking, ‘Wait till this over! I can’t wait to write about it!’ To date, I believe I was meant to experience that adventure because I love adventures despite them wrecking my nervous system 😀 At least I can boast that I survived the thrill without having a mental breakdown 😀

Next morning everyone at home is asking for details of the trip. What exactly happened.

“Just wait till I write about it!!”

They’ve been waiting for too long! 😀

***
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*This was in the traffic jam 😀 *

Sunday, 4th November

I thought I was calm and composed about this trip. I wasn’t telling the world about it nor was I counting down the hours to the minute I board the plane. However, yesterday night I woke up thrice, went and put on the lights then went back to sleep. Woke up again and went back and put off the lights. The third time I put on the lights again. It was a very restless night. I woke hours later checked my phone, it read 5:33 a.m. I hurried to wake my dad’s room and informed him he is late for the morning prayer. My mother asks, “How comes we are not hearing the prayer going on in the mosque?”

“Perhaps they are done.”

My father wakes up and checks his phone.

“It is 3:33 a.m. not 5:33”

“Really?! But I HEARD the prayer going on in the mosque! And my phone confirmed that!”

“It is 5:33. Go back to sleep.”

I go back to my room and check the phone. It is truly 3 a.m. I sigh.

Anxiety Mahn 😀 I should have known that staying calm for me is impossible. But would you blame me really?

This was my first time being invited for an international writing workshop. A publishing fellowship by African Writers Trust (AWT).

First time meeting writers from different parts of Africa.

First time going to Uganda.

First time meeting the writing/publishing gurus.

First time boarding the plane.

Keep calm? Not a word in my dictionary.

The flight was amazing apart from the dizziness whenever the plane bumped a bit. My mother said I’ll be fine during my second flight. I wasn’t. During both the flights I was still holding onto the chair, thinking of all the things that could go wrong yet still, I loved it. I realized how underrated the clouds are because I couldn’t stop wondering how nice it would be to touch them and feel them.

We arrive at Country Lake Resort Garuga in Entebbe around lunch hour. I quickly go to my room to drop off my things. The room is big. The bed is bigger; I could have five mini-mes sleeping on the same bed. It has a small, lovely balcony that faces some tall trees and smaller plants. Perfect place for a cup of coffee. Only that I don’t drink coffee and I am scared of being alone in this room and in this balcony precisely. The silence is deafening and the trees seem to be whispering. I don’t know to whom precisely but they are definitely creepy.

I take a walk around the big resort and it is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. This place is the definition of art and nature. Definitely the best place to bring writers to, and family, and your friends and everyone else. Everyone should see this place. It faces the majestic and grand lake Victoria and words can’t explain how breath-taking it is. Someone should sponsor me a ‘vacation’ to write a book over here. The air just clears your head and that obviously makes it the best place to think, contemplate and come up with the best ideas. I salute the one who chose this location for this workshop. And the owner is definitely a genius!

I go back into my room as soon as the sun set.

Now here’s the thing, I come from a big family so there was never a time I was ever alone by myself. Almost never. At first I was excited about experiencing this but dark has set in and sleep doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon despite my exhaustion. My heart keeps racing and I am a nervous wreckage right now like a character in a thrilling story. So much suspense with no climax. So I’m just here staring around in all corners, saying lots of duas and breathing deeply while under my blanket. Qur’an is playing from my laptop at the background. The lights are on. I want to sleep now.

Monday, 5th November

Last night I dreamt of some people breaking into my room. My big, lovely, beautiful room. The room that should see no harm yet people still found a way to break into my room out of the many rooms in this big resort. Only it was a dream; a long one nonetheless. I curse anxiety. Wouldn’t let me enjoy the serenity even.

I leave the room around 6:30 a.m. to watch the sunrise. A divine scene. Stunning. Spectacular. *Inserts all the synonyms of breath-taking* It is so beautiful I want to cry. I want to cry because I haven’t felt this kind of warmth in a very long time. Just chirping of the birds, the calm sea, the silence, the peace. And no people!! Oh the peace! I couldn’t get enough of it. But today was the day. The D-day. The start of the workshop and I had to fully prepare for it.

It is not every day you meet legends especially all in one place. Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, founding publisher of Indigo Press from the UK, Demere Kitunga, a publisher, mentor and translator from Tanzania and Catherine Mark, a writer and a poet from the UK as well. Mama Goretti who is the founder of AWT. All these fellows from Africa. All with very valuable experience and knowledge and mistakes to learn from.

We had 18 fellows from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania. I was among the 3 Kenyans selected and the youngest, or at least among the youngest. This calls for a celebration.

Everyone introduces themselves and what brought them to the workshop. We have publishers in the room, editors, writers, poets and trainers. I am overwhelmed with all the stories from everyone. No one’s had it easy. No one just woke up and had an empire ready. It is really REALLY inspiring and definitely makes me more hopeful for the future and the future of my group in Mombasa ‘Creative Writers League’.

The Magnificent Ellah Wakatama starts off on the editors role and the different kinds of editors in the publishing world. I am amazed. So many things I had NO idea of. For example, I never knew there were so many different editors each with their own specific role. Or that even in poetry, there’s a specific way of arranging the poems such that they be in sync with each other and flow perfectly. The group works are mind-blowing and eye-opening. We go on with the life cycle of the book and many other interesting issues about bringing a book to life. The food is tasty. The interactions are hilarious and lovely!

I am exhausted but what I’ve learnt in this single day is more than I ever taught myself in all these years as a writer.

Tuesday, 6th November

It rained heavily last night and there was thunder too. I was scared of course. Is that even a question?! When one of our sweet facilitators mentioned how she hid under the bed and was praying desperately when she heard the thunder because they don’t have thunder where she lives, I was relieved 😀 I am not the only scared freak.

Today we critically analyzed some short stories and it was so remarkable how you notice a lot more things when you read a story out loud and break it down into chunks and pieces. Even more interesting is how each one of us view the same things in very different ways and how one’s favourite story turns out to be the least liked for someone else.

We learn a lot more on roles, structuring, responsibilities, planning and several other important aspects of editing.

Wednesday, 7th November

I am a regular morning walker now, plus I got a partner to watch the sunrise with. It was the only thing I kept asking everyone about. Have you seen the sunrise?! Oh you don’t know what you’re missing out on! So Rachel, the program organizer joined me. Then she joined me for the evening walks. And all the time walks. It wasn’t just about the walks though. It was more about the deep talks we’d have any time we were together. Rachel and I connected immediately and I really appreciated it because I rarely have such profound bonds with people.

The learning is going on. A lot of questions, discussions and comments. Every creative needs such a space honestly. This is like meeting your long lost family because you automatically belong. You find your people and you understand one another. How beautiful is that?!

Thursday, 8th November

Mama sent me an email via my sister because she was worried, she couldn’t find me on phone the whole day. This is despite me informing her upfront that the wifi is poor and I have little access to the internet. But I get it. I am highly likely going to do the same to my children. I am my mother’s daughter and anxiety runs in the family 😀 But I am also daddy’s girl because he is very patient and understanding. I mean, when I woke him up at 3 a.m. he wasn’t angry despite him loving his sleep a lot. He said ‘You were anxious’ when I wanted to apologize the next morning. I think I’m the perfect combination of my parents. An anxious wreck with a lot of understanding. The most patient, impatient person on earth. 😀 I am a living paradox.

Today, I come to the realization that we, as creatives, have the same similar struggles despite living in different countries and having different backgrounds. One of the fellows mentioned he would charge 1 $ for a full-day training yet only five people came. And I was like, ‘Same here bro. Same here.’ Another lady also mentioned on the same struggle of acquiring trainees for writing. It is such a shame that we have so much talent within us yet still choose to sit on it because the training ‘is expensive.’ It is mostly a matter of priority and we choose to keep our talents out of the priority lists entirely. How sad.

In the afternoon we meet another creatives’ group sponsored by British council at a different resort. It was nice since they had visual artists and graphic designers that we didn’t have in our group. A great network opportunity for everyone. Lots of laughter, pictures and sharing of contacts.

Friday, 9th November

Adrenaline. There’s something about adrenaline that I love. The thrill of it. The shouting-on-a-roller-coaster feeling. The sky-diving feeling. That makes me an adrenaline junkie I guess. But I’m also a stress junkie so you see the irony there 😀 More of a dilemma on what really makes me who I am.

Two of our fellows are ahead of us, Hiwot from Ethipia and Lucky Grace from Rwanda. Its their first time on the bodaboda and you can see it on their faces the tension. I laugh. I laugh because I have been on the bodaboda before, several times and i’m still scared; of it. But I’m seated with Fatma from Sudan who has also never boarded one. I feel like the hero in this case. Behind us is Rachel and Abu Amirah who are used to bodabodas but then they shouldn’t ruin my feeling of being the hero here. So I tap the bodaboda guy and ask him to go past our fellows ahead of us. I keep nagging him to go faster. Fatma laughs, “Do you want to kill us?!” just as we go past them and I am shouting to them ‘Byeeee.’

“This is the moment you shout ‘wohoooo'”

She just laughs. We are in the interior side of Entebbe with so many trees around us and barely anyone passing by.

“Seriously…” I tell her.

“You start,” she says.

I have never been an influence in my life. At least not on the silly stuff. I just do it myself.

“I do it then you do it,” I tell her and she nods.

So I scream ‘Wohoooo’ as my sound disappears into the bushes, air kissing our faces. She just laughs.

I am disappointed. “You are supposed to be my partner in crime.”

“Okay let’s do it again. On the count of three. I…2…3…wohooooo”

We both shout but I can only hear her voice under her breath. I am probably the bad influence here because Fatma is extremely quiet and introverted like Hiwot. They both smile so sweetly, very lovely souls and it is very evident with how they carry out themselves.

I always thought I was an introvert until I met them. The other night we sat by the sunset deck watching the stars and I was talking a lot until I realized how quiet the two of them were. Each was just staring into the horizon, each in their own world. I was the noise maker and I’ve never really been a noise maker with anyone except people i’m really comfortable with. Man, I need a different identity. I am not introvert.

Anyway so Fatma asks me we do the titanic pose as the bodaboda speeds on and we stretch our arms open. She is learning 😀

We are heading to Kampala and the journey is so long. Rachel, who is Ugandan, volunteered to be our tour guide and took us for shopping. Kampala pretty much looks like Nairobi. From the crowds to the chaos to the jam. The JAM! Took us two hours to get back to Entebbe. The Jam was so bad the driver would frequently put off the engine as we wait.

This was our last day of the training. The week went so fast or maybe it was just too wonderful it should have lasted a month?! It was sad parting ways with fierce individuals, lovely souls and very hardworking people. The Ugandans checked out the same day, leaving the international visitors who are to check out the next day.

Saturday, 10th November

We (the Kenyans) are leaving this morning together with the Tanzanians. Hiwot, Rachel and Lucky Grace came to say goodbye and Fatma was overtaken by her sleep so we didn’t get to say our farewell.

I wish I could stay at this place longer. The solace you feel here is tremendous. Psychiatrists and psychologists should prescribe a visit to this place as part of the therapy sessions. Like ‘Mandatory vacation at the Country Lake resort Garuga-Uganda. Failure to do so may lead to increment of number of days at the resort.’ Plus it will be lovely if they sponsor the vacations. Can we get an ‘ameen?’ 😀

I have learnt a lot from our great facilitators and honestly from all the fellows. I was quite moved by everyone’s passion to make a difference and especially for the facilitators who come from far just to give back to the society. Mama Goretti and her AWT team did everything so perfectly, no one could complain. I mean, this is the most organized and timely event/workshop I’ve ever attended, special thanks to Rachel for ensuring the anxious me has nothing to worry about 😀

Our trip to the airport is rather quiet. I remember when we were first coming to Entebbe and the three of us (Kenyans) had EVERYTHING to talk about. We were so excited and thrilled, we talked the whole way. KK (Kingwa) comments on how silent we are in contrast with how we came. We all laugh. We are already feeling nostalgic of the place and all the people we met. Most importantly, there’s a lot of restructuring, planning and changes to be made in our writing careers. A lot to think about.

This will be quite a tiring journey since we have to stop by Nairobi first before going to Mombasa but I can’t wait to be home. I missed my nephews A LOT and everyone else of course. Plus my mum is waiting for all the details of the entire trip. She loves details. I love details. Did I say I am my mother’s daughter?

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

Olympics is my favourite season. If you agree that Olympics is the better season than world cup then raise your hand and scream ‘yeah!’ 😀 Oh well, Olympics has it’s own thrill even if the ‘world cuppers’ don’t agree. I love world cup but Olympics; I just love it way more 😉 It’s not really a surprise that I love Olympics, I dream of watching it live and I wish I could be an Olympics athlete too HA HA HA; I will tell you why.

My dad has always been my hero before Usain Bolt or David Rudisha or even Michael Phelps. I just get too excited when I hear him talk of his days as the champion. They call him ‘Jaguar’. The most thrilling part of his stories is not exactly when he explains how he had to be chained up by his own father at the stairs so he wouldn’t go play football or when he shows you his scars…it is when you hear his old friends talk about him. So on this fine day I went for a job interview and during the introduction, I mentioned my father’s name of course. The boss said, ‘wait…Abdulhalim? Jaguar?’ And I am like ‘yeah’. He started praising my dad’s talent and explaining how he would make the entire crowd chant his name ‘Jaguar’. So you can imagine, I am right there, doing an interview and the boss starts getting excited about my dad. It actually made me wish I knew my father since back then. But still, this wasn’t the most interesting part. Some other day I went into the same office and another school mate of my father was there too. The boss started,

“Do you know whose daughter this is?”

“Who?”

“Jaguar!”

“Oh Jaguar!!! He used to break his own records during school days. I doubt that anyone ever broke his records to date.”

I started laughing as they went on explaining how fast my dad would run, or how good he was in the football pitch…oh, not forgetting swimming. He was just that talented all-round athlete. I remember laughing until my cheeks were aching. I was proud. I’ve always been but the most unfortunate thing about my dad is that he got a bunch of girls and one boy who have little or zero talent in sports compared to him. My sisters and I all participated in different sports during high school; the gene is still there only that it is a very tiny bit of it. So I may not be sportish but I love sports. I love the thrill. I love watching footballers do their training. I love watching the fans cry and scream with excitement. Oh my, I love the shoes; I really love the ‘nikes’ and ‘adidases’ on display. As they say, Olympics is the biggest stage for sneakers, you bet they are right! I love seeing anything that looks like a sport. So for me and for my family, Olympics is family time. We would sit together and cheer for the Kenyans and our other favourite athletes, stay up late and enjoy one sport after another. Oh yeah; this is the world of Olympics.

Olympics is not only about the marathon, the races or the swimming. It is made up of so many sports that can just amaze and amuse you. All the way from archery (where we had a Kenyan Muslim girl participant; Shehzana Anwar), basketball, badminton, beach volleyball, Synchronized swimming (which just seems too artistic to not fall in love with), swimming, gymnastics (one of my favourites too), cycling, trampoline (awesome!!), triathlon, wrestling, rowing, long jump etc etc.  This time we had Palestine bringing in 6 participants and Refugee Olympic athletes, 10 of them, isn’t that inspiring?! You see all this and you would be mind-blown at how people are so talented and skilled in this world. Welcome to Rio Olympics 2016!!

It’s so much fun watching David Rudisha break his own record in 800 men’s, watching Jemima Sumgong win the first gold for Kenya ever in Olympics women’s marathon, watch Usain Bolt win his 3rd consecutive gold in the Olympics 100 meter titles. Well the thing about Usain Bolt; he never disappoints his fans and he has the coolest celebration signature ever.

On the other hand, Michael Phelps will be taking home 5 gold medals and 1 silver after being defeated in the 100 M butterfly by Joseph Schooling from Singapore who happens to consider Phelps as his childhood idol. For Michael though, he says he is done. This is his last Olympics and well, why not? His performances cemented his title as the greatest swimmer of all time, winning 28 medals throughout his career, 23 of them gold.

There is so much inspiration in the Olympics, so much to learn from the champions. Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in swimming Thursday night, tying for gold in the 100-meter freestyle with Penny Oleksiak of Canada. Or on the case of Mo Farah of Britain who fell down half-way during  the 10th lap in the 10,000 meter race yet still the gold placing our own, Tanui from Kenya as the silver medalist. Etenesh Diro got a stand ovation from the crowd after losing one shoe during the 3000 meters steeplechase heat yet still emerging number 7 out of 17 participants. After an appeal from her team, Diro was among the lucky ones to proceed to the finals. With one shoe, or no shoe at all, you gotta stand up again!

Back to our Kenyans, we have 5 medals until now; 2 gold and 3 silver placing us at number 18 which is not bad 😀 Leading is United States with 75 medals. However, for Kenyans we still have hope in the upcoming events including the athletics happening today. Perhaps even by the time you read this, more medals will have already been won Amen!

Okay now people, as much as our Kenyans have poor English speaking skills, let us admit that the bigger problem is the accent rather than the English grammar itself. I mean did you hear this Rwandan athlete who was being interviewed and he was like, ‘I ran I ran I raaannnnn, I enjoyed I enjooyeeeddd’ lol. So yeah, at least our Kenyans are trying. They are bringing you medals, what more do you want!

Anyway besides that, Deputy president Ruto joined athletes in a jog in Rio, warned dishonest sports managers and also said the government has increased the award package for Olympics medal winners to Sh1 million for gold medalists, Sh750,000 for silver and Sh500,000 for bronze. Oh well, isn’t that so juicy?! Especially since Kenya has sent quite a crowd over there. Though I think an appeal should be made for the marathon runners. I mean come on, how does someone running 42.195 kilometres marathon win the same prices with someone winning in 100 meters?! Eish! These athletes deserve double award! I mean, didn’t you see Jemima shed tears as the Kenyan flag was raised?! She deserves a greater token lol.

With that much said, let us enjoy the few remaining days of Olympics and most of all, let us learn from these champions and their stories of failure and success! As for my dad, I am just hoping my son will be the one to get that precious sportish gene from him, ameen!!!

For now it is, ‘Go Kenya Go!!’