• So long to write this

    786. Forgive me, if I took so long to write this. I was looking everywhere, but I couldn’t find you. But to be honest the days have been darker, its been harder to see, you see, so I have had to rely on what I feel, and I have felt so much, I have had to do what us Kenyans do best; stop feeling.

    So where are you? I returned to the house I grew up in, I traced my fingers along its walls, I dug my hands into its soil and placed my ear at all the trees that lived there, but I no longer felt you here.

    I went to that gathering of trees we used to run to, the one that let Light shimmer and Branches sway, but hey, I must have forgotten the path, because I could no longer find my way. Forgive me, my memory seems to evade me these days; I am burying words and pushing aside so much 
    I am beginning to forget.

    I returned to the stream my mother sings about, the one from her childhood that she followed each day, I asked Stream where she had carried you, but, she gave no answer and I thought to myself; this murky, silent stream deserves no song! 
    I followed her, past countless, multi-storey blocks and there I found clogged highways of rivers called Progress.

    I searched for you in our songs, in our voices on the radio, in our parking lots, our television screens, in these endless shopping malls. 
    In our endless bars I looked; 
    in brown beer bottles and cheap liquor, 
    bar bills that cost our night guard’s monthly salary. 
    I looked for you in those bright red miniskirts 
    and tight blue dresses that suck at our daughters’ bellies, 
    in those alley ways that hide our sons 
    and I opened endless doors 
    to endless dimly lit hotel rooms 
    that hide our husbands, fathers and brothers.

    I looked for you in the words of a man that has forgotten the children he has fathered, 
    the drunken mother who frightens her children each time she comes 
    or doesn’t 

    So where are you?
    Our spirituality, 
    Our collective spirituality oh Kenya.
    I was under the impression we had one.

    I looked for you in collapsing banks, 
    and in those reports we are always promised that never appear. 
    I searched for you in these endless speeches 
    but my ears 
    the words.

    I weaved myself through Church pews and prayer mats. 
    I searched for you in palms of hands reached skyward.
    I scrutinized heavy laden hands, sincere with prayer, 
    for you,
    But it frightened me;
    some of these same hands 
    on other days
    where they shouldn’t.

    I searched for you in my loved ones, 
    but I see us, 
    we busy ourselves, 
    busying our eyes and hands, 
    so we are not still, 
    so not to notice the emptiness,
    Our Nation of Silence.

    My heart is looking for you, oh precious One! 
    I looked for you in my heart because you lived here once, no?
    Remember, that’s what kept us going, isn’t it?
    The pride of our country in our hearts.

    I am afraid we are slowly poisoning ourselves, you see, each time fear clutches our throat, we swallow our words.

    When did our prayers become empty? 
    When did we stop caring if we hurt others? 
    When did we get the courage to pray so insincerely And lie to the God we so apparently hold in high esteem?
    Don’t get me wrong I am not saying Prayer is not for forgiveness, mercy or redemption. But surely if we ask our Divine for these shouldn’t we then have the wisdom and humility to stop? We did we stop being accountable even to God. Tell me, when did we become Gods?

    How would I define “collective spirituality?”
    Let’s see:
    of heart,
    connected to source, 
    connected to others, 
    respect for our environment and those around us;

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we are not spiritual. 
    I am saying as a nation, I am struggling to see our spirituality. 
    We just seem so caught up in cheating others so we can gain. 
    We do it in our business deals, in the way we drive, in the way money and sex seem to be the only lingua franca. 
    Has it always been like this? 
    I pay you in order to show appreciation. I pay you to make noise, I pay you to keep silent. 
    To feel appreciated; I have sex with you, 
    to get something from you; I have sex with you, 
    in order to feel alive; I have sex with you, 
    in order to have power over you, I have sex with you. 
    Am I alone in seeing something is wrong?

    Dear Collective Spirituality, grow again, it is safe. 
    I promise. 
    I am asking the reader of these words to foster you again. 
    I am requesting the reader to remain strong and remain a beacon of light; 
    a beacon of Love and Truth.

    We cannot have control over what happens around us, but we can work from the inside out. We cannot know light without darkness, nor love without hatred. But we can be the standard we want to uphold.

    I humbly ask you dear reader to request for your Divine Source to let Love magnify in your heart. 
    Let this love spread outwards. 
    May Love and Truth always be in our thoughts, 
    in the images that come to our mind 
    and in the ideas that disseminate out. May Love and Truth be in our speech, for them to be in what we hear, in your hands so our actions come from them and so what we receive and what we give out comes from Love and Truth. 
    May Love and Truth to be in our Loins,
    so they are present when we copulate and procreate.

    May they be in your feet, so wherever we walk is blessed by Love and Truth and so that every venture we embark on is blessed by Love and Truth.

    May our land and nation continue to be blessed. 
    “Justice be our shield and defender, May we dwell in unity, Peace and liberty, Plenty be found within our borders.” 
    May the Divine grant this to us, Amen. (Inshallah, Ameen).

    I’ve rambled, but know I write this from my heart to yours and I pray you can receive this with grace and compassion,

    Thank you,
    Philippa Wacera Rabia Ndisi-Herrmann