Chinua Achebe quotes ‘Quality, quality, quality: never waver from it, even when you don’t see how you can afford to keep it up. When you compromise, you become a commodity and then you die’, ‘Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy” quotes Ralph Emerson. I read somewhere that Compromise is never anything but an ignoble truce between the duty of a man and the terror of a coward.
There are a lot of theories behind the word compromise. In life we compromise a lot so that we try to have everything fall into place. Everything I write is all about experience. I have been in many friendships some which I did not feel as if though I fit in. At times I had friends because I had nothing better to do and being the social person I was, I would always try to fit in whatever category of people I mingled with.
There were times I got hurt and even humiliated but I always tried to compromise with situations so as to avoid drama and try as much as possible to have everything fall into place. Recently someone I really cared about began to distant himself from me maybe he got bored or saw as though I was a threat to his ‘potential’ girlfriends. I loved him yes, but it was not reciprocated to my side, the love. I tried as much as possible to always tag him posts on face book, sending him messages and all that, but as much as I did all that he did not bother to know how I was fairing on and it hurt especially because he knew I loved him and I would always ask to find out how he is doing, you know the caring me J.
It is funny how tables turn, this is someone I was friends with for many years but I came to realize I compromised with a lot of negative energy from him. For me it was always, ‘I love him, and maybe one day it would actually be mutual.’ We termed ourselves as ‘besties’ and I did really love him. It was until recently that it hit me, COMPROMISE that is where I had put my hopes up in.
There is an American proverb that says ‘Compromise makes a good umbrella but a poor roof’. Sad that reality hit me years later but better late than never, and I believe there is a reason as to why we go through some things in life.
We as human beings compromise with a lot of things, for example a lady or a gentleman who is in a relationship where he/she is maybe being battered or even cheated on, and yet this particular person has all the evidence of being treated like trash, we find that he/she will always try to compromise with the situation, by saying ‘Well he will change, she will change, I know he/she loves me and this is just but for a short time.’
I have seen relationships going down the drain just because of compromise, but some relationships actually work out because of compromise, but what good is it if you know there are doubts hanging over your head and you tell yourself that you can handle it. It is true people who compromise are cowards because they are afraid to face a situation and challenge themselves, or even scared what people will think of them if they get out of a ‘perfect’ relationship which everyone else was talking about,(you know the couple which single people look up to-‘as if’)
Another example is compromise in careers. I have been going through a lot of things career wise, always threatening and almost quitting my job like a million times, at times even telling myself that I will compromise with the situation as I looked for another job. Remember my article on legacy, getting another job is an awesome thing, but what is the point of getting another job and yet you would not have accomplished anything in your current career.
As much as our careers are going down the drain and bore us to bits and we would want to quit, we compromise with situations, but how do we compromise? Yes we are looking for better jobs but what about leaving a legacy that will motivate us, that even as we move to other careers we will not feel as though we wasted our time in our previous jobs.
Still on careers we try to compromise with bad treatment, say low payments, being over worked with no over time, maybe never getting any recognition for hard work, or even having done an awesome job and credit goes to another person. These are the things that really test how much we can take in.
Different people handle things differently but what matters most is whether we break our valued principles if at all we have any. Gary Hirschberg quotes ‘The ‘morality of compromise’ sounds contradictory. Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and PRINCIPLES should never be compromised.’
In as much as we compromise we should know what our purpose in life is. Once you know your purpose you should mentally mark a straight pathway to your achievement having no doubts and standing your ground.
Compromise is always an easy way out of a challenge and one of the biggest liars to mankind because whenever we compromise we always ‘succeed’ forgetting that, that particular success is just for a short time, and with compromise there are always repercussions, just as H.Rap Brown quotes ‘Once you consent to some concession, you can never cancel it and put things back the way they were.’
I learn a lot of things as every day, and this time I have decided to try as much as possible not to compromise, and if need be, make sure that my principles are always intact. What is the point of compromising with situations and hurt instead? I love a good life and compromise will not be the barrier to my glory. Let it not also be the highway to your failure.
The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the suggestions it is compromising.-Arthur Bloch. Have a good one people.
For those who were born and raised in Kenya especially Nairobi in the so known ‘mtaa’ know the sheng’ word we used to refer to slippers which was ‘patty patty’. The thing about being brought up in estates ‘mtaa’ is that I hardly spoke English sheng’ was all I knew right from Montessori and even as I was growing up the language of communication that would best suite me was sheng’.
My parents wanted me to get the best education and they decided to take me to a school where children only communicated in English and the teachers would ‘tweng’ their way through all classes. It was quite hard for me to socialize because the language of communication was English, and so what I did best was to keep to myself. Yes, I did play with other children, okay tried to ,because they only played games with English rhymes and yet I was used to games such as ‘icho’, ‘blada’ ’kalongo’ etc.
The only familiar game was ‘hide and seek’ that’s what they called it, I called it ‘brikicho’ but theirs was a little bit hard especially since they used to all shout in English and my sheng’ would not blend there. Seeing that English was such a language barrier for me, I preferred to save my energy for evening when I would meet up with my ‘hommies’ and we would play ourselves into the night, and get back home very dirty, having soiled my clothes with clay and molasses (yes molasses we used to ‘hangout’ in a cowshed-my life)
Back in my pre-unit class my teacher, whose name was teacher Yvonne, whom I couldn’t understand her English, told us that something big was coming up and that we should prepare for it, but she would give us the details later. I was not excited because I knew whatever it would be I would not enjoy it since I hardly talked to the children in class.
So one morning Teacher Yvonne comes to class all excited,’ Good morning children’
‘Good morning teacher Yvonne!’
‘So tomorrow we will bring patty patty stuff, we are all going to have an awesome day’
Suddenly everyone in class was all excited and whispering to each other things which I would not really comprehend. I wondered what the fuss was all about. It’s just ‘patty patty’. ‘kwani hawa watoi ni matoast aje, patty patty inawabamba ivo’ that is what I told myself as I stared at the happy faces in class.
‘Corrie is everything okay, you don’t look so excited?’ the teacher asked as she walked to my sit.
‘I am okay’, I replied as I stammered, trying to choose the right words to reply in English.
That evening as I was with my ‘hommies’ I told them of how the children in my class were so excited about ‘patty patty’. We all laughed as we gossiped how ‘shady’ they were, you know how children are.
When I got home I told my mother what teacher Yvonne had told us, she was also surprised and wondered why the teacher wanted us to carry ‘patty patty’. Being the mother she was, she quickly searched for me blue ‘patty patty’s’ washed them thoroughly and packed them for me in my bag pack.
The following day as I got to school I realized that a lot of things had changed, like the smell of my classroom, it was as if someone was cooking in there, most of the children had big paper bags, and I wondered what it was that they carried. I wondered whether we were supposed to buy a lot of ‘patty patty’. I brushed off that thought.
Teacher Yvonne then came to the class and told us that we should all go outside and sit in the verandah, and that we should carry what we had all brought from home. We obeyed her and all children sat in the verandah. Everyone looked so excited and that bothered me because I did not understand where the excitement was coming from.
‘I want to see what everyone has brought, so please remove your things from the paper bags and show them to me, I will be coming round checking what you have carried,’ teacher Yvonne said as she walked around.
With shock and disbelief I realized that most of the students had carried snacks, biscuits, crisps, cakes, juice, fruits etc. I was so confused, ‘what was happening?’Being a child I was scared to ask why people had snacks and I did not have any.
‘Corrie let me see what you have,’ the teacher said as she interrupted my thoughts.
I slowly got into my bag back and removed a paper bag which had my ‘patty patty’ wrapped in an old newspaper.
‘Corrie what is this?’ teacher Yvonne asked with a lot of concern.
‘Patty patty’ teacher,’ I replied with a very low pitched voice.
‘No No Corrie, I meant you bring PARTY PARTY stuff,’ she replied as she held my shoulder trying to soothe me because I was so embarrassed.
All the children looked at me as though I was some alien. I regretted the fact that I did not know English, that I was so ignorant of the very small words in English. I did know the word ‘party’ but the teacher had said ‘patty patty stuff’ and to me that meant slippers, little did I know that she was trying to sound cool while saying the word ‘party party’ stuff, so that we could all get excited and prepare to come with snacks. I felt as though I could sink in the ground. I remember I was so tiny and that day I felt as if the whole world was collapsing on me, you know how a child feels when humiliated in front of people. I could feel hot tears almost wanting to flow from my eyes but I tried so hard not to let myself cry.
I really can not remember the name of the girl who sat next to me, but I remember teacher Yvonne telling her to share her snacks with me. She did share the snacks with me but the embarrassment still hung over my head.
Up to this day I have never told my mother of that incident which happened when I was 5 years, back then when I schooled at the then Daniel Stephen Memorial School. Those who lived in Kahawa West will remember that school. I am planning to tell my mother of this incident am sure she will shed a tear thinking of how humiliating that incident was for me.
But hey that was Me Being Me. Some things are inborn huh? Like a life of misfortune humor drama.
THAT’S WHAT IT IS!!
Lina was 15 years old when her mother, Rhoda, got married to Boda. She was happy for her mother and since Boda was a man who owned a string of shops in Soweto slum, Lina knew that finally her dream to sit for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education would be fulfilled. She wanted to be a teacher because she knew that , that was the only way she would help to provide for her mother and her siblings.
Their house was not a place many people would call a home. It had paint peeling from the wooden wall like some diseased skin, patches of the sky shone through great yawning holes of the wooden roof. The inside of the house reminded Lina of a doll house disemboweled ,utterly destroyed by a child in a temper tantrum, but all this did not dampen Lina’s spirits to make a better home for her family.
Boda would come to live with them and Lina had a feeling that he would reconstruct the house. The idea of having a father figure in her life was so exciting for her. On this particular day, she was busy tiding up the house and cleaning everything so that her ‘father’ would be happy with her for her hard work. As she was working her mother was preparing herself so that she could look presentable to Boda. The anxiety in the house doubled up with excitement and even Lina’s siblings who were too young to understand what was happening seemed excited just because everyone else was.
“Mama do you think Boda will pay fees for my standard eight? Mama do you think Boda will buy me new shoes? Mama do you…?”
“Lina stop asking so many questions , and make the house, Boda is not coming here to sort out our poverty issues, he is going to be my husband not some charity organization!!’ her mother with an angry tone!
Lina went back to work; she convinced herself that if at all Boda loved her mother he would pay for her school fees.
‘Lina kimbia ufungue mlango, Boda ameshaafika!’ Lina’s mother said as she did her final touches to her hair.
‘Karibu ndani,’ Lina said.
Boda entered the one roomed house, and gave Lina the paper bag he had brought which was full of goodies for her and her siblings, and food stuff, flour, sugar, and teabags. Lina took the things to what they termed as the kitchen, which was one corner of the room. She then left the house so that her mother and Boda could have some time of their own. She took her siblings with her.
‘Lina huyo ni nani akona mummy kwa nyumba?’ her youngest brother Daudi asked.
‘Huyo anaitwa Boda na atakua daddy wetu! Atatulipia school fees ya shule! Kwanza Daudi utasoma ukue unaendesha ndege!! Ngoja tu utaona!’ Lina said with a cheer in her voice.
‘Basi ataninunulia gari ile ndogo,mum aliniambia hana pesa ya kununua toy…?’
‘Chochote unataka utapata Daudi usiwe na wasiwasi!’ Lina replied as she led her siblings to the playground where she distributed the goodies and played with them. They were so happy and everyone else in the slum could see it.
After playing for almost two hours Lina heard her name being called.
She quickly knew it was her mother’s voice she ran to the house, cleaned off the dust on her legs and entered the house.
‘Enda uite kina Daudi, Boda anataka kuwaambia kitu!’
She called her siblings and they were all standing in front of Boda eagerly waiting to hear what he wanted to say.
‘Naona mmefurahia kucheza huko nje! Nilikua nataka kuwaambia kutoka leo,mnaeza niita dad, tumeongea na mama yenu na ameniambia kua alikua amewashow juu yangu,kwanza wewe Lina najua ulikua ukijua!! Chochote mnataka nitawafanyia ,msiwe na shaka yoyote! Mniulize tu!!’
Lina could not hide her excitement she was so happy, that she almost felt like jumping, but she knew that she needed to maintain her cool because her mother would not like it if she ‘misbehaved.’
That night even as she slept on the floor next to her siblings she could not help but to smile. She could hear Boda snoring since he was just sleeping in what they termed as another room in the house but it was the same room only that it was divided by a curtain that cut across the room.
Life went well for them; Boda had agreed to pay fees for her and her siblings. Everyday they were assured of at least one meal. Whenever Lina came from school in the evening she would find her mother preparing meals and the only work left was fetching water.
On this particular day Lina had to go home early because her mother had told her that she would be attending a ‘chama’ meeting and that she would be late. She gathered the firewood and set up fire so that she could heat water for Ugali. While the water was heating outside, she got inside the house and prepared the vegetables.
‘Habari Lina,sikudhani utakua nyumbani!’ a voice said behind her. It was Boda, her ‘father’.
‘Mum alisema atachelewa kidogo ameenda chama!!’ she replied as she excused herself to go and wash the vegetables outside.
‘Come nikuonyeshe,nimekuletea zawadi!’ Boda said with a smile on his face.
Lina was excited and walked to where he was.
‘Funga mlango hii ni zawadi yako peke yako!’ Boda said as he walked towards her.
No sooner had she closed the door than Boda grabbed her by the neck throwing her into the bed.
‘Unafanya nini daddy!!’ she screamed
‘Nyamaza na usiniite daddy!! Nyamaza kama motto mzuuurii!!! Hii ndio zawadi yako!!’
He tore her clothes as he quickly unzipped his trouser. She immediately knew what was happening. She had heard of other girls her age talking about this in school, girls being raped!!
‘Woiye wacha!! WOIYE!!’ she screamed as her legs begun to slightly buckle; her knees were suddenly on hinges. She cried and tried to scream but his hand was over her mouth. A gust of frozen wind swept back her hair and Lina let out what must have seemed as a whisper, a prayer of her life line, which she knew was over.
He had completely destroyed her, the pain was unbearable, he heaved heavily on top of her, and his weight overpowered her. When he was done he threw himself at the side of the bed and smiled to himself. He moved closer to her ears and whispered threats, ‘Ukiambia mtu yeyote,nitaacha mama yako na watoto hao wengine nitawafukuza!! UMESKIA!!!’
She knew the truth behind those words. Many children at the age of five years were thrown fro m their homes into the streets. She did not want this for her siblings. Boda wore his clothes in a rumpled manner and left the house.
Her body tensed every muscle, every fibre inside her involuntarily tightened. She had not realized that darkness had enveloped the whole place. She did not even notice her mother enter the house.
‘Wewe Lina unafanya nini kwa nyumba na bado hujapika!!’
She shivered slightly and folded both her arms around her rising and falling chest. She could hear the drumming of her own heart.
‘Ni nini mbaya?’ her mother asked as she moved closer to the bed. A narrow ray of light streamed through the holes of the room. That is when she realized that her daughter was naked and that blood soaked the beddings. Rhoda immediately knew what had happened to her daughter. She quickly rushed out of the house for a few minutes and came back to the house pretending that she had not seen anything.
‘Vaa nguo tusaidiane kupika chakula!!’ she said with a choke of bitterness in her voice. ‘usiambie mtu yeyote kitu imefanyika hapa!! Sawa? Saa zingine lazima vitu zingine zihappen lakini unajua Boda ni baba yako akituacha hatutakua na pesa yoyote na hamta endelea na masomo yenu!! Kwa hivyo wewe jikaze usome sawa Lina!’ she continued as she tried to remove the beddings from the bed.
Lina could not believe her ears. She was hurting she could not walk, but she had no choice, she saw no hope of getting help. She would not utter the day’s events to anyone!! She hurt inside wondering why her own mother would not help her. Money, school fees and a better life, that is what it was, that is why her mother would not help her.
In slums at least 3 women are raped per week and one battered every day. Young girls are raped and not many people hear their cry! Some Mothers don’t listen to their daughters cry and at times assume the pain their girls go through just because they need the ‘means’ to leave-the men in their lives. Our society has become so rotten.
Some mothers at times are powerless, they do not know how to rescue their children because the same people who are to provide security, are the same ones violating rules and raping young girls. Cases in the slums are taken to the nearest police station but no measures are taken up. Not only does this happen in the slums but also in urban areas. Vices such as rape being put on the ‘down low’ so that ‘survival’ can go on!!
It saddens me that every time I enjoy my life a young girl is out there trying to nurse her injuries, mentally, socially, physically and emotionally. Lina represents all those young girls with no one to cry to, it is the reality of life, sadly!!
BATTLE WITH MY ACNE
My acne had now become such a bother that I hardly looked up whenever people said hi to me. I decided that I would put an end to it once and for all. I was now thinking of how I would get substantial information on skin treatment and do away with my ‘skin specialist friends’. I always had this urge to look like this superstars we see in Hollywood movies like ‘Kyla Prat’ yes I know I dream way too much but hey that was my goal. I had never visited Mombasa house where all ‘super cosmetics’ were readily available and I was now planning to visit it and see what the ‘specialists’ had to offer.
I was excited because no one had ever complained of that place and it was all praise about the products no matter how bad your skin was there was always a cure for it. I was not familiar with the place but since my courtesy had improved through the days I knew that the soldiers I see in most stores on the streets would definitely assist me. On that particular day I was so excited, knowing that in a few weeks I would resemble be a Kenyan version of Jessica Alba. I walked with my head raised high trying to even perfect my catwalk which I knew would be my new walking style since I would be a mega diva. I had already made a shopping list of dresses I would go buy in ‘ngara’ and shoes to match with them; I had to dress my look or so I thought.
Getting to Mombasa house was not hard with the assistance of the courteous watchmen in most streets. I was shocked to find very many stalls with many women rushing to my assistance, and the interesting thing about all this was that once they saw me they would instantly know my skin type, this really made me feel good about myself. I had all these stalls to choose on where to buy the beauty products. As I was in this world of thought I felt a hand on my shoulder
‘Madam habari. Naona ukona oily skin,kuna mafuta nikonayo kwanza inaeza toa hizo pimples zote!! Kam apa kwa shop yangu nikuonyeshe,’
‘Eh! umejua aje nikona oily skin? Na ujue staki kitu itafanya nikue mbrown si unaona vile me nimblack ? staki kukaa bleached!’ I replied as I followed her.
‘Hiyo isikujalishe,kwanza watu wengi kitu hawajui ni products nyingi huku zinaeza kubleach,lakini vile nimeangalia skin yako,wewe unafaa kitu haitakuharibu,coz skin yako inakaa sensitive.” She said as we entered her shop which also had like three other ladies inside who I realized were customers.
She picked some cream from a top shelf and handed it to me with a look of concern and care on her face, ‘Hii inaitwa ‘clear essence’,itakusaidia sana,ebu ata soma zile ingredients ikonazo.”
I took the bottle of cream and read the instructions and ingredients,and she was right it was well coated with positive information. ‘CLEAR ESSENCE,THE DIFFERENCE IS CLEAR,FOR SMOOTH EVEN TONED COMPLEXION, formulated for people with color, contains sunscreen to help prevent darkening from reoccurring, contains warm and comforting benefits of camphor as well as glycerin and other rich, moisturizing ingredients to soothe, nourish, soften and protect the skin’
That alone satisfied me. I could feel it in my guts, I knew that I would look so beautiful and not ‘insist’ on using make up.
‘Na ni poa,nifungie!Ni pesa ngapi?’
‘Mia Mbili tu,’
Her reply automatically put a wide smile across my face, this is it, I thought, cheap and worth it, what could be better than this. She even gave me her phone number just in case I needed any assistance. I bought the cream and walked back to the 44 stage ready to get home. Once I got home I was so excited that I decided to take a cold shower so that I could start using the cream.
Every time I applied the cream I felt my face improving and people in my neighborhood told me of how my face had changed for the better, some even told me that I was becoming ‘lighter’ in a good way.
As days went by, something funny started to happen, I used to get this irritation on my skin, and would always tend to scratch my face, due to this my face started to develop some really huge pimples that on one particular afternoon I was meeting with a guy friend of mine and his first question was,
‘Ai corrie kwani it’s the time of the month? Maze hizo pimples ni biggie lakini usijali zitadie tu,anyway sema!’
I felt as though I could throw myself in front if a speeding car. I decided to call the number of that lady who sold me the cream, but every time I tried to call it did not go through. It was as if the phone was always off. My skin went from bad to worse. My Jessica Alba dream was just a fantasy. Was I a victim of a hoax?
As much as my skin has peeled and resembled that of a person infected with chicken pox, I have decided not to give up hope, I hear that water helps, so I try to drink almost ten glasses of water everyday with a lot of discipline.
All hope is not lost I now drown myself in beauty magazines to get concrete facts on how to deal with my acne. Am still motivated to appear on a front page beauty magazine, yes I am. Until I get a perfect solution am now stuck with what my mother brought me up using VALON.