With sunny morning skies and heavy afternoon showers.
With running into the supermarket only to find a fellow book-lover sheltering out the storm at the book corner.
With an earnest reminder from a local book club to take up this year’s Goodreads challenge.
With an uncommon resolve to actually finish those left unfinished last year (and work towards completing the 54 books – even though it means being on overtime).
And so the year begins.
May it be a successful one (no matter the weather or challenge) for both you and I.
The storm clouds made good on their threat and within minutes rain had began to fall.
And as it fell, the waters pooled quietly at the center of the polythene covering overhead. Every now and again, one of the traders sheltering underneath would tilt the edge and a rush of water would come running down to the ground below. Sometimes catching a lone customer unaware as they hurriedly tried to make their way out of the marketplace; their shopping having been cut abruptly short. The clothes now lay in bundles as their owners huddled underneath waiting out the storm.
Late afternoon sunshine filtered through the fern-like leaves of the Jacaranda tree. In one corner a bougainvillea shrub had wrapped itself around the trunk of the tree from it’s base and now creeped up along the shorter boughs, it’s blossoms hanging like a cluster of red berries.
And in the background lay the unfinished structure of a new apartment building under construction. Studio apartments, fourteen flours high – the third set of apartments she had seen walking up that street alone. And a stark contrast to the picturesque maisonnettes that had once lined the main streets and crescents. The developers had been relentless. Their pace belied their greed.
Ikeno took a deep breath.
August. The eight month. Eight being the number of new beginnings. And it felt good to be home again.
Samson sat shotgun, in the front passenger seat, next to the driver. He still wore remnants of his military fatigue, but no one would have been the wiser. After-all, a combat-print sun hat was a fashion statement these days and not an indicator that we had ex-army special forces man protecting us.
And any further suspicions are sure to be thrown off by that hair. I thought quietly to myself on glimpsing five to six braids of deadlocked hair peaking out just beyond his sun hat. They were blonde in color, a stark contrast against his dark, blackened-brown skin.
She was a dancer. A street performer. Yet here she was, seated in a tech hub, on the top floor of a building in a city which she hadn’t even known existed a week before. Surrounded by strangers, people she hardly knew – and in all honesty, barely liked. People that she had actually committed to work with for the next three months!
How in the world had she gotten herself mixed up with this crowd? What in the world was a street dancing New Yorker doing in Nairobi!?
It all felt so incredibly surreal.
A few minutes into the house Malu heard the silent rumble of thunder begin to announce itself in the distance. And as she nestled deeper into bed pulling the cover over her head, it rolled across the skies above closely followed by the sharp crack of lightning. “That settles it, I guess.” There would be no going out that afternoon.
But unbeknownst to her, there would be no going out at all. For the small island nation of Madagascar was on the brink of civil war.
Your favorite book of all time.
“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that’s the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.”
– Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton.