Growing up, Jomo Kenyatta-ism was screwed into me that when I thought about THE MAN IN KENYA, our Nelson Mandela, our Che, our Kwame Nkurumah...I thought Kenyatta. I had to memorized his birthday and political history for my History Exams in High School and the guy seemed ok until after high school, Sunday 15th happened and mental issues escalated and I dropped out of University (I am brushing through this since past posts have touched on them). I spent loads of days writing poetry to heal my soul and I had enough time to soul search, how I miss those days. During my search escapades, I decided to search for Kenyan Literature big whips and that is when I discovered Ngugi wa Thiongo
The first book I bought for myself was his Petals of Blood set just after independence, I remember the teacher and the shop keeper with one leg or eye,Abdula I think his name was...The book drove me to get the edition before it;A Grain of Wheat from which I remember Kihika, I connected with him, he reminded me of someone I knew but had never met, someone I would like to marry or be involved with. that book influenced a lot of pieces in my yet to be released poetry anthology...I discovered Kenyan History as not taught in our classrooms, I discovered Kimathi Waciuri, from that time, my pieces changed to reflect social injustices. My advocacy antenna finally got signal. Someone spent sleepless nights in the forest so that I can sit in front of my laptop while streaming to my best joints and speak my mind. The battle is not yet won but this is not a one man race, it is a relay, unfortunately most of us haven't taken the baton from those before us, unfortunately some of those who have finished their beat still want to keep at it...I am talking about the Permanent Secretaries who are above the required age and still head, I am talking about the Mayors of Cursed-bridge in our midst.
I have been working as a mental health advocate privately and publicly for a while now and well the reason some people give to the lack of support in the campaign is because Mental Health is not a sexy subject. What makes things sexy, naked public figures. But what about the general public? Don't they make a figures? All the countless people locked up and forgotten in our homes, in institutions, walking on the streets, are those figures right in the eyes of the public? Sometimes I cry, Sometimes I wish it is a boy who made me cry, but
I cry for the public, a public I am part of,
When I started crying, I cried because of rape
I cried for rape victims as I once was, feeling dirty, feeling unworthy, not knowing who to tell, not knowing where to go, not knowing if there is a reason to keep on with this things called life,
I cried for rape survivors like myself, trying to teach others through our experiences, trying to leave everyday with ourselves, trying to be in stable relationships,
I cried for the girls I shared my rape experience with and they shared their experiences, nights they went out to sell their bodies to get Ksh 100 for a packet of pads and got raped, I cried for the grandmothers and babies under one year raped in Naivasha, I cried for my other sisters in North Eastern who had to sit in holes when on their periods,
I still cry and will keep crying through my own experiences, through my blog, through my talks, through my poetry, through my networks...to everyone who cried with me when I did the Mall stands to raise money for Sanitary towels and those who attended the various poetry nights.
My tears had earlier on drove me to begin my own poetry night, Poetry at Discovery, all with emancipating themes(I think we are ripe for a second season of this) a forum what led me to open up about my mental issues.
I cried for persons with mental illness as I am, feeling lost and alone in a world full of people, dealing with stigma,
I cried for persons with mental illnesses whose families did not what to do, where to go, so they consult the gods, they lock their children,
I cried for the young people in youth groups and universities I shared my experiences with and they asked their questions, shared their ignorance.
I still cry and will keep crying through my own experiences, through my blog, through my talks, through my poetry, through my networks...to everyone who retweets, share, comments my posts and activities of the mental health campaign.
Today I cry for the same things I cried for then for we are not free until we are,
I cry for the ignorance in my society,
I cry that I can make a change but my drop in the occasion evaporates before it lands,
I cry that sometimes I stop, sometimes I entertain thoughts of giving up,
I cry for the Kimathi spirit so as to die on my feet than live on my knees,
My uncle brought Kimani Muruge's autobiography, The First Grader, a few weeks ago and it taught me one very important lesson, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO DO WHAT I AM MEANT TO DO ON THIS EARTH...He wanted to read the letter for himself, a letter from the colonial government (the real story was the Bible in place of the letter?
They told him is it a primary school - He said the government said everyone (He knew his rights)
They asked him to get stationery he did, They asked him to wear shorts to school he did,
They sent him to adult school, he went but it was not for him,
He went back and did his do,
He died with a Guiness book world record, a movie after him and so many other things.
As Nas put it in a song, I know I can, be what I want to be, if I work hard at, I will be where I want to be...what is it you want to do? I want to stand up for Sexual and reproductive rights for my brothers and sisters, I want to see the mental health bill come to effect and the Policy passed, that persons with mental illnesses live like any other persons with love, respect and care...what is it you want to do? It is never to late...go on and get your Kimathi and Muruge swag on...die standing, don't live on your knees.