Hope this one is a match to the challenge.
The- A signifier of something definite. It is usually used when there is no question about what we are referring to. For example- the major stumbling block to the development of our country has remained the deep division into tribal blocs and holding of tribal identities as prime and superior to any national one.
Need- this is something that is necessary. It is a deep urge. The bending of a plant towards the sun if kept in a dark place signifies need. The fact that once past a certain age all conversations start with rejoinders about money, “how’s life?”, “kuhustle tu.” “yeah it’s dry as a dead dude in a desert dump out there because of elections/ corruption/ government mismanagement”- take your pick and repeat. Signifying the need for better economic management before we break apart-body from soul, mind from actions.
For- a connector between words in a sentence. Social media was thought to be a good connector between people before we realised the true face of the internet. Words warped by anonymity and stripped of feeling and context by being just words, by being words that are designed as a shouting match, by being words we wouldn’t say in person, by being words we would soften with a smile or a gleam in the eye, words we wouldn’t say to somebody we don’t know well but here, here we do.
Young- a feeling that we all share. Even when the bones creak and the grandchildren have grandchildren we will say to ourselves, “I’m not old, now Moi that guy is old.”
Kenyans- a difficult thing to define. A living computer was assembled by some white men decades ago. 55 years ago the computer is switched on. It whirls to life and is made of 40-44 distinct moving parts. The parts are made of other parts too many to count. Their interaction is unpredictable, the result is unknown. Calculations are made inside this computer even as parts of it are flung far and wide and fears of its disintegration shake us all. This computer though may be durable. The different parts of it can begin looking like each other, or maybe not. The computer we live in and are a part of has not yet told us what Kenyans are it needs more data.
to be- a state of existence. This shows where we are and how we are. To be screwed is to live in a country with no institutional structures of opposition to the government. To be deep in a hole is to have seen the opposition survive due to the outsize personality of one man. To be reminded by the evolving structure of political parties and government appointments that somebody once said “100 years of Kanu.”
A little- not much. We make demands of others all the time but we know they have to live. We also know that living consists of so many things. To eat and work for food. To pray and strive for holiness. To love and look for companionship. To play and then to rest. In addition to all these things we cannot make too many demands.
More informed- a state of gathering knowledge. We have the tools to do it. We always have. We can listen to others, we can read things we don’t agree with, we can question deeply held beliefs because if it survives the questioning the belief makes you better. If it doesn’t survive the questions trade up, barter.
Before- a held breath, a second thought, a period in time where things are still in flux. When our actions are still clay in the hands of us, their potters.
They- a collective pronoun. A sweeping net designed to catch everything in its way. Fishermen have to make the holes in their nets big so that they young ones slip through them and get away. When the Christ talked about fishing men though he made it clear that nobody should escape that net. Who are we to contradict that man?
Mouth off- a phrasal verb. An apocryphal etymology of this phrase says that it comes about because once somebody does it everyone listening just wants to take that person’s mouth off. It is anathema to connection.
Issues- things important to us. If we ignore them we may need tissues. Ignore them further and they erupt in fissures. Faultlines form, warp the earth and make it vicious. The sid can effectively be combated by more information as explained above.
- 😊😊- can be seen as signifiers of happiness. Can be interpreted as cheekiness. Can be used to disguise a deep anguish with the state of things.
Present- a gift. Something that you give to signify affection, respect, lust, fear, and a host of other emotions. By definition it must be given willingly. The willingness can come about due to emotional blackmail and still be considered willingness. A present can also be a sacrifice. It can be searching yourself and asking, asking honestly if this is the place we want to be. If what we see happening makes us proud, makes us stand a little taller at the sound of our anthem, moves us to salute the fluttering of our flag or causes our insides to retch. But that is not a gift yet. Not to anybody but yourself. The reflections should then inform action. If the country you see and the place you can see it going is exactly what you want then keep doing what you do. If it is not then take a little action. Just a little. Even before you run for office it is enough to find out what these office does and how to make sure the officers do it. Learn something, and give the gift of this learning to the future we all hopefully blink against.
Tense- a situation where broken bottles lie all around a table. In this situation you find yourself without shoes. Rusty nails poke out of some areas and any sudden movement could cause a pail of gasoline to dump itself on you. Now, you don’t know if there is a matchstick or other source of fire around, you do know there is a ticking clock but you don’t know why it’s ticking. There are voices right outside the room but you don’t know what they are saying. There may be help coming but this is just faith talking to you, you don’t know that there is or where it will come from. You need to move but you don’t know where. And for a moment all you can think about is how you wish, oh how you wish, you were a little more informed.