Kenyan in and around Cape Town

People n culture

Scared parents

Winter is not my favorite time of the year. It reminds me of the cold season in Nairobi when we were younger. I would wake up at night with a congested chest and a whiz, walk to my parents room and knock for an inhaler. My mum always had one handy (ventolin to be precise) that worked like magic. After struggling for the better part of the night 2 puffs would work the magic and I would quietly go back to sleep… happy!

Last month at the onset of winter, due to weather changes my wife and I got the flu which we promptly passed on to our little one 😦 This turned out to be a serous bout of flu for her- From coughing to blocked nose to running nose to fever … the works. Surprisingly though she was still up and about and eating well in spite of all the symptoms. We gave her CALPOL which took care of the fever and we had nasal drops for the congestion which did not always work. She had difficulties breathing because she could not breath through the nose and as a result she also struggled to breast feed.


The mucus accumulation in her chest made her cough as though to spit it out but she did not know how to get it out. So she would swallow it right back in. Usually while feeding her she vomited and it came out with a heavy supply of mucus which was a relief for her because soon after that she would eat without a hustle. Of-course this was not pleasant if it happened right at the end of a feed- that meant you start all over again as you cannot let her go to sleep hungry.

on the 2nd or 3rd evening while we were putting her down to sleep I heard the sound of a whiz from her chest. My wife heard it too and we were both terrified; for different reasons … my wife for fear that the cold and flu symptoms were getting worse and I for fear that she could have the asthma genes that my grandma, my mama and I have battled with. My heart sunk and I almost teared but I had to man up for my galz. My wife suggested that we take her to hospital. I did not object … Tip: Always trust your wife’s instincts. So we dressed her warm and headed to the nearest Medi-clinic.


At the Medi-Clinic the doctor checked her chest and listened to her breathing and decided to nebulize her. A Nebulizer is a drug delivery device used to administer medication in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizers are commonly used for the treatment of, asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases (Wikipedia). Watching my baby with the Nebulizer mask over her faces tore my heart to pieces. I was so sad and prayed that God would not allow our daughter to suffer the same chest complications my mum and I have suffered for a long time. As I held her and as my wife and I praying over her she quietly slept as her chest opened up and her breathing became easier. She lay there peaceful and quiet … and in deep sleep.


Next we had to take her for X-rays to determine if there was any infection in the lungs. Obviously this woke her up as we undressed her and held her down amidst screams and kicks. We thank God there was no infection in the lungs. The doctors gave us medication for her and thereafter allowed us to head back home. We were shaken but happy that she was alright. Thank you God for healing her and keeping her safe. You are Jehovah Rapha – The Lord Who Heals!

nb: My mum and I have since stopped eating eggs and using animal milk. And as result we have no complications for as long as we can remember. I do not even have ventolin (Inhalers) at home for just incase. God healed me.


Surviving the In-Laws

My in-laws came to visit my wife and I for the first time since we got married. Although I had no idea what to expect, we had great conversations and did fun activities to make all of us feel more at home in each other’s company.


#1 Have no expectations.

If you expect your in-laws to be nice, you may be disappointed by the little hurts that are normal in any family dynamic. If you expect them to be mean or demanding, you might miss out on the funny or sweet moments that explain who your spouse grew up to be. That’s why I recommend just keeping your eyes open to the good things about them, and not expecting anything at all.


#2 Make a plan and ask for their input.

A plan may sound a lot like having expectations, but it isn’t. Having a plan allows you to have some structure, if needed. Check out local tourist spots etc etc By knowing this information beforehand, you can make suggestions if it seems the day is starting to drag.


In preparation for my in-law’s recent visit, my wife and I made suggestions of ideas for activities. And what did they enjoy the most? Breakfast on Table Mountain, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, Open top tour bus and shopping the world in Canal Walk! (Girls will always be girls)


#3 Don’t completely abandon your normal routine.

Just because you are hosting your spouse’s parents doesn’t mean you suddenly have more patience and good cheer than usual. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. The more time you spend catering to their preferences, the more energy you expend by making things different from your customary methods.


My in-laws were great about understanding this. After a long day at work, I sorely missed the time I ordinarily get to spend with my wife and daughter sharing the days ups and down. SO I called my wife a-lot during the day to catch up with her, and then as much as I could I would join her in the kitchen to cook and clean- then we could talk ‘privately’ and gossip about our parents 🙂 Other times … actually most times we all helped around the house cooking and cleaning and feeding/entertaining the baby etc


Introduce your close friends
I have learnt that it is important for your parents know and meet your friends. This helps get rid of fears that most parents have about their children being lonely and in want of friends and family when they live far away from home. We are blessed to have many such friends who hosted our parents for dinners and lunches!


Your in-laws are coming to visit because family is important to them. Now, you are a part of their family. Offer them ideas on what you can do together, and listen attentively to their preferences while still asserting your own. These simple steps will help you to relax and enjoy the people who made your beloved spouse who he or she is today. Overall we had an awesome time together. We were blessed to have them over and I pray that we shall be blessed by many more such visits. Like they said to us … most people dont get to live with their parents for a month at a time after they leave home. SO this was a rare blessing to us!


So folks … dont you be scared of the In-Laws … or else pray that you get great in-laws like I did!!

Rookie Dad- 1 month later

When we found out that we were going to have a girl, for a moment I felt like Rookie-dad Sean “It’s A Girl! Wait… Oh my, it’s a girl. I don’t know anything about girls…” … In those few seconds I did a time travel- I thought boobs, periods, love, heartbreaks, girl games etc … really what do I know about girls?! For the larger part of my life I have lived around boys- 5 brothers, a boys boarding high school, a 90% male campus and only 1 girl in my architecture class … for 6 years!! To add salt to injury I work in a male dominated field and our office is all male save for the receptionist and accountant. So really I have spent my entire lifetime mastering being MALE… yet now I have to get as much understanding as I can possibly get about the female existence because I want to know about my little princess and help her along as much as possible.

Contented little baby:
My wife and I purposed in our hearts to make our baby as comfortable as possible. We therefore armed ourselves to the tooth for a much anticipated face off with first-time-parents challenges. We stocked up our library with Gina Ford’s book “the contented little baby” … “What to expect in the First year”, among other books and many conversations with been-there-done-that parents. But when the exam came it reminded me of my 2nd year at varsity when as a class we signed a petition not to sit a Geometry exam after seeing the questions claiming that we had not covered the material in class. The last 4 weeks have felt alot like that Geometry exam.

1st night at the hospital:
When all the visitors left, I moved my girls (that sounds nice) to a private ward where I could also be accommodated for the night as I could not imagine leaving them at the hospital. My wife was tired … (more like exhausted) and still all wired up with medicated drips (pain killers). Little princess Gaila on the other hand was swaddled and safely put to sleep in her hospital cot between our beds. I cannot tell at what point I blacked out only to be woken up by a little girl crying. Both of us woke up, looked at baby, and then back at each other full of question marks. Almost instinctively we reached out for the nurse call but common sense got the better of us … “this is our baby … she is crying … we need to find out why and do something about it…” and right there we had our first very nervous and shaky diaper change! Did I mention babies have black poo to start with? There is a whole science behind it but that is not my area of expertise 🙂
The rest of the night was rescued by the very friendly nurses who took the baby to the nursery to allow us some sleep after the veeery long day we had had.

Baby Chocking:
On Monday morning I woke up to go to work. (I wanted to take my paternity leave once they were out of hospital). Late in the morning I got a call from my very shaken wife. She was all tears and could not speak. All she could say was, “there has been drama at the hospital!! …. sob … sob … sob … ” … then silence. She managed a “I’ll call you back sweet… ” in between sobs. “Is Ciiru ok?” …”yes she’s fine now” … The next 5 minutes were the most agonizing in my life… ever! I wondered what could have happened. I was shaking at my desk as I had never heard my wife shaken like that before (she is a strong Nyeri-blooded-Kikuyu woman). I called her back as I walked to the parking lot in a rush.

That morning, while Ciiru slept she chocked on some kind of sputum. Her face had turned purplish and was having a strained cough while kicking and desperately gasping for air (I could be exaggerating here but that is the picture my wife painted). My wife jumped from her bed reached out for the nurse call and ran to the nurse station outside shouting “nurse! nurse! nurse!”. Remember my wife was a 100m champion at Nairobi River primary school and won medals at the national levels (only the school lost their certificates) … sorry I digress. The nurses came running and quickly turned the baby on her stomach while smacking her back and then took the baby to the nursery, my wife in toe. Here they used some tubes inserted through the mouth to help the baby get rid of the mucous. All the while tears flowed freely. After they were done they handed the baby over to my wife who refused to take her (My heart sunk when she told me this … where was I ?????). It took several nurses to calm my wife and luckily on that day our Gynae was around to give some much need reassurance. When I arrived all we could do was hug for a long time. We sat in silence as we absorbed what had just happened and thanked God it wasn’t something worse and that it did not happen at home.

Leaving mummy and baby at the hospital:
Needless to say I could not leave my sweetheart in that state. I stayed with her and by the end of that day she had come round. In the evening I had to go home. I had spent 2 nights at the hospital and and needed to make sure everything was alright at home to welcome our new addition. Daddy’s visitation ours end at 8pm, but I managed to push it to 11pm in light of what had happened earlier in the day. Before I left we shut the door to pray. This was the first time I fervently prayed for my daughter and wife. My tear ducts were on overdrive as I asked God to take care of them through the night and to shield and protect them from in more drama! When we were done we could feel the presence of the Lord in that room. My wife was even stronger than I was after that prayer. She said to me, “honey go home. We will be ok.” With that reassurance I hugged and kissed them and drove out into the cold quiet winter night playing our usual favorite Linda Randel CD … “God of the mountain is still God in the valley ….”

Sleepless nights:
Now its been almost a month since Ciiru graced our home with her presence. And she has made her presence felt. For those contemplating having babies … sleepless nights are not a myth, and more than 3-4 hours of continuous sleep is a distant memory. Between feeds, diaper changes, and the many own compositions we have managed some level of sanity. It is so difficult to watch your little girl cry. Your heart breaks just a little for every whimper and tear that falls. And you will do absolutely anything to bring her comfort. I have found myself rushing home at 5 to catch some much needed sleep before we start another long night of baby stories and out of tune Kikuyu lullabies… “tiga kurira mwana, tiga kuriraa … oga munyonyi mwana, tiga kurira mwana….”

When all else fails … this always works! photo courtesy of mama ciiru sneaking up on me 🙂

Angels with food:
In-between all the challenges we have faced our love has remained steadfast and God has been merciful towards us. He has sent us angels with food almost every evening for the last 3 weeks. We feel alot like Elijah being fed by ravens and Abraham and Lot that got visits from angels in their homes. My sister Muthoni, the Koech family, Joe & Beryl, Steph & Peter, and Mama and baba Sierra have been our amazing angels. I have learnt that family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile. These have made our transition to parenthood much easier and their support has been immense. These angels have supported us, fed us, prayed with us and loved us immensely! For their friendship we are truly grateful! I cannot fail to mention all the friends and family who through their SMSes and phone calls have offered very insightful advice to first time parents … but that’s a post for another day – parenting 101; advice from friends and family coming soon!

Ciiru is 1 month old tomorrow…! (Can you imagine that?). And now we have settled into some kind of routine. I hope to blog more consistently and regulary on this journey that we are taking together with my wife and daughter!

David Phelps was in Town

Its Friday evening, my wife and I get busy … am rolling and my wife is frying chapatis for dinner before the sun sets! Since we have an open kitchen, we have turned the TV to face us and we are playing Gaither home coming series, Linda Randel, David Phelps or one of the other Gaither artists! This is one of my favorite times! It reminds me of days when we would spend the entire Sunday afternoon and the better part of the evening doing the same thing at home frying chapatis for a family that had 6 boys!!! (Do the math … each consumed atleast 4 chapatis …and we had to make enough for lunch on Monday!!) ya!!

So when we heard that David Phelps was coming to town we were so excited especially because we missed the Gaither Vocal band South Africa tour last year!! We bought our tickets like 2 months in advance and he did not disappoint. Together with our friends Joe and Beryl we were blessed by one of the best tenors in the world! Sitting there listening to old hymns just like we do in our home was AMAZING!!! our baby was kicking all through the concert and praise and worship was in abundance!! There was a sweet sweet spirit in the hall!! The only thing missing was the chapatis!!

Then he sang “The love of God is greater afar” and my dear wife whom I love very much couldn’t contain her joy as she sang word for word!!
And then he sang “End of the beginning” …. and finally he did one of my personal favorites … “What a day that will be”

The evening was too short but atleast we got a compilation album of David Phelps best moments!!! May the Lord bless him, his wife and kids and their ministry!!

Flesh of my flesh!

Today is my wifes 2nd birthday (since we got married 🙂 … I therefore dedicate this post to her and to the little one that she is gracefully carrying on our behalf. May the Lord continue to bless her and keep her. May he He look favorably upon her and prosper her. May he grant her joy and peace all the days of her life!

Bone of my bones

Isn’t she Lovely
Somewhere in Cape Town

Do you know that unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness and solitude? The emptiness when you walk home and everything is where you left it (nothing has moved!!) and the dishes are still pilled up on the sink and TV still on the Blitz channel that you were watching last night? Then you hustle for a quick fix meal (Rice and beans+Avocado) and then you quickly eat and black out catching up on the latest in sport and looking for another lonely sole online (Skype/gtalk/yahoo messenger)?

It’s a long, road When you face the world alone No one reaches out a hand For you to hold … Then a (s)hero comes along … And your whole world changes …

And you no longer go to a house, but to a home … and there is someone to listen to your dreams and fears and share theirs … and loving hands when you are beat …

Some one to love … someone to touch … someone to know …. oh someone to know (remember that song?)

My most brilliant achievement in this life was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me!

And now I know why a man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride … alone!

Don’t haffy dread to be Rastaman!

I n I Duduza
Cape Town

Rasta Duduza! my In I friend and rastafarian through and through!
He popped into the office and I took some quick pics of him!
When kids see a rasta man in SA they run after him singing how rastas make good Ugali/pap!!

The Huguenot Monument

Western Cape,South Africa

The Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek, South Africa, is dedicated to the cultural influences that Huguenots have brought to the Cape Colony (and ultimately the whole of South Africa) after their immigration during the 17th and 18th centuries.The monument was designed by J.C. Jongens, completed in 1945 and inaugurated by Dr. A.J van der Merwe on April 17, 1948

The three high arches symbolizes the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On top of the arches is the sun of righteousness and above that, the cross of their Christian faith

The central female figure, created by Coert Steynberg, personifies religious freedom with a bible in her one hand and broken chain in the other. She is casting off her cloak of oppression and her position on top of the globe shows her spiritual freedom. The fleur-de-lis on her robe represents a noble spirit and character

The southern tip of the globe shows the symbols of their religion (the Bible), art and culture (the harp), the agriculture and viticulture (the sheaf of corn and grape vine) and industry (spinning wheel)

The water pond, reflecting the colonnade behind it, expresses the undisturbed tranquility of mind and spiritual peace the Huguenots experienced after much conflict and strife

Kui playing ‘cha mama’

Cape Town
South Africa

Beautiful baby born to wonderful parents! Baby Sierra, born to Mercy & Njenga and below ‘Aunty Kui playing ‘cha mama’ 🙂

And to baby Sierra;

The LORD bless you and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace!

Uncle/Aunty k[eshi]gee!!!!!!

Kibe – the Ayanu connection

Addis in Cape is our favorite restaurant! the Ethiopian food, staff and the ambiance are great! I like it when we walk in and they welcome us like old time friends esp Hamad, the Kenyan who works there. Here in Addis in Cape am always fascinated by the menus and recently discovered that my friend Kibe is actually an ingredient on the menu. Now I understand why he always has problems at immigration because he travels on a Kenya passport but has Hamitic looks. I think I have finally unraveled this case! KIBE KAMAU is a descendant of the great Mau Mau Gen. Stanley Mathenge who left Kenya about 50 years ago and resurfaced as Ato Lemma Ayanu, an Ethiopian, to mark Madaraka Day on June 1,2003, a day that commemorates Kenya’s internal self governance. Gen Mathenge aka Ato Lemma Ayanu, owns huge acres of land in Ethiopia.

I have not been able to reach Kibe for comment or for DNA samples. But we now understand his love for reggae music and Coffee Arabica!