The Star (Nairobi)

29 December 2012

Kenya: Diary of a Married Black Woman. All I Want for Next Year Is Everything

As I write this, I have not yet made it into 2013, but all things remaining constant I have a pretty good chance of doing so. Therefore I shall be putting down my wish-list and bucket list for the New Year. I found out long ago that I am not good with new year resolutions so I will not pretend that there is stuff I intend to change or do come January 1st. But there is nothing to stop a girl from wishing.

Since I am a patriotic soul, my first wish is for Lee Kuan Yew to take over presidency of my country for the next two terms - or at least till we figure out our oil issues. For those as ignorant as myself Google will help you. I was lucky enough to find out about the architect of Singapore's post-independence success over my husband's shoulder. He is reading Lee Kuan Yew's book with my shadow on the pages. It is a very annoying habit, this back seat reading. In fact if I am in a taxi and someone is reading my paper over my shoulder I am likely to fold it up and tuck it into my bag. However, Hubby is fantastically patient (or waiting to get back at me in another way). So from what I have read, I'd like a reincarnation of Mr Lee in charge over here.

My next wish is for my children. I hope they grow up feeling the sense of wonderment I did at certain things. I hope they retain their innocence for ages and just enjoy being kids before the big bad world intervenes. At Christmas I try hard to make it special for the children, but I wonder if they feel the same way about it that I did. I was looking at some pictures someone dug up on Facebook which had the original Omo washing powder in a cardboard box, the original Blue Band margarine in a metal tin and a bottle of Tree Top juice. I remember how I loved Tree Top - and my mum would sneak me a sip of undiluted juice in the cover of the bottle and it was so sharp it made my ears tingle! And whenever she baked cakes, she always made me a little sample in my own tiny Blue Band tin. My son is more accustomed to receiving chocolate muffins from Tuskys, but I hope I am not killing off his childhood too fast.

I was going to ask for world peace next but I realised all the men of the world would get bored. If they are not fighting wars over imaginary weapons of mass destruction then they are busy killing each other over football. So let them have their wars, but can someone please find a way to plug the hole that is draining the finances out of the world? This has been a thoroughly broke year - the type of broke where I did not even have money in the many bras and cookie jars where I tend to hide a few loose notes. On top of that I was given a very meagre Christmas gift shopping allowance, which made me very sad, because I love Christmas shopping. However, I was reminded that there is January to get through and I must count what I buy now in terms of the food I will not have next month. So, I wish for loads more money next year and hopefully the good sense to know what to do with it when it comes.

Of course there is health and life and family and love and peace and all those other things that I want for myself. I have watched a lot of movies about slavery in the US where the people who fought for the freedom of the slaves believed that until all men were free, no one was really free. As I watch the news and see the things happening to women in nearby Democratic Republic of Congo, or even the number of people just on the outskirts of Kampala who have no toilet and no access to clean water, I wish I was a stronger and better kind of person. I wish I was the kind who believed and fought for everyone to have the kind of opportunities and freedoms I have. I wish more people and more leaders were like that.

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