I want to tell this story to my grandkids. Or any kid when I’ll be an old woman. So here we go.
Once upon a time, I was a jobless and free twenty two year old. My circumstances depressed me on most days. I hated depending on my parents at that age. I wanted so many things and out of all of them, the one thing I got ,was time. I had lots of time in my hands. No money. And lots of worries in my head.
Once in a while I had nice weeks. Made of happy days when I just let myself be. Days when I took one day at a time. That didn’t come easy for me, taking one day at a time that is. But when it did come, I had good days, really good days.
So there is this day I woke up feeling sad, hopeless, disoriented and purposeless. The only thing right in my life was God. And I thought, if I died, I would still be with God, right? Like that didn’t encourage me to stay on earth any longer.
I felt tired. I just wanted rest even if it was just for a day. A rest from my circumstances. I had grown weary. I was faint. I felt alone. Only I, knew the tears I fought in matatus surrounded by people struggling with their own things. Only I understood the hopelessness in not being able to take care of myself. I felt beaten down by life.
And on that day, words of encouragement were not exactly working. The only word I remember getting is to stop worrying about my tomorrow and just take a day a time. That kinda chastised the worrying I had been tolerating. So now I knew what to correct, to stop feeling so weary. But I was just feeling there.
But believe it or not, by the end of that day, I was so excited that sleep became a problem ( I rarely slept when excited or stressed). My moods were in heaven huko. I was so lighthearted you would think my life had no troubles.
Guess what happened?
Music happened. You see, I was this person who was never been able to hold a conversation with normal people about music. Reason being, my kind of music was kinda difficult to explain. And even if I did explain fluently, it wasn’t the kind of music my agemates enjoyed.
Let’s start with hymns. I love hymns! Always loved them. And not the remixed or fast paced hymns young people sang, the choir ones that did justice to hymns by singing them the way they are supposed to be sang.
Then let’s go to instrumentals. Others call them orchestras. Others yet classicals. For me orchestras, classicals and jazz all fell under one simple roof that I titled instrumentals simply because the music depended entirely on instruments to pass its message, not words. These ones were what I listened to as I did my house chores or wrote. Very entertaining but not in a way that would disturb your thinking.
Finally let’s move to the rest. These include Rhumba. With my love of travelling, its hard not to appreciate the role Rhumba played in easing the journey. The rest also included Taarab. I loved the coast life( but was only limited to once in a while). Bongo( with Ukimwona by Diamond being my favourite) also fitted in here.
But then there is a special class of songs that touched me in all the right places. African songs. Like songs sang in an African manner. Its the reason Nearer to Thee sang by Redfourth choir was my favourite song for almost an year. They took a hymn I loved and sprinkled kenyanise on it. The end result was awesome.
Its the reason the best songs I had ever heard sang in my life were zilizopendwa in high school. Where they took a local song ( let’s say Malaika) and choirnised the whole thing. The results were simply out of this world.
In simple terms, Africa always amazed me. Its the reason I wanted to travel to all its countries before going outside Africa ( with Dubai being the only exception).
And so it was on this day, this same day that I had woken up feeling purposeless, that I got the opportunity to listen to one Alex Boye. Damn!! I couldn’t believe my ears.
The guy took songs and africanized them. I could care less who he was, what he was, where he is from or anything about him. That guy blew my mind away. Everything from his video location to the performance, to the drums and his singing was just out of this world. Every song I listened to, took my breathe away.
Until I heard his version of Coldplay’s paradise and tears came to my eyes. Who does that? But what was running through my mind was ,what if? Like had you told me in the morning that I was going to die that day, I wouldn’t have minded. I mean, its not like I had so much going on for me on earth. But imagine me with my music preference dying without having ever heard such beautiful music? Can you imagine?That would have been such a wasted life.
But what also brought those tears is a desire to make someone else feel the way this guy made me feel in my worst moment. Like I don’t sing, but I have things I want to do to make the world a better place for someone somewhere.
And what kept running through my mind as Peponi played was that this guy had experienced times in his life when he felt purposeless and hopeless like me. What if he had given up hope? Would he have blown away some twenty two year old African woman somewhere on a hot 2017 afternoon?
Same thing, if I gave up then, who would have encouraged that twenty two year old somewhere down the line ?
Assuming I never got the chance to even impact someone else, imagine that music out there or that information about things that interest me that I hadn’t yet heard or known? Wouldn’t it be a shame getting out of earth without having ever filled my heart to the brim with the things it enjoyed itself in?
And just like that, my day was made better and my weary heart encouraged.
Moral of the story.. Never give up hope. And at times that hope is found in the most weird places. Don’t fret, just be.