Essence

Some kids are singing on top of their voices in some school nearby. They sang yesterday at a time like this. And the day before today. But listening to them right now, you wouldn’t tell that all they do is sing at a time like now. Because of how energetic they go at it. Young. Vibrant. Its a new day, they seem to say, the old is gone, and behold- a new sunrise deserves to be treated as such- newly.

I’m fascinated by kids. They catch my attention. Little babies. Two three year olds. The bossy way they live their lives. The way the world revolves around them. The way they don’t even rule their kingdom, read parents and helps, with grace. They’ll scream if they have to, throw tantrums when they feel like. Yet they look so adorable that sometimes I just want to stare in wonder. Like how can it be, that a human being can be so tiny, yet fully human? Their tininess amazes me. Small hands, small feet. Huge little stomachs protruding out of little bodies. I find children a wonder. My 9th world wonder.

But then there is also my life. And the elusive search for essence. How each month or season, there is something new to chase after. Some things remain constant..but its not those that make life really meaningful.

I miss a boat ride. In a raging lake. I love lakes. At some point, before I saw a Desert and was blown away, I even had considered calling myself, daughter of the lakes. There is a way their personality resonates with mine. That they are confined in a space, yet fully and truly themselves. That they sometimes shrink and sometimes overflow, yet they’ll never become a stream or an ocean. Forever condemned to who they are. Which reminds me of humans. That we can grow and change, but a part of us remains the same. That we can seek and find, stretch our boundaries, retreat into ourselves, but still remain the same us.

And I do not know why that strikes me as odd.

I found this old Ethiopian restaurant in my hood and I think i’m hooked. As much as I fancy Ethiopia and their really spicy food, I think its the oldness of the place that attracts me. There is something about places that have endured the test of time. I find a comradeship with the mood. Because they don’t try too hard. You can feel it in the interior design that I bet was still there in 1986. You can see it in the seats that must have been the in thing in 1990, 30 years ago.

Yet it still survives. Looking graciously old while at it. But the most interesting part is their food. I am willing to bet that their Anjera was just as good in February 1995 when I was born, and right now when i’m eating it. That yes, the times came upon us, the weather beat us, we experienced droughts and floods, we experienced violence and human greed, we went through maybe even a change in ownership, but our essence, who we truly are at the core, still stands strong, unaffected. Unchanged. Unmoved. Unshaken.

I want that. To say that. To be that. Because the more my life changes, the more it becomes the same. I’m still the little girl who asks “umeniletea nini?”. I’m still the small girl who asked my mother to tell me the story of the thief who dug an underground tunnel to steal the country’s money, for the a hundredth time. I’m still the small girl who couldn’t sleep when a trip to a new place was forthcoming. I’m still that small girl that loved being lifted up in the air by people I was comfortable with- the giggles, the joy, the laughter. I’m still the little girl that laughs my head off when watching silly plays by Kenyans.

Bado mi ni yule yule. That child who sings each day, as if its the first day they’ve sang.

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