Jumwa

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Jumwa is our cousin, via our favourite uncle. We lived with her when she was a baby and we have always considered her our baby sister. There’s a huge age gap between us, seeing as she is in campus right now. She is super tiny and everyone who meets her actually asks, “What class are you in?” or “Which primary school are you in?” or my favourite one from kids, “Uko standard?”. Hehehehe. I love it when people ask this question because I like looking at the shock on their faces when she says, “I am a 3rd year student at the university”. Anyway, Jumwa was born in Lamu and came to Nairobi when she was 2 years old. Many of the things here were very foreign to her and it was fun hearing her say things like:

  • Buyundant – Blue band
  • Toyondeti – Colgate
  • Mikilimangos – Mickey Mouse

She went back to Dzariguta land when she was about 5 and lived there but came back to Nairobi for her tertiary education. And it was like she had never left. She is a constant fixture in our plans and activities. I am sure some people think I have a daughter because we go nearly everywhere together. Cops have stopped us on the road and asked her, “Why are you upset with your mum?”. In restaurants and such like places, I  often get asked, “What will your daughter have?”….. I stopped getting upset and I decided to just embrace it. So I still go everywhere with her. Ok, apart from the toilet. But you get the idea. Everywhere. And when people make an assumption, well, I just let them. I have really come to appreciate Jumwa’s presence. She makes me think. I don’t know why she has this idea I have all the answers in the world because she asks questions like: Which are the 3 corporate scandals that have shaped Kenya’s economy; If I was dating a musician, would I have to learn all his songs; and What should I tell my friend whose boyfriend comes to visit me in school and doesn’t want her to know…. 🙂 I like that she is determined to learn new stuff, improve her talent and make a difference in her life. She has taken up photography, swimming (even though the walk from their house in Dzarigutaland to the ocean is 10 minutes, she didn’t know how to swim!) and she even took a shot at modelling. She reminds me that my dreams are valid (hehehe!) and that life is for the living. It also helps that she really appreciates my cooking – I should make her my apprentice… Last week, I realised something. I have an opportunity to impact the world in a more positive way through my interaction with Jumwa. I had never thought about it that way – but when I met up with her and some of my friends, I realised that my interaction with her is shaping her thoughts, words and attitude. As scary as that sounds, I felt excited at this opportunity to change the world through one little person. And I also realised the pressure that parents have to make their children responsible members of the society. Parents, congratulations – you are out there making replicas of yourselves, not only with DNA and your physical traits but also with the attitudes, morals and ethics that your kids are absorbing from you. I don’t envy you, this cannot be an easy job. Jumwa doesn’t read my blog but this post was just to say, “I love you Patjum!”

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