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Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

“What’s troubling you today? How can I help?”

His badge read “ Dr. Ibrahim” and as she sat there in the cold room, the bare walls devoid of personality she could hardly contain her nerves. Her eyes darted across the room, until she finally found a plaque that would be the perfect ice-breaker.

“I see you attended the infamous University of East Africa?” she noted.

You see Dr. Ibrahim was an old man, an experienced doctor a credit to his many years in service of the public; from his time in a remote village in Emurua to his post-graduate studies in France, there’s hardly anything he had not encountered went it came to the female reproductive system. On first glance, one may notice the furrows on his forehead; an indication of his expressive habit while ingesting the sometimes unexpected symptoms, leaving him fuddled; often sending his head reeling.

But Dr. Ibrahim was well respected; his approach was methodological and sometimes unforeseen at least by industry standards. But he always seemed to figure out it. Either he knew his stuff or his God nudged him in the right direction. Dr. Ibrahim had a darkened spot on his forehead; an indicator of his reverence for God. He never missed any of the 5 prayers Muslims are required to make. He must have made dua for his patients.

This was the third doctor she would be seeing in 6 months. She was desperate and tired. She wished she was not alone. She hoped her husband would make it but he was pre-occupied. He was always pre-occupied.

She was alone, but by now she was used to it.

So there she found herself, gripping the chair as she consulted with the doctor. In any other occasion, she often gave off the impression of being in control, poised and self-aware. Here she was scared, worried and alone; she was a shell of herself. Dr. Ibrahim could tell. He offered her a glass of water, and as he handed it over to her his old hands passed over hers.

He looked up to her saying, “Everything will be alright.”

She wondered if he knew the Bob Marley tune.

Dr. Ibrahim has a waiting room full of patients but he always had a way of making every patient feel like they had his undivided attention; there was nothing more important than what was going on right there and then.

He asked, “What brings you here today?”

“Well, you!”

The tension, nerves seemed to overwhelm her and as the jitters got the best of her she could no longer hold back. Her tears streamed down her face, as she struggled to compose herself, get a sense of herself as she unraveled.

She was a well-adjusted individual. For intents and purposes one could say she had her wits about herself. She was a doting mother, supportive wife and a high-powered human rights lawyer who’s kindness for others meant that she never said a bad thing about another human being, even when that human being was her callous in-laws. She was no saint, but she did her best.

She said, “I bleed every time my husband and I…I have sharp pains that leave me in agony and chills. I’ve tried everything but nothing seems to help. I’ve tried meditation, I’ve been diagnosed and treated for a myriad of conditions, but no medication seems to help…this might be the end of my marriage…I can’t imagine he’ll continue to want… ”

As she continued to babble on with her list of concerns, she was more than glad to have a sympathetic ear in Dr. Ibrahim. He handed her a box of tissues and continued to question her on the lists of tests, examinations and medications she received. Silently jotting down everything on his notepad, he often interjected with “aah…I see” as if every piece of information would led him one step closer to a proper diagnosis. 

His presence was reassuring, he was gracious yet focused.

She handed him her ultrasound scans, previous test results and sat there, like a school girl waiting for instruction as she sniffled into the now large pile of used tissues.

He asked her, “I need to do an ultrasound…Datu will help.” He reached over his large, ornate mahogany desk and picked up the phone.

“Please call in Dadyu,” he said.

Delightful Dadyu walked in, baring a smile that bared sunshine. She gestured her to the examination bed and told her to roll up her sleeve. She pricked her skin and drew blood. She almost always winced in pain when having her blood drawn, but today the thoughts in her head occupied her, overwhelmed her so much so her fear for needles could not compare to the unknown that brought her here.

Dadju then asked her to unbutton her pants. “Please unbutton your pants and lift your top ever so slightly, we’ll place the gel on your stomach region, and pass the wand over it. It might hurt a little as we have to apply some pressure to get an accurate reading. But do not worry. Try to relax.”

Although  Dadju’s sunny demeanor and unusually broad shoulders would have been a welcome distraction, she was more concerned with what they might find; or if they would find anything at all. He proceeded to carry out the examination, and all Dr. Ibrahim did was to grip his pen tight as he stood not too far away but close enough to see the monitor. As she grimaced in pain, she wondered what would come next.

As delightful Dadju finished the examination, she wiped the gel off her stomach, collected her items and smiled at her. She proceeded to lead herself out, leaving Dr. Ibrahim to do the explaining.

“Well, there are two probable causes for your unrelenting frustrations, but I need to conduct further tests. We will know more when the results are out.”

Cervical cancer and pre-cancer lesions can be detected through a Pap smear test. For this test, your doctor/nurse looks inside your vagina using a device called a speculum. He or she will then use a small brush to collect cells from the cervix that will be examined in the laboratory. Depending on your age, the doctor will also do a test for a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Women between the ages of 25 to 64 are advised to have Pap smears every three years. However, HIV positive women are urged to undergo the procedure every year. The widespread use of cervical screening programs has dramatically reduced rates of cervical cancer in the developing world.

Dr.Khadija Warfa recommends, a well-proven way to prevent cervical cancer is to have testing (screening) to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer and vaccination in pre-teens against the virus that causes the cancer. According to reports by Aga Khan University Hospital, Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women and yet is a preventable disease. According to WHO 2018, 33 per 100,000 women in Kenya have cervical cancer and 22 per 100,000 die from the disease.

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Thoughts

Sukuma Wiki: 3 financial habits to swear by

The term ‘sukuma wiki’ does indeed refer to a popular leafy green side dish  that accompanies ugali, Kenya’s most popular dish.

Simple, nutritious and cost effective the meal is popular because for anyone and everyone who’s just trying to stretch a shilling, this meal is a saving grace.

For many of today’s millennials stretching a shilling or a dollar is an integral part to making sure you make it through the week; basically “sukuma wiki”. With a range of experiences, some major mistakes when it comes to money and some eureka moments on my journey towards financial freedom there are a few habits I have cultivated to ensure I do not fall off the tracks.

  1. Multiple streams of income

In today’s fast moving world, it is important to realize the value of time and how to best use it. Employ your skills, and if you have none, it might be time to learn a few. Once I joined the work force, I quickly learnt that my salary would hardly carry me towards the lavish lifestyle I thought I would be living. You see, we all have these dreams of one day living it up in a home of our choosing, able to indulge ourselves on the regular. However if you think your salary will meet all your needs, you have another thing coming.

I suggest taking up a part-time job, or investing wisely to earn a passive income that requires little of your attention.

2.Set your accounts up for success

Saving is one of those habits that requires loads of practice and discipline. However, if you are not a fan of the envelop method for managing your spending and monthly expenses, it could also be worth considering the importance of multiple accounts.

Keep a rainy day savings account for unexpected major expenses, a goal -related account perhaps for your bi-annual vacations, a sacco and a current account. Such a structure with ensure that you are well set up for contingency expenses, annual expected expenses and strategic saving should there be need for a low interest loan. This is just a simple example of how to structure things towards your current and future needs; foreseen or otherwise.

3.Supermarkets are a dark hole, be careful

Always be aware of your shopping habits. Your mental and emotional state may often contribute to your spending habits.

Shopping on an empty stomach is a faux pas, not to mention entering a supermarket without a detailed list. Whether you are just going in for some specialty candies or some particular soap you can only find in that exact store, never enter the store without a list as it is a sure way to engage in some impulse buying.

When I joined college and began managing my monthly expenses, I quickly learnt the benefits of buying in bulk. Now, almost 10 years later I can guarantee you that shopping in bulk for items with a long shelf life such as grains and  toiletries will definitely save your some considerable cash.

Money and personal financial management is something Africans hardly discuss openly about. Though we are not too shy to live the flashy lifestyle, how to get your coins right almost always remains a mystery. However, I encourage us all to ask, don’t take any answer for face value and do your own research.

Cultivate generational wealth for you and future generations to come.

A journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step.

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Thoughts

But Did You Die?

It was a dark evening, and the rain fell to the ground with such ferociousness.

I had spent the day chained to my desk, hoping to tie up some loose ends before going away for a few days. Everything was planned out. We were to arrive at dawn in Kampala, and join our friends on an unforgettable adventure.

And so I switched off my desktop computer, packed my bags and headed towards the station. As I navigated my way to the bus port in one of the busiest streets in the CBD, I could not ignore the feeling in the pit of my stomach. After working more than 5 years in Nairobi’s Central Business District, I had never seen a street with such chaos. In my eyes, not even the hectic pandemonium of the infamous Bus Station could compare.

I arrived before my travel buddy Duncan. I waited patiently at the dingy, poorly lit waiting bay and indulged myself in one of my favorite pastimes; people-watching. I looked out the window and watched the commotion as people on the streets went about buying clothes, shoes and groceries on their commute home.

When that got boring, I sat down and stared out into the room trying to figure out where my fellow passengers were headed. I notice a group of young men, with their attention captivated by a smartphone they shared. Evidently they were on YouTube, entertaining themselves with a popular music video or viral skit I could only assume. They did not have much luggage; and just like me they looked restless, eager to reach their destination.

I also notice a shapely woman sat behind me, she was accompanied by a man who seemed to be a close relative based on how they interacted. People-watching can reveal more than what’s presented on the surface, and is one of those pastimes that I thoroughly enjoy. She apologized for stepping on my bag and smiled. I smiled back.

Minutes later I received a call.

Duncan called me, “I am in town finally, am on my way.”

I drew out my book, a recent purchase from a recent trip only a month ago. The title ‘Janissary Tree’ intrigued me and so I thought “what better time to start a new read than on a trip?” I flipped through before the first chapter and before I could be too enthralled, the announcer notified passengers that the trip was delayed by 30 minutes.

Soon, Duncan arrived and at the very least I could manage my anxiety by engaging in conversation with Duncan.

We boarded the bus, an hour later than the expected departure time. And it was quite the experience as we boarded and prepared ourselves for the long drive to visit the Pearl of Africa. I would like to believe that my nerves had calmed, but as the rain began to pour my heart was not at ease.

I called my father, “Dad, we have left …we are using a shortcut through Ruaka, there is construction on Waiyaki Way. I’ll keep you posted. Love you.”

The roads were terrible, and the night’s darkness was frightful. The rain continued to pour even harder, at some point the rickety bus whose windows could hardly close let in water, making my new hoodie wet. The hailstones pelted the vehicle, as the bus-driver  stepped on the accelerator determined to make up for lost time. He was on a schedule, and the journey had to go on.

We made our first stop in Nakuru, and as we prepared to continue with the journey, the woman behind me noted his feverish speeds. He continued to drive at top speed. So much so, one woman seated at the front complained. And as he grumbled under his breath, he seemed to slow down but it seems that he was only waiting for his passengers to nod off to sleep to pick up the pace.

We stopped again on the side of the road not too far from Kericho. Passengers including myself had to relieve themselves; and as we alighted to heed nature’s call the irritated driver reminded us not to take too long. The journey must go on.

As I went to relieve myself, he brazenly asked me “Bwana wako ako wapi?”

I retorted “ Kwa nini?” as I snarled at him.

 I’m not sure if this was his poor attempt at a chat-up line, but Duncan was sure to make it clear he had no chance. I was not interested, and my friend had my back. Such stupid incidences are just a reminder why solo-travel as a woman requires such bravery and nerve. It was a quick pitstop, and we were soon on our way. He continued to drive and top speed, and again there were complaints, which he totally ignored. And as he grumbled under his breath, he seemed to slow down but it seems that he was only waiting for his passengers to nod off to sleep to pick up the pace yet again.

I listened to Chance the Rapper’s new album ‘The Big Day’ as I drifted off to slumber. I was woken up by the driver shouting, screams and a big bang. I did not have much time to rethink my sitting position, or the fact that I was right by the window as we rolled off to the side of the road.

There was distinct silence.

Women’s screams pierced the atmosphere that was now burdened with so many unknowns as we emerged out of the water. Where were we? What happened? Who was hurt? My heart was beating a thousand beats per minute, I thought it would soon fail. As I tried to move, I felt glass on my feet, and I my clothes were wet. And I could not feel my left hand. I knew it was broken.

But where was my friend?

  I shouted out “Dunkie!”  I heard no response.

“Dunkie!”

He finally responded, and now we needed to get out. Can you imagine trying to get out of a wrecked bus that is lying on its roof in a muddy, water-logged trench in the darkness of night? Women were screaming, men were groaning and it was just horrific to feel helpless, and baffled by your current state with no help from the locals.

Some men came moments after the crash to help passengers and steal whatever they could. I remember one man helped us lift this heavy woman out of the side of a window. Dunkie and I pushed her out from the inside of the bus, while they lifted her out; all while she screamed and hollered hysterically. She must have been in shock, she was scared and cried for help. We were all scared.

The men lifted me out next, and although I could easily fit through the window, I had to leverage my right side to avoid causing more injury to my left arm. I mustered all my strength in my legs, and pushed through the pain to get out.  Dunkie soon followed. And he even went back to help others.

I had no shoes, no pants as sat on the roadside in my soaking wet dheera. The glass had sliced my hands, thighs and feet and as I bled all I could do was think about the young man I saw on the ground as I moved away from the bus. I remembered him from the group of young men who sat together at the station. He may have just older than 20. He was sat in the back, and must have been thrown from the back of the bus through the emergency glass exit from the impact of the accident.

He lay there, not too far from me and I prayed. I prayed and begged God to sustain him.

“Please keep him, Father.”

An older woman who had deeper cuts on her leg prayed too. And we prayed for what felt like forever. His ribcage was barely moving, and his breathing was labored, a chore for his badly injured body.

Some 3 gentlemen in a Probox passed the scene of the accident and stopped to offer help. They carried the badly injured which included the young man, the woman with deep cuts, another woman who had broken both arms, a man who had injured his leg as well as Duncan who had banged-up his head and myself.

We arrived at the hospital, and found the sleepy-eyed staff barely awake. They were shocked, disorganized and confused.

The men brought in the young man, and he was pronounced dead on arrival. And it seemed the sting of death jolted the medics into action, finally getting themselves together to help the injured.

I don’t remember much now, but I had my arm x-rayed, three times. The first, to confirm the extent of the injury. The second was after they had popped it back into place after confirming it was dislocated. The third x-ray confirmed that it was not successful, so they removed the cast, and tortured me again hoping to get it right. A lady stood on my shoulder as two men pulled on my arm. The pain was unforgettable and I just gave up. I had no more energy to give, no more resolve to handle myself. I did not have the energy to scream. I just wept quietly and lay there for a few minutes numb.

And then they sent me for the final x-ray.

Then they proceeded to address the numerous cuts and bruises, stitching me up and I could barely react. Though it was painful, it felt like I was in a daze. This could not have been real.

Soon, other passengers made it to the hospital.

The sun came up and it was a new day.

*According to a report on The Nation, “one person died while 23 others were injured when a bus traveling from Nairobi to Kampala, Uganda, crashed in Kericho County. The accident involving a bus belonging to Modern Coast company occurred near Brooke trading center on the Kericho –Nakuru highway at around 1.00 am on Friday.”

Capital FM News reported, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) suspended the operating license for Modern Coast buses in December 2019 after a series of accidents on various highways across the country claimed several lives and injuring nearly 100. However, the Modern Coast transport service was soon reinstated; and allowed to operate only days after the suspension.

Since the accident, Modern Coast is yet to compensate or reach out to the passengers involved at the time of publishing this article.

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Thoughts

3 Lessons I Have Learnt In 2020

The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most memorable in recent history. If not only just due to the fact that the Coronavirus disrupted everyday life for all on the planet, the tensions and internal turmoil spilled over into how we related to each other.

The year tested all principles individuals held dear, and exposed our deepest and darkest fears. For some we had to stare them down, and for others we avoided them all together. But no matter your approach to the various situations life presented to you in 2020; the end of the second decade of the 21st Century was definitely one for the books.

Here are 3 lessons I have learnt:

  1. Love conquers all

Love for family and friends is something we often take for granted. In African communities, we hardly ever express our love in words, opting to let our actions do the talking. However, with everything so volatile, and with the masses feeling even more vulnerable than ever before, I found myself saying “I love you” more often.

I take these three words very seriously, and appreciate the gravity they carry. After being involved in a tragic accident in 2019, I have realized that I never want to leave things unsaid. Life is too short not to express what you truly feel. I don’t believe I am so great with spoken words, but this year I have pushed myself to express myself. I also found that those that meant the most to me, felt free enough to reciprocate their true feelings too.

Anything could happen, but one thing will ring true; you will never doubt how I feel about you.

2.Don’t be afraid to be seen trying

I have always been scared of taking risks. I am someone who calculates all possible outcomes before making a decision. But I have learnt that you cannot calculate what you can’t see. There are many factors at play at any one time, and just like Johari’s Window with our personalities, even in life you can’t be aware of everything and neither can you prepare for everything. There will always be a blindspot.

So the idea of not wanting to get involved if I can’t guarantee a win is no longer a tenet I hold onto.

Now I vow to myself to at least try. They say “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor”. With a renewed mindset, I am free to fail, to fall and ultimately to succeed. The perspective that held me afraid to be seen trying could be a kin to a child afraid to crawl or not attempting to walk for the fear of falling. It actually makes no sense, and stunts growth.

There is no harm in trying.

3.Give up control

As a control freak this was probably one of the hardest lessons I have learned. It was a difficult road to a new plane of realization, but the truth is no one person is ever in control. Life will always have a way of humbling you, and your plans will be subject to different varying factors. One might ask then “So, why bother?”

Well the fact that you are not in control of every factor does not mean that you do not have any power. For the things you can control, such as your attitude, perception, effort and relationships with others do you best to put your best foot forward, the rest leave it in God’s hands.

As we get strapped in for another 365 days around the sun, it is critical to not only take time to appreciate the lessons from 2020, but more importantly to apply what we have learnt.

Happy new year!

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Highly disfunctional

Life has a funny way of catching up with you, no matter who you are.

Your demons will always rear their head at the most inopportune time, and sometimes it could lead you down a rabbit hole that consumes every fiber of your being, when you least expect it. For some, alcohol offers some sort of escape, the libations that coat our throats as we let our hair down every Friday night. On the other hand, some point out it is a drug, an addiction that has a choke hold on our potential, our dreams, and stops us from truly realizing our better selves. This story is about the man who could not tame his fears, the terror of missed opportunities, and the dread of his potential.

He was an honorable man, loved by all. Successful, he gave off all the signs of a man in control of his destiny. But as we know, only God know what the next chapter holds. Obsessed with holding onto the steering wheel of his life, he clutched at the wheel; keen to determine its direction and maneuver it towards his so-called perfect life.

But you see, life is never about what you think you want.

 And so it began, the slow fade into the dark, secluded, desolate world. Late nights, strange fights and a series of decisions clouded in paranoia as he drifted farther and farther away from his loved ones. Soon he was left alone. He remained cut off from reality, in his own unique kingdom where he ruled as king. They called him the mad, drunk king!

With a kingdom of disloyal subjects, he set sail to conquer new territories and rule new lands. But it did not take too long for his delusions to catch up to him, reminding him that he was a man of limitations. A man devoid of peace, grappling  with his own vices that neither time nor space could resolve. In an attempt to seek inner peace, the mad, drunk king sought the sage advice of various wise men. He travelled the seas, and climbed mountains to see priests and prophets alike, but none had what he searched for. None could deliver the truth.

Finally, he visited the village soothsayer. After months of travel, his heart was weary and his resolve weak. He grew continually mad, and more  drunk than ever before. But it was clear that he was in dire need of a solution. An end to his misery was what he truly desired. The soothsayer upon meeting him looked at his cup of a thousand vices, and told the mad, drunk king some words he was not ready to hear. He said, “King, you are a high functioning alcoholic. You think you are in control; but the longer you cling to your so-called power, the faster you lose dominion over your life.” To regain some semblance of normalcy; the mad, drunk was adviced to relinquish control and surrender to his vices…thereby diminishing their power freeing him finally.

Now more than ever, there is an increase in alcoholism cases in the population. As life’s pressures continue to pile on high, one may lean on various coping mechanisms to make it by. However, as one drink leads to another,  that leads to another; alcoholism is pulling away individuals from their potential and claiming lives in more ways than we can narrate. According to reports, alcoholism is a disease that causes individuals to compulsively drink despite knowing the health, social and legal repercussions. High-functioning alcoholics have an addiction as real as those of the people who get in car accidents, show up to work drunk or lose their family and friends.

If you are dealing with unresolved emotions, speak up don’t drink it away, or you might just end up as the mad, drunk king with no true friend or family to live out your life.

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Rona Made Me Do It

Allow me to rant.

You would hardly find a situation where one person bears the role of judge, jury and executioner. But today I am all three. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, that all would be equal irrespective of the color of their skin. However in Africa, the dream of the civil rights activist takes on new nuances as tribal allegiances and socio-economic strata pull back the progress of a new, equal-opportunity Africa.

In Kenya we say “Myonge hana haki” and there is nothing like disaster to make this even more evident. Unaccounted for, unforeseen the Coronavirus Pandemic came and swept the globe into a frenzy, forcing billions to retreat into their homes, avoiding  gatherings and practicing good hygiene.  This is all easily said and done if you live in a first world nation, when working from home is a viable option, where government services still function despite government restrictions. In my beloved nation, these times have only served to expose the incompetence of the men and women we call leaders. I has shown them to be insensitive, and lacking in humanity, forcing citizens from their homes, and doing little for those impacted by floods. It has shown their selfish nature, their “me-first” mentality and the major gaps in government that leaves a nation utterly unprepared on the brink of chaos.

Where is our pride? When will we stop begging for assistance from international organizations? We continue to play into their narratives, like soldiers following their commanders. Whether or not the pandemic is real, its effects are felt and the outcome is expected to be deadly. The leaders we elected put their needs above those who elected them, never giving a moment to consider what the people have eaten, how children attend school or the effect of the lockdown on thousands of businesses is.

Instead their focus lies in publicity stunts to pacify the angry masses and senseless grandiose gestures whose only purpose is to keep them in the news. “ You might be hungry, your business might be flatlining but here is a new road for your trouble.” Mheshimiwa, what sort of logic is that? Instead of equipping teachers to teach from home, enabling doctors to fight the pandemic, restructuring the financial sector for e-commerce to flourish, National Assembly members would rather be out in the wee hours of the night flouting COVID-19 restrictions; enjoying a nightcap or taking part in the viral Jerusalema challenge oblivious to the troubles of its people. This was an opportunity to improve electrical and internet connectivity, to ensure all are equally equipped. It was a chance to re-ignite the spirit of the ‘Nyumba-Kumi’ initiative, to improve communal safety, health and prosperity. The season offered a  chance to re-evaluate the efficacy of health sector initiatives such as the  Beyond Zero initiative and work towards improving their capacity, bringing healthcare services to the grassroots.

There is hardly any compassion, in this nation that was known for ubuntu where we once proudly chanted ‘Harambee’ indeed it seems that our foundation was built on falsehoods, as the leaders pulled the wool over our eyes and continue to do so. The nation’s people are blind, so desperate we are clutching at straws hoping for a chance to find our way out of this quagmire.

One would think that this pandemic has only affected the poor, but the reality is the middle and upper class also cry behind the doors of their glass houses. With families forced to stay indoors, there is an increase in domestic violence cases, suicide and many more report struggling with their mental health at this time. In a society that shies away from such serious concerns, it seems that the pandemic has challenged every aspect of our social structure. It has made us question who we think we are, the essence of the nation.

But today as self-appointed judge, jury and executioner I ask the Kenyan leadership to leave their posts, never to return to governance ever again. Their mentality “it is our time to eat” overrode the concerns of the masses, showing they are selfish to the core, lacking in any traits of true leadership.

Nonetheless, the nation is resilient and strong, I know its people will rise again…they continue to do so daily. The Mama Mboga always has something to offer, college students have decided to innovate new machines to help manage the pandemic, and more individuals have found their voice through business.

Though this unfortunate event has taken away lives, in a sense new life has sprung and the can-do spirit carries us all through to another day.

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Thoughts

Isolation

God hit the pause button on life.

It has been several days of reflection, self-evaluation. A period of gaining new perspective and new understanding. Just like everyone else, the past few days have been riddled with anxiety, discomfort and a feeling of unpreparedness. But we move, regardless.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the public sphere in Wuhan, China in late December 2019, it seemed almost unlikely that it would reach the place I call home, much less affect daily life. Based on the reports online at the time, it felt far removed from my community. But in a matter of days the disease has swept across the globe claiming thousands of lives. The situation snowballed into a global crisis.

And now, we live a day at a time.

Holed up in their respective homes, society has taken the government-enforced quarantines and curfews as an opportunity to return to simpler, easier times while under quarantine. The story is the same for many others across the globe. If nothing else, this killer respiratory disease has served as a reminder on the uncertainty of life, never mind the fragility of the human race. We have created a world for ourselves, however we often overlook how feeble our lives, systems and governments truly are against calamity.

And now we live out our precious days.

Life is fleeting, and as an optimist it is essential to continue to see the glass as half full in all circumstances, lest we drown in the sorrows that come with every news headline. So what is the silver lining at this difficult time? Is it the isolation, the disruption of routine that we often find comfort in, or is it in the rising levels of anxiety in the general public?

In this time, I have found that many just as I; have found time to do some much needed soul-searching. A time to wind down, as the world grinds to a halt. Indeed, there are many theories on the dangers of this time, however there is no running from it. The empty streets, unattended churches, unoccupied skyscrapers are an indication that it is time to retreat, a time to find refuge in your isolation. Living in a highly interconnected world, we are constantly bombarded with entertainment, news and so much more. But here is our chance to step away from all of it, and start fresh. Unplug in isolation.

Isolation is often associated with loneliness. However, I affirm that it could be a chance to withdraw for our betterment. Ishani Bhattacharya shared some wise words on the topic of isolation. ‘Hold company with yourself so sacred that even when you are alone, you are whole.’

Isolation may not be such a bad thing. Take it as a time to be introspective and re-examine life as you may know it, a moment to meditate and contemplate on the decade that awaits. And perhaps a time to pray for what is to come.

 This too shall pass.

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Ground Zero

This is my first entry in this blog, and a milestone of sorts for me.

I named this platform ‘Acquired Taste’ after some time thinking about it, and what I hope it would be; and so I think the name is a great way to introduce myself and my ramblings on life, to the readers who will visit this blog. According to references on Google, an acquired taste is an appreciation for something unlikely to be enjoyed by a person who has not had substantial exposure to it. And with that, it is my hope that readers will not only read what is shared on this platform once, but return again and often to catch up… acquire a taste for it.

I recently went through a life changing experience, and have noted that several things in life are an acquired taste. Life is lived outside the comfort zone, and for anyone hoping to ‘live their best life’ it is not in spending in thousands for an expensive vacation, or having an all-nighter in the city’s club scene. No. I have come to realize that it is more about the little things. The moments we can never forget. The ideas we choose to explore that often push us out of our area of familiarity. The relationships that teach us something new. And so with this blog, we will explore many different areas, talk about many issues important and nondescript that I hope the young millennial or any one for that matter can and will relate to, just as much as I do.

With a new lease on life, I hope to explore more of myself and I do wish we can do this together.

Thank you for reading.

Ms Eli.