Adventures in Liet Wan: We don’t say Goodbye

Here’s to No Goodbyes

Goodbyes are hard. Moreso, when you really don’t want to leave anyone/anything behind. So don’t worry there are no goodbyes, because I started writing here in 2009 and I am not about to stop. Just some dull nonsense back when everyone on Twitter was a Bigwig and we all knew each other. One of my most memorable series was the Asylum Affair which was based on a dream I had because I was anxious about the end of university and my parents’ expectations. You can search for these posts. They are weirdly hilarious and quite good, for that time in life. Short, sharp and silly. Just like I am.

Start of the Adventures

Then I stumbled upon life in the ghetto. When I was doing my driving lessons  I opted to learn how to drive a Heavy Commercial Vehicle in addition to those small things people like, I forget the category. You know, just get everything out of the way all at once, since my parents had offered to pay. Well, my class had young, upstanding men of good character. But you wouldn’t know it from all the sheng’ that used to fly around in the back of the truck when we used to do our practical lessons. Here’s the deal though, we were about 20 students in a class, with a cranky instructor; I was one of two ladies so sometimes you’d get to sit in the front and some days, not so lucky.

Now, my not so lucky days forced me to come out of my shell and get to know the guys I was learning to operate heavy machinery with. I discovered, beyond the rough and tough exterior, they were essentially human beings. Then one day, I got invited to lunch in their hood. At this point, let me just be honest, 23-year-old me was a snob but I was also curious. So on a humid Wednesday afternoon, I got onto a Number 8  matatu and I alighted at the Chief’s Office in Kibera (someone said it’s Africa’s largest slum) and met up with Ken (at least that’s the name he used, we lost touch and I don’t have his number anymore).

We walked all over Kibera that day. I remember, he showed me Makina, Olympic, Kwa Karanja, Ayany, places I’d only ever hear about in passing. He showed me the spot on the railway, where they’d pull up the tracks in protest during riots. Then we had lunch in some kibanda for 50 bob. I swear it was a feast my friends. A humongous Ugali, beef stew (two or three obligatory pieces of meat in delicious soup) and some miscellaneous greens.

This was an eye-opening walk. I learned that the people who live in Kibera are just like you and me with hopes and dreams. Ken told me he was trying to get into KU to get his degree. All he needed was fees. Here was a guy, who was determined to get into uni just as much as I was determined to get out. I left Kibera around four in the afternoon, armed with a more wholesome worldview of people, dreams, and ambition.

This experience gave birth to Adventures in Liet Wan. Liet Wan is a fictional slum loosely based on my perception of Kibera all those years ago, and my experiences in low-income estates all over the city of Nairobi. Yes, I was also a better person because of this and this was something I never lost sight of. I may have strayed throughout the years but essentially, no quintessentially, I still carry deep empathy for the people I met at that point in life. It’s been fun telling Beauty’s stories for eight years now, her adventures in Liet Wan have been many and it’s been great being the fly on her wall. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

I’ve included a full list below, for anyone who may not have read the older posts and also so that we may gaze upon my bad writing and hang our heads in shame. My writing has gotten better, my attitude though still stinks LOL.

  1. The Emperor, His New Clothes and the true meaning of friendship
  2. La Mujer de Mi Vida: The Secret Life of a Desperate Housewife
  3. Congratulations, you are the weakest link in the chain!
  4. Open Sesame: The Chrisanthus Genotype
  5. Introducing Ms. Dee Mina
  6. The story behind the story behind the story
  7. Beloved Danielo a.k.a BiDii
  8. Dia de Muertos: A Liet Wan Special
  9. Dia de Muertos: A Liet Wan Special Pt.2
  10. Literally Struck by Love: Love brewed in Liet Wan
  11. Merry Mwaka Mpya
  12. Romantic Rendezvous: Love made in Liet Wan
  13. Hail to the Chief…of Liet Wan
  14. #30days30posts: A Liet Wan Special- Fire Burn Dem
  15. #30days30posts: Danielo’s Lover
  16. #30days30posts Liet Wan: Esteem on Fire
  17. #30days30posts: Bye Bye D
  18. #30days30posts: B for Beauty
  19. F* Cancer: A Liet Wan Special #30day30posts

Why am I taking you down a walk down memory lane? I’m not entirely sure. I get the feeling that life moves according to the season and this season with Beauty needs to change. One day I have a feeling she will resurrect but right now, she needs a rest. Village Beauty catapulted my imagination to greater heights. I learned the beauty of observation in character creation and development. I feel that I may have hit a wall with her stories though. It takes too long to write just 500 words and keeping all the threads separate yet together in my mind is taking its toll. The great thing is, I have already developed the characters (whether well or not) and should I choose to come back to Beauty’s tales, I’ll be able to. So yes, we don’t say Goodbye.

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