Category Archives: Articles by other writers

Alone by Maya Angelou


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Image credits

Poem source.


The story that motivated me to write

My Canadian friend Elaine and I in 2007
My Canadian friend Elaine and I in 2007

June 2007, I was in Canada at my friend Elaine’s house when suddenly I became famous. I had made it on the Calgary Herald. It was a good thing right? Not until I had a second opinion from a friend.“The journalist was brutal.” Only then did it hit me that how one is portrayed on the media affects their public image. 

During the interview, I didn’t give it much thought. Of course some facts had been embellished, such as the Simon Makonde story of being infected on the same night. Anyway, that being beside the point, this is one story that acted as a motivator to me.

Juliet’s HIV tale highlights Canada’s myopia on Africa

She lives the tragedy of being an African aid failure — and perhaps reflects Canada’s AIDS apathy as well. Juliet Awuor lost her virginity and went HIV-positive the same night in a Kenyan slum.

Her infected boyfriend wooed Juliet using the lame line that he’d forever be her Romeo. The 17-year-old, who had only been exposed to sex abstinence promotions, didn’t know how to use a condom — and the boyfriend wasn’t inclined to deliver a quickie bedroom education. Six months later, her Romeo gone, naive Juliet was diagnosed HIV-positive.

Now she’s 23 and on a mission to spread the educational emphasis beyond an international no-sex message to a more practical safe-sex emphasis.

“If I’d known how to protect myself, I would’ve made a much better choice,” she told me. “Abstinence is good and should be encouraged, but if they want to have real success, they should try to show us how to protect ourselves.”

Read the whole story here.

He was writing the story from his view. He also managed to get the intended message out there. A message which was far removed from Juliet. He was talking of the apathy of the Canadian legislators.

That story was among the reasons I decided to pursue a career in writing. Perhaps subconsciously to be empowered to write my own story. The article ends with a classic punchline.

Of course, it’s all too late to help Juliet. In a tragic case of modern life imitating Shakespearean art, her life will be shortened by a Romeo she should’ve avoided like the plague he was carrying.

Reading the story years later, I have this smile on. The smile that says, “Don Martin, if only you knew.” I am still alive and don’t think I have an appointment with death anytime soon. But hey! Let’s see the bright side- He motivated me to pursue a career in writing. Even the birth of this blog was inspired by that? Maybe not entirely.

Abstaining from Reality: TBT- Tamar Abrams

Photo from Tamar's Facebook
Tamar and Hannah. Photo from Tamar’s Facebook

I never thought I’d one time post these posts where everyone can easily have access to them and relate them to me. That’s what age teaches you. As you grow older, you develop your sense of identity and stop caring what people will say about you. One also learns the importance of giving thanks to the people who God has placed in their lives to take them to where he wants them to be.

One such person is Tamar Abrams. She has impacted my life in so many ways ever since we met at that hotel lobby in London. I remember it was the Strand Palace. This was a culture shock bearing in mind that I came from a slum in Nairobi. Something that I prefer talking of in another post.

Here’s an article that Tamar wrote after our acquaintance.

“Standing in a gilded stateroom in London’s Westminster Palace was a slight young woman from Kenya named Juliet Awuor, preparing to tell her story to members of Parliament, heads of British and international NGOs and the press. It was early March and Population Action International’s latest documentary—Abstaining from Reality: U.S. Restrictions on HIV Prevention—was making its worldwide premiere in the U.K, followed by events in the Parliaments of Denmark and Sweden. Juliet, who never in her 24 years had left Kenya, had bravely flown to London so she could share her story of contracting HIV the very first time she had sex because neither she nor her boyfriend knew how to use a condom.” Read more here.

Tamar went ahead to set up an online campaign to raise my school fees to Daystar University. Here is the article she wrote.

Make Juliet’s Dream a Reality by Tamar Abrams, Population Action International

June 19, 2007

In Population Action International’s (PAI) seminal documentary, Abstaining from Reality, HIV-positive Kenyan Juliet Awuor says about the boyfriend with whom she contracted HIV, “He took away my dreams and my future.” For those of you who have seen the short film or even met Juliet during the film’s European and North American rollout, you know that she still has many dreams for the future. Neither her HIV nor the loss of her infant son nor her subsequent stroke has stolen all hope. This was evidenced by her thoughts in March when PAI took her to London for the film’s debut in Parliament: “After London, I see so many possibilities,” she wrote. Read more here.

She went on to ask me severally on email whether I still wanted to go to college. I had to do what was right, enroll to Daystar University. Despite having qualified for a degree program, I took the diploma due to the duration of my scholarship. Thanks to all who contributed to my education because three years later, June 2011, I graduated with honors, a diploma in Print and Electronic Media.

That was just the beginning because I dreamt on and enrolled for my BA in Public Relations. Going to Daystar opened my eyes to possibilities of achieving an education. (A dream which I thought had been snatched before it began.) I recently graduated from Daystar, a second time.

I would rightly say that Tamar has been my mentor. She is a communications professional and writes for the Huffington Post among other platforms. This is what her profile reads on Huffington Post “Tamar Abrams has worked as a TV producer, magazine editor and newspaper reporter but has spent most of her career helping nonprofits, foundations and individuals leverage their resources to maximize the power of communications in educating, persuading and motivating their target audiences. She is also a freelance writer and a foster mom. Tamar and her daughter live in Arlington, Virginia.”

Tamar is just a person who likes making people’s lives better. When she visited Nairobi in 2009, she came to my neighborhood in Kibera. They were shooting another PAI documentary, The silent partner. She saw the condition of the swing set at the school where they were filming the Nubian Wedding and decided to give it a make over. She bought the paint and I did the painting. View the photos here.

Besides being a single mom to beautiful Hannah Lily, 23, Tamar has fostered many children. Reading from her article in the Washingtonian gave me an understanding of why she ventured into being a foster mom.

I remember the night we went to a cabaret in a London theater with Tamar and Amie Coen. Oh! Good memories that still make me smile. To Tamar, here’s one more life you made better.

I am humbled to be deemed a champion.

So today at Creatives Academy we were discussing Creating your brand, building public relations & networking with PR and image gurus Terryanne Chebet, Derek Bbanga and Israel Robert Burale.

Derek Bbanga asked us to Google our name and see what comes up. This came up and surprised me, in a good way. I am humbled to be called a champion, because I feel like I have not yet accomplished much to deserve the title. PAI, I promise you to keep the fire burning and live up to the high standard you have set for me.

It is stories like these that make you go back to the drawing board and ask yourself tough questions.