A few things about me

Archive for July, 2007

Suggestions

I have a relative who is mentally ill. I am not exactly sure of the exact diagonisis but it is some form of schizophrenia. My limited research into the matter leads me to believe that the relative suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. All my life I have known this person and remember only one incidence of violence.

A few weeks ago this changed and of late the relative has become violent. This would not have been much of an issue to me if had not been for the fact that my mother has been the main and sole carer for this person for the past 2 years or so. Prior to that Mum was the main support and carer but from a distant. The violence has really disturbed the family and more more so mum because she is the one who has lost stuff and having to repair stuff around the house. The other relatives who are supposed to be “the men of the family” (useless kabisa!!!) have failed to step up or offer any support not even financial. Basically I have a lot to say about them and to them … but all this family protocol blah blah holds me back. As far as I am concerned they are menless useless men!!! I digress.

My question to you all… is: Does anyone know of any Private or NGO run mental health homes that would be willing to take a new patient.

The relative has been in and out of Mathare (main mental hospital in Nairobi) so many times that the docs and Mum are on first name basis. The drugs don’t seem effective or rather they are, but relative cannot be relied on to take them daily. Last time I was home, last year, I went to Mathare for the first time in my life and was left stunned. I applaud the work they are doing there, but the conditions are so not what I expected.

I talked to Mum today and she is stressed, tired and on edge. Relative was discharged and has promised to continue the violence and rampage of destruction. I do not know how else to help mum, I am stressed cause Mum is stressed. The whole situation just feels completely HOPELESS. So all suggestions are welcome. The only recourse is literally letting this person go to the streets, which is not an option!

Thanks is advance for any ideas.

Mishmash

  • I may never write the way I want to write, and that’s ok. In spite of that, I know good writing when I read it and I know bad writing too. It is the latter that I stumbled upon and all I can think is ick, ick ick! The author was a member of a particular discussion board that I am a member of and had plugged her book. Then one day I stumbled on a thread about her book and the accolades that followed so thought, “hmm I should get the book and see what it’s all about”. My first delivery from Amazon came through and voila there it was. Woi Woi Woooi!, the book is not mzuri at all!!. The general plot is actually very good, but the sentences, the dialogue, just about everything else is wrong. She writes the way I write my novels and its just so juvenile.
    Last night I puzzled over what made her book a “woi woi wooii” one and makes some Sandra Brown, David Morrell etc etc books “fantabulous”. Apart from an incredibly credible plot, character development and pacing are the key ingredients! In my opinion, she failed to adequately introduce the characters and develop them before thrusting them together. Hence we are thrown straight into thier “meeting” without really knowing who they are. And we get to learn about them as they talk to each other. Yuck!!
  • As writer don’t be so obvious with your”messages” a-la Perry Tyler movies (woi category of thier own). If you are going to write and want to preach, do it more suavely than have the character preach to the other ick ick ick! I hate that in movies and I hate that in books. Especially when it is so obvious.

On to “Boston Legal”. I am loving loving it. Denny Crane & Alan Shore are my new heroes, but the bulk of my admiration goes to the script writers. They do a superbly fantastic job. The lines Denny comes up with are so non PC I they tickle me silly. The “preaching” is on point and many times though presented in a comedic way, it is food for thought. I don’t know that this stay at home mommy is going to do when the show comes to an end here in Denmark.

My tv watching is limited to:

  • Boston Legal (daily at 11.00am)
  • Cosby Show (daily at 9.25am)
  • Oprah (on daily, but not necessarily watched daily)
  • Project Runway season 3 (daily at 8.00pm) it’s about to end. Has run for about 3 weeks. What shall I do when it ends??!
  • Ugly Betty (Wednesdays at 8.35.. but Project Runway has taken over)
  • Biggest Loser (Wednesday’s repeat on Sunday at 5.00pm)
  • CNN & BBC (best shows on CNN are Richard Quest shows, Inside Africa & Sanjay Gupta’s stuff and some Insider Story)
  • House (it was on at some impossible time like 10.00pm and by then Mrembo and baby are sleeping. Now it is on at 8.00pm on Wednesdays but Project Runway is on.. what’s a girl to do? And there are no repeats…shenzi people!)

And that’s about it.

A good novel is like a cold sweating Fanta on a hot & humid Ugandan day. The anticipation as you watch the beads of cold water run down the bottle. You pick up up to open and its cool against your grubby hands. You pour it into the long glass and listen as the fiz pops and while they still pop you lift it to your mouth and aah! glory! Nothing like a cold fanta! That’s how the first few pages of a good book should be like. Sweet!

Nollywood

So the other day I got my hands on two Nollywood movies and I gotta tell you I am loving them! I want more!

I don’t care about the production blah blah blah, I just love them. It has been so long since I heard “tuning lines” from men. I was grinning throughout the movies!

African drama has got to be the best there is out there.

Give me more “Obinah eh?!!”

Evil

The opening of the movie “Blood Diamonds” slammed me against the back of my sofa and that was just the begining. I started it last night and I have yet to finish it. “Intense” is one of the words I would use to describe it. It joins a growing list of movies based of on Africa, that I find myself unwillingly collecting to watch again at a later date. I am unable to watch these “African movies” without PREJUDICE. My heart and emotions get involved thus rendering them PERSONALLY INTENSE. The list is made up of

  • Tears of the Sun
  • Constant Gardener
  • Black Hawk Down
  • Hotel Rwanda etc

With all these, I started, stopped and eventually finished off the next day or a few days later.

“Blood Diamonds” really hit home because, here was Djimon Housson and cast presenting to me the reality of what thousands of Northern Ugandans have lived with for almost 20 years. Child abduction by the rebels. Mindless decapitations and bodily disfigurement. The presence of atrocious evil, so close to my door, literally hundreds of kilometers away and yet I have been able to ignore it and FEEL NOTHING because it was not in my backyard, so to speak.

I then remembered 2 particular conversations where it was intimated that the general feeling by the rest of Uganda towards the victims of Kony and his evil mongers was “they did this to us for years now let them suffer and in any case they are doing it to themselves”.

Again I remembered a conversation with a Sudanese accquaintance. We bumped into each other on the train. Darfur had just caught the media’s attention and it was all over the place. Thinking that I would show my empathy about the situation, I was left speechless when I got the following response. The accquitance in question is from Southern Sudan

” When we were in trouble with the Arabs they refused to help us because they are brothers (shared religion:Islam) and we are Christians so they just watched us suffer. Now let them suffer at the hands of thier brothers……but yes, it is bad for them”

Suffice to say the topic of conversation changed immediately.

Last night, I went to bed with my thoughts completely jumbled and tumbled. Didn’t know what to think or feel and the only constant thought was “Your circle of influence, let the rest go”. A part of me is so distressed at the ever present evil that is just a stone’s throw away. I wanted to rage against us Africans for the things we do to each other. Then I reminded myself that evil is all around and not restricted only to “us”. I remembered that some Iraqis like blowing themselves and others up. Some Afghanis like to subjugate their women to death, some Danes like to molest thier children. Some Americans like serial killing, some Indians like selling children …. the list is endless. Its a case of evil and so long as there are people, so there is evil and good.

I am not one to delude myself that something can be done about this evil. History and today speaks for themselves. My prayer is that this evil will not touch me ,my loved ones and you as we walk through this life.

I guess “Blood Diamonds” reminded me to be more empathetic rather than apathetic. It reminded me that I should do my part when opportunity presents itself. Take part in that walk against Kony etc. Donate something to that NGO helping the orphans of war, do something in your circle of influence no matter how small because as I learned while interning at UNHCR, “most Africans are one war away from being refugees”. Ain’t that the truth!!!!