Walubengo's Den

Not just another WordPress site

1 Comment

The Hill of Lions




Those are the words that come to mind as I approach the Hill of Lions.

It is late evening. The sun is setting fast, which makes me just a bit scared. The African in me still nurtures a healthy fear of wildlife, so I keep the car windows rolled up most of the time. I open them periodically to let in the fresh forest and lake air, but whenever I spot a family of monkeys or a troop of baboon, back up the windows go. I don’t trust wild animals.

The KWS wardens at the entrance to the park were surprisingly helpful, professional and welcoming, a refreshing surprise in my humble opinion.

I soon arrive at Sarova Lion Hill; my destination.

Again. I’m in for a surprise. The staff are amazingly welcoming and helpful. As a Kenyan, and a black Kenyan at that, I always expect discrimination at such establishments, as often happens at the coast. Here there is none of that. There is a troop of tourists arriving at the same time as me, yet the service I am accorded makes me feel special and wanted.

Ascending the pathway to my room, I again feel those two words: Peace and Serenity.

I was last here a decade ago. Came for a retreat for the organisation I was working for. It was a packed and rushed visit. Not like now.

Now I can savour every moment and every sight. The silent beauty of the pathways, the subtle elegance and beauty of my room. Speaking of which, my room is aptly named ‘Justicia’. I chuckle at the coincidence.

The the food. I cannot over emphasize this: Sarova never disappoints in the food section. Never. Be it the Sarovca Stanley smack in the middle of the Nairobi Central Business District, or the Sarova Panafric or now Sarova Lion Hill.

The food never disappoints.

It is glorious, and I gorge myself. From the freshly cut salads to the deliciously delightful meats it is a heavenly pleasure.

I always hear that Lion Hill is a treat for a bird watchers and I saw why. Dozens of bird species dot the area. One beautiful little bird flew into the dining room during breakfast and landed right on my table. Hopping around while cautiously appraising me, after a moment or three, it quickly made off with a bright red packet of sweetener, leaving me laughing.

I have loads more positive things to say about my visit to Sarova Lion Hill, but dear reader, allow me to end here. All I can say is that wish you at least once have the exquisite pleasure of experiencing this heavenly establishment.



Leave a comment


images (3)

The Resurrection story holds a special place in the heart of Christendom, and in the narrative of humanity. Christ gives u his life for mankind. This is not the first time Christ intercedes for man. At the beginning, when Adam and Eve committed the original sin at the behest of the angel Lucifer, it was Christ who interceded for man before God the Father, entreating him to spare the lives of humanity.

He then takes an earthly form and lives as man, experiencing all of our struggles, pains, fears, dreams, hopes, humiliations and worries. When he is at his weakest, the devil himself assails him and tempts him, offering Christ things which would sway the best of men.

At some point things get so thick for Christ that he begs the Father to change his mind. Faced with the pain, heartbreak, treachery and betrayal that are his lot, he breaks down and weeps, and asks that this cup of suffering be taken from him, that he be spared the trials that await him, for they are too heavy to bear.

Scorned and spat on by the majority, betrayed by a loved one, denied by friends, Christ dies on the cross, murdered by the very people he came to save.

Days later, the women who were his companions go to his tomb. It was these women who had supported and cared for Jesus all along, and it was women who were the first to visit his tomb. The good book tells us that it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, Salome (the other Mary) and a number of women who provided for Jesus and his disciples as they went through the land.

These women wake up early to make a sortie to Christ’s grave. It was dark and cold. The Romans had issued a strict edict prohibiting all visits to Jesus’ tomb. It must have felt especially dark, scary and hopeless, as they had just shortly before watched the death of their friend and Lord. But they still rose and went forth.

Rise, my brothers and sisters. It might be especially dark and cold for you right now. Your dreams and hopes have been killed right before your eyes. Enemies and obstacles surround you, and success seems nigh impossible. Rise, mankind. Go forth to where your dreams and hopes are buried. Roll back the tombstone of your salvation. Expect your reward. Go get your reward. The Lord is risen.


Leave a comment

The Temptation and Fall


Satan would convey the idea that by eating of the forbidden tree, they would receive a new and more noble kind of knowledge than they had hitherto attained. This has been his special work with great success ever since his fall, to lead men to pry into the secrets of the Almighty, and not be satisfied with what God has revealed, and not careful to obey that which he has commanded.

He would lead them to disobey God’s commands, and then make them believe that they are entering a wonderful field of knowledge. This is purely supposition, and a miserable deception. They fail to understand what God has revealed, and disregard his explicit commandments, and aspire after wisdom, independent of God, and seek to understand that which he has been pleased to withhold from mortals. They are elated with their ideas of progression, and charmed with their own vain philosophy; but grope in midnight darkness relative to true knowledge. They are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Leave a comment

My Nightmares are Dreams of You

images (1)


Day 15

A friend once told me, during a drunken, rambling midnight dissertation, that a dream is the place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and the fear are exactly the same, he said, we call the dream a nightmare.

The nightmares are back. Went to bed at 2 a.m. My eyes flew open at 6 a.m. Apparently, my dreams woke me. Petrified. Terrified. I was told that sometimes nightmares are part of withdrawal symptoms. Of course I laughed and scoffed at the thought. Haven’t had nightmares in years. Surely they would not return to disturb my hallowed sleep. I also refused to take sleep medication, having just learnt of this new idea called ‘sleep hygiene’.

What scares me most is the nature of the nightmares. They aren’t dreams where I’m being chased, hunted down or persecuted. As a matter of fact such dreams excite me. The stuff of my nightmares is far more mundane and prosaic, and consequently more terrifying. Wait for it: I dream – have nightmares – about my exes. Ex-girlfriends. Women that I liked or loved the most. Or women that I should have had relationships with but didn’t. The women of these dreams, if they can be so called, were and are beautiful, both inside and out. Physically, mentally, personality-wise and spiritually. Though I’m not quite sure what being beautiful spiritually looks like, what the heck. And the reason I lost these women is always the same – the terror of similarity – (yes you can call mine terror): pride, ego, hardness of heart, fear of commitment. Name them.

And in these nightmares I get to court these women again. With the knowledge, guilt and pain of our shared pasts still evident. And eventually in these dreams we make amends – almost- and the joy, hope, sadness and fear smashing up against each other feel too much for my sinner’s heart to bear. I become excited, happy, remorseful, sad and terrified. At what wasn’t and what was, at what could have been and what could be. And then my eyes fly open. My body breaks out in sweat and for a horrifyingly long moment I don’t know where I am, who I am, or at which point of this crushing life I am.

At times, sometimes, I wish that I could just forget. The past weighs upon me heavily, and the pain can be seen in my eyes and it takes effort to conceal it from my countenance. But life must go on. Life goes on. The pain is like a thick, heavy chain around my neck, in the middle of a bottomless ocean. It is cold, this chain, but at the same time it is red hot. I’m cold, burning and drowning at the same time. And yet this thing around my neck that is surely killing me – this chain I do not care about. Because my hands are too busy desperately wrapped around the knife plunged into my heart. The searing pain is all I can think of sometimes, yet I don’t know if these hands of mine are pulling the knife out, or pushing it deeper into a heart that is bruised, battered, broken and misshapen.

As I sink deeper into the ocean I can’t feel the cold. The light of the sun above me gets farther and farther away. Of what use is the light if it only serves to hurt us? Are we not more alive in the dark? Are we not more at peace with the night? All the light does is illuminate our flaws. All the light does is warm us up for a moment that is too short. All the light does is show us what we are missing, or what is missing in us. It gives us a taste of joy that is not meant to last, a joy that cannot last.

Victory has defeated me. Peace has cost me my strength.

Love or what we have been made to believe is love makes us weak.

Love will hurt you, as will all fairytale emotions and ideas.

What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.

Leave a comment

Why are we so drawn to expensive things?


Why, then, if expensive things cannot bring us remarkable joy, are we so powerfully drawn to them? Because of an error similar to that of the migraine sufferer who drills a hole in the side of his skull: because expensive objects can feel like plausible solutions to needs we don’t understand. Objects mimic in a material dimension what we require in psychological one. We need to re-arrange our minds but are lured towards new shelves. We buy a cashmere cardigan as a substitute for the counsel of friends.

Of course, we are not solely to blame for our confusions. Our weak understanding of our needs is aggravated by what the philosopher Epicurus termed the ‘idle opinions’ of those around us, which do not reflect the natural hierarchy of our needs, emphasizing instead luxury and riches, seldom friendship, freedom and thought. This prevalence of idle opinion is no coincidence. It is in the interests of commercial enterprises to skew the hierarchy of our needs, to promote a material vision of the good and downplay an unsaleable one.

Look at examples all around us, pushed on us by advertisers, businesses and the media. I recently watched an advert on TV where a wife was pressuring her husband, nagging him to build a new gate for their compound and buy a Prado, because their neighbours had done the same. The husband relents and actually takes a loan from the bank to buy these ‘necessities’. (It was a bank loan advert by the way, I think.) At the end we see him happy and gloating at his neighbor, because he has a gate just like his, and a Prado just like his. Samsung and Apple periodically without fail come up with a new phone that is allegedly more advanced and more ‘necessary’ than the last, and of course more expensive than the last. The idea implied is that you have to keep buying these things so as not to be left behind. Companies selling strangely expensive houses tell us about the luxuriousness of their offerings, and how modern they are. Some agents will even go further to let you know that many of the houses on sale have already been bought by UN staff, expatriates and foreigners, just to show you how good and necessary these houses are. Yes, having ‘natives’ as your neighbours is not chic enough, apparently.

Our society has embraced this idea wholeheartedly. Our worship of money seems unparalleled. Our zeal for wealth accumulation is fanatical, and people don’t seem to care how this wealth is accumulated. Morals go out the window real quick, and we forget about issues that matter like genuine friendship, good morals, family, respect, fidelity, loyalty and culture. We live as though money is the most important thing in our lives. Interestingly, most of us who exhibit this absurd lust for wealth are Christians; who believe in and worship a deity who specifically preached and taught against this mindless glorifying of money and material things, and lived his life on earth avoiding the same. But the issue of our embarrassing love for money would need a whole other article – another day perhaps.

It is interesting to note that although Kenyans are ranked as the wealthiest in East Africa, surveys show that we are not the happiest – the Tanzanians or the Rwandese are. We are also not the most generous – that accolade goes to the Ugandans. We are also not the most hopeful or optimistic in the region. So where is the benefit of all this wealth? Anyway, I digress.

Back to the issue of why we are drawn to expensive things. How are we enticed even more to buy these items? Through the sly association of superfluous objects with our other, forgotten needs.

It may be a car we end up buying, but it was freedom and respect we were looking for.

It may be the expensive whisky or cognac we purchase, but it was friendship we were after.

It may be fine bathing accoutrements we acquire, but it was thought that would have brought us calm.

Dear reader, allow me to leave you here. I’ve got to go shopping for some really nice suits I saw the other day. Hehehehe.

Leave a comment

Serendipity in Syokimau

images (2)

27th of January, 2016

An entry in Mahatma Bangi’s journal:

So today as soon as the wages of last night’s sins seemed to have been sufficiently eviscerated from the temple that is my body, I set about to my usual business. Read a bit, wrote a bit and insulted people on Facebook and Twitter. Halafu I decided to go jogging on these beautiful streets of Syokimau. You know when you indulge in the variety and quantity of mind altering substances that we partake of, fitness is a serious priority. Not because you are afraid that those vices will kill you, but because you want to live as long as possible to enjoy those vices.

So as I was jogging I saw some fat people, also jogging. Now for some reason I find fat people jogging extremely funny. Not funny in an insulting way, but funny in a friendly, hilarious way. I mean, fat people tend to be extremely likable. Now they were jogging slightly faster than a bow legged turtle with marasmus, so it was inevitable that I would pass them. Now I realised that this could be taken as an insult, as in “look at this already fit devastatingly handsome incredibly sexy young man passing us just to rub it in our faces that we are fat and slow”. Fat people have enough problems, and I didn’t want to be seen as an asshole that early in the day. Luckily I spotted a Naivas shopping mall so I stopped and went in, figured might as well get some food. Food doesn’t only belong to fat people.

So as I check in I spot the building has a club called 254 Lounge. Remembered seeing them advertise on Facebook, as well as the fact that a kind soul once told me that the place is normally chock full of beautiful Kamba women. Now my friend if you have never been in the presence of a hot Kamba woman and had her lavish her attentions on you, then you, my friend, have not lived. Tembea Kenya nani. Figured I might as well check it out, and since it was past 5 somewhere on the planet, decided to have a beer.

As I was heading to the lounge I saw a sign for a bookstore so I headed there instead. Approaching the book shop I saw a bank, and decided that I might as well get some pesa, seeing as poor people are most likely getting paid their salaries this week, the ATMs might fail or the bank card networks might go down. And there is a nothing as embarrassing as paying a bill via card halafu that goddamned machine refuses. Especially if you are in the company of a pretty woman.

As I was heading there I smelt food, and the Luhya in me kicked in. As Luhyas we can’t control it; it is wired into our brains, the part that scientists would call the lizard brain. So off to the food court to eat went I, and eat did I. I then saw a perfume and cologne shop and decided that since Valentine’s is coming up, I might as well go and buy a perfume for my next ex.

On the way there I see this apparition. A ravishingly spectacularly singularly beautiful woman. Muslim. I say Muslim cause she was wearing a bui bui or hijab or burqa or whatever and she was pretty. I hear those are the requirements for Muslim. My Christian sistos, I’m sorry but in the looks department waislamus have chapad you guys ten nil. And they cover it all up. And you can still see the beauty. Wewe umebeat lakini ma mini ma hotpants ma boob top ndio zako. Asphyxiating our eyes with cellulite. But I digress.

Now back to this angel. This creature is staring at me, and actually smiling. Mentally I quickly run through all the activities of the past week that had conspired to place me here at this moment in space and time, and threw a silent shout out to Lord Jesus, Thor, Heimdall and Jay Z. She approaches and says hi. I try to use my most unexcited voice as well as my resting bitch face, and fail miserably at both. Awkward silence as she smiles and laughs. Promised myself like 15 years ago not to behave like an idiot in front of a mind blowing amazon, and I am proud to report that I have never been able to keep that promise.

She says she likes my t shirt. I’m wearing my Battousai Sons of Anarchy Nairobi t shirt. Now I don’t normally jog in haute couture, but there were no other clothes available on the couch where I had slept. She says she loves Sons of Anarchy. For the less enlightened among us who might be reading this, Sons of Anarchy is arguably one of the best TV series ever made. Jax is her favourite character on the show, and she thinks I walk like him, so that’s what made her smile and laugh. She says I have made her day. She asks whether she can get one just like it. I answer in the affirmative, and say I will personally see to it that a similarly glorious piece of attire shall be nesting in her lovely arms soon, to be held and admired in a way that she would probably never hold and admire me. She blushes and says I’m funny and asks the price of the shirt. I up the cost by 500 bob. Never mix business and pleasure boys and girls. She accepts and asks me to take her number. My phone is off, thanks to KPLC who can now add the title cockblocker to their name. Na mi sio wale mashoga wa kujaza mfuko na power bank. She saves my number in hers and says she will send a text. She leaves, walks away and leaves my life in pieces, heart racing palms sweating and trembling. Trembling. For the life of me I cannot remember what I’m doing in a shopping mall in Syokimau. I rush home.

Now I’m here praying reciting the Rosary beseeching whatever Gods might be to please please let her send me that text.

Leave a comment

Consolations of Philosophy – Frustration

images (2)

Though the terrain of frustration may be vast – from a stubbed toe to an untimely death- at the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality.

The collisions begin in earliest infancy, with the discovery that the sources of our satisfaction lie beyond our control and that the world does not reliably conform to our desires.

And yet, for a philosopher such as Seneca, in so far as we can ever attain wisdom, it is by learning not to aggravate the world’s obstinacy through our own responses, through spasms of rage, self-pity, anxiety, bitterness, self-righteousness and paranoia.

A single idea recurs throughout his work: that we best endure those frustrations which we have prepared ourselves for and understand, and are hurt most by those we least expected and cannot fathom. Philosophy must reconcile us to the true dimensions of reality, and so spare us, if not frustration itself, then at least its panoply of pernicious accompanying emotions.

Her task is to prepare for our wishes the softest landing possible on the adamantine wall of reality.