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A life well lived

Not many of us are blessed to have a life as long and fullfilling as my Grandmother had. Not only did she live to be a hundred, but of those years, after her kids had grown and ‘flown the coop’ she continued to enjoy herself, taking holidays all over the place and visiting friends, taking life in its stride and not letting one thing hold her back.

As far as we could remember, my nan never got sick – she was the strongest (both physically and emotionally) woman we knew, and she did everything for herself. She was beautiful – so beautiful that it is said we all got our genes from her – oh and those legs – I have to tell you even in her nineties she had the most beautiful, strong, long, straight legs of any woman even half her age.

She was a trendy Cucu – none of those embarrassing moments with her grandkids – actually she was well travelled, well dressed, knowledgable and all, always groomed to perfection – even her house was neater than anyone else’s – her food immaculately cooked and served – her tea always hot and her cups never chipped. She cooked for herself and never, ever allowed anyone to go near her kitchen or utensils. I think through my Dad we have all inherited a little bit of my nan – especially the strength, the beauty, and the legs – yeah I have to emphasize the legs cos.. well, We girls in the Guess family are known for our legs..

I remember the last time I saw her – Dec 26, 2005. I went to visit her with my sister and we sat, had a cup of tea and chatted for a while. She took my hands in hers and said .. G kai weruhire atia wathii ruraya – (G, you have got lighter-skinned since you went abroad) and I had to tell her that that is what winters do for your melanin – although in not so many words. Even at that age, you would never lack a topic to talk with her – she had grown a bit frail and didnt travel around anymore, but she still did all her work – which was both sad and surprising cos to me she is the epitome of strength and I couldnt imagine her giving in to someone else taking over what is essentially her only hold to her stubbornness.

And boy was she stubborn – and that has been directly cascaded down to my dad and I – no question about that. The stubbornness, the independence, the strength of mind and the ability to be self-sufficient while drawing people together is my legacy from my grandmother.

Sadly, that spirit to live on and that tower of strength, that fire and that determination, was extinguished last Saturday Morning – 25th November 2006.

Cucu:
I know God has given you a lot more time than most
I know you have lived your life to the full
Utilised most of that time and seen your family grow
You have lived to see your children, grandchildren
Great grandchildren – and in some cases, even a level lower
Granddad has been waiting for you for the last 28yrs
Some of your children are up there too – so you will be fine
We will miss you down here but I believe they and God need you more up there
I will hold Dad’s hand, and see that he gets thru this ok
You did your part, you lived a good life – now its time to rest.
Rest in Peace Cucu
Your legacy will live on through us
May God look after you till we meet again…
G xxx

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Renewed faith

It’s no secret that I place humans a rung below other animals for the way they treat each other, and nature. I know that I am one of them, but in the same breath I see in us something that animals and plants frown on on a daily basis. All of us would rather walk over someone to get something sorted – and I will not, for the sake of sanity (yours not mine) get into the political arena in Kenya, there are people best placed to discuss that – or even the whole ‘power’ thing going on around the world.

It’s very safe to say that I have very little faith in the human population, if any.

Having said that, in the last two weeks in Kenya, I have had people do and say things that has made me realise that all hope is not lost. There are good people out there, very good people. It doesn’t balance the equation, but we are holding the fort for the rest of humanity to get on board.

My visit to Kenya wasn’t a holiday as it were – I had some personal interests to take care of. A friend of my good friend W works for BA in Kenya. She was informed that I needed to travel, and in a 24hr window, she had booked me in, paid for my flight, and called me in the UK to confirm and give me the details. I hadn’t even paid for my flight, she did. She didn’t know me from Eve, didn’t know whether she could get her money back if I receded on my travels, had nothing to gain but went ahead and did it anyway. I had to leave work early to get home, get my stuff together, and be at the airport for the night flight home. On my arrival, we had to detour to her house where she had a ready breakfast for me, and a huge hug and a kiss.

Nothing in it for her, I had never for the life of me met or heard of her before.

Neither had she.

For the return flight, I had to make a few changes, which would normally incur a £50 charge from BA. A phone call, it was sorted. No questions, no charges. She was there when I checked in, called in someone to check me in so I didn’t have to queue, waited (for a minute) for a flight refresh to see what seats were available so she could allocate a ‘decent’ seat for me. Upgraded me to club class!!! And made sure that I was sitting alone – no interruption, no annoyances!

In JKIA ‘apparently’ once you check in you can’t leave the airport. In normal G-mode, I always fib my way out – especially when I have checked in 3 or more hours before my flight. She walks over to the guys and goes ‘ I am letting her out’.

Waited for me while I was late saying goodbye to my nearest and dearest. Sat and chatted with me while the queue abated – walked me to the flight and handed me over to the flight attendants.

All for a kiss and a hug.

She is my latest role model.

Susan – I wish there were more people in the world like you. I wish there were more people in Kenya like you. The world is a better place just because you are in it. You renew my faith in humanity just because! And not because you made my travels more comfortable or you made me feel better, its because, just because, you did it for no other reason than you are a person that does good things without expecting anything in return – you are my kind of person.