When I was a boy, perhaps even now, the cinemas in Kenya would play the national anthem before the movie started. Everyone would stand up in the cinema while a scratchy video of the Kenyan flag fluttering in the breeze would play along with a marching band rendition of the anthem. Quaint military style and post-colonial nationalism, followed by Star Wars.
The words are as follows (English translation is below the Swahili version):
1 Ee Mungu nguvu yetu Ilete baraka kwetu. Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi Natukae na undugu Amani na uhuru Raha tupate na ustawi
2 Amkeni ndugu zetu Tufanye sote bidii Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu Nchi yetu ya Kenya, Tunayoipenda Tuwe tayari kuilinda.
3 Natujenge taifa letu Ee, ndio wajibu wetu Kenya istahili heshima Tuungane mikono Pamoja kazini Kila siku tuwe na shukrani.
1 O God of all creation Bless this our land and nation. Justice be our shield and defender May we dwell in unity Peace and liberty Plenty be found within our borders.
2 Let one and all arise With hearts both strong and true. Service be our earnest endeavour, And our Homeland of Kenya Heritage of splendour, Firm may we stand to defend.
3 Let all with one accord In common bond united, Build this our nation together And the glory of Kenya The fruit of our labour Fill every heart with thanksgiving
In the cinema and throughout childhood, we would only ever sing the first verse. It’s a fairly good tune compared to some anthems out there, and I really hope the cinema tradition still stands, but somehow i doubt it.
Right now Kenya faces the prospect of biblical scale locust plagues and a pandemic. Spare a thought for the beautiful place.
Keep well and be safe. Happy Easter Sunday chimps.
One thing this Covid 19 virus has shown us is how useful virtual meetings can be. The various services available (Skype, Hangouts, Zoom etc.) have experienced a massive surge in demand and use over lockdown periods around the world. Zoom in particular has become very popular and very varied in its use cases. Security issues are popping up due to the scale and choices they made with their software. Still, it’s changing the options for work and socialising – all due to a lockdown.
Last night we swayed between a Whatsapp chat group and a Google Hangouts chat. Hangouts was clearer and easier through the laptop compared to Whatsapp.
Our call was full of stories about Kenya days growing up, nostalgia, catching up on news. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the books I was recommended. The call was cut short by my friend who needed to join another Zoom call straight afterwards. A sign of the times.
Those times are changing fast. Stay safe and keep in touch out there! Chats like this are golden and good for the soul.
I write this with a dog at my feet. After a great walk in the park yesterday during which the usual sniffing of other dog butts, running after birds, more sniffing……actually a whole load of sniffing and running occurred – anyways, after that walk my dogs now have to stay confined to the garden for 3 weeks. Thank God we have a garden. It’s not big but at least there are things to….well, to sniff!
This lockdown will take its toll in some ways, and it will help us to grow in other ways. I plan to teach the girls about training a dog. My dogs are not the most well-trained animals but I do understand the behaviour / reward thing….they come when I whistle if that counts?
For now the spaniel is happy at my feet – he scratches the door to come in whenever I am at the computer. I am really disappointed we are not allowed to walk the dogs. But I am glad we have the dogs, they will help us get through this. With any luck, they will be better trained pooches on the other side of the lockdown.
An unexpected halt to an idea will cause heartbreak. Heartbreak is inevitable and yet we spend most our lives trying to avoid it. How to live with heartbreak?
Like most of the world, South Africa is shutting down in response to the corona virus. It is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for my kids who have had their holiday cut short. Heartbreaking for my wife and I to forget all the plans we had made. Our ideas around freedom, health, community are all being challenged. This too is a heartbreak. How to live with heartbreak? I’m finding this quote from David Whyte helpful:
If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, and even, its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is an introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something and someone that has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the ultimate letting go.
The quote suggests that there is a use to this feeling of loss and damage. We must be ready to let go. We must all get ready to die. Not just in times of crisis but every day. Use the time you’re given as if you will have to let it all go one day. As if your time will come to an end. Because it will.