luo luor liel

…. a lost look in her eyes. lost inside of herself . she pushes her i phone tablet with the article  http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2013/05/04/the-unenviable-fate-of-the-luo_c769104 open. she’s at the stage ladies don’t mention their ages. She’s six years removed from her  undergraduate graduation party. doing well by kenyan standards, successful – two cars! A grey subaru outback and and a black nissan x-trail. that’s all you get for now. looking sharp tailored suit cropped hair and looping gold earings. we’re not quibbling over details here but she has her name initialed on the sleeve of her coat and breast pocket of her shirt (blouse?)

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“… we are the generation that saw a black skinny man with a funny name become the 44th president of the united states of america. the generation that gave us the first kenyan to play in the world cup… and another to jump about in the WWF. she chokes a little here… we saw a lady that looked like me and my sisters, had a name like mine … regarded as beautiful and talented. back in high school a girl i knew wrote a boy…. saying how ashamed she was …

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“…. we are the generation that responded to the taunts of… jaluo jinga!! ananuka samaki !! sura kama samaki!! and so …

we gave you luo is a lifestyle, luo is a brand, luo is a responsibility, luo is a software, luo oksechi

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why?

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” lifestyle, brand, responsibility, software : to me it means or carries the idea of identity but also inclusivity. it is about choice… and freedom underlies this choice. self belief. every body has a lifestyle, brand, responsibility, software… . diversity it is… tribe-all-ism

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” you heard that ‘unbwogable’ song by Gidi Gidi Maji Maji … remember the lyric  “can’t a young luo make money anymore?”. the Nairobi governor Evans Kidero (Odhiambo is silent) responded to those questioning the source of his wealth explaining he was an M.D or something of a multinational company at 29 yrs of age ,” was i being paid in bananas?”… the juxtaposition is (lord of) poverty… and violence (’82 coup) … all luos live in kibera? Oh, and we were the 90’s AIDs ravaged community…

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” no, i’m not bitter i am painting you a picture.

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” we gave you independence, we bequeathed you multi-party democracy, we.. our sons, fathers and brothers gave you  devolution … it is our blood that is the ink of what is to some just a book… the constitution. it truly is a bloody new constitution.

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“i sincerely feel”… she thumbs her tall glass stirs the passion juice but does not make to take a sip…”… i feel wronged, but not personally”. The other day … i am asked to venture what raila odinga’s thoughts are, why is he leading demonstrations against I.E.B.C. “every time i try to get out.. they pull me back in!”… she catches my perplexed look and waves her hand as if to brush my surprise away,”ah… if you’ve watched the Godfather you’ll understand”. so she quietly asked them whether she worked in the ODM secretariat or with them in the same corporation. their answers were evasive and maybe her question embarrassed them … they went some thing like “… you know … you are better placed than us”… and nervous laughter punctuates ” .. aaah … errrmmm … you are closer…”. by an accident of coincidence she notes mentally that… she’s of a different tribe.. call it ‘community’ (if that flies your kite) to them. staring at the base of her glass as she turns it around “.. and i don’t even like politics…” she stops and is eerily quiet. she takes a sip, one sip. lifts up her head to look me in the eye and it is unnerving.

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leans her head to one side like a meme i have seen doing the rounds on facebook, ” tell me, have you ever been asked such?…”. i pause to think and she regards me patiently but before i lie she says, ” its alright…” and … she smiles. finally she smiles… revealing a gap between her front teeth, ” it’s okay”. as she signals a waiter for the bill. she is contemplative again. i hand her back her tablet.

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“have you ever wondered why these people are so celebrated out there .. and yet… i don’t know, is it a case of the prophet not welcome in his home town… … could it be the system.. the will of God… the peoples own doing… or its just me overthinking… ahh…” “o.k”

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settles the bill, stands up straightens her suit and cuffs … . as we make an exit, i catch the image of balotelli an italian footballer caught in a pose displaying writings on his undershirt “why always me?”. the call of duty once took me to a Gor Mahia fc match (enough said)… in discussions of his antics among his other talents at the FIFA World Cup he was endearingly referred to as BalOtieno
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hmm, what would his t-shirt have read if he were to answer to that name…?

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” why always _ _ _ _ ?”

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think, think, think…

ah, i give up

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disclaimer:

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names, events, persons mentioned here that correspond to actual persons, names, events are purely coincidental. this is a work of fiction and the author shall not be responsible for your interpretation of names, events, and persons mentioned therein. (hopefully) No feelings, names, persons, institutions were hurt during the filming and transcription of this presentation.

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