Thursday, November 21, 2013

Life is You

I was at a funeral this afternoon and could not stop thinking where life could have taken this wonderful woman (in her sixties), who lost a battle with cancer. After everyone paid their last respects, she was carried to another place where she now belongs. The hymns and prayers echoed in the hall that left me in silence within my own inner space.

I believe, in this short journey that we are granted, it's important to follow our passion, because this will make us understand our purpose. Life is not a race, life is not comparison, life is not guiltlife is in our heart, life is love, life is compassion, life is giving thanks, life is generosity, life is discovery.

 Life is You.

May her soul Rest in Peace. Amen.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Monsoon Rains

After a heavy rainfall, the sun was out, the grass was wet, and the worms welcomed the migrating birds for a feast. I stood on my deck and listened to the stellar jays, robins, chickadees and woodpeckers singing together. Rain is magical in the West Coast during the fall season, despite the cold.

I remember as a child, growing up in East Africa, the cool breeze from the rains brought laughter on the streets. Children would get drenched playinga heavenly experience.The scent of the earth and rain was divine.

I have captured several scenes in my novel, The Beggar's Dance, during the monsoon season.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Magic of African Beads

Kazuri bead bracelet by Farida Somjee

I discovered Kazuri beadsSwahili word for small and beautifula couple of years ago when attending Fraser Valley Bead Show in British Columbia. The person selling Kazuri beads told me the story of how these beads were handmade by women in Kenya. At the time, I had completed one of the chapters in my novel The Beggar's Dance, where there is a subtle mention about the handmade beads. Was this a coincidence or was it mean't to be? I love such mysteries of life, and suddenly this subtle scene in the novel became meaningful.

On the weekend, I was at the bead show again and purchased Kazuri beads for the bracelet I made (see photo). The reddish brown beads represent the earthy soil in Africa, the antique findings is for the rich cultures of Africa and the bird's wing charm stands for a falconall symbolic in my novel.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Memories of the Streets

Mkwepu Street (source: unknown)
I am left with heartache after watching BBC Africa* on heritage buildings demolished in Dar es Salaam. My mum had her dressmaking shop, Karifa, on Mkwepu Street where I spent hours after schooleither doing homework, buying fruits from the vendors, chatting with shopkeepers, giving out coins to the beggars or simply belonging there. In the last three years, I've lived on this street through my imagination, which inspired some scenes in my novel, The Beggar’s Dance. I can't believe the history is disappearing and all I am left with is memories.

I searched further to convince myself maybe the news is untrue, until I saw a photograph* of the entire block gone, and it brought tears to my eyes. I had to walk away from what I was witnessing, go out into the fresh air but the darn tears would not stop. I am hoping that the scenes I have in my novel capture the memories and I am able to do justice to the streets I grew up in.

Now, how am I going to break this news to my mum. Sigh! 

* see links:
Demolished buildings - The Citizen 
Heritage buildings, Dar es Salaam - BBC Africa

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Capturing Stillness

Rocky Point, Port Moody

Canada Geese at dusk
Flying in V formation
Landing on the inlet waters
Calling upon arriving flocks
Gathering for the night
Silence at the resting spot
Capturing stillness

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Perfect Celebration

Glacier Bay

Life at standstill
Chill, crisp air
Eagles, seals, seagulls
Ice cracking
Thunderous sound
Phenomenal formation 
Magic of Pacific Ocean
Glacier Bay

I am glad, my husband and I decided on Alaska Cruise for our 25th anniversary. First we were going to take a train from Vancouver to Seattle and spend a couple of days in Seattle. Then we thought, what the heck, being married for 25 years deserved a more adventurous romance. The glaciers were the highlight of the tripa perfect celebration.

Now, I am refreshed and ready to get back to writing. This fall, I plan to write a series of poems and capture many magical moments with my camera. All right, so I agree I am not a photographer, but it's the moments that makes life worth it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Magic of Indian Ocean

While on the beach, capturing my childhood memories, a young man comes by, asking me to excuse his cow so they could pass. This memory remains deep in my heart. And every time I think of this day, I hear the roaring of the ocean waves, the laughter of the children and the moo of the cow.
Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 1987

Come hear me whisper my writing journey through my past—the life in Africa that defined me, and through my present—the life in Canada where I found growth. Without both, I could have not written my novel, The Beggar’s Dance.

It's been over three years in the writing of The Beggar's Dance, and now it's ready to publish. Whether it chooses a traditional or self publishing route, neither one is going to fail me. Why? Because this is what I am supposed to do, share a story.