Wouldn’t you like to hear a good story? A sweet story? A delicious story served just right? With the right ingredients, great seasoning and in the best, most appropriate temperature?
Would you like to hear of a story say, about love and life and the important things that make the universe go round – axis to axis? Stories that make our hearts to go lub dub? Our lips to part in a wide smile, or purse in a stiff line? Our eyes to glisten with emotion, or moisten with tears? The sides of our eyes to crease? Perhaps? Such a story?
Wouldn’t you like to just lie back and listen to an easy story told specifically to relax you? Or told to provoke you, or to make you laugh to tears? Tell me you wouldn’t love a story told to you by Gloria as she washes your dreadlocks. As she gently rubs all the itchy parts of your scalp. Wouldn’t it be swell if she told the story in a way that makes you see the characters? Told it in a way that it takes you from that chair to another place, another time?
Would you not love to hear Gloria narrate how she considers it choresome to do these small detail-ey rituals that women do to look beautiful? Like trimming of eyebrows or applying makeup for example? Would you be able to fight a smile when she shares that for the life of her, she is unable to understand how one sets aside two hours of her day for layer upon layer of makeup application? Would you not love to hear her confess that she has no time to even select a different cream for her face and a lotion for the rest of her body and that whatever is good enough for her body must be good enough for her face as well? That she only bothers with how her hair looks (because hair is important to her – duh?) and is also meticulous about how she dresses? Only? Would you not at this point marvel at the simplicity of this life that we so painstakingly try to complicate?
Wouldn’t you like to witness her wonderment at women who spend so much time on their looks. Listen to her confess to being very much unlike those women who will go at lengths to “beautify” themselves with skin-lightening ‘koroga’ creams and hip-enhancing injections?
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to listen to her admit to being ok with her skin tone, and her hip size? As you listen to her, wouldn’t you relate to her? Remind yourself that you too rarely do your eyebrows, and would never think of enlarging anything or lightening anywhere? Would you not feel connected with Gloria as she adds shampoo to your hair and rubs it thoroughly in to lather your whole head for the second (or is it third?) time?
As the water rinses off your hair, would you mind hearing her tell you about how she lost her father? How she then knew from the day he was lowered to his grave that relatives are not compassionate, or kind, or considerate just because you share the same blood? How she now barely sees her uncles and cousins who had promised during her father’s funeral to stand with her mother and her family and to help take care of their needs?
Of course you will be interested to hear of her very rich uncle, a prominent politician, respected by both you and I. An uncle so mean and snobbish that nobody would believe if she told them that they share blood. You’d like to know how this uncle never bothered to educate them even after promising to do so at her father’s funeral. How her mother had to struggle on her own to raise Gloria and her siblings, working odd jobs, trying against all odds to keep them financially afloat.
You might chip in when she shares that families these days only meet and see each other only during funerals and rarely bother to make time for each other in between. That your family will not always help you. That friends and the people you interact with on a daily basis, are more likely to come through for you as opposed to members of your own family.
You might want to nod in agreement as she massages your scalp and explains how it never used to be like this before. How their family used to be tight enough to hold chama meetings, visit each other, share financial advice, and invest together in order to support those who were not well off, even sponsoring each other through college. You will listen to her nostalgic reminisce of those days and you will relate with her.
You will get to hear about how she once worked for her aunt who is very rich and how she paid her employees (including her) peanuts and how the aunt one day fired her because she took her mother’s side in an argument (she’s my mother for chrissake – you will listen to her lament) and how she came to discover that by employing her, her aunt was trying to pit her against her own mother. You will smile in understanding when she exclaims how ridiculous that was.
You will hear about her being fired by her rich aunt, making the decision to become an entrepreneur, finally managing to make ends meet and focusing on raising her son. How she is not bothered by family gossip and uncompassion. Nor her dark complexion. Or her humble hips.
Now you will know Gloria. This woman who you barely knew will be demystified by the stories the two of you will share.
As she twists your dreadlocks, you will admire this woman. For being content with herself. For knowing herself. For being hardworking. For being real. For being strong.
You will connect with her.
Once your hair is done, you will pay her. And tip her for a nice experience, a nice chat, and a good hairdo. And you will promise to see her again in a few weeks. Because now she is not just your hairdresser. Because now, she is more.
Nothing wrong with such a story, right? Wouldn’t you like to hear such as story? Many more stories even? You must attend the World Storytelling Day celebrations to be held at Kwani? on Saturday, 19th March then. This is where Nairobi’s finest Storytellers, writers and artists will come together to recreate a magical day of stories from 10am to 9pm. This is where a Teens Online Safety Training will be conducted by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE).
You want to hear these stories. You want your teens to attend this training.
You want to be there.