By Dismas Okombo

On this Friday afternoon of February, Kano’s over-head sun was mercilessly hot. Lost in the plains, the load was heavy on the lad’s tired tender shoulders but he did not want to put it down because it prevented the sun’s rays from hitting most parts of his body directly. The dark clay soil, now hot, dry and cracked burnt and bruised his bare feet and his throat thirsted for cold water. He slowly shifted the bag of rice seeds to his left shoulder, and lifting his head up, he looked ahead with the hope of finally finding a shade to rest for a while. However, like the five kilometers already behind him, there was not a single tree in sight. The dusty road was deserted, and on both sides, on the horizons, were fields of rice ripe for harvest. He gently sighed and then trudged on, hoping for a shade.

Long before I could hold a pen properly, I fell in love with writing. It was the most exciting discovery. Thereafter, almost all the time I kept on writing, sometimes into the silence of the night. I wrote about the things that made sense to me and the things that did not, until nothing made sense anymore. Then I started struggling to write. I was worried that more prolific writers than me had already tackled every subject under the universe. I became afraid of making mistakes. I became afraid of missing a rhyme in the poem and so I compromised on the subject. I became afraid of writing a shoddy story and so I opt not to try. With time, the excitement waned, and the grips on my pen loosen. Soon after, like our lad above, I was lost, thirsty and tired, and in need of rest. Or rescue?

Somehow, I figured that I had to keep going. Although the hope of ever reaching my destination was slowly fading, I kept pressing on. Although many times I encountered setbacks, I still willed myself to write even just one more word. Nevertheless, despite my best efforts to survive, it was clear that I could not manage to overcome the numerous challenges that come with maintaining a healthy writing habit.

I was about to put my last full stop when I was introduced to Writers Guild Kenya. The home of writers; where the lost are truly welcomed, the disturbed and the broken find hope. Patiently, through their thoughtful activities, they revived my writing passion. With genuine concern, they held my hands as I grew. When it was necessary, and at the appropriate moments, they allowed me to explore and discover my own voice. It has been a journey of hope, and now through this lovely home, my hopes of being the Writer I wished to be has been rejuvenated. The journey of always meeting and sharing experiences with other people is simply amazing.

The sun was still fierce and no shade in sight yet. The lad could not go any further. He went on the side of the road, where there were some grass and placed the bag of rice seeds down. He was glad that the load was off his shoulder, but the sun’s rays, now hitting him directly, were uncomfortably burning hot. He reached for the bag to lift it back to his shoulders, when from a distance he heard the engine rumble. His hopes shot high. Finally, he will find his way home and in a matter of time, his seeds will one day be ripe fields of rice ready for harvest.


Dismas Okombo is an Affiliate Writer based in Nairobi Kenya. Email; poetdismas@gmail.com

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