Eight Months In

So most of 2020 is behind us now yet there is a part of me that is still waiting for things to normalize so I can actually begin the year. It has been a confusing time coupled with a higher level of anxiety. That is how I am feeling.

I have gone through stretches of staying home to periods of going into work and in both settings I have been uneasy. Staying home gets monotonous and occasionally lonely. Then the idea of leaving home after being safely cocooned from potential exposure to covid creates further anxiety. There is a bit of relief in getting some fresh air and getting dressed to go into work. And then worry over being in closer (social distanced, of course) contact with coworkers whose movements and choices I have no control over. Like I said, these has been a confusing time for me.

I hope that your experience is less jumbled than mine seems to be. Or if it is like mine or more complicated, I hope you have an outlet to help keep you sane and calm. I would like to know what your days are like and how you are feeling.

Sending you much love and well wishes as we continue to navigate a rather unusual way of being.

I Started a Diversity Online Bookstore

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt in my life is to do it now. I am usually a procrastinator with just about everything I do. I always have the plan to get things done but somehow tomorrow always seems like a better day to get started.

In October of last year a cousin of mine and I exchanged the books we were reading (after we both finished reading our own books of course). She gave me what I later found out was a book that’s she reread many times because she likes to remind herself to take action now-and to always start with the thing that she dreads the most. The book is called Eat That Frog. I know right? I thought it was a strange name too. I still do actually although now I get it. The author, Brian Tracy, is arguing that the things we are most resistant to do should be the first that we work on mostly to get it out of the way. Also when you complete the most dreadful or most complex task it gets easier from there.

This book pushed me to finally do something I always planned on doing. Continue reading “I Started a Diversity Online Bookstore”

A Place of No Return

My Commentary on the Book Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking affected me so deeply that the words to express it seem insufficient. I will do my best to explain. Didion writes, “grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it”. She continues by saying that we anticipate death and we expect that when it comes, we will be melancholic. We however fail to see past the few days following a death. We think only of the loss in the moment it occurs and the ritualistic events that follow like the gathering of guests at the home, and the funeral. Didion suggests the mourning and grieving process after the demise of a loved one does not follow the ideals we have bought into. You do not necessarily mourn their death, then grieve for a month or so as you gradually heal. We are incapable of imagining or understanding wholly, “the unending absence that follows”, “the void” when we lose those dearest to us.

The Year of Magical ThinkingAt the risk of revealing too much of myself and altering Didion’s work as I apply her memoir to my life, I will share a personal experience. Until 2018 I had been fortunate in my adult life not to experience the loss of a close family member or friend. I specify adult life because there were deaths in my childhood, but I was too young to make sense of them.

Continue reading “A Place of No Return”

Home is Where We Are

When I was a child, my father worked for the land arm of the Kenya Defence Forces. As a military member, he was relocated to different parts of the country every few years. This meant that there was never one specific place I called home. Continue reading “Home is Where We Are”

Any is Better Than None

There have been many dashing, funny, loving, thoughtful men whom I have crossed paths with who would have loved to have me in their lives.

There have been men whose voices mesmerized me. Whose romantic gestures blew me away. Whose undoubtable desire for me would have caused me to throw caution to the wind and fly away with them.

There have been men, incredibly loving men who looked at me like Continue reading “Any is Better Than None”

DEER + ALMOND, MY SUMMER TREAT

I was at Dear + Almond sometime in the summer and was pleasantly surprised. My girlfriend and I had often walked or driven past their establishment without giving them much thought. The clean white exterior with Deer + Almond in black did not do much to lure us in. We were curious, but not enough to take than next step until one day Saturday afternoon we decided to drive to the Exchange to try something new.

Looking at the menu was like reading Greek to me. Thanks to my able assistant Mr. Google, I settled on grilled romaine with feta, sikil pak and pumpkin seed vinaigrette. Sikil Pak, Google told me, is a delicious thick pumpkin seed dip used in place of guacamole. Google wasn’t wrong to call it delicious. It was a smooth, smokey  and sweet thick paste-a delicate taste. I would choose it any day over guacamole. Although I should probably learn how to pronounce it.

When the chore of ordering was done, Continue reading “DEER + ALMOND, MY SUMMER TREAT”

Budgeting As a People Pleaser

Over the weekend I went to a cabin in riding mountain, Manitoba. It was fantastic.

My family, along with some of our family friends made plans for this trip and travelled together for the weekend. We planned on having dinner at the cabin, going to a concert and having a bonfire later that night. Then going to Clear Lake for the day the following morning. Continue reading “Budgeting As a People Pleaser”

Birthday Month, A Day from Hell & Banking Fees

February is my birthday month. I’m turning 30 in nine days people. I’m so excited. I’ve been on this earth for three whole decades and yet there’s still so much to learn. When I was kid I remember looking at adults and thinking ‘must be nice to know and have everything’. Ha! Little did I know. Continue reading “Birthday Month, A Day from Hell & Banking Fees”

2018 in Review

Last year today, I published an article that highlighted the lessons I learnt through the year 2017. As I went through 2018 I carried those lessons with me. My instincts became my best friend. I made a point of listening to them. I took each day in completely and lived it without holding back or focusing on the day after. Everyday became a new adventure. When I faced challenging situations I remembered to keep on breathing. I made an effort to keep most of those lessons in my mind each day. Because of it, 2018 was a very productive year for me. Continue reading “2018 in Review”

The Fisherman’s Gift

A long time ago when I was maybe six or seven years old  an old toothless neighbour passed by our house on his way home from an evening of fishing at a nearby river. He often passed by to say hello to my father who was his tribesman. Onyango was not concerned about his appearance. His clothes were often tattered as if to represent the passing of time. On his feet he wore akala sandals made from old car tires. Continue reading “The Fisherman’s Gift”

Mothers Are a Gift

The past couple of weeks I haven’t written anything because burnout. I am working two jobs, day and night. So yeah. But I doubt you’re interested in hearing all about that. That’s my problem, not yours. Here goes a little something…

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Many years ago there lived a girl in a small little neighbourhood in Nairobi, the capital City of Kenya. We will call her Trish.

Trish was a lovely happy little girl. At the time she must have been about nine or ten years old. She longed to play with her friends after school although her mother was quick to reprimand her for roaming about the neighbourhood. Continue reading “Mothers Are a Gift”

Don’t Feel, Calculate and Other Sunday Thoughts

womenThe other day I was talking to one of my closest friends, I call him my voice of reason. I was ranting, actually. I was not happy about how some things turned out. I was also afraid of what was going to happen. I told him that I had a potential solution to the problem. When he asked me why I thought my solution would help I said that I kept feeling like my current situation was contributing to the issue. He then said three very simple words to me.

‘Stop feeling. Calculate.’ Continue reading “Don’t Feel, Calculate and Other Sunday Thoughts”

I’ve Caught the Winnipeg Jets Bug

Winnipeg Jets

I Admit it.

I know nothing about sports. Like zip, nada. Not. A. Thing.

There, I said  it.

I’m not particularly proud of this but I stopped trying to figure sports out years ago. Honestly, it bores me to death. Sports. All sports, are a total bore to me.

Winnipeg Jets

Now enter the Winnipeg Jets and the current Stanley Cup playoffs. Continue reading “I’ve Caught the Winnipeg Jets Bug”

Winnipeg Is Definitely A Lovely Place to Live

I have lived in Winnipeg for eight years now. The one thing that I hear people say literally every single day is how this place sucks. If we are being completely honest, I too have said that on several occasions. Many times, in fact.

Winnipeg is small. I find that most people live in their little cocoons connecting with only the people they’ve known all their lives. I am guilty of that too. I mostly stick with my family, and friends that I met when I first arrived.

But when I go out to explore different events and interact with people outside of my usual circle, I find that Winnipeg has so much to offer. I have decided that the reason why a lot of us complain about this cute little town we live in is because we don’t give it a chance. And we definitely don’t go out  to explore it.

Lucky for y’all I connected with an amazing photographer @gyk26 who is bringing Winnipeg right to your screen. The Peg is beautiful and it is full of life. Enjoy these incredible photos today. Tomorrow, step out and explore for yourself -after all the winter is behind us. 

Also tell us about your favourite spots at the Peg in the comments section.

Credit Card Debt Could Take Over 50 Years to Be Fully Paid Off

For the past little while money has been on my mind. I want this year to be the year that I focus on saving, growing my emergency fund, completely getting rid of debt and investing more than I ever have before. So far its going really well. The other day I was reading up and learning about credit card debt and stumbled about a very simple detail that got me super excited.

 

Did You Know…

 

…in Canada, banks are required Continue reading “Credit Card Debt Could Take Over 50 Years to Be Fully Paid Off”

A Horrible Tragedy: The Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash

The Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash

In Saskatchewan, last Friday, a tragic accident occurred that led to the loss of 15 lives. There were 28 passengers on the bus. The crash involved the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos and a semi-trailer.

10 players and five team personnel, were killed in the crash. Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published an article sharing specific information about each of these people.  Continue reading “A Horrible Tragedy: The Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash”

Assiniboine Park Conservatory is Now Closed

Assiniboine Park Conservatory
Photo by @gyk26

The Assiniboine Park Conservatory has officially closed today.

The Conservatory has been a part of Winnipeg since 1914 (yikes!). That is a long time.

It was certainly not easy to say goodbye to Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Conservatory this past weekend. Continue reading “Assiniboine Park Conservatory is Now Closed”

Chronic Child Poverty Rates – Manitoba

child povertyChild Poverty in Manitoba

A report published on November 21, 2017 found that child poverty rates in Manitoba are chronic.

In 1989 (before many of you were born lol), the House of Commons made a commitment to end child poverty by the year 2000.

An annual publication called The Manitoba Child and Family Report Card provides progress reports on Manitoba’s efforts to ending child poverty.

The 2017 report card indicates that 59.4% of Manitoban children living with a single parent are in poverty. This is 16% higher than the national average.

The poverty rate among children living with two parents is 17.3% which is 6.9% higher than the national average.

Well, obviously child poverty has not ended. In fact, according to the report, the rate of poverty in Manitoba increased to a chronic level by 19.6% between 1989 and 2015.

Why is child poverty in Manitoba at a critical level?child poverty

  • Manitoba Labour Market is Failing Children

According to the report, if only market income (income from employment and investments only) was to be considered, 36.2% of children in Manitoba would be living below the Low Income Measure.

This is to say that more than 35% of Manitoban children would be poor if government transfer payments were not factored into the statistics.

It is also important to note that the minimum wage in Manitoba is currently $11.15.

  • Government Income Transfer Programs are Failing Helping Children

Federal benefits are equally distributed amongst the provinces and territories. However family structure, age, disability rate and unemployment rate partially affect the amounts received.

The percentage reduction in child poverty through the use of of government transfers is 13.5% below the national percentage.

An example used in the report indicates that a single parent with a 2 year old, would receive lower welfare income lower in 2015 ($17,103) than in 1986 ($17,225).

According the report all welfare incomes in 2015 were much lower than the poverty line.

  • Poor Quality Jobs and Low Wages are Failing Manitoba Children

The irony is that the unemployment rate in Manitoba in 2015 was the second lowest in the country. That sounds good right?

The issue is that while the unemployment rate was amongst the lowest, the average weekly earnings in Manitoba were fifth lowest in Canada. In simple word, while a good percentage of the population is employed, they mostly have odd jobs and/or receive low wages.

The 2017 report card emphasizes that well paying sustainable jobs are required to prevent poverty.

Child Poverty
Winnipeg

What Is Currently Being Done?

The report made a firm call on the Pallister government to immediately start working on a Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The government encouraged Manitobans to complete surveys or to share written submissions on poverty reduction to facilitate the development of an effective poverty reduction strategy.

The window to participate was finally closed on March 23rd after its initial extension from the January 31st deadline.

The government is now going into the next phase in developing a poverty reduction strategy for the province. I cannot wait to see what they come up with.

PS: The data used in this article is from the most recent statistics published in 2015.