A letter to Baba Opembe

Dear Baba Opembe,

I have wanted for so long to write to you a letter. To tell you how my new home is not home without you. But is home anything so physical? I think home is where you are. When you are with me, I feel at home and I am more true to myself. I am even able to breathe flowers. And didn’t they say that I am too black for that? My shade of black is so black that I look more of a starless night than a mortal. But Baba Opembe, do you know that I defeated everyone in my class? And this really helped me get appreciation. They now call me, the smart black girl.

Why do they always have to add the word “Black?”

Do you remember I mentioned David? The Spanish guy in my class that fell in love with me? Oh well, he proposed to me at the cafeteria 2 months ago. I was more than happy. Baba Opembe, I finally fell in love with someone who loved me the way I am. Who did not say my hair is too strange or my color so foreign. For the first time, I felt at home without you by my side. And do you know something; we used to go to the same church to pray together. He even believes in stars, the moon and the sun as I do.

Together we read and review books. We recently finished reviewing Chimamanda’s book, Americanah and he pecked me after the review saying that, I am of one the lionesses of Africa, a true reflection of a magical, brilliant woman who was more than just the word ‘beautiful’. And do you know what he said again, my ideas blow his mind, and my mindset is too wild for a 21 year old girl. That my principles are what make me exquisite. He said all these. Baba Opembe, do you believe that someone finally fell so deep in love with me? Do you remember Wamalwa, Kiberenge and Musumba calling me ugly? Do you remember when I cried to you after Kiberenge said that my pimples are too big, they could as well host flies and bugs?

He kept telling me that I will make a perfect wife for his children and that his love for me was beyond anything else. He even wrote me this poem:

The moon,

A symbol of your beauty.

The sun,

Gives me hope of your love for me.

Mi amante,

I hope that you remain my treasured peach.

My blooming hibiscus in the rainy seasons.

 Baba Opembe, please cool mama down. I heard that she is angry because I have adapted a western culture. But home is in my heart always and that can never be changed. I might have embraced the modern outfits, but I am still a proud Luhya girl by heart who still falls on her knees when she hears the word obusuma. Who will always listen to the elders and believe in omens. Who will always take pride in farming.

Baba Opembe, the reason for writing this letter is to tell you that our love has by now lost. When he told his parents about us, they got so angry that they relocated to New Jersey to put his thoughts at bay and to make him forget me. But can the mind be caged? I don’t think so. Because if our love is true it will come back crawling, it will I believe.

This reaction has left me in despair; I am now unable to pull through and to get back on track. It feels like I am a stranger once again in a land so foreign yet so familiar to me. Baba Opembe, please promise me that your staunch principles won’t let me suffer, because Baba Opembe, the other reason I am writing this letter is to let you know that I am coming home during summer with a gift that you have never seen before which I believe in 8 months’ time, will look half of me and have of the man I fell in love with.

Regards,

Namwonyonyi.

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