Wednesday, September 22, 2021



There’s a huge man with a fat potbelly at the far end of the pool, let’s call him Chimpanzee, or Chimp. He is quite a good swimmer, probably in his mid-forties. He is constantly doing backstrokes and all these stunts in the water; you would be forgiven for thinking that he is showing off. He is good, alright.

There’s hair running across his chest down to his navel, but there’s even more growing on his legs. He’s hirsute, and if you stare for long, he will begin to look like an actual chimpanzee. A chimpanzee that can swim. Assuming that chimpanzees don’t swim.

It’s surprising how Chimp with his potbelly can swim so well when I can’t wrap my head around floating. I can’t float on water; I may as well be denser than it. The swimming instructor is tired of telling me to do this and do that as he demonstrates how this and that is done. I am tired too. Frustrated even, because I can’t seem to be able to paddle my legs and waddle my hands together. Or as Cheres, the instructor refers to as ‘this’ and ‘that’. Actually, ’tis’ and ‘tat’.

“Keep your body flat. Hands straight and legs straight. Opening your legs up breaks the floating power,” he had said to me with an angry but resolute voice.

Too many commands at a go and my body couldn’t process all of them at once. My incapability to swim was evident from all the water I gulped whenever I let go of the rail. Like it’s all my body was built to do. Cheres gave up on me and went ahead to train people who actually had potential. He also thinks I sink in water. Sic.


It’s sad thinking about all the phrases like- I am staying afloat- that I cannot use. Which is why I sit at the edge of the pool, grieving over my density, legs waddling in the water. Chimp is still doing stunts as if there’s an award afterwards. Show off! I don’t want to get a floater, only dorks do that. And I am no dork. 

Besides, there’s a bunch of boys that just walked into the pool area. So that’s a big no for the floater; even if they are complimentary. They went to the minibar next to the pool and sat on those long stools you only find in bars and movies with lifeguards.

They seem to be having the time of their lives, maybe because it’s a holiday and they have nothing to worry about apart from the number of beer cans it will take before they cannot resist the urge to make number two.

I am hoping that the first thought that comes to their minds when they spot me isn’t “Kwani huyu dame mkubwa hivi hajui kuswim” but will be, “Wow… look at her skin?!”

I am yet to give up swimming. I will try again. Maybe I will rise above the water. Meanwhile, I need to google how to make the first move without scaring a bunch of boys.

Happy Mashujaa Day!


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  1. Kumbe wenye hatujui kufloat tuko wengi.
    But don’t be happy. Because unlike you, I can swim across the river.


  2. This is incredible for the Mashujaa day. Indeed, do not give up on anything. Keep pushing up and make it happen. It’s a great piece of work. Keep the fire burning


  3. Happy Mashujaa too….



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