|Micere Githae Mugo of Syracuse USA|
And of travellers we were all born.. on that journey. And travellers look for the next nook and the water that may be there in a silent cave or cove... still flowing, still. Still and silent waters of oru thirst demand now.
Tell me about her now who fills my soul, who pours libation to our women African ancestors... tell sing her to us now and not later.
And tell Nightbird why a woman so immense can pass through the world without some stars falling in her path to just remind us that beyond the sun.... beyond the sun... and the rain, there are still universes... Sing Micere, sing!
When some friends of Micere Mugo gathered in April 2015 at Syracuse to celebrate her, Nightbird would have liked to be there, but travel on bird's wings is not always light.
But her ear is never filled and she could hear the voices of the world that speak about Micere and to Micere and that are in many ways children of Micere.
Nightbird wanted to be there but she sent a letter in which she shared from her heart. A thing Micere Mugo does in such a special way and with so much humility. Micere Githae Mugo, a child and mother of Kenya who to Nightbird is a return of Isis, an African goddess. Amost always invisible do the women go and come, are in exile and later, we sing of their godliness. Nightbird wants to sing her now.
Nightbird has been silent for a while, quite shocked by the rediscovery of some people who live among us as angels, always open to share, to give and to urge life on. And that is not easy when the idealism and glory of youth have been abused by a nation. Kenya, did not treat Micere Githae Mugo well and Nightbird is not ready to take little change for that.
She went into exile at the same time as Ngugi Wa Thiong'o and she too was arrested and traumatised. She first went to live and luckily work in Zimbabwe before leaving for the USA.
Her life of success and losses gained and endured in her times away from home is touching in its silence. For a woman fleeing intolerant authorities with children in her heart and mind is the limit the hardest extreme of exile.
Where should I hide my heart in writing about Micere here, and where will my often praised words, when will and how can they fly high enough to touch her dignity. Not just because she has been personally kind to me and also taken my work seriously but also because she does that with a whole lot of people who have not much time or chance to ever say it!
It is like that...stars, bear me out.
Nights can be so dark but they will never beat strong spirits. The real dawn is not the one Nightbird sees. She means, the one you see in the morning or in your mind. The dawn is greater than that.
It comes with splendor no doubt but in her, there are sunrises and dawns that never fail because they are lit up by meetings with persons who light up souls. Prof Micere Githae Mugo is one of these. We have to sing our world of the beauty of mind and soul of many women. She is one of them.
The point is that even before I delve into sharing on the beauty of the life and the spirit of Micere who is still working hard in this world, the point is that women in exile are often forgotten. Even that is gone out of our Tweetlives. Find me there @Philowriting...sometimes.
Many writers and readers, activists, philosphers and commentators even just wayfarers ...
She took her son by the hand... in that poem and yes, Daughter of our People sings, and there Nightbird recalls her beloved works. It is easy to forget about a woman in exile. It is easy. It should not be!
In the name of Ngai...
Nightbird cannot shut her eyes but she is not here to cry but to remind us of a our own Mother in exile who was celebrated at Syracuse University recently, and decked in a golden dress that women whom am checking if to acknowledge publically sent her. What a beautiful sign.
For women have found it hard to show love women, Shailja Patel, says in another message and this leaves us all weaker. Here women are not afraid to stand up and say it. Micere deserves many accolades. For her work as a teacher, for her poetry and other writings and for ever being ready to write back and lend a hand, to anyone from a nation that rejected her, and a world she learned to embrace in pain.
Nighbird remembers a little girl asking her mother if any woman in Kenya was a professor. Well she looked at her and said... "We have Wangari Wa Maathai!" It matters for all of us that there are role models we can relate to. I don't know what became of this little girl but for sure, she learnt something. She was watching TV and all these men, always, were being mentioned with titles in every part of the news.
From the presidency to agriculture. An area in which also in Zimbabwe whereNightbird watched news for some days, the President's visiting activities were more important than the big fact in Africa. Agriculture and so much lies in the hands of women with and without degrees. Prof Wangari Maathai was a vetrinary doctor. The giant mind which sang "Lauda Si" before Pope Francis did.
So, I laud, although in the hurry of travel blogging.... Micere Mugo.... in exile whom I shall write to and about again. Her words have fed Nightbird's exile
in a way that only holy food can. I write this with joy knowing that no word is enough to capture the spirit of a human being, and definitely not one like Micere Mugo. Read her life. Read her works. A woman in exile goes to the world like an open page.... read... read!