Happy new-ish year!

Out for an afternoon walk

I hope 2018 has started well for you. I hope you have borne all these forces of nature – the heat for some, the extreme cold for others. And not just weather, local and global politics. The ground seems to be shifting from under our feet and what we have considered normal for so long does not look like it will hold.

The little space under my feet has also been shifting. I feel the need to explain my sporadic writing in the last 3 months. To do this, I will need to go back two years ……

In August 2015, we migrated as a family to the UK as a result of my husband finding a job there. I did not want this move but it seemed like a good thing for the family. My body left Kenya but the rest of me pined for home. I had lived in the UK for two years over a decade ago so it was not exactly a strange place, but I found it hard. I did not have a paying job so my life consisted of driving children to school and various after school things, cleaning, cooking, washing and more cooking!

Writing this blog kept me going and when I wrote, I did not even want to mention the UK – I just wanted to pretend I was home, writing to people I did not need to explain myself to, people who would know what I meant when I said things that did not make grammatical sense. I found it extremely hard to cope with the cold and darkness of winter, when opening the windows in the house is a luxury. The lack of proper warm sunshine. The absence of sounds and smells I was familiar with. The distance from my mum, my brothers and their families.

I felt low – not too bad but enough to seek a counsellor to deal with the grief of leaving home. I talked to this lovely lady counsellor every week for 6 months and begun to feel that I was good inside.

After that first year, I finally felt I could be able to make a good thing out of being here. My children were more settled and seemed to be getting on well. This blog remained a huge part of my life and winning the BAKE award in 2017 was the best thing that happened to me.

When I had accepted my position in life and part of my spirit arrived from Kenya, I got a job in October 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in public health at Anglia Ruskin University here in Cambridge. I love my now not-so-new job, very much. Settling into a new job takes a while, settling into a new job in a foreign country takes even longer. As a result, I have not had enough time to think and write on this blog. I have missed my weekly musings, but they all require some time and it has been hard to find it.

The first year as a lecturer is the time when there is a lot of preparation and I believe that as the year goes on, I will have more time.

So, I write to ask that you bear with me.

The writing for this year will continue to be sporadic.

However, I will still write and also hope that more of you will take on the offer of being guest writers on this blog. I am happy to mentor anyone interested in starting their own health blog who wants a place to learn the art. I am also willing to publish people who are too busy to start their own blog but have health issues that they would like to discuss or raise awareness about. Anyone from anywhere in the world is free to send a query to me – see the footnote for more details.

When I write, I will include perspectives that are familiar to me from Kenya and also those that are becoming familiar to me here in the UK. As the world shifts, so will this blog – into a more global space. After all the health issues in Kenya are very similar to many across the globe and we can all help each other see the world in a different way, imagine other perspectives but also know we are not alone in whatever situation we are facing.

I look forward to hearing from you and wishing you a very prosperous and happy ‘not-so-new’ year! May you spend time with those that love and care for you and may you appreciate them more, may you find joy in the labour of your hands and may this year bring you peace.

NB: Guest blogging
Before submitting anything to me, please have a look at what I have written over the years and ensure that your work is written with the same level of attention. I would be very happy to run articles 300-800 words written on health issues – not rants – but well researched or thought out articles relevant to current public health issues. I will also accept personal experiences on a health issue.

I will read everything that is submitted but I do not promise that I will publish it. If I choose not to publish, I will get back to you with the reasons why. Please do not take rejections personally.

This blog does not pay for submissions.

If you are ready to get going, please email me at tabsmwangi@gmail.com with the subject ‘Guest blog’. Looking forward to reading your work.

5 comments

  • Joy Wanja Muraya.

    Thanks Tabs for the updates. Its amazing that with your hands full, you have found time to write for us at The Conversation Africa on various malaria trends in Africa and globally. Keep blogging…It takes a lot of respect to maintain one.

  • So happy to hear that you are enjoying your new(ish) job, Tabs. I hope 2018 is a brilliant one for you.

    • Tabs

      Thank you Joy and Helen – you have both been very supportive. Yes 2018 is going to be good and wishing the best for you too. Helen – can’t wait to lay my hands on your book…

  • Betty

    I absolutely feel you Tabs. Having left Kilifi and then a lecturing position in Makerere to migrate to the UK, I fully identify though unlike you, I am doing school pickups, cooking washing cleaning and cooking some more :)..I miss my days in class, time in the lab, grading exams….

    • Betty I totally know what it is like. We have been brought up with the expectation that whatever our partners do – we shall be the ones who know where the food for our children comes from. We need to get out there and do our part in providing. Endless lonely housework does not feature in that plan – but sometimes it is part of the path. Keep searching and something will show up – it took me two years to find work that I love and I hope you find it to.

What do you think?