Chicks Who Rock

My African Queen

{Rememeber I had mentioned  that I receive an abundance of council from others during this horrible time of  massive  mourning?  
One such “giver of words”  is from my pen pal, Mercy, from Kisumu, Kenya.  She is 22 years old and  is overflowing with wisdom, intelligence, wit, and  beauty.   We have know one another for over three years.  She was living in a hut near Lake Victoria when we first began corresponding….
Anyhow, this is one of my hundreds of letters  from Mercy Adhiambo. 
My African Queen.
Dear Kim,
I know what you are saying.  Maybe God wants us to move closer to Him. To know who He really is. God wants us to know Him through pain, and through joy.

He wants us to be still.

Humans find it hard to be still. How can we be still and live with pain?  Waking up to it every morning. I know, waking up to emptiness is the worst feeling ever. The future stretches to eternity, and we have to face it alone, with that bad feeling.

I hated mornings too. Waking up to the reality of life.

Days move too slowly when the hurt is too heavy. And then you meet someone who tells you ‘time really flies’ and you are like, ‘yeah, maybe your time.   Mine is stuck.’

I have felt that way.

And finding someone who understands? It’s hard. Maybe that’s God’s way of working.

Making nobody understand, no human, so that we are left with no choice but to get on our knees and cry out to Him…because he is the only one who will understand.

My late aunt—-she lost her four children in less than two weeks during the great measles outbreak in Kenya, back in 1998. I was in standard six, I was 11 years.

 I will never forget.

About three months later, when the preacher was preaching under the tree during the Sunday service, she wailed and went in front, shouting:   ‘Take me God. Do whatever you want to do with me. Just me. Nobody knows what am feeling. Only you’

The church was stunned. Everybody thought she had gone mad. I mean, tears were streaming all over her face and she was yelling to God to take her.
 Women in my village said she had lost her mind.

My grandma cried saying
‘a demon has entered this child.’

No. It was not a demon. She had been possesed by knowledge that is brought by pain. The knowledge that it is only God.

Only God that can understand.

Only God.

My aunt died about two years later. In 2000, when i was doing my primary school exam. She died of pain. Se had stopped eating. She grew so thin. People said she had been cursed.

Pain is like a curse.    It eats you up and you cant see it.

For me, i have been through different pains. I have seen so many of my friends die. In primary school, i lost so many friends. To measles, Aids, cholera, malaria, TB.

 Every time there was an assembly, the headteacher had something to announce.

A dead student. A Classmate. A Neighbour.

The great flood of 2001. El Nino rains. So many people died.

 I didnt.
I lived.

In 2000:  The great famine.

 My brother died as i watched. As mama tried to put some herbal medicine in his mouth. He was so skinny, i could see his ribs.
He died.
I have seen so much pain.
 Rape. Death. Despair. Traditions. Culutre. Fear. Worry. Betrayal. Sorrow. Condemnation.

But  I sit and try to be still. Hoping that there is a ‘someday’ coming, when i will be able to see the SUN.

But I’m not entirely sad. Sometimes the SUN  comes out.

God lives.

Man must live.

For God.

And for Man.

I Love you.

{Mercy Adhiambo lives in Kisumu, Kenya.  She has been one of the greatest inspirations of my life.   God sent her to me…and me to her.  She is a brilliant writer & I  predict she may be the first female Prime Minister of Kenya one day.   Please leaver her comments.  She loves to read everything…everything…everything.  PS.  My sister, Kay, bought her reading glasses  2 years ago!
Mercy with Obama’s Late Grandma In Kenya.

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  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Ahhhhhhhh! I LOVE reading Mercy’s words! And I tell you, Kim, I almost buckled when I read about her Aunt crying out in front of the church members. So very powerful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing her beautiful, wise words. I wish that she, so young, didn’t have to know so much about pain and anguish. But seeing all that she has seen has made her immensely strong, grateful for what is good and so wise. *SO* wise. xoxox to you and Mercy both!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Mercy, you are very insightful with your words. and for these words to come from somebody as young as you. but I guess all of what you have experienced as brought those words to the surface. I know this is probably another odd thing to say like the other odd sayings of people but I believe this–your pain has made you strong. I know this is true in my life. while I have not suffered in the ways that you have I have had my own trials and I know that our GOD has seen me through them–each and every day. even when I was at the bottom of the pit. Mercy, may you be blessed.

  • Reply
    susan boswell
    April 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Mercy- God must have brought you and Kim together because the two of you could rule the world.:) the world you would rule is not Obama’s or Wall Streets or of the Vatican or anything like that. You rule the world of the spirit, the underworld of pain and suffering that no one wants to experience or see in life and you rule the overworld as you rise above the unimaginable. You Rise- and what better thing can a human being do but rise above it all, all the pain and difficulty of this earth. I believe that is what , at our very best we can ever do.

    Like Kim, you have a divine gift and we are blessed that you share it with us.
    xxoo Susan Boswell

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    How cool to see that i can make it as a whole blog in your page. You are and still remain the best writers i have ever met.

    What would i have become had you not found me…?

    Man must live. True.

    Love you alwaaaays.


    • Reply
      Kim Sisto-Robinson
      April 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      If I am a “good writer” is is because of the people I have met along the way…
      who have changed me…and love me…and teach me.

      Love you, African Queen! xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm


    Mercy is one of those women who comes into our lives so we may live our lives in a more fuller way. She is beyond wise and her understanding of God is amazing.
    She teaches us all so much and we here in the states should be so grateful for all we have. But we aren’t. And if God can live in Kisumu and live in Mercy’s heart then you know she lives in ours.
    Thank you Mercy. Your words stir up things in me.
    Thanks Kim for sharing.

    love you both. xxx elizabeth

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Each time I read one of Mercy’s letters to you, I give thanks that so much beauty can exist within one small frame. She has arisen like an angel from her suffering to light our way. Thank you for sharing your beautiful friend with us!

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto-Robinson
      April 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      how beautifully you described Mercy.
      yes, a light…in the midst of darkness.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    @Kim, love you too. More than you love me.
    @Amy, thanks for your kind words. @Diane. Thanks. Am glad you find my words insightful. Some things happen in your life, and you are left with no choice but to look at things differently.
    @Susan. Thanks. Btw, i enjoy reading your blogs at the skirt site. You are a very deep writer. I want to be like you when i grow up.
    @Elizabeth. Thanks dear. And thanks for the help last sem, on my writing class. Next semester, i will be taking a writing class, and i may need to do another interview. You rock.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Hey, I am popping by from the Lady Blogger tea party. I love your site, especially the ass fattening chocolate chip cookies! I will definitely be popping by again. Feel free to come and see me. If you have a blog button I would love to add it to my site. x

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto-Robinson
      April 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      ~~I’ll pop over Sarah…. xxx

  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Dear Mercy,

    You are such a wise young woman with an old soul. I appreciate your wisdom. Wisdom does not come easy, one must go through many trials that are painful to have so much wisdom. God Bless You!


  • Reply
    April 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Mercy – I talked with Kim tonight and she encouraged me to read this blog. I have been blessed by your words. Thank you for giving Kim permission to share pieces of your heart and mind with us.

    Janelle Engstrom (friend of Kim and Kay)

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    April 18, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Wow. Those letters are just amazing. I think you’ve both found each other at a time when you need each other. She is very wise!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Thank you all. Kim has been so nice to me. I feel so blessed to know her.
    Man must live.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Mercy, I’ve heard so much about you! I’ve even been able to read parts of your journals. Your writing is so powerful. You are so young, yet have expirenced so much. Come to MN, but come when it is summer so you don’t freeze your butt off.


  • Reply
    Caribbean Princess
    April 18, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I loved this post. Mercy you are a really stong woman and a wonderful writer. My life growing up in the caribbean has been so different but I feel for my African brothers and sisters who continue to suffer. Mercy you are a beautiful person, inside and out and this shows in the way you express yourself. I wish you all the best.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

    @ Alina,

    Yeah,I have always wanted to come to MN to study maybe for a semester and then come back to Kenya.I will apply to a university someday. Here in Kenya,it has been raining since January. They are blaming it on global warming. I will tell my boyfriend to apply so that we come together.
    @ Caribbean princess
    Thanks. These things happen to make us stronger.
    We have to live. Thanks a lot.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Mercy,you have so much wisdom—— You have been thu so much. We are praying for you.When you come
    to Minnesota I want you to stay at our house so we can serve you breakfast in bed, and take long baths,
    and also have all the hot fudge sundaes you want. Yes we will pamper you. Hurry Hurry hurry.
    Love You

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm


    Thank you. I will come. I hope it’s soon. Cant wait for the breakfast.

    I love the yellow tape measure. Do you still remember it? And the bracelet? I will come with the bracelet to MN. It’s so beautiful, and i still have the box it came in.

    I always remove it and put it back in the box. It’s cooler that way.


    Ps. Dont forget the popcorn.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Kim and Mercy,

    I’m not a religious person. I have my beliefs. Everyone has their own.

    But I am a firm believer in that fate brings people into and out of our lives for a reason. Why Kay left your life at this point in time is a mystery that you may discover later on, but Mercy is in your life for this reason. Fate brought her to you for understanding, insight, wisdom and consoling. Mercy has seen it all. She does understand. You’re right Kim, I haven’t a clue as to what you’re really going through. I lost my brother about 3 years ago, maybe 4. I don’t know. The reason I don’t know is because I don’t care. He and I weren’t close. He was a thorn in my life. A memory I would rather forget. And fate took him. And I’m thankful for that believe it or not. My life is less burdened without him.

    But for your anguish and despair , fate has given you Mercy (appropriately names by the way!). She is your guide in all this. And I do believe she is going to get your through all this! Fate has a way of knowing.

  • Reply
    kim sisto robinson
    April 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Dear, Irene,

    How ironic that your life is less burdened without your brother…….and my life is so much MORE burdened without my sister.

    She was ME….I was HER.

    She was my soul-mate & best friend.

    It’s like despartely trying to find a new identity now.

    Mercy has been a gift to me…..a precious jewel.

    I don’t believe in coincindences…..only destiny.

    And yes, I believe in God…
    but man, I am really pissed at Him right now.

    Thanks, Sweet Irene xxx

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    For me, i’ve been wondering if my dad’s death has brought a burden in me, or removed a burden. Or both. I dont know.

    Somehow, i wanted him to live, so that he sees what i’ve become. I wanted him to lovw me.

    Anyway…errm, if i am a gift like you say, then am waiting for you to tell me the secret. Hihil

    • Reply
      kim sisto robinson
      April 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      Naughty girls must wait.
      HA HA.
      luv you more than big fluffy tigers in winter snow.

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto-Robinson
      April 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      This is from my friend, Diane….

      Dear Mercy:

      ~~I have come to know your heart through Kim and your authentically honest and rich writings. The way, in which you expressed the “stuckness” of pain, waking up to only emptiness, moving closer to God, and being still all reflect the cry of the soul. This morning I was reading from the Gospel of Luke and the writer spoke about the disciples being “exhausted from sorrow.” That really resonated with me, as I went through a season of life where loss defined who I was and the pain emotionally paralyzed me. My beautiful sister died tragically at age 23 on the cusp of graduating from college and devoting her life to teaching and loving wounded children. We referred to her as the “kid magnet,” as all the little ones were drawn to her. She was my soul-mate. I thought nothing could generate a deeper pain than her death, but I was wrong. “Circumstantial” infertility came into my life and manifested itself into a spiral of misdiagnosed maladies. I had no clue that grief could actually make you physically sick and for years on end. But in that journey, I came to a place of having hope again and the emptiness of the morning slowly began to be replaced with joy. Sometimes it was only five minutes out of the 1440 minutes in an ordinary day, but it was a movement in wanting to experience life again. Over time, more minutes got added and they began to equal hours, then days, then weeks, and months. I am less earthbound than I was, believing that the greatest fulfillment of my life will be that day I enter into the presence of Christ Jesus and hopefully hear the words, “Well done, though good and faithful servant.” And in the meantime, I picture my beloved sister, Susie, cheering me on and telling me to keep loving because the best is yet to be.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Mercy, I will make you the best buttered (POP CORN) you ever ate.
    Love You

  • Reply
    Fremmie Simon
    April 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Nice. The letter is very powerful. Mercy is a very stong person. Always good knowing her. 🙂


  • Reply
    April 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    This is truly beautiful, as well as inspiring to all. What a small world we live in when we words build bridges that cross the great divides. Lovely!

    • Reply
      kim sisto robinson
      April 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      ~~~~~~~~Yes! I thank God for social networking.
      This is how I found My African Queen….
      and YOU….. and soooooooooooo many other great women.

      luv to you, Brenda!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Wow, just WOW. Mercy, your words are simple, powerful and true. Stark. Unflinching. Believing. Thank you Kim for sharing the gift our your friend with all of us. I will be thinking about you and this letter today, Mercy.

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto-Robinson
      April 21, 2011 at 7:52 am

      ~~I know,
      Isn’t she something?
      Who would have imagined that a girl 8000 miles away would be consoling me!?
      Keep well, Panela xxx

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