Cover Photo: What Inspired "Far District'' by Buya Marach

What Inspired "Far District''

Since the doctor’s confirmed my lungs is rotten and it need immediate surgery, my time has been filled with prayers. Also, looking for direction at way past midlife, at what else I might want to do with the years I have left, with the talents and gifts I have. I still have much to contribute. So today I had some time off from nearby church. Although still Wintertime, the weather blazed cold but beautiful like a summer’s day. I went to a nearby garden, and toting a lawn chair, blanket and book sat under a shady tree, soft warm breezes caressing me. Blessed silence. I hadn’t felt such peace in a long time. When I rose from the lawn chair and did as poet Mary Oliver once wrote in the poem The Summer Day . I fell down on my knees into the deep green grass and inhaled its heady fragrance. I stretched out on the blanket, looking up at the green leaves of the tree silhouetted against a blue-blue sky. I listened to the birds twittering around me, the hush of the breeze in the branches, and marveled at this unique perspective of seeing the world from the ground up. I paid attention. You see, “life is about paying attention”. And I heard yet again Oliver’s haunting question: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” But no answers came . Sometimes I think too deeply. Ask too many questions. They block trust. They are ways of controlling and of not allowing Divine flow to take over. I’m aware of this. So as I stretched out on the grass, I decided to follow a saying popular when I was a teenager. It would become my mantra — to bloom where I am planted. Sometimes I am planted in uncertainty. Sometimes in the hard earth of sadness or the rich soil of joy. And sometimes I am planted in meeting a stranger who simply wants to connect. I sunk deeper into the earth. In the moment. Blooming. Then idea of writing an album came. And, that was the birth of “Far District” I have written stories since I was old enough to hold a grey lead pencil. Words have, more often than not, been my safety net, my closest companions, the light in my dark dreary tunnels. They have been the quiet whispers of hope, the resounding joy that comes with new love, and the mumblings of other worlds that exists beyond the fenced horizon. At times, my words have been all I have had, and we have wandered the globe together side by side with no agenda, no clear path, just trusting the journey. Tattered notebooks line my cupboards where other people may have clothes or shoes or photographs. Documents fill each folder of my laptop where other people may have bills, emails, to-do lists. Over the years, my personal ramblings have developed to researched articles, blog posts, paid projects on everything. Over those years I have lived in shadows, in echoes, in dark hours and threads of virtual communication. Yet my world is still quiet, empty, and the words, no longer heal me. The path to imaginable dreams is often fraught with compromise. I have to falter precariously up the lower rails of the ladder to reach greater heights. It’s such a bizarro world we live in. One in which we jump on to a tiny, rectangular computer and scroll through content so vast in volume, we can’t possibly process it all. One in which we see the online embodiment of a stranger we passed on the way to the coffee shop last Thursday after we had to take a walk and clear our head from a morning meeting. One in which a platform urges us to start a superficial connection with said stranger and read a bullet point list of all the jobs they’ve had in the last four years, the places they’ve lived, their relationship status, all about someone who caught your eye for approximately 3.4 seconds because they had cool jeans, before your mind wandered on to the next observation or introspective subject. One in which we’re now programmed to browse through a particular set of information carefully curated for a carefully or haphazardly curated online audience of friends according to a title this platform provides us for our connections. One in which we scroll and semi-curiously learn about someone who means very little to our world, although we’re prompted to make them a part of our world in that pesky “People You May Know” section. One in which we catch a post about their mother passing, and suddenly this stranger from Thursday has a new dimension. They’re grieving. They loved their mother. They’re from a close family, a spiritual family. They posted a heartfelt tribute that made you cry because it sang with sorrow and rang with joy for a mother and woman who inspired so many to live and love fully. This is a bizarro world, one in which we pass a stranger and then meet their depth on the solitude of our front porch in the evening, sipping wine and wondering when the bear is coming out tonight to browse through its buffet of alley trash cans. In this world, we wonder if we should know these things about these strangers. If there’s something immoral about browsing through their personal life. And, within the process I have learned a lot and I’ve written a lot…. In this album “far District” I have expressed a lot of the ideas, it goes @500 Kenya Shillings.

-Buya Marach

I was born in Kasipul Kabondo — Rachuonyo District where immense wealth and devastating poverty co-exist in an uneasy negotiation. It’s a village of vibrant neighborhoods, encircled by poverty that opens into the town of Kisumu. A village of contradictions — the dumbness hub of an ancient culture that’s emerged with our ancestors to chant the friable mantras of modern consumerism.

I now live on a very different town, off the misty north rift valley.

Still surrounded by the flat plains and hills. Giant Buildings and trees shelter. My beloved brothers and relatives lives here.