“Polepole” means slow in Swahili.
Polepole is how I’ve started 2017. S l o w l y.
We welcomed in the New Year in Japan, muffled in the balmy warmth of family life. No mad parties. No hangovers. Just beautiful food, smiles and sincere appreciation.
Every New Year must begin with a promise, and this year I’ve promised myself to go slow. I spent so much of 2016 feeling various shades of weary. Not something I want to repeat this year. I realised that I was habitually chasing ridiculous to-do lists that were completely un-doable. Unachievable, because I was trying to do everything that I used to do before my son was born as well as everything I had to do now that he is here. Unachievable, unhealthy and, if I am brutally honest with me….unnecessary too.
So this year, I am grasping on lessons from my roots. In a hazy daydream the other day, I saw my mother again.
She was in the front garden winnowing some dried beans. Lifting the woven sisal tray with a jerk that made the beans leap into the air. High, high, high they would go before the breeze would rush between them taking the dust and remnants of their husks with them. In those moments she looked like she was doing magic. Commanding the breeze and the beans. When she was done, she would walk, hips swaying, this way and that as she passed by me. I follow her with my gaze and my eyes rest on the faded proverb printed on the back of her skirts. They say to me ; “haraka haraka, haina baraka”. “Hurry, hurry, has no blessings”.
So, I am going polepole. Polepole like a tortoise, or a chameleon or a caterpillar. Polepole mama, that is me…Mama Polepole.