Smells of Sunday

When I think about Sundays as a kid, it’s the smell of Dad’s cologne that springs to mind. It was a red bottle of Old Spice and the sweet sporty scent would spill over to the corridor as he dressed for church, sometimes you could hear him humming to a Catholic tune. Mom would be in kitchen making breakfast and I would still be in bed wondering why I couldn’t just stay home and watch cartoons. Boy did I hate church.

Sometimes we’d skip church and sleep in, instead. Those days were rare and the house was silent and scentless. It was really the presence or absence of Dad’s cologne that signaled if we were going to church that day – at that age I couldn’t decide which I liked better.

Now, unlike those days, I have the freedom to choose what to do with my Sundays.

There isn’t a lot to like about Sunday. I find them to the terribly idle and there’s usually not much to do.

There’s church in the morning. Dad says I’m an adult and whether or not I bother going to church that’s entirely up to me. Sometimes I tag along. But when I decide to stay in – which is most of the time – I always sense some disappointment coming from him. Like I’ve totally ditched my religion and now he wonders where he went wrong with me.

For lunch, there’s usually a hearty family meal of chicken and vinegar-soaked fries takeaway from some deli in town.

The afternoons are long and dreary. The sun is mostly out and the house gets hot and I splay on the couch in a vest, screaming at the telly because Arsenal just can’t seem to score.

Two Sundays ago, I caught a whiff of Old Spice when I woke. I sat up in bed and realized I couldn’t recall the last time I was in church. So I took a quick shower, put on something decent and joined Dad.

Our church is located deep in the dusty threads of Kitengela town. It’s the only Catholic church around these parts so it gets crowded. The parking area is squeezed into a small corner of the grounds and little kids are always running about. The peeling paint on the church walls gives it a quaint look, and a huge wooden crucifix hangs behind the stone altar. What I love most about this church is the group of liturgical dancers: those kids move as though they have no bones.

As we drove into the town, the smoky Kitengela sun tinged the parched landscape. The place was still sleepy and the road was almost deserted. The pavements were streaming with gaily-dressed townspeople, and one or two drunks were staggering out of a tavern.

We made a stop at a newspaper stand and seconds later a vendor appeared by the driver window and pulled out a paper.

Across the road, a donkey was pulling a cart laden with barrels of water. The beast’s hide was dry and its face looked labored. It moved as though it was sighing with every step but the carts’ wheels spun ceaselessly. The donkey’s midsection had bulged out and I thought maybe it was preggies, and I started feeling sorry for the thing. But then again maybe it was just a fat donkey. I couldn’t tell.

A young man was seated on the cart. I imagined he was called Juma. Juma wore grimy brown pants and sweat ran down his cheeks in rivulets. I wondered if this was how he spent his Sundays, ferrying water across town. I wondered what his relationship with the mule was like. Was the donkey just a tool for business or was it also his pet? Would the donkey get a nice meal at the end of this shift? What do donkeys even eat?

Juma wielded a green plastic pipe. Once in a while, the donkey would veer off the road and Juma would stretch out an arm and block its head with the pipe. The ass would then get back on track.

As the cart pulled away I wondered if Juma liked the view of his ass from where he was seated. I also couldn’t help but think that, every Sunday, as I woke to the scent of Dad’s cologne, Juma here was waking up to the smell of his ass.

The newspaper man was now rummaging in his pockets for change.

I heard the faint tinkle of a bell. It sounded like a bicycle’s bell. When I looked over to the side I saw a hard pike of a man on a grey mountain bike. His thighs were big and chunky but I couldn’t see a bell on his bike. In fact the silver bike’s handle was only fixed with a pair of brake flaps. And it’s only when the man had gone a distance further that I saw a boy of about seven riding beside him. I quickly assumed that this was father and son, and this was something they liked to do together on Sundays.

The boy had much more protective gear than his dad did – knee guards, helmet, elbow pads, the whole shebang. His helmet seemed to be wearing him down. He would stand on the pedals to get an extra push so he could keep up with his dad.

I noticed that the man would look over to his boy from time to time, as if confirming if he was still riding beside him. I thought I saw a slight curve come over his lips. You could tell that the sight of his boy lit something within him, like he couldn’t quite believe that this was his making. I imagined that, during the week, probably on a Tuesday, while he sat at his desk crunching numbers, he couldn’t wait for Sunday when he’d get to ride with his son again.

People stared at them as they pedaled by but they didn’t seem to notice the attention, the man and the boy. The man would watch his boy struggle to keep up the pace and he’d chuckle at how he’d clenched his tiny jaw. In that moment he must probably have thought that the boy looked just like his mom.

The newspaper man had now found the change and he dropped a bunch of coins into my Dad’s palm. Dad shifted gears and we got back on to the road.

I still couldn’t shake off the man and his boy. This cycling thing would probably shape his later years. He would probably do that with his own kid some day. Would he remember his dad’s chuckle every time he heard the tinkle of a bicycle bell? How would he remember the smell of his Sundays?

Maybe, after their cycling rounds, they would walk back home, pushing their bikes into the verandah. The boy would look at the hair on his dad’s legs and ask, ‘Dad, mbona uko na nywele kwa mguu?’ And he would chuckle at his son’s innocent sincerity.

The boy would probably remember Sundays as smelling like sweat. His dad’s sweat. The odor would follow them into the house and blend with the smell of fresh pancakes. They would find mom setting the table in her white fluffy slippers and this would be scene that sticks with him throughout his life whenever he’d think about Sunday. Sweat, pancakes and white fluffy slippers.

Dad and I were at the church gates. The smell of his Old Spice was still heavy on my nostrils.


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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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