Letters: I love them, just love them.
And not just receiving them, I love the whole process. I like to spend time selecting the right paper; planning out the letter; carefully folding the paper and placing it in the envelope; and finally sticking on the stamp. I even enjoy that little pinch of anxiety before I push the letter into the mailbox.
And from the age of six to thirteen, sending and receiving letters was a big part of my life. I went to boarding school in Gilgil (before the advent of mobile phones) and each day after lunch during our mandatory rest time (which mostly sucked), all the letters that had arrived that morning were handed out by the prefects.
Writing this now, I realise that I don’t remember much about the content of the letters, except the frequent reminders, in capitals, at the end of each letter from my mother: “Nkirote, please remember to moisturise yours legs.” To this day, I remember the strong feelings of anticipation, elation and even dejection on the days I didn’t get a letter.
The good news is that twenty-odd years later, not only do I moisturise on a regular basis but letter writing and reading is back in my life thanks to the letter sharing platform Hadithi.
Founded and curated by Sandra Chege, Hadithi provides a platform where contributors can, in letter form, write to themselves on themes of self, family, motivation & purpose, love, pain & release, and everything in between.
Hadithi asks contributors to “look into their past and identify a moment or a period in time when they needed to hear something that would guide them through that particular challenge or triumph”.
Sandra then invites artists to visually interpret the letters, and from this process, Hadithi has selected designs from five visual artists (Musa Omusi, Bazil Ngode, Monica Obaga, Point Blank and Mbithi Masya) to create postcards and blank cards, which you can buy here, and continue the letter-writing tradition offline in our digital world.
Illustration by Musa Omusi.