I think my earliest experience of having to light a traditional firewood jiko was when I was in Class 5, may be it may have been sooner, but it it hard to forget the experience, the date could be more or less, irrelevant. Back to the lighting of a jiko… Firewood had to be sourced from my grandfather’s farm a short trot away, but thankfully that had already been done for you. We would fetch splinters of wood from their vantage point outside the outdoor kitchen, arrange two or three nicely in the fire pit, and if there was a burning ember still remaining, you were lucky you could blow it till it lit up in flames.
I do recall that I could never seem to master the art of blowing the fire, I always seemed to end up with a cloud of ash in my face and worse, my “city-bred”eyes… to think that somebody somewhere would at this point burst out laughing. One man’s sorrow is another man’s humor…or something like that. Anyway, soon enough I discovered or learnt how to do it, thanks to my very patient grandmother.
You simply filled your mouth up with air like a balloon and ended up looking like this little guy, then blew out slowly though your nozzle-like-lips (like I said, it’s an art) and voila… the flame would come alive. Sparked by the burning embers of a previous fire, the flames would engulf the splinters of firewood and slowly form into a lasting fire enough to cook up a meal for atleast a couple of hours…
In much the same way, it is never easy to light up a fire for something you may need to start to keep you well fed, being passionate about a hobby is one thing… because it may be enjoyable and you can stop when you feel you have had enough. However, a Career is a whole different affair, it may blow up a cloud of ash and smoke in your face occasionally. You may fail a couple of times before you get it- the secret… if there’s one. I do believe the secret is in keeping the embers of a previous fire burning, so that when you need to add a little more firewood, there’s still a couple of sparks left to get the fire back up again.
Sometimes the firewood has been fetched for you, and all you have to do is master the skill to blow into the fire pit, but when you are a sole fashionpreneur, you may often have to fetch the firewood yourself. This year I will face several challenges, I may have to source funding, build a small task force of extra hands and keep the clientele flowing in… this as I juggle the very demanding second semester MA Program. Sounds like the bitter taste of smoke and ash in my face just going over the agenda, but greater tasks have been accomplished.
So even as I struggle to start my engine back up again after the December break, I am blowing that fire till the flames light up again and cook up a storm to remember. That’s it for now folks! (PS: I must have been practicing that thing with the mouth!)