Transcript for "Family - with Steve Mululu"

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00:00.00
podcomm
Hello I’m Craig Constantine

00:03.93
Mululu X
Hey Greg good to meet you man how you doing.

00:09.78
podcomm
I’m doing well today I’m talking with Steve Muludu I actually should have asked to how to pronounce your last name did I do that close you’re you’re too easy. Um, some people show up super energetic.

00:16.34
Mululu X
Beautiful. You are natural.

00:26.39
podcomm
And I feel like I have trouble getting them to settle in and you showed up like in the zone. Um, and partly I think it’s because it’s the end of your day. It’s evening. So I don’t know what plans you have. But thank you for taking time out and we were talking before we started recording and I often asked people just like a really generic thing like. Podcasting what comes to mind and you thought about it for a couple of moments and you went right to how and I think you used the word just just said storytelling is so innately ah in a part of your culture and and I think you said in Kenya you mentioned.

01:02.61
Mululu X
Yeah, that’s right.

01:05.37
podcomm
And I’m I’ve then said well oh that’s great, But what was it about podcasting that made you want to record that. Um and I’m just wondering if you could talk me through so. You know podcasting is pretty easy these days and what are you trying to accomplish when you’re capturing people talking.

01:23.48
Mululu X
The same thing. Great great question broadcasting first time I listened to a podcast for me. It took me back to my very early childhood years because it reminded me. How much my own father. How much my own grandfather. How much stories how much history they passed to us after every meal in the evening. It was traditional for us to sit down with our elders for them to tell us about their upbringing about.

01:51.54
podcomm
Um.

01:56.60
Mululu X
Our culture about what kinds of foods to eat how to relate with your brothers how to relate to your sisters. What kind of future is expected of you as a man or whatever all those things so when I saw a podcast more or less for me. It was a trigger. Like if when my when one of our elders dies and the way we live nowadays. We don’t live in the village and we so prayed all over the world. They value with everything your old culture your whole history is dead with 1 person so podcasting has become one of those. When I started podcasting I didn’t know the name podcasting anyway, it was an easy way for me to sit down even with my own father and record everything just listen to him ask him questions how he grew up so when I saw people doing it like this. It was just more from. Traditional to a more technological way of doing what I’ve been doing all along.

02:58.84
podcomm
Did you follow? Um, how far did you get is your father still alive and did you follow through with those recordings like your father still alive. Yeah.

03:07.74
Mululu X
But order of what I think when I got to 50? It’s when I started listening to my father more you know when you’re still young. You think you? you think you know more than they do you know. They they’re busy talking to you and you switch off but it’s only when I became old I Realized this man knows more than I do and there’s so much in him and then it becomes a race for time… There’s so much that I need to do so every time I’m with my dad… There’s no simple thing that I do without.

03:27.95
podcomm
Are.

03:45.13
Mululu X
Without my recorder being on constantly. There is so much I need to get out I need to get out of him and I think there’s some of my most cherished possessions now he will always be with me than if he’s not with me, you know and I can be able to share that with my siblings and all those I can be able to.

03:46.22
podcomm
Um.

04:04.49
Mululu X
Take some of those clips and send to them depending on what’s opening in our family family tree depending on the mood ceremony circumstances. There’s always something from what we’ve spoken about that relate that lift the mood or lower people’s emotions if people are so sorted.

04:23.75
podcomm
I was thinking I’m not particularly religious but there’s an aspect of church like the the idea of people gathering together around something whether it’s a scripture or whether it’s a small village gathering around elders. And it almost feels to me like this the thing that you’re creating the legacy that you’re capturing um has how is your family reacted to this thing that you’re making um which is like the modern version of that that group of elders sitting around.

05:00.54
Mululu X
In the beginning it means nothing to people but you always realize that we are clever than you and I together we can solve so many problems and there’s always something that you captured. We will always touch somebody in a different way unlike any other family we have different family dynamics and I come from a very big family Greg my father’s but my father has got 5 wives and each wife is about 15 kids. So I come from 60 siblings. It’s It’s a very big family and you can imagine the differences so we don’t really get along all the time but the family always holds us together if I disagree with any of my siblings I can’t really use my own life experience but I can always go back. Because the only thing that the only 1 common purpose here becomes the parents the father you can always go back and saye this is what he says it’s not what I’m saying but I think this is what we need to do you know? so it always brings the other people down. It’s like almost having a third eye.

06:05.34
podcomm
Um, brain.

06:15.25
Mululu X
When we having different different discussions and different different different arguments if I might say.

06:22.11
podcomm
Yeah, like a common language or a common grounding like reminds you that you have a common ground. That’s that’s really powerful.

06:28.70
Mululu X
Yeah, ah and and and think what what 1 thing you’ll find I don’t know how big your family is you’ll tell me after this a people or a family cannot be held together the common interest can only be held together the common purpose. Interests change. People’s influence change all the time you know if we again as one brother we’ll be together but the minute that brother is out of the way we’ll turn againstgainst each other so for us this becomes a common purpose for us. You can’t change what this says. Na no elses can change what they say because why this is a bigger authority than any of us. So it become it. It becomes our constitution has been written by somebody. We all respect and somebody whether we like it or not we believe is it clever than all of us.

07:07.95
podcomm
Um, and.

07:19.92
podcomm
Um, ray.

07:21.45
Mululu X
So when we can’t agree and we disagree. Let’s go back to the constitution. Let’s see what does the constitution say maybe I’m wrong, but let’s hear what he has to say.

07:30.79
podcomm
Yeah to answer your specific question I have a small family. Um I have I am an only child so my mom and dad have ah have only me my mother has one brother and. The next generation up was the end of the large like I come from italian heritage. So my mother’s mother. My maternal grandmother was 1 of 8 children. So there are I had so there’s like 7 women and one man up there at that great grandparent level in my family. Um. And grandparents. Sorry so my mother has a large number of cousins. But I don’t have any siblings any direct siblings I have a couple of cousins. So there’s something that’s I’m going to say there’s something that’s lost. Um, and maybe I hadn’t realized that until you were describing how your family dynamic works. But there’s something that’s lost there because um I mean not that I’ve always like well I want a sibling but there is a very small like family dinner is just my my father passed away. It’s just my mother and I and my wife but it’s very small so that we don’t have the same energy that I’m thinking.

08:34.64
Mululu X
Um.

08:42.28
podcomm
You would get to experience you know, Even if a small fraction of your family were to come together. It’s a very different dynamic and I think there’s something that’s lost when I only experience that Small-scale Dynamic I lose sight. Maybe I lose sight of like. You know, um I literally don’t have ah um, a large family I don’t literally there isn’t a village. You know that my family was embedded in and that makes you for makes for a very disconnected single viewpoint perspective. So that’s. That makes a bigger that makes a big difference I would think.

09:19.43
Mululu X
I Can’t imagine your life though I don’t ah can’t imagine in being an only child I don’t I don’t remember that I just seriously I just can be imagine that because I mean but my dad is one of those because traditionally for us. Ah, children are seen as the assets because people in the village is purely the more hands you have and the more boys you have the more handss you have on the farm and so they’s seen as as wealth. So and when you come from a big family. Yes, they your brothers.

09:50.37
podcomm
Um.

09:58.62
Mululu X
But there’s a very strong competitive streak because you compete for everything you compete for food, you compete for attention. You compete for a place to sleep you you you constantly? and thus I think it’s It’s one of those things that is very hard to break when.

10:06.77
podcomm
M.

10:16.44
Mululu X
If I brought you to our house when you go to our house as a family I think for somebody that comes as a single child I think you’ll run away because you think we want to fight if we have to sit down for dinner for you. It might be like um, pass me this old place. And all of us are want to look at you and wonder what’s wrong here for for us you shouting there hey catch me this old man. Yeah, because if you you let one say I’m going to take it myself So It’s very very different.

10:37.21
podcomm
Get it take it.

10:44.64
podcomm
Ah. Are.

10:52.48
Mululu X
So it’s very interesting to to ah imagine being an only child seriously just can’t.

10:59.10
podcomm
This scene that when we talk about podcasting This is you asked me typically do this while we were recording or do we do it beforehand you asked me how I got into podcasting I was before we were recording and I described.

11:02.44
Mululu X
Are.

11:11.35
Mululu X
Are.

11:15.43
podcomm
Ah, huge part of what I like about podcasting is being exposed to all the different people and being exposed to different viewpoints and just having a conversation where you know I’m trying to imagine. You know what it would be like to have a completely full I mean I’ve been at full tables when all of my family gets together. But that’s a rare occasion I’d be like a particular some special birthday or some special holiday or something. Um, but generally in the morning. Breakfast would be. You know my father and I at the table. Um, and my mother like hovering around and then maybe she’d sit down. There’s treeless. That’s like if we’re all together or if my dad went to work early. It’s just me and my mom or if I went to school before him it would just you know it’s very small. Um and I think on on 1 hand that forced me I think it would force any only child.

11:47.75
Mululu X
Um.

12:03.32
podcomm
Um, it forces you to go out and find friends and you have to go out and compete. You know in the schoolyard so to speak I have to be interesting I have to I have to find other people and convince them that they want to spend time with me so that it’s a different kind of competition though. Whereas you’re you seem to be describing. Ah, large, um, collection of people and it’s like well of course we’re going to be together like that’s that’s not Negotiable. So How do we get along. How do we organize.

12:27.99
Mululu X
Um, yeah, this out of curiosity I meant correct me if I’m wrong here because as an only child you don’t have to share with anyone anything if you have to eat of course.

12:43.59
podcomm
Correct.

12:46.97
Mululu X
Everything is you as there and you the up of your parents’ eye. How did you handle that being outside the home environment for you when it comes to sharing.

13:02.45
podcomm
That’s that’s a good question because I I would say I didn’t handle it well um I went to college so when I went beyond you know primary education. That’s like a big deal for us because you have to like move out and then you don’t have your mom and dad around and and then you are in in a dorm you’re in a dormitory and I have a roommate who I is a like new person and there’s like 40 other guys on the floor now we’re all the same age so you don’t have a spread like you would with your if you were in a big family. Um. But that was um, not quite jarring but that was a very different experience because all of a sudden you know like there are only so many shower stalls. There are only so many. Um you know access in the kitchen that you had to then get an experience of that. And I think your your experience would would have been grounded in family whereas my experience was just it’s just chaos. But that was a very different experience and I think many I don’t know if it’s many or some of the things that I had to outgrow in my thirty s and 40 s. I wouldn’t have had that problem if I hadn’t been an only child but I also don’t think 1 sibling would have been enough either like my mother is not an only child. She has a brother and my father had a sister so I don’t think 2 isn’t enough either. You need to be like 3 4 5 you need a bigger group of people then. Even just a 3 personson family or a 4 person family I still don’t think that’s enough people to really get the experience that you’re describing of having you know the not only say tussle but like the the interconnectedness that you would get from having a sibling who’s 10 years older and a sibling who’s 10 years Younger.

14:49.15
Mululu X
I mean for I’ve got a ritual when I’m out in public and when um, out more in the rear world to ground me I have to keep on tellingly myself that you’re not at the saint of the universe. You know you. You don’t have to fight for everything at home I mean these are friends or these are different people because if I don’t do that I think it’s very much entrenched in my Dna or whatever it is is if I’m late one sec is going to disappear because that’s the way if ah.

15:09.32
podcomm
Right.

15:20.56
podcomm
Um.

15:24.80
Mululu X
If I go playing soccer outside and seven p M if I’m in the house by 7 or 5 it means that when I go to bed late. Um, when I go to bed hungry you know so so.

15:33.21
podcomm
Right.

15:36.48
Mululu X
I’ve got those I have to constantly. It’s 1 thing I can only overcome by having a ritual around it. But it’s so hardwired. It’s not so it’s not natural for me. It’s not much for me for me to go so I would imagine also for somebody like you I don’t know.

15:43.10
podcomm
Um, ah.

15:53.48
Mululu X
You know we all different but for somebody like you that also comes from a very closed family like this way in public you have to have a reach of surviving otherwise everybody will pay you.

16:08.43
podcomm
Yeah, yeah, you, you do have and that’s a good question. Some some of it I think has to do with boundaries So I got used to. So for example in high school. You know there’d be groups that would form people who would play one sport or people who you know wanted to do theater. And you would always find your little small group but you still always had this is like my stuff my locker you just everybody had a boundary and it was very even if you like oh this person was my friend. Brother is 2 grades up like even even in that sense. There’s still those people were separate the brothers They didn’t hang out you know and they were everybody was individuals and that um, that does make for a more um, trying to think of the right word like you tend to ruminate more you tended like.

16:46.21
Mululu X
Um.

17:00.55
podcomm
Lost in your thoughts because you don’t have people necessarily to interact with all the time. So I think that that doesn’t That’s not a good thing that when you’re spending too much time thinking I don’t think that is the best way to do it. You also need people who understand you even if they you know. Give you crap even if they you know want to wrestle that you need people who understand you that you can communicate with so that I think that being and a everybody being their own individual with very clear boundaries that also plays against the individuals because they don’t have a chance to interact as much.

17:19.56
Mululu X
Um, but more.

17:32.76
Mululu X
See using that word being an individual for us is a taboo and I mean if you had I remember for like 1 of the ways one of the ways how the elders pass wisdom from the young a didn’t reach into the next. You always eat with your dad your young or somebody that is older so I remember 1 time that would bring 2 bones one with rice 2 the both have rise one is what an egg on top the other on us no egg the your father will tend you to pick. Automatically because you’re hungry and you want the best you always take the the one with the rice and the one that is got an egg on top then your father slowly is going to take his po is going to show what through his and you see 2 eggs at the bottom is busy. It’s busy eating and you busy watching then tomorrow they do the same thing they bring 2 bolts 1 with an egg the other with nothing he tells you to pick you pick the one that has no egg on the because of yesterday’s story your father takes the one when you shove for down you find there is nothing.

18:26.73
podcomm
Um.

18:43.89
podcomm
Um.

18:45.28
Mululu X
Just just the rise then the third day they bring but you’ve got you’ve got exactly the same bowl of rice. There’s nothing on top. The other one is got an egg on father tells you pick what do you think you’ll do.

19:03.26
podcomm
I’m going to say you cut the egg in half and give him half the egg.

19:04.72
Mululu X
Yeah, yeah, but in most cases, you’ve learned yourism. The thing that you always do you tell and you pick first now less down at that point because you’ve tried both ways and you bond.

19:12.20
podcomm
Um. Are.

19:22.35
Mululu X
The minute you say pick first. Your father knows exactly which one has the 2 eggs and which one has the 1 egg and you automatically he the pick and that for Mars is told you fu about being said oflessness. About now you be and this only happens when you becoming a man a man has to learn to sacrifice for the good of the community. So. That’s why I said when you talk about individualism for us straight away. It means you going to get a smack you you will be punished for that because that’s what boys do.

19:55.47
podcomm
Um.

19:57.27
Mululu X
But men have to always transcend their apostal needs. So the communion needs that are more important than what you want.

20:09.75
podcomm
I Always have trouble figuring out how to end the podcast because I I always think about I should just press stop because invariably what you have said doesn’t need me to add to it so I will just say as I expect when I get.

20:12.33
Mululu X
So good.

20:27.33
podcomm
Talk to people. It was a delight to meet you to get a chance to try and see things from your perspective to exchange ideas I Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and hopefully we’ll do something down the road. Um I’m super happy that I got a chance to meet. Thank you.

20:42.50
Mululu X
Um, until we meet again. Greg god bless okay, yep day by.

20:45.43
podcomm
It is a smaller and smaller world every year terrific thank you Steve bye.