Today we are all up to exercising our civics rights. Not me though, I gave up on governance sometimes back. Now my mantra is, wherever the ship sails, bora uhai. I wonder whether you are reading this on a long queue as you wait to take your turn. Or maybe you are too amused by Mr. towelman, teddy bear chic or the dog woman. However I’m glad that you are still finding time to read this chronicle. Lakini Wakenya jamaneni, it’s like ever since Gītheriman, people have been devising ways to trend. Hata bila CBC yawa. Back in the Nyayo era during the first multiple party elections, I was just a young girl trying to acquint myself with the art of politics. This acquintance meant taking Don Williams, ‘ listen to the radio,’ a notch higher. We’d gather beneath the grevillea robusta tree, sorrounding the small transistor radio like our lives depended on it, listening attentively as the announcer relayed the results, our fingers crossed as we prayed earnestly for the ‘general kīguoya’ as they called him back in the days. Even though he didn’t win back then, the other day all Kenyans were in agreement that he was the best president Kenya has seen. So the horses back then included the reigning president Baba Moi, who was the defending champion, then there was Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Stanley Jindo Matiba and of course the man from my homeland, Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki. The mules consisted of Haron Mwau wa PICK, Mukaru Ng’ang’a wa KENDA, George Anyona wa KSC among others. Over the years others like Nazlin Rajput Umar Farzadin; hope I spelled that correctly, Pastor Pius Mūirū and Paul Muite of Safina cropped up. The harder we prayed for Baba Moi to be dethroned, the more votes he garnered, well until the 2002 rainbow coalition magic discombobulated the JOGOO and project Uhuru flopped. Everything was looking bright until the post purchase dissonance of nusu mkeka brought about discord in the 🌈 What happened next, is nothing to write home about. I hope it never happens again. I hope we can look back in the years ahead and say that’s water under the bridge. Lakini juu life in pupi, ukitaka kutesa kwa mlolongo tesa mehn.
Why are superloaf and Broadway’s delivery lorries painted in yellow? Shouldn’t Magoha tell them that this colour is for school buses vans and face me. So I’m braving the aphelion shenanigans in the morning after the government dealt a below the belt on me. I mean, there’s this trending joke of schools operating like makofi ya kilo, you know the one for funga (close) fungua (open.) So as I brave these aphelion shenanigans I’m also stretching my neck like a woman trying to surreptitiously check her partner’s chat list. I’m expecting to see the school bus from a distance and for a while I think this has finally yielded only to realize that, ‘ngūkenetio nī kīro ta nyoni’ which is french for do not count your eggs before they hatch. It’s only a superloaf lorry doing it’s early morning deliveries of super yummy loaves. Suddenly my stomach begins to rumbling and I realize I’m actually very hungry. Then as if sent from heaven, breakfast on wheels passes yonder and I order two ‘ī mayaī, ī mayaī, maya matumbī maya ma mboiro’ with special instructions of ‘kapiripiri kwa umbali’ I indulge in my little heaven on earth and furiously tackle my breakfast. I feel like this thing is going to give me wings, you know like red bull energy drink. By now I’ve completely forgotten about my sole mission, then that all familiar shoooot sound of the bus breaking brings me back to the present. It has stopped a few yards away from where I was waiting and now I have to run to avoid delaying them. I don’t like arriving late, my papa taught me better than that. No sooner have I started running than I realize that in my zeal to arrive early, I forgot to tie the belt. Hahaha now the damn trouser is trying to obey the law of gravity and I have to hold onto the waistline like we did those days when we wore nickers whose elastic bands had seen better days. If you know you know. Thank God it’s only a short distance and I receive my heartbeat in one piece. I can now exhale. Seeing as to the fact that she comes bringing gifts boflo (box loaf) freshly baked in the school canteen, I add to the earlier paraphernalia and ‘ooh the snakes crawl at night that’s what they say, when the sun goes out, then the snakes will play.’ There are no snakes, only a song I love and my stomach protesting. And by the way, when are schools reopening. Ama tuendelee kungoja makofi ya kilo.😂 #StillTheChronicler.
There were times back on the slopes when we’d go grazing or weeding and the usual appetizers such as gooseberries, oranges and mangoes were out of season. This didn’t leave us plenty of choices except to make a fire and roast the abundant sweet potatoes. Somehow Mr Soft had managed to convince Asusena and I that he could communicate with sweet potatoes you know like a mole does only he’d do it from over instead of under. He’d lie low on the sweet potato vines and inspect his radius of curvature like a head of state inspecting a guard of honor. Then he’d pretend to be listen at whatever message the sweet potato was relaying, take a stick or panga dig and to our amazement reveal the hugest tuber south of the Sahara. We’d look at him in awe like he was a god from another galaxy with special powers sent to comfort our rumbling tummies. This would go on and on until there were plenty a sweet potatoes for all of us. If the ASK show was at that time we’d have exhibited and come out with an award. We’d then make a fire and roast the potatoes although some were eaten raw to (gūkirithia njoka.’ How we survived without deworming can only be described as a miracle. Only later on did we realize that when the sweet potato root swelled it pushed away soil to allow for it’s growth forming a crack (you know like the Archimedes principle happening on land than in water.) That’s how Mr Slow was able to locate the fat ones. Thumbs up to him for humoring us. What lie did you believe while growing up?
Going to visit a relative back in the days was sort of the coolest thing in the village. You’d have to go to the river and do some thorough washing of your clothes and also look for a way to woo the old man into giving you the much needed permission. You’d often have to employ some Jacob’s tricks such as bringing him eggs to accompany his gatubia kettle. Once permission was granted, it’d be endless nights of ‘cumbuca ndari njūkīte gwaku ndaraire ta maitū ahika, ngītara mīitīrīro.’ It’s like the adrenaline coursing through the veins would not allow you to sleep a wink and when you did sleep you’d be woken up by some nightmare about having been left. On the material day not much drama, it was boarding a face me to Karatina, then boarding magutu controller to take you to the sleeping towns of fort hall via the old Nairobi route. Now the toughest part of the journey was Maragūa to Kaharo. The said dirt route was plied by only pickups and canters. To make matters worse, said vehicles ferried people in the morning and returned them in the evening. So let’s say if you arrived in Maragūa at 11:00 hrs you had to bangaiza until threeish then piga set in the car until it filled to the brim. Unlike nowadays when we say mambo ni mengi, masaa ndio machache, those days it was masaa ni mengi, mambo ndio machache. You’d have to take your time sipping your soda as you stared at the folks staring back at you wondering what the hell 3 o’clock was was waiting for. Now being young meant that you couldn’t sit while an older person was standing. Once full people would fill the open spaces until the conductor was sure that he couldn’t burn eerr kuchoma. Then the vehicle would roar to life and off we’d begin our ascent and descent through the aberdares slopes. The only good thing was that unlike the Kanairo mats, these didn’t have a cover so air was in plenty albeit mixed with dust. Too many stopovers dropping while picking passengers only made the journey more tumultuous. The vehicle would leave a trail of dust evident by the dusty maigoyas and other roadside vegetation. When you arrived at your destination and stared at your travel mate you were tempted to sing, ‘ndahunyūkīte ngiuma kwa waing’a’ because ooh the dust on your eyebrows and the whole face. If it was during the rainy season wueeh that’s a story for another day. Sometimes these vehicles would get stuck and you’d have to alight and push them or even foot the rest of the muddy journey. The best consolation though was torturing the touch me not plants (wambūi mwīkuithia) which were in abundance there and all the stories I’d have when I got back home. #StillTheChronicler.
Kanairo the green city in the sun. Once upon a time, during rush hour there were these mats that ferried people to and from various estates. Yeah I know they still do, nowadays they call them nganyas or maybe shebeteng has a newer word that I’m not privy to. So you are wondering what’s this tale, right? A long time ago before the Michuki rules; Michuki was that colonial DC who hailed from Kangema and who became a formidable force in the government during Mzee Moi’s rule and most definitely during the Rainbow coalition days. This is the guy who managed to bring sanity to the transport industry and also the dealt ruthlessly with the defunct Mūngīkī sect. Before these public transport reforms, these mats would fuel people like thurakus, ‘ants.’ No sooner had the seats filled than one tout would go behind and start arranging those standing between the seats. Another conductor would be left behind to come collecting fare from the poor travellers. If a bus stopped to pick more passengers, Chris Brown’s, ‘tell me how it’s to be with no air,’ would play in slow motion. Not the song though, but the situation of near suffocation. Sweaty people all around, stepping on you, pick pockets looking for unsuspecting pockets, no space to turn around just holding onto the metal for dear life. I don’t know who decided that the mats plying Eastleigh were to have numbers 6 and 9 but I think this dude should be taken to court and face the music. And by the way how old were you when you realized it was Eastleigh and not Isirii? Mimi I only realized while sweeping the house and came across a book my brother had used while at Eastleigh high school. So Asusena and I be in the green city in the sun at night enjoying the neon lights trying to remove the kienyeji pro max in us in the hopes of becoming socialites, so that when we go back to the slopes we can ‘tesa mehn.’ We should have heeded when our old man told us that girls should go back home with chicken, ‘mūirītu agīrīire kūingīrania nyūmba na ngūkū.’ Old men are wise like that. So we see this mat bearing number tisa mgongoni, sorry hapo kwa dash board and we eagerly hop. We endure the ‘no air’ bit only to realize after paying that we are actually on the wrong route and between us and poverty we only had 20 bob which we’d already remitted to the conductor. Kumbe we boarded no. 6 instead of 9. Masaibu ya ndugu Jero haya. Now even alighting was an issue since you had to snake your way through the standing batallion,though we managed to alight at Mlango Kubwa and gulped air in handfuls. I still don’t know why that place is called that way. Anyways we had to stay true to Sammy Mūraya’s mama Kīwinja, ‘thiī na magūrū, thiī by foot.’ It was route 11 to Pangani and then to Kariokoor. The good Lord watched over us we didn’t encounter the ngeta people. I think they were still brainstorming their criminal minds. For now lemmi see if this croc ride is gonna take me home. Country roads take me home. Kanairo iliniweza.
Listenin to Dolly’s coat of many colours has reminded be of a coat. Well this coat was not a coat of many colours but it’s a coat worth mentioning. So this coat was of singular colour and by the way is khaki a colour or a fabric? I’ll go with the former. So I’m wearing this my coat which is a hand me down and feeling good as I chill listening to the crackling of the fire and the boiling of the monocots and the dicots mixture playing hard that some chicken somewhere will have mercy on me like Jesus son of David and lay me an egg that I can put to boil with the Gītheri. I’m feeling like laying me a sack on the earthen floor and doing me some yoga before the chicken miracle takes place but my thoughts are cut off by my nephew who is now talking while panting like a dog from a hunting spree. Turns out the lad has been sent with special instructions to me to get a certain envelope from my old man’s room. Who is my dad? My dad is a man who certainly has the urge to count his money while grazing his cattle and sheep and who I’m I? I’m the all obedient daughter who is overeager to hand over the envelope and go back to my chicken business. So I proceed in a high gait towards said room and pick the envelope I find there and hand it over. No sooner have I handed it to him than he is at the gate running faster than he even came. I take my sack and begin my meditation but before then I hear the chicken’s answer to my prayer. I walk to the cage and collect the egg dipping it inside the Gītheri before it even cools. Bending over to put the firewood together, I hear his signature throat clearing followed by my name and I answer as all good girls do, ‘yūūūūū!’ I then turn to see a face that is not happy at all and I’m asked to categorically state what my nephew asked of me while being asked to follow him to the scene of crime. I’m admonished for not handing over the correct envelope and my eyes start to get watery. My dad like most men can’t stomach tears and he starts advancing towards me and I realise I’m about to be shown, ‘the bird of Ng’ethe’ or ‘cha mtema kuni’ How I turn that fast and start running ‘of stick’ for dear life, don’t ask me, ask my sister adrenaline who doesn’t disappoint in this case. When my old man attempts to run after me and tries to get a hold of me, I leave my coat of single colour in his hands. Thank God it was not zipped. He throws it at me and tells me not to come back home. I only rest while I’m safely hidden amongst the coffee bushes while wondering what has happened to my egg. I guess I could call my coat a coat of a single colour that my papa threw at me. 🤣🤣 #StillTheChronicler.
I know it’s every girls desire to kukatiwa. For some it’s an every hour/minute occurrence since suitors are always flowing like a colony of ants who have discovered that ’embe dondo embe dondo limelala mchangani.’ For others it’s breaking news if a boy looks back mkipitana. I won’t say which category I belonged to I’ll leave that to your creative imagination. So back in college there was this boy who was doing his masters and was quite into, ‘yours truly.’ The only problem was that his head was bigger than your average kind of head. I guess he had a higher IQ which needed to be enclosed in a bigger compartment. The same reason why I get so annoyed when people look at me holding my head with my hand and they tell their crazy selves that I’m overthinking. I often tell them that I have a big head so I’m helping my neck to support it. When all I was thinking about was how I’d finish my undergraduate studies and, ‘hit the road jack’ this guy had his whole life planned out. I admired him on one hand but on the other hand I was a bit scared. You know how daughters of Jezebel start planning their wedding day before even the son of Jeroboam realizes that he has asked you out? I mean this guy was giving me lines and I was already in the labor ward pushing his baby who had his huge head and the doctors had to intervene or I’d die. After all ngima yuumaga mutuini. Talk of traveling at that speed they used to call precious memories back when the Pugeot 504 was the only means of transportation to Rware Matuinī. Somebody call a handsome traffic cop to stop me before I find myself in the high dependency unit. I’ve told you before that this guy was a planner and did I call him a boy? This was no boy. Boys would take you to the mess or KM but this one ooh, ‘Mr Smooth Operator.’ He took me to Roasters Inn. The things son’s of Jeroboam will do to get hitched🤔 Here’s the funny part though, in the mat on arriving at Gīthūrai the van stopped and voila guess who boarded the matatu? my two sisters. How they ended up boarding the same matatu with us is a coincidence I’ll never be able to explain while I’m still living under the sun. Talk about awkward moments as the van slowly progressed towards Kasarani. You should have seen their faces as we alighted at Roasters and walked hand in hand towards the bistro. I guess it was burgers and fries and cherry pies in a world we used to know. I don’t know where Mr. Smooth went to but what I do know is that my sisters missed the meet the fiancee moment. I also know that, ‘cia arūme ciūragīra kūingī. So ukituma fare ikuliwe usilalamike. After all they didn’t hold a gun to your head and ask you to spit your pin 😉 Every time I hear the song Lucille by Kenny Rogers I remember that day. #StillTheChronicler.
Sons of Jeroboam. You lift your long necks through your neighbors fence and see a bright red rose. You walk majestically and cut it and bring it to your house. What should you do to the said rose after plucking it. You look for the choicest vase and put water in it, deep the rose 🌹 in there so that it continues to thrive. You also put rooting medium and put it next to the windows so that the sunshine on her shoulders makes her happy and she blooms and blossoms into a beautiful rose bush. Now that’s what is expected, but woe unto you sons of Jeroboam. For you cut off the rose and put it in a jug that doesn’t even have water. Next you check she is wilting and dying and then you start looking into other gardens for new roses. Have you forgotten what wahengas meant in ukiona vyaelea jua vimeundwa🤔 This post is not about roses.
Songs of the day,’sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy’ John Denver. ‘Buy me a rose, call me from work, open the door for me why would it hurt, show me you love me by the look in your eyes, these are the little things, I need the most in my life.’ Kenny Rogers/ Luther Vandross.
Coincidentally the cold season comes with plenty a corn in the fields. So to chase the cold away and keep off cold inspired ailments you not only have to warm your body with fire but also with roasted maize the best remedy to keep the cold at bay. After all in Forthall they say, ‘mūndū nī mūndū nī kūhūna’ and also, ‘ūrugarī uumaga na nda.’ This has proven quite true because no sooner than the stomach starts churning the assortment than the heat starts removing in leaps and bounds. It’s like the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland synchronize and sense the changes at the speed of lightning in a hurry. Now one major shortcoming was that mama would plant the 5:11 brand that matured faster but was smaller in size when compared to the 6:24 which took 6 months and was much bigger and tastier. This is where temptations came from. You go to your farm and the corn is all small while the neighbors corn is wickedly teasing you like a teenage boy winking at his lovestruck crush. Small small your salivary glands betray you and you are now salivating like those Pavlov’s dogs. All the good Sunday school teachings from Sister Shiz are thrown outta the window as I tiptoe towards the fence after checking around and finding the course clear, you know they say, ‘mūcemi akorire mukuungi,’ the tiptoer found the bender. After the short walk which seems long I lift my neck towards the finger euphorbia fence like a giraffe browsing on an acacia tree taking care it’s sap doesn’t enter my eyes. Otherwise I’ll be screaming until my echoes are heard at the ngurunga cia Karība caves. All along I’ve made sure to walk along the short nappier grass so my footsteps don’t rat me if my spy of a mother comes investigating. I identify the most scrumptious and longest corn and the good thing is that this brand produces in doubles. I don’t want to remove the corn and leave the stalk there. Last time I did that the neighbor paid us a courtesy call. This time I summon all the strength in my being and uproot the whole stem. Soon enough I’m having these beauties on the fire and our cow Ngahū has become my partner in crime. I gave her the stalk and now all the evidence is gone, or so I thought, until I hear my mother’s all to familiar footsteps. I just might get roasted with the corn. 😭😭 #StillTheChronicler.
Signs that you have become a fossil. Go to a salon and before they wash your hair they ask you politely, ‘tunapaka dye?’ Check Chat with a colleague and ask her, ‘did you use kilometric?’ and she be like, ‘ Mimi si Mzee hivyo.’ Wueeh check check. Had a chat with colleagues during happy hour and grazing chronicles resurfaced and we went into the nitty gritties of how rams would gore at each other and how we’d have enjoyed filming those documentaries and uploading them on tiktok. Until one dude says, ‘during our times our rams caused too much havoc we even had the chief’s number.’ Yeah I’m talking about a mobile number. So we look at each other and I the ever so brazen one have to ask, ‘you mean during your time the chief had a mobile phone?’ OMG, this is not check check, this is real fossilisation. I’m about to turn into aviation spirit. Yeah I close my eyes and make a wish that I hope when they use my aviation spirit to fly they’ll only fly to areas such as Santorini Greece, the Maldives, the Bahamas and probably Hawaii, but never the Bermuda triangle. I’m also tempted to give said dude a walk down memory lane of the letters, the land lines, the callbox and the old generation mobile phones that were Sagem, Motorola and Siemens not forgetting the good ol’ Nokia 3310. And what happened to those Chinese phones which had aerials and TVs? I guess they were wiped out like the dinosaurs during the ‘tumetoka analogue tuko digital moments.’ Those and so many other things remind me that I have come from so far and the older I get the better I am, in knowing when to give and when to just not give a damn. And the older I get the more thankful I am for the life I’ve lived and the life that I’m living still. So as they say, ‘you only got a minute better live while you are in it coz it’s gone in a blink. But unlike snakes which have no eyelids, we do have them and so we blink a lot, so. I hope you understand when I say it’s gone in a blink. I learnt this today that snakes don’t have eyelids. So imagine someone throwing a pebble at you and you can’t close your eye. Food for thought. As these woods burn and turn into embers so shall we. I guess we could say as sand through the hourglass ⌛ so are the days of our lives. Till next time I’m #StillTheChronicler. Credits:The older I get lyrics by Allan Jackson.