He continued to push the wheel chair guy who now gave him instructions like that google maps girl. His brain had not completely processed the ‘ngeta’ transaction and he hoped that he’d come out of this nightmare and find himself in his kitchen garden replacing the kales that Kathambi’s hen had wrecked havoc on. In his song now slowly forming in his grey matter, his yesterday was truly greater than his today; Imagine an empty rumbling stomach, a sore throat and his sore feet now had to endure pushing this guy. Not long ago he had been fully satiated after feasting on Kathambi’s chicken. Walking along Luthuli avenue however had him dreaming a little about those big radios and woofers. He imagined his house having one of those. He’d turn it loud not caring about the NEMA acceptable decibels and if the neighbors dared complain he’d turn it even louder. He now realised that they’d turned onto what he came to know as Mfangano street and they continued towards Ronald Ngala where they found a coaster waiting for them. He helped the guy who urged him to join him and he obeyed. Having lost his contacts with his phone he had no way of locating his friend from Mlango kubwa. When he boarded the coaster he was surprised to find so many guys in wheelchairs and before he could process the unfolding scene the guy he had been pushing held up his hand and took his, shook it in a firm handshake and said, ‘I haven’t introduced myself, My name is Kīmani and this is our hustle.’ Kīrīmi was lost in thought and barely noticed the bus plying through the busy streets of Kanairo picking more and more guys in wheelchairs. The conductor was a huge bouncer who could lift the lean guys in wheelchairs like they were feathers. Kīrīmi’s mind was stuck on Kīmani’s words, ‘our hustle’ He could only hope that he was not being taken to the slaughter….. To be continued. #StillTheChronicler.
Your’s truly was woken up by pitter patter raindrops which most certainly interrupted his stint at the pearly gates. This time round he’d seen St. Peter himself come at the pearly gates, peeped through the keyhole and said, ‘ooh it’s you?’ He then left without opening the gate and Kīrīmi thought that he hadn’t seen him and so he knocked harder but Peter didn’t turn. He thought to himself, ‘ooh so this guy is not only blind but also deaf?’ Just then he looked back and blinked a few times at what he saw. The enigma of his dreams, Lucifer himself was walking casually towards him, eyes redder than red pepper his usual fork in hand. He tried to hit the pearly gates kungfu style from his high days at the village martial arts club. The gate did not give in and he felt Lucifer’s hand at the back of his neck. He tried to scream but only a hoarse shrill escaped him because the, ‘ngeta’ that had landed him on the ground left thorough damage to his voice box. Suddenly, the pitter patter raindrops brought him back from limbo and he saw that a beggar on a wheel chair was trying to wake him up. He came to himself and wondered where he was. He stood up tried to speak but no voice came out because let’s face it, ‘ngeta.’ The guy motioned to him to push him towards Luthuli avenue and since he didn’t have another option he obliged. As he pushed the guy, he wondered how Nairobians could just watch and walk away while someone was being mugged off his life savings. Yeah just the same way we are keeping mum when GMOs carrying ships are docking at our harbor. Truly this is where, ‘hornbill’s problem is really hornbill’s problem.’….. To be continued #StillTheChronicler.
The driver went on and on ranting about the state of the Nation and how the much hyped bottom up looked like an M turned W. Kīrīmi felt like closing one eye and looking at the driver with only one in the hope that this would scare him and shut him up. More so he felt like masking his mouth with cellotape or better still hem his lips with a needle and thread. This way his home science would yield some goodness. They say talk is cheap and this guy was pure talk. He however didn’t want to ignore him completely since he hoped to get directions from him once they arrived at the big city. He therefore listened half attentively even as a migraine began to register somewhere in his forehead. He knew that the pangs of hunger were now sending various transmissions to his brain that he better be armed with Ugali because they were not going to be cooled down by anything else. His stomach rumblef and he remembered the rambling fever episode which transpired after he ate Kawīra’s chicken. Remembering that ordeal sent shivers down his spine. That day he almost cursed the day he was born. They were now approaching downtown Nairobi and he could tell this from the increasing human and car traffic. Past the Ngara roundabout they joined Kīrīnyaga road and them Mūrang’a road which spewed them at Tea room. He gathered his backpack threw it on his back and thanked the driver for the journey albeit hypocritically then smiled from ear to ear in a bid to get directions from him. He did not want to use Google maps since he knew phones were much sort after goods by the, ‘eaters of the farmed’ ‘tūrīa nīme’ He began walking down river road, but no sooner had he taken the first step than he felt the air gush out of his throat and lost consciousness, now he was definitely at the pearly gates……
Due to the heavy rains, the nap soon became fully fledged sleep and he started snoring deeply to the detriment of the other passengers. However the rains made it bearable and they too found solace in music, online gossips or drifting off to sleep. As the vehicle approached Blue post, a speeding motorbike veered of the road and almost came into contact with the van, had it not been for the drivers swift breaking albeit cussing. Kīrīmi who was sitting next to the driver and a female passenger tried to open his drowsy eyes and for a moment, thought that he was at the pearly gates and a beautiful usher had been sent by St. Peter to usher him into paradise. He was about to start singing, ‘Baba ngoka ngīinaga,’ which translates to, ‘Father, I will come singing,’ when the music playing in his earphones registered in his foggy brain and he realised that those couldn’t be the pearly gates. The music playing was, ‘thogora nī maitho hamwe na kūhutia’ There’s definitely no way such music was playing there. Nevertheless he spoke to the usher and asked, have you come for me? She looked at him like she’d heard the dumbest words, sneered and then made that ‘mmsschew,’ afrosinema sound and went back to scrolling on her phone. Kīrīmi could only look right and ask the driver, ‘where are we?’ The driver who was already tired of the steering wheel decided to give Kīrīmi a long speech about Thika, the pineapple, sisal and coffee plantations and how these were now quickly turning into Silicon cities. Soon mother earth will give up her ghost. I doubt she can bear any more of these. Kīrīmi had no choice but to feign interest in the story as he wondered, nilirogwa na nani?
The driver quickly got out of the car and went around the Vehicle to open the passenger door for Kīrimi. Kīrimi did not even want to bargain the fare, he was sick and tired of this village. He removed his back pack and hurled himself inside the car. There was hardly any space but as the car began to move, it felt like it created some space for him so he adjusted himself here and there while the other passengers gave him the evil eye which seemed to say, ‘can’t you see there is hardly any room for us.’ Kīrimi did not acknowledge their presence, he just looked behind at his disappearing village and smiled at the thought of a new life in the city. The car continued to speed off occasionally splashing muddy water on the pedestrians. The rains had delayed but the heavens now seemed to be opening up with the fury of a woman in labor. They stopped at several bus stops dropping and picking passengers along the busy highway and Kīrimi decided to put his earbuds on and listen to Ngogoyo with governor Kamau wa Kang’ethe. Occasionally you’d see him smile and know that the governor has just said, ‘kabisaa.’ He wondered whether after addition of the new counties if he’d now change his county from 048 to 053.
Soon they were at Nanyuki town, they alighted and gave Ceasar (driver) his dues. He looked from side to side to get his bearing but also looked up and saw that the clouds were heavily pregnant. He ran towards the stage not wanting the rains to hold him in this ‘mwisho wa reli’ town whose reputation precedes her. God forgive he’s milked all his life savings by the reds should darkness find him here. He managed to arrive at the stage and board the Van just as the first pitter patter raindrops were heard. He knew it would be hard for the van to fill when it was raining, so he made himself comfortable put his earbuds on and drifted off to sleep hoping to wake up in the city of lights (kīamatawa’. Kanairo here I come….
After Kīrimi’s ordeal with the chief and the turbulent waves in his stomach subsided, he thought enough was enough. He had overstayed in this village and the comfort zone phenomenon was all too familiar. However things had started changing and he could see it by the looks of disgust from his neighbors some even spitting when he crossed their paths. He had been branded the chicken thief and in his mind he’d ask himself, ‘sasa kukula kuku ya wenyewe ni kitu cha kufanya mtu aitiwe chief, nkt.’ So he packed his bag and decided to visit the green city in the sun. He’d had stories and seen people who had gone to Kanairo come back shining like the sun had changed it’s position in the universe and landed on their faces. He too knew that one day he’d come back to this same village where he was dejected and would buy beer for every wagūkunda. He’d then be called titles like, kiongozi, mheshimiwa and other reverent titles. He stepped out of his house, surveyed around it and felt emotional at the thought of leaving, home sweet home. But what must happen must happen, so he locked the house and walked towards the bus stop not caring to look or greet the people he met along the way. ‘They can have the whole village to themselves,’ he thought. He walked briskly as he whistled summoning the last ounce of self esteem left inside him. No sooner had he arrived at the stage than an overloaded Toyota sienta came to a screeching stop…. To be continued. #StillTheChronicler.
Taking porridge comes with nostalgia; of mama in the kitchen, gunny bag well spread, calabash in the middle, sorghum and millet flour in a plastic container filled to the brim. Mama is now transferring the warm water into the calabash adding flour in small quantities and shaking the calabash against the earthen floor, remember, ‘Kīnya kīrī itina nīkīo kīikaragia.’ Slowly by slowly she continues her routine until the water and flour are just at the right thickness. Then the calabash is covered with a maize comb and all we can do is pray that the bacteria performs it’s fermentation duties vigilantly. We tick of days with our fingers and one morning when you enter the kitchen you smell the sourness from the door and you shout like you are warning the whole village of a T9 dog feared to be carrying Rabies lurking in the woods. You don’t even know where the firewood comes from but by now the water is boiling and you open the calabash and inhale that heavenly sourness like your life depends on it. Somehow you want to make sure that the nostrils didn’t lie to you. Then you close and shake well before use and pour some of the contents into a Sufuria, fetch some of the boiling water and mix well to ensure there will be no boys lurking in the porridge. Boys you better go grazing, this porridge is not your portion ooh. Now add the smoothened mixture into the boiling water and continue stirring until it comes to a boil. Leave it to boil for a few minutes, add sugar to taste and voila, our authentic African drink has never tasted better. One mug was never enough and the cook must award herself with the Mūkūra. Sad now we buy it sour in a packet and those calabash plants that were loved by, ‘wakahare ūrī nguo igūtembatemba,’ seem to be extinct. But here in Africa we don’t eat porridge, we drink it. Gūkuunda, asiii!
‘Wee Kerugoya, sikisiki, sister unaenda?’ They can’t seem to get my memo these touts. I guess I should walk carrying a placard saying. Wang’uru material, here for the long haul. Wueeh na hako kahoma karibu kidogo tu kanipeleke kwa Baba. At least they had the decency to call me sister instead of Mathy. Reminds me of a butchery I patronised and the butcher called me Mathy. Even his colleagues sympathised with me. Anyway signs of growing old are when you go to a supermarket and you are buying body lotion but instead you end up buying body wash only to realise the following morning when you are trying to get shiny that it’s instead lathering you up. You scan the container suspiciously and realise wash is standing in for lotion today. Ladies and gentlemen that’s how I landed at work like one who was at duff mpararo at River Thiba instead of a model coming out of a fashion magazine cover. And by the way I feel like telling these touts, ‘naenda tu hapa Eastmatt, mtanipatia lift. 😂😂 Na si nisikize roots za wazee kama, ‘Buffalo soldier.’
The only sounds that we were used to at night while growing up on the slopes of the mountain, were of frogs croaking in the nearest swamp (and by the way why is it that the frogs in America croak ‘ribid’ while those in Africa be like kro, kro, kro, ni bahati hiyo, kuwa hai tena, vyura furahini sana.) Then there was the nightingale announcing the all so obvious cold in the imagined words, ‘kwī heho, kwī mbarara,’ as the honey badgers announced their arrival at the mzinga in a manner close to asking the farmer, ‘utado what.’ We came in pairs and after all ‘thegere igīrī itiremagwo ni mwatū. But certainly there would be daily drinking officers (ddo’s) who I think we should be calling nightly drinking officers, who’d pass by the homesteads while you were trying to lull the babies to sleep and shout, ‘wanaruona anarūmenya’ and the almost asleep baby would start screaming and you’d have to start the, ‘rock a by baby’ all over again. Now in our village we had this treevangelist, yeah, you heard that right, you know like a televangelist who does his evangelism from the TV. This one of ours would survey the trees in the village like a botanical student funded by National Geographic, only he was not studying the species, but looking for the one’s with supportive branches. Now in the wee hours of the morning, he’d wake up with the roosters and climb a tree and start his sermon. One day the nearby Roman Catholic church announced a mass wedding which was to take place in the coming weeks. The very Saturday morning before the ceremony took place on Sunday he climbed on a Sycamore tree like the wee lil man Zaccheus, though not to see Jesus, and he loudly acclaimed, ‘ūhiki wa jubilee nī ūrimū mwerū.’ Karibu watu wakose kufanya harusi. 🤣 Enjoy your afternoon, I hope the night will be a quiet one. Wacha hata mimi nijaribu kuwa treesomething. What can I say, our village has always been a vibrant one 😉 #StillTheChronicler.
Sometimes I feel like either I was born in the wrong continent or planet, or should I say galaxy. How else do you explain that when people are thinking of how to make millions, all I’m thinking about is how I can find ‘wambūi mwīkuithia’ aka mimosa vine and step on her and smirk as she looses her turgidity and withers, albeit for a while. I mean the other day my glands went all rollercoaster on me when I saw some leaves that looked like ‘ndabibi’ and I imagined that sour goodness in my mouth. I’d give the jaba people a run for their money if we were to complete. Reminds me of a colleague who went loaf eating competition with inmates. Karibu anyongwe 🤣🤣. Even as I write this I’m feeling like singing, ‘ndabibi, ndabibi ndamu ndarathi ng’ara…..’ go forward ye who knowest. I think I’m a tangled mess. Since it’s Furahi day and I hear people are planning on drinking until they find the Z in Susan. No need for me though, Susan and I came from the same womb and we’ve been trying to look for this Z since childhood and we’ve never found it, so good luck with that. Mkiipata mniarifu. I’ll be sipping my gatubia, after I’m through with stepping on Wambūi mwīkuithia. #StillTheChronicler.