Tag Archives: Kenya

‘The Green Lodge’

‘The Green Lodge’. Sounds swanky a title,yar? Except that in this case we are talking about a village kind of swankiness. A unique feel that only a herds boy deep in the village would understand. For the sake of fairness, my green lodge here refers to a natural lodge made up of bushes and grass.

A few days ago we were having a conversation in a WhatsApp group with some of my friends then one, Larry aka Sakko made a joke about how he would love to have sex with a village girl, in a bush. He confessed to having had the experience while growing up back in the village. I loved the level of honesty. Most men will shy away from admitting to such while deep inside they burn with the desire for such an experience. After the conversation my mind travelled back to some of the sexcapades I had witnessed or heard of. Just to clarify, I never took part in any of them.

In the early 90’s, when I was growing up, these ‘lodges’ were a fad. Mostly, with the youth and herders. Practicaly, most youths looked after cattle. The village wasn’t so populated as it is right now. Homesteads were scatterd and in between existed the grazing grounds,which is also where ladies went to fetch firewood. A perfect meeting point. In these bushes bulls and cows mate. In these bushes snakes, squirrels, ants and other living creatures that inhabited them had sex. Man also decided to join in this lovemaking frenzy. God looked down from the heavens and saw it all. He must have a really difficult job,this our Creator. Does he frown or just smile when he sees human beings and animals having sex at the same time in one small bush? Does he rate them? Why doesn’t he stop them? Throw down ice. Pull a burning-bush-stunt like the one he did in the bible, with Moses.

Picture this, you are making love in the bush, everything is going paradise and you are about to climax. You feel some heat hitting your back but you try to ignore it. You imagine maybe you are too good that the sun has decided you deserve a standing ovation. You feel crackling sounds from the leafy ‘roof’. You look at your partners eyes, and they are frozen in terror, a keen look into her eyeballs and you notice a reflection of what seems like flames of fire, but with no burning umbers. Then you hear a thunderous voice bellowing from above calling out: “John and Mary, why have you decided to defile this holy bush?”then it continues: “Its me your God, the God of Abraham and your forefathers. ” You stiffen up, you feel as if something is tying your gut into knots. Your breath almost stops and your heart ceases pounding for what seems like eternity. That could scare the hell out of anyone.

Of all these love making sessions, man’s was somewhat organised. Some preparation went into it. Mostly, it began with a meeting by the river where both the boy and lady went to fetch water. The boy would them offer to help the lady with her water pot. This gentlemanly gesture was a plus, it increased your chances of winning the ‘prize’. If she kept nibbling on her nails and avoiding eye contact, and when you did occasionally stop to rest she drew on the ground with her toe (most walked barefoot), you were in. All you had to do was say the day and name the bush and she’d be there.

On the meeting day, the boy would take a bath and take the herd of cattle out for grazing, no questions asked. On the other side, the lady didn’t have to do any convincing to her mother. She only needed to take a bath, get a rope and carry a wrapper, that was self explanatory. In the bush, the boy had already scouted for the best location and ‘built’ a ‘lodge’. He’d then wait by the edge of the bush until his date arrived. They didn’t have all the time in the world, so after exchanging a few pleasantries they went down to ‘business’. Condoms or emergency pills were not so available in the village back in the days, let alone where to buy them.

What baffles me is, there were less children born out of wedlock compared to this current time. Is it that we have become very fertile than folks were back then?

Advertisements

Brother, it’s Christmas!

Dear bro,

Merry Christmas my brother. It’s my prayer that you, Othieno, are doing well in Nairobi. Allow me to convey greetings from your family back at home. Grandma also sends her greetings. We are doing’ fine except Father. We were happy that Obondo delivered the maize to you. Crops didn’t do so well this season and that’s why they are less compared to what we sent you last season.

Father has been sick, for a while now, but we didn’t want to bother you with it. We took him to the local health centre and the doctor said he has developed stomach ulcers…wounds in his stomach…due his excessive use of chang’aa (he rarely eats as he is drank most of the time). We have tried talking some sense in him but our words have fallen into deaf ears. We even talked to Nyaloka not to be selling chang’aa to him,but still he comes home drank. We even sought spiritual intervention from Omondi Ja polo, who told as that he has been bewitched. We bought; candles, about 10metres of fabric, a hen and paid him some money, mom had to sell that goat that was left to raise the money. All that money was swept down the river. His drinking got from bad to worse. Anyway, that’s enough about baba.

Mama is managing well,but I know she’s just putting on a brave face not to worry us. Deep in her eyes I see pain. She talks about you most of the time. Worried that you might marry those ojua (know-it-all town ladies) and make your life miserable. Or worse still, squander all your money and disappear with all your belonging like they did Owiti. But I assure her that you are smart. She didn’t raise no fool. You can identify a decent lady from athongo (a loose lady). Grandma travels with her in the worry-train too. They have promised to talk to you about their concerns when you come home for Christmas. I overheard them talking of proposing that you take Adhiambo, Okere’s sister as a wife. I agree with them. She has grown up and is very respectful. Her behind is the type you like. She’s also not the loose type. She’s very hardworking…noticable from her love for farming. However, the final decision will be yours to make.

Our younger siblings; Anyango,Akeyo and the little boy Othwindi are already in the mood for Skukuu (siku kuu) , christmas. Skukuu cries can be heard across the village. Making me remember how we used to wake up early to do the call out: ‘Sukukuuuuuu!’ then Owiti and his brother would respond with: ‘Obwogouuu!’ across the stream. We would do the shouting for weeks until the very Christmas day. The night to the big day took like forever. It was always the longest night of our childhood. We woke up quite early, as did mom to bake maandazis. Do you remember that day you stole some of those maandazis and gave some to me,then we stashed them in our pockets to church? Hehe. That was gross. We came back from church and mom noticed our pockets were shinny with cooking oil stains. She then denied us some more, saying we already ate our share. Miss those days.

Anyway, I don’t know what you plan on buying me this time when you’ll be coming home, but there’s this jeans trouser I saw when some Nairobi boys came for some burial here in the village that really caught my eye. It looks like an old pair and with tarters around the knee, I don’t know how they call it but I’d love it if you got me a pair of one of those. And any nice shoes you see there in the city. I want to walk with you on the skukuu day and I need to look the part. I wish I had gone to secondary school like you. This village would have respected me. I could have been in Nairobi too,with you. Together we would have taken care of our family, big brother.

Othwindi, our younger brother, lost his shoes before they closed school for holidays. I don’t understand how. So, you’ll have to consider him in your shopping. Akeyo has overgown the shoes you bought her last christmass, the dress too is torn. Anyango has, at least , been the responsible one. Her shoes and dress are still in good condition, but you don’t want to bring a conflict by leaving her out. Just try and get her something to even things. As for mama and grandma, you know how you always do your magic with those two.

I would like to leave it at that. I have a lot to discuss but that can wait. I’ll be a attending the village baraza today. Ogwindi was found stealing maize from Nyar Puoyo’s farm and the matter is to be handled by the elders today. Nyawiny was also caught yesternight cohabiting with her pastor inside the church by some boys who were attending a village disco and were attracted by some sounds emanating from inside the church. The pastor managed to escape but not without leaving behind his jacket, containing his wallet that had an I.D, and a hat. The pastor has since gone missing. I’ll tell you more when you come home. Bye for now.

Your loving bro,

Onyango.

Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all who took time off their busy schedule to visit this space. Shout out to; Sakko da Prefekt, Wizzi,Alade, Calvo, Oposhe, Pee, Rigo aka Wambizi, Kivi and G-Mlazoh. It’s that time of the year. Hope to see you guys.

Just before you leave. Support a brother by clicking and watching Bandika Bandua by Prefekt and Lexxboi

How I Survived A Mob ‘Justice’.

Pickpocketing.

Is mob ‘justice’ really Justice? Is it the solution to increasing crime rate. There are situations where I would agree that it is. Like when someone is caught in the act, defiling a minor or a woman of age. I would understand when people act out of rage and beat up that savage.  But there are some instances where it becomes an injustice.A thousand people have lost their lives in the hands of mobs, a thousand innocent lives. Simply because someone suspected they had done something wrong (sometimes they didn’t really do it). They end up being beaten up, and/or burnt to their death. How people get excited by the sight of blood is something I still can’t bring myself to comprehend. Have we just become wicked or simply bloodthirsty? When a mob lynches wrongdoers, is there a difference between the people in the mob and the actual wrongdoer? I don’t think so, at the end of the day they have all committed a crime. We blame it on the laxity in our justice systems and the inefficient law enforcement apparatus, but still it doesn’t justify the need for mob lynching. Arrogating ourselves the role of the punisher, issuing instant justice is rather hypocritical of us. We have all, in one way or the other, committed certain crimes secretly and luckily got away with it, what then gives us the right to give out punishment to others? If we all had to pay for our secret crimes would there be anyone walking this earth?

That said, let me fast forward to my story…

It’s one hot and dusty evening when I walk into the countryside bus terminal (Machakos), five years ago. I was traveling back to the village from Nairobi. A stream of bus scouts kept approaching me, persuading me to go to a specific bus, others were honest enough to tell me that that’s the only way they would get their commission. But my mind was set, I had a specific bus in mind – the hottest countryside baby on the road, Destiny Coach. When I got to where it was, dressed in the latest graffiti art and neon lights, I was home. To add more life, the ticketing guy turned out to be my classmate back when we were in primary school in the village. After booking me, we talked for a while and then he advised me to get inside the bus and pick the best seat before they were all occupied.

Inside, I chose a seat in the first row next to a lady I found already seated next to a window. After assuming my position beside her, we shook hands and then I got out my  IDEOS smartphone from my pocket, plugged in it’s earphones and turned on some music. I was looking earn some points. For your information, IDEOS smartphone was an asset back then, smartphone was just hitting the Kenyan market, and being in possession of such a gadget was a plus. 

A friend of mine texts me, asking me where I was and when I told him that I had booked a bus back to the village and was leaving at 9pm. It was still some minutes past seven so he suggested we meet up in town for supper before I left. I decided why not? I requested the lady beside me to watch my space as I rushed to pick something in town. She suggested I place something to mark the seat. Since I had no bag I decided to leave my coudroy jacket behind. I walked into town and met my friend and then at around 8:30pm, he offered to walk me back to the terminal.

On reaching, the bus was not at it’s parking spot. I asked one of the scouts and he offered to take me to the clearing exit where the bus was. I bade my friend and rushed behind the scout, pressing through sweaty masses of other travellers, scouts, touts, hawkers, idlers and petty thieves. Finally, we got to the ‘baby’ and I offered twenty shillings coin to the scout and he walked away after giving me a strong handshake. I got in and walked to my seat. To my shock, it was occupied already. This lady must be so dumb, I thought to myself.

‘Hey, where’s my jacket?’ I asked dejectedly.

‘You’ll give me back my phone!’ She shot back at me.

‘Are you nuts? Where’s my jacket?’ I demanded. She didn’t bother responding to my question. She stood up from her seat. 

‘Conductor here he is!’ He called out at the front.

The intruder seated at my place remained calm. Bodies of hawkers pressed beside me as I stood in the alley. I was about to ask a third time for my jacket when someone grabbed me by the collar of my short sleeved shirt, cutting the words from my throat midway. I turned my eyes to see who the ‘joker’ was but I my eyes only met bloodshot eyes. The attempt turn my head around made my throat hurt and I felt like being cut off air. I gasped for air and returned my head to the initial position.

‘Where’s that lady’s phone?’ My captor asked. Saliva spurting out of his mouth and settling all over my face.I turned to the lady, my eyes almost popping out as I tried to get some air in and trying to speak.

‘Di…d I t…ake  your …phone?’ I managed to ask with the little breathe I could get.

‘You stole my phone and went to sell it in town!’ She shouted back.

This was the craziest thing I ever heard my all life, being accused of stealing. Stealing a phone whose price must have been a quarter of the one I owned, this ridiculous. When I left she was typing on the phone. Before I could talk, someone slapped my head from the back. Then a punch followed. My captor stillof maintained his grip and tightened it occasionally to make me confess. He tried to slap me but I blocked it before it landed on my cheeks. I was now sorrounded , shouts of ‘Thief! Thief!’ rippled in the air inside the bus. 

‘Let’s burn him’, a voice suggested. And it was chorused by the others. 

‘Burn him!’

I tried to plead with my captor that I was innocent. That I didn’t steal the phone in question. But I realised that the more I pleaded, the more guilty I looked to them. My fate was sealed.

‘We are used to you idiots. You are all always innocent. We are going to see how innocent you will after we set fire on you!’ Someone barked from behind me.

One guy ransacked my pockets and fished out my gadget and showed it to the lady if it was hers. She said no. The slaps rained on me in tandem with the questions about where the phone was. I decided to keep quiet and wait for my death. I always wondered how I would die, where and what I would be wearing on that fateful day. My guess had always been that I would die in a road accident. That day had finally come, I know knew how I was going to die. A painful and embarrassing death. I felt for my family and friends. What a shame I was going to leave them. Lynched by a mob snatching a phone. I thought of how they were going to learn about my death. An update would run under the screen of television news broadcast: A NOTORIOUS PHONE THIEF LYNCHED AT THE FAMOUS COUNTRY BUS TERMINAL! That would be me, a ‘notorious phone thief’. They would just ignore it or maybe say it deserved the thief right.

After some days when I didn’t make it home and my phone dead.A  search would ensue. Only to discover that I was the ‘phone thief’.

I thought of a scenario where the police would intervene and handcuff me to the nearest Police station…Moroto… that is less than a hundred meters from where I was facing ‘justice’. They would hold me there for a while until I bought them some ‘tea’ before they could let me go.

My stream of thoughts were interrupted by someone’s voice ordering people off the bus. My captor loosened his grip and I looked back and I recognised that face. He had been down there with my friend, the ticket guy.

‘Aren’t you a passenger in this bus?’ He asked when he got to me. I gasped for air and told him that I was.’Show me your ticket!’ He demanded, but in a soft way. I reached for my shirt pocket and luckily it was there. I showed him and then he turned to the lady who had been accusing me. I remembered my phone but I couldn’t see any of the faces who had held me captive. But that didn’t matter now, I just escaped death.

I’m Being Stalked! 

Be on the look out!

‘Hey, mambo?’ She said. Hey, how are you?  I didn’t see her coming. She must have sneaked up on me. I had been busy typing a reply to a text message and all my attention had been drawn to it. I was just leaving work, at around half past seven. When I looked up, she had her hands outstretched for a handshake. 

‘Oh, poa.’ I responded reaching for her hand. Oh, fine. Her palm was soft but her fingers tiny inside mine, felt like I was squeezing life out of them and I let go. 

‘Umetoka mapema sana leo,’ she pressed on,’ungetoka saa tatu.’ You closed work early today, you should have left at 9pm.  She seemed determined to extend the conversation to my dislike. 

‘Niko sawa.’ I scowled, trying to ignore her comment. I’m alright . She forced a plain laugh and then started walking away. 

‘Have a goodnight…Tony!’ She said in a raised voice. With the momental pause before saying my name, I’m sure she was trying to recall it. She wanted to let me know that she knew my name. I wasn’t  impressed by that, she was pushing too hard.

 
That was the first conversation we ever had. After that she developed a wont – passing in front of my shop several times a day. Whenever our eyes meet, she waves. When they don’t and there is no buyer, she comes to shake hands. Now, it’s not that I have never seen her, in fact her face for over a year now but she never did take notice of me or looked at me like she does now, we’ve always been strangers and just conducting our affairs like strangers do. She’s charcoal black – that’s the first thing I ever noticed, darker than I thought I was. And she’s one of the few ladies I would say, are proud to be really African, if you know what I mean. She is slightly above five feet tall, keeps her hair cut to almost an inch above her scalp, with the sides of the head trimmed shorter, mohwak kind of. Her face is… somehow… rectangular. Big white eyes, a small nose, and  brief mouth – with thin lips curled upwards at the ends in a sneer. She has a long neck, which isn’t so bad. Her body is lean, and then she walks her bossom is pushed up as if she were carrying a bucket of water on her head from the river, on a steep slope, and she’s supporting it with both her hands. Bottom line is, she’s not my kind of girl, she doesn’t tickle my fancy.

The other day, I confided in a friend of mine about her wierd and sudden friendliness. His answer was; she has a crush on you. I laughed out loud, really loud. That evening she came to my shop to buy some antihistimine tabs, she did the outstretching-hand thing again, and I took her hand reluctantly. I felt some fear grip my heart making it feel like a clenched fist in my chest. I let my hand slip away and then got her the drug. She was smiling and I was tempted to ask what she was smiling at but I couldn’t. She was about to begin a conversation when my phone began ringin, to my relief. She walked away. When I was done with the phone call, I noticed a piece of paper on the counter top, it hadn’t been there earlier, before she came. Out of curiosity, I picked it up and unfolded it -it was folded once,symmetrically. It was some kind of a note, surprisingly, with my name on it. 

Hello Tony, 

Please I am sorry but it’s really very bad to keep quiet with something that pains. You know what? I am almost even having a wound in my heart because of you. Yesterday was not my first time to see. Since the day I came, I saw you but there was no way of talking to you. 

I am Sharon. Originally I’m a Ugandan. 

Please help me, call 0711 949 ***, or I just come back for my reply. 

Note: I don’t have someone to love me or a fiance nor a child. 

I read the note twice, the more I read it the more comical it sounded. It was so full of errors but I got the message.  Then something made me freeze…originally I’m Ugandan. Now, there’s this belief that the land of  matoke has the most potent love potions. What if she had applied some of it on the note? Then I will be under her spell, following her everywhere like her shadow. If she says I bark like a dog, I would do it without second thoughts. If she says walk on fours like the dog, then I would be on it, I’ll be her puppet. That’s horrible. Just that mere thought got me shaking. I had to do something, real fast. The Bible. Yes, I had to undo it using the Holy Book. Neutralize the power of that potion, should there be any. I reached for the Bible that had been gathering dust inside a box of books. I held it on my palms, not knowing what I should do. The first impulse was to place the note inside the Bible, that’s where it had to be.

I had to keep her away from me. I wasn’t going to let her come back for her reply. What if she decided to chew some of those potions! I decided to give her some feedback through the number she had provided in the note. In the text message, I told her that I am happily married, with a kid. Her reply was: pliz not for sex. Who even talked of sex? I decided I’m not having a conversation on that. She calls when I don’t reply, then Truecaller app installed on my phone gives me one of the most genius suggestion, Block Spam Calls.  I go for it, sit back and try to relax. 

Cooking Fat For Mandazi!

Maandazi

Photo by Merufm digital

Hello villagers! I bet the word maandazi sounds alien to some of you. You my fellow villagers are of different races, but I believe you are familiar with English, otherwise this sentence wouldn’t have made sense to you. For the sake of fairness and to avoid straining our lush camaraderie, allow me to explain what it means. Maandazi is a Swahili word for doughnuts or bread kind of – sweet bread. Forgive me, but I don’t know how to explain it better than that, it’s just maandazi. Are we good? As for cooking fat,  I believe you do have an idea. Let me just break it down for you, cooking fat is a semi solid cooking oil or thick paste if that makes it easier to comprehend. It’s common back here in my village, and it cheaper too. Most folks are able to enjoy a fried meal courtesy of the cooking fat. From as little as Kshs. 5 you are guaranteed a fried stew for lunch or supper. It has attracted a number of pseudo names with the most popular being nyakatuda (which I  can’t explain to be honest) and Mor Achodha.  The latter meaning scooped fat.

Now that you know, let me save you the megillah and get to my story…

A few days ago something happened in my the village that got everyone laughing. But I didn’t laugh at what happened, I laughed rather at what the villagers were laughing at. Is there any difference in what I just said?  I don’t even know what I’m saying. OK, the whole village was left nursing painful ribs after what seemed like a scene out of some Hollywood comedy movie, became the centre of attention one sunny afternoon. The scene was at a neighbouring homestead, and the main characters were two co-wives; Nyar Alego and Nyar Asembo ,both widows. The cause of conflict was a maandazi and cooking fat. How you ask?

And it occurred that…

Nyar Alego the eldest wife had been bedridden for what seemed like two months. She had grown lethargic and senile. She was somewhere around 78 years. Nyar Asembo on the other side was still strong. Since they both didn’t have their children staying with them, as they were either married or living in the city, she had to assist Nyar Alego.

On this eventful day, Nyar Asembo was going to the market to buy groceries, and what to prepare for lunch that day. She passed by Nyar Alego and inquired if there’s anything she felt like eating. ‘Maandazi’ she had said. On her way back from the market, Nyar Asembo had remembered to bring her co-wife the maandazi she had requested.  She had everything she had bought packed in a polythene bag. On reaching home she passed by Nyar Alego’s house to deliver the maandazi. Being in hurry she dipped her hand inside the bag and felt for whatever was wrapped in a piece of paper and handed it out to Nyar Alego in the bed where she lay half asleep then walked out of the house to her own kitchen to prepare lunch for both of them.

Water for Ugali( thick paste of maize, sorghum or millet flour) was set on the three-stoned fireplace to boil as she prepared onions and tomatoes she was to use in frying eggs that had been left unhatched by one of her chickens early that morning. She sang as women do while preparing a meal or doing a chore. I don’t know if it’s only my observation! At least, I have noticed my mother and sisters doing so, but I have never understood the logic behind it. If you haven’t, then take time today and pay attention to any lady or woman, most of them prefer Gospel music.  Done with the onion chopping and tomatoes, she beats the eggs and takes to preparing her ugali. When it’s ready she sets it on a plate beside the fireplace and puts another sufuria on the stones for the eggs. She reaches for theold polythene  bag she had brought from the market and takes out a wrapped piece of old Newspaper. On unwrapping she discovers it’s maandazi,  and not  cooking fat she had bought at the market. She scampers out to Nyar Alego’s house on realization that she must have given her the cooking fat.

‘Nyar Alego kara ne aweyoni mana nyakatuda kar mandas!’ (Nyar Alego I must have left you with cooking fat instead of maandazi) She had said apologetically.

‘Kara ema omiyo ne oyom kabisa!’ (So that is why it was so soft ) Nyar Alego responded  innocently.

‘Ichamo mora!'(You have eaten my cooking fat ) she exclaimed in shock. It couldn’t be true, Nyar Alego couldn’t possibly have eaten it, she was bluffing. She inched closer to where she lay and beside her noticed the fat stained piece of paper. A wave of fury overcame her and she almost threw herself on her with rage. She looked at the grotesque figure lying on that bed  and she got madder. She wanted to tear her apart. Storming out of the house, she threw away the maandazi.

A strong smell of something metallic burning hit her nostrils and she remembered the sufuria at the fireplace. Dashing inside, she found the cooking pot glowing hot red. The sight of this only added to her already rampaging rage, she pushed it off the fire, burning her fingers in the process. Now it was a mix of anger and pain. What a terrible combination. This gave her flaring temper a new boost and she came out of the house spitting insults to the helpless Nyar Alego, who was still in her house. It is this that attracted onlookers drawn, from within the neighbouring homes and those who had been passing through the village. 

One woman walked close to her to inquire what had transpired, a small crowed followed her and it became a small political  rally.  She was like an opposition leader delivering a  harangue to the rulling President, all attention was on her and she had her loyal supporters with her, she was the vox populi. When she narrated the earlier occurrence, her supporters laughed and others jeered. They started  filling out of the compoured leaving her behind, dampening her spirits. She lashed out at them, driving them out her homestead, they were ungrateful and disloyal to her, their leader. How could they dismiss her like that?

It was now her against the villagers. Words were exchanged, jibes flew laced  with mockery. The village came alive. They had something to talk about until another could come back- a comic relief. They  found a momentary break from problems bedeviling their lives and enjoyed some good laugh, though only for a brief period…the maandazi and cooking fat moment. A Luo would say : A mandas and nyakatuda moment! 

‘Sponsor’ Gone Rogue!

Stories have been told. Hearts broken. And marriages thrown into the wind. Economic crunch. The great depression. Even Muamar Gaddafi came and vanished, but this rare species has refused to be extinct, in fact it has only managed to evolve and redefine itself in the society. We can only wish it away but as far as I know, it’s here to stay. It has been operating under a lot of aliases. Latest is the more swanky name, SPONSOR. Former and old fashioned being, Sugar daddy/mommy. Hope you now catch the drift, yeah?

A few days ago, one sponsor decided to act up, or simply teach a sponsee(one who is under the sponsor’s care) some unforgettable lesson. I suspect the sponsee had been a bother and the sponsor simply wanted to get rid of her. 

And the story was…

I had gone to Migori, in South Nyanza, on a personal commitment and I was now traveling back home to Ugenya through Kisumu. Next to me inside the mini bus I was traveling in sat this fair lady. Fair because she was somewhere between beautiful and ugly, fat and thin, light and dark skin. She wore heavy make up that made her look so ridiculous. Her eyebrows trimmed to thread-thin then she did paint it with an eye pencil to make it look bolder. Why would she even do that! Isn’t that time wasting? I have seen a lot of ladies do that but I fail to get the humor in it. If you don’t want to have eyebrows and you decide to shave them off, why again draw imaginary ones? Then she had this blood red lipstick on her full lips. Gracing her head was this blonde wig, that was bold. I’m sure she got it off second hand clothe vendors on some open air market. It must have cost her Kshs. 80 after some 30 minutes of haggling, she looked like that type, the type who could bargain even at the supermarket. A yellow chiffon blouse top and black jeans plants with yellow doll shoes (those shiny plastic ones that cost like Kshs. 150), was her dressing. Then she babied a black shiny handbag, I’m sure it was plastic too. Thank God she had thought of wearing some perfume, even though it was hurting my nostrils, like some noxious gas. Her nail polish was of different colors in every fingernail and a little worn out.

Her phone rings from inside her bag and she fiddles with the zipper and finally opens it. She was short of ripping the bag apart like it was a timer bomb that would go off if she didn’t reach for it within milliseconds. Fishes out the phone and places it on her ear that was on the side I was. I couldn’t help eavesdropping on the conversation.

” Achieng ne isewuok?” (Achieng’ are you on your way?) the caller in a male voice enquires. Now I know her name.

“Yea,” she responds plainly.

“Ne iwacho ni idhi kanye?” (Where did you say you were going? ) the caller enquires further.

“I’m going to Nairobi!” She says in a heavily Luo accent. She’s not loving this conversation at all, it’s evident from the minimalistic answers she gives. The caller was about to ask another question but I suspect she hang up on him. She must have suspected I was following the conversation because immediately she got off the phone she looked my direction but I pretended to be preoccupied with something else out the window. I guess she was cursing the caller for putting her through all that humiliation, talking to her in Dholuo.

There’s one thing that got me thinking, her ringtone, about what kind of lady she was or secretly hoped to be. It was of luo rhumba, Johnny Junior I suppose.
There’s something about these songs that make them so popular with beer drinkers, I guess it’s because they are always played at most locals – bars, mostly where luos frequent. By all standards she would pass for a drinker, Tusker must be her favorite brand I conclude.

I’m seated beside Miss. Tusker here and none of us has said a word, save for the occasional surreptitious looks. I’m always scared of starting conversations with strangers sitting beside me while traveling because I never want to know where it might lead, and Miss. Tusker here wasn’t going to be an exception. Something ever happened to me, really horrible, but that’s for another day. For now allow me to keep my reservations. Another ringing and she receives the phone call. This time her face is glowing, the caller must be special.

“Hi babe!” she says before the voice at the other end could talk.

“Hi,” a deep male voice responds at the other end, “how far are you?” he asked.

“Like an hour hivi! ” she informs him.

“OK, call me mkifika!” the voice says and the line goes dead. It’s bad manners but I just can’t help following…
The bus conductor is doing a routine check of the passenger tickets and asking if there’s anyone demanding any a change back. When he gets to our seat I pass him my ticket and he marks it and hands it back to me. Miss. Tusker looks at him in the eyes trying to smile, while the conductor maintains a serious face.

“Madam hebu lipa pesa. Sitaki mchezo!” (Madam pay up. I don’t want jokes) he commands.

“Si alikuambia atalipa tukifika”(He told you he is going to pay when we get there), she responds in almost a whisper, an embarrassed look on her face.

“Mwambie anitumie kwa Mpesa.” (Tell him to send me money through Mpesa) he declares and sashays along alley  not giving her room to talk back. She looks at me and when our eyes meet I give a blank stare. I almost told her that I didn’t hear whatever they were discussing in a bid  to reassure her. Her eyes darted around to see if anyone else was looking at her. And indeed all eyes were on her.

Don’t worry honey, they are just admiring your wig, they are probably fascinated by your guts, you are the only lady who can travel to Nairobi in a Kisumu bound minibus without paying.” I played the monologue in my mind.

She tapped my elbow and I almost jumped out of my skin. It felt like I was dreaming until she did a second time and I heard her voice close to my ear, it was so close like she was going to bite it off.

“Could you please assist me with your phone I make a call.” She whispers.

I hand her my phone set to dialer without uttering a word. I’m eager to eavesdrop on the call and it’s becoming addictive. And when the call finally goes  through, the deep voice echoes from the other end. He passes the conductors message to Mr. Deep Voice who promises to call back in two minutes and direct her on what to do and hangs up. She flips my phone over several times and then tells me that I have I nice phone. As if I didn’t know. Why would I go to a shop and buy a phone that to me wasn’t nice! I’m eager to have my phone back while she’s pensively waiting for Mr. Deep voice to call. She remembers she also has a phone and hands me back my gadget.

The bus is going fast and I can now see signs of Kisumu. The conductor walks to her and demands for the money again. He’s finally lost his patience and he’s determined to have his dues now. Then she does the worst mistake. She stepped on sore puss-filled whitlow! And the sin was, asking the conductor for his phone so that he could call back Mr. Deep Voice. The conductor took it as an insult and what ensued was hurling of unprintable. I gave her my phone to call his Mr. but he was unreachable. She tried and tried, and tried one more time but nothing…

The number you tried to call is out of reach, if you wish to leave a voice message please do so after the tone… ” that’s all Miss. Tusker could hear.

She double checked the number and dialed an umpteenth time but the response was the same. Her eyes were almost watery. Passengers had now joined the conductor and jibes were outpouring.

“Mano onyale kabisa!” (That serves her right ) a passenger shouted from behind.

“Ochal jakwal chuo jowetege!” (She looks like a husband snatcher)  a female voice teased somewhere at the front row.

Miss. Tusker was in deep shit. Her tears were now flowing freely, she couldn’t contain herself. The insults kept flying from all corners of the bus. She leans over and asks me if I could pay for her then she would refund me, or even do anything I asked of her. That was the mother of all shockers! How the hell was I going to pat with my five hundred bob for some stranger I met on a bus! She must have been sick. I told her the only cash I had was Kshs. 200, my fare to Ugenya from Kisumu. She told me all she had was Kshs. 70 in her purse, how was that even a concern of mine? That is desperation to you. A sponsor had decided to act up. Maybe a better option just came up. Or the sponsee had humiliated him and he wanted some revenge. When he thought out this plan, he was boiling with hatred I’m certain of that. He wanted it to be perfect, no mistakes. She had to pay. And Miss. Tusker here was paying the price. She wouldn’t suspect any foul play, not if it was well orchestrated. Mr. Deep Voice must have been a sponsor gone rogue.

jagweng

A Letter From The Bush.

Lalur aka fisi.

Dear Nairobians,
Warm Greetings from this other side of the planet. This side of the world you have inconsiderately eaten up in the name of development. It is no wonder ng’etuk (the stray lion) paid you a visit earlier this year. We would have strolled down your streets as well but with the fate that befell my friend ng’etuk am afraid we gonna have to pass.  But as politeness and respect (or fear, call it what you want) would dictate, RIP ng’etuk, we loved you but KWS feared you the most.

Let me introduce myself, they call me lalur here in the jungle, but you know me best as FISI – hyena. I took to writing because you left me no choice. The scuttlebutt reaching me has it that I am all cunniving, calculated, annoyingly narcissistic, and outrageously debauched or perverted. Well, I am writing to set the record straight. In as much as I would want to distant myself from these malicious innuendos, they are half-truths, ok, 99.98% half-truth. However, they in no way portray my true demeanor.
 
You see, these suppositions reached my many wives, concubines, and courtesan and didn’t pass my mistresses. My reputation is now questionable and I am exhausted giving deceitful explanations. I am a generous giver, I love my women equally with no bigotry whatsoever. They all get a part of me whenever and wherever they need. My prowess is exceptional. So I consider it a win-win situation.

Ever since my name started being part of your conversations, I have been having extremely hard time putting my women in their place! What happened to discretion? What happened to clandestineness?  Look, these things take time, it is not for public display. I hear you even formed a SACCO in my name and christened it: MAFISI SACCO!  Now that is just so cheesy!

My honourable name now finding it’s way in clothing lines. Did I say clothing lines? I mean every struggling jobless youth, with some poor graphic skills is using my pristine and prestigious name on some third hand T-shirts to get some coins. Now that hurts. Hurts my ego and pride to the core. Do you ever imagine you can earn a living off that? By soiling my honour?  Did you ever bother asking me for a piece of advice? You thought you had every right, yay? Felt I was too cool too dumb I guess. But now I am out of the bushes. Out to take back my honour. I’ve been watching all the braggadocio the use of my name has brought to your shallow lives.

I hear you even have a feminine version too; fisiress or fisilets, whatever you call it. That’s so silly of you, if you may ask me. That’s like walking into a funeral wake and slapping the bereaved family hot in the cheeks. Or going to a jilted husband and telling him that you are the one who has been laying his wife. It is this insult that prompted me to write you this letter. This protest letter. I’m out of the bushes but nowhere in your streets. Neither here nor there. But I’m here. I can yank kilos of flesh from you anytime, anywhere. But I chose not to. Not now. I wouldn’t let my retaliation be so obvious and predictable. I love being smooth. Call me Mr. Smooth Operator. For now I’ll pretend like nothing happened or is happening. I’ll assume we are friends, friends with lalur wannabes.   

For the sake of standards I want to see upheld, I’ll give you some free advice. Tell you how I want things done, just how they need to be – and not how you, Nairobians, want it to be. To set the record straight; we need to be discrete, we need to conduct our operations the chini ya mawaba way for the sake of our numerous wives and potential wives-to-be. Not a word of our activities should reach them, lest they pull a Bieber-too-late-to-say-sorry crap.

In the interest of haste, I will have to stop here lest the floods get me here. Oh, and my number one concubine is here so shhhhhhhhhh. Quick advice, when you bump into your house on your way home from work, know that mother- nature in no friend of yours and you should stop littering your city. As for us we live by three rules only. Do not get killed, do not die and the third rule is if rule number 2 does not apply, please refer to rule number 1.

I will not be making any appearances in your flooded town and its suburbs, some of us learn from other people’s hard learnt lessons.
Cheers mates.