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Saturday morning events

February 20, 2012 11 comments

Saturday morning I’m awoken by the ringing of my phone. I ignore it hoping the caller will realize he/she is calling a wrong number and hang up. But the person is relentless. So I roll over and search for the phone with one eye slightly open. I want to press the hang-up button and go back to sleep. But then I see it’s my sister calling. You can’t hang up on your sister; especially if she’s celebrating her fourth day of motherhood. I figure she’s calling to tell me that her new born baby just high-fived her. But instead she tells me that my folks were robbed at 2am that night.

I sit up. I’m like what? Were they harmed? Where the hell was the guard? I thought we had an alarm system – Did it choke?  Where was the dog? (Ok our dog wouldn’t scare away a cat but at least it barks). Where were the angels?

She tells me my folks were unharmed and goes ahead to narrate the episode, which will be more interesting if I paraphrase and tell in present tense. Apparently my dad hears some commotion from the verandah and does what a man is expected to do: He gets out of bed saying to his wife “don’t worry honey, I got this” and walks to the sitting room. When he gets to the main door, the glass is broken from outside and a voice dares him to go ahead and sound the alarm. My dad realizes the buglers mean business and says there’s no need of bringing the alarm into this, and instead of them breaking through, they just wait he opens the door so they can go ahead and rob him like the nice robbers that they are.

I figure it must have been a very deep, scary voice that came from outside for him to be that compliant. The thug must have sounded like freaking Hulk. You can imagine being challenged by a dude whose voice sounds like Jimmy Gait’s. I would get my belt and flog him so hard he would reform and join a church choir.

The thugs made away with some cash, the dvd player, my mom’s laptop (how could they), phones – including the new one my mom was admiring last Saturday, and – wait for it – CHARGERS! I mean who risks his life to steal phone chargers? Isn’t it unethical for one to degrade his work like that? The devil himself must be very ashamed of them.

It’s a good thing I was not at home that night. The moment I noticed them picking chargers I would have stopped crying and found the courage to say something like, “oh give me a break guys; chargers? Really? What now are you going to take the salt shaker too? Cheapskates..” And they would all turn towards me. I would hide behind my mommy. Then they would all scramble for the salt shaker before disappearing into the darkness. Dumbass small-timers.

Anyway my sister and I agree I would pass by the city center and buy phones for my folks.

“Umm do you think they will refund me?” I ask.

“What!?” She exclaims.

“Just kidding. Ha ha ha!”

Guys, I wasn’t kidding.

I hang up and get back into the covers. I can’t sleep. I realize I would be quite twisted if I fell asleep after such a chilling story (you bet my sister did not tell it like I have). So I get up and I switch on the tv. I scroll through the channels and I see Whitney’s hits showing on Mtv Base. I find myself something to watch. You can always count on Zuku.

I watch Whitney as I prepare to leave. I have to admit I have never really been swept away by Whitney’s singing. She has never moved me in any way. My style is more of Soulja Boy Tell’em. Just kidding, I hate that kid’s guts. My pal Joy has his photo in her wallet. Child abuse.

We get to the number one song of the countdown. It’s the song is ‘I will always love you’. This one gets my full attention. I’m distracted. I drop what I was doing. My eyes and ears are fixed on the tv. Whitney looks extremely beautiful in this video. Her skin is smooth and flawless. She is calm and collected as she sings. Whitney simply looks FRESH.

Her voice! Her voice is rich. She sings the chorus and I’m in awe. At that point, I realize she’s got the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. It almost sounds too perfect to be real. Her performance is exquisite.  For the first time, I am captivated by Whitney. I am spellbound. The song ends. I start crying. I look for my hanky. I get hysterical. I smell something burning. The iron box! My Sunday best! Shit!

Anyway, the fact is Whitney is legendary. She has left her mark on this world. But over the past week there are some people who’ve managed to get under my skin and crawl beneath it. These are the self-righteous fellows on the social media who’ve been judging and persecuting Whitney because she was a crack-head. These people are acting all sanctimonious you would think they share a room with angel Gabriel. We all have our flaws! No one is perfect. Mr/Miss holiness, why don’t you shift your focus on leaving your mark on this earth. Whitney Houston can boast of 22 AMA awards, six Grammy awards, and an Emmy award among many other accolades!  These people only have certificates and they’re running their mouths.

I’m catching feelings. See you next Monday.

Categories: True_story

Breakout Kings

January 30, 2012 19 comments

If you went through a boys’ boarding high school without ever sneaking out, then you missed out on one hell of a spine-tingling experience. The rush that goes with it is just priceless. What you need to do is to enroll at a high school near you, sneak out, then get back to whatever it is that you are doing. In this post I intend to share with you my thrilling experience of the first time I sneaked through the fences.

Featuring (truants): Lenny, M’mata, Brise, Kunju and of course myself.

I spent my four years of high school at Lenana School, commonly known as Changez. I’m proud to say that I had been a very good boy up at until my final year. I had never sneaked out of school, I had never held a joint between my fingers, never had I even peeked at naked photos of women in a magazine. Ok, the last point maybe once… or twice – who was keeping count? Point is I had been of decorous behavior for the better part of my high school life.

Well that was until one historic Sunday evening. We were walking from the dining hall when a pal suggested we sneak out and go for dancehall night. The club of choice was Beehive. Beehive was a renowned club back in the day despite the fact that it was located at Ngumo. I know what you are thinking, who goes raving at Ngumo? Well that was long before Westlands took over as the prevalent sin city.

The exploit was absolutely impetuous. We acted on a whim. The idea was not even assessed. There was no debate. Convening a study group would have raised more contention. No one thought of the consequences if our plot went south. Brise and the like were not particularly from the Christian Union Brotherhood. No one took the moral high ground.

It was agreed that we would recruit one more person: M’mata, the most spirited and spontaneous person you will ever meet. We would then go to our respective dormitories, change into decent clothes and go for Dancehall night. I had attended enough Social Studies classes and Mrs. Njoroge had time and again warned us about succumbing to peer-pressure. But there was no way I was going to be a wet blanket.

Walking across the open, expansive rugby pitch towards the thicket fence was like walking through enemy territory. There was a chance a watchman would spot us and blow the whistle. The tension was evident as we strode across. But we remained cool. If I were alone I would have folded under the pressure and taken for the fence at full speed. But I trusted my boys. They had experience.

We were soon on the other side of the world. There was life on this side. No lethargic looks of people bogged down by tedious coursework. No dullness owing to the constraints of conformity. Out here people moved and behaved as they pleased. The unrestricted manner in which people went about their business was comforting. It filled me with excitement.

Well that’s until a woman saw us as we were walking past her shanty and yelled, “nyinyi si ni vijana wa shule? Wacha nipigie headmaster wenyu saa hii.” (aren’t you boys students? I am calling your headmaster right away)!

We dropped our cool at that woman’s doorstep and ran like possessed boys. Thinking about it now, running seems a bit dumb. It’s not like our headmaster would have dropped his dinner on the floor, asked his wife to get him his running shoes and come after us. It’s not like the principal would visit the woman with a pencil and plain paper and ask her to sketch our faces. But you don’t think along those lines at such times.

We connected matatus and got to Ngumo. My pals were veterans.They knew how it was done. Before we hit the club we passed by Kenyata Market for some nyama choma.

When we got to the club, each one of us was required to part with a hundred bob. We paid and we got receipts. But when we got to the main entrance, we were all frozen. You know how kids wearing Mohawks are normally asked to present their IDs at the entrance, the bouncer didn’t even bother asking us to show him ours (I have mentioned before just how tiny I was back in high school, haven’t I). He just pushed us aside. Even after we showed him our receipts!

We were flustered. There’s no way we were going to spend the night out in the cold after taking such a huge risk. We pleaded and pleaded. But our efforts were futile. Luckily, the club owner happened to step out for some fresh air and recognized Kunju. They chatted briefly and he instructed the bouncer to let us in. Kunju was our savior. If we knew better we would have pulled that bouncer’s nose. In turns.

I was finally in a club for the first time in my life. I vividly remember how it was inside. It was hot and humid. The air smelled like a merger of BAT and KBL. It reeked of intoxicants. The music was so loud it threatened to blow off my eardrums. My eyes struggled to adjust to the smoke-filled, dimly-lit surrounding. I discerned a lady in hot pants gyrating next to a table. Seated directly in front of her was a man gawking at her lustfully. There were happy faces scattered all over. Tables were covered with beer bottles. People were enjoying themselves.

We took sits around a table and my friends ordered for beer. I asked for ginger ale. I spent most of the night observing, quietly absorbing the nightlife. But that’s a story for another day. This post is about the sneaking part.

The most dramatic part of our escapade was getting back to school. We left the club at around 4am and had to walk to Ngong road where we would take a mat. On the way we passed right in front of Brise’s home. If his mom had peeped through her bedroom window she would have seen his drunken son staggering by.

It was still too early in the morning and there were no matatus when we got to the stage. Lenny, M’mata and I sat on the bench at the stage while Brise and Kunju sprawled themselves on the edge of a culvert, and fast fell asleep. Of all the boys, myself excluded, Lenny was the soberest.

While looking out for a matatu, I happened to see a police landrover approaching. I thought I was being paranoid and I asked Lenny to confirm. He confirmed my fears. We both watched it as it approached. The scariest part was when it started slowing down as it drew nearer. My heart was exploding in my chest. The five of us were the only ones at the stage. Normally boys run under such circumstances. But we were flat-footed. Brise, Kunju and M’mata were oblivious of what was happening. They had blacked out. The vehicle came close to a halt directly ahead of us and I could see the cops’ heads turned towards us.

Lenny and I sat there staring back at them. And somehow, as unbelievable as it sounds, they drove away without bothering us. The relief we felt was so immense. We woke up the boys so we could narrate the close shave. As hair-raising as our story was, two of them went back to sleep midway through.

We soon got a matatu. A few minutes later we alighted and took a winding dirt road towards the school fence. When we were about a hundred meters from our entry point, dogs started barking hysterically. They barked like we were Chinese. We knew they must have caught the attention of the watchmen. We therefore had to regroup. We split and I paired with Lenny. I had shared a dormitory with him since form one and I trusted his judgment. Before parting with the rest, we made a pact not to squeal in case any of us got caught.

Lenny and I walked towards an alternate entry point. But as soon as we got to the fence a dog came scurrying towards us. Behind it was a watchman bearing a torch trying to keep up with it. We stood still as posts behind the thicket fence. The dog was barking menacingly on the other side as the watchman tried to peek through. Luckily for us, he was not as keen. After searching for a few seconds, he turned and walked away. We could see numerous flashlights hovering around the rugby pitch. It was evident the principal had instructed the watchmen to be on high alert on receiving the phone call from the snitching woman.

The pitch was a no-go zone. I turned to Lenny for a way forward only to be met by a defeated look on his face. He even suggested, as a last resort, we back off and come back later through the main gate and say we had been sent home for school fees. It was not a good idea as it meant shopping for school uniform. We decided to keep walking along the fence and see if we could find an unmanned opening.

Lenana School can as well be a province on its own. The school is expansive. It would take the whole KDF to have all the openings covered.  We squeezed ourselves between some barbed wires and made it into the compound. The walk between the fence and the dormitory was the longest walk of my life. It felt like walking across the Sahara. Mind you we were not in school uniform. We crashed at the closest dormitory. We waited till time for breakfast, borrowed school attire and went to our dormitory. All my friends made it in.

Later on the teacher who had been on duty the previous evening came to my class and demanded to know where I was during prep time. I came up with some flimsy excuse and got punished. The punishment involved washing the dormitory. I have never undertaken a punishment so enthusiastically. My own house has never been scrubbed with half the dedication. I undertook the punishment like it was part of my grades.

I have done some pretty crazy stuff in my lifetime, but this could easily count as my most thrilling experience.

Categories: True_story

A toast to the New Year

January 2, 2012 9 comments

Happy New Year people! Glad to see you made it to 2012. The world didn’t end (though there’s still the Mayan prophesy), and those al-shabaab fuckers didn’t succeed in blowing our heads off. Kudos to our government for providing adequate security.

Aren’t Kenyans the craziest lot? You would have expected people to stay indoors as a result of the threats. We’re clearly not little sissies. We came out partying like the world was about to end. Literally. Clubs were packed and folks were even willing to pay an entrance fee of ksh1200 for the Ilcovo beach party despite the risk of getting blown straight into the Indian ocean. The al-shabaab better soon realize we are the BOMB.

Folks, the dreaded month of January is with us. The wallet has probably been demoted to a card holder but don’t panic folks, end month is only 29 days away.

2011 was one heck of a year. It had its moments, both ups and downs. There were moments of triumphs (like when they nabbed Osama), and frustrating moments when you just wanted to smack someone so hard they woke up ten days into the new year. That were moments of jubilation, and moments of sheer sadness. All in all we made it through in one piece. And that’s something to be grateful for.

31st of December could count as one of the best nights of 2011 but I’m still not sure whether it was a win or a fail. I think the coastal heat took a toll on me and my friends because we reasoned like seven sheep and three goats. It’s understandable when one person experiences a blonde moment but when it happens to a whole damn group then that’s something else. It’s even worse if it’s not just a moment but a whole night.

We took an oath and swore to bury that story. And we buried it so deep underground it’s probably sitting on the dusty roof of hell. I might just exhume it one day and share the embarrassing account.

After failing the intelligence test so pitifully that night, my friends and I made some impromptu resolutions. We decided it’s probably wise to postpone any academic plans till 2013. We decided that we’re going to keep away from any intellectual group discussions this year. Heck we should just keep away from groups, leave alone discussions.

Moving on swiftly, starting this blog is definitely one of the highlights of last year. I published my first post on the 31st of October 2011, and each Monday I have posted an article. Well apart from the 26th of December. I figured you had more fascinating gifts to open on Boxing Day. Nine blog posts later, I could say this blog has become an integral part of my life.

Through this blog I have interacted with all sorts of characters. Some have applauded my efforts while others thought I should find a more suiting hobby, like ostrich farming or something. One pal wrote me a message on facebook and said that my ‘compositions are so highschool’.

I wish I could say that people’s opinions don’t really matter. That I only do this for myself. But that would be like saying that I can’t wait to get back on my desk to work. The truth is that I wanted to hunt him down and go all Jack Bauer on his mouthy a**.

I’m glad some of you find this blog entertaining, or inspirational, or whatever it is that brings you back here every week. You keep it going and you are much appreciated.

The year also had it’s upsets. But it’s quite difficult to share your failures because it exposes you. Regardless, I think it’s prudent to take some time to think through your setbacks. It’s the only way to better yourself.

Whenever you stumble and fall you should get up, dust yourself and look back just to see what tripped you so you can leap over the next time around. Of course if you keep stumbling on the same block then you should find something else to do. Ostrich farming would be a viable option.

So take time off and figure out why things didn’t work out. Like why you got dumped, again. Or why that business you opened closed down since you had only one customer (who was probably a relative); and most importantly, if you can do things better the next time around.

We do not have control over everything that happens to us but we do have a say. Our destiny is mostly shaped by the consequences of our actions. Maybe if you hadn’t gone to the barman for blessings as you were starting that business it could have picked up.

My resolutions are simple. For starters, I would like to keep writing consistently. This blog got a better reception than I had anticipated. Some people, including my sister, suspected I plagiarize my posts. I found that quite encouraging. I will try to write even when I feel like Bruno Mars in Lazy Song.

I would like to be a better person. I will try to be more accommodating and patient with people. I will try not to be smart-mouthed when a colleague calls I.T support because the lift is not working (true story by the way). I will try not to step on any toes.

There’s so much to look forward to this year. For sports lovers there’s the African cup of nations, Euro 2012, as well the Olympics. And of course for the violent idiots there’s the elections. I sure hope Kenyans will be smarter this time.

Well I’m still on holiday. I’m 500kms away from my laptop and typing from my phone is quite exhausting. I will therefore conclude by encouraging you to set reasonable goals, and work tirelessly towards achieving them. Do not lose sight of your ambitions.

I wish you all a prosperous 2012.

Categories: True_story

It’s a Holiday

December 19, 2011 12 comments

You know it is holiday season when you enter the estate at 6pm after work and you run into a bunch of noisy, frenzied kids running and screaming all over the place. Nothing like December holiday. These kids bring back nostalgic memories. During my days I would get out of the house as soon as my parents left for work and return at sunset looking like I’d just escaped from a refugee camp. I would go back home covered in dust, with torn pants and grazes on my knees, and in extreme cases, with only one shoe, or some other kid’s shoes.

However as delightful as these kids may seem, you better be wary around them. A kid could take you down. There’s this time I bought mandazis in the estate and as I was returning my wallet into the pocket a kid thought it was the mandazis that I was stuffing in the pocket! I heard childish voice exclaiming, “Gai mandazi kwa mfuko!” (omg stuffing donuts in the pocket). My wallet is brown and it was at dusk and it hit me when I was already several steps away what the kid had assumed. I turned and saw her staring at me with her hands clapped over her mouth in amazement. Right then I knew I was doomed.

Of course that story made headlines and she shared with all and sundry. Now all the kids in my hood know I am the creepy weirdo who stuffs mandazis in his pocket. I’m sure even her parents, grandmother and all her dolls know they have a spooky mandazi-pocketing neighbor. My street cred has since dropped to a negative.

More than once I’ve tried saving face by telling her it was my wallet and not mandazis, but she would hear none of it. I’ve even tried wooing her by buying her some. Unfortunately all my efforts have been futile. Everytime we meet she looks at me with widened, doll eyes and a half-smile. She terrorizes me. I didn’t know 5 year olds could make your life so difficult.

I think I should get back at her. I suppose the best revenge would be to tell her that Santa is a sham. Now that should settle the score. I should just tell her that Santa is a fraudulent cock-and-bull. That even tooth-ferries know that Santa is a load of BS. Then watch her burst into tears and run to her mama.

But I’m not that mean. It’s holiday season for crying out loud. You don’t burst a kid’s bubble when Christmas is around the corner. I’ll wait till January when schools are opening, and she’s outside the gate wearing a long face as she waits for that Riara school bus, then I’ll break the news. I’ll tell her she’s more likely to find a baby mermaid chilling inside her desk than to ever see Santa crawling down her chimney. I’m gonna get you kid.

Anyway folks it’s that vibrant time of the year!

The weather is bright and the mood is right. The streets are colorful and the atmosphere, simply wonderful. A pal of mine says in December everyday is Friday. According to him it’s inexcusable to pass on a chance of making merry during the festive season, even if chance pops up on a lose Tuesday.

I agree with him. If you’ve been working hard all year, you would be excused for spoiling yourself a little. Don’t be too judgmental if on your way to work, at 7am, you have to side-step a sloshed staggering lad.  Cut a bratha some slack and substitute that stabbing glare and the impulsive mscheew with a “happy holidays,” said with a broad smile.

I’m even willing to excuse those people who laugh out too loud. I don’t know about you but when a person roars shamelessly in a restaurant or a matatu I get tempted to smack off their voice box. I understand there are some really funny pips out there but good gracious does one have to laugh like they just went schizophrenic? I’m sure even the Almighty didn’t laugh as loud when folks came tumbling down the Tower of Babel. Anyway since its December, if someone laughs like that, I will not give him that disgusted look. Who knows maybe that’s their way of celebrating the birth of Christ. Before I sneer at them I will ask myself one question: What would Jesus do?

So be happy folks. Smile even when you don’t have to and don’t let anyone put you down. Refrain from sticking out your middle finger and cursing when a matatu driver cuts you off. Refrain from yelling at a guard when you’re late for an appointment and he’s busy frisking you like you got ‘al-shabaab strong’ tattooed on your forehead. Refrain from kicking a kid when he runs into you with his bicycle (happened to me in the estate and I forgot to smile). Don’t let anyone spoil your mood.

Try to be nice. I know being nice does not come naturally in this part of town but just give it a try. If you have a chance of putting a smile on someone else’s face, do it. I was jazzed on Saturday night when a friend stopped to say hi to a street child, and then she put her hand around the little boy and led us to a restaurant where she bought him a packet of fries. I don’t know if it was the December vibe that had checked in but she was feeling sufficiently philanthropic. Her compassion put a smile on a little boy’s face. She was so concerned I think if the clubs were not so strict miss humanitarian would have taken the kid straight to the dance floor. I have to say that seeing the expression on the face of that little boy as she handed him the fries was profoundly touching. God bless your kind heart ‘Mother Teresa’.

So just try to be nice. It might not seem like much to you but a random act of kindness might mean the world to somebody else.

I am excited this festive season and I hope you are too. Things might be tough but I’m sure each one us has a reason to celebrate, no matter the circumstances. On Friday night, at around 11pm, I met a bunch of destitute kids excitedly running around town singing ‘we wish you a merry Christmas.’ Clearly, it’s never that serious.

You might think you’ve hit rock bottom but wallowing in your troubles and curling yourself in that fetal position as you cry yourself to sleep won’t help. Dress up, get out and meet your friends and laugh your troubles away.

In that regard, I am officially not turning down any opportunity to make merry. If you have a plan and you need some folks over, contact me. I promise not to disappoint. P.K I am not letting you down again. No more disappearing acts. Just don’t make guys drink like you heard our kidneys needed a swim.

So folks, have yourselves a good one. Here’s to wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you on the 2nd of January 2012.

Categories: True_story

My ailing, ‘kind-hearted’ self

November 28, 2011 9 comments

I’ve had this awesome fiction story in my mind all week. Unfortunately when I put my fingers on the keyboard I just couldn’t bring it out the way I’d pictured it. It came out like a poorly acted Nigerian movie. So I decided to give it sometime. I might just get a revelation. In the meantime I will tell you about the highlights of the previous week. You see the best thing about blogging is that as long your eyes and ears are in good working condition, there’s always something trying to make its way into your blog.  There’s always a story trying to shape itself. I need my eyes and ears now more than ever. The only thing that would petrify me more than losing those would be ED. A man needs his tools.

So last Monday I woke up at 6:30am as usual, switched on my laptop, did some final touches on the week’s blog, published it, and then went back to bed. My alarm had gone off in the middle of a fascinating dream and I was hoping it would continue. Nah, not really. I was unwell. My chest was all congested, like I had been up all night smoking a packet of Rosta after another. I was whizzing like my lungs had formed a duet. For once I did not need to exaggerate when I called my boss to tell him that I would not be reporting to work. The way I sounded, he would have offered to call me an ambulance. Anyway, it was too early to go to hospital and I did not feel like I would die if I got one more hour of sleep.

I was surprised when I got to the hospital and the waiting room was deserted. I thought Mondays was the preferred day to fall sick. By show of hands, who has ever gone to the hospital on a Monday morning because a hangover was killing you?

A nurse led me to a small room where she took my blood pressure, temperature and weight. I wondered if all that had anything to do with a congested chest. I mean my lungs might have felt as heavy as cement bags but I was sure they had not gained that much weight. But what do I know? I only diagnose computers.

I was then ushered into the doctor’s room, and she welcomed me warmly. She literally did. As soon as I sat she asked me if it was my first time at that hospital branch. When I said it was, she said “Karibu sana.” It was a good gesture but I suppose there are places you don’t welcome people. It’s not like I was going there to have breakfast. It’s not any different from welcoming someone into a morgue. It’s the same as someone saying to you “Feel at home,” as you enter a morgue.

But she was nice. She did not seem like the kind of doctor that enjoys sticking needles into peoples’ behinds. She didn’t seem like the kind of doctor that would go on strike and let patients operate themselves. This one seemed like a modest doctor. She proceeded to ask me how I was feeling as she placed her stethoscope on my chest. That’s a doctor’s thing isn’t it? The same way a clergyman has to open his Bible while doing his thing. The same way teachers walk into class with a cane (it was obligatoryin my days). There’s probably a doctor who’s used a stethoscope on someone who walked in broken a leg.

Anyway she thought my condition was so bad I needed Nebulization. That scared me. It sounded like one of those excruciating procedures Dr. House enjoys doing. Like one of those procedures that involve being stabbed on the chest with a monstrous syringe. The doctor saw the fright on my face and she proceeded to inform me that it was just a simple procedure that would help decongest my chest. I wanted to ask her if it involved any blades or injections but I didn’t want to seem like a little sissy. So I nodded my head like I’m used to nebulization; like it’s what I do whenever I have free time. She called a nurse and asked her to prep me.

A few seconds later a nurse walked in and asked me follow her. She took me to a small room that had a bed and a chair. I wasn’t sure which one to take so I just stood there. She opened some drawers and the first thing she pulled out was a box written Resuscitator on the side. Now that scared me shitless! I didn’t care about seeming like a sissy anymore and I asked her if there’s a risk of me passing out during nebulization. I asked her if cardiac arrest was one of the side effects of this treatment. And she laughed and told me the box wasn’t for me. I think she’d done that intentionally just to see if I’d wet my pants. Miss mean nurse that was very unnecessary.

If I wasn’t gasping so badly I would have taken off. She asked me if it was the first time I was being nebulized. I told her I might have seen Dr. House do it on tv once but I wasn’t paying much attention. She laughed. She had an adorable laughter and I suppose her trainer had told her to use it more often to calm her patients. It was however not working for me. All I cared to know was whether someone was going to rip apart my chest.

You have no idea how relieved I was to learn that all the procedure involved was inhaling from a face mask attached to some device that administers some medicinal spray. It wasn’t half as bad as I had assumed. I even got to read some blogs while at it.

Nebulization helped. I felt like I could run a marathon. But I still had to wear a grim face since I needed a sick-off note. Madam Doctor was in a good mood and she wrote me a sick-note without fussing. Doctors do not have Monday blues do they? As long as no slum catches fire on a Monday, the day will be just like any other.

My chest took it’s time to heal. I was unwell for the better part of the week although my condition was improving by the day. I hope that is the last time I fall ill this year. You see this week ushers in the great month of December (and pay day as well!). I love this time of the year. Unless you are a goat or a chicken, you have all the reasons to look forward to this festive time. I wouldn’t want to fall sick while people are devouring ribs. And I wish you all sound health as we draw to the end of the year.

On another unrelated note, I picked up a phone at a restaurant near Wilson toward the end of last week. Someone had left an N96 on the couch. There’s no way I would fall ill again if I gave it back, I thought. Surely that act of kindness should at least atone me.  I’ve pissed Karma severally over the recent past and I thought that was my chance to set things straight. So I snooped in the messages and contacted a chick they’d been communicating that afternoon.

She told me she was at Hurlingham and she would come for the phone. An hour later she called me and when I went to meet her, she got out of the car and hugged me so excitedly you would think we were childhood friends. She couldn’t believe that I was giving back a lost phone and she went on to shower me with compliments. “I didn’t think angels still exist….”

I started feeling like she was talking about another person. I’m not that nice. I highly doubt my friends would describe me as a cordial person. Stealing might not be my area of expertise but I sure as hell got my bagful of ugly traits. I wanted to let her know that I’m not as righteous as she had assumed so I told her I’d snooped in the messages. She blushed a little then said it was the smart thing to do since I was able to decide whom to contact. I gave up. I decided to go with the notion that maybe I’m not such a scoundrel after all. She took out her purse and handed me a five hundred shilling note. Of course I was like “you don’t have to,” as I snatched it. The owner of the phone never called to express his gratitude but I hope he was kind enough to refund her.

She asked me if I was in a hurry to go back to work and I told her I could spare a few minutes for a little chitchat. She was a bubbly, amiable lady. She told me she’s just completed a course in medicine and she is to be posted in Nyeri for her internship. She was not so amused about that. My old man is from Nyeri so I told her I could give her my grandma’s contacts so they can be hanging out.

I asked her if she’s passionate about medicine, and she told me it is what she wants to do. I’m always envious of people who have figured out what they were put on this world to do, and they do it passionately. I did computer science in campus. I should be fixing those computers like it’s the last thing I want to do. When I have nothing to do I should be disassembling my laptop and then reassembling it just for amusement. But I’m busy typing. Clearly I’m still a bit confused.

Categories: True_story Tags: , ,

The Three Characters And The Fuel Tanker

November 21, 2011 14 comments

A few weeks ago I had one heck of a bus trip from Mombasa to Nairobi. Three characters in the same bus as me made this particular journey remarkable. They made it worth writing about. I’m glad they sacrificed church that Sunday and took the 11:30am bus to Nairobi. They made my journey worthwhile.

The first was a young girl of about 20 years of age who sat next to me throughout the journey. Initially she had come off as a don’t-care. Her unbound braids were all over her face and from the way she chewed her gum you could tell she did not give a hoot if ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ was a food campaign or a lobby advocating for gay rights. But I was soon to learn that her nonchalance was merely a façade. I forgot to ask her name so for the purposes of this post we’ll name her Mwanaisha.

The second one was an elderly man who appeared to be in his sixties. He was seated on the opposite aisle, one sit in front of me. He had a coat on despite the fact that it was like fifty degrees Celsius. When I first noticed him, he was reading the paper through some thick lenses that hung on the tip of his nose.

The last character was the driver. He was seated at the back seat. Just kidding.

Drama started even before the trip began. When I got into the bus, Mwanaisha was sitting pretty on seat number 28. This was the window seat that I had paid for. When I told her that she was on my space, she snobbishly mumbled something inaudible and turned to the window. She had so much confidence that I had to pull out my receipt to confirm. My seat number was still 28.

You see good times only last till that time when you have to resume normalcy. I’d just spent a splendid weekend at the Coast and having to say my goodbyes had altered my mood. Pesky Mwanaisha had chosen the wrong person to mess with. I lashed at her and she reluctantly moved, probably wishing she had not tried to be such a hard-head.

We were soon on the highway. This is when it all began. Apparently the driver needed to get to Nairobi faster than the rest of us. Seeing any vehicle ahead of him made him sick. He stepped on it like he was trying to be number one on the road. And on several occasions, while overtaking, he would realize he had underestimated the distance between him and an oncoming vehicle. He would therefore put all his weight behind the brake pad.

This would result in very interesting reactions from my characters.

Mwanaisha would squeal. She would exclaim in a certain high-pitched voice that only a pig in a slaughter house can produce. In fact since the first occurrence the poor girl had her neck stretched out. She watched the road ahead over the seats. She had lost faith in the driver and she offered an extra pair of eyes. I must admit the driver scared me too. But only when he stepped on the brakes like he was killing a cockroach. But Mwanaisha was on the alert throughout. She was terrified. I could tell she thought she was on a ride to the pearly gates of heaven. At some point I felt sorry for her so I tried to help.

“Maybe if you strapped your seatbelt you would feel safer.” I teased.

She actually took my suggestion seriously. She deliberated for a second or two then searched for the belt and strapped herself.

“Don’t worry; we will get to town safely. I have to live to feature you in my blog.” I continued.

“What’s a blog?” She asked.

blogi.” I explained.

Nini?”

I plugged back my earphones.

Meanwhile character number two, the elderly man, had fallen asleep. He was least bothered. Whenever the driver floored the break pad, he would open his eyes slightly then adapt a more comfortable sleeping position. It’s like he had made a pact with the almighty and was sure we would get to our destination in one piece. For a while his composure gave me some form of relief. But this was before it occurred to me that maybe he had achieved his lifelong dreams and did not mind joining the angels up in heaven. He looked content; like he had seen all there is to see in life. Maybe, unlike Mwanaisha, he was not so scared of leaving this earth. I wished I could pick his mind. His composure was unnerving.

The driver was just a nutcase. Every time he made the hairs at the back of our necks stand, he would curse and gesticulate furiously at the other driver, sometimes in Arabic. It was never his fault. You would think he was the reason the highway was reconditioned. He was one angry driver. At some point the passengers ganged up against him. All it took was one person to start the uprising. He shouted from the back and informed the driver that he had a family awaiting him at home. Then everyone suddenly found the courage to speak up. This upset him even more. He had a psycho look on him that made me uneasy. I’m sure for a minute there he considered driving us into a trailer. But he slowed down. And I finally got to sit back, listen to my music, and let my mind wander.

Everything was going great until the bus slowed down, almost coming to a halt. I opened my eyes to see if there was a dik dik crossing the road. Of course anxious Mwanaisha already had her neck stretched out. A fuel tanker had overturned hence causing traffic. It was in the middle of nowhere. There was no single shelter in sight, just vast, pristine land. But what surprised me was that a crowd of people with buckets and jerricans had already gathered to salvage the fuel. The place was so desolate and I wondered where the hell they had appeared from. How had they even found out there was free fuel? I mean my phone did not have even a single bar of network signal. I looked around to see if there was a bonfire; maybe a wanderer had used smoke signals to summon his fellow villagers. The place was so dry I was afraid if a metal can happened to graze the gravel a fierce fire would ignite. But those people seemed oblivious of the looming danger.

I did not blame them though. I understood they might not have heard of the Sinai fire tragedy. They seemed healthy so I figured communication must be their biggest challenge. I mean the place was so remote they probably still had messengers traversing the plains with nothing but animal skin covering their groins. I figured they needed the fuel for ritual sacrifices. Or maybe for lynching a witch. Who knows?

Anyway we got to Nairobi in one piece. And I imagined the driver was furious because we had thwarted his aspirations of being number one to reach town. I imagined Mwanaisha had a stiff neck, and mr. sleeper needed a cyropracter to treat his aching joints. Well I needed to find a public toilet, or a bush. Badly!

Categories: True_story

Among the flock

November 14, 2011 12 comments

I went to church yesterday. Oh yes I did! I must admit it had been quite a while. Last Sunday I was too exhausted after attending Safaricom 7s the previous day (exhausted here might be euphemism for nursing a hangover).  And you know folks there don’t watch rugby while sipping on afia juice; last week but one I was at the Coast. Not that they do not have churches there but… you know. The week before that, there was RWC finals. And the service was to start just before All Blacks performed the Haka. Let’s just say the last time I attended service might be sometime ago when Prophet Harold Camping predicted doomsday. Anyway I cleaned up, dressed like a church-goer, picked up a pen, a notebook and my Bible and went to church. Ok I who am I kidding?

People go to church for varied reasons. But I believe the main reason is to seek solace. The most defining thing about life is that you can never be sure what tomorrow will bring. We therefore go to God for guidance and protection. We go to Him so He can watch over us even as we transgress. And on Sundays we go before Him looking all remorseful, hoping He will look past our indiscretions and still call us His children.

Anyway I got to church and took my sit on the third last pew. I never sit at the backbench since that day I sat next to a dude who smelled like a brewery. I mean this guy was still intoxicated and I could tell that he had come straight from the rave. Every time he reached for his handkerchief I was afraid he would unleash a quarter of Kenya Cane; or God forbid a pack of trust condoms escapes and falls right in front of me. Thankfully it was not communion Sunday because this chap was only one wine tot away from a blackout. I had to share a hymn book with him and I think I heard him humming to “no retreat no surrender” as we sang Rock of Ages!

I also shy away from the front seat lest a demon is exorcized and it comes looking for the least righteous person in the congregation. That’s when you would actually appreciate the drunken believer.

Anyway when I got in there was a man on the podium who was on his third point on why we should give tithe. I was about to turn right back but I realized the first service was concluding so it was giving time. I therefore decided to be a bit more patient. After the pep talk on tithing he went on to talk about the importance of ‘giving’ selflessly. He mentioned something like “you honour your Father with your offering.” Coincidentally (or maybe not) this was just as an usher presented me with the money bag. You don’t unleash a 50bob note after such a statement. I had to dig deeper into my wallet. Smart move Pastor.

The second service was soon in progress, and a guest by the name Florence Muriethi was introduced. I’m not really good with names but this one I remember. There was cheering and ululation from the crowd as soon as her name was mentioned and I thought she must have been the one with the keys to eternity. Apparently Florence is an icon in the gospel music industry, and I might have been the only one in the congregation who did not know her. Of course I was determined not to give away my ignorance so I clapped and smiled like she was my favorite gospel singer.

I must admit I appreciated her as soon as she began to sing. Unlike Avril and Marya, Florence has an idea what she is doing. She sings from the heart. She recedes into her own zone when she sings. I could tell she does not do it for the masses. She connects with the words in her songs and she sings for her God. She has an amazing voice too. Apparently the Almighty had done some miraculous things in her life and this was evident as she sang. I must say she blessed me. I’ve just seen one of her songs, Omba, is on youtube. If you need some divine intervention you can check it out. Don’t be shy. I’m sure Rihanna would do just fine without one more hit.

Florence clearly set the mood right since prayer time ensued and people spoke in tongues! I’d definitely like to speak in tongues some day. Seems like a really nice place to be at. How does one get there anyway?

Mr. Preacher was just about to take the podium, and I was eager. You see there are all kinds of preachers out there. There are those preachers that always leave you inspired and revitalized; those that talk about blessings and good things that are bound to happen in your life; those that re-assure you and give you renewed energy and zeal to face this life. Joel Osteen comes to mind.

Then there are those that will make you feel like you’re Satan’s deputy. They will rebuke you so hard by the time they are done you will either volunteer to walk to the front and get them demons cast out of you; or you will walk out and it will take an end time prophecy to get you back to church.

Of course there are always the weird ones: There are some that feel the need to apply some crazy antics while delivering the word. You know those that will go to the extent of doing a cartwheel on the dais.

Anyway the preacher of the day was introduced. He seemed descent. He walked gracefully to the podium and I was keen to hear what he had in store for me. He almost fit my picture of the ideal preacher. If only he had a white dove perched on his shoulder…

I have to admit this article struck me while still in church. Yap the church is meant to inspire in many ways. I thought this would be one of those posts that will actually add value to your life. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when the preacher took the microphone and started ranting about some fund raising function to be held the following week. He went on and on for a good fifteen minutes and I could not take it anymore. I was upset and I got up to leave. As I was walking out, I heard him cite something profound; something I took home with me. I have no idea how he arrived at this but he mentioned something like: “CONFESSION MAKETH POSSESSION.” Now that’s something to think about isn’t it?