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Miraa Chronicles

Miraa chewing

I will tell you something we people of Maua don’t like hearing but is true. Miraa is a drug! That’s right and I’m saying it again, Miraa is a drug.

Read: Baite Inside! Yes, I am Meru

But then, so is weed, and alcohol, and coffee, and tea. Especially coffee and tea – those are the closest there is to Miraa. It all depends on the amount you take.

See, when we veveka, we do it from early evening, around 5:00 pm to past midnight. Imagine for a minute, taking that much coffee, and what it would do to your mind. It would not make you mad, or impotent, or anything dramatic, but it will stimulate you so much you will hallucinate.

And you will hear, or have heard stories of miraa exploits.

One evening, Kero, Musila, Awilo and others are enjoying a giant session of miraa at Plot 10. The fun with miraa is you can chew it anywhere and have all the fun. So, they are seated outside with their sodas and cheeks full of the green gold. Why am I not outside with them? It’s because I am addicted to this desktop computer I bought after getting the long awaited Census 2009 money. So, I’m designing graphics using Microsoft Word, while giving them a dose of reggae.

Miraa and Roots Reggae are twins.

This goes on till very late, 3:00 in the morning, when I see Awilo at the door staring at me helplessly, holding his cheeks like a poor, distressed boy. I ask him what he’s doing.

“I want to get in the house”

“This is not a classroom, man. Do I have to tell you to get in?”

“Can’t you see I can’t fit on the door?”

“What”

“Look at these horns.” He says, pushing his cheeks in. “Pull me in.”

It takes me a few minutes worrying what could be going on. Who has bewitched this gallant soldier? You know how it is back in the village, the best are bewitched by jealous neighbours. But I don’t fear witchcraft, so, I walk to the door, and take his desperately outstretched hand. He comes in, thanking me profusely for saving his ass.

He gets into bed, the same bed that has like 4 other grown people, male and female, and I go back to my Virtual DJ. Occasionally, he is apologizing to the rest of the occupants for pricking them with his horns.

That’s handas.

Where’s the itch?

Miraa is best enjoyed in a kiosk. That’s why there are Miraa kiosks. You sit on benches and crates and chase veve with soda, coffee, njugu karanga and most importantly, stories. Stories of national importance and development. Because that’s what Miraa does to you – it activates your reasoning.

Meru Miraa Ruto Linturi

Like so | Image: The Star

When I get into politics, which is never, I’ll move a bill to have parliament sessions done with Miraa. This country will be visionary.

And the stories shika. Like, a lot. Everyone presents their ideas, and everyone contributes with real life experiences and examples. A piece in the news (there’s always a TV or radio and reggae is paused when news come on) can be discussed for 5 hours, whatever that news is. Like that time we discussed the over-subscribed Safaricom shares, which some of the participants in the room, as villagey as they were, had bought.

So, a couple of guys are seated on a bench enjoying their veve and stories. Kimathi feels an itch on the leg… And he stretches his hand to scratch the itch off. He even closes his eyes to enjoy the scratch, which he carries on for almost a minute. Kujikuna is always sweet.

Only that he is not scratching his leg – he is enjoying kunaing someone else. The other guy barely notices, but other people see, simply raise eyebrows and go back to their stories.

Miraa comes with itches, especially when you feel like scratching the back of your head, that’s handas manifesting.

Rebuilding KICC

Have you heard building castles in the air? With Miraa, you are super rich, super powerful. You see possibilities everywhere. Things flow. In your mind.

Like this time we were redoing KICC, giving it a fresh outlook, making it much taller that World Trade Centre which was the tallest building we knees. We event repainted it dark green, with the Safaricom green between the windows.

We even replaced Jomo Kenyatta’s statue with Bob Marley in rasta colours. Oh, it was a glorious sight.

3 grown men and a lady, seated in Uhuru Park, changing the Nairobi landscape.

KICC

What is we redesigned the Nairobi landscape? | WikiCommons

You should try to chew while studying, man! That’s what helped us as we approached those CPA exams. Again, things flowed. The only problem was keeping the mid from wandering. Because one minute you are here, the next minute you are playing Drogba’s position in Chelsea FC.

That’s handas.

This Bus is Cheaper

And I think that’s what was troubling one legend, I don’t remember his name. But he was out vevekaing in one of those Moi Avenue clubs (btw, clubs should stop banning Miraa, even if we spit green stuff everywhere, we are much more peaceful than the drunkards).

Where were were? See my mind wandering. Yes, so, this legend decides to go home, and there are no matatus. He asks a taxi guy how much it would cost to take him to Umoja and the guy says Sh. 1,500… which out guy doesn’t have. So, he keeps walking down the street – Accra Road, and comes across those Mombasa buses. The tours are shouting it’s Sh. 800 to Mombasa.

You know what happens next. Long story short, handas start ending in Mtito Andei.

Have you ever heard the Meru hip hop song called I Kalaa Ndarîte (It’s Miraa I had chewed) by Maua’s finest Red C Media? Well, it gives outlandish Miraa experiences like, seeing a millipede and thinking it’s a train, seeing a grasshopper and thinking it’s a helicopter, a frog that looked like a boat, hearing clear voices, and others.

The song was understandably banned from social spaces and met with a clap back called Tî Kalaa i Mîtî îngî oorîte (It’s not Miraa you had chewed, it’s other plants you had eaten/smoked).

I think the second one was truer. Miraa handas shows you things, but not that manner of things.

Ama namna gani?


Image Credits: The Star (Main image)

What’s on your Mind?

The other day, I was taking Jeddy to hospital. Then, I also decided to have a small check up – mostly because it’s completely free in that hospital if you have NHIF, otherwise I wouldn’t have because health care is too expensive to go around getting checked if you aren’t sick. You feel me? 🙂

Anyway, as the doctor was taking my vitals, he asked me if I ran to the hospital. Of course I hadn’t. I don’t run unless I’m being chased, which I haven’t been since when I was being Initiated into Nairobi and muggers wanted to show me who owns the city.

He looked concerned in that awkward way doctors look concerned but are trying not to show they are concerned.

He said, “we’ll check again, because your blood pressure is quite high.”

I wasn’t shocked at that time. He wrote down a few tests to be done on the lab and off we went to look for bananas to push the stool – have you tried to look for stool in hospital when you haven’t eaten? Anyway, I went and tried and tried and put my mind to it and got the stool, and the blood (who else hates needles and the sight of their blood flowing into a plastic thing?) All this time, I wasn’t thinking about the pressure. I knew it was nothing serious – could have been because I had a flu. Or because we had been in Mombasa two months before, could have been malaria and malaria doesn’t shock us people of Africa.

Anyway, results out, we went back to the doctor, an old, sleepy man we trusted due to his age.

He checked my blood pressure again and told me it was improving. Yes! See, nothing to worry about.

But then he did some medical blunders which made us doubt everything he had done. Long story short, we demanded for another doctor, who laughed as we explained what his older colleague had done and said. And he ordered another round of different tests. Which we did.

He also checked my blood pressure and told me true, it was high.

Then he started counseling me. You know, at your age you shouldn’t be having this problem. What problem? Now you should start watching your weight. Do I look overweight? Eat nyama choma only a few times. I have never had nyama choma for almost a year. Actually, take red meat only twice a week. I take beef only on Wednesdays(don’t ask me why), the other meat I take is pork and chicken. And then start exercising. Get into a gym. Oh, hapo umenishika. I don’t gym, but I do intense exercising at home with my phone, and I take early morning walks. Never runs. And a lot of other things.

He said it wasn’t bad, the spike could have been caused by anything, really.

We got our prescriptions (when doctors are in doubt, they prescribe antibiotics) and went home.

Then I sat back and started thinking about the blood pressure. I committed the sin of Googling High Blood Pressure and almost died of High Blood Pressure. They were saying there were chances of death, among other lifelong conditions that would not be so long because life would be short. Friends, I started seeing death. I started digging into my family history – for distant relatives, and even neighbours that were killed by High Blood Pressure.

It was tormenting. And my body started acting it.

I became too weak in one day. Every time I walked two stairs I would feel the pressure coming through my ears I would touch my heart area and feel it racing like those horses of Game of Thrones. One time I took coffee while I was interviewing a job candidate and had to be the one to excuse myself. Another time I took beef and tasted blood. Then I walked into a Safaricom shop and tried testing the Samsung Galaxy S10 heart App – the one that checks your blood pressure. It showed all doom and gloom. I even started feeling lots of pain in my chest area – mostly likely a failing heart. And my back was a mess.

All the symptoms I had seen via Google were true. This was death.

Then I decided to fight for my life – by going to another hospital that Sunday after church.

Everything they checked, was right. My blood pressure was normal! I was given an ointment for the back pain.

And I became well immediately – even before using the ointment or the pain killers!

The whole disease, and death, and doom was in my mind!

My mind heard one report and totally believed it, then transferred it to my body and it almost became true. Then another truth came out and my mind and body believed and acted it.

The mind is very powerful. Your brain runs your body, and even external things. It holds so much potent force that it can force metal bars to bend. To tell mountains to move from their location and cast into the sea. Literally and figuratively.

Have you read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist? There’s a place he says, when your mind believes in something, the whole world conspires to make it happen. If careers are shaped by a simple belief, imagine your weak body?

In movies, you hear them tell a dying man to “focus on living and don’t close eyes, damnit Michael! Don’t close your eyes… Focus!” Because if you decide you ain’t dying, and you believe it, I know you won’t.

The mind pushes people to commit suicide, when they can decide to focus on the brighter side. Life has a lot of challenges, but you can tell your mind to look on the positive side – I mean, countless other people have faced this problem, you Mind. They didn’t die, so we are not dying. We are not going into depression. If other people made it, why not us? And suddenly, you rise up, completely free.

It’s all in the mind.

There are endless things you can shape using just your mind. Both good and bad. Just believe enough… and the power of healing and killing lies in your mind.

This taught me two things:

  • One, always think positive because a man is what he thinketh.
  • Two, never Google your symptoms. You will die.

So, what’s on your mind?

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things – Phil 4:12

Fatherhood Chronicles: Calla is All Grown Now

Calla all grown

Children grow very fast. I mean, just the other day, we were struggling with holding and bathing Calla, because she was too small, too fragile… She looked like she would break.

But now, she is a grown girl who can’t keep calm. She is literally always on the move, running to the kitchen, bedrooms, through the living room to the balconies. If she finds the gate open, she runs out, too. And so, we have to keep an eye on her all the time.

And she learnt how to hide and commit her sins. The more we ban her from doing things, the more she hides to do them. Like eating her toothpaste – if she lands it, she literally distracts you and runs to hide and suck it away. He favourite hiding place is behind the curtains – and it took us a while to discover it.

When you catch her, she throws the evidence away and either laughs like a maniac (and she’s loud) or hugs your feet.

Makes you forget your anger.

Speaking of anger. There’s no much anger in this Meru house any more. She is such a light. Much because sometimes, she is maddening. She does things that make you feel like kicking her. Like standing on her little plastic seat which she drags around all the time and trying to light the cooker, or to climb on the kitchen counter to throw away utensils… or like yesterday, I caught her dancing on top of my laptop.

Baby climbs ladders.

She climbs ladders, too.

Maddening. But then she calls you Papi, Baba, Mami, Bami, Maaam, Baaa (she calls you whatever comes to her lips) and you forget you were mad in the first place.

Yes, she talks now. A lot. She’s always talking and telling us stories. She takes all the phone calls and won’t let you speak, she imitates people on TV, she chats, complete with hand gestures and facial expressions… Only that we don’t understand 99% of what she says.

Tutu

We know tutu, though, which is poo poo in her language. I guess she loves the toilet, like her dad, because she kills boredom by making us run helter skelter looking for her potty when she says these magic words, tutu. Try to fart around her, and she will point at your your ass, shouting tutu and laughing like those village women.

Calla in the village feeding cattle

The Village woman with her grandmother feeding cattle and sharing stories of old

The only time she stops talking is when she is watching her cartoons. She literally zones out, doesn’t acknowledge our presence and we can leave her for hours, only getting up to dance with the cartoons, and get drinking water. That’s why I know Baby Shark, Humpty Dumpty, The Little Monkeys and other baby songs this much now.

She makes me look forward to going home, Calla. Because she also looks forward to seeing me at home, too. She gets off her seat when she hears the car wheels on the gravel outside, is normally out on the balcony confirming it’s me by the time I’m locking up, and is standing at the door with the keys by the time I’m at the door.

baby marshall headphones

Headphone ameanza mapema

Oh, you should experience the shrieks and the hugs and the kisses I get to understand real love.

In the mornings, I have to tiptoe (sometimes humming that song wanaanza ku-tipi-toe 🙂 ) to get out of the house. Because if she hears me, it will be 30 minutes before I can distract her enough to leave. And she’s a hard one to distract. Still, she realises I’m gone and screams like she’s on fire. That scream is so heartbreaking I have caught myself going back to blow another 30 minutes to be given permission by her majesty.

She’s also a prayer warrior. Tell her it’s time to pray and she’ll stop whatever she’s doing, close her eyes, grasp her hands and start mumbling. We don’t know what she says, but I know God knows, he hears and does it for her. Yes, we are trying to raise her in the ways of the Lord … so that when she grows, she doesn’t depart from them (Pro 22:6). That’s what the Bible says.

Speaking of ways of the Lord, Calla is a star of the church…and pretty much any public place we go. She dances (and she’s a complete dancer), shouts, sings, plays with other kids, runs around. And steals the show with her beauty.

My little puppy is all grown, and I love her to bits.

Who Cursed my Farming Career?

Drought farm

I never wanted to be a farmer. I hated farming right from childhood despite my mother being an addicted farmer. Addicted to the level that only darkness, not time, would remove her from her farms. Literally, if there was moonlight, she would continue tilling and weeding and harvesting till late.

The only part I enjoyed about farming then was playing in the farm, putting seeds in already dug holes and kicking the soil back with my foot. It was like playing soccer: drop – kick, drop – kick, pass the soil, kick. Oh, and harvesting dry maize, because it involved aiming maize at far-away heaps.

So, I hated farming. Also because my hands have always been too soft. One time my father told me to plant flowers around the house and when he came back in the evening my hands were bleeding.

“Hands of a girl, only fit for the pen. If you don’t study well, you will be poor, because those hands can’t help you otherwise.” That’s what he said. My own father.

So, I decided to study and let the pen make me rich. Obviously, the jembe was not my meal ticket.

But in my subtle stubborn ways, I took up farming – I planted a kitchen garden around my Bata company house. Yes, I went, hired a fork jembe and bought a panga, dug around the house, and planted cabbages, onions, spinach and sukuma. The onions, spinach and sukuma turned out mostly fine, despite enemies of development, kina Lewis and Gerishon, telling me they wouldn’t amount to anything because I wasn’t watering them everyday. I told them my vegetables were as ghetto as me and they didn’t need pampering.

farming vegetables kitechn garden

The start of my kitchen garden “farming”

Well, they didn’t turn out to be the healthiest on the block, but at least they were edible…

The cabbages though, which were right in front of the house, became the real embarrassment: the stupid things turned black, wilted, and died right in front of my eyes!

Stupid cabbages

I swear someone looked at them with bad eyes.

The Millionaire Farmer

Then I don’t know which witch bewitched me (I know tongue twisters). I think it’s the cartels and motivational writers that made me believe I would make millions farming. I read and heard so extensively how paying farming was that I decided I would be a farmer, first as a side hustle, then full time. Even made a progression plan like they taught me. That was in 2014.

My research told me that Narok would be a very good place to farm either wheat or tomatoes. Wheat was out of the equation because I had never seen wheat in a farm, sembuse investing in it? So, tomatoes. My friend, Sein, is from Narok (Marti insists she is from close to Tanzania border because when they want for their ruracio, they traveled through Masai Mara to the other side like wildebeests). She told me I could co-farm with her mum. All I needed was to send her money. I trust Sein, so I sent her the money and her mum did the farming on my behalf.

farming tomatoes

Could have been my tomatoes

Five or so months later, Sein called me, very excited that the tomatoes had been harvested and that she was sending me the proceeds. Wueh! Sema excitement. My mother would be proud of me and my father would be ashamed. I was making money from farming!

Only that the profit I had made was just 500 shillings! 500 Bob after almost 6 months takes the medal for one of the worst investments I have ever made. Only short of GNLD.

Thus my dreams of being a vegetable farmer in Narok died.

Next farming project: Tharaka Nithi Watermelons

Watermelons are always in demand, people just can’t get enough of them, and farmers make a killing with watermelons.

And we also wanted to make a killing farming watermelons, Winnie Mwende and I. Asking around, we found out that Tharaka Nithi county is as good with watermelons as it is with last-minute votes. So, using her mashinani connections, and Winnie has insane connections with churches and community mobilizers, she got the resources: a farm to hire and a really good person with farming hands to do the work.

We put our savings together and sent enough for preparing the land, buying seeds and one month’s wages for our farm manager.

Only that he stopped picking calls, and was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, he had taken money from several poor villagers and just disappeared into thin air, leaving his family behind.

Kigeugeu watermelon bastard.

watermelon

The watermelons in my mind

Farming Meru Potatoes

We have had many projects and and activities with Kendi Gikunda. Some are known, like The Ameru blog which has grown to be a proper brand, and others are a mystery: like our farming project.

Long story short, we put together capital to go into farming proper… acres of fine potatoes in Kibirichia, Meru… and our project manager (yes, we had one) disappeared in plain sight and we couldn’t do shit about it.

So, who cursed me? When I get good people, the returns are almost nil and then the rest steal from this Meru boy. Worse when I do the farming myself.

One day. Maybe.

GNLD, Forever Living and Other Stories

 

GNLD session

It’s many moons ago, and I am fresh in Nairobi (just after I had come into the city in search of education and proper initiation into the world). I have lots of time in my hands and it has not occurred to me that I could use that time to William around and build an empire (Those who did CPA full time know you aren’t in class all the time). So, my free time is spent lying on the bed with kina Kero and Flo staring at the ceiling and imagining how we’ll stop eating Ngumu Strungi and start owning Nairobi, “because if kina Kibaki own the city, why not us?”

One day, Flo, drunk with strungi says, “My cousin is quitting school to concentrate on another business she’s running. You know she just bought a car… what else would you be looking for in school when you can buy a car from your business?”

“What?” That jolts me out of bed, with lots of questions. I want to buy a car too and if this Third Year cousin of Flo’s has quit to buy a car, why am I struggling with this CPA which isn’t my passion, anyway?

We bug her so much she promises to introduce us to her cousin, which she does in a few week’s time.

I meet Esther. She is very very charismatic, articulate and she’s a girl who knows what she wants in life and is mapped out. She gives me this motivational speech on life and how I can get the position that I so deserve. I ask her if and how she can help me attain that, given that I have heard stories about her success.

So, she invites me to a meeting in Eagle House, 6th Floor, I think. And my-oh-my… That’s a superbly motivational meeting. People are giving testimonies of how right they are, how they quit employment and school to become very very rich. This year, the top “managers” are going to holiday in the US or some other country.

It gets me dreaming, this GNLD meeting.

I grabbing the opportunity to own cars in Nairobi, then buildings, and who knows, even Nairobi!

Registration is Sh. 6,300 which I promptly pay. (Remember I saved some money when I went to Visions Institute of Professionals rather than KCA?). Yeah, so I pay and forth to convince people. Esther, my manager, tells me I don’t have to convince people. I can identify people and she will do the rest.

2 months later, and I don’t have a single follower. Maybe that’s why I’m not a pastor. I can’t convince people to do shit.

how GNLD works

How GNLD works and all these networking stuff works

And there is another major detail that was conveniently left out: I have to buy and sell products worth Sh. 6000 or so (I think)! That’s should shitty… Why didn’t anyone tell me that? Esther again tells me no problem if I can’t sell, she will have someone sell it for me and give me the money to buy another one. The catch? Buy the most expensive thing and break it down into small packages. It was a cleaning liquid. That was another Sh. 3,600.

To date, I have never received a single cent from that… and my 10K+ with GNLD drank water.

A con job interview

A few years later, I’m still lying in bed, after class, browsing the internet. I’m looking for a job and I see an exciting one on Brighter Monday. Someone is looking for an accountant, with at least CPA Section 2. I have already completed Section 4 so I know I’m very qualified.

So, I send my CV and application letter. 2 days later, I am invited for an interview at Nairobi Cinema. God has answered my prayers and I’m finally leaving Satan’s poverty.

Dressed in a suit complete with a tie, I go to the place. Only that I see other smartly dressed people in a full room with a teacher at the front, doing sums on a whiteboard. I’m confused. Is this an interview or a training. I think they are teaching us something, then give us a small test for the job.

It takes me almost 10 minutes to realize that this ain’t no interview. The bastards are telling us about GNLD!

All the people on the room are CPA students and graduates, and the guy at the front was an accountant who quit to do GNLD full time. I am hurt, very hurt. Why would anyone do this to all these desperate people?

I raise my hand as if to ask a question and he excitedly allows me.

“You invited us for an interview to sell us this shit GNLD scam? Guys, these people are con men! All this is is bullshit!” I say with the anger of a Baite and walk out, leaving the teachers with open mouths and a few of the students scrambling to leave.

My friend Bernard Muiru also got this GNLD “job”: Part 1 | Part 2

—-

The Crush Calls… wants us to Live Happily Forever

Yet a few years later, an old classmate of mine, Josephine is reconnecting. We have not been in touch since we finished school. I’m thinking she is missing me because she keeps calling me. All.the.time! I’m actually feeling lucky – Josephine was a cutie when we went to school together. And we were quite good friends… after the crushing ended. Could she be crushing on me after my crushing on her ended? Or does she want us to settle and make a family? 🙂

She tells me she will buy me one glass of my beloved mango juices, because she wants us to talk. Badly. Feels like a booty call.

So, of course I agree to meet her. And we meet in one of those restaurants in town, drink our juice and catch up. You know, what we are doing after CPA… I’m interning at an IT firm and she’s in business, because jobs are hard to get. Bla bla bla. And she wants me to meet some people who can help.

So, off we go, to Eagle House again…and it gives me a really bad feeling.

“I hope we aren’t going to GNLD”

“Oh. You know GNLD?”

“Yes. And I really hope you aren’t taking me there because this will be bad.”

“No. I can’t be involved with GNLD.”

Phew! We walk into a huge room with desks. If this ain’t GNLD, is she introducing me to Illuminati or something?

Only that it’s not. I get introduced to everyone around a table, who are all genuinely pleased to meet me. They tell me I must be a very good friend of Josephine – she must love me to give me this opportunity.

Of joining Forever Living!

Forever living discussion

It was a round table discussion like this. Image: teachingprofessor.com

I tell them I know Forever Living is like GNLD and they tell me those are two very different things. You don’t have to carry bags of products or even invite people if I don’t want. You just start amassing wealth as soon as you join. They show me progression charts and what you get when you get to a certain level. You start with cars, then houses in South Africa and some other place, then a helicopter and finally a yacht!

Do you know anyone who owns a yacht anywhere? I would be that guy.

By then I am streetwise enough to know nothing comes that easy. Hii ni Nairobi bwana!

“Don’t you have relatives to show this shit before showing a stranger, me, such an opportunity to get rich?” I asked.

They look at me, fumbling for words.

“Exactly.” And left with a glee.

Conclusion

You can’t get rich through these network pyramid schemes. Unless you started it.

Funniest Book I Read: The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish The Last Black Unicorn book

If you have watched Girls Trip (yes, I have a feminine side), you know Tiffany Haddish. She was my favourite character in the movie, mostly because she was so natural in the way she brought out her fun… and she was cute. 🙂

So, I looked her up, and learned she has a book that had really good reviews. The reviews said it was a funny book, the story of her life and how she became a top comedian and actor. I was interested, and got the book.

The Black Unicorn is one of those books you don’t want to put down. The book you sacrifice browsing internet in the toilet for. A book you leave the car at home to read in the matatu for.

It’s in the way it flows in her own voice. It’s said if you want to be a great writer, write the way you talk. That’s how she has written the book, and being a funny comedian, you can imagine how it comes out.

Basically, The Black Unicorn is Tiffany’s life story. It’s much more dramatic than my Random Life Memories and Nairobi Initiation.

It’s supposed to be sad because her father (from hapa tu Eritrea) was a dead beat, and her mother had an accident and messed her brain. So, she had to go through the famed American Foster system: living with people who often abused in more ways than just sexually.

Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn Cover

Tiffany Haddish and Men

Speaking of sex, she speaks about the men she’s had sex with as casually as you would talk about the ugali and sukuma you ate in college. That’s including a disabled guy who did it so well it’s the best she’s ever had. She also became a very successful pimp.

Tiffany is clearly not lucky with men. She married a guy who became a pimp and started cheating on her… And her revenge was vicious. Then she married a ugly guy she met on a cruise who used to beat her like a burukenge (what did burukenges ever do to people to get so beat?) She was abused for a long time, but somehow stayed on in the marriage. Actually, they divorced and remarried. Celebrities too go through very bad private lives that people don’t know about. Usione YouTube na Instagram.

But all this only shaped Tiffany Haddish into the acclaimed actor and comedian she is now. Because she started school comedy as a means to an end, started going bar mitzvahs to support herself and her family, and her comedy is her life. She would basically tell about her life and people would laugh. Speak about using your challenges as your springboard to success.

This is how she got the role in Girls Trip. And rocked it. You should read to her behind the scenes. How she met Jada Pinkett and Will Smith and they tried to make her live like a Hollywood star – because she was too ghetto for the red carpet life. You know, get an assistant, wear designer clothes, have a proper diary and such. And she was resisting it so much it’s crazy. Because she was always stoned on weed.

Oh, it’s a very vulgar and graphic book. Don’t read it if you are offended by mouthfuls of fucks and shits. If you are intrigued enough to want to read it, ongea na mimi vizuri. I will hook you up.  🙂

Addis Ababa I

Ethiopian Airlines to Addis

There were many reasons why I was looking forward to my hastily prepared trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Let’s assume the beautiful women we see in pictures was not one of them – you know, a man has to feed his eyes. I and I Rastas and weed lovers would enjoy a pilgrimage to SHASH-amane and us Baites would want to go see the Ethiopian miraa, the only other miraa in the whole wide world (btw, let me put things clear, muguka is not miraa).

Anyways, I went to Addis to explore the digital market for Africa 118 – stick around if you are a business head, I’ll be telling you about that.

I love window seats on planes and buses – is there anyone who doesn’t? I love watching clouds and cities below me, it’s just like sitting by the windows in a bus to a route you aren’t familiar with. This time, I got a wing seat… It’s the window all right, but there are no great views – just a huge spanning aeroplane wing. I would have been gutted, but I was now enjoying an amazing engineering sight. You would imagine a plane wing is a huge sheet of metal, but I learnt it’s a buzz of activity – moving parts, flapping flaps. I think whoever designed airplanes was looking at a bird. “Let’s give this baby some feathers.”

This particular plane did not have a screen, so, I spent my two hours watching the wing, listening to hip hop on my iPod, eating and drinking wine.

Why are immigration people always so angry? When we landed, this immigration guy had frozen a group of soldiers from DRC and demanding to see their Ebola clearance letters. And he was too angry when they were unable to produce that. Is that even a thing? It was in this mood that I found him, ranting and gesticulating like my grandmother when we let the cow into her garden.

“You! Where are you coming from?”
Placing my passport and boarding pass on the counter for him to see, “Nairobi”
“What are you coming here to do?”
“Business.”
“What sort of business?”
“ICT.”
“Where will you be staying?”
“Err… I don’t remember the name of the hotel, someone is picking me. “
“Call them.”
“I don’t have a number, but I have the reservation in my email.”
“Stand with the others there and use OUR free wifi.”

The others were the soldiers, and I was there willing my dying phone to connect to the poor Internet, while breathing in air that the guy believed was contaminated with Ebola.

It worked, and he gleefully stamped my passport, right in the visa of another. I think that guy had just been dumped.

Ethiopian Airlines Addis Airport

Anyway, I walked through the immigration doors and got my driver. A cheerful guy who knew more about Mambasa than I do, despite the fact that he had never been to Kenya. His main intrigue was the beach. Ethiopians love the beach. Because they don’t have a beach after Eritrea seceded. Folks, when Mombasa threatens to secede, be very afraid. Imagine not having a beach? (Never mind I was in Mombasa last in 2011, it just feels good to have a beach, given how miserable that driver was, talking about a beach).

Ethiopia drives on the right-hand side of the road. Which always feels weird. This driver spoke very little English but he was fun, more like a big kid. He drove me right through the Addis Red Light District. Who would have thought Ethiopia had prostitutes? There were lots of those beautiful Ethiopian girls you drool over catcalling us in a street! And the driver was having a lot of fun just watching them. Okay, I was also having fun. Who wouldn’t?

It was a Wednesday night and the clubs were thumbing. Addis knows how to have fun. I had always thought Ethiopia was a conservative, Muslim-like country. Speaking of Islam, Ethiopia is predominantly Christian. On that first drive alone, I counted no less than 10 churches right inside the city. Praise the Lord.

Addis View Hotel is a small hotel (in Addis standards because Addis has lots of hotels – more than Nairobi) located in, Kabena – with a good view of Addis Ababa – it’s rightly named. That’s where I was staying. And every morning I would look past the mud houses to the city in the distance. That’s right, there are mud houses almost everywhere. I was told Addis doesn’t have class segmentation – there is no Kayole or Runda. Everyone lives everywhere comfortably.

Addis View

ATMs Everywhere

The following morning, literally my first interaction with the city, I made two discoveries I would wish for Nairobi – there are ATMs along every street without any security and basic consumer commodities are very cheap:

I did not have Ethiopian Birr so I wouldn’t buy from a shop. Both ATMs outside the hotel were being loaded, so I just walked in the hope of getting a bank. I passed the first two ATMs because there were people hanging around there (that’s what you do in Nairobi) and walked into the next bank to ask if I could withdraw Birr over the counter from my card. The guy I spoke to walked me out to their ATM in the street and, it wasn’t working, so he took me to another, all the while holding my card. I was feeling so insecure I almost told him to forget it… but he was too aggressive. Long and short – he helped me withdraw my money and refused my tip. He was just helping. There were people around and no one was paying attention to me.

Then I walked into a shop and asked for toiletries using sign language (because, Amharic). I ordered a fancy toothbrush, a large Colgate toothpaste, Vaseline, lotion and shoe polish (don’t ask me why I had traveled without all these). When I paid, I was surprised. That was all less than Sh. 200!

Now I was in love with the city… I could foresee great times ahead. I will tell you about my escapades in Part 2.

Fatherhood Chronicles 3: Meeting my Daughter for the First Time.

Where were we last time? Oh yes … I was crying myself to sleep when I heard the news that Calla, hear this, MY daughter had been born healthy. Jeddy actually used the sentence “I’m holding your kamzungu here.”

That was the picture I slept with at 2:00 am and woke up to at 4:30 am without the need of an alarm. Those who know me know I can sleep, and I do sleep. And I need an alarm to get up, after snoozing like 17 times.

Not this dawn, May 19 2017. I woke up like a father should. I didn’t shower – what’s showering? – and dragged Kero out of the other bedroom. He was also so excited you would think he was the father. When the hospital doors opened at 6:00, we were the first in – running. Even the nurses and other patients started clapping and cheering when I ran in like a village boy expecting scones from his mother.

And there she was. Sleeping like a little, cuddly doll, breathing softly – I placed my ears under her nose to listen to the most beautiful sound you will every hear, the sound of your child breathing. I just looked at her, transfixed. She was beautiful, too beautiful to be true. I’m not saying this because she’s my daughter, but honestly, she was the most beautiful baby. Curly, dark hair, lips more beautiful than her mother’s (and Jeddy has beautiful lips), a masterpiece of a nose (like a cat’s, not my long German nose), and the clenched fingers, long a thin like mine…

calla baby fingers

Then she opened her eyes, and my-oh-my!

I was mystified as I looked into those eyes. So pure, and innocent, and loving and white with large pupils at the middle like a cat’s. I swear she was also looking at me too, I can swear I saw her smile when she saw me. Haters will say babies’ eyes don’t actually see the first day and that was just a movement on her lips, but hamsemi kitu. Calla saw me, recognized me, and gave me her first ever smile.

So, I looked at her, she looked at me… We looked into each other’s eyes like true lovers – that’s who we were, anyway. I was her true love and she was my true love. She was all that mattered to me at that moment, and it was overwhelming… a pure emotion surge hit me. I started trembling and tearing up. This small life was my blood, and flesh, and water… and sperm. My seed.

God had blessed me with the most beautiful child, ever. And she was breathing and looking at me and smiling at me. I didn’t hold her first… I walked away for a moment before I could burst into a sob in front of my daughter. See, I’m an African man and we don’t cry in front of women and children. Well, apart from Kero who was crying again and wringing his hands like a certain woman in my village.

Jeddy was laughing at us grown, crying men.

By then, I had not even greeted her, nor had I held Calla. And I looked at her look at the baby with a lit face like we see in the pictures. I wish Rich Allela were there to capture that moment. Only the previous evening she was ashen with pain, and now, having done her thing, was beaming like the morning sun. Ever been slapped by love?

When I finally held Calla in my arms (I still hadn’t), my life was complete. I was in Wonderland.

I still am.

Book I read: The Biography of Paulo Coelho – A Warrior’s Life

Paulo Coelho biography

One fine morning, on my way to work, I found our estate watchman reading a huge book with a black cover and was curious. You see, I always found him reading mainstream best selling authors (the ones we loved in high school like Jeffrey Archer, Sydney Sheldon – I found him reading a James Hardly Chase with those hot cover images one time). That guy is a reader. And readers are in my heart.

Back to the big black book. It turned out to be the biography of who else? THE Paulo Coelho. Of course you know Paulo Coelho, and you would pause to have a serious look at it. You also wouldn’t leave it at the Inama Bookshop even if the price were a whole 200 bob, would you? Especially if you are Esther Kute – when I was at Bata, she made me download all pirated ebooks of Paulo Coelho I could find online. And she keeps tweeting his books.

If you are a wannabe writer like me, the biography of possibly the biggest writer ever is not something you would leave. You would want to know how he started, how he wrote his first book (btw, I have been writing my first book since I knew how to write back in primary school). How he sold all the millions he sold. What his inspirations are.

And so, I asked him if he could swap the book for the one I had in my bag – one of those Harlequin romance novels… and he agreed! Either he was bored with the biography, or he wanted to have a rush of blood. Those Harlequins are very very steamy.

First thing I did was take a picture of the book and tweet it at Esther Kute. Gloaty much? And went on to read it every day for two weeks. I stopped driving to work and started taking the slowest matatus just so that I could have enough time to dip myself into the life of Paulo Coelho.

And I learnt that Paulo Coelho is one of the most fucked up people you will ever hear about. That guy is gross, and has lived just the life. Made me wonder if one needs to be that screwed up to the a famous writer.

Because his experiences gave birth to all his books.

The writer, Fernando Morais describes Paulo Coelho’s from his miraculous birth. He was pronounced dead at birth by doctors, but his mom’s prayers brought him back (believe in prayer, folks). He was an awkward child, huge not-so-good-looking head (like mine back in the day)… And too troublesome.

Paulo Coelho biography - A Warrior's Life

But he was still a good writer as a kid; telling his parents that he wanted to be a writer when he grew up. Which they were against because his father was an engineer and they wanted him to follow in those steps.

This writing passion burner through his heart and mind through the years, writing his diary religiously… And failing in all schools went to. His mind was elsewhere; drugs, wanton sex and writing.

So much so that he spent several months in a pyschiatric hospital because, he was literally mad.

Not that it changed him, because Paulo Coelho went deeper into drugs, a hippie sex life, conning, cultism and Devil Worship.

Oh… and a two time prisoner of Brazil’s dictatorship, not for his right against the government – Paulo Coelho was a coward – but one time for a mistaken identity and the other for his lyrics. He made his riches writing lyrics for several music stars like Raul Seixas (my new favourite rockstar).

For him, life was one huge experiment. He traveled the world, tried different religions, and listened to the voices in his head.

Most importantly. Like the boy in his book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho followed and achieved his dream.

He became a great writer.

The book is a great one. It’s a very graphic account of the life of a writer who went against the odds to become a writer.

I recommend.

Paulo Coelho found a place in my Stolen and Gifted Books Shelf

It found a place in my Stolen and Gifted Books Shelf

Fatherhood Chronicles 2: Stubborn Calla is Born

Calla baby foot BORN

Kids, when you see the little, cute babies, don’t think it’s an easy, cute thing. Giving birth is not your mother. 🙂

It’s a whole 9 months of strife, of carrying an extra, 3 or 4 kgs, all day every day, not forgetting your own ballooning weight. Going to hospital for every simple illness, like an headache. It’s being ready always, like a Boy Scout, because you don’t know the day nor the hour, when the baby will want to pop.

Like us, we literally didn’t know the due date, because we had 4 different due dates, all spanning over a whole month. Every scan, every doctor, had a different due date.

So, on the 17th of May 2017, we just went for a routine check up at the hospital. I remember we: Mwaura, Ben and myself, were shooting a video commercial for Kilimall, and I told them to keep at it while I took Jeddy to hospital. I would be back in a short while.

Only that I didn’t. The next time they saw me two hours later, I was shopping for baby clothes in Biashara Street!


You are due today!

That’s what she said. The nurse.

“What?” That’s us, in shock.

“Yes. You’ve already opened up 3 inches. So, by tonight, you should be delivering.”

Whoa. That was so unexpected, it was shocking. I mean, how does a routine hospital visit turn out into a real maternity time?

She told me to leave Jeddy there and go get the needed stuff to welcome the baby. Of course we refused… told her since we hadn’t expected it, and there was no way I could buy baby stuff alone, we would assume we hadn’t come…  leave and come back later. As if you can postpone childbirth.

Btw, did you know when it’s time for the baby to come, it has to come out… Whether you have its sahani or not.

The nurse agreed, told us to be back within 6 hours or earlier if she feels any sort of pain. She even told us to do some tabia mbaya in the meantime to make the passage smooth for the baby. (It was around 11:00 am – we came back 12 hours later. 🙂 )

And that’s how Mwaura and Ben found me in a baby shop on Biashara Street buying a baby bag, baby clothes, receiving blankets, mosquito net… and all those things that make people realize they are parents.

We then went home and sanitized the house, sanitized our hearts… And prayed. Prayed for safe delivery for both the mother and the baby.

Out of 1,000 women that leave the house to give birth in Kenya, 5 of them don’t return, and even if they return, 23 don’t return with their babies. Maternal and infant mortality rates in Kenya remain quite high.

Baby bumb photoshoot

So, we packed and left the house late in the evening. I even wore a kabuti because I wanted to be there to witness my baby coming to this world. I wanted to be the first to hold her, and lick her clean like cows do. And cut the cord. And start being an awww daddy.

But we were in for a rude shock. They wouldn’t let me spend the night in hospital! The hospital only has maternity wards and if you aren’t giving birth, you have no business being within the premises beyond 7:00 pm. And so, I tucked my tail inside my kabuti and called an Uber to take me home.

Jeddy says: I watched him leave and felt loneliness that I had ever felt before. I had never spent a night in hospital and this was scary. It felt like those Hospital horror movies. I cried.

In the morning, at 6:00 am, I was back at the hospital. Forget the fact that I am never a morning person, and 6:00 normally won’t find me awake. But now, with my new fatherhood status, I couldn’t afford to sleep. For my daughter. And I had to be there to see her. I didn’t even bother to call, I left in faith to hold my baby.

Only that it wasn’t to be. She hadn’t come yet. It had been a night of just waiting. Aisuru, she would be born in a few… Actually, I didn’t go far when visiting hours ended. I hung around talking to doctors, nurses, and the Watchman. Especially the watchman. I strike good conversations with watchmen. Till lunch-time visiting came along and I walked in smiling like a father. Only that I didn’t see my daughter. Just a wailing Jeddy. Her labour pains had been induced… And that’s real, sheer pain.

Kanungo Dance

So I spent two hours rubbing her back, and helping her walk because she had to be walking around with all those drips… And dancing Kanungo.

pregnancy photoshoot calla

By evening, I was mighty stressed. My brain was on overload, just didn’t know what to do… And I don’t get stressed easy. So much that I went into a local just next to the hospital and ordered beer. My all dependable crew – Kero, Dan and Ben met me drunk like a fish. And helped me drink more. So drunk we went into the hospital past visiting hours and bribed our way in.

Jeddy was still wailing in pain. So much that Kérò started crying too, and I sobered up, demanded to see the doctors for an educated prognosis.

They said all would be okay, prolonged labour is normal, even when induced. It’s only that the girl was a stubborn one. Keroh, a believer in money, gave the nurses some money and told them to keep a special eye on Jeddy. And for Chrissake, deliver her before morning.

And then we went back to the bar, drunk some more and went back home.

Not that we slept. At least I didn’t sleep. I kept trying to call Jeddy – naturally she wasn’t picking – and my stress levels were at the very peak. In my mind, all the wrong things were racing at me. I Googled Mother and Child Mortality rates in Kenya, the best hospitals for Caesarian Section, reviews of that particular hospital… and the worst that could happen during childbirth.

It was a grim night.

And then Jeddy called at 1:30ish am. Our daughter had been born successfully, a healthy 3+ kgs!

It was my turn to cry. And I cried myself to sleep.


The story continues. Maybe we should convince Jeddy to write her version of the story.  Ama namna gani?

Photography: RichAllela

Fatherhood Chronicles: Her name will be Calla.

fatherhood frankmwenda

On 19th May 2018, an event was going down at the Nairobi Children’s Home in Lower Kabete. There was food, games, lots of gifts, and cake. Oh, and a brightly dressed girl in a shining crown. A princess.

The name of the event was CALLABASH.

It was quite a party. Complete with 2 MCs and white, custom t-shirts by one Mike Atoti (don’t ask me about the second name). We even planted about 20 trees, organised by environmentalist Doreen Ntiritu.

Turned out to be quite the bash.

It was my daughter’s birthday. And the day marked one year since I looked into the most beautiful set of eyes I have ever seen. Completely white, and waiting to see the world for the first time.

My new status and initiation into fatherhood was confirmed on 19th May 2017. Or maybe 9 months earlier. 🙂


One fine week in 2016, Jeddy had a stomach ache. It bugged her for some time and you know about Thika Road clinics. She was positively diagnosed with typhoid and got her large share of antibiotics. Only that they didn’t work, and she had to go to another hospital.

This one was more serious, and after all tests revealed nothing, they took an ultrasound scan.

She brought the results, and I looked at that thing that looked like those photography negatives of old, before being washed.

Not Calla.

“So, what does this show?” I asked.

“They are saying I’m two weeks pregnant.”

“Okay. Where is the baby here? ”

“This black spot.”

“This black spot is a baby?”

“Yes, it’s 0.63 centimeters. Could be a pimple, but they said it’s most probably a baby.”

“Okay.”

“Okay? Just okay.”

“Yes. If it’s a baby, I am ready. Guess we won’t go to TRM to eat chicken today. We have to save for the baby.”

It was all surreal, this confirmed fatherhood. I couldn’t believe that I was holding, in my hand, the first picture of my child. My own child!


For months, we prepared. Bought a lot of unisex clothes… and visiting baby shops on Biashara Street, asking around for hospitals and collecting random Baby Stuff on Facebook groups.

And started writing down names. The only name that was definite for me was the name Calla if it was a girl. There was no discussion there. If it was a boy, he would have a close derivative of the name Calla. The second name would be the same, whether it would be a boy or a girl. A unisex name.

And another thing, no Kimeru name.

Weren’t we proud to be Meru, or Africans?

Number one, have you noticed that Meru names are finished? Taken up like Gmail addresses or Twitter handles. Girls are either Kendi, Makena, Karimi, Nkirote or Mukiri. Throw a stone in Maua and you will hit a boy called Mwenda, Muthomi, Kirimi or Murithi.

My extended family has 4 Murithis, 3 Mwendwas, 7 Karimis, 3 Kendis, 5 Makenas. What’s wrong with Merus and names?

Anyway, that was one reason. The second reason was more fundamental. There’s a lot of tribalism in Kenya, and we know for a fact that people have missed out jobs just because of the name on their CV. Or gotten jobs.

And we didn’t want to be a factor for our child. He or she would be playing on a level ground. No undue favours and definitely no discrimination based on tribe.

baby bump

Our baby bump


The journey was smooth. At least to me because I wasn’t the one pregnant. 🙂 But I was there when we did the scans, watching as the heartbeats (oh that feeling of seeing a new life) turned into something I saw in Biology lessons (a tadpole) to a time when we could see a proper baby, you know, with a head a moving arms and legs. Oh, and always drinking the amniotic fluid. Always. That was crazy, even to me.

And we learned it would be a girl! The drinking girl. [Remember the letter I wrote to my daughter?]

The name Calla had found an owner.

Welcome to my Fatherhood Chronicles

It has taken me over one year to write this – I kept postponing. But now, get ready to be bored by my stories of fatherhood, in this new series.

Photography: Rich Allela

Beating the Wife in the Name of the Lord.

Sad wife

Mary (not her real name) is a woman in a complicated situation. And she is so good an actor, you can’t tell what’s going on in her life. You see, Mary is the wife of a pastor… and on Sundays, she is the bubbly “Mum” of her church, laughing and hugging everyone, leading the worship team, and doing all the happy things that church mums do.

But the smile wipes away as soon as she steps into her house, or sorry, pastors’ wives host a lot of guests, who she serves with a smile… but then this falls into mighty sadness and terror.

She clings on people, and her happiest times are when she is around people. Because as soon as she is alone with her husband, terror reigns.

Her husband, the man of God, is always quarreling over something, and degrading her with every opportunity, musing how fat she has become, how lazy she is, how she is not like the other pastors’ wives, how she is an embarrassment to him, how much he regrets marrying her and if it were not for his position in the church he would have sent her back to her folks.

Hurtful words, words that break her spirit every moment.

Sometimes he has gone beyond the words… A few months back, she was late coming home – late because the pastor got home before her. And he locked her outside all night! The animal opened the door, where she had sat sobbing and pleading the whole night, at 5:00 am!

It’s gone a step further – he slapped her, for the first time last week!

wife battering

In case it crossed your mind, no, it was not a moment of anger – the man of God is not apologetic. He believes if you don’t discipline your wife, she will mess you up big time; sit on you and teach the kids to disrespect you.

Yet that’s not the most hurting thing. What hurts her most is the preaching of hope her husband does every week, how scores of believers sit to listen to his preaching of love, mercy and grace. How other women look at her, envious of her having a saved pastor for a husband while their husbands drink their evenings away.

That gets into her… And is the source of her misery.

She says she cannot leave or talk to someone who knows the Pastor husband… Because she will embarass him.

“What will people think about their Pastor if I decide to leave? Will they even believe me?”


Discussion Point: What Does the Bible Say?

 I have been scouring the Bible for cases where the Bible says the husband should discipline his wife. The Bible seems to be very clear that marriage is a  mutual submission of husband and wife out of love for Christ. Husbands should love their wives as they love their own body, as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:28-29). It’s clear that you must love your wife and not be harsh with her (Col 3:19). Actually, if you don’t honour your wife as the weaker vessel, your prayers will not be answered (1 Pet 3:7). 

Did I miss anything? Does Christianity allow wife-battering? Is that Pastor justified? Can’t the wife walk out of the marriage with a Pastor?

Let’s discuss in comments

Forget the Ps… It’s Time for the 4Cs of the Marketing Mix

MARKETING mix - 4cs

Let’s talk about marketing a little… will we? When we went to school, we were taught about the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place.  Famously known as the Marketing Mix. Remember that? Is it what you have known all along?

Well, you are behind… sorry. The world moved on to the 4 Cs, kitambo! Let’s explore them:

Consumer – not Product

The reality is that your product is the most important part of what you do as a business. It defines who you are and why you are in business. But what is a Product without the Consumer? Nowadays, you can’t just create a product because you know how to do it and it looks cool. You have to study consumer wants and needs and then create a product for them.

Find out what people want and then “build” it for them, their way.

Cost – not Price

Price is quote subjective. Look at it this way – an inappropriate price may cost your firm a great deal of money. This can happen both through lost sales (due to a too-high price) or through money left on the table (due to a too-low price). So, what’s the best thing? Consider your entire cost and spread it. Take into account not simply the purchasing price, but also the entire cost of time spent to acquire the good or service, the cost of ownership, and even a ‘cost of conscience’ if purchasing the product is associated with feelings of guilt.

Rather than simply stating the price, ensure both sides are well balanced… to satisfaction.

Communication – not Promotion.

People hate being marketed to. I hate it when people market to me. People prefer two discussions which are what communication is. Promotion is manipulative – it’s from the seller. Communication requires a give and take between the buyer and seller (that’s nicer). Be creative and you can make any advertising interactive. Use phone numbers, URLs, email address, social media etc. – Listen to your customers when they are “with” you, even as you promote your brand!

Talk with your customers. Don’t talk to them!

Convenience – not place.

Hey! It’s the era of people-not-going-out. We are either too busy or too lazy to go looking for shops. What’s the internet for? Sometimes I go to the fuel station and ask if they take cards or M-Pesa…and if they don’t, I drive away and not come back. Or when I see something being advertised the first thing I ask is – do you deliver? You must think of convenience to buy instead of place. You have to know how each segment of the market prefers to buy – on the Internet, from a catalogue, on the phone, using credit cards, etc.

Make it easy for your customers to buy your product – in their own way!

How are you doing it? If you need help streamlining your marketing strategy, get in touch.

You Quit Accounting to Spend your days on Facebook?

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I was an accountant!

That’s right, I was… Maybe I still have some accounting knowledge, but most of it was swept away by the floods in my brain. And it’s not like being a Boy Scout – “Once an accountant always an accountant?”

Na vile I struggled with CPA – that ridiculously hard Kasneb thing that keeps “catching” people. Did I ever tell you how poor I was in Maths? So poor I would get headaches during Maths papers in primary and high schools. Then after high school I called myself to a meeting with Maths:

Maths: You are stupid.

Other Me: Yes, you can’t get Maths.

Real Me: I will prove you wrong.

Maths: How, your worst KCPE and KCSE paper was me. Proof enough that you are stupid.

Other Me: IKR. Go and study journalism. You girl.

Real Me: I’ll surprise you. I’ll do Finance, and I’ll start with CPA.

Maths: Hahaha. Shut up, sissy. You can’t do that. Do you know any CPA in your entire division?

Real Me: I don’t care. I’ll be the first.

Other Me: Are you sure you want to do this, man? CPA is hard, and it’s pure mathematics.

Real Me: I am harder. And I’ll prove it.

Other Me: If you say so.

Maths: Hahaha. Come baby come.

And that’s how I found myself at Kasneb registering to become an accountant. It was mostly to prove a point than love for the career.

So, I completed CPA, and did my degree in Finance. All along, I kept wondering if I was in my right mind. For me, Accounting was this monotonously endless calculation; done in the same way, every day for the rest of my career. You have to follow rules – I hate rules, you have to pay ridiculous amounts to the profession – what does the ICPAK money do – and there is no space for creativity. If you try to be creative in accounting you will be jailed! I wasn’t cut for that – I’m cut of the dramatic, solving problems, learning new things and doing things my way.

accounting

That’s how I do it…

And Accounting is too boring.

So, I started writing and designing stuff. Learning every day, doing new stuff and running experiments right, left and centre.

And my career became Digital Marketing.

Which people call – spending days on Facebook… which is true, btw. 🙂

Only that my time on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google is different from yours. While you waste time and money on the internet, I make money and a life. For me, it’s an art, a science… a job.

I write, I design stuff, I plan projects… And I solve problems. There are many problems: difficult clients who make me better daily, goals to meet which make me more focused, masses to be influenced which makes me feel like some star and calculations to be done which makes Maths my bitch!

Yes, professional Digital Marketing is a game of crazy numbers, formulas, forecasts and reporting. It’s like a more fun form of Accounting.

Spending my days on Facebook is infinitely more enjoyable and paying than being the bad accountant I had set out to be.

Job Interview

Job Interview, Career, Conference, Conversation

Like everyone who wasn’t born to big money, I have had my fair share of job interviews. I have attended a couple – though not as many as most people I know (you wouldn’t say I’m an experienced Interviewee). Maybe I haven’t been lucky to get that many interviews, or maybe many of the interviews I have attended have been bulls’ eyes.

I have gotten two jobs through Skype interviews. I mean, no one-on-one – we met for the first time when I reported to work – having signed my contract online. Good jobs. And I respect these employers who don’t have to meet the person to give them a job… Those employers that look into the mind, rather that the body language and all that dressing crap. No bias. In one of these interviews, I was home alone with my daughter and she was screaming the air out of the room. And I had to interrupt the interview and sit with her for the rest of it as she tagged on my headphones, distracting daddy. I got the job. 🙂

Speaking of weird Interviews, there was this interview, back in the day, while I was still in college. The thing happened in a car…or, the interviewer was in the car and I was outside. It was one of those Cosmetics Shops at Tea Room, the job had been organized by a girl friend of mine my interviewer was hitting on. I think it was a pick up like, “beautiful girl, do you know an accountant as smart as you?

Anyway, it was a weird interview, in the middle of Dubois Road. The questions were like, what church do you go to? What is your relationship with Carol? What’s the biggest amount of money you have handled? Long and short of it, I got the offer, but I rejected the job… Guy wouldn’t let me leave work to attend class in the evening and Saturday mornings. 7:00 am – 7:30 pm, being an accountant for 15K is not something I would have done. Never mind I was a total msoto.

You want to know why quit accounting and went into Marketing and ICT? It was because of an interview. My very first real Interview. So, I received a recommendation from my accounting college Dean (Vision Institute) to be an accountant for a M-Pesa reseller. I went to the interview, sat in front of a lady and a gentleman. I felt funny just sitting there. And I realized I wouldn’t be an accountant, and there was no way I was getting this job, because I knew nothing. Never mind I had just completed CPA.

Them: Tell us 3 accounting principles.

Me: Matching principle, Accru-something, I don’t remember the third.

Them: … (Speechless)

Me: … ( Smiling sheepishly)

Them: Explain the matching principle, then.

Me: For every revenue you report, match it to the expense. (I knew this one).

Them: (somewhat reassured.) Which IFRS covers joint ventures and how would you treat a joint venture according to that IFRS.

Me: Pass.

Them: (visibly shocked at my stupidity). What? People don’t pass questions in an interview.

Me: I know, I’m sorry. Maybe I wasn’t so ready.

Them: (Laughter)

Me: (Laughter)

The interview became a laughing match. We laughed for a whole 10 minutes, taking tea and talking about computers. I even offered myself up for an IT role. Of course I didn’t get that job. 🙂

Image result for job interview funny frank

Then there was that corporate Interview, or do we say series of interviews? I went to a couple of them, waiting weeks for the next. When I finally met the decision maker – the Marketing Manager, he told me to lead the interview. Things like,

“Where do we start? What do you want us to discuss?”

Trick question, that left the inexperienced me bluffing. But it involved another trick, logical question (those psychometric tests) that I approached mathematically, and failed of course. He told me, “you are a very smart young man, but you aren’t a genius.”

But I still got the job, because, after all it was, a social media job, not a psychometric one. 🙂

The interview that gets the crown of absurdity, though, is the GNLD interview I attended in a full suit. Long story for another day.

Talking to stones

Talking stones

Have you ever looked at stones and wondered if they communicate, if they have senses, if they have life in there? I mean, they can’t just be there, doing nothing and being nothing.

I do. A lot. Sometimes I look at stones differently. Stop giving me that look, I know what looking at a person, or thing differently mean. Let me digress a little… I was reading the story of a guy convicted of beastiality somewhere in Asia. Asked to explain why he had done the deed to so many animals, he said he had been a herdsman; and his only companions were the cattle and sheep. So he started forming different relationships with them. I guess if you are booty person and you see a sheep strutting it’s large, wooly behind long enough, you could start looking at it differently.

Anyway, when I was an only child, I would spend a lot of time alone in the afternoons after school and Saturdays. And I would find myself making friends with sheep (remember the one whose tail I cut off?), plants and many times, stones. We would talk, I would tell them my dreams, my fantasies, about anyone I was mad at, my favourite things, and secrets. The stones were very good listeners, never interrupting me, they just listened and soaked up everything I told them. Sometimes they gave me reassuring smiles.

And whenever I learned a new caning style from the teachers, I would practice it on the stones I disliked most. I would panga them in a line and give them a proper caning. And then I would apologize. Made me feel bad, beating those innocent stones like that. I wondered how teachers put up with the guilt afterwards.

corporal-punishment

Like this, but stones. 😉

My stones (trash that imagination) kept me company when I was little and I still look at them differently. And massively respect them.

Be like stones

I sometimes wish people were like stones. Watching and listening intently to secrets and not blabbing them out to other people, never shouting at others, and mostly, never judging. Forgiving even when you hit them unknowingly. (Because you are the one that felt pain, coming back to hit them harder and shout at them.  Human stupidity. Reward humility!)

Be like a stone. Ignore these rumblings of a mad man, writing a blog post on stones.

How I Became a Dating Pro.

I am demanding a Honorary Degree in dating. I have had so many dates, dating back many many years, that I want my place among the table of men. Real men.

Follow closely.

When I was in high school I was the thing. A Gambino Casanova himself(don’t ask me who that is, my mind’s fancy creation).

I couldn’t keep myself off girls. And that started in Form 2, when I discovered the power of a cute girl in my “cool kids” graduation. Remember Makena? Girl was hot… She was easily the cutest girl in any gathering. And I was the most shy guy any gathering, too. And she was a star. Expert badminton player, hitting Nationals every time. She was wanted. Also by a Form 4 bully who told me to dump her or I get a beating after she rebuffed him and came to me. She used to force me to look into her eyes and every time, I would look far far away. Whenever she won a match, her friends would taunt me to hug her…and I would not.

I was like Deno, who, in Form 4, we tried to introduce to a girl and he fled,literally, all the way to the dormitories.

We never really materialized, but this sharpened me into a loverboy of sorts.

By Form 3, I was a pro.

I was in authority in just the Clubs that mattered which meant I was eternally in the school bus attending funkies, from athletics to ball games to Talent Shows to school trips for clubs that I wasn’t a member of. And it served in honing my skills in the dating game. I was an addict. I loved girls. Not in the loving sense-I didn’t know what love was, actually, but the manly feeling of wooing a woman, err, girl into my box, made school tolerable.

There was a learning curve. From the first time I approached a chick and my first line was:
Sasa. Unajua…….
Sijui!” She shouted back at me.

I will never forget this. But it initiated me.

I started learning how to approach girls and get them under my sleeve in the shortest time. The more I got, the better it felt. I couldn’t help myself.

And the goal? The goal was to receive the most letters in the school. And receive them I did! I enjoyed people coming to the evening prep and handing me letters to the envy of my classmates. I felt like a a star when they cheered as I got letters, every time. I would get up to five at any given time.

Sometimes I used to write back. Being  the Englishman, this was easy. All that was needed were flowery writing pads and someone to calligraph the envelope; and I would fulfil a girl’s best fantasies(and boy didn’t students fantasize in class, especially during preps?)

I became a faithful man of the house in Term 2, form 4, when I met Beth(not her real name).

It was a basketball tournament in our school and legend was that she was the toughest chics in the field. Many had tried, all had failed. She was hot, and she said she had no time for boys. There was a standing bet for whoever would get her. I was up for it! I don’t remember the magic words I used, but a few minutes later, Beth had spread her leso in the ground at the farthest corner of the field and we were lying on it eating her ice cream!

Beth and I were in a relationship by the end of that day. And we were for the next two years!

I was a hero. And I wanted to maintain that. I was faithful. And I was waiting for marriage, diligently. So diligently that Beth dumped me for “not caring to know what is between my legs.” I was dumped for not attempting to consummate our relationship! Njuri Ncheke will call me a failed man, again. But sex is not everything, right, kids? I accepted to be dumped. I was going to wait till marriage.

And then I discovered internet and online dating! This was a major break! I would hypnotize my beaus for no reason. Or, at least to satisfy my weird fantasies. Remember Prodigits? Mocospace? Tubidy? That was before 2Go broke the internet. Sema sexts.

And I met many many girls. And a few older women. If I had a shilling for every blind date I have had off the internet, I would be rich. Very rich.

Some of the meet ups turned into friendships that I have kept to date. Some generated short, relatively inexplicit flings. Some were one-time meets that turned out to be boring. And some were downright disastrous.

Take for instance, Doris. We exchanged numbers and met after some time. She was in town and was looking for ‘a plot’. So, I raided my father’s hard earned pocket money, and went to meet her. Not too bad. Not too good. I don’t judge on appearances and this has always earned me ridicule among my crew. So, we club hopped around town. All was good till she retrieved sanitary pads from her bra and started waving them in a club. I was so embarrassed my grand plans for the night came to a grinding stop. I pulled her out of the club and we spent the rest of the night in an ATM. I have never seen her since. I hear she has been blessed with three children between then and now. Could have been me. 🙂

What about Shaniqwa (I don’t remember her real name). A humongous girl straight out of high school with those succulent githeri or pizza cheeks and waist tyres to boot. The first meet was just an idle walk through town. The second one was more focused. We met in town, and went back to my place, Plot 10. Reason, there was no money to go to a restaurant. I didn’t have any intention of bouncing off this(sorry). So, I borrowed some money and got her a madiaba soda, and queens cake. I, on the other hand, bought a small packet of milk and two ngumus and blamed it on my resolution to watch my weight. Man, I was shady. She had the audacity to drink only a quarter of the soda and a few touches of the cake! And then, she simply announced “It’s time to go!”

*Spits* I begrudgingly followed her to a Paul’s Cookiemans and ordered some cake I had never heard about before. It was nicely wrapped and then she dropped the bombshell:
“Si ulipe?”
I was too pissed off. You should have seen my Meru sparks.
“Sijabeba wallet” trying to be cordial.
” What kind of man are you? You should carry man when you are walking with a girl.”

I let out a big pout and left her there…. holding the cake, went back to the house, ate her leftovers, and forgot about her. I simply wiped her from my memory.

Now that I have remembered her, I am too angry right now… I will complete this story at a later date.

My 2017 Report Card

Frankmwenda's year 2017

How time flies. Just the other day, I was recapping 2016… and then just as I blinked, 2017 was gone and we were singing Feliz Navidad (or whatever that Chriostmas song says. And now we are in 2018. Older. Better? More experienced?

So, what are the things that happened in 2017?

Switched jobs

You probably knew that I was working for one of the top e-commerce companies around – Kilimall – handling things I had not  previously handled full time, PR and Affiliate Marketing. It was a good run, totally loved what I did and what I was accomplishing, I mean, I got more media and celeb contacts in my phonebook than you, I went live on radio a couple of times, newspaper mentions, etc… and that was quite something for me and my clan. Oh, and then I started handling all the marketing over there. Man, that was a good run.

But then I moved in September, to something else that is even closer to my heart… Digital Marketing for businesses. Yep, that’s what I am doing now – helping SMEs grow their businesses online. Why am I doing this? I want to impact more businesses through the SME-empowering Africa 118 that I’m now working with, and I want to learn more, grow more. That, right there, has been my driving force every time. Learn something new, grow.

Let’s grow!

Lost my grandmother, Beaty.

God has blessed me… And I don’t take it for granted that His mercies stay with me, and my family. True, we have lost some people in our family, I have lost close friends… But the closest I have lost was my grandmother, just in December when we thought we were riding to 2018. And I don’t want to use the name “lost” because, hey, she was in her 80s, she had lived her life to the fullest. She has seen her grandchildren and great grandchildren and she wasn’t in pain. We chose to celebrate her instead of mourning, and what a party her funeral was! Even for her husband, my grandfather.

The biggest lesson I learnt from the pastor at her funeral is this: Every life is like a record player (kinada) back in the days. The owner comes with his kinada, you dance the party, and when the time comes and the owner takes his kinada away, you should try as much as possible to appreciate the dance that kinada gave you, rather than catch feelings because the owner had taken his kinada. My grandmother was the kinada God gave us, He took his kinada away and all we can do is appreciate the dance.

I will miss her roast bananas and the tea we used to drink together.

Read more, wrote more

At the beginning of last year, I wrote out a resolution on this blog – that I would read a 2-4 books every month and write about it here. Well, I succeeded to do that, halfway… Resolutions are for breaking, anyway. I read a lot of books, I think I read more books than I had said I would read, but I ran out of steam to write about them halfway through the year.

I think I also wrote more than I wrote the previous year. I was running this blog, The Ameru, the Kilimall blog ( I think, unfortunately, they deactivated it after I left) and helped out with the Ability Africa Magazine blog. I also wrote a lot of answers on Quora. Speaking of Quora, I fell in love with Quora in 2017. Lots of good questions and remarkable answers. I have written a couple that did quite well.

I won’t say I’ll be writing lots of books reviews this year, but, one thing I promise myself is, I will read more books, more articles. Because books are the way to knowledge… starting with the Bible.

The Ameru went big

Speaking of writing The Ameru blog, 2017 was the year The Ameru broke out as a darling blog for the people from Meru, and us, the writers: Kendi, Brian and myself. We researched culture, interviewed people, visited places and wrote lots of stories that we felt good about (no gossip). We learnt more about our roots, and the inspirational people, and the readers appreciated. Several others wanted to be part of it (btw, our doors are open to anyone) but most chickened out, because we are a bit particular with what we write, which is okay.

BAKE Awards nomination was the culmination of a good work done. And we’ll keep doing it this year.

 It’s a girl!

The best thing that happened to me this year (ever?) was becoming a father. Well, well…close your mouth…yes, I’m a father. It’s only that it was not shouted it at the market place. And hands down, my daughter is the most beautiful baby you will ever see. Where are the advertising people? 🙂

She was born in May, and since then, I have had a better focus on life, and I am a much better person. Her giggles and snuggles are the best feeling ever. And I’m trying to be the best dad ever, secure her future, protect her, give her the life I never had… and help her find her path. Remember the letter I wrote to her before she was born?

So, help me God.


Those were my highlights for last year-2017. What were yours?

I have plans for 2018. But plans are just thoughts to a human being. As long as I have the will, I trust God that this will be the best year yet, in my life.

The Night I Almost Became an Orphan

Last week. Tuesday 14th 2017.

My dad had been complaining of a severe headache for a week. And it was getting worse by the day. He had been to all hospitals in Meru (hospitals in upcountry Kenya can be shit and everyone had been giving him shit painkillers)… including miti shamba. Nothing was working, no one knew what was ailing him. The best bet was, he had been bewitched, or cursed, or both. You don’t suffer from unknown diseases.

So, he traveled to the city, to Kenyatta National Hospital, to see a specialist. As you know, Kenyatta National Hospital may be the largest hospital in the region, but it can also be the shittiest in terms of service and valuing human life. I think they have seen too many dead people they don’t care. But at least, this time he was diagnosed – with right transverse sinus thrombosis. That’s a bad blood clot in the brain.

sinus thrombosis

Sinus thrombosis – Blood cannot flow out of the brain

That known, and as serious as it is, the doctor said “go home, and come back very early tomorrow so that we can admit you.” Ridiculous, right? Who postpones hospital admission? Welcome to Kenya.

We go home – to my place. In the middle of the night, my dad is screaming. My father, the epitome of tough, is praying a heart-wrenching prayer. He is loudly asking God to kill him to ease the pain he is going through forever, but to take care of his children when he’s gone. His only wish is not to get healed, but for his children to live well and in peace. It’s too bad… my mum and I are helplessly watching. No use looking for an ambulance because this is Kenya.

He is giving up. But I choose not to. We carry him to the landlady’s car – I am still saving for my big car. And drive on an almost empty tank to the nearest hospital – MP Shah. It is a very expensive hospital but life and money can’t be a match.

They treat it like the emergency it is. They say if we had delayed a few further minutes… You see, his pulse rate is 40 and dropping. His heart is stopping. He is dying, and telling me what to do when he dies. My mother is sobbing. I am stoically looking on and telling him to stop joking… I don’t want to believe it, so I keep pushing the nurses to do something, anything. And they are trying hard, the doctors are trying hard… but it doesn’t seem like they are doing anything.

Only that the results show otherwise, an hour later, he is still alive and not screaming. But the beeps from the machines attached to him are maddening. I leave the room and pace along the corridors… like they do in the movies.

No beds, let’s transfer him to Aga Khan or Avenue Hospital

He has to be admitted, but there are no beds available today. So, he has to be transferred to a hospital with a bed, and ICU space in case there needs to be an emergency brain operation. Damn! Or wait, there is a bed in the private ward… the deposit before they can admit him to that is a lot of money – usitake jua. 

What’s happening? Does he have to die and we are in a hospital? I raise half of that and sign documents to affirm that I will raise the rest during the day – it’s 4:00 am. Just freaking admit him.

They do, and spend the day checking his failing heart, his brain… and pumping drugs into him. We spend the entire Tuesday in the hospital room, which looks like a hotel room complete with food menus, a TV and a badass washroom.

hospital bed MP Shah

Evening – As it looks, he is not dying, you can tell he is fighting hard. He has stopped giving up, he is responding to the medicine. And we are there willing him to keep fighting.

And he is a fighter… because yesterday, a week later… he was discharged from hospital – completely healed.

We will fight another day. But not this way.

Lessons:
  • Take health Insurance. It is important. Proper healthcare can be too damn expensive.
  • Know your neighbours. Especially if you don’t own a car.
  • Keep peace with people and God. Dying is easier than 123.
  • Don’t keep taking painkillers if there is persistent pain. Go to hospital.
  • Healtyhcare needs to be something the county governments take seriously.
  • God bless the doctors, the nurses… and the hospital staff who work tirelessly to ease pain.

And God bless everyone that stood with us during that treacherous week. Thanks for your prayers, visiting and support.

Love Story: When an Elderly Lady Truly Loves You

old woman in love

We met in very unconventional circumstances. While people nowadays meet on Social Media, we met on phone. Yes. She called the office line from the US and she wanted a pair of shoes shipped to her. Not a problem, we were in the business of selling shoes online. But this one order had too many complications. Complications that, instead of turning her from me and the company, only got us closer. And closer.

First, the payment could not go through, so, she thought it was a problem with our systems. We used Pesapal and I had to engage them for some days, they also couldn’t understand what was happening, so, we were on phone with her for days. This was challenging my tech head and I was feeling too foolish. Then a moment of genius hit me! I asked her to disable her antivirus, which she did and voila! The payment went through! (Side note: A good antivirus will protect your credit card against untrustworthy transactions. Invest in one).

The payment done, we shipped her two pairs. Yes, she was so impressed she ordered two (who is looking for a salesman to deal with women, I am here). But they could not fit her! They were like 3 sizes bigger. You see, the US, in all their superpower ego, do not use standard measures. They use miles instead of kilometres, pounds instead of kilograms…and their shoe sizes are too twisted. While the rest of the world uses UK/European sizes, there is a US size, and it is quite confusing. So, the shoes did not fit her! That meant more calls. She soon had my phone number and personal email, to facilitate this. She sent them back, and we sent a test replacement pair.  It was small! This was turning out to be a very complicated sale. She wasn’t mad, she knew we were trying and it was not our fault, and she was making a new platonic friendship- with me!

So, this new friendship got more and more personal, she told me lots of her stories and I told her lots of my endless stories. Her emails are usually so long, she would make a blogger without trying. She was a lovely lady, and I was slowly becoming her best friend. She loved Kenya, and she was in love with a Kenyan man. Here is the story of Jacinta.

Jacinta has been in Kenya several times, mostly on Safari. She loves the rugged life of the jungle, being a mechanical person herself, and would come most Februaries to see our beautiful animals, and beaches, and culture. She knows Kenya more than I do, despite Brand Kenya’s campaigns for local tourism (by the way, do you go to Kuvinjari in our tourist destinations?).

And in the process, Jacinta fell in love with a tour guide. Let’s call him Joseph.

Joseph is a Kamba. He’s married but “he is so rarely at home, he wants to separate with his wife. He only meets her to see his daughter and they have rare sex to fulfill his conjugal duties. He doesn’t love her.” ‘Joseph is a quiet man in his thirties. He is not aggressive, he has no big goals and what they planned, he doesn’t follow through. Btw, Jacinta is in her 70s, or 80s.

But she loved him and he loved her back. He would cry whenever he took her to the airport. When they made love, it was heaven. You know Kenyans are blessed in that sector, don’t you? So, they wanted to spend the rest of their days together. She was willing to leave her rosy life in the US and come to Kenya, set up a business with Joseph and live happily ever after. She actually asked me to help her get a house in a good location not far from Nairobi and car leases. I was ready to help. I love love. And I fight for love. I was ready to be their love warrior.

Meanwhile, she had helped him buy a car. Jacinta is quite aggressive, she knows what she wants and gets it often. So when she bought him the car, she said it was a loan. She gave him enough money to buy a brand new car – zile za showroom. She expected him to pay her every month.

The wife knew!

Joseph’s wife knew of this relationship. She has seemingly given them her blessings. I guess she figured out this old lady couldn’t take much of her husband’s energy… and she was rich anyway. A little sacrifice for lots of riches, and in any case… si sabuni haikwishi. 🙂

This gave me my first ringing bell. I don’t like kuingilia people who have shared bedsheets. You know it goes. But this was Jacinta was my friend.. and friends don’t watch friends walk into pits. So I told her, f course in a subtle way to protect her feeble heart, that, “hey, Sweetie… please be careful. Don’t celebrate that the wife has given her blessings. This happens to tourists a lot – they get a Kenyan who gives it to them so good they want to get married… they get married or invest a lot in them, and then it turns sour. Of course I am not saying Joseph is like that, but be careful.” Of course she didn’t believe me… and I didn’t rub it in because, remember bed sheets…

But immediately after Joseph bought the car – of course not from the showroom but a decent second hand car, things started shifting. He would take weeks to respond to her WhatsApp – blaming long safaris and shit – but her love remained intact. One time she missed her so much that she flew all the way to Kenya, booked a five star hotel and waited on Joseph… and waited, and waited. Well, he finally came when she threatened to send the Police on him.

But when he came, he don’t even kiss her. Dude stayed at a corner and told her he wouldn’t make love to her because he feared her wife had gone to the witchdoctors and they would stick together if that happened. And it was never happening ever again due to this reason. People fear kukwama. 

stuck during sex

Jacinta was broken. 80 years of experience in heartbreaks. She felt the world crash against her. There was a sudden pit in her stomach… and that sudden surge of heat hit her face. This was worth than when any of her husbands died. The room was spinning. She fainted.

Nairobi Initiation 7: Fighting the Police

It’s a fine Sunday evening and I’m walking to Plot 10 from seeing my one of my hunnies at UoN Hall 5. We’ve been there since we left church and so, it’s been a romantic day – I am walking on clouds with a bounce… and a sweet feeling on my lips, of course. I’m even thinking about the future already, when I will break my virginity and stop kulaing kwa macho.

And so, I’m startled when someone grabs me roughly on the shoulder, bringing me from my utopia heaven to this rough world that’s deficient of chills. I look up and see the ugly, burrowed face of a guy in a brown jacket. The pungent smell of tobacco and last week’s managu is hitting my nose and he has been talking me:

“Kijana unaninyamazia? Unaenda wapi?”
Without thinking, I tell him: “Kwa nyanyako!”
“Unatusi nani?” and without warning, the asshole slaps me … hard in the face! Still not thinking, I also slap him so hard my hands hurt. God, that’s a rough, hard face.

The guy is now shocked. Bet he didn’t think I would pack such a blow. So, he grabs my collar, and I grab his, as short as I am. He knocks the back of my head and because I can’t reach his, I stamp his feet like Diego Costa. He jumps at the pain.

I don’t even run as I should. He comes at me with the vigour of someone who has overdosed Viagra and grabs the back of my trouser and lifts me up like the police do. He then pins me against the street light with so much impunity, I think I will break a rib. I get composed and grab him by his balls, and because I’m a fellow man who will not squeeze another man’s balls hivi hivi, I tell him to release me or I will squeeze him so hard he will wish he died.

“Mimi ni Askari.” He begs in the most desperate voice I’ve ever heard. ”

“Hapana, wewe ni mwizi. Prove that you are a police officer”

Using his free hand, he reaches his shirt pocket and retrieves a Police ID. Still running on adrenaline, I ask him why he was man-handling me in the first place.

“Niachilie ama nikuuwe wewe!”

Then reality hits me…It’s the era of extrajudicial killings and people have been killed for much less. I release him and we both bend like athletes at the end of the race, panting. It’s been a weird minute that looked like hours.

“But hata wewe afande, usishike mtu hivi hivi kama hujamshow ID. I thought unaniibia.” I quip.

“Hii haitaishia hapa nanii. Kwanza leta ID”

“Ukiongea vibaya nitakwambia unipeleke kwenye unataka na nitakushinda. “

“Utashinda risasi? Utashinda risasi?” And the damned man comes at me again. Now shaken, I meekly give him my ID.

“Ooh! Wewe ni Mmeru. Unafikiria hata kama Matthew Iteere ni wenu siwezi kufanya kitu? Ama unafikiria nitatambua hasira ya Mmeru mkundu wewe?!” Matthew Iteere is the Police Commissioner.

I just look at him. This is a very angry officer. I’m sure he’s serious about killing me. Actually, if he had a gun, I’d be dead already… another kid gangsta terrorizing the police. And I have really terrorized this one.

“Twende! Twende station ghasia wewe! “ He starts nuzzling me up the hill towards Central Police Station. In a way, I’m relieved that he is taking me in. On the other hand, I know the other officers will make me a punching bag when he tells them what I did. But in my mind, I know if it goes to court any judge will release me. I am too small to fight such a big, trained officer, anyway.

Maybe this shame is in his mind too because just as we reach the Moi Avenue junction, he returns my ID. As I reach out to take it, he gives me a grown up slap that could be heard in Gitura! Aki I see mene mene  stars!  He then looks at me menacingly and tells me he will kill me if he ever sees me again. And he simply walks away, leaving me dazed. Nairobians are just glancing at me, not even asking what I got that slap for. Damn you, people of Nairobi!

I turn and walk home with a stinging headache… Remembering my last, more dramatic encounter with the police.

Story for another day.

Celebrating the Death of “those people”

Meru-accident-death

Last weekend was a dark weekend for our village and the surrounding villages. The dark cloud still hangs over us like a giant rock about to crash us. What you saw on TV and read in newspapers and social media actually happened to us. The horrible accident in along Meru-Nkubu Road that killed 8 people affected is directly. To us, it was not just a statistic. We lost family members, neighbours, close friends. Children are mourning the loss of both parents, parents distraught at the loss of their children… and we’ve been crying, wailing in pain, asking God Almighty all the questions and receiving no answers. See, it’s barely 2 years ago since another accident claimed the life of Mfa and 3 others that we are still not through.

And so, again, we were in the news for all the wrong and unfortunate reasons. Everywhere we turn, is news of a “grisly accident in Meru that killed 8 people” some say 9 and others 10. See, to the media and all these social media journos, it’s just another horrible statistic.

Yet that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is the comments under these social media posts.

People are celebrating our pain. People are actually jubilant that these “Merus” died. Heartless people are stomping on the blood and tears. Some people are actually wishing more died, that it was a bigger vehicle and if they were gods they would have killed more because they deserve it. 

Some reasons have been given, and the more you read them, the more you feel like gagging. These Merus deserved to die because they didn’t vote for someone, because they promised a certain politician votes but betrayed him and his tribe at the last minute. There’s also the celebration of the election winner’s sacrifice to the gods, they voted for him and he’s paying their souls to the devil. Also, the police is killing their tribesmen and this was the gods’ way of avenging them. 

All this because of elections! We have been turned into heartless objects (no animal can be this heartless) by politics. Never mind everyone involved got his share of votes in Meru and you don’t know who these people voted for! And even if you knew, is a freaking election worth all this insensitivity? All this madness and lack of soul?

Don’t believe that? Just look at the comments on KTN, Citizen TV, NTV and K24 posts on Facebook on the accident. Here are a few (click to expand the comments):

There are other Kenyans celebrating police killings. Okay, the Police is trying to prevent anarcy from happening, but killing citizens is not the correct option, and no one should be dancing about it and saying these people deserved it. No one deserves death! Unless you are a killer yourself, 0f course. 

A friend of mine posted on Facebook about the IEBC Chair, Wafula Chebukati’s report that his life is in danger. You should see the bile in the comments. Almost everyone in there wants that report to be true, almost everyone  wants him to die. I mean, really? Is elections worth a life?

These elections have taught me something. Loss is difficult, in all ways. Even if it’s Chelsea losing to Burnley because the referee gave two red cards. If your hope of positive change was pegged on someone and he lost, you will be understandably disappointed. This gets worse if you believe the loss wasn’t fair. That’s all human nature.

So, if you see such comments, try to understand. In a way, these people are mourning a loss also. Extend a hug, comment back and tell them you love them, show them you understand. If we insult these people like they are insulting our dead, it will be a spiral of negativity, which is not fair for anyone. We all need to heal.

But, as disappointed as you are, don’t make politics a matter of life and death. Especially death. Never wish death upon anyone, never be insensitive to anyone who’s mourning. It can happen to anyone, any time.

Oh Shit… I love toilets!

toilet funny

Is there an award for the person who spends the most time in the toilet? I deserve that award – I’ve realized I spend insane amounts of time in that little room.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I have seen the toilet as an adult. You see, in Gitura where I grew up, the thought of shitting inside the house was unimaginable. Why would anyone want to do that unless they are in a police cell or too sick to move? So, we have long drop latrines as far from the house as possible. You squat, take a good aim and release. And no, you cannot take your phone into a latrine… balancing takes a lot of work, and you have to support yourself with the door or walls… and STILL aim for the hole and wave houseflies away.

These ones

In the past few weeks, I have made myself a new friend doing very remarkable things in the society. His name is Titi Kadu and he’s the founder of RaHa Solutions, which provides water tanks and toilets to needy communities. The motivation? Over 75% Kenyans don’t have access to clean water and over 50% don’t have toilets!
Let’s forget water for a moment… do you know how important a toilet is?  I mean, is there a more pleasurable moment than taking a shit… and how do these people enjoy their phones? Don’t phones get more interesting in the toilet?

So, imagine there are people who don’t enjoy these toilet pleasures… and you say you aren’t blessed?

I love the toilet, Oh God, I really love my toilet times. And my toilet time is sacred… Researchers say that an average person spends 4 days per year in a toilet, I think I spend 12. Why? That’s where I think, relax, escape… and most of my blog posts are written on the toilet seat, including this. Now you know why some of the things I write are so shitty. 🙂

It’s said that you shouldn’t work on your desk for too long without taking a break. I have been following that religiously… but my breaks have been spent in the toilet for the longest time, taking so much time I leave the toilet feeling weird. I mean, what do people think when they see me leave the toilet after 20 maneno minutes? But then, kila nyani na starehe zake.

But sometimes the toilet experience can be bad, really bad. You get into the toilet and your bowels start dancing (have you realized, even if you haven’t been all that pressed, when you get into the toilet it pulsates?)… but now, you realize the toilet seat is a huge mess? The people who pee on toilet seats, and those who step on them (how do you do that) have a special place in hell.

Related image

You get into the toilet and notice pee and mud, and hair on the seat… and wish for a moment that the poo can go back to your stomach. Even placing tissue paper on top makes you cringe, and assuming some of those difficult poses is an abuse to the sanctity of the toilet.

Stop doing that! Keep the toilet sacred… leave it usable. And I’m speaking as an authority in toilet matters… told you I’m an expert. And my expertise spreads far and wide. 🙂

Stop doing this shit on the toilet

You don’t have to do this shit on the toilet

I think it’s this expertise that made Florence of Lavena Care ask me to help her make toilets the sacred places they are, using an anointing oil on the toilet seat before sitting on it. So, ladies and gentlemen of Kenya, Lavena Care is a toilet seat sanitizer. Every heard of those? You simply spray it on the toilet seat, wait for like 6 seconds, wipe with tissue… and place your bum without fear. Germs gone, UTI out of the window… and it smells like paradise.

I have never been in a kanju toilet… I hear those things are bad. Very bad. And I don’t go to bad toilets. Some of us may not have an option, though, like girls who, when they got to go, they got to go. This Lavena is tested on kanju toilets, and other public toilets like schools (even UoN Men hostels), office loos and a certain public hospital. So yes! You can use a shared toilet comfortably. Like when visitors come to your place and you cringe over the state of your truly personal space.

FREEBIE ALERT: Since I want you to join the Choo Sacco, I will give you one or two of you a small bottle of Lavena Care Toilet Sanitizer – I can afford it, it’s only kedo 150 bob. Just comment on this post with a bad toilet experience.


Free Toilets

I also mentioned RaHa Solutions. RaHa Solutions doesn’t employ field officers to go around looking for villages and schools that don’t have water… it’s the public that nominates such communities. So, if you know of a community that doesn’t have toilets, or water… simply fill this small form. I am nominating my village Gitura… nominate your village too… who knows you can use that to campaign for MCA in 2022?


Enjoy your potty! 🙂

Random Memories – Gatecrashing an Office Party

Mwaura Wambiru and Ben

One unusual Friday, my partner-in-crime Dan Mwaura and I are busy at our Lenana Towers office, working on a side hustle (he also happens to be a work colleague – hope my bosses don’t read this). This side hustle is packaging one Kiambu politician with a Facebook banner. The said politician – who fell from the Jubilee race in a joint-crushing thud – had given me a small assignment to make him a banner but I decided to subcontract it to Mwaura who is a well-known jack of all trades.

Mwaura is that guy who doesn’t say no to any kind of a hustle, he once told me he used to wash reptile’s way before your sisters in the Middle East complained on live TV. If Mwaura shares his CV with you , you won’t lack somewhere to fix him in your village company, his CV reads he is a masonry, a cook, a trained pastor, cameraman, designer, B2B, marketing manager, CEO Flex Technologies, marriage trainer etc. He recently trained my friend how to sire a son.

To cut the story short, we got paid via M-Pesa for the banner and were ready to go make it lit at Zodiac in town – our main joint when we have some coins. Other days we like hanging up downtown at Sabina Joy where we get lovely moments with minji minji from all over the country. Its 5:30 PM and we won’t extend even a single second to make Mchinku an extra coin. We want to catch the next flight of lift downstairs before fombe is added water. Mwaura and I have some good connections with several light-skins in the company and we don’t want them to start asking us for mpango wa weekend. We command small respect from customer care department to marketing department and we can’t stand kuchoma picha. Ndio sisi hao ndaaani ya lift.

Inside the lift, we notice a poster written “Cocktail Party at 6th Floor”. Mwaura is mesmerized, he always tells me he is a graduate in the Opportunist Faculty. He immediately presses 6 at ground floor and starts explaining to me how he is well connected with the company and he is even surprised why they didn’t tell him about the cocktail party.

Mwaura is a Maestro

Since I knew Mwaura, I have never disagreed with his sentiments, in fact when I sport a yellow yellow, I have to notify him for approval. He has to see the photos, talk to her and even touch to confirm she has no artificial implant front or behind.

There we are at 6th floor and alas! We are like the only black people at the entrance. White people are entering in twos with invitation cards and there is a table at the entrance for checking the cards. Everyone is smart except us. Mwaura is worse dressed than me, as always. The bag on his back is full of dust from RUNDA (Ruiru Ndani) and his old Bata shoes look like they can fit on both shoes. Anyway, I tell him  to call company representatives he had said he knows and he starts stories that they just chatted on the email bra bra…at this point we look stranded. Haidhuru!

He starts perusing his email to get their email address, as if people having a party check their mails. The party is going down inside and I can’t stand enjoying it from outside. I can also spot some hired catering staff distributing all kind of mashakura. Nie reke ngwere, saliva! I also notice we are blocking some VVIP at the entrance and I advise Mwaura we can’t keep acting with our phones like girls waiting for blind dates at Kencom. And there is no way we are leaving this party.

So, we decide to gatecrash the thing!

Part 2 coming soon…

A Man’s Guide to Being a Real Man

real man

The other day I told you to Be A Man … but I did not tell you how. Today I will pass some wisdom over to you. Keep it in thine heart. HERE IS HOW TO BE A REAL MAN!

Don’t Fear Shit. Being fearless doesn’t mean you don’t have fear, it means you know how to conquer fear. It’s good to test your fear, to overcome it. You see that miraa Hilux approaching and you step out to the middle of the road – pale Kangeta. That miraa pick up will stop. Or not.

Do what you say. If you tell people you’re going to step out to face the incoming miraa Hilux to test your fear, do it. Or you shut the EFF up!

Show lots of emotion. A real man isn’t afraid to let others see his emotion. You can be sad, happy, furious, angry, disappointed, ecstatic, all in the space of thirty seconds. Practice in front of your phone selfie camera.

Speaking of emotion, a real man shows his anger. He is angry about injustice, about wrong, about the fact that the sukuma did not have enough salt and he now has to call his small sister or daughter to bring the salt, AGAIN! You don’t have to be a Meru to be angry, btw.

Show your value. A real man is a valuable person in his work, in his relationships, to his family, to his cow, to his cockroaches. Especially, the cockroaches. They don’t cook and they need you. Don’t dare clean up the kitchen. Watakula wapi?

Real Men Cry

Cry. A man reveals his pain. He opens up to those he trusts; he cries and uses the pillow and the back of his hand to wipe away the tears and all the mucus when he watches 3 Idiots or other emotional movies in bed.

A real man loves without holding back. He gives it all. To his girl. To his children. His mama sukuma. His cockroaches.
Grow your mind. A real man should not only take care of his body but his mind too. He needs to strengthen it, to build it up, make it strong. You know what makes strong brains? Avocados and strungi. That’s just science.

Explore the world. Kneel on your bed and look outside. See what’s happening outside from your bed. Look at the cars and girls if you live at Plot 10 or other crowded places in Nairobi. Ooh, look at that bird soaring in the sky. Close your eyes and see the world from that bird’s eyes.

That’s being a man.

 

An Angel Lives in Kibera

Kibera Truthful Talent Childrens Home
The night of December 31st, 2007, Kibera

Deep inside Kibera Slums, an elderly lady sat alone in a huge, old brick, double roomed house. In Kibera standards, that’s a humongous mansion. This was a wealthy lady… I mean, who owns a brick house amongst all the mud, mabati and polyethene structures?

Normally, the old woman would have gone to church for the New Year’s vigil on this night. But this time… this time things were looking complicated. An election had just ended and some people were unhappy. It was turning violent. And this violence was not political, it was getting tribal. And as usual, Kibera was at the centre of it all. She had heard over the radio a few people had been killed within the slum, bit she had locked herself in the house all day and hadn’t seen any of it.

But suddenly, outside her door, she heard people quarrelling. One was pleading with the others but from the gruff, they were having none of it. She closed her eyes as she heard panga swings and the deathly sound when the machetes connected with bodies. People were being killed outside her door.

Her heart sank when she heard a knock on her door. Maybe this is the day I will die. But the voice that came through was that of a child.

Shosho, nisaidie. Nimekatwa nifungulie.

For a moment, she thought she was either dreaming, or this was a trap. Maybe someone wanted to trick her into opening the door. The more the child pleaded, the more the chords of her heart were strung.

“I don’t have children of my own but God Himself knows how much I love kids. I wouldn’t have helped it… so I told God if He wanted me to die for helping a child, I would have peace with that.”

So, she opened the door. And there was a boy out there, barely ten, soaked in blood. She dragged him in and closed the door. And cleaned him, the blood forming rivers in her house, but she didn’t notice that. She just wanted the poor boy to be free of pain, cold and thirst.

Throughout the night, more knocks came, from children and adults alike. She was the only one with a house that could not be torn down using a razor blade, and her age could deter would-be killers.

Kenya Post Election Violence Kibera

Post Election Violence | Source: Capital FM

And the killers kept knocking at her house, seeking for people from a certain tribe, to kill.

“I hid all the people in the next room and stood at the door, crying, telling the marauding animals ‘My children, I’m just an elderly woman living alone and there’s no one else in the house.’ Some would come inside, with their bloody pangas, look around, and leave. Had they seen the people I would be dead now”

She kept receiving people, kids especially, whose parents had been killed or fled and their houses burnt, used up all the food she had and scraped around for more.

Weeks later, when the slaughter had subsided. She was left with several orphaned and abandoned children…

And thus the Kibera Truthful Talent Children’s Home was born. This remarkable lady’s name is Mama Lorna.

Mama Lorna Kibera

Mama Lorna

10 years later, now.

My colleagues and I are visiting the Truthful Talents Children’s Home, Kibera. It is my first time in Kibera, and we get lost a couple of times. See, Kibera is a very large area of nothing but shacks for houses. There are no landmarks like you would say KICC that you can see from whenever. The only landmarks here are toilet blocks because there are only a few of those in Kibera. And no, you can’t go around asking for directions in Kibera. So, we have to grope our way around to a place we can park the cars and dive deeper into the slum.

A guy from the Children’s Homes is here to pick us, and he takes us through paths ridden by human waste, surface sewage, giant flies… and mean looking people eyeing the packages we are carrying. The twists and turns lead us to a small mabati gate, a corridor-like compound into this room:

The room Mama Lorna shares with her 20+ kids in Kibera

The room Mama Lorna shares with her 20+ kids

It has three double and triple-decker beds and smells a whiff of acrid smell and there are clothes strewn all over. We stand around, confused until a bubbly lady comes into the room and greets each one of us, warmly… and invites us to sit on the beds and on a few plastic stools that she brings in. “Be comfortable, our mama is coming.” Her name is Beatrice.

An elder woman who looks a lot like Sarah Obama comes in followed by a few shy children. You know, the way we would curiously peep at visitors when we were kids. The lady also greets us with a serious expression and taunts us:

“I hope you are comfortable. This is one of the most comfortable rooms in Kibera.”

And starts laughing! The damp room is now suddenly lively. Life of the party right there. She introduces herself as a lover of Christ and tells us the story of the Home. And why she does this, which is utterly remarkable:

I run this home because that’s what I was created to do and I don’t expect payment here on Earth. I remind God every day that if he has to pay me, I want to get a first class ticket to Heaven. So I tell Him every morning that the only reward she wants for her work is to have a guaranteed place in Heaven when I die.

Turns out, she shares this small, cramped room with over 20 girls. This is just her home, remember? That’s where our eyes start getting damp. This old lady sleeps in this very room that the seven of us can’t fit… with 20 urinating and sometimes screaming children!

The boys sleep in a separate room, the same size, chaperoned by the guy who had come for us, who, by the way, is THAT first kid who had knocked on Lorna’s house ten years ago, all bloody. Now he is twenty and takes care of the smaller kids. Oh, he is joining the Cooperative University of Kenya next week! A couple of the other young men will also be joining the university in the next few months.

The Home now has 42 children of different ages, and they all live here. They start their basic education here in the biggest room, tutored by the older ones and alumni, and Beatrice is one of them:

This is where I grew up. I got married but I come here every day to help Mama with the kids and the chores here. She is getting old and I owe her my service. If it wasn’t for her, I would be out there, or worse.

 

This is Beatrice

We go into the “school” to play, sing, dance and eat with the kids. The innocence simply overwhelms us. I see tears, I hear laughter… and sighs.

And the cry of a baby… she is only 3 months old and had been thrown away in some Kibera trash site immediately she was born; where she was collected and brought to Mama Lorna. The other kids are her elder siblings and Mama Lorna her mother. Just as she has been a mother to all these children.

This 3 month old baby was neglected at birth and rescued by Mama Lorna of Truthful Talent Childrens Home Kibera

This 3 month old baby…

They sleep hungry sometimes. They don’t get that many visitors or donors and to make ends meet, they make beads and other art stuff that Mama Lorna goes to sell around Nairobi.

As we leave, you can feel a shift in every one of us. Something in us has changed from this trip. We sleep in our bedsitters, one and two bedrooms in flats and get 3 compact meals daily; and still, complain about our living standards. If we could ask God Himself questions, we could have, at that moment, asked Him why He gives wealth to selfish people and not to people like Mama Lorna who are changing the world.

But then, one, you don’t ask God questions and 2… there is no greater wealth that this. Taking care of vulnerable children and setting them up for life!

Meanwhile, an angel lives in Kibera, surrounded by other small, innocent angels.

Gallery:


You can help, too. If you want to visit this Children’s Home… holla and we will go together. They will give you a pup (yes, they rescue dogs, too) 🙂


 

My 10 Badass Life Rules

Life Rules frankmwenda

Life is a journey… and to survive this journey, we all need some rules. Personal and universal life rules. Here are mine… that I think you should add to your constitution.

Rule Number 1:

Beyond the people who pay me money, no one else knows how much money I make. Never let anyone know how much money you have. No one should know what you earn, how much you have in your accounts… because money breeds jealousy. That’s how you die or get screwed over.

Rule Number 2: Keep your moves to yourself.

When you make choices that you haven’t started acting on, don’t tell the world. Are you considering proposing to someone? Shut up. You want to start a new business. Keep quiet.  Never let ’em know your next move. I have seen business ideas stolen, girls taken away by friends before you get to them, and gossips spreading.

Number 3: Don’t trust anybody (fully).

Hell, don’t even trust yourself. I don’t mean don’t trust anybody, the keyword is fully. Trust is the foundation on which human interaction is built. You have to trust someone, but leave space for doubt. That way, you back will be covered, and if people betray your trust, you will not hurt too much.

Rule Number 4: Drink

Drink, but only to give company. Don’t drink as if you have some championship that you want to win. There is actually nothing good that came out of any drink ever. Drinking is for the common people. Always try to be more than that.

Rule Number 5: Don’t shit where your sleep

Don’t mess your name and relationships with your neighbours. Don’t be the guy/gal mama sukuma points out to other women and says “huyu uwa hatumwelewi… kila siku na kijana/dem different.” Don’t be the village drunkard, nor the guy that other people in your plot will be castigating about your childishly loud music. I know it is your life, but keep your name clean where you live, unless you live at Plot 10 where bad manners is heroic.My grandpa will say… “don’t poop where you sleep.”

Rule Number 6: No Debts!

Want to look mediocre? Keep borrowing loans, and niokolee from your friends and family. You will look, and be mediocre. I am not saying that you can’t borrow… of course, needs arise… just don’t make it mazoea. And if you get a loan from a friend that ou said you would return at some time, by all means, return it! Don’t be like Musa.

Rule Number 7: Don’t Mix Business and Family

You see this in kiosks and butcheries, but it is very important. Keep your family/friendship and business completely separated! Never give business stuff on credit to your family members because they will not pay you even if they say so. Don’t invite friends to eat at your kibanda if the plan is to smile as if this was another hotel. Don’t even employ your brother in your business because you cannot fire him, even when he messes. After all, it’s family… and you don’t want to be excommunicated by the clan.

Number 8: But, Put your family first.

Outside number 7, and this should have been the first… Your family comes before any friendship, before any career, before anything! Everything else in the world can wait. If you have a crisis at home, in-balance, or unresolved problem, go take care of it. The time you spend with family and your pets is more valuable that the money you can make within that time. When you need to pick between money (job and other takataka) and family, pick family. They are the only ones who can ever pick you!

Number 9: And stop comparing yourself to others.

Many lives have been stolen by the unhealthy habit of comparing ourselves to others. Comparing ourselves to others will always rob us of gratitude, joy, and fulfilment. It prevents us from fully living our lives. It calls us to envy other people’s lives and seek theirs rather than ours. It robs us of our most precious possession: life itself. Live your life… forget the rest!

Number 10: Finally, it’s your life!

Finally, don’t give two fucks about what people think. There will always be the haters to anything you do, life is too short to spend time pleasing everyone and trying to make everyone happy, pleasing yourself should come first. Pleasing others can be part of pleasing yourself so that could be great. Your life, your time.

Those are my rules… what are your life rules? Tell me in comments. 🙂

Am I a Writer? Naah!

frog writerI am a reader, that I know. And again, you cannot prove if I am a good reader or not. But writer? Bla blah blah. 

Let’s take it back several steps.

Before I went to Nursery School, that’s what they were called back then before someone thought of THREE kindergartens before going to Class 1 – I was three years old, and before I went to my first class, I already knew how to write the alphabet, my name, and both my parents’ names. Perks of a first-born? Right. But, see, I was a writer before I knew how to speak.

I kept writing school stuff and reading story books in all languages including Kimeru’s Kagitûyû Kajîîgî na Johana Mûritu (The Cunning Hare and John the Illiterate).

My first book

Then little demons would whisper to me to write my own storybook. I got a few sheets of paper (paper was a rare commodity then because cutting off a page from a book was punishable by death) and I got the Class Artist – Lincoln Mtoto- to draw a few illustrations for my storybook in exchange for a maandazi or two, and I started writing my book. My plan was to write one copy and hire a few classmates to copy it into several copies that I could sell (publishing was an alien concept to me). I don’t remember what it was about, but I lost interest before I reached half my best seller.

frankmwenda kindergarten book

That shelved, I stayed in the non-creative wilderness that made me do tabia mbaya for some time, until I discovered Composition and Insha in Upper Primary. Guys, I could write. The teacher used to read my composition in class, and in other classes. One time, we did an interschool exam and my composition was read in the other two schools. I had this fantasy that my composition would be written in the KCPE newsletters to be read by the whole nation. A boy can dream. 🙂

High School

High school came and we started writing compositions in ink. Erasing wasn’t an option and you had to conceptualize your story before you started writing. The competition was stiffer now, with all the jogoos meeting in one place. Even the jogoos of the towns and academies. Slightly intimidating, but I immersed myself into serious writing and reading. Before long, I was the jogoo of my Miathene class too. I would give myself writing assignments, write and present to the teacher for scoring. I guess the teachers used to love reading my compositions.

Then came the letters. God, I used to write letters. Letters to girls. For myself and for my homies who wanted to score girls. For me, it was passion. Poetry. I was so obsessed, sometimes I would receive letters from girls, correct grammar and spelling mistakes, and send back to them. Some thought I was a total jerk, others thought it was fun. Not that I cared, I was a writer!

Shakespeare

I even wanted to become Shakespeare (we did his Merchant of Venice book for literature). In Form 3 and 4, I wrote my school plays for Drama Festivals. One competition day, at our sister school Mikinduri Girl’s, I asked the Drama teacher, Kibondo, to show me how my play looked like typed.

He answered me in that guttural voice of his: “Wewe Kibuacha wewe! Achana kutaka kutumia play kukatia girls. Use your mouth!”

Later I learned, kumbe Kibondo had added his name to the script as the author! And I knew this because my play was featured in the Sunday Nation newspaper. His name was on the paper instead of mine.

Still, in Form 4, I started the project of writing a new novel. This time I was dead serious, even talked to Longhorn Publishers when we went on a Journalism Club trip. The woman even told me they would publish it for free if it was good and then they would be paying me royalties. Mimi nani…I got an A4, 200-page book and wrote half of it in the three days before school holidays, you know, that time when we didn’t study because exams were done? But that’s all I wrote, I quit!

The manuscript is still on my bookshelf and when I read it last December, I realized how shady my high school mind was.

Blogging

writer frankmwenda

My next novel attempt was, of all places, when I was doing CPA I… while people got screwed by KASNEB the way KASNEB screws people, I was writing a thriller, day and night. I quit when I tried to give it to classmates to read and they said they had no time. Made me wonder what I was doing with my life writing a novel when I was supposed to be studying complex accounting math.

Then I came to Nairobi and saw MrsMwiti writing stories online, on a thing she called a blog. Made me so curious I started my own blog. I was becoming the writer I always wanted to become. My blog then was a political blog where I wrote Mutuma Mathiu-ish opinion pieces. I kept ranting about stuff happening in Kenya and honestly, in my mind, I thought I was going to make Kenya into a better country through my writing. Only that it didn’t. Corruption remained, Nairobi River remained dirty, football in Kenya was eaten to death, Kenyans still worshiped their tribal chiefs… and I quit!

This, here, was my blog and that’s how I named myself FrankKenyan.

Then I started writing a sports blog and I felt like that was my real niche. Kenyans even noticed and I was nominated for BAKE Awards 2012 for Best Sports Blog. Of course, I didn’t win, and I didn’t expect to win, but I was so disoriented that I decided to stop writing about sport. I quit again. Perrenial quitter, huh.

Writer Jobs

But I was happy for that, being nominated contributed highly in me getting my first real job – Social Media at Bata Shoe Company, where I continued writing a brand new Blog – This Blog – and the Bata Shoe Blog. I kept growing as a writer and started getting fans like you. May have been inconsistent, but I was growing. I didn’t even know what my blog was about before I wrote the Nairobi Initiation Series that you guys loved, and I was like, wait, my life has so many stories I can spend a lifetime writing about it. And you enjoy.

I have since written a lot of things, mostly blogs, that you may mistake me for a writer. (That said, if you want something written, talk to me – Bata, LIVELUVO, Kilimall, my pet blog Ameru, and many readers here will tell you I try 😉 )

But I am still not a writer. Writers write books and writers don’t quit… and everyone keeps telling me to write a book as if you guys buy Kenyan books. 🙂 Someone even told me I should do Nairobi Initiation as a book. Nawesmek?

Nah, I’m not a writer!

Medical May: Books I Read in May

Frankmwenda.com Medical books May

In May, I decided to look for Medical books. Not those long, technically boring books with the difficult words that made me not join KMTC, but novels. Stories told by some of the world’s most creative writers.

Read on:

Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

Tell me your dreams Sidney Sheldon_MEDICAL BOOK

What if there were other independent people living in your body and you don’t know of their existence? What if these people hang out with different people, love different things, have sex with different people. And kill people without your knowledge?

Yes, that is real and it is called MultiplePersonality disorder (MPD) which is

a mental disorder characterised by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states. These states alternately show in a person’s behaviour, accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

Now, in this story, in a way only Sidney Sheldon can tell, is about Ashley Patterson, an introverted workaholic, her co-workers, Toni Prescott, an outgoing singer and dancer, and shy artist Alette Peters… who are, of course living within her. Now, she… they… have killed 4 men in the same manner: castrated after having sex.

All evidence points to Ashley because, of course, she was there, there was vaginal evidence, and she was in possession of the murder weapon…. and the young, ambitious lawyer, David Singer puts his reputation on the line to prove that Toni and Alette are not Ashley.

What follows is one of the best medical, psychotic and legal drama I have ever read.

I read this novel in the commute, at work, at home in bed… everywhere. Because once you start reading Sidney Sheldon, you don’t just put Sidney Sheldon down.

Against Medical Advice (True Story) – James Patterson

Against Medical Advice - James Patterson _ a Medical Book

By now, if you read my Books series, you know I am a Patterson diehard. And since May was my Medical Month, I had to read a Patterson… only that this time it was a true, unfortunate story.

It is the life story of a seventeen-year-old guy, Cory Friedman, which started when he was five years old. One morning, Cory woke up with the uncontrollable urge to shake his head. From that day on, his life became a misery of such things. His body would just do things unexpectedly and uncontrollably, like walking like a spider, hopping around, clapping hands, rubbing his nose, climbing trees and involuntary utterances. This set him on fifteen years of medication upon medication, treatment upon treatment–a constantly changing regimen that left him and his family feeling like guinea pigs in an out-of-control experiment.

It soon became unclear which tics were symptoms of his condition and which were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs oscillating between  OCDTourette syndrome, and an anxiety disorder.

The only certainty was that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman’s life was a living hell.

Subjected to debilitating treatments and continuous ridicule, Cory became devastatingly aware of how he appeared to others. With the love of his family and the support of a few steadfast teachers and medical professionals, he fought for his very life, and you will cheer his amazing successes.

Btw, the other writer, Hal Friedman is Cory’s father, so the story is from the horse’s mouth.


That’s it. I could only read these medical books in a Month, lest I became a doctor. The rest were novels and Google stuff… but those don’t count as books, do they?


 

Random Memories 6: My First Flight – Landing

Fly Emirates Dubai Landing

Where did we leave it last time? Oh, I was getting high high in the sky on my very first flight. So, lets complete the flight and the landing, will we?

Now, every time I ever took a whisky, even my bowels used to stagger – I have to use the loo at the ,”earliest opportunity. This was no exception… adding on the different things I had eaten for the first time. And no, on a plane, you don’t tell the pilot to simamisha ndege you go to the bushes like you do with Kensilver. I knew planes have toilets but I had no idea where they would be. At the back is where the food had come from so obviously that’s not where the loos were. And I hadn’t seen them at the front when I came in.

After fidgeting for some time like my Meru tutors taught me – where I come from men don’t ask where the latrines are, they simply go around following the smells and flies to find them. And there was no way I was going around the plane looking for loos… I have seen enough movies to know people get arrested on suspicion of terrorism in planes. After a few minutes of my stomach groaning because of the mathoganio I had eaten, I heard a kid call out to his mother that he needed to go, I became alert, followed them with my eyes up to the back of the toilet… Then back past us to the front where they stood for some time until this huge, pink man came out of the cubicle. So, that was the toilet.

As I waited, more people went to the back, then to the front till there was a queue outside the door. Made me wonder if they had to go register at the back before going to poo. Or maybe there was a Emirates kanju back there to take the money in exchange for tissue paper.

When in Gitura, do what Giturans do, that’s what my grandfather always tells me. So, gingerly, I rose and went to the back of the plane looking for the kanju guy. One step at a time… the aeroplane was rocking back and forth… the air roads have potholes too. There were people standing around drinking Tusker and looking like Kenyan rugby players along the walkway, talking loudly in Swahili. I even ngotad one, in a show of confidence. You know where there are big Kenyans, ngetas can fly, even if it is in a street thousands of feet in the air. Okay, I have exaggerated that one. I passed them and went where I had seen everyone go.

There was no registration desk. Those were toilets, but there was a sign they were out of use. Made me wonder if they were full already, why not simply open the underside and let shit fly.

Anyway, I went back, all the way to the front where the rest of the people were waiting for their turns. I put on my macho face to show them I was also an Ol G, listening to music through my iPod. I won’t tell you what I did in there because my culture still doesn’t allow me… But I took these toilet mirror images like a socialite.

Disturbances removed, I went back to Julia, who was lost in sleep (it was late at night and there is a reason why planes have pillows and blankets). I couldn’t sleep so I kept listening to music and playing with my seat and watching my screen without sound because, remember, the system wasn’t working and I was too air-wise to ask the flight attendants.

Then I sunk in a reflective mood… Thanking God for His mercies. Being in a plane and you aren’t going to cancer treatment in India is God’s Grace, isn’t it?

My musings continued till a voice came up that we were starting the descent and could we put our seat belts on? People, I was in another world, landing, for the first time, in a soil that is not Kenyan! We were landing in Dubai!

Immediately the plane shifted to begin dropping, hell broke loose!

Painful landing

Remember when I said using my earphones on the plane was a big mistake? Well, that’s when I realized that. My ears started exploding. And with it, my head felt as if it was sinking in. I started wondering if I had contracted Ebola or some other deadly disease that was hellbent on ensuring that I never stopped in another country. Or which jealous village witch had heard I was flying and had went me kinyumenyume. I seriously thought I was dying. Julia was sympathetic but I didn’t need sympathy right then. I couldn’t stand to motion for the attendants because when the seat belt sign is on you can’t move. Julia had been told it sometimes happens and the remedy is chewing gum, and she had some. I tried that and it seemed to further open my ears. I was dying.

Landing Aerosinusitis headache

I felt like a zombie as the attendants took us through the landing routines like declaring any imports, where to find out connecting flights and such. Julie did all that for me.

It didn’t even let me enjoy my first landing… But I took some photos of Dubai by night. They are still iPod quality, sorry.

Breathtaking view of Dubai by night… but not in pain.

When we went out, customs was like a blur to me… and if you are confused in JKIA you haven’t been at Dubai International Airport. It’s just enormous with many many people from all over the world looking a thousand different ways and speaking languages you can’t decipher, especially if you are a first time traveller. But it’s properly labelled and we didn’t have the location problems we had at JKIA… and we were now experts in airport matters.

We had heard that the Dubai Duty Free is the cheapest and I was having problems not looking at the phones, laptops and other gizmos as we waded through looking for a pharmacy. I just had to get painkillers.

I did, and the attendants seemed to know what was ailing me. Which is called Aerosinusitis, a painful inflammation caused by a difference in air pressures inside and outside the cavities  which was aggravated by me using in-ear earphones. I told you…big mistake!

The meds worked magic and I was ready to explore Dubai. We had 5 hours before our next flight to New Delhi.

A Letter to my Unborn Baby

BABY AND parents

Hello, baby.

No matter how old you get, you will always be my baby. Wewe ni toto langu. And I will always be your father. I have seen a lot of things that you still don’t know about. I’m not saying I know everything – I expect you to see a lot more than me in your life, go to places I haven’t gone to, meet people I have never dreamt of meeting. But since I was here first, listen to me.

Baby, this world has lots of people. Billions of people. All of them are traveling in different directions and they may confuse you. You are only one of your kind. Walk in the direction you want, and never ever let anyone determine the way for you. Let them advise you – learn all you can from people… but baby, never follow their very steps. Not even mine. Make your own path.

Baby, let me tell you the secret to a happy life. It is accepting you for who you are and believing you are the best. Never compare yourself to anyone, never live beyond your means because of anyone. You are the most beautiful person, you are the richest, you are the coolest, you have the best parents, you are the smartest, you have the best clothes… You, baby, are the best anyone can be and don’t let people use vanity to define you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Compete only against yourself, and that there, is the only way to be happy.

Baby, love God. I am not imposing a religion unto you, and again, you can follow your path. But I have lived and known that loving God gives you the discipline you need to live well in this world. If you love God you will never hurt anyone and you will not destroy yourself.

dad and son

Baby, you are allowed to not know things. If you don’t know something, say so. Ask questions, make an effort to learn. Don’t make people, or even yourself, believe you know something you don’t. No one was ever crucified for not knowing. On the other side, I have seen a lot of people who got into trouble for promising things they can’t deliver and pretending they know things they don’t, just to be liked. Say “I don’t know” if you don’t. 

Unless it is necessary, baby, don’t take debts. You can take loans to grow yourself faster than you can normally, but assess the reasons. Debts can derail your growth, debts from friends can make you look mediocre, loans that you take and fail to utilize to get better can occasion more losses to you. If you can, avoid debts. If possible, unless it is your business to give debts, don’t lend people money unless you have to. That’s how friendships perish. See, people are not as faithful with their debts as I would like you to be. 

Build your way up.

Be patient, baby. Nothing great was built in one day. Everything you adore is the result of hard, consistent work. Do you want to know how all the people in prison and all the people that were shot by the police got there? You are right. They wanted to get things done in a flash. That’s why they stole, that’s why they killed, and that’s how they messed their lives. Be patient. Work hard for your money – that’s how you will know true happiness when you sleep every evening.

Try new things, explore. I promise not to show you that I’m a tiny bit scared. Deep down I might be worried or anxious or slightly terrified of what might happen if it doesn’t work out for you, but I won’t let my fears slow you down. In the same way, don’t Let fear stop you from trying anything. Take chances, go for it, trust yourself. I promise to trust you. Sawa?

father son sunset

If you mess up in a small way, I promise to acknowledge it, help you, then let it go. And whenever you mess up in a big way, I promise to feel the weight of it and push you to do the same. I promise to let you make those tough mistakes, to address them when I need to, and to keep on loving you all the same.

Read, baby!

Read books, baby. Build one hell of a library, or borrow mine – you are the only person I will lend my books. I’ll help you learn to read and then I’ll share with you all the stories, true and imagined, that have made me who I am. Live a life filled with words and books and imagination and the space to be as creative as you want to be… because that’s how you learn, that’s how you grow, that’s how you see the world. Reading books is cool.

Love us, your family. I am not telling you this because I will be the recipient of this love, but know that your family has got you in ways that your job, your friends, your other mentors, can’t. Never substitute your love and time for your family for anything.

Mostly, sweet baby, I promise to show you love in all its best forms. I’ll love you and your mom and our friends and our families. I will say it with words and I’ll show it with actions; and if just one of my promises can be kept, let it be this: that you’ll feel it. A love so big that it fills you up, that it makes you feel safe. And any time you feel as if I am not doing good, talk to me. I want us to be best friends. Make me a better father, each and every day.

Welcome to my life.

Love,

Your Daddy.

Random Memories 5: My First Flight

FIRST FLIGHT FROGS

We had gotten ourselves a business trip to India, Julie and I, for an e-Commerce and Customer Loyalty conference…

To travel, you need passports. Which we don’t have and the notice period was three weeks. The queues at Nyayo house are long and torturing. And when I get to the front of the queue they reject my birth certificate because it looks “like it was tampered with.” Made me feel older. Makes me wonder if I was born earlier and they have been lying to me all along (there are parents who do that). Or, was I really born?

Anyway, I have two options, actually three. One, get one of those guys who hang around Nyayo House to forge one for me; two, travel all the way to Meru to get the replacement which I didn’t have an idea how long it would take… and three, give up on the trip and carry my head home. The way the odds are looking after I throw out to the forging option, I may as well give up. But I am a fighter, and I have friends like Liz who work with the government.

Long story traveled to Meru, Liz gets me my replacement birth certificate and I am at Nyayo the following Monday morning. Now, it is a race against time. And the staff at Nyayo know this, and so, they work slowly telling us to toa kitu kidogo so that they “speed up the process.” We refuse, because their website said it would take two weeks, and we are upstanding members of the society who don’t deal in corruption. Big mistake.

Three days before our travel day, we still have no passports – we still need to apply for the visa. The office is telling us they may have to cancel our trip. Julie is on the verge of tears. We go to a few offices, see a couple of bosses…not giving up. We stay in one lady’s office for over an hour, not wanting to leave, till she confirms that our passports are actually ready. Someone is holding them and there is no way we are leaving this place. Even the Police can’t get us to leave, late in the evening; way after closing. We just have to get the passports if they are to have peace. It is our right.

i AM NOT LEAVING

Our resilience pays off. Some commissioner confirms that out passports are ready, even shows us so that we leave, but there is a process to pick them; so we have to come back tomorrow morning. And we do… and get our prized passports! Now it is time to camp at the India High Commission till we get the visa. We had one day.

That is easier. We just pay extra and get our passports stamped. They don’t even ask questions apart from how our company was helping the Indian economy. You gotta love the simplicity of the Indians, not like the British, who denied me a visa to the UK.

And finally, one day to the flight, kedo 5:00 pm, we are now sure we are traveling!

BCD Travel has these services called airport transfers, and this cab picks me from my doorstep all the way in Limuru to take me to JKIA. (I wasn’t using alot of cabs much back then, so, of course, I felt like a VIP. This was the life, man). I’m still in a daze when we get to the airport and we have to look for our gate, pulling our bags like seasoned travelers. We know we were going to the Fly Emirates section, but we don’t know how that will be like. At some point, we stand at a closed door marked Emirates wondering why they are closed so close to the time of the flight… only to ask a guard who takes us to the right entrance just a few feet away. Chickenheads. 🙂

Yes, we didn’t want to look out of place. You know how you chew gum and bounce in confidence? That was Julie and I. Even the Customs guys must have thought our passports were just replacements of filled up passports.

Everything done, we are in the waiting area two hours before time. Enough time to take selfies and call our fans. We are flying, it is a big deal. You know how you just sit around wishing someone will call you so that you tell them:

“I’m at the airport… yes… I have a flight to India… hahaha…. yes, see you when I’m back.”

Anyway, I call my mom first. She’s always first. Our conversation is long and I’m telling her I will fly to Dubai, spend a few hours there, and then fly out to India.

Where is this India, Mwenda?

It’s in Asia, if you get Evan’s Atlas and check, you will see where India is. 

Ah. Don’t worry. So, how many countries will you pass on your way to and from India?

I don’t know, maybe 10,  20. And the Indian Ocean or Red Sea. Not so sure. 

And so on. Reminds me of when I was a Geography teacher at Gitura Secondary School. And then that pause. The pause we had in our conversation when I was doing my KCPE, when we were discussing my upcoming initiation, when she was leaving me in High School for the first time, when I left home for college, when I had my first graduation. I know she has tears in her eyes. She always does when I manage another achievement. Tears of joy at what her offspring is doing.

To break the silence I say,

“Maami, remember when you came to my graduation and you said Nairobi was too near and now I need to take over the world.”

“Yes, and now look at you. You are going overseas just as we said.”

“How did you know?”

“Listen, Mwenda… I know for a fact that anything you say in faith, God must make it happen.”

I love this woman!

She wishes me a good trip. I don’t have to call her when I am there. That’s my mother. She knows I can take care of myself. And I have, since I was a kid.

FLIGHT KENYA MOUNTAIN

I don’t know what mountain this is, but it’s not too far from Nairobi

The next call is to my father, who is also elated that I am making this all important step in life. And he says we should talk every day I am there, because there is a son of sijui who, who calls the dad every day. These fathers… I guess any time I call he will be running to a group of his friends and talking loudly about India, Dubai, etc and telling them he’s been talking to his son overseas. Such is his pride. (He still gets his friends to listen in any time I am in a radio).

We then wait around for our flight to be called, browsing the duty free shops. Julia wants to buy a cake and milk to take on the flight but I tell her there will be a several course meal in-flight. I thought duty free is supposed to be very cheap, well, it’s not.

Kidogo kidogo, we hear our flight being called and we proceed to our gate. We know our gate. We know these things.

But first, there are rules, setbacks. You can’t board with toothpaste, you can’t board with a soda, not even water in a container. And they have a huge waste bin for those. As if that’s not embarrassing enough, I have to get rid of my belt – I have a big-ass trouser on that I have to hold on to – as I remove my shoes. Luckily, my socks are new. I would have sent these people home. 🙂 I then walk through and wear my shoes and belt. It’s like dressing in public.

We are then directed through a hollow, metal hallway that somehow swings and echoes from the footsteps. At the end, there are these beautiful yellow yellows in Fly Emirates uniform, smiling so good you would think they have no problems in the world. Oh, and they call me “sir” as they welcome me to this room with seats that look like a bus’.

Julia and Frank flight

Julia and I making the entrance

Wait… this bus is an Airbus! I am inside a plane! The son of Maua is in an aeroplane! In my mind, I thought you board a plane like you see Obama boarding Air Force One, you know, going up a staircase leading to the door. Looking back though a window, I realise the metal hallway was actually a connection to the plane.

window seat flight JKIA

I want to do a small dance and hug Julie, who is as elated as I am. But I don’t want to look like a kamshamba who’s never been in a plane. We walk to our seats, observe how people are locking their stuff above and do exactly that.

And then we settle, playing around with the seat screens like we see people doing. I can’t get my headphones to work. And I’m too shy, or whatever that is, to ask the beautiful hostesses. So, I just connect my iPod earphones, and get to setting my music. Big mistake.

People are still trickling in. Right on time, the screens freeze, and a voice comes through…

“Welcome on board ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys…” It’s like in the movies!

A hostess comes around checking our seat belts and showing us the nearest exits, in case of anything. As if you can exit an airplane in the air. The screens are also showing us what to do in case of a crash, or if the plane lands in the sea. Damn! Makes me wonder if I hustled so much for a passport just to land in some sea.

The plane starts reversing pole pole. I’m in a window seat just for this. To see the damn thing move. Speed increases. Julie has one of those cheeky smiles of hers. Suddenly, we feel like we are in a lift. The plane has lifted off. The airport and other aeroplanes start shrinking below us. This is big time. Even if the plane lands now, I have flown. That lift off counts, right?

Nairobi is now becoming a blur below us, the buildings looking like one stretch of nothingness. Cars can’t be seen either. Unless they are those blurry dots down below. Soon, we are seeing something like the geographical atlas. Only the boundaries are missing. The greens and the browns are there.

Wait, clouds are floating below us. It’s a clear March afternoon, and the clouds are like white sheets of awesomeness around and below us. I have now taken ten thousand pics on my iPod. The feeling cannot be explained.

flight clouds wing

But then, it gets darker and all there is is a black blanket. I get back to toying around with my screen. I listen to hip-hop and other music that I can’t tell. And watch a few movies like Alex does, fast forwarding the shit out of them.

Best moment- when food trolleys start coming along. There is a menu with two options for food, which we have no idea what they are. So we decide to take both, Julie with one and I, the other. If shit happens we will just share the edible one.

And drinks. I take a few mini bottles of Red Label, beer and some other vodka with a Russian name, some wine and a small tonic. Everything is small around these parts. Not like I expected mizinga, anyway.

The food is delicious. It’s in like two courses but I gobble everything down onetime and settle to imbibe on the kanywaji. Getting high high up in the sky is delirious.

This story just got too long. Let’s leave it high in the air for now. We will get back to it next time. Hint: Aeroplanes have toilets. And using your own earphones on a flight can land you into big problems, as I found out. Oh, and Dubai is confusingly beautiful!

Here is Part 2!

Books I read in March (and the book that Changed Me)

FRANKMWENDA books I read in March Reviews

The reading train continues! In March, I read 4 books (I am doing well, ain’t I?) One was kinda boring, even to my standards; the other was a short but intriguing novella; one was a lovely story that has changed my life… and the other remains a secret.

Read with me:

Firewall – Andy McNab

Books: Firewall Andy Mcnab

Last time, I told you I was in the middle of a bad book. Either, the month was drawing to a close and I was tired, or the book was really bad. Anyway, if you are a reader you know you can’t leave a book once you’ve started reading it. It’s like movies and movie lovers.

Basically, Firewall is the story of a disgraced British Intelligence operative Nick Stone who needs money; to pay for the treatment of his traumatized step-daughter – and he doesn’t mind what he does to get it. Even if it means kidnapping a powerful Russian crime boss. But as the operation begins to fall apart Nick finds it harder to identify who the good guys are. And so Stone is thrust into the grim underworld of Estonia, with unknown aggressors stalking the landscape. Russia has launched a cyber-espionage attack, hacking into the West’s most sensitive military secrets. Stone must stop them. But the mafia are waiting in the wings with their own brutal solutions.

Good storyline, right? With all the things we love – thrilling, computer hacking, some sex… but, I hated the flow, the language used… and the cynic monotony. Also, this Nick is like Stephen Seagal… he is invincible!

Death Is Not the End – Ian Rankin

Books: Death Is Not the End - Ian Rankin

When I saw this title, I was looking for a novella – a small novel I can read in a day or two. The title was intriguing, not in the sense of life after death, but *shrug* I wondered how a detective novel can talk about the afterlife. Or what Ian Rankin was doing writing a novella – he is best known for long-ass novels.

Anyway, I got it, and I read it in two days, sitting in the jam in the morning and evening – that’s where I read, btw. In this neat little novella, he does in 73 pages what many of his peers take three times as long to do–set an interesting scene, solve a crime, develop a character, and allow him to grow and change without sacrificing either pace or plot.

Rebus, agrees to track down the missing son of his high school sweetheart and her husband, a friend of his youth. He takes you into the gritty back streets and criminal byways of his hometown (more like me solving crimes in Maua), following the lost guy from the nightclub where he was last seen through gambling casinos, football matches, and face-to-face encounters with the mobsters who may have been involved in his disappearance. Along the way, Rebus confronts his own mortality, the choices he’s made, and the obligations he owes his past.

And, if you take part in those betting “fixed matches”, in this kabook you will know how that happens.

Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie

Books: Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Back in the days, when I was working at Bata, we learned of a company in the US that does something remarkable – for every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to a child in the developing world (sisi hao). We actually learned about it when we saw a picture of the First Lady helping a young jigger victim into a pair of shoes that looked like Ngoma and we thought, wow, she bought all those Ngomas from us. Before we tweeted the shit out of that, we noticed they were not Ngoma – they were TOMS. So, I started looking for stories about this amazing idea.

So, when I saw Kendi Gikunda with this book by the TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, there was no way I was letting her get away with it. I just took it, without caring where she was taking it, or if she was still reading it.

And it was the right move.

In Start Something that Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from other innovative organizations. Blake presents six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful to incorporating going into every aspect of your life. No matter what kind of change you’re considering; Start Something that Matters gives you the stories, ideas, and practical tips that can help you get started.

It will leave you asking: What matters most to you? Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you? The surprising truth is that you don’t have to choose–and that you’ll find more success if you don’t. That’s the breakthrough message of TOMS’ One for One movement. You don’t have to be rich give back and you don’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love. You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once right now.

Even foor this book, he donates a book to a needy child, for every copy sold!

In this one book, I have learned enough to make me take some decisions that will impact my life, and hopefully the lives of people. It challenged me to look around me, and start something that matters!

You should look for the book. I would have lent it to you, but it is not mine. I doubt Kendi will give it to you either because it is not hers. And I still have it… I want the owner to forget about it.

====

March was a successful month, book-wise. I am not telling you about the fourth book. Reasons are best known to me. 🙂

See you next month. And, are you reading with me? What are you reading?

Being Watch-ed

Man watch

I got my very first watch a long long time ago. I think I was in Class 4 or 5. It was one of those fake Casios that went for like 25 Shillings – a gift from my father for bringing home a bowl at the end of the term. (Come to think of it, I contributed a lot of utensils to our home in Primary School – gifts for being in the Top 3)

Knowing that I was an upcoming engineer, he warned me that if I opened it up he would never buy me another one. So, I kept it for a very very long time – 2 days – before the straps came off, and I couldn’t replace them because the “spring’i zilipotea” I was now forced to carry it in the pocket, even when I went to play. A day later, I gave it to my classmate Makasa, to hold for me while I played football – I was a better goalkeeper than Francis Onyiso then, known for diving like a cat.

Only that Makasa lost the watch and I was now watchless. Oops!

So, my father kept the promise and never bought me a watch again, until KCPE and I needed to have a watch to, you know, manage my exam well. This time, it was one of those watches which had a calculator and a crowing jogoo inside. Not that it helped me keep time, I was 30 minutes late for the GHCRE paper! I kept that for some time, I think it’s still somewhere in my archives.

But then I started hating watches. I felt they were, well, a baggage. Like carrying a load by your wrist.

Until I started studying the successful people in life, in history. You know, because I wanted to be successful too. Who doesn’t?  Some wore suits, others T-shirts and hoodies. Some claimed they slept late and woke early, others said they worked hard and played hard at the same time.

All had a common denominator, they wore watches! From the greatest political and business leaders to the most successful entertainers. I did some simple research and my findings were:

A watch is the most important class accessory  for a man. A watch is a measure of one’s class as a man | Quote me.

So, I started shopping around for a watch, any watch. I went online and it was like the gods were against my new mission. See, I started with Kaymu, now Jumia Market. The customer experience was woeful. I selected a badass skeleton watch (my father had a skeleton Rolex watch when I was a kid that he sold for enough money to buy a plot and I had always respected those things). This was also a Rolex but it wasn’t worth a plot, really. It was Sh.1,000! 🙂

But it took a month and tens of emails to Kaymu and even the Jumia MD then for it to be delivered. And, they delivered the asshole the wrong watch! I kept complaining and the seller told me they were out of stock and he would send me another one to replace it. By the time the replacement came, the fist watch had already stopped working – I wasn’t even using the thing!

Like a week later, walking around town, I found those two watches, being sold on the street – at Sh. 100! Zile za kuitaniwa, mia soo!

I was so mad I pinched myself, hard. I had spent a fortune and two months on a watch worth a hundred bob! To think of it, those watches being sold at Sh. 100 looked like a bargain – you buy one, use it for two months, dispose, and buy another one.

Ladies, believe it or not, the watches you drooled over on me were fake street watches. 🙂

At the back of my mind, all along, I knew Steve Jobs, Barrack Obama and Jay Z were not wearing a different watch every month… and they were definitely not worth Sh. 100. I knew I had to invest in a good watch. That’s what a man is about – having a watch he feels good about. The 100 bob watches look good only to people who don’t know about watches.

I knew what I was looking for, a simple watch that didn’t draw undue attention but remained classy. Gentlemen maintain minimalist lifestyles. So, I went online on eBay and searched for a watch for some days. I didn’t want to spend much on my first real watch – and I also didn’t trust online shopping enough to commit much money (as if I had lost of money!). I got this baby here…

s-l1600

Simple – had all the features I was looking for, including the date, and it was simple enough. I don’t eat brands, so I did with the Bei nuo thing. 🙂

And it served me very very well. That Bei nuo. It still works great and serves the purpose, but there is one little problem: One day, while  I was chicken-crossing Waiyaki Way just in front of The Mall, it fell and bounced off the tarmac; and got a crack. I still cringe when I cross that part of the road, which happens to be every day.

My heart got a crack with that crack. I continued using it, even after a cobbler somehow threw it into one of those cans they use to wash shoes as they shine, and got super glue all over it. My beloved Bei nuo has faced worse life than me.

And then last week, while doing my unending search for watch and electronics deals, I fell in love at first sight – literally. In between the product pages of Kilimall lay a beauty. Simple yet sophisticated, high class yet cheap… all glowing and beckoning at me. Her name was Yazole… and that remains her name.

Kilimall watch

Click to get yours.

Remember, real men wear watches. Boys and girls wear bangles. Ouch! 🙂

 

Yo! Yo! I am a Rapper.

Frankmwenda the Rapper

I am a rapper. At heart, everywhere. And now, it’s time to roga you musically. How do I know that? That I am a super MCee, super lyric buster? I just know… I know my talents and rapping is one of them.

This rap mojo started when I was in high school. In Form 2, to be specific. My Gitura ushamba was slowly wearing off and I was making up for lost time. I was sporting towards “becoming a G”. My Lyric Book (remember them?), did not have those mellow Westlife shit yours had. No! Mine was Gangsta… I collected lyrics from XZibit, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Lil Kim, Wu Tang, Run DMC and such – it came with a Parental Advisory sticker because, well, it was explicit content.

How did I get these lyrics, you ask? Way before there were Cyber Cafes, Posta used to have computers that connected to the internet. All you needed to do is buy a SurfCard worth kedo 100 bob and use the internet for 3 hours. I would use my full days during the holidays researching about Hip Hop and writing down the lyrics, writing, not printing. That’s how dedicated I was to Hip Hop. Then when the school opened I would be the real thing, debating underground and old school Hip Hop with the cool kids from the city.

Then I bought cassettes, lots of radio cassettes loaded with Hip Hop. CD ni za jana. I even bought MP3 CDs, never mind we had no CD player, and there was no place I would listen to it. I was just intrigued that I could have 150 songs; Hip Hop songs in one place. Again, it would give me front seat in the hall during Entertainment Fridays.

Hip hop cassettes Frankmwenda rapper

Some of the tapes still in my collection

In school we had factions. East Coast and West Coast that never saw eye to eye. Tupac and Notorious BIG wasn’t as vicious, those lived on different Coasts of the US… we used to live in the same dormitories and learn in the same classes. It was war! And the neighbouring Kanjalu Girls School had their own G-Unit… so we formed our Terror Squad and terrible disses flew.

Church Rapper

My G culture carried on even to the village. To Church. Soon, I was freestyling the Good Gospel of the Lord. I would ask for a slot to “kuwaimbia wimbo mmoja” and rap my message. One time, during Christmas I called the Wise Men “the smart dudes from the East Side”… and made the E sign. A church elder called me later to counsel me. 🙂 Or that time when I was playing Black Eyed Peas’ Where is the Love song in Church (it sounded gospel-ish, no?) Only that it was a cassette and Side B had DMX’ X Gonna Give it to You. Started like this:

Uh, yeah don’t get it twisted
This rap shit, is mine
Motherf****r, it’s not, a f****g, game
F**k what you heard
It’s what you hearing

Another time one of those Holy Joes in village churches who judge the lesser, more sinful people using their own definitions of Christianity; said something about my dressing and I hit him with a verse from Kleptomaniac’s Bado Niko.

mimi bado niko mi Frank ni hatari
na si swali
toroka songa mbali
fimbo yangu mic mzee chunga maslahi
niaje unanipinga mi ni Musa ama Msinai
mi huwanga na sumu ndani ya saliva
niki-spit naenda deep kama deep sea diver

When I came to Nairobi I started attending (free) Hip Hop concerts at Sarakasi; those rap sessions. And this other time at KICC when we stayed at a Ukoo Flani Mau Mau Hip Hop concert so late we almost got mugged.

Kero the free-styler

If you thought Kero was Mshamba think again (okay, to some extent he was)… when we didn’t have a radio, we would use his phone’s Bomfunk ringtone to freestyle ourselves to sleep. We had lines. Better lines and flow than kina Khaligraph Jones.

Too bad I left Nairobi for some time, started growing up and looking for money in the corporate world – made me forget that I was a rapper at heart.

And then recently I started meeting rappers for coffee, still in the corporate world. Like Kaka and Juliani and asking them about their lifes in music- you know, learning from the real Gs.

King Kaka frankmwenda rapper

Don’t you think my stars are aligning? Isn’t that a sign that I should be a rapper?

Yesterday I decided to roga my fans with a freestyle on Facebook… and it all came back to me. Check that out here, the real killers are in the comments.

Hip Hop is in my blood. I should become a rapper. I have some sunglasses, that stadii hat, lines… and I have an Amerucan accent. All it takes to be a rapper. Want an autograph?

KnowWatI’mSayin’

When a Thika Prostitute Pins you to the Wall

prostitute thika

I hate Thika!

The first time I went to Thika was less than two years ago when Mfa passed on. I have since associated Thika with death and I only go there if it’s absolutely necessary.

Like two Fridays ago when we had some work to do at Thika Technical.

There are few good things about Thika, at least to me. I don’t club so if you worship Thika clubs like some of my friends do, sorry, that’s boring. Neither am I good friends with the sun, and Thika has a lot of it. I think the only good thing about Thika is pork.

And after work that day, we walked to the Pork street of Thika. They have a whole street dedicated to pork restaurants. That might have been the biggest mistake we made that day – eating pork on a Friday like true kaffirs.

Why do I say this? Because of what happened shortly after enjoying lustful amounts of the dirty animal.

It was around 8:00 pm, thereabouts. Still strolling around Thika with toothpicks in our mouths like Kikuyu sponsors, we came across a street that had women lined. All sizes of women. The slender ones who looked like they were malnourished. The huge ones who look like a certain Njoki who works in a Limuru pub. And the plain janes who haven’t chosen a side. (Btw, I don’t describe women by their body shape unless they wrong me) Some in small dresses, others wearing only handkerchiefs around their crotches and chests, others in plain jeans and tops. I swear I saw one in a kitenge, like a church woman. Clearly, this was no church, these were ladies of the night. And this, right here, was their open market.

The first few in line; I think those were the freshest in the market (oops!), just looked at us pass. We did not look like we could pay, I guess. The next batch showed us some interest, and we earned some cat calls (is that how you girls feel when men whistle at you?).

The third batch was made up of the “beatest of them all” (or what would you call kuchapa?). These ones were blatant. The veranda was thin, so we walked in a line, Ben and Dan ahead of me. I saw two women block their path and start hugging them, you know like they knew them. I burst out in laughter. Women were mishandling two grown men! But men being men, they were playing that game – you know, asking them the price of certain elements like “touching” “room” “things I won’t say.” I was just laughing at them, with a tinge of embarrassment.

Not for long. Remember Wrestling? When a wrestler would pin another in a corner in the ring and work on them? That’s what happened to me next. Only this time I was Mysterio and the other wrestler was Rikishi.

Rikishi of Thika, Kenya

This is Rikishi, btw

And, this time, it was not a soft ring… I was pinned to the wall! By Rikishi’s sister!

fat-Thika-woman

This one

 

Sexiest, literally, woman in Thika?

I was defenseless, as she started daggering and whining and doing what Jamaican riddim dancers do.

She kept telling me in Gikuyu:

Tuthii kashoti kamwe mundu. (Something to do with shots)

Of course, I was squirming like a kid refusing his medicine. I tried to shove her but she couldn’t move an inch. She was heavy. You can’t just move Rikish.

I was suffocating. she had a whiff of a stink. Probably people’s shotis.

“Mani, andu arume ni manjui guku Thika. Service yakwa ni best!” (Man, Thika men know me. I have the best service).

I was on the verge of puking now. Her three stomachs were bumping at me. She moved her hand to my crotch like she wanted to touch me down there and that’s when I swerved and hit her chest with my head, running away; I was almost run over by a car.

They laughed, their laughter sounding like the devil enjoying a scene in hell.

“Wewe ukajua vile mimi ulilisha wanaume hii Thika haungehepa hivyo kama mtoto.” (If you knew how I make men cry/moan in this town you wouldn’t have run like a baby.)

I didn’t talk back. I just stood away as she called out to me and waited for Ben and Dan, literally shaking. Not with arousal… that woman would have made m impotent. I am still scarred.

So, we walked off discussing our ordeal. Turned out they also had had their share of tough loving – those Thika women are too aggressive. Can easily rape you.

Or, wait! They can steal from you. I paused, felt my pocket – my money was still in the back pocket. I am a wise guy, no one can steal from me. Or not.

Checking again, there was only a 50 bob note in my pocket! She has expertly separated the money and left a ka-50!

The prostitute had mugged me! Don’t tell me that’s pick-pocketing. That’s robbery with violence.

This is yet another reason to hate that damned Thika and I probably should start a Thika Initiation series.

Main Pic: Business Insider

Books I read in February

 

Frankline Books February 2017

In January, I started my new journey of reading multiple books per month (btw, the picture above is of my growing third library). I did 2 books in January and promised myself to read four in February. Well, I managed to read 3 and a half (the half is part of one of those books that require a lot of patience to read) and I will tell you about it in the next edition.

So, here are the 3 great books I read in February.

Judge and Jury – James Patterson

judge and jury by james patterson

I love James Patterson! Okay, I am straight, I love his books. I have almost all his books and while they are not the only books I read, I throw one in once in while. They are easy reads and he knows how to weave stories and Judge & Jury is no exception.

In this novel, FBI agent Nick Pellisante has been pursuing Mafia don Dominic Cavello known as the Electrician, for a long time, and Cavello is finally on trial for the terrible, heinous crimes he is responsible for. Cavello is as ruthless as Pablo (Watched that series the other day) if not worse.  is linked to hundreds of gruesome, unspeakable crimes.Everybody knows Cavello’s power reaches far beyond the courtroom, but the FBI’s evidence against the ruthless killer is iron-clad. Conviction is a sure thing. Everyone is afraid of him. The judge, the witnesses, and the jury. Among the scared jury is Andie DeGrasse, an aspiring actress, and single mom, who had done her best to not get picked for the jury, but was chosen nevertheless.

As the jury is about to reach a verdict, the Electrician makes one devastating move that no one could have predicted. He bombs the jury! Everyone dies, including Andie’s 11-year-old son and the entire nation is reeling. Andie’s world is shattered. For her, the hunt for the Electrician becomes personal, and she and Pellisante come together in an unbreakable bond: they will exact justice-at any cost.

Patterson expertly combines the human interest of Andie and Nick’s relationship with the suspense of pursuing Cavello. It is a gripping story that you won’t want to put down. A legal thriller that pits two people against the most vicious and powerful mobster ever.

And vicious these two people become, tackling one of the most vicious mercenaries in the world, Kristancic, tracking and delivering justice to Cavello, and finally tackling their own hearts – there are a few steamy scenes. 😉

If you want this, and you will want it, I have a soft copy that I can lend you. Talk to me.

The Paris Option – Robert Ludlum (February Fav)

Rober Ludlum The Paris Option

I love computers. I really do – they are my life. This Ludlum blockbuster I read in February is about a special computer. A computer that can do anything to anyone. It can shut down America and it actually does. Power, trains, military, the internet, phone network everything. It is a molecular computer which uses special technology derived from living things – you know, no computer has matched God’s creation yet. Nothing can do what you can do – now, the molecular computer has that power.

It all starts at the Pasteur Institute, Paris. A bomb explodes, fire rages, and a renowned computer scientist is dead. Dr. Émile Chambord had been working on a molecular DNA computer that could virtually control all computerized operations around the globe. Now, his groundbreaking research is missing. Overnight, military satellites and communications are shut down by unknown sources. And Covert-One agent Dr. Jon Smith has to race across two continents to expose the next generation of terrorists—a vast network of technological spies who now have the power to reprogram the world. Every government agency, every armed force and every nuclear weaponin in their clutches.

Jon goes to Paris, ostensibly to visit the comatose Marty, but he’s actually there to find if any link exists between the explosion and the random computer hacking. Picking up bits and pieces of arbitrary information, Jon begins to piece together details of what is perhaps the most massive, elaborate and deadly conspiracy ever. Meanwhile, with communications sabotaged worldwide and people following the people following him, Jon determinedly sets out to find the people behind all this. Bullets fly, missiles launch, Dr. Chambord’s daughter is kidnapped, and Jon finds himself surrounded by danger. His search for the missing computer takes him on an intensely suspenseful journey all over Europe and beyond, even as nuclear holocaust threatens. Jon’s old pals, CIA agent Randi Russell and an old British spy Peter Howell, unexpectedly team up with him, and together they begin a most dangerous mission.

Like in all good stories, the ending is not what you expect. You know, when the main culprit is not who you thought it would be? Yes, those ones. It made my February.

You should read it. I can sell it to you, or you we can exchange if you have a better book. Just talk to me.

Micro – Michael Crichton

Micro Michael Crichton Book

What if you could be shrunk to the size of a black ant, thigiriri? That’s when you would know ants the size of safari ants are monsters. And grasshoppers are bigger than choppers. That’s exactly what happened to unsuspecting students in this science fiction – which I somehow enjoyed thoroughly despite my finding-science-boring. Ask my Chemistry teacher.

It begins with a private investigator named Marcos Rodriguez pulling up to a metal building located on the island of Oahu. The building is the main headquarters of Nanigen Micro-Technologies, a research company that specializes in discovering new types of medicine. Disguised as a security guard, Rodriguez enters the unattended building and begins searching the grounds for an unknown object. As he makes his way through the halls of the building, however, he begins to notice mysterious, ultra-fine cuts appearing on his body. Spooked, Rodriguez flees the building.

Shortly, Rodriguez makes his way to the office of his employer, Willy Fong. When he arrives, he notices another man, of Chinese descent, waiting in the office. Fong begins to question Rodriguez about his cuts, but before Rodriguez can explain, the Chinese man’s throat is slit by an unseen force. Fong and Rodriguez barely have time to react before they are also killed. Their deaths are reported as a triple suicide. And that’s the start of horror.

It follows 7 Harvard students who get recruited as interns for Nanigen. They are visited by the CEO of Nanigen, Vincent “Vin” Drake, along with his CFO, Alyson Bender, and Eric, who is a vice president at Nanigen. Although they are at first reluctant, they all decide to take Drake’s offer and fly out to Oahu. And that’s the worst decision they make. Eric is killed by the same small robots, and when Alison starts getting jittery over Drake’s murderous intent, she also gets killed. This is after the students have been shrunk to the size of ants and dumped into a forest where the chances of survival are almost zero – the micro world is ruthless. You can get killed by anything if you are the size of a thigiriri, no?

Actually, all of them die, including the main character, except two students, who fall in love.

Breaks my heart that the writer, Michael Crichton died before this book was published. When he died in 2008, an untitled, unfinished manuscript was found on his computer, which would become Micro. 🙁

I am not giving you this one. Buy yours.

===

And those, right there, are the books that helped me through the month of love, February. And speaking of love, reading is the purest form of love. You should try cuddling a book to sleep. As always, we can exchange books, if you have a few good books that you have read, tell me about it and we can share notes.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz

A Letter to the Women in my Life

letter to my women

Dear My Women,

Being the International Women’s Day, I take this opportunity to appreciate you for being in my life. Being the strong pillars of the universe and the neck of this world. Thanks for being bold and standing with me… and being the epitome of strength. You are the strongest people ever, and I envy you big time!

To these two old women

They will definitely not read this, but I’ll start with Grandmas. Incredible, funny, intelligent, beautiful hot messes. You gals don’t even look your age and the wrinkles on your bodies are the most flawless ever. Your hugs are the warmest, and you’re always trying to feed me which is good since I like to eat. Roast banana, mukinde, mukimo, millet porridge and even your roast maize are the best I have tasted ever and are probably going to be the best I taste in my whole life. Thanks for your daily prayers… I am told you sill mention me by name every day. I will never forget your swollen legs when you traveled all the way to Kakamega to my graduation. You are the women that kept the families intact. Thanks.

My grandmothers on my graduation day

My grandmothers on my graduation day

To the most important woman in my life

My mother, you may not read this… or you just might. You have been stalking me on Facebook so anything is possible. If you do, know this… you are my first love and you will remain the most important, irreplaceable woman in my life. Yes, yiu stand head and shoulders over all women. From you I learned love, I learned patience, I learned silence, I learned strength. Everything I am is down to you. You live inside me looking out while everybody else lives outside looking into me. You took care of me and now is my time to take care of you, so, sit back, relax and enjoy life. Never miss anything as long as I am breathing. I love you,

To the Developing Women

To my sisters, I know you watch every step I take. You may think I am the epitome of control and success so your expectations are huge, but know that I am not a superhuman. I am normal, with challenges and all. I am just older than you and you don’t have to follow my steps – let no one pressure you. It is your life and you should live it however you want – but I hope you will be successful in whatever you do.  I want you to know that things are going to be hard sometimes. You’ll get so overwhelmed that it might get hard to breathe, but I promise if you get up and walk away from whatever it is for a little bit, that when you come back, you can conquer it. I’m always just a phone call away to help. People are going to break your heart and be mean to you. It is going to suck. But it’s a lesson to learn from. It’ll show you how strong you are. Lastly, in as much as I respect your decisions, I will be disappointed if you depend on people to make your ends meet. There will be pressure from friends for the finer things in life that make young women go for the rich, abusing old men. You don’t need a sponsor to be successful in life. Never let any man play between your legs for anything – not even a car and home.

Be Bold women don't need sponsors Kilimall

Yes, be bold and achieve your dreams on yourself.

To my Mushene women… and more

My girl friends. You make the majority of my friends. Yes, most of my friends are women. And it is all for a reason. You are so raw, you say what you feel, okay, you may not say, but you show it – you cry when you are upset, you laugh when you are happy. You tell me when you think someone has lost it, from the girl wearing yellow stockings to the guy who forced his girlfriend who we both know, to procure an abortion. I love your mushene – it is both entertaining and it gives me a lot of content for my writing. You have a friend in me and thanks to all the girl friends who have not used me visivyo in life. And rightly so, you will meet bad friends and great friends. Learn from that. It’ll show you how great your friends are, or aren’t, by who comes to stand by you during tough times. And on the other hand, you’re going to find people who are kind and caring and treat you with the respect you deserve to be treated with. Try not to lose those people, because they’ll help you keep perspective. Even if you friend zoned me…sawa tu.

Last and very importantly…

To my future wife, read this when that time comes. You’ve touched my life so deeply in your own way that you’ve helped me laugh and become my own self. Thank you so much for being a very lovely partner. I love you from the bottom of my heart.I have found that out by being with you. Having you in my life has brought me more happiness than a lifetime could bring. You are not just my partner, you are my lover. Not just my companion, you are my inspiration. You are not just my wife, you are my life. Thanks for everything, you give me wings.I gave you my house, you made it a home. I gave you my heart, you made it your abode. I gave you my soul, you made it your own. Thanks for everything. I will try hard to be a perfect husband to you, and the best father to our kids.

I will stick to you like your shadow. Or, wait! I am your shadow! #HappyValentinesDay

A post shared by 🇫 🇷 🇦 🇳 🇰🇰🇪 (@frankkenyan) on

Not forgetting my exes… thanks for the lessons. 🙂

#BeBoldForChange

Yours Forever,

Frankline

Be a Man, man!

Be a Man African

Be a man and face your troubles. Actually, be a man and carry the burdens of the world.

Be a man and sweat your ass out in the mjengo to feed your family. Even the Good Lord said you have to toil. Sell one of your balls and buy food if you have to because you don’t deserve to be called a man if your family sleeps hungry.

Be a man and get yourself a job. A man cannot rest on his stupid ass and wait for his wife to go out and work. Find something to do like other men because it’s unimaginable for your woman to be the breadwinner.

Be a man and build a home for your family. A real man can’t live in rentals forever. You must own a piece of earth or we will be pointing at you and your family forever as an example of a failed man without a place to be buried. Be a man and buy land… People will praise you. You may even be called to events to speak to the youth on how to own land.

Be a man and kiss your woman even when she slaps you like they do in the soap operas. Dare to slap her back and we will kill you on Twitter. We will deport your silly ass into a prison unless you are rich and politically connected.

Be a man and take your wife places. Buy her a car and make sure your glamorous wedding is aired on TV. Make sure she has the trendiest clothes and shoes and handbags and weaves and curtains. Because, my friend, if you don’t maintain your woman she will go out to look for the real man.

Better yet, cheat on your wife, man. Actually, don’t even hide it… The society allows you to have many women. You will be less of a man if you don’t.

Be a man and fight for your country. Get up and get killed for your family. It is your duty to die because it is very wrong for the papers to write headlines like “several people including women and children died”. Get that? Be a man and be killed in their place. Actually, if you see enemies coming, run and meet them. Let them kill you first… You better die than live a coward.

Be a man and go for the woman of your dreams. Too bad if you are a broke loser and you aren’t tall, dark and handsome. They will sneer at you, but you must show the steel of a man, keep going after them. And no, even if it’s the woman who likes you, man, you are supposed to know that and go after her. Use your beard as your antennae, stupid!

Be a man and get circumcised. If you are a kihii you cannot lead us. I repeat, being cut means you have leadership qualities. The foreskin blocks the mind, too. And you cannot intermarry with other tribes if you don’t there is no way you will get the votes from the mountains.

Be a man and get rich. Drive manly cars. If you drive a Vitz you most likely use Veet to shave. Be a man and drink bitter beers without wincing like a baby. You can’t drink wine, man. Don’t you dare drink Fanta, dude.

It is a tough, rough life but, BE. A. MAN!

Image result for be a man funny

My Bad-ass Valentine’s Day Ideas

valentines-day-1159281_1280

Last week, I was live on Radio Jambo, talking about Valentine’s Day and how to spend the least but make the best impression on Valentine’s. So if you had any doubts about my expansive knowledge of the subject of love, there you have it (twitches my fingers like a badass mafia capi). You can say “…awww, his girlfriend is soo lucky, dating such a romantic bae”. Well, Awww to you too! 🙂

Now that we have established I am an expert in these things, up there with Chris Hart and Gertrude Mungai, read on carefully on how to rock your Valentine’s Day on a shoestring budget. (Okay, the point is not the budget…)

Invent the Valentine’s Gift

You don’t have to buy her flowers because everybody else is buying her flowers. Actually, flowers are nonsense, and they are too boringly cliche, and they dry fast. Back in the days, right after high school, I got Lorna a muraa (that’s singular for miraa) as a Valentine’s flower. It was a joke but I am sure Lorna remembers that particular flower.

I am not saying that you get your girl a muraa – leave that to me… but invent. Show her that you gave her a special thought and did not just get her the trendiest thing on the street. Write her a letter on a flowered writing pad as we did back then (spray some perfume, too), give her a bunch of carrots, decide to have your Valentine’s the day after. Be unique.

Valentine's Day Kenya

Don’t Go to a Movie or Play, Act yours

Cinemas and play theaters will be fully jammed Valentine’s Day, so, don’t go to iMax or Alliance Francaise or wherever. You can do that on Saturday. This Valentine’s, act your own movie. Fight on the streets for her (make sure you win if you are the sterro of your movie), buy those water gun toys and “kill” each other, play some game, like kati or bathe in the river mpararo. Let her slap you so that you can kiss her in exchange, you know, the things that happen only in the movies.

Make it a dramatic Valentine’s!

photoshoot Valentine's

Take photos, enough photos to last your Instagram a year!

Stay Home and Cook, naked.

Well, if you aren’t married forget the “naked” part. Thou shalt never see each other’s things before marriage.

Yes, you can stay at home and cook something that you are not used to. It is okay to try new things, like boiling mukhobero with njugu and waiting to see the result after eating. Lingerie is too overrated, make your house the Garden of Eden before the snake – kaa bila.  If you decide to stay naked, make sure you stay away from the oil, that badass can destroy your skin… oh, and don’t touch each other with pepper.

It is okay to get carried away… the food will burn, but it will be fun.

cook together

Make it spicy, literally

Walk around town aimlessly

Pretend you are kids and walk around town with no destination in mind. Walk up and down like you did on school opening days. Pop into a chipo joint and order chips with kuku pono. A lot of people will be doing proper dinners so the chips joints will not be full.

Then walk to one of those benches in town, sit down and talk. Flag a hawker and order one of those Ginger Biscuits and Tropical. Enjoy the moment, gossip about the couples walking in red carrying stupid flowers and life size dolls.  And then walk into a park, remove your shoes, lay a leso and lie on the grass. Watch the ants. Buy a soda and bread. Drop litter and run from kanju, it is fun.

sit and talk this Valentine's

Just sit on a bench and talk about everything and nothing. Gossip!

Remind yourselves of the First Day

How well do you remember your firsts? The first time you saw each other, what were you wearing? Wear that. What did you say? Say that. Where did you go on the first date? Go there.  How was your first kiss? Redo it. See how much you can remember, and every time one forgets something, pinch them… or fine them. This way, I swear your love will be renewed.

Remember why you will be doing this – it is not that you have no money to treat each other, you will be doing this for the sentimental value and it beats any of those things people do on Valentine’s Day.

And in any case, Valentine’s Day is too overrated. Love your partner every.single.day!

 

Books I Read in January

frankmwenda-books

Yaay! I am achieving one of my New Year Resolutions – Reading. Last month started late and I promised myself to read two books, I finished the second book on January 31st. Makofi… Pa…Pa…Pa! (Funga! Fungua!). I may sound excited but it is the small wins that matter in life, right? This month I will read 4 books.

Here are the books I read:

The Teeth of the Tiger – Tom Clancy

Jan Books - The Teeth of the Tiger - Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy, for me, is up there with James Patterson and Jeffrey Archer as some of my favourite writers. The books you just can’t pass on the street (zile za soo) or online. He has never disappointed and he didn’t disappoint with this book. He just waxes a straightforward story. Those stories where you somehow know how it is going to end, but you have no way of knowing how.

The Teeth of The Tiger is an intelligence thriller which starts from the top. In Rome, a Mossad chief is assassinated and the murder piques the interest of the Campus, (now, The Campus is a secret intelligence agency that doesn’t follow any rules, but are guided by lots of intelligence. More like kwekwe but smarter). The Campus uses the most intelligent people since it runs a Financial cover, and all recruits, killers or not have to be smart, above smart.

Jack Ryan Jr., the son of former president Jack Ryan (tuseme Jimmy Kibaki was huko), soon discovers the Campus’ operations. Wanting to serve his country in the post-9/11 world, he is hired by the agency as an analyst. Elsewhere, Brian Caruso, a cousin of Jack, is a U.S. Marine returning from Afghanistan to be decorated for his achievements in battle. Dominic Caruso, his brother, is an FBI agent who, while investigating a kidnapping of a little girl, finds her in a tub raped and killed. Caruso kills the suspect, in very high precision. The Caruso brothers are soon recruited into a Campus strike team, chosen for their ability to kill enemies in cold blood.

However, Brian is unsure of the morality of carrying out preemptive assassinations, even against terrorists. This changes when radical Islamics cross the U.S.-Mexico border and attack several suburban malls. This part reminded me a lot of the Westgate attack where terrorists just shot people. (This book will also help you understand what goes on in the terrorists’ minds when they shoot people). Brian and Dominic happen to be at one of the malls when the attack occurs. Although they efficiently find and kill all four shooters, dozens of people are killed; similar massacres occur at most of the other targeted sites. When a child dies in his arms after the attack, Brian abandons his earlier moral qualms. The Campus decides the brothers are ready and implements a “reconnaissance-by-fire” strategy to flush out the terrorist leaders.

How they do that is something you should read for yourself, but it doesn’s involve guns – it’s science. 🙂

Deliver us from Evil – David Baldacci

Deliver us from Evil - David Baldacci Books

David Baldacci is another writer who weaves stories like it ain’t your business. I don’t know what that is, but I think it is quite cool. No? Deliver Us from Evil is not a gospel book. It doesn’t talk about God, apart from the areas where a girl, Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous, kills someone and prays to God to understand why she did it. You see, Reggie is a member of a secret vigilante group that looks for heartless mass killers who killed lots of people in the Soviet and Nazi eras.

That’s how it starts, Reggie killing such an old timer who had thought he was above the law. The rest of the novel is focused on the pursuit of another killer, Fadir Kuchin.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence, France where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie’s group, which she is heading, and another more official but secret group led by the studly, tall Shaw. Okay, Shaw seems to be one of the people I hate, or jealous about. He is too handsome.

While their respective teams reconnoitre and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly, these are drawn to each other(what would you expect?). Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favour (hapa kule). The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus. This actually almost costs them, because at some point Waller kidnaps them and plays a hunting game with them. More like Tom Cholmondeley hunting Kenyans in his expansive ranch, with dogs and guns. People die.

In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

This kept me glued.

If you need any of these books, tell me the book yoiu will be giving me in return and I will be happy to do the exchange. Hakuna vitu za bure 🙂

And, if you have read a book that you would like to share with these good people, contact me and we will make that possible. Sharing is caring!

 

Bad Debt Chronicles: Musa

Running from debt

Everybody has encountered one, or many. Those people who, giving them a debt, under any circumstance, is like throwing your money into a pit latrine. People who have no tinge of guilt keeping money that doesn’t belong to them, and continue to live their lives normally, while you skip meals or get acid burns in their stomach when you see the good life they are living on Instagram.

Debts make my skin crawl. I can’t live comfortably with someone’s debt.

But I guess people are different. Like Musa. Musa called me one fine Sunday evening and told me.

I am in an ATM, but it is not working, man. I was going out with my girl and now this has happened. Please loan me some cash and I will refund it to you first thing tomorrow morning when I’m able to access my cash.

This was quite a legit and straightforward request. And it happens to everybody – you have money but your bank can’t give it to you because of what they call technical issues. So, being the good friend I am supposed to be, and also because Musa is supposed to be a respectable man who we don’t joke with, I sent him all the money I had on M-Pesa. I would have it the following day anyway.

That was on 23rd July 2016.

I think Musa has never woken up from his debt-induced hangover

To this day, the ATM has never been repaired. The “following morning” has never come. To this day, Musa has been in this huge hangover that he has never woken up from to go the bank. I think Musa’s M-Pesa line was stolen that night. Or how would you explain that I haven’t received the money?

I am not one to ask people for my money. I assume people feel as I do when I have their money. But in this case, I have tried, because, it’s not like he didn’t have money, the problem was his ATM and ATM machines get repaired within 12 hours. It started with calls or SMS, not talking about money, of course, but things like,

“How is the family?” 
“Huko kumenyesha?” 
“Boss, kuliendaje?”

Okay, many of those. And Musa always has answers. Good answers. As I said, he is supposed to be a respectable man, and respectable men know how to talk and soothe, even Mr Nyoka from pangoni. Or Frank from going bananas.

Excuses

Every time, there is a very convincing excuse, followed by a convincing promise, just like the ATM one. Things like,

“My problem has now been sorted, let me send the money to you tomorrow, without fail.

I have been called by my bank, a loan I applied for, has been approved, and I took it just to pay you.

“I have been called by my bank, a kaloan I applied for, has been approved, and I took it just to pay you. Naenda huko saa hii.”

“Man, I have been having so many issues, I feel like God and ancestors are against me. But things are looking great. Acha nikusort Monday, baba.

“Guess what? Niko Nairobi hii conference ya Jubilee. Delegates tunalipwa vile umeskia kwa news, alafu nikutafute tukule kanyama nikikusort.” You see, Musa is one of those political bootlickers on social media and in real life… I thought they get paid for their noise and MBs.

After the Jubilee conference, two weeks later: “Man, my dad was involved in an accident and I took him to the hospital with the money I was to send you.

And so on, and so forth. So I stopped talking to him or asking him anything. Or replying his excuse messages. Sometimes I don’t pick his calls because, I can’t waste money and time on one person, donge? Until the first week of January when I randomly liked his Facebook post announcing how wonderfully his New Year had started.

Kutoa Ntero

Minutes later, Musa called me and told me, “It’s true my year has started very well, and I want to pass this feeling to you. I know I wronged you but you will be smiling as I am, in a few hours. I will even ‘toa ntero'” (Ntero, in adult Kimeru jargon, is like the bull Kibaki paid to Njuri Ncheke for his wife slapping a Meru elder, Gitobu Imanyara. It’s like a token for forgiveness).

On a side note, this “kutoa ntero” looks like the first word in debt defaulters’ vocabularies. Someone else has been telling me the same thing for eternity.

You guessed right! The few hours have never come to pass. And I forgot about that until I received this message on Facebook from my beloved Musa:

musa-facebook

[Dude, I am coming to Nairobi. We link up on Thursday I “toa ntero”…]

That Thursday came and passed, of course.

You might wonder how much this money is.. well, it’s a meagre Sh. 3500

You might wonder how much this money is.. well, it’s a meagre Sh. 3500 bila ya kutoa. Money I can easily give a friend without expecting a refund if they asked (I am not too poor). But if you give a reason like Musa gave and it becomes a battle… you are just plainly a bad person who has failed in the subject of humanity. You can’t sell friendship for Sh. 3500. Make it a million, or something better.

And that’s too little money to not get in half a year.

Let’s laugh at Musa and people like him. 

Oh, laugh at me too for wasting precious time writing about things that don’t matter (debtors don’t matter)… and I will happily tell you I paid Sh. 3,500 for this post. 🙂

Meanwhile, it is a new year resolution that I will not be giving anybody any debt. 

There will be part 2, about someone else, and if you have your story, tell me about it in comments and we will name and shame these people

Taking a Cold Shower like a Ninja

cold shower

Last week, Njaanuary sent me two messages, just a reminder that it exists. One, cooking gas went kaput, without warning as it always does- two gas cylinders all with 0 gas at night with minced meat on the plates. Then we woke up to no electricity – the units were also gone. You know how fast Kenya Power sends the power token when you pay with M-Pesa, so there was just no use purchasing the units at that time of the morning. And it was too early to get gas.

That’s when you start wondering if the Bad Beast of Revelation put the 666 mark on people’s hands and forehead overnight and that’s why you have money but you can’t buy the stuff you need.

Anyway, I was there looking and feeling like a caged rabbit. I was hungry and couldn’t make breakfast. And when I smelt my underarms, there was no way I was going to work without taking a shower. Made me wish this was Plot 10, I would have just gone to shower at the neighbour’s. This time I had to take it cold.

And taking a cold shower is a science.

I had been reading a lot of those productivity articles and they all agree on one thing: to have a great day you have to take cold showers. I had chochad myself several times that I would try it but every time, that switch cried for a flick. Today, however, Njaanuary was in control.

1, get set…

When you do a cold shower, you shower in phases. You can’t just walk into a cold shower, you will die of shock!

First, you fungulia just a few drops and feel the water with your palm.You let a few drops hit your feet and Tue rest of the arm first. That way, your body conditions for the giant task ahead. And that’s the first benefit of taking a cold shower in the morning. It instills the discipline of planning early.  Test whatever you want to do before diving deep into the deep end. Before you get the girl, you have to see if your toothy smile will be returned first. Okay, bad example.

Apply soap up your arms to your underarms and rinse with water, hot directly, but using your palms. The underarms are one of the most sensitive parts and if you can vumilia those, you will get it. Also, in case you lose faith before going into the cold shower, you will not be smelling. Why do makwapa smell, btw?

If you get your underarms wet and survive, you can now go to your head and face. Use your palm to get water there and then apply soap or shampoo or whatever tickles your fancy. You notice until now you haven’t gotten under the shower, you have been using your hands. With the head soaped, your brain registers that you have to bathe… or you will he leaving with a white head. So, fungulia a little more water (kidogo tu) and get the head only. This is where the nitaingiza kichwa tu proverb applies…oh, I’m digressing.  Rinse off your head and face pole pole.

Time to get into the cold shower…

By now, some drops of water may have dropped to your stomach, and the center of cold- your back. You are slowly acclimatizing. The chest or legs can stand some cold, so, apply soap there.   And rinse it off like the ninja you now are… stand with your tumbo mbele matako nyuma like a policeman on parade. If you have a huge tummy that will help. Just don’t let the water run down your spine, or crotch, yet!

Okay, now you can. Turn the water on to the maximum you can. Take a few steps back, a few long breaths… and take a step of faith, get under that shower! You will be shocked, first, when the trickle gets to your back…but ninjas don’t back off a mission. Once you are in there is no going out… it’s okay to scream, but don’t get out, or press the switch!

Bath, Wet, Water, Sensual, Woman, Beautiful, Beauty

Focus… you can’t sing in a cold shower

See, when you get into a cold shower, every nerve in your body appreciates the water. You feel the water in your marrow, in the center of your teeth, in your medulla of Lang’ata. It gives you focus, brings you to the here and now like Yoga…when you take a cold shower, you don’t sing in the shower, you don’t think useless thoughts, like why Prados have their name in ugly graffiti on the side, or why your grandfather caught land in Meru and not in Nairobi. You don’t imagine yourself as President or Christiano Ronaldo in a cold shower…

When you are in a cold shower, the only thing you think about is the water. You get a chance to listen to your body, you synchronize your heart, body, and soul. And nothing feels as better as those three working together. It’s like Ohuru, Odinga, and Munya working cohesively in one government.

You will be alert all day, my friend! Taking a cold shower in the morning, and feeling cold water pour down over your body seems more horrifying than soothing. However, the deep breathing in response to our body’s shock helps us keep warm, as it increases our overall oxygen intake. Thus, our heart rate will also increase, releasing a rush of blood through our entire body. This gives us a natural dose of energy for the day.

You will be beautiful, too. A doctor told me hot water dries out your skin, while cold water tightens your cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. If you’d like to reduce the appearance of acne, cold showers could do the job.  When you meet me in the streets glowing, don’t start guessing where I spent the night.

Image result for cold shower

Miathene Mono – My First Day in High School

Miathene Mono Kenya

I have seen a few monos in the streets this week. You can tell a mono from a mile away, you can smell even a mono. You can see it in the clothes, brand new, with ridiculously sharp iron lines, blindingly shone shoes, crudely knitted names on the sweaters, shirts and sometimes, even pants.  And the faces, the faces betray monoism, frightened eyes, wildly chewing jaws, bouncing steps (fake confidence). I see them and I shake my head. If only they knew where they are going.

Reminds me of my mono moment, years ago.

I was a fresh ntane, initiated into a full Meru man after Primary School, right before High School. So I was swollen. I mean, fat (when people are circumcised in Meru, they are secluded and fed. It was said, your only work in seclusion was to eat, lie down and poop, so it was a mother’s prestige when her son came out with closed eyes, I mean, fat cheeks and fat eyebrows).

When I was called to Miathene Boys’ I was both elated and sad. It was my first choice and it was the first time I would be leaving home for a long spell. ( Mother and I had shunned boarding school in Primary). My most hated aunt (everyone has that one hated relative) said Miathene was far and she wouldn’t come for Visiting Days (I was happy she wouldn’t be coming to see me, anyways) but I was scared. Where was this Miathene? Why did I choose a school I had no clue where it was?

But then, I was now a man and wasn’t allowed to tell my parents I was scared. I was gonna be a man and go.

So, we went out, did shopping and got ready, and did the normal monoism rituals. We had the uniform marked, and the dictionary and Atlas and the Bible (given to me by the Church) written in blocky red on the sides and random pages inside. Even my metal box was taken to a paint artist who wrote in a fancy font, FRANKLINE M. KIBUACHA.

I couldn’t say I needed boxers so I waited till the last day and told Kathee, my day father (LOL, that’s the person who takes care of you inside seclusion).

To Dusty Miathene in a Landrover!

A neighbour gave us his Landrover, and people to fill it started queuing for a place. By the leaving day, we were a full Landrover. It was open at the back, so about 10 of us stood back there and started the journey. The son of the village was going to high school and the whole village had come to take him there  (It was such a big deal then in Gitura). Those who didn’t go gave me tokens. I was loaded.

When we branched off the main tarmac road at Kianjai, I started praying that this was a shortcut and we would soon join tarmac past Meru town. There was no way I would be going to school in such a dry, dusty place! Yes, it was so dusty we took lesos and covered our heads (even the circumcised me).

And we covered several kilometres of this, with the February sun shining angrily at us for daring disrupt it’s beauty sleep with a trail of dust and the roar of an old Landrover. We soon came to a Market called Miathene and it all dawned on me. I would be spending 4 years in this godforsaken place which was definitely not what I had signed up for. The owner of the Landrover had an aunt in Miathene market, Mrs. Nkumbuku and she had a shop. We passed by her and she committed to be my mother, that I was to lack nothing.I. oils the anything on credit and she would be paid back. If any problem arose at school, she was to be there for me.

Miathene Market

Miathene Market

Grand Entry

We then drove into the school. Dry, brown playground with grass drying from the hot Tigania sun, old timber and mabati buildings before you came to the Administration Block which had a roundabout that held the flag post. Students came out to stare and point at our vehicle. Our Landrover had made quite an entrance. 🙂

We hopped off. The murram felt punishing under my Landrover-lagged feet. I looked around, there was a long queue of metal boxes snaking to the Admin block, which looked like a classroom. It was after classes, the bigger boys were already milling around to take a look at the monos. Some were too huge, some had beards (imagine beards in high school) and many had these menacing looks – more like predators waiting for their prey to finish up admission into the jungle. I was scared.

Luckily, two bigger boys came forward. Morris (a menacing Form 4 from my village, who I didn’t even know was a student) and Felix (a Form 2 who had spotted my cute cousin Doreen). I heaved a sigh of relief. With these two, no one was going to touch me! And they assured as much – Morris to my parents, and Felix to my cousin (he clearly had a crush on her, which helped).

Touch him again, Mono!

When we were cleared to go to the Dorms, I walked ahead carrying my bucket as Morris and Felix carried my box. Suddenly, a boy came out of the blues and ran a rough hand across my face and announced that he was “removing cobwebs” while trying to snatch the bucket from me. You should have heard the slap Morris gave him!

“You touch him again and I will kill you, MONO!”

He was a Form 2, and to a Form 4, everybody up to Form 3 was a mono! And I was happy to be his mono.

This is a class in Miathene

This is a class in Miathene

The following few days were so interesting, I should make a movie out of the experience.

__

Main Pic: Njugush. Source: Standard

Things 2016 Taught Me

2016

I can’t believe 2016 was the same 12 month-long year as every other one, it felt much much shorter. What happened to the good old days when you would spend a full 12 months in one classroom? Then, time felt like time. This time it went faster than me in a sack race (I have a sackrace medal).  The good thing about 2016 is, I learned a lot of things, both about myself and about life in general, that I am taking with me to 2017:

All work and no play..

For the better part of last year, I worked for a fresh start up (not mine although Future Concepts was slowly getting a life of its own). Friends, I worked, hard! Worked so hard I didn’t get time to sleep or eat well, my health was suffering. I didn’t have time to socialize, I couldn’t keep a relationship, not even with my family. I would have meetings on Sundays, so even my spiritual life was taking a hit.

Granted, I was getting good pay, but then I realized life can’t be that serious. There was no time to enjoy the fruits of my labour. If your money can’t feed your mind, body and soul, you will lose track of your life or even the ability to makeand enjoy that money. Put yourself first: You don’t always have to be selfish, but it also does not hurt to think about yourself every now and then. Work hard, but don’t always put work first and hurt yourself in the process.

2016 taught me that my life comes first-before any job, before any business, before everything!

working too hard 2016

This blog needs more writing

Some times I was just lazy about this blog. Other times I was just too busy to write (see, above). Sometimes I went months without writing and my readers kept complaining and waiting for Part 2s and 3s (I have diehard fans too, nanii). Well, this year I am here with a bang! I said this last year but this time I am serious, ûtû gwakuu – I will have something for you every week Tuesdays or Thursdays. If the stupid writers’ block kills my vibe, I will look for you people to feed me with memories.

Still about this blog, I will not censor anything. Whatever comes to my mind you will get it, raw! Last year I shied from telling you stuff that I felt would be too ogrish for you…

2017 I WILL BLOG MORE

Debts

“Frank, nipe kasoft loan nitakulipa in 2 days max”

“ATM yangu imekwama nitumie kakitu nitakusort pap!” 

“Kuna cheque nangoja kuclear but sina fuel. Nitumie 5K nitakulipa na interest ikiclear. Hata ona picha ya hiyo cheque.”

These are some of the conversations I had last year, and they all ended one way. These 3 people never paid shit.

If you are reading this and you know you fleeced me of my hard-earned money last year, go take a dump!

Either I am too weak or all my debtors take me for some rich NGO, because none pays back. Especially the most convincing people. So, this year I am not giving anyone a dime, unless it is someone I am allowed to give money, not expecting payback. I don’t want to spend a single minute unhappy because I am broke and some person has my money.

No debts

I am sorry, even if you are genuine, don’t call me. Tumia M-Shwari wako na CRB.

No one deserves to be alone

Nothing sucks like coming from work to an empty house and a sink with yesterday’s ugali with no one to help. Or worse, a cold bed as big as mine which feels like someone has poured water on. I have been looking for a wife far too long and now it’s my time to be the perfect husband and father I am destined to be.

2016 wedding rings

Christopher Hart said that Getting Married cannot be a New Year Resolution, but based on my 2016 experience, I am getting married this year.

I don’t know how, but I will get me a life companion in 2017.

Travel!

Last year, I did my first proper local travel. I mean wildlife and bush camps and lodges and time in on of those tourist land cruisers. That’s spent a whole week surrounded my elephants and hyenas and monkeys.

I will tell you this story at some point but the trip was totally worth it. I mean, have you ever petted a wild elephant, with all its aggressiveness? Have you stepped on a poisonous snake in the middle of a forest but it is too cold to bite you? Have you slept and showered outside knowing well than animals are watcjing you? I did all that and more in one trip in 2016. It was the most peaceful time I have ever had and I will spend a lot more time out in the wild.

playing with elephants in Tsavo Kenya

Finally, don’t mess with boda bodas in Maua.

This one came as a big lesson just as the year was ending. I was home for Christmas and I was accompanied by Mom and bro to visit my grandma. There is an aunt who lives along the way and we said, let’s go in and say hi. The road was clear both upfront and behind me, but as I started turning, a boda boda suddenly appeared out of nowhere and the next thing I knew, all three guys were flying in the air like birds.

They had hit the car hard on the side and the impact deposited them far into the roadside. Luckily, they didn’t hit the tarmac… else the helmet that burst would have been a head. The riders got a few bruises and got treated, but the car was in a very bad state. Boda boda riders in Meru don’t go to any driving school, and they are nasty, expensive business.

Get a Life! Live like you live for Social Media

is your life sad or happy?

We all know that one person who’s always sad about something, or angry at someone. Roll your mind…do you see someone? Sad Facebook posts about someone who betrayed them, a sickness they are having, how broke they are.

Like a friend of mine on Facebook, whose posts I noticed were all sad as I scrolled through. It was a sad timeline. I mentioned this to a friend, and she told me about this other girl whose baby daddy became dead beat and for all the three years since, her posts have seen very sad. In sharp contrast to the guy’s posts- he always has these happy Instagram-sque type of posts.

And this projects a very desperate, miserable picture of you to the world. A negative one.

You know, we are all going through some pressures of some sort, all of us. We all suffer rejection here and there when we try to love someone, illness, losing close people, financial crisis (no rent, no food, no stima token), a failed exam, betrayals from friends and family, heartbreaks, joblessness… the list is imperishable.

But what if everyone let these things take our lives over? Trust me…nothing will move. You know, your life is more important than all these things and without it, you will not recover them.

Whining on Social Media when others are posting happy selfies doesn’t encourage your life. Dwelling on the heartbreak will halt your life while the other person gets his life on whereas crying because the rent date is closing in won’t pay for your house. Being bitter because a friend let you down won’t lift you up. You need to know people are unreliable anyway.

Your crying will not cause other people swollen eyes. Nope!

So, what do you do when life hands you a blow? Get up and fight back! There is nothing  as futile and draining as beating yourself over things. Once you let yourself beat yourself you are done. If you self-confidence is gone, trust me, you are gone.

Your life, online

Why post your problems online anyway? If you are looking for pity on Facebook you will get it. But that’s all you will get. You won’t get approval, you won’t get money, you won’t get friends. Nobody wants to be associated with miserable people. It’s human life.

And that’s why you need to get real friends offline. People you can talk to without fear of judgement. People who can genuinely listen to you, and most importantly, people you also have their back. If all you do is tell me your problems and not share your good moments with me, there’s no use listening to you too).

You need real friends offline

Then once you are done crying offline on a shoulder that matters, go online if you have to and post your happiest picture. Confuse them. That’s what Instagram and Facebook are for. Don’t for a moment think that the glamorous things you see online are actually real. No. These people are not always happy. They are not visiting the best hotels in the city, they are not always travelling, they are not always “chilling with their girlfriends”… They have just chosen to show that side to the world.

Get a life!

Which side of your life will you show? And most importantly… will you stop allowing things that you can’t control ruin your living life? For real?

Another thing, avoid Negative People. The world is full of awful things that you will face throughout your life. Therefore there is no need to get around people who will exaggerate the complexity of every single issue. Avoid those who constantly complain, whine and radiate negativity. Hang out with easy going and always positive, smiling people who will charge you with the positive energy and guarantee a great mood.

Let me not see you sad again, unless I am your confidant. Be happy, for Chrissake! Keep the smile radiant.

I Don’t Respect Women

Angry women

And for this headline, the world will order for my stoning. The feminists will rise up and castigate me for saying the unthinkable.

“How can you dare not respect women in this age, you archaic gorilla living in pre-colonial Africa?”

“Your mother is a woman.”

“Who says that?”

“These are the type of men who never left their uncivilised villages.”

“You sexist, misogynistic Trump!”

Well, go on, say it! Roast me. Stone me. But I said it.

I have seen too many of these sentiments these last few weeks. It started with Trump, and continued with Miguna Miguna. Whereas I disapprove anyone actually disrespecting human beings on basis of gender, the way people fall over heels shouting from the rooftops any time they feel like a woman has been disadvantaged leaves you scarred.

Women can’t be wrong. You started it, man!

Nowadays, if someone is fighting with a woman, and there is an exchange of words, the jury turns on the man, and immediately rules that the man has attacked all women. And is disrespectful. Figure this out:

Woman: You are a typical man. Stupid fisi.
Man: What?
Woman: Go on. Be a man and get down into it! Say what you have to say. Call me a bitch.
Man: Shut up, bitch!
Crowd: Did you hear that? This disgusting sexist pig called women bitches!

Women beat up man

The world is a happy place. Men should be beaten.

Two politicians (male and female) banter each other. The woman can say whatever she wants. She can call the man all manner of things… you know politicians are all rotten… but the man has to be a gentleman, take it all in. Because one word, one misplaced word and the whole wide world turns against him. Even when she calls him a racist and he calls her a socialite. (ION, I thought socialites were celebrated people).

Why? Why do we feel as if women need this manner of protection? Can’t they fight for themselves? I mean, men and women are equal. That’s what we all want to project. And that’s what I believe, what a man can do, a woman can do, because we all are created equal. Our brains are the same, no?

Granted, I would protect my women, or any woman from physical abuse, because, truth is, we are created differently physically. But intellectually? No.

Which takes me to the point, and I spoke to a great lady who shared the same sentiments with me, Dr. Jude. Why do we feel the need to create special political seats for women? Why are university entry grades for girls lower? Can’t the women slug it out with men? Why are you portraying our women as weak? How will the society respect women if everything is handed to them in the name of affirmative action?

Women don’t need everybody to fight for them! All they need is empowering. Give them a voice and confidence and let them do what they have to do. By themselves. And women, you shouldn’t hang up on the offensive every time things don’t go well for one of your own. She has the strength, the power, the energy to fight it out like men (supposedly) do. The more you exercise mobster feminism, the more you antagonise yourselves.

Arrgh! Annoying Feminists, you make weaken women!

Speaking of feminists, come on! Most of the feminists I meet are just hooligans. They don’t listen to reason, objectivity is not a trait they possess. A woman has been done X and Y, let’s attack the man. Who does he think he is? They won’t go to the bottom of the case, they won’t know the circumstances, they won’t even verify if X and Y happened, they just dive in. That’s very annoying. I saw a conversation on Facebook, the guy had joked that Americans are like Kenyans, they couldn’t vote for a woman. You should have seen the insults.

Feminists are afraid of life. They are afraid of differences of opinion, and especially afraid of men. They are outraged and unduly stressed by much of life itself, and particularly by all but the most feminized men. Look at it… nearly every time the words “chauvinist” and “sexist” are used, they are false and only reinforce the conviction that feminists are weak. Feminism as we know it is a cover of feeling relevant in a competitive world. What it does is project women as weaker, and it definitely makes women weaker. Why fight for myself when I know FIDA will take someone to court for trying to stand up to me?

women against feminism

“I can hold my own beliefs without an army of angry vaginas backing me” – http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/

This world doesn’t need feminists. Kwanza they are very annoying. Bashing men for anything they do does not make women better. They are people, too, you know.

And back to my main point: I don’t respect women, neither do I disrespect them. I treat them as I should treat other humans. I won’t vote for you just because you are a woman. Neither will I help trend a hashtag just because a woman politician has been insulted. Or take your side just because you are a woman. If you are on the wrong, you are wrong. If you are right you are right. You are not wrong or right because you are female.

But because you are a human being that deserves respect, a voice and life. Not because of your gender. Come on, you can do it yourself. Just believe. Look beyond your gender. Look into your brain… which can achieve anything anyone can achieve, and more.

Don’t expect respect to be handed to you. You have to earn it.

Chronicles of my Village, Gitura 2

even-as-the-operation-against-illicit-brews-went-on-this-drunkard-was-too-intoxicated-to-notice-what-was-happening333

Due to public demand, let’s continue from where we left. About the great city of Gitura. Well, it’s a village, but there is a Pastor who came to preach in a crusade at Gitura Primary School and he told God to bless the ‘City of Gitura’ … I was proud of my city my village that day , and as you know, what God has blessed no one can put asunder.

Speaking of Pastor, I told you there is a time Gitura was as bad as Kosovo. The few people who were saved… no, let me rephrase that. The few church-going people intervened and held a Mega Gitura crusade in December 1999, and almost every other December and an evening Revival every Friday. Gitura changed, completely. Salvation came to the village. and many people would come forward to accept the Good Lord as their personal saviour. Sample this:

“Sema Mungu Baba”
“Mungu Baba”
“Mimi ni mwenye dhambi”
“Vile Pastor amesema Baba…”
Hapana, repeat after me.”
“Eh?”

It was fun, glorious fun.

Before that crusade in 1999, we used to go to night mkeshas only on December 24th to wait for Jesus to be born and on 31st to vuka mwaka. And these days were the worst days of the year. The church would be like a club. People would spend the day looking for miraa and soda to chana in the church that evening. Those who couldn’t afford sodas would look for plastic bottles and carry tea with a whole muthoto of sugar in it.

A majority of the men would be drunk. Some naughty girls(the ones your mother warned you about) would be done in the bushes surrounding the church. The main soloist in the church was the Gitura village soloist in all ways. He would come straight from leading “Oothi“…these are very vulgar circumcision songs… to lead the church in worship and praise. They would remix Oothi songs in church.

Even the church leaders, Mutura and Mutia would come to church drunk that night. Mutura would lead us in singing one song always, without fail:

“Maso maso ya Bwana ni makaali mno”
(Maso maso ya Bwana ni makali mno) That’s the whole church responding. He would then rap resaons why the eyes of the Lord are sharp.

These used to be fun times. And perplexing. I don’t know what we used to think the Church was back then.

The Dedicated Drinkers of Gitura

The Kayole of Gitura is called Kinyago. I think Kinyago means shit in Swahili (don’t kill me, Kinyagoans)… and that’s the capital of drinking in the city of Gitura. People start drinking at 6:00 in the morning. And since it’s chang’aa, you shouldn’t see what it does to people. The only positive side is the entertainment it provides.

drunk Gitura

Take for instance Ntoaboro. Ntoaboro used to work at the Post Office. During the day he would be a very dignified man. Meet him after 5 and you would run. He had this signature track, and the small children would follow him singing after him:

“Piiipi, Nyukwe! Mai!” If you don’t know what that means, listen to hardcore hip-hop. One day he passed by our home and insulted my grandfather. Us, being warriors, came out with rungus and pangas. He never sang near our home again, ever. Hatunaga time ya kuonyesha kitambi sauna with drunkards.
Same as the village butcher, Karume. Karume used to be drunk every day, around the clock. Bogs me how he managed that.

Oh, and my uncle Dibidi (David for you). Dibidi was the richest young man at his age. He had a TV when there were no TVs and a bed with drawers back then. Being a genius, he had made a satellite thingy, so we used to enjoy many “Nairobi” stations when only KBC was the father and mother. And then he started drinking, and everything went downhill. Remember Kibuku? The infamous alcohol that was nicknamed Songa na Mwena. He would drink that and chase us all from home. We would hear him sInging Bob Marley songs from a distance and we would all run into the shamba. One day they had a bow and arrow battle with my father.

Alibisa

But despite all these bad Kinyago things, there was a veve Base, kwa Îrû (that’s the short form of Wilson 🙂 ) This place would be to be lit. It was the headquarters of Kirianki and Bandia. If you want to enjoy life, chana at Îrû’s. With Alibisa.

If Kirianki was Churchill and Bandia was MC Jesse, Alibisa was MCA Tricky. Legend has it that Alibisa went to a Revival at Gitura EAPC one evening, and went to toa ushuhuda:

Bwana aspiwe. Bwana aspiwe tena. Mariitwa yakwa i Alibisa. Na mbitawa Alibisa ûû kweri? Mbitawa Alibisa Gitari, kwetû i Luluma lakini turumaira kalaa au kwa Îrû.

For those who don’t know Spanish, that’s “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord again. My name is Alibisa.. and what’s my other name? Oh, my name is Alibisa Gitari, I come from Luluma but you will find me chewing my miraa at Wilson’s most of the time “

Alibisa dropped out of school at Class 5, and he broke the heart of one Mwenda o Kiumbe. Mwenda always used to be second last in class, with Alibisa the last.
This one end term, Mwenda came home and when he was asked his position in class he simply said:

“Alibisa dropped out of school.” You know what that means.

Ntombori

But the grandfather of comedy has to be Ntombori the father of Itonga and Agnes Kamami. Ntombori has a shrill voice, he speaks like a woman. He is also the slimmest person I know. Tall and thin. He wear a kagodfather hat. More like George Washington.

Ntombori Lincoln of Gitura

Ntombori Lincoln of Gitura 🙂

Always confused, you should see him collect cess in Maua town, that’s his job. You know, haggling with the market women like a peer, and bouncing off like a bestee. He once met Alex and called him his uncle, Kalare. When Alex said he wasn’t Kalare and that Kalare was much older, Ntombori said, “Haha. I was just joking, how is your wife and children, Mutura?” Mutura is Alex’ dad, and Ntombori was serious. .

The winner has to be when Teacher Mbogori gave Itonga a beating in school. Ntombori came, blazing angry. He caught Mr. Mbogori mashati and shouted in that shrill voice of his:

“Unapiga Itonga, unapiga Itonga choo wewe…” If we ever meet, ask me to tell you how he said this.

Remember Ntombori is thin…well, he is as light, and Mr. Mbogori literally threw him several metres away. Ntombori rose and ran away, threatening to go tell the Police.

I should tell you about Somibwi, the woman who feared all forms of human civilisation, from torches to cars to aeroplanes up in the sky… but I won’t. You may break your ribs and I won’t take responsibility for that.

Chronicles of my Village, Gitura

village Mamaa

This is NOT Mamaa

The other day I was told of a women group on Facebook rivalling Kilimani Mums… it’s called Vuteni Stool. When a woman says, “vuta stool nikuambie”, know it’s going to be a hot story.

I’m not a woman, not even remotely with this smug face of mine, but vuta stool I tell you about my village. It’s one of the best, most comic places you will ever find.

Life in my village is a comedy movie.

To the uninitiated, I’m a son of Gitura, some 3km East of Maua town CBD (yes, Maua has a CBD). If Maua was a bigger town, Gitura would be its leafy suburb.
Some years back, Gitura was a Kosovo. You wouldn’t have dared walk around if you were a visitor, or a skimpily dressed girl. It was a dangerous place. And rightly so, people were not going to school (you can blame a booming miraa business if you want but I won’t). So, people lived around. Our group was the first to come to Nairobi in search for higher education. When I came to Nairobi, I didn’t know anyone… that’s why Nairobi played me as roughly as it did. (Haithuru, I made it better for the next generation).

But then Gitura went through a change, people became more focused, parents started valuing education, the two churches became United and stronger…and things started getting up. We had piped water, a secondary school of our own, electricity, etc (only the main road remains a stony shamba that only Landrovers can navigate. F— the politicians).

Now you have the background, lean closer. Like every village, Gitura has intrigues.

Some village mushene

Kambura beats her husband, almost every week. And she sleeps with her daughters’ boyfriends. And she is the man of the house, literally. She handles the family miraa farms, she takes the husband’s salary, she is the one the kids fear… that woman even drinks Guiness while her hubby drinks Fanta and sugarcane. Where the feminists at?

Mamaa: They steal my wives

Let’s talk about Mamaa. I love that man… that’s right, Mamaa is a man. His life is a comedy strip. That man is soo good, soo friendly, soo funny. Some time back, Mfa joked to him he would bring him to me in Nairobi. Mamaa was ecstatic. The only other time he had hoped he would reach Nairobi is when he came to a pass-out at Kenya Prisons College in Ruiru. Mamaa was mad, they had told him Ruiru is in Nairobi..And how he was so close, so far.  So this time he went and packed a bag, bade his family goodbye and with some swag, went to Mfa’s. But dude was asleep. He wasn’t going to Nairobi. Mamaa was too pissed and embarrassed to go back home, he went and slept at some place for a week.

miraa taxii

He looks like Mamaa. Expert “Miraan” with perfect taxiis

Mamaa is a master miraa chewer. I have always seen him with a full cheek. He makes a taxii so hard David would have borrowed it to kill Goliath. So it came as a surprise when one week, Mamaa wasn’t seen doing his miraa. When asked me said he had a new wife and since people take his wives as he’s chewing his miraa in the market, he was protecting his new wife. And he was serious, people would snatch his wives. This time he stayed at home with a bow and arrows, waiting for any man to go near his wife! Mamaa is a legend.

village Mamaa

This is NOT Mamaa

Mamaa had a neighbour called Miriti (God rest his soul). If Mamaa is Churchill, Miriti was Mc Jessy. He even talked like him. Guy used to drink…all the time. He would drink and crawl home. One day, he quarrelled with his wife and took a rope to hang himself. With the rope around his neck, he went up a tree, and started doing a last dance. Unluckily, the branch he was stepping on snapped! As he went down he shouted “Uuuuwiiii! Mukundo mbita murii ntiukari serious!” Loosely translated to “Cut the rope, asshole! I wasn’t serious (about killing myself)! They cut the rope and gave him a serious beating. Unfortunately, Miriti committed suicide years later.

Village Clowns: Kirianki and Bandia.

Another ludicrous pair is Kirianki and Obadia (Bandia) They have been beat friends since we were kids in school. And I don’t know where they got their stories from, but during break time, we would sit around them to listen to their stories. Complete with songs like, “Kasabubu saided, aah saided, Kasabubu uumira aah uumira.” They would have won any high school oral narrative. And when the teachers noticed this, they made them start a school band that used to go all the way to District Drama Festivals. District is a big deal to Gitura Primary School.

graderdance5

People would be sitting in a chromed kiosk and Kirianki breaks the blissful silence that comes when miraa starts to shika and says “Bandia Bandia, kuna network home?” Well, Safaricom is quite strong those sides… what he meant was, “Is there food at home?” And Kirianki would be very creative. Picture this, he and another guy called Muriki would be eating mangoes, well, Muriki would be in a tree with mangoes on his lap and because Kirianki was a bit big and would not go up the tree, he would be gawking like the fox who said the fruits weren’t ripe… And then ran away suddenly, screaming… Muriki fell off the tree in fright, and fled, leaving the mangoes, only for our Man Kirianki to come back and take all the mangoes!
Kirianki, his brother and the cow.

And there was this time Kirianki bought a cow, which he would leave hanging out in his brother’s maize garden, enjoying itself. His brother confronted him and Kirianki told him, “if that cow as much as smells your maize again, sell it and drink the money.” The following day, the cow was having a good time in the maize garden again…and his brother, another cracker nut, took it to the market, sold it, drank beers instead of chang’aa that day and even bought Kirianki a beer. As Kirianki took the Tusker, he wondered how his brother had suddenly become so rich and philanthropic. So he asked him:

“Murume, why are you so good today? You have never bought me even the small soda ever.”
“All thanks to you, brother. Your cow ate my maize.”

Kirianki fainted.

Hey, can we fight?

fight

One day, my girlfriend (now ex) got into a fight with me because I didn’t fight her. Close your mouth… I also get girlfriends, I have a girlfriend. I just don’t post her photos on Instagram because, you know, witchcraft is real, and some jealous neighbour may see our heavenly happiness and decide to roga us. I hate witches, those jealous people.

Now that I have finished dreamily staring into space with the sudden feeling of love, let me tell you about this ex of mine. She was frustrated because I was too loving, literally. And she had read somewhere that people don’t love you if you don’t fight. And she was wondering why we never fought. She would bring up opportunities to fight but I never took them, she even hit me with her phone one fine evening and challenged me, “If you are a man get up and fight me!”

Of course I should have stood up, walked to the bedroom and came out with a whip or some cane and caned her thoroughly like my great grandpa did about his wives. But I’m a lover, never a fighter… and I (almost meekly said), “No, love, I won’t fight you, I will fight for you.”

She was clearly not impressed by my Shakespearean romance because she took her now broken phone and left. Like the good gentleman I am, I didn’t follow her. And that’s how I became single.

See, I was never brought up to fight. If this was the medieval times, I would have been a war secretary rather than a soldier. My extended family is a fighting one, I’ve never fought. Not even in Primary school apart from this time a new student and his elder brother ganged up to fight, no, beat me one day after school. Luckily for me I had a cousin who’s a renowned fighter. Ken took on both of them and left them with red noses and asses. That must have sent a warning because no one challenged me to a fight again.

My friend, Ryan, was a fighter, and he was gutted when he heard I have never fought. He’s a huge American so he looks for brawls. He was always looking for fights in the bar for me to test my fists. Never materialized. He called me sissy. A title I wore with pride. It’s better than stitches or the mortuary slab, right?

Until the other day. I was in the centre of a mighty fight in a strange place…

Picture this: we’re totally knocked out some place in Kiambu. We’re walking out of a joint when a total stranger in a rowdy crowd spanks my girl. Not even a sissy would take that. So I throw punches, she throws a few slaps. Her friend comes in with a bottle. And hell breaks loose.

It was a war. Literally. I was fighting for my pride and these two girls were my loyal soldiers. It became a spectacle, we even got fans. I think we were doing our fighting quite well. We had a cause, our enemies were being driven by alcohol demons, and remember, we hate demons. So we were beating the demons out, not them.

Bouncers were no match. They threatened US with the police and I lend them my phone to call the police. We told them to call KDF.

You should have seen and felt the way we licked our lips when everybody backed off. Victory tastes great, friends.

And, after the war had ended and we were headed to the car, Kero(yes, he had to be there), who was trying to “separate” us all along decided it was his turn to hit. He came in with so much fury we had to carry him off one of the hooligans! Totally inexplicable.

I now knew what I had been missing throughout my life; the joy of fighting.

So, are you going to sit there reading this all day, or are we gonna fight? 🙂

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