Nairobi Initiation 5: Plot 10, the Sin City.


Have you ever lived in a remote control house? These are the houses, err, cubicles where a 6 by 3 ft bed fills the room. You can touch all four walls lying on the bed. You can close the door and window, cook, reach the "wardrobe" side of the room, and the TV that you have to hang from the roof because there is nowhere to place it. That, my friends, a remote control house.

Plot 10 is located right in town-yes, we lived in the CBD! Our life was improving, no? It is a three storied building along Kirinyaga Road, right below Roast House.

That's where our mkokoteni from Nairobi Initiation 4 took us. Kero had used his immense convincing skills to get us the house. It was very convenient, since we would no longer be paying fare to town, we were always in hand to receive friends and relatives from upcountry, take them around town, for a small token, of course.

The room was located just outside the communal sink and bathroom. From the house we would literally look through the bathroom door cracks....to, you know what. Whereas we enjoyed seeing these "things", we were always drying the house. Water would seep in, below the PVC carpet, to a mighty stink.

And it was bigger than most! Remember the Kens from Initiation 3? The guys that caused us all the troubles we passed through? They were living in a much smaller room, all three of them! So, their resources, including the bed they had said we had to hire, were in the underground rat infested store. They had the audacity to ask us to keep a computer monitor for them. I almost committed murder that day.

How families lived in these rooms, we never knew. I am still trying to figure that out. Take, for instance, an old woman we all used to call Shosho who used to live with her fully grown watchman son and his wife. She never left the house, so we all wondered how the son, Pato, used to, you know, get to, you know, get her pregnant. There was also this family, whose son was initiated in the single room house he used to share with his parents and 3 siblings. We from the Mountain just watched at the unthinkable from far.

The 2009 Census was god-sent. Kero and I landed enumerating jobs, at 24K, and boy did we have a blast! My wiz dream of owning a computer came to be. I bought this large Dell desktop tower with a 15" CRT monitor, and Kero bought a  Ampex subwoofer system and a gas cooker. 

We became overnight celebrities in the plot. We could afford to throw parties. We could now walk with a swag in our steps. I could now pursue my deejaying passion with my PC (when I was younger, I used to visit a classmate whose family had a computer with VirtualDJ installed. I could scratch scratch and that was the first reason I bought a computer). We could now watch all the movie series the cool kids were talking about. We could now blast music respectfully. And we could get any girl we wanted around! We were jogoo la mji now!

Did I mention parties and girls? We used to throw BYOB parties every day, any day of the week. All the cool kids in the plot would come to our house, newly renovated with white curtains, to have a ball. Requirement? Bring alcohol! At any given time, we would have Kibaos, KCs, Naps, jugs of Senator keg and miraa to last to the end of the month.


One day the liquor was too much, and there was no water in the plot. So, drat that, we cooked rice with alcohol! Add alcohol of assorted types and boom! No one slept in their house! Everyone was everywhere. I slept with the newest chick in the block, Emma. Stop frowning...we were too stoned to do anything. After puking her intestines out, she crashed into bed. I also chewed blackout while gentlemanly trying to cover her. The following morning everyone was singing my name. I had slept with a woman! A beautiful woman! I didn't deny those "allegations". 

Word spread, and soon, our house was the hub of parties and sin. People from all over the world, yes, all over the world-or how would you explain the Kirinyaga Road Indians and a certain Mzungu(never mind he is born and bred in Kenyan streets) all used to drop by for a dose of hip-hop. It was the joint, where people could abuse their elements in peace. Disclaimer: We didn't allow smokers or hard drug users, though some of our guests would smoke their weed and inject their injectables in the basement store. How we never got influenced, I don't know. God's Grace?

Hell
That wasn't the only sin in Plot 10. There were sins that would make Sodom and Gomorrah a holy shrine. Take your pick:

Fetishes- Tabia Mbaya was at a premium in plot 10. People would get some anywhere, anytime. Have you heard the phrase "266,000 people around the world the world are having sex at any given minute, including this very minute?" That would be Plot 10. At any give time, someone was getting some in one of the 52 rooms, in the store, even on the stairs. Let's leave that here.... This is not a adult blog. :)

Nerea-People got pregnant at Plot 10. People aborted pregnancies at Plot 10. Then they would get pregnant again and do away with it. It created business for Kero, who knew a few bargain quack doctors to do the operations at a small commission and mark up. 

Mob justice- Justice used to be served Embakasi style. Mara that that! Thieves would be beaten into pulp. There was this day a guy cam into our room and joined our conversations, he even got  a chance at my coveted DJ chair. I thought he was Kero's friend and Kero thought he was my friend. I left at some point and Kero wanted to leave, so he called and asked who the guy was and I was like " Which guy?" Hell broke loose. The guy was flung out and given a proper beating. See, he couldn't explain how he got into the house in the first place. Several more people were beating, including some gay people who were caught having some in our sin-store. 

Remember when I told you about the strategic position of our house in the city? At any given time we would have a full house. Either partying, or folks from ocha seeking shelter, or homeless people being kept, or students on holiday but not curious to go home. We should receive a Nobel Prize, no? But people abused this hospitality, human nature.

 Take Robert, or Rumpu. He used to crash at our place any time he was on holiday or whatever. We didn't have much problem, but he had this uncanny behaviour- okay, we used to cook ugali sukuma DAILY- Rumpu had loads of money and would leave us to our ugali sukuma, go eat chicken and come back with that chicken perfume all over him. In the morning, he would leave us to our strungi and ugali lala, and go take a B.E.S.T. breakfast. Of course we used to mind, but never talked about it. The straw that broke the camel's back was, there was this time he went and brought all his brothers to come live with us-all three of them!! Now, these were noisy braggards. They would talk about home all night, with these shrilly, annoying voices. I love my peace and this would aggravate me to breaking points. There was this day, we were watching the World Cup and they started betting on the match, big money, money that I didn't have, money that I needed, and they were here, betting, right after coming into the house with their chicken aroma and we were broke as hell.

I threw them out! And we decided to never let vagrants into the house ever again. 

That is, apart from the throngs of girls that thought we were cool-Kero used to mesmerize them with stories and attention that I could't afford. Most were just that, friends. We would have girls over for days, and we would treat them like boys, eating ugali sukuma together, playing cards, having man-talks, sleeping on the floor-and using them to rope in sponsors for meat and other favours.

 There was this time a girl who had had several stints in several houses within the plot-she was a known (you know what)- came along and former hosts couldn't take her in, probably because this time she came along with a guy friend, and were looking for a place to wait for her last plot boyfriend. Now, this is the type of girls who, once you make the mistake of having them in for a day, will move in. And I knew it, though I figured she wouldn't, with the guy. So, I let them in, expecting them to move out once their "friend" arrived. It wasn't to be. They requested to sleep on the floor, and I lock the doors and let them. In the middle of the night, I woke up to noises. Noises that I knew from porn videos. In my dryspell on the bed, I was too irritated. So I woke up, turned the lights on and went back to bed. You should have seen the awkward position I got them in. I think they cursed me because the following morning I woke up with too much pain down there. Story for another day. :)

Wanaume si mamako
Kero once broke one of these cardinal rules with our girls.A friend of mine from home. See, we had this unsaid rule that, if a girl was a relative or friend from home, no hankypanky was allowed. So, one day, he took this girl to the next door lodging, without my knowledge-not that I would have minded that much, but it was necessary for my records. He did these crazy things with her like spreading flowers on the bed, burning scented candles and all these things that we only read in romance novels. Girl was mesmerized. She was in love. And she told me all about it the following day. I just laughed quietly to myself, LQTM, literally. Sheep with this love towards wolves.

Hell broke loose the following weekend when Kero's girlfriend came visiting. Let's say I had to pull an instant Kofi Annan to save the occasion. Kero took his girlfriend to the same lodging he had taken the other girl the previous weekend! My mother says "Wanaume si mamako" and she is right. We men, aren't your mother! J was crashed. She cried... My offer? As much as I hate clubs, I took her to Roast House for a drink and dance. Remember I dance like a tortoise-so I never hit the dance floor. So I sat in a corner and watched her dance with people while I got the dividends- drinks being sent to my table in a stream till I had enough and dragged her out. She was hysterical, especially when we reached the lodging-Screaming how "....he is ******ng her in the same room he ****** me in! She must be thinking she is the only one. Oh God, I am a ****!"

That's where robbers got us, while I was trying to drag her in. Just like that, out of the blue, with rungus and pangas. And I jumped into the gate, and closed her outside with the muggers. You must be wondering what kind of man I am. Well, me too! I someties wonder what kind of man I am.

My reasoning was simple. None of us had a phone. Not even a single cent. Being the guy, I guessed they would have beaten me, cut me, or worse, killed me in frustration. In my drunken stupor, however, I was thinking, in my imaginary super powers, that if I opened the gate, I would hit one of them and kill him. Which is a sin. All this while, I was screaming my lungs out like a proper sissy coward. This was a day to forget.

Let's pray for our shoes
We started looking for jobs while still in Plot 10. Me, Kero, Marti, Alex and the all crazy Musila whose story I will tell you another day. We would print CVs, walk around town dropping them with the help of a directory. Evenings would find us too tired. To improve our chances of getting jobs, we each invested in a suit, and new formal shoes. One evening, the Monday after we had bought new shoes on Saturday, we came home tired, and there was a blackout. We dozed off in the darkness, Kero, Alex and I, only waking up early in the morning for another day of tarmacking for jobs. We took our showers, wore our recycled suits...and then Alex stepped out.

"Where did we put our shoes?"
"They should be at the door"
"No! They aren't!"

We thought he was joking. So Kero went to check. Our shoes were missing! That was a new low. We were crushed. There went our several-month savings, and probably our chances of getting jobs. Solution.

"Let's pray," Alex said. In desperation, we knelt down to pray. In Faith. Singing a worship chorus, Alex told us that if we opened the door slowly and shouted "JESUS!" six times, the shoes would be there in the seventh open. 

Jesus Himself must have smiled at that, because we didn't get our shoes!

Bugs and rats
Tell me what you know about bedbugs. I know bedbugs, trust me. Plot 10 was an Animal Conservation park. We used to have human size rats. You would meet with a rat in the stairs, thing stares at you and you pass slowly. Rats that had this mean look of "Don't make any sudden moves, or you will die" That was no big worry, because our rats were street wise buddies who knew how to use the sufferer space with the sufferers-they never ate clothes or books. We had this mutual respect. But tell that the their little cousins-the bed bugs. Those things have no respect at all. We had this infestation that could easily make KU jealous. And they used to show up in the worst times-when you had a visitor, or in public, in class or when you were tarmacking. And they were in every house. That's why when I moved out of Plot 10, I only left with my computer, and the clothes I had on. I couldn't risk carrying those bugs. 

For the time I was at Plot 10, I never saw the landlord. We used to deal with a manager/caretaker and never cared about the owner, until we received a letter raising the rent by a cool Sh. 3,000 in that month end. Less than three weeks. Never mind we were all students in an unpainted, unmaintained, rat infested, stinking plot.That's the only time we came together as a plot outside Sodom, and sued him, with the legal advice of a law student with all his experience. We went to court, all of us, and declared that we would not pay rent for three months. Of course we were overruled, but that sent a message to the landlord that we were not in it for games. He backed down, sent some mzee friends of his to plead with us to take the case out of court, and agree on a compromise. We had our way, and of course the money we had contributed for court was enough to buy several jugs of Senator keg and Kenya Cane beehives. :) 

The "Adventures of Plot 10" would be a complete novel. Just can't cover it here. Buy me a drink one of these days and I will give you a proper narrative. But Plot 10 remains. We moved on, and left the room, with everything, to some boys from the village,as a memoir of a very important phase of our life.We vowed that the room would remain ours for as long as Plot 10 exists. It will be passed down, intact to the younger guys coming to Nairobi from upcountry. 

Ni kama vindio ni kama ndrama.



Main pic: Full house, full bed, any time, Twitter. 
King Rat: Penguins of Madagascar, Fanpop
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Nairobi Initiation 4: "We Ate Bread With Sirua!"


If you are reading this,you must have read part 1-3. Thank you for sticking with me. This is a true story and I have evoked nostalgia in some of my friends, and anger or shame or whatever in others. I am just Frank.

Where were we last time? Yes,we had to leave the house we knew as Mwanyenye- we knew only the house girl's name because everyone in the house used to call her so loudly in Kisii,even in the middle of the night, to pass a glass of water. Poor Mwanyenye. What do people think house girls are, slaves?
Anyway,let's move on,we had more problems than her. When we left, we had no place to go, not even an idea. We just carried all our property in one sweep. Only the mattress was stress, really.

We decided to split for some time, Kero going to a friend living in UoN hostels, and I moving to my childhood best friend, Alex,also living in hostels- Railway Training Institute in South B. The plan was just to crash in for some time as we redrew plans. Alex lived in a standard hostel room with 3 roommates... We would share his small upper double decker bed.

Saved by a prostitute
South B is too far for someone without fare,going to class in town. I would miss the first lesson almost always. In the evenings, I would walk back to save some money.

Life was tough to me but even tougher for Kero. His village friends, who he was crashing with started avoiding him. They would lock up their room and disappear, leaving him to seek out other people in the middle of the night. The Helb-Powered rich campus kids were a different kind of cloth. They would force him to go out to clubs with them because they couldn't trust him with their rooms! On one such night, he was down with malaria but they still wouldn't leave him in the hostel, they accused him of stealing their drinks. Kero was beaten up by the bouncers and thrown out of the club, literally bounced off the stairs! He was saved by a prostitute.

Kero, then. Who would take such a boy to a club, and beat him up?

One evening, I arrived at RTI as usual, sauntering into the room looking for Alex. One of the roommates borrowed my phone(I had one of the most expensive smartphones then, a Nokia 6600, I had redeemed from dad after he was unable to use it) and all three of them stood up.

"You stole my phone in the morning" said the guy with an accented, ghostly, irritating voice(Okay, I hate him)

"What?" 

I was bewildered. Nobody had ever suspected me of theft since I was a kid. And now these people were accusing me of stealing a phone!

"Yes. You were the only one in the room when we left for breakfast"

"You left your college and came to ours to be a thief?"

Wanted by Police
I was surrounded, cornered, intimidated. I had been accused, prosecuted and judged in this kanjo-like kangaroo court. Did you know, if you are arrested by Nairobi Askaris you have no rights in their courts? Whatever you are charged with is what you did! And this was worse than the kanjo court. Mob justice is real.

Alex came to my rescue like Superman. When he met me captured, he went on a rampage. He is a typical Meru, always carried a small dagger. The moment he brandished it, everyone left the scene! He started pulling out wires, overturning beds, throwing suitcases out the window, screaming like a lunatic. I had to forget my troubles for a moment and try to reason with him.

The roommates had left with my phone. Later in the night Alex demanded for it and was told I would have to pay for the stolen phone if I was to get mine back. He went on another rampage....a physical one in the middle of the night. Pure drama. I had to figure out a way to get Sh. 4,000 for another phone, somehow, not without telling them that my grandfather was a supreme medicine man, who would ensure justice was served. Someone would eat grass.

Anyway, I hustled some moneybfrom relatives and paid the phone back-In life, you get punished several times for things you didn't do.

Remember the day Kenya got a Public Holiday because Obama had been elected America's President? I was with a friend of Alex in his room when someone came in saying there were Police Officers looking for a friend of Alex who had stolen a phone.

I was in shock! And I was a wanted man!

I thought it was one sick joke, till I went round the hostel towards Alex' room..And saw cops with college security through the window. I bolted...all the way out of the college through a panya-route....ran up Maringo, to Mater Hospital, Kula Mawe, up the Bridge, Railway Station...into town. Marathons have nothing on me. It is after I reached town, that I felt safe.  I guess I wasn't cut out to be criminal.

I called up Kero, who was somewhere in Ngara with a "girl from home you should meet". I walked to Ngara, not because I wanted to meet one of Kero's twisted-taste-of-women that always made me gape, but because I had nowhere to go, and I had to inform the crew that I was a wanted police suspect.

That's how I met Mwende. Later known as Rancho, a future member of my five-man wolf-pack. And she "hustled" a fifty bob off me despite my masaibu.

Kero and I had to strategize. There was no way I was going back to RTI, Lenana and Eric's place in Kabete Animal Training College was a no go zone during weekdays, and Kero had outlived his Bonga Points from the University friends. Our brainstorming led us to yet another friend of mine, Dennis Mutwiri from home. A guy I had met only a couple of times because we shared a taste in hip hop, and I had a few prospective quarries he wanted me to hook him up with. Dennis, and Kama, the friends we hadn't thought about before, welcomed us wholeheartedly.. they were prepared to house us till we got a place...And they left their room to us, for the weekend. I should look them up. (Toast, guys).

Mulango
Meanwhile, Kero had made friends with two big, yes, big girls...women. Secretaries at his uncle's office. People who would walk in the streets in hot pants. Have you seen a really big, voluptuous woman walk in the street during the day in a hotpant and a tank top? Kero had made friends with those...And would visit them in their single room in Mulango. I think they sexually assaulted him, and he liked it...because soon, they got him a house... also in Mulango. And the landlady wanted only working people in her flat.

I dressed up that Sunday, in a suit..And went to check the house out. It was a 8 floor house.... And the vacant house was half finished, on the eighth floor! The wires were naked, and the wall wasn't plastered.... There was no ceiling... Just iron sheets. We had no option but take it.

Now, living here was hectic. Living on the eighth floor of a house with no lift, but a steep, narrow staircase wasn't fun. You wouldn't dare forget stuff like match boxes or salt... Because you just wouldn't go down to the shop on the ground floor. We only had a mattress on the floor, and coupled with the ceiling-less roof, we were at the mercy of the weather. We didn't have a radio, so, we would listen to whatever neighbours were listening...And if we didn't like it, we would disconnect electricity(the naked wires in our room were the main connection for the entire floor) and go outside shouting things to do with someone on the floor messing with electricity. Being Merus helped.

We managed to buy a bed, second hand, from the shopkeeper downstairs, and had to cut it into two to go up the stairs. Our house had the first piece of furniture! Problem is, it used to break down in the middle when you turned. We still had only two plastic plates and cups, and our good old trusted jug. When we had visitors, we would eat it turns, unless it was a girl-like this one time when Mwende visited and Kero went all the way to the ground floor, to borrow cups from our shopkeeper.

This was the life. Pic: BarakaMwau-slumurbanism

At some point, we were four. Our MP's real brother,Karithi expelled from college, a guy from our former hostel, Chris Ngaruthi, Kero and I.... And none of us had a shilling to his name. Four men without a shilling...And no food in the house! To make matters worse, I was doing my CPA exam the following day! I did not have fare.

Things got worse, when our light bulb blew. Why do such things happed in such times? Kero and Karithi stole the communal toilet bulb. I had just gotten into the house, and they were telling me about the bulb...when guys came looking for the toilet bulb! You see, Kero had gone round borrowing a bulb, and when they didn't get the toilet bulb, the first people they suspected, were us! I told them that I had bought the bulb on my way home. They said they wanted to see the packaging and I told them to check the trash bin.

Then I got really angry.

"Look at us! You think we, four grown men, can't afford 40 shillings to buy a bulb? Is that what you are trying to say?"

I was so worked up, they apologized and left in a huff...we were left falling over ourselves with laughter. .... Till we remembered we didn't have anything to eat.

I called Alex and told him I had nothing to eat, and I was sitting the exam the following morning. He said he was in town, and only had Sh. 100. I told him I needed it. Could he bring it? He said he would need Sh. 40 for fare...so we bargained and I asked him to bring the Sh. 60 if he didn't want us to die. I pride myself in good friends.... Alex brought us the Sh. 60.

The issue was what to do with it. We walked into a cafe, all four of us, and couldn't afford a meal. So we settled for the craziest combination. Soup, bean soup, is free when you eat food. So we asked for bread and bean gravy. That's sirua.
We ate bread with sirua!

We spent Sh. 50, and had some change to spare... I was to use this Sh. 10 the following morning on my way to the exam. So, I took tea and some cake, left the money on the counter, and fled! I never knew how much that cost...And I didn't hang around to know! I ran all the way to the exam centre. And happily did my morning paper. By the time that was done, I had an M-Pesa message, my monthly allowance, from dad.

We used this money to move the very next day...on a mkokoteni, all the way to the next phase of our lives, Plot 10!
All our stuff fit on the mkokoteni like this, and we ran after it, all 10 kilometres. Pass the marathon medals, please.
Pic: The Drome Diaries


Nairobi had almost won one against us.

Should I write one last episode of the next phase? Tell me in the comments section below.
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The Nairobi Initiation 3: "I Swear I Didn't Do It. Blame the Cat"


So I came to Nairobi... And did all manner of things, including walking all the way to Rongai and meeting my high school sweetheart, Makena. As I was telling you...meeting Makena introduced a new aspect in my Nairobi life... A new dimension.

          Nairobi Initiation 2.

Makena had progressed a big deal. She was way ahead of me in class-she was almost finishing CPA while I was starting. She was a laid back, devout young lady while I was a Hip Hop head. But then, if we had started something in high school when she was a fourth former and I, a mono, we could find our way back. This time I could treat a girl, and I could not shy away from hugging...even kissing... like I had been in high school. I was also a bit of a playa, entertaining these thoughts and I had a girlfriend at home! Nairobi men!
So, we would meet...talk about things in a monotonic kind of way..we had no stories... Until she introduced me to her cousin, Ken,who happened to be my classmate...she was bringing her family closer....with a crazy suggestion, that we move from the hostels and live together!

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The Nairobi Initiation 2: "I Walked to Rongai!"


I was telling you the other day of some villager's(aka yours truly) 'soft'  landing in the largest metropolis in Eastern Africa-Don't we love bragging with our city, Nairobi? Being the most intelligent monkey in a group of apes makes you number 1 by design.

Anyway, here I was, on the morning after. Duwano was actually a five star hostel, by my standards, maybe. There was a good breakfast ready-eggs, sausage, toast and tea-this was the life, baby! Then there was hot shower... Now, that was bliss! Water heating within half a minute! This is Nairobi.... No blowing into the firewood to warm water and carrying to the bath place. I had started enjoying the fruits of education. That first shower was a long hot one. Okay, it was enjoyable, and still, the water would get too hot, so I kept switching it on an off.. I could see the adjusting knob but I wouldn't dare touch it! My Physics teacher had taught me better-water and electricity + your body = death by electrocution!

Moving on, after breakfast I left the hostel like a boss, trudging after some other 'inmate' who I had overheard saying he was going to town. I made sure I got into the same matatu with him and sat strategically to see his every move. There was no way he would leave me in that matatu! He alighted at some point and I also stepped out, wondering why I couldn't see KICC which was the ultimate landmark!

I followed him at a distance into a building I had heard about... At least I knew Visions Institute! I had actually been looking for it when I had come to register for my CPA. I had been told that it was better than KCA but my dad had insisted that I go to KCA because it was a "Government college-their courses are recognized by the government and they must be cheaper than the premium private college" Out of curiosity, sorry, I followed this guy in because I didn't know the way to town and hoped he was making a stopover into Visions.

The guy went into the lift, and I followed right in. At this point you may be thinking this was my first time in a lift... No! I was a town person! I had got into a lift back in Class 8 when we had gone on a class tour of KICC! But at this point, I wouldn't know what to do inside, so I waited till everyone had pressed their floors and leaned back... Waiting for whatever. I decided to stick with my guy after some other people alighted at the second floor.. to third floor.. Which turned out to be the Visions reception!
I walked in like I knew what I was doing and asked for a brochure (I knew these since I had carried home a paper load of brochures for every college I had come across in my registration trip.. and doesn't Nairobi have colleges in every building!)

Shockers!
The fee was less than half KCA's!

My mind was on an overdrive. Here I was saving a cool Sh.17,000, the college was within walking distance from the hostel, it was the better college and most importantly, I could wear and sag my jeans as much as I wanted! On the other hand, I would be disobeying my parents (I had had a quiet childhood with no major drama,  quite disciplined). But then, this was my life and no one would know anyway! I decided I would change colleges!

I still had cash in my socks, so I went to the washrooms to get it out! I still laugh when I remember the washroom debacle. They are standard office washrooms, where you enter the main door and get all these toilets and urinals... They are located right at the reception and there were many students milling around. I went and knocked on the door! And stayed there to wait for whoever was inside to get out! Now, that's embarrassing!

When I got over these fifth world problems, I got into a toilet and counted off the money and went back to the cashiers... Shockers again! They couldn't take cash! In a panic mode, I asked where the nearest bank would be and they said "pale Moi Avenue" How the hell would I know where Moi Avenue was!

But then, I couldn't show them that I was a village cock. I just said, ooh, and walked down the stairs into the road below and bounced off to the general direction of town, clutching my pockets, round Globe Cinema roundabout, past the street families into, God-is-with-me, Moi Avenue's CooP bank! I just paid the fees and retraced my steps back to Visions. I queued for twenty minutes and when I got to the cashiers, someone asked for my passport photos! And the closest I could have them taken? Town!

I looked at her jawline, looking for a spot to break and after a full minute, of course making sure there was no girl nearby, told her I didn't know town and that I would bring them the following day or that afternoon after I had figured out my way around. She had to accept. There must have been a hint of tears in my eyes at that point!

The rest of the day was uneventful. I just took my books back the way I haf come in the morning, to Duwano Hostel, and in the comfort of my room, called dad.
"I have to tell you something"

"Did you get robbed?"

"No, I didn't go to KCA"

"What?"

"Yes, I went to Visions Institute"

"Really? And where did you get the extra money"

"I figured it out. Visions is the better school and I just had to get into it"

"Okay. Just don't get into debt. If you are sure this is the best choice, do what you want"

Phew! It wasn't as dramatic as I had thought! The good thing is that my parents have always trusted me to make my own decisions. No one ever told me, even advised me, which career path to take. I always asked for money and I would get it, as long as I affirmed that this was, indeed, the right way. I was half way college before my mother knew what I was doing!

Pic: Kenyanlist
Later in the day, my cousin, then our MP's secretary, called me to inform me that the MP's nephew would be joining me at KCA the following day and I was requested to assist him settle down! I was becoming a baller now... I would be a chaperone to the MP's nephew! Of course that would mean I would be seeing the mheshimiwa frequently. He would be a buddy. My life was taking a perfect turn!

The following morning, I woke up and decided to walk around Nairobi while waiting for my ticket to the throne.Like the good scout I was in school, I noted my landmarks closest to Murang'a Road, and did it block by block-I would go round a block, then two,then three...and soon, I had covered what I thought was the entire city of Nairobi. I even walked to Rongai! I was in the Rongai Market when my guys arrived.

"Hi, we have arrived"

"Good, wait for me at Tea Room" I knew places, man!

"We have strolled a bit since you were mteja, we are now at the Total Petrol Station" The Mheshimiwa people were so daft, I thought.

"Which Total, which other building can you see opposite?"

"There is nothing opposite, just an open fileld" This was proving difficult.

"Okay, walk a bit, and tell me the tallest building you see" This was my defense mechanism, a landmark I could see from the Rongai flyover.

"Yes, we have seen I&M Building"

Phew! That was easy, I had been at I&M that morning, and I could see it-from Ongata Rongai!I told them not to move an inch... I was on my way, and walked like a wizened city boy towards the direction of I&M.

From Ongata Rongai? Let me tell you about that...There is a flyover connecting into Muthurwa Market. At that time, it had an advertisement for something like Ongata Engineering ahead, so I thought I was actually in Rongai!

Stop laughing!
Look, you can see I&M! Pic: SkycraperCity

I did make it to I&M in one piece, with a bounce in my step, and Kero, short for Kerobin, aka Kelvin,our MP's nephew, came into my life, for the first time, never to leave.
Now, Kero was a yo-yo in his own right. He had a red Ferrari jacket and shiny trousers with several guns and a 50 Cent impression at the back.He had this bewildered look about him, and the first thing he asked me was:

"Murume, when did you come to Nairobi? Were you born here?"

When I asked why, he said "From what I have seen and heard, to know Nairobi, one has to live here for at least ten years!"

"Don't worry, I will take you around Nairobi one of these days"

But I was already wondering why the MP's nephew looked so confused. He was with an uncle, who I assumed was the MP's brother, equally confused. Someone joined us a  few minutes later and the uncle told me to take the kijana to where I was staying, as he had some business to handle with the other guy. We were to look each other up the following day. That was my first let down, I had imagined with the MP's DNA and money, I would have lunch at a Five Star Hotel, and get some pocket money. Now, this was becoming a thankless burden.

Kero, like me, was coming to KCA-the one with hostels. Within five minutes, I had convinced him to save the cash and join Visions...plus Duwano Hostel(At least with Duwano, I got a cool Sh. 500 introductory commission-the first money I made in Nairobi). I had become an instant influencer to my new fan.

Let's drift abit. In high school, while I was in Form 2, I had a girlfriend in Form 4! Seriously. Her name was Makena and she was one of the best badminton players in the country, if the number of Nationals competitions appearances is anything to go by. Makena trained me how to treat girls. I would be stuck talking to her, always staring into space and keeping a distance. Makena taught me that I have to look into girls' eyes when talking to them..that I should hold their hand in public, and hug them when we meet. We would walk hand in hand during school funkies, and eat biscuits under a tree at the farthest corner of the field. Once, a Form 4 who was interested in her almost gave me a beating after a funkie-she had snubbed her terribly in public and ran to me.We were in love! When she finished school that year, we lost all contact-she disappeared into thin air.

I bumped into her at Visions....and a new life started. I will tell you about that next time.

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The Nairobi Initiation 1: "I Will Be Your Host Tonight!"


The year is 2008. It is first of July and I am at the bus office bidding my mum goodbye. I am going to the big city alone for the first time,for a long time. Going to college.

I see a flash of tears in her eyes and she looks away fast. Tells me in a croaky voice to call her when I arrive.
"And keep the money safe" I am carrying cash.

Off we go. The bus literally crawling up those Meru hills. I wish I took a miraa pick up...I wouldn't endure all this stench in the Kensilver bus. But then, I am going to Nairobi...and I will now be a cool guy...coming during the holidays and commanding respect among my peers in Maua. It is not my first time in Nairobi, but I am now going alone... To stay.

Not on a school trip. And not like that time I came a few months ago to register for CPA. I am coming to stay. The excitement is building, can't wait to reach the city and leave that mooing cow.

The bus trudges on, the boredom is too much. My Walkman gets noisy, a book I had carried becomes blurred. I sleep for ten full hours and wake up ten minutes later...in Embu! Again, I should have taken that miraa truck lift I had been offered! We eventually reach Mwea and I buy those chipo mwitu, packed donkey meat and a yoghurt to boot. That's my lunch.... Could be my supper- I have no idea where I will sleep tonight!

I catch 38 winks and wake up in Thika. People have started alighting.. So I go close to the condaa and tell him "Usinipitishe KCA". He tells me we are a bit far, but I know KCA is on Thika road, can't remember where. So I go closer to the driver and warn him the same...for insurance. Have you met a trustworthy matatu crew? So I tell an elderly guy to look out for me.

Finally, I see that drive-in board and remember KCA was just next to it....can't recall if it was before or ahead, so I shout to the driver to shukisha like a wizened city boy. They let me off and I can't find KCA's gate...so, like dad had said, I ask a traffic cop who points at a general direction and tells me "That way" I do not wait to be asked for a bribe so I pull my huge bag and walk...and walk for several minutes. Ujuaji ain't good, kids.

Finally, I arrive,wipe my sweaty face,roll up my bag into its wheels and walk like a boss to the gate.

"Wee, no caps and sagged trousers allowed in here!"

Was that guard kidding me? This is a university in Nairobi and he doesn't dig my swag? I choose to ignore him....and he comes after me shouting something to do with me being deaf and dumb....and drags me back to his sentry, ranting. He tells me to belt up well and leave my cap and bag at the gate... My protests of being new, him being rude, how I will report him fall on non existent ears, so I concede-against my Meru orientation. I should have fought him! Not concede, am I Wenger?

I go to the office and proudly present my forms, passports and all the requirements till the clerk asks for the deposit slip and I stare at her. I thought they would take cash since I have arrived late and the bank near the entrance is already closed. She doesn't heed to that and says I should go home and come back tomorrow.
Go back where? Home is a day away and you tell me to go home? I expected to sleep in the college hostels tonight and you tell me to go home?

" We have no hostels "

"But I was told you do when I came for the forms!" Panic sets in.

" Sorry about whoever said that, but we don't have hostels "

I stare at her with my mouth.

"Please wait for me outside, you are a nice,lost kid.... I will show you a place"

I walk doggedly, thinking how God provides for his people... I have found a Good Samaritan lady to assist me. If it was now, I would be having very ungodly thoughts..Anyway, she makes the call and informs me that someone is coming to pick me.

© Booms Beat
And come she does...a voluptuous(what's the real meaning of this word,by the way?) chic. She has this midsection that makes me drool...nowadays, not then...She has this huge smile on her, and I feel like I could just walk into her and lay my head on this soft bust...Again, not then(in the village, hugs were considered kissy, adult things you do when you are married, and in the bedroom)

"Hi Frankline...my name is Ann and I will be your host tonight"

Have you seen those WhatsApp emoticons with wide eyes, a wide mouth and some sweat on the forehead? Yes. That's me now. Host me tonight? Wow!

I barely reply, and follow her like a Zombie as she pulls me suitcase towards the gate....she could have kidnapped me!

We go to the highway,take a matatu...which she pays for..to Ngara! Son of Maua may enjoy some warmth tonight....from a Nairobi cinderrela. How will it be like? Is this how Nairobi girls are? She is so cute and has no madharau like those dumpass girls with Form Four Certificates in Maua.

Before I know it, I am paying Duwano Hostel fees and I am drafted in.What a strategy!

Tomorrow, I am roaming the City in the Sun, alone!

PIC: Nairobi Half Life: www.hollywoodreporter.com

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Throwback: 1983's Laptop



We were reminiscing about phones the other day with my friends. How mobile phones were huge just a few years ago, then started going smaller and smaller-the smaller it was, the more expensive and classy the mobile phone was. In standard human weird trends, the size started getting bigger again-now everyone wants a big phone!

Computers, on the other hand, have gotten smaller and smaller over the years-remember Main Frame computers? You don't, that's something you only read about. Laptops were a welcome development-a small computer you can carry around-who would have thought that would be?

So, as I was scouring the internet, I chanced upon a peculiar flash video. The first laptop!

Weighing only 13 kilograms, the thing looks like a combined microwave and typewriter!

Introducing 1983's Portable LCD Computer!


Source: Yahoo

Whoa! Now, start imagining how this jumbo shrank to your palmsize-tablet! BusinessWeek has this post on the evolution of laptops that will make you drool. Your beloved laptop was once a knitting machine! How about that for making you feel better, at least you evolved from a monkey. 
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Blame these politicians for the terror

Bad things are happening to my country. ...very bad things, of serious insecurity types.

Kenya has been known as the island of peace and economic stability in a region under siege....we have been brokering peace around us since independence.

Now,the tide has changed.  We are on the receiving end of the very things we have been consultants against. Insecurity topping the class.

Previously. , we only knew of bombings from international media: the Palestinas, the Iraqis, the Somalis, etc. Not any more.  We now know the smell of explosives, gun powder, and definitely the smell of blood. Innocent blood flowing in torrents....every other day.

Kenya is crying. Deaths are too many. Tourists are fleeing. Investors are cashing their investments and leaving in a huff.

And most sadly, politicians are taking advantage of the debacle.

Granted, the government of the day is a joke, the intelligence situation is foolhardy, the Minister of Security is a caterer, cameras are being installed everywhere and our troops are still in Somalia.

BUT. But politicians are to blame. Why?

Where is our security policy?  The parliament is busy plotting how it will force us to call its occupants Honorable!
Why are the same things happening every time?  We almost expect them to happen. Our Intelligence Service is busy looking for people's academic papers.

Why are we out of ideas?Because we aren't united to one cause at all.  The Opposition is busy holding rallies and fathering crowds. Because the government of the day stole an election.

Then, why are we being attacked every day?  Because of illegal immigrants?  Because Muslim youth are being radicalized? Because IEBC failed in the last election? Because the father was away? Because we don't have enough policemen? Because of corruption? Because the government has kept the soldiers in Somalia? Because County Commissioners were empowered? Because Anglo Leasing was paid out?

I am not an expert in matters governance, security or politics....but I think those aren't the reasons.

I think it's because one part our divide thinks the acting side is doing a bad job, and the other part is busy depending itself.

I think it's because we are too busy talking about dialogues that we can't focus on the real issues.

I think it's because we are too divided.

I think it's all down to politicizing a national scourge.

I think it's because someone can't hold someone to account to maintain political ego.

I blame politics and the holding politicians.

God help Kenya.

Pic: How it started. 1998 bomb blast. Telegraph
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