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!

Moving out of the hostel was quite appealing.... I would start a life, when I finished school I wouldn't start from scratch, I would own stuff, I would hustle seamlessly, it was cheaper sharing....and I would have a pad with my girl(s)! There was no way my parents would allow that, so, even as we looked around for a house, we did it secretly.

Looking for a house is the number one hustle in Nairobi. You just can't get a residential house near town! We were chased by one landlord for not being married, another one for not having beards, and another one thought we were looking for a cleaning job which wasn't available! Those agents who write up their numbers using charcoal in the streets would not help either...after taking our money, they would either turn off their phones or take us to slums with mabati houses.

When we finally found a house in Ngara, it was a shop...at Sh. 10,000. This was a huge room facing the street...all noisy and huge..but it was all we could get. The challenge was the money. It was too much for us. Solution? We get two other people! Ken brought in another Ken and I brought my fan, Kero, remember him? Paying Sh. 2,500 each was bliss, very cheap. To make things better, Kens had everything we needed. Two beds, cookers, utensils, iron, a computer with a TV card and the knowledge-they could cook! Kero and I sneaked out of Duwano Hostel...you see, rent was due and we couldn't pay! We even left our beddings!

Life wasn't bad. It involved sharing everything. We ran out of cooking gas and all contributed to buy, Ken's TV card got spoilt and we bought another one... We would contribute to buy bread in the morning and all the shopping, equally. If you didn't pay up and say, we bought sugar, you would take your porridge sugarless. It was a Harambee living. One of the Kens used to literally live at his girlfriend's place, so we didn't get to see him much....So, we lived life pretty well....until we came home one day with Kero, and caught Kens red-handed.

Problems start
The bastards were packing everything to a cart! And by everything I mean everything... Everything that belonged to them which was everything except our clothes!
Bewildered, we asked what they were doing, and they said, "Tumeamua kuhama"

We were frustrated
Who moves without telling the roommates? Who just moves with everything and leaves two people to pay that much rent, without notice? Who moves and leaves friends with nothing, not even a light bulb? 
Kero was sobbing, I was angry. We asked them if they could at least leave us one bed since they would not be using both and they told us "Not unless you hire it. Pay us Sh. 200,daily for the bed"

We were devastated. We just watched as they moved..they carried the freaking padlock and the curtains too ...and walked into the house..all dark and empty save for our small suitcases at one corner.  There was no place to sit and cry. Trouble had started. We had no place to sleep, no light,the house was open to the public..and it was late in the evening! Shit was real! Luckily, we had not paid rent yet. We went out, bought a small mattress, a light bulb and two chapatis. There was no place to stand to reach the bulb holder, so I stood on Kero's shoulders and pulled it down, with the wires to the floor. Our light was at the floor level! Then we set the only bed sheet we had on the main window...as our curtain, ate our chap at is and slept.
Life had started.

Rent was due the following day and we couldn't get the 10K. No school that day, we had to move out. So we crossed into the Railways estate and spoke to our friend's sister who was living in a very small single room SQ there to assist us get a place to stay. She told us we could move to her place and she would help us get a house before the day ended. We moved....looked for a house all day...couldn't get...so we slept at her place....on our mattress, under her bed!

We all woke up early the following day and continued where we had left the previous evening...knocking in every day and asking "do you have a vacant room?"...till we met a lady with a heavy Kisii accent who looked unsure that she had a room. She even called her husband to confirm. See, we were young and reckless, Meru and hot-tempered.. skinny and maybe poor. Kendi, our friend's sister pleaded with her...using a testimony.. And we got ourselves a place!

This room is much better than ours
Now, this was a large bedroom. To get into it, we would pass through the family sitting room. It had no socket, so they got an extension from outside and perched it through the ventilator.. and asked us to buy an extension to take it the rest of the way...which we couldn't afford..so we leg it be. It's not like we had any electrical stuff anyway. Someone lived next day, in another bedroom. There was a separating glass window which was covered with newspaper and a door( Since he had a TV, we would take turns watching through a small gap between the newspapers at the window and through the door keyhole).

The room was also huge. And all we had was the mattress, our small suitcases, an old cooking stove we got from a cousin's friend in Eastleigh, two plates, a jug and two cups, one which we had helped ourselves to from the main family table room. We fixed a nail on the wall near the socket-which was up near the ventilators-where we would hang the jug in a polyethylene bag and drop a water heater inside to boil cooking water and save paraffin. Masters of creativity, no? 

There were rules, too. We were to supposed to be in the house before 7:30  so that we don't disturb the owners as they ate their supper in their sitting room and also so that we don't spoil their sons....who were in their thirties!

We never washed our room-people wash under the bed and tables and the kitchen and the toilet, and we had none, so there was nothing to wash, and we were very okay with that. The madam of the house soon started making noise. We once met our window open, somehow, and when we asked she said the room was stinking, so she opened the window to let air in. I told, in a very stern Meru tone and accent; "It IS our room, WE pay rent to live independently. So, if you think it is stinking, learn to live with that. I don't want to get that window open again, ever!" ..then walked into house and slapped the door hard. Kero was laughing so hard inside, he was literally on the floor. Being stereotyped works sometimes. The following day, I met the window open again, I didn't talk, I just stood there looking at it and shaking in anger. The house girl met me in that state, said hi, and when I didn't respond, she ran back into the house and came out with the owner. Madam just said, "Pole, ni paka alifungua". I was like "I want to see that cat, and cut off its hands".

The window was never opened again. 

By the end of the month, we broke a basic rule, and had to move. This time, we had no place to go, no plan, no money. Street boys? 

Pic sources: UglyHousePhotos.com | SkySports.com

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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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A-Z: 26 Tips For Building Powerful Personal Brand Online


Everyone has a personal brand. Do you know what yours conveys to potential employers? When your name is Googled, what comes up? If you haven’t given much thought to your personal brand, here are a few ways to start building it. There are numerous reasons that having your own brand strengthened by your content strategy benefits your business. Everything that you do demonstrates your personal brand, from the way that you represent yourself online to how you treat people at the grocery store. Because a personal brand is built on your true self, you need to be aware that the totality of your actions makes up your brand.

So, how do we create a strong personal brand online? Here is an infographic by placester.com that gives you the A-Z of Personal Branding Online:

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