FRANKMWENDA

The Writing of my Place in History

Menu Close

Search results: "random"

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…

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.

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!

Random Memories 4: Slippery Nipples and a Blow Job

poonam-pandey-flaunting-her-cleavage-while-enjoying-her-meal-201603-683173

There is a common saying among my crew, “We belong to the clan of pigs. We eat anything.” Growing up, I have eaten anything I have been offered, including the sumptuous, inviting piles of mole soil. 🙂

It has all been a factor of what I can afford at a point in time.

Or the Nairobi Initiation 3 period, when Kero and I lived in a house within a house, where the family used to eat chicken daily and we would pass by their kitchen to go make ugali with the sufuria we had cooked porridge in in the morning, without washing. Si unga ni unga? That point in time, all we needed to treat ourselves was Sh. 20 in the evening. We would either buy one chapati moto and share, or those fish balls they used to sell in Ngara.

Or when we ate bread with sirua in Mlango. That was a rough patch, and the only positive thing I can remember is the day our neighbour graduated and made too much food. Her folks wouldn’t go up the stairs to eighth floor, so, she called us to finish up the Luo dish. We were like mercenaries – eaters on hire. We cleaned up that pot.

Then we moved to Plot 10 in town and there was no bread with sirua. We would either cook, or eat in varied vibandas inside Grogan. You know, where you say “mathe niwekee kila kitu na ujaze sahani.” We even had our preferred plates in the vibandas.

We discovered a joint deep inside Grogan, Kwa Omosh, where the meat was cheaper than ugali. You could ask for nyama saucer! We never wondered where the meat came from until one day, I was dealing with a mnofu, and stared at thorns inside meat! Seriously, that cow may have either have eaten fish and those were white fish bones, or that was a dinosaur’s digestive tract… we didn’t ask. We just stopped going there. To date, I have never known what that was!

Ugali sukuma

Did I say we cooked? Yes, every evening, without fail. And it was always one thing. Ugali sukuma. For years, ugali sukuma daily. Even when the village councillor and our friends who had joined the army and had disposable income crashed at our place and bought us meat, we would still mix it with sukuma!

Hence, we always wondered how people could afford to eat at Roast House. How could someone spend Sh. 230 on food? The only thing we could afford at Roast House was chips, and we made sure they included everything, including sirua. Value for money.

Kero once had a date with a girl at Roast House, and she came with her friend. Why do y’all do that? He only had Sh. 200, so when they started ordering chips and chicken, he was like:

“Roast House chicken is not so good. It’s the chicken they inject chemicals into, may cause cancer. Take fries, we will get chicken elsewhere.”

He asked for water since he was ‘not hungry,’ paid the bill so that they could leave immediately they finished, excused himself to go the washrooms, and went home. That’s the last time he spoke to the girl. To-date, Kero always makes sure he eats the most expensive meal on the menu at Roast House whenever he is in town. Revenge.

Coffee Date

My first attempt at taking someone for coffee was a nightmare. Karibia niwaambie. There was this girl, her name was Winnie and she went to a college right in the middle of the CBD. One day, we planned to have a chat and I visited her at the school. There’s no kibanda around that place. So, we went round the blocks till I saw a place that looked a little modest. We went in.

The standard breakfasts in the menu looked expensive, so I decided to improvise, and influenced her to, too.  I ordered tea and a chapati. She ordered coffee and a sausage. I thought, at most, that would cost me 120 bob – which was too much.  When the bill came, I was grateful I had worn a suit jacket where we used to ‘bank’ our cash. From, Sh. 500, friends, this sukuma eating son of Maua got a balance of Sh. 5. 🙁

Stick to your lane.

In Limuru, while at Bata, we discovered a joint with Freddy and Loris that sold meals in terms of money. You would just walk in and say, “nataka 70, na avocado.” It was a very cool joint, until one day I got a bout of food poisoning that kept me in the toilet for three days. They laughed at me and continued going there, while I stuck to fruits for lunch with Roseline. Then they got their day, too. And did their toilet round, too. A worse riund. Utashindanaje na nguruwe? 🙂

Speaking of nguruwe, I miss our pork appointments, every Friday. Who knows a pork joint in Nairobi?

Have a blow job when you can 🙂

To cut a very long story short, nowadays, I make sure I eat the best I can, in the best places I can. Money is for eating, anyway. So, when I have my tea at Artcaffe, or Urban Eatery’s milkshake, or porridge at the Rooftop… don’t call me extravagant. I’ve just been there and done that. And at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do. You have to feed your memories.

At the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do. You have to feed your memories.

Oh, the Slippery Nipples and a Blow Job are cocktail things that I saw on the menu at Asmara last weekend. 🙂

Asmara restaurant

I had a blow job!

Random Memories 3: The Devil Did It

When I told you I was already a sexpert by Class 2, I know you said to yourself “this is one of those hopelessly spoilt brats.” No. I was better than most, most of the time. Or rather, instead of doing the small small things that got y’all caned daily, I would accumulate my misdeeds and unleash one huge misdeed at some point. It would be so big a sin, even comical, I would be unbeatable. People would just laugh it off, or look at me in bewilderment.

The Devil Did it

One day, my Grandma Kaumo went to one of those women gikundi meetings and left me all alone at home. Ours is a big home, set on a large tract of land, and alone, you can get bored.

I was bored.

So, there was this sheep that had been looking at me and shaking its head as if it was challenging me for a head butt. You know you are about to break a bone when a male sheep sees you, punts like Maywhether and starts dragging one leg with lowered head. I would always be told to run. Sheep kill people. Not that day – I accepted the challenge.

Sheep head butts child

But since my head is too soft – by the way, I have never headed a ball – I decided to go at it from behind. Watu wa Nairobi, a sheep’s behind is this flappy, spongy piece of fat.

With a knife. I cut of its kititi with impunity.

To celebrate my victory, I climbed the tree the sheep was tethered to, stuck the tail up there, jumped down onto the sheep’s back like WWF’s Stone Cold and counted to three. I had won!!

My actions hit me when I heard my grandmother coming- women love announcing their arrival with laughter- from a far with the neighbour woman. I knew she would kill me. I had to think on my feet.skeptical kid FrankmWENDA

I ran to her, ‘panicking.”

Juju, imagine what happened…”
“What?”
“The Devil came right after you left, cut that sheep’s tail and hung it on the tree! Come and see.”

 

When she realised what I had just done, Kaumo burst out laughing. I have never seen her laugh so hard. She told me to climb up the tree and get the tail down and I told her I can’t touch something Satan had touched. I had acted this so much I had started believing it.

Even when she cooked it, I wouldn’t eat it, until Grandpa slipped a few pieces to me when Grandma wasn’t around. There was no way I was eating the fruits of evil. 🙂

I came to learn, cutting sheep tails was something people did in the past. When they wanted a fatty fix, instead of slaughtering a sheep, they would just eat its tail. And sheep would be cool with that, I think, because it didn’t kill them, just made them stronger.

Handkerchief

I was a very obedient boy in school. I think I’m still a graceful person… Don’t you?

One day, the science teacher taught us on the importance of handkerchiefs and underpants. I used to wear underpants sometimes, so that wasn’t a big deal. The problem was the handkerchief- who carries a handkerchief when they don’t have a flu? Even then, why get an handkerchief when you can suck it back into your mucus… or just eat it? Some of us got handkerchiefs when wen went to harambees and handkerchiefs were “sold” to our parents by force. Back to the lesson, Madam Susan taught us how to make handkerchiefs from old clothes. Education back then was about using available resources, rather than buy.

And with the lesson, she made a class by-law… ‘Everyone must have a handkerchief and underpants, and I will be checking daily.”

When I went home, in total obedience, I went and got my mother’s new silk dress – she had barely worn it and I wanted to have a hippy handkerchief- and cut off a giant square chunk with a razor blade! 😮

handkerchief

She didn’t notice immediately, until she had an event like a week later that she had bought the dress for. The wail she released is still stuck in my mind. She was distraught. I made Mama cry.

And denied it, totally. So, she, and everyone, wondered who might have done that. Who is that jealous neighbour who got into her closet and vandalised the dress? Only grandma knew! So, she came and told me to tell her if I did it, or she would get Itari, the village wizard to roga it and whoever did it would grow two long horns like a swara.

I had to own up. My mother was so weak that day, she couldn’t have beaten me, as much as she wanted to kill me and make soup with my head.

Who, in Maua sells quality, silk dresses? Reach out to me, I want you to deliver two of your best dresses to mom, and tell her I said sorry again. I will M-Pesa you. Seriously.

And I practiced to be a Tout

Touts hanging on a matatu Kenya

elegantthimble.blogspot.com

Did I tell you about my cousin, Ken? Ken was the ideal boy in the village…not for his good behaviour, but for his sense of style, and his ‘cool’. See, Ken was a born tau, brought to the village, like me, to go to school. He knew too much.

And I was his side kick.

We would simphon petrol from anything that had an engine – power saws, generators, motorbikes and cars – using sponges. For sniffing.

He would steal beer and soda from moving, open lorries and hand them to me and other village biiji. We would have parties.

He would send me to steal the best footballs from the best karatasi football makers in the village, and then beat them up if they made a claim to the balls.

He would start fights for me with boys, and girls he hated… and finish them up “in my defence”

And most importantly, he taught me how to ‘sumba” moving vehicles. Being Landrovers, most of the vehicles that passed were relatively easy to dandia. I became an expert, without much scratches.

Until one day, in my thirst for kudandia, I didn’t check the number plates. I did an unthinkable thing, and literally dandiad gari ya polisi. The infamous black police Landrover, Kiilu.

I was happily enjoying my ride till I looked inside and saw someone staring back at me, all cut up and bloody. Rotting. Dead. It was a corpse!

I released the vehicle, in shock, with both hands, and landed bam on the road on my back. I got up, ran home and that’s how  my touting talent ended. I never dandiad a vehicle again, ever.

Seriously though,  kudandia kunaitwaje in English?

Proper Meru with knives

Frankmwenda

This is NOT me. | Loveparenting.org

Do you know what a kanywila is? It’s a small, red tick that bites and attaches itself to human skin. I was once bitten by a kanywila… on my kaninii.

I didn’t mention it because ,hey! a man can’t show his kaninii to anyone. So, I struggled to remove it myself and I couldn’t. So, my kanywila just fed on my blood and grew bigger, more painful. I started walking awkwardly. My mother and some women noticed this one fine morning and asked me what was wrong. I told them I had changed my walking style.

Knowing better, they tricked me to where they were, wrestled me to the ground and pulled my shorts off… discovering my kanywilad kaninii. To make matters worse, village boys came to see why I was screaming and watched intently as the kanywila was dug out by four women using a knife.

That was embarrassing.

So, after the operation, I lay crying with my head covered. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I took the knife and lunged at everybody, screaming murder. I spent the rest of the day alone at home… No one would dare come through the gate. Not even my mother.

I even threatened to commit suicide. Why would people intrude my kaninii privacy like that? I went to borrow my grandmother her rope so that I hang myself and she said:

“I only have one rope and I can’t use it after you hang yourself. The simplest method is this, go to Kimeria Njou (a waterfall nearby) and jump into it. There will be no expenses.”

I would have gone, but I didn’t know the direction. 🙂

Speaking of knives, I used to cut people up, like a proper Baite. One day, Metal, God rest his soul, made fun of my big head. I snapped, picked a panga and swung at him, cutting his hand badly. Luckily, I was still too small, would have chopped it right off.

I think I used up all my temper when I was a kid. Nowadays, I don’t get angry. If you get into my nerves, I simply leave you to it. I walk away. I am a Meru. 🙂

===

Enter your email below and I will send you an email every time I have a new story for you!

Random Memories 2: The Sexpert

random memories sexpert

I was telling you the other day about my life with my grandparents. With the worms gone and a contract for the supply of mandazi signed with the local chef de mandazi, Kombo, life started. I went to school quite early, barely three, given there were no baby classes and kindergartens back then. They had to find something for me to do rather than spend time chatting with grandma’s drunk customers and getting tempted by yummy mole hills.

That was the first undoing. The other pupils were much bigger than me. They would harrass me. That big Murithi once shouted to the teacher that he had seen a flea jump from my sweater when I had never seen a flea. I didn’t know what it was… And the teacher, Severina, spent some time teaching us about fleas and personal hygiene. The other kids knew what she was talking about. I didn’t. I ran home in shame, because, in effect, they were saying I was dirty. Almost quit school.

The second setback came from my shoes. I had the best shoes, Bata Bullets, but my grandma always put shoes on komboo – Left-right. Right-left. She still does sometimes. And that’s how she would randomly dress me. And laughter followed me wherever I went. But I excelled in my tests and they all wanted to be my friends. They suddenly started viewing me as a child that didn’t need bantering. And I became friends with some bad bad company so early.

I knew about sex by  the time I was in Class 2!

I started noticing my friends disappearing to the busy school farm with girl classmates during break time and I was really curious. I asked one and he told me they used to go to kufanyana. Ah! And what was that? He explained to me. I wanted some of that, badly. One of the girls in the squad was my seatmate, a bubbly girl we will call Joy because she is now happily married and her child is big enough to read this blog. So I tell her during class one day:

“Najua chenye uwa mnaenda kufanya break time kwa shamba”

Earliest blackmail.

“Eeh. Ulijuaje? Ata nilitaka twende na wewe. Si nilikwambia Nancy?” She asks the girl seated behind us.

“Lakini si tulisema Frank ni wangu? Wewe ni wa Kim (her seatmate)”

“Hapana. Mimi na Frank. Kim ni seatmate wako mfanyane na yeye.”

I was feeling rather sweet, with these two girls fighting over me. To solve the case, I told them I would fanyana with Joy that day, and then we exchange with Kim the following day.

I was going to get some!!!

It never materialized. The school farm was ploughed that day. I must be one of the unluckiest people in the whole wide world.

But I wasn’t losing hope. There were girls near my home. Within the week, I was humping the two girls on both sides of our home, Let’s call them Abby and Bianca. It was very easy and enjoyable, just lying on the girl and thrusting my waist.

Si hivyo… ni hivi!

One day, I met a boy, Edwin, who was visiting our other neighbours busy … on Bianca in our miraa farm! I was with Abby. But he didn’t know how to do it, Bianca must have tried to teach him the new game I had taught her. Poor boy. So I told Abby to lie down so that we could show them how it’s done.

“Edwin, si hivyo, ni hivi!” … happily humping away. There were no hard feelings. We could share. It was just a very good game.

I didn’t know the older kids, coming to the farm to have a release of their own in the guise of cutting grass for the cattle, were listening in to our sexcapade behind a bush. We heard people cracking in laughter. They still remind me ‘Si hivyo, ni hivi!’

My relationship with Abby ended one day when I was forcing her to hump me. I couldn’t understand how she couldn’t do it to me so that I also feel what she used to feel. Just lying on me and humping… And she couldn’t. I showed her a couple of times, but every time, she would get on top of me and do nothing!

So, I slapped her and walked out of our relationship, literally. For a few days.

My cousin came one day and told me if you pee on a girl, she buys a child. And me, being a lover of children, I started making it rain on my girls. That’s when I started undressing, no, dropping my pants and raising her dress during mfanyano.

I was the father of village “Cha Mama Cha Baba”

This Fisess Girl

Then I became a shy boy when what I had been doing finally dawned on me . When my new seatmate in class 3 insisted on holding my weener in class (some of these girls start early). She would shove her hands into my crotch every time. Even when the teacher was in class! This sexual harassment almost made me quit school. I told the teacher I wanted to go to the front to escape this. The boy we exchanged with now had a permanent smile on his face. He was enjoying the new life.

In class 5, I was back at it. The girl from class 3 was still after me. She even told her parents and bigger sisters that she wanted to get married to me, and they would roundly make fun of me every time we met.

Caught in the act

So, I wrote her a letter one day, and told her it was time to prove if she really loved me. That we should consummate her love for me that day in the evening. So I wrote:

“Let us meet in the evening after class for mfanyano” 🙂

I used to sit at the front..what I didn’t know, is that the letter had landed on the floor and the class teacher, Mr. Kathukumi saw it! He picked it up, read it, looked at me and smiled. I almost died.

He silently cut the paper around the edges silently, put it in his coat pocket.

And I went to his desk and told him.

“Mwalimu, hiyo letter umeweka kwa mfuko si yangu”. He calmly patted me on the back, and told me not to worry about it.

I was not a street smart kid, me. But I was a sexpert. In theory.

Today, I won’t tell you about the letter I wrote when I was in class 7, to a class 8 girl asking her to act porn with me. I will tell you how that ended, though- she sent our pastor to me.

Random Memories 1: When I was a Soil Eating Beggar

 Let’s start from the beginning. To as far as I can remember – when I was a beggar. Literally.

 I am my parents’ first born.We didn’t live at home at some point. We lived in the remote Antubetwe Kiongo shopping centre (mouthful, huh?)  where my dad had a clinic. Our living quarters were the kaplot behind the clinic.

 Those who know me know I love tea. Before you poke fun at Luhyas, get in touch with me first. That started a long time ago. I got it from my grandmother Kaumo – we would both keep recycling tea leaves after making tea and drinking the progressively looong tea till it turned into clear water becasue her kongoni cow did not produce a drop over a cup of milk, and I think buying milk in the village was a shame- you are supposed to have cows!

 I was 2.

 I would walk around the shopping centre, in a long shirt and nothing underneath, you know, like kids of the time, mpararo like a skunk with a cup, get into restaurants and they would give chai na maandazi to mtoto wa Daktari. They even started expecting me, I’m told. The meaner ones would make a smaller kidanz just for me.

 Until my grandmother Kaumo visited and I wasn’t at home! Coming hours later with a paper bag full of mandazi and half a cup of tea, as dirty as the soles of my bare feet, and vutaing makamasi.

 My parents got a serious tongue lash lasting hours (they thought it was fun- and everyone in the shopping centre was a friend)  Grandma washed me up, bought me new clothes and a yellow kofia written Number 1… And took me home with her with a stern “Mwenda is mine starting today and if this is the parenthood I taught you, go back to class.” Okay, I think that’s what she told them, I don’t remember, but that’s how she talks.

 And now I was all alone in the village, with my grandparents. It was kinda fun – I would get mandazi moto from the local chef, since grandma used to brew marwaa (busaa or maize alcohol to you) I would take a number 9 cup in the morning with with burned bread (this was a standard- I would go to the shop to buy mkate umeungua) and avocado. My grandma had all this figured out, raising me up Mau Mau style. In case you are wondering where I got thios tummy that remaines even after all the junk I have been taking.

 But I had another nutrition fetish- mole hills! I would sit at a mole hill and eat up all the soil! I loved them fresh and deep inside the farm and generally avoided the mole hills in the field because of the competition with dung beetles. You would imagine they would give me diarrhoeas, but mole hills used to give me orgasms, as it is said, God loves boys, mad people and dogs.

 The result- Wealth! I soon had an oversized tummy which coupled with my huge head (yes, where did you think these brains are stored?) with brown hair, made me look very awkward. I looked like I had kwashiokor!

 Who remembers the powder medicine we used to take for worms. Had a name that sounded like Paradox. The one you would dissolve in water, drink and remove live worms?!

 Turned out, my big stomach was full of worms! And, another thing, after taking that powder, you were not supposed to go to the latrine.. You were to do your shit business in the open so that people can see the work of your hands, and count the snakes using a stick.

These are too few
 They gave me that one. Grandma’s maths used to end at 20. Probably, I had  legion of 1,000 white worms. Our chicken were happy that day.

 My belly shrunk in a day and I was made to vow I would never eat soil again or Ntomakona would come and remove all my teeth.

 I was now ready to go to school in new Bata bullets.

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.

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: 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

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.

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!

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

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

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.

Boys and Dogs

boys eat away from the rest

It’s Sunday morning. It’s been a week since you had your last bath. Your legs are the real definition of mpararo – complete with whitish-greyish drawings, atlas maps on your legs.

Speaking of legs, you are showing lots of skin because your green, yellow or brown shorts reach mid-thigh like a socialite in hot pants.

Your hair looks like a lawyer’s wig. White from the kamuithia you made with ashes on Monday. And yesterday’s swimming at the stagnant pond nearby.

You also have slight bumps where your mother caned you on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Your elder brother also gave you a beating yesterday when you tried to run from your mother, properly beating you before handing you over. And now, you have to be washed together with your smaller sister in the compound so that you can attend Sunday school. The home has no fence, so your classmates going to Sunday School are watching your kaninii from the fence. You want to die.

Visitors

When you come from Church, kitchen aromas flow. See, today there are visitors. And visitors are a big big deal. So it feels like Christmas. You never cook rice or chapatis or chicken or spaghetti if it’s not Christmas or visitors’ day.

But you are a boy. You are hastily told to get rid of your church clothes and get the cow grass. You throw a mighty tantrum, but look at mum’s eyes and immediately pick a sack and run. Those are eyes that beat you. Your sister remains home in her Sunday best.

When you come back, the visitors have arrived and are talking merrily in the sitting room. You want to go to them but you can’t dare. Your aunt, not mom, in the kitchen serves you just one meal out of the many… for example only rice with salad when there were 13 different dishes. You whine like boys do and she tells you, “visitors don’t finish food. You will eat the left overs.” You pick your plate and drag your feet in protest towards the house. She calls you back and harshly tells you to go to the back of the kitchen, towards the cow shed and eat from there.

boy-and-dog

Only your trusty dogs join you in your agony. You want to break something.

Meal done, you trudge off to play with other boys in the neighbourhood. Dirty and tired, and without your sister to bully, you come back home, mpararo again. Visitors are laughing. You can’t miss this. So you go and lie outside the door, longingly looking at the table with barely touched chapatis. Beyond that, your sister sits blowing a balloon with a visitor kid. She looks happy. You look at her like a dog, and try to beckon. She is either too busy or ignoring you.

Eyes

To capture her attention, you go closer and closer. She now has your attention, but when you stretch your hand like a chokora pointing at the table, she changes her expression and swings her neck like they do. Undeterred, you go to the window and look in. There is too much fun in there. You hang at the ledge looking in.

Your mother sees you and you totally avoid her eyes. Because you know there is murder in there.

A dog comes and licks your leg and sends you tumbling. You go to the door and signal your sister to songea you. You walk in, no, crawl in under tables like a mouse and plant your small ass next to her. And start enjoying the stories.

Soon, a visitor notices you and muses “…na huyu ni nani?” Your mother notices you and with a plastic smile, she says you are Mwenda. Remember Mwenda? Ooh, he is so grown now. Which class is he in? Ulikuwa number? Ooone… wow! Very smart boy. Umetoka wapi? Endless visitor questions that are irritating your mother. Before long, you have a chapati in your hands. A visitor pours you some tea and you are now part of the party.

Until your mother calls you outside.

“Ngoja wageni waende utanitambua leo. Hiyo chapati umeniaibisha nayo utaitapika.”

You know you will die today. And you spend your last hours with your dogs playing in the farm, until the visitors time to go reaches and as they are escorted, you also escort them, but from far. That’s how revered visitors were. You just couldn’t resist the urge.

True to her word, your mom gives you a proper beating in the evening, after making sure you have eaten to your fill. She even bites your hand as your sister laughs away.

Boys and dogs behind the classroom

At the moment, only your dogs seem to love you licking your woods and striving to please you.

Remember last Saturday when there was a wedding? Your sister was shikaing the wedding and the MC said, “ladies, please take food to those biîjî na kurû (boys and dogs) behind the classroom.”

crying boys

It’s tough being a boy. Boys were hated by everything and everybody.

Be like my Great Great Grandfather, Switch off WhatsApp!

My great great grandfather’s name was Thamunyari. Don’t beat your head over the name because you have never heard it. It is extinct. He is the father of my great grandfather M’Kiringo who is the father of my grandfather Mabbi. Thamunyari lived to many many years. He saw so many moons, droughts and harvests he wouldn’t have said. I’m told I saw my great grandfather, M’Kiringo. He waited around for me, and died at over 120 years. But strong. My grandfather is still going strong, he was born in 1926. That makes him 90.

I am not saying I will live that long. I pray for it, life is good, you know, and you want to stay forever, but *sigh*.

Leaving that melancholic reality aside, let me tell you about my Great Great Grandpa. Let’s call him 3G. Let’s also say he was born in 1789.

They didn’t have cameras back then, but he may have looked like this:

Grandpa

During the day, he would go out and hunt animals and gather fruits with the other dudes. When the sun goes down, the dudes would come back home, an enclosure at the foot of the forest covered Muthungutha Hill. He had a few gals as his wives, who lived together, and would have his food, millet porridge laced with fresh blood drawn straight from the veins of the healthiest bull; sindikishwad by a chunk of sun dried meat dipped in honey – very tender to the tongue.

They would start a fire and munch on the food, while he told my Great Grandfather (2G) and the other children stories. He was a much much better story teller than me, of course. I haven’t seen enough even in my travels. Other days, he would sit by the entrance of the clearing home with other dudes and tell dirty 3G jokes, as they sipped honey wine, like men do in bars nowadays.

The dark night swept the land as the fire died down. Everyone – the dudes, gals and kiddies all would suddenly feel a wave of grogginess permeating their body.

My 3G would go into a random hut for a baby making session with one of his sleepy, but all too willing wives. Such an opportunity would come once in a lifetime. It would be over in only a few minutes, just like it’s meant to be, and he would grunt his way into slumberland.

Soon, all of them would be snoring like a choral symphony. Until the sun came up again.

Have you wondered why all these people felt sleepy at the same time? Could be some Meru magic (Kambas are our cousins).

Only recently was it discovered it’s all biochemistry. As the sun goes down, our bodies start to produce a type of hormone: Melatonin, to prepare us for sleep. Our human bodies are wired to follow this pattern: Sun goes down = darkness = time to produce Melatonin.

As the Melatonin gets released into our body, we start yawning. We get dizzy and our eye lids become heavy. That’s how we fall asleep. And that’s why 3G and the fam used to sleep so fast, and so well.

And they lived so long. Go on, Google the benefits of good sleep.

But then, some travellers with a white skin came along and introduced lamps, paraffin (or olive oil) and wicks to the village. 3G kept to his “primitive ways” and M’Kiringo, now a budding young man with a few girls doodling over him, got one of those magic things for his hut.

By the time my grandfather was growing up, all hell had broken loose. Human vampires started to roam the planet. He has a TV in his house that he uses to watch Taarifa ya Habari with abandon. My father got stima bulbs and now we are beyond saving. Our circadian rhythms changed forever. We get to bed at 11:00, with our smartphones and won’t sleep till 1:00 pm, chatting away. And even when we really have to sleep to wake up early in the morning, we can’t. Because our body needs that darkness to produce sleep hormones.

That’s the sad story of my generations, and that’s why I am less likely to hit 90 years. I don’t sleep well! And I know you don’t, if you are reading this!

For the better part of this year, while slaving hard to grow our start-up company, my friend Ryan and I would work till the wee hours of the night, and wake up to work again by 8:00 am.

Melatonin_prescription

Ryan started taking melatonin (yes, you can buy melatonin supplement in almost every pharmacy), to get him to sleep when he needed to. We started using blue light filters on our computers (f.lux) and phones(Twilight) – the blue light is the one that affects you the most…but after insane hours in from of a computer, these were proving futile. Bags grew under our eyes.

When we got sick we almost died.

I love life, and I want to live longer, so I have been reading about how.

Read with me:

1. Turn off that phone, the TV, the computer, internet AND all lights 10-30 minutes before your regular sleep time. Sit on your couch or bed. You will feel like my Great Great Grandfather.

2. Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Get blackout curtains. Also make sure there are no artificial lights in the bedroom.It will look and feel like my Great Great Grandpa’s hut.

bedtime-cell-phone-1w6bl26

3. Let’s be honest: You Facebook and Whatsapp in bed, don’t you? You are probably reading this in bed. That’s how you will find yourself awake at 2:00 am having read all gossip and slipped in a few porn sites in too. My Great Great Grandfather’s only entertainment was those few minutes with one of his lovely wives.

4. Exercise in the morning. My 3G would be out by dawn, that’s when you catch the antelopes unawares. He would run after them with crude weapons and release those endorphins. You will spend the day feeling like superman. Achieve more.

5. Remain positive. (Not HIV positive, though. Those were my 3G’s wives, not random girls from clubs and Facebook. Have you noticed that you wake up with the EXACT same thoughts you carry to bed? So, instead of bringing complaints and negativity, bring positive energy to the pillow. Stop thinking about the challenges the next day. Think about how you can crush the next day like munching potato chips. Think about how you can be a super badass guy or gal who gods other people.

So, if you don’t see me on WhatsApp tonight, understand that I want to wake up fresh. 😉

Meanwhile, happy jail time.

Meanwhile, happy jail time.

My Wife and I: I Will be a Perfect Husband

husband and wife

The other day, I I told you I am looking for a wife. I told you, candidly, what I am looking for in my wife. That turned out to be one of the most popular posts I have done so far. I received lots of comments, including people calling me up.  Friends wished me well in my search, my mboys blasted me, random people told me enough things to fill a book, and speaking of books, there are readers who think I should write a book. Would you buy a book of these random things I write about? Story for another day. Among the feedback I received, was scathing attacks from feminists. Women who believe the woman’s position in the society is up there. 

Read: I am looking for a wife.

I am feminist, too. I believe the woman is up there with the top man. I believe in the strength of a woman. I believe women can do anything that’s doable, perfectly. I believe men and women have equal positions in the society and should have equal chances, from the secretary’s desk, to the night guard to the CEO to the presidency. With no favours. 

Now, extreme feminists think my article was way off hand, and that I was expecting too much from the modern woman, that I was looking for a house help(I read slave too). 

Someone challenged me to state what the woman would be getting in return. So, today, I will tell you the man I want to be, the person I aspire to be. 

I know the Njuri Ncheke will be disappointed, they will say I am failing the African man. My mboys will say nimekaliwa chapati. Neighbours will whisper and pinch at a distance. And we will give women stories to talk about during chamas. But I want happiness. I want paradise for a home:

I will be my wife’s best friend. I will share everything with her. I will be honest with her. If she messes I will be there with her, for her. We will have fun, my wife and I. We will do all the stupid things friends do together. Go swinging, raving, I will even learn how to swim for my wife. Who else doesn’t know how to swim without floaters, by the way?

I will support my wife in all she does as best as I can. If she wants to go to school, I will be down with it. She can study more than me. I would not mind to have a Prof. Mwenda (Mrs.) in my life. If it’s business she needs to do, I will even take a loan to help her develop herself. If it’s a career whe will want to nurture, I will support her. I will help take care of the kids as she pursues her dreams and try my best not to fall into the “are you sure you are coming from the office at this time of the night?”

See, trust will be the foundation of our marriage. I will love her so much she won’t imagine I can see another woman. Cherish her so much my heart will be beating with hers. As I said, we will never let jealousy get in between us. I don’t want my wife getting tempted by those overbleached women along River Road to buy mafuta to make me eat from the palms of her hands, like a zombie. Do those things work, by the way?

Responsible husband
Pic: HubPages

When I say my wife has to be able to cook, keep the house span, and do laundry, and all these household chores, I don’t mean a “domesticated” woman, like one feminist accused me of. No. She is not an animal or something. I will cook for my wife, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday! I will watch those cooking shows with her and we will try the recipes together! Then Saturday mornings will be our cleaning day, together. I will wash the cars as she cleans the house. She will wash clothes and I will hang them for her. We will scrub the compound together. These are traditionally women chores, but I will help her. Just as she will hold the stool for me as I fix the lights in the ceiling. 

I believe marriage is about being a team. Doing things together. If her boss harasses her unfairly, you visit her workplace and give him a few choice words,then you pack her stuff and go help her write a new CV. Or scrub her back every time she takes a bath. Or help her undo her hair (I miss bomoaing hair, by the way, I could get addicted, if only for the stories you tell while undoing hair). My wife will be my defender and I, the goalkeeper. She will provide assists, and I will score. We will be a team. 

I was arguing with my partner in crime, Shiru, the other day, when I told her, nowadays I buy household stuff with the future in mind. I buy things to use in the long term, with my family. She told me, she agreed with her boyfriend that, when they get married, they will sell off everything and buy stuff stuff together. Furniture, electronics, kitchenware. Her argument? Equality in the house. So that neither of them feels like the majority shareholders, because they own more in the house. We argued and quarreled for most of an entire six hour flight, and agreed to disagree. But now, as I write this, I think she had a point. Because, I want my wife and I to own our marriage, 50-50. 

Pic; Today.com

I have been warned about the ways I handle my problems with people- instead of confrontation, I tend to walk away and keep quiet about issues. When I get married, I will build a boxing ring in the house. We will fight with my wife. The first few years will be for us to fight. We will face every problem head on. So that, by the time kids come along, we will be done fighting. From experience, I would not want our kids to get us quarreling. We will try to know each other completely before they come along. 

A woman need to feel safe and secured with her man. She needs to feel that when he is with her no one can harm her. I am not a muscle man, and I don’t intend to be a body builder but I will keep my wife safe. And when we walk around, I will be this mean looking macho man. I think other men should not make passes at my wife when we walk around the street, it would make her feel unprotected, unsafe. I will be better than that. If bullets fly around, I will stand in front of her, and shield her from the world. 

And very importantly, we will a religious home. We will place our family in the hands of God. We will be built on the foundation of prayer and the Word of God. We will serve God in the church, and also outside, in Children’s Homes, in hospitals, in the streets, in conservancies. Because the true religion I believe in, is about caring for God’s people, and nature. 

I will keep dating my wife, forever. And, oh, remember what we said about sex?

Where is this wife?

I’ll give you love
The things you want
I would do anything for you
I would do anything for you
I would do anything, girl, anything for you

-3T
 
—————–
Main Pic: My work colleague, and one of my best friends, Evelyne, and her family. Hubby Benah and daughter, my niece, Jaja(Wanja)
—————–

I am Looking for a Wife!

Wife

Have you slept hungry, not because you don’t have food in the house, but because cooking sucks, especially when you know you will eat it alone? Have you then tried to sleep in a cold bed (in Limuru), alone, and still hungry? Have you woken up at 1:00 pm every Saturday, hyper hungry and stayed indoors till Sunday evening without speaking to anyone? Makes the mouth stink. Has Monday ever reached without you doing the laundry for the week because you had no one to wash for you, or at least motivate you?

 Unkempt bed. Unmade shirt collar. Toothpaste smudge on your trousers. Books and newspapers all over the table. Unwashed dishes. Lost socks. Unholy weekends. Growling belly. Loneliness.

I need to get married. Now. Yesterday! I need a wife.

 I recently posted a pic of my “engagement” on Instagram and Facebook. I captioned it with the sweet awww things we love hearing on wedding shows, and down there, gave a disclaimer, this was a joke, and I wasn’t getting married to Keziah! It was a photography moment. Pictures being worth a thousand words, people only saw me kneeling, holding her finger ring, and Keziah doing her “Oh my God! Oh my God, YES!” That’s all they saw. The comments were hilarious. People were actually happy I was getting married. So happy they couldn’t read the entire post. I got prayers of blessings, offers for soup with my lady, congratulations to the beautiful couple(am I beautiful?) etc etc… And lots of disappointment from the ones that read the entire post. I got some curse words.It was a good laugh.

 But then, after all these jokes, I am here thinking. Does the society actually want me to get married? Does it look that bad? Do I look that lonely, unkempt, in need for love? Or what were you all showing me?

I think you are right. I am now looking for a wife.

 I want a beautiful wife. I want heads to turn when she gets into a room. I want men to oggle at her, and random women to stop and bow when she passes. Granted, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and I have my definition of beauty-which make my ideal for wife and angel, by the way, but I wanted her to be beautiful from inside out.  I have dated hot girls who ended up to be quite ugly when we broke up. Personality plays into attractiveness big time. I am not interested in a socialite. I will be seeing them on my Facebook, but never waking up next to any.

 I want a wife that can cook. Do you know how frustrating it is when one of my day scholars comes over and sits down the entire weekend for me to cook for her? Do you know how it lights my heart when a woman gets in the kitched and cooks for me and serves me? My heart softens into a sponge of love. Maybe that’s why my mother is up there in my love rankings. That’s the absolute window to my heart. Good food. Lots of food. Variety of food. My wife’s target? To get me a prestigious tummy within three days after our wedding!

 I want a wife who does laundry. There is nothing as sexy as a woman bent over, lesso around her waist, washing clothes and whistling. Now, that’s a turn on. And because I don’t want to break vows by being turned on by a mama fua, my wife has to do laundry. You don’t want the housegirl washing our towel, do you? Or a random mama being paid to wash our bed sheets. It is not right! I wouldn’t want our glory literally hung around other people. And it is disrespectful to the other woman!

 My mother vs my wife

I want a woman who understands, and accepts, that I will have one mother only, ever. I have heard of divorces, but I haven’t heard of estrangement between sons and mothers. My wife has to love and get along with my mother. Granted, there are mother in laws who become hell, in movies, but I know my mother is the coolest woman around. She never fights. She has given me liberty to make my own decisions since I was a kid and she gets along with everybody. She would make tea for my girlfriends back in the days. And I know she will love my wife like she loves me. I therefore do not expect my wife not to have a mother-daughter relationship with my mother. I wouldn’t want to be in the “choose between me and your mother” situation. I will choose my mother.

 I want a wife who is as good in bed as she is in the tableroom and in the kitchen and the bathroom. By this, I don’t entirely mean conjugally. (See what I did there?). I want a wife who keeps the bedroom homely, the table room exquisite and the kitchen hygienic. In a nutshell, cleanliness is key. I know I am careless and all, and I will leave a cup wherever I finish my tea, even on the floor…and this is one of the reasons I am looking for a wife- to manage my cleanliness. To remind me to pick up the sock from the door. To convert my bathroom into a place of peace from the kanju toilet it is now.

nerd wife
I want a geek wife.
Source: IndiaPictures

I am looking for a geek wife. A wife that will play PlayStation with me, a wife that knows a thing or two about computers, a wife I can call from overseas to send me a file in my Linux without having to send an IT fisi to my house.  I want a wife who loves gadgets like I do. Only she will understand that I am not wasting money when I buy a game, or the newest iPod. She doesn’t have to be a glasses-wearing-creepy Big Bang theory nerd. Just the basics.

 A Manager for my Money

I want a wife that actually goes out and earns a salary. I don’t want my wife to be a housewife. I want her to afford her own hair and basic things in the house. She doesn’t have to ask me for salt. I heard in some quarters that Meru men leave Sh. 200 every morning for food in the house, and come late at night with bread. My wife will be worth much more than 200 bob. She will be worth a round salary. She can earn more than me, or very little, isorait, but I want an independent wife. African chauvinists reading this will disagree.

 Speaking of salary, I want a wife who can manage my money. If I will still be employed, she should be in charge of my payslip. If I will be in business, she should handle my balance sheet. I am not saying she will, but I want us to be an open family. No secrets. It is our money, right? I wouldn’t want mismanagement in any quarters.

 Sex isn’t everything in a relationship, but it is very important. People get married for sex, by the way. Kids? Sex. Glowy days? Sex. My wife and I will make magic. That’s all for now.

No excuses for what I have in mind
Pic: AngeliaAngel

Finally, forget what they say about love. I want my wife to love me just enough to be loyal to me, not to be obsessed with me. Research shows that, 67% of suicide occurs due to love related reasons. I don’t want my wife to love me too much. She should leave some love for our kids, our parents, and most importantly, for herself. I want 50% + 1 of her love. Not 100%.

I don’t want an extremely jealous wife. My wife has to understand that I have very close girl friends, and when, say, Winnie or Annred buzz me for some jiggle, she should treat them like my mboys, because that’s who they are. And, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be protective of me. She should show me I am important. And yes, I won’t mind much when she goes out with her girlfriends, but once in a while.

 I will be very faithful to my wife. Loyal. She will be my queen, literally. I’ll rather steal than let her sleep hungry. I will mind her and give her many, many children. We will fill the earth, me and my wife. We will be wealthy, and we will be a reference to the society. They will all want to be “like the Mwenda’s” Say Amen.

 Are you there?

————–

Main Pic: My man, Gerrishon and his wife, Polline. That’s where I bounce when hunger strikes at night. If I were to have a personal photographer, it would be him. Check out his works.

—————

Nairobi Initiation 6: I Have Been Conned, and Mugged.

I am walking home from college. Remember, I am doing CPA at Vision and I live in Plot 10, Kirinyaga Road. Just past Globe Cinema, this guy meekly greets me. He is lost, and wants to know where KCS house is. I tell him I don’t know. He has this heavy Meru accent, and I ask him if he is Meru… He is. Where? Kianjai. Wow! I went to school near those parts. Next thing I know, we are korogaing deep American.

He just arrived in Nairobi to cash a Kenya Charity Sweepstake and wants me to help him get to KCS house. I honestly don’t know where it is, but he tells me he had already been there a few hours back. But the person who had taken him had turned against him and he suspected he had people waiting to rob him of his Sh. 200,000.

Wait a minute! That’s 200K Kenya Shillings. Being the curious Frank, I tell him to show me the card. There it is, 3 clean 200,000 figures scratched.

He tells me that if I help him get the cash, he will give me Sh. 30,000. I tell him that’s too little. We bargain to 40K. 

I am trembling with anticipation. I have never seen that kind of money in my life. I can traffic cocaine for that, sembuse taking someone to some place in town. He asks me the time and I chuck my phone. The hottest smartphone back then, Nokia 6600. He stares at it for too long, as if he doesn’t believe when I tell him it’s 6:00 pm. 

So, we go. He is visibly frightened. He believes people are following him. Or waiting for him near the cashing house. So we go rounds and rounds till it’s dark. It’s past 7:30 when we get to Kencom and he points out KCS house to me. I am to walk in,cash the amount as my own and come back out with it. 

There is a catch, though.

“Leave me your phone”

No. I can’t.

“Do you think I am stupid trusting you with 200,000 when I have nothing of you

It’s a small security, and if you get lost, I can track you using it”

 I make a mental calculation and decide, for 40K, I can leave my beloved phone. I instinctively remove the SIM card, leave him the phone and saunter in.

 There is no one in sight-it’s late, so I catch the lift to the said Floor. There is still no one in the office,but it’s open, so I walk in looking into the offices. I mean, I have a right to be here! I am a winner. I finally get a lady who could easily be the CEO.

 Who else leaves the office last? I tell her I have won and she tells me to come back tomorrow, working hours. Man! This woman is delaying my blessing! I try to tell her I can’t wait but she dismisses me. I begrudgingly leave.

You will spend 20 years in prison for forgery

Outside, I can’t see my guy! I think I am mistaken and go around the blocks, all the way to the High Court, back to Uchumi City Square, round Kencom. But can’t see him! Who would leave 200K for an old 20K phone. I am worried. Not because of the phone, but because this poor guy may have been attacked. He was afraid of his life! An hour later, I have to go home, sad, worried.

The following morning, I am the first person at the Kenya Charity Sweepstakes House. I walk in and report to the Security Desk that I have won and am going to cash my card. He asks me to show him my card, and grabs my hand, hard! 

“Where are you from, kijana?”

“Meru”

“Where did you get this ticket?”

“Kangeta”

“You see that building over there? There is a Police Post. So, I will ask for the last time… Where did you get this ticket?”

Kamenuka. I crack like I have just been tortured in the Nyayo Basement. Telling the entire story. After I am done, he looks at me with this fatherly eye.

” You are lucky, young man. This ticket is forged. ” He says, casually erasing the 200,000 numbers with a fingernail. “I am a Kamba, and we and Merus are brothers. If you were a Jaluo, I would have taken you in. Do you know how it could have been?”

I shake my head, trembling.

“That would be a million Shillings fine or 30 years in prison for forgery.”

Wow!

“To avoid that, I want you to give me Sh. 10,000 for me to release you”

What! Is he mad? I am now looking at the prospect of going to jail. I can’t afford 10K. We bargain…this is one of my main talents.. to Sh. 3,000, which I don’t have. He tells me to go look for it, and if I don’t come, “utajua mimi ni Mkamba na tuna uchawi”

When I reach the house, it hits me. I have just been conned! And exposed to crime. Have you seen a grown, read circumcised, Meru man sob? I drench my pillow with tears.

A phone made of sponge

The next day, I am in a mission to reclaim my phone. Guess how? Have you walked through Tom Mboya street looking at the phone displays? If you have, someone off the street must have approached you, offering a phone for sale. I figure those are stolen phones, and my phone would be offered to me for purchase. This works… At least the someone offering a phone part…. It is a Nokia N9. Another hotcake. 

It is a youngish guy, and I tell him I am interested. So, we walk, talking. I even tell him I am looking for a lost phone, if he had seen any of his friends selling a 6600. He hasn’t. So, I decide to buy this. We agree on the price, only Sh. 2500, and proceed to an M-Pesa to withdraw. Nature is against me, I don’t have my ID, so I can’t withdraw and have to run back to the house for the ID. We exchange numbers and I leave. When I come back, with the money and call the guy…

“Ah. This phone is on demand, my guy. I have already sold it” 

Damnit! That was clearly not meant to be mine. So I walk away, crestfallen. Hours later, the guy calls me. My prayers have been answered (thank God)..the guy didn’t, after all, buy the phone, so I can get it. We meet at the same spot we had met, Tom Mboya Posta. He shows me the phone…working perfectly. My bargain bug bites me and I ask him to drop the price by 500, to 2,000. He can’t.

Mimi ni Mgodii jo. Niko hustle buda. Ka na phone yako unasaka enda police(I am a Mgodii on the hustle,dude. If it’s your lost phone you are looking for, go to the Police)”

That Sheng lingo is too tight for me. I don’t know what a Mgodii is, but I can’t show I don’t know. That’s usamba.

Wazi maze. Mayouth ni kusaidiana. Nipe tu.(Cool, man. Youths should look after each other. Give it to me)” He gives me the phone, and we part our ways. I can’t brandish this phone in the street and I excitedly trudge to the house to inspect my discovery.

I press the start button and it sinks. I open the back side and….. The phone case is filled with sponge! 

Just last week, my friend Jeff had been conned this way and we had laughed at him for being so gullible. Now I had been conned. I have lost money in the most foolish style ever. I cry again. I can’t tell this to anyone. It has to be in the heart. It’s my little secret.

Nairobi had scored me 2-0 in two days.

I call up a friend of dad’s living in Nairobi to assist. He is a good man. He is indebted to my father so he always assists me. True, he brings me an old Siemens phone with a broken antenna, that I name BlackBerry. It is so old, it is actually cool.

The following week, we are walking to school with Kero and Flo. There have been riots and running battles between the Police and Grogan mechanics. The air is full of gunshots and the choking tear gas. Police everywhere. No vehicles…just battle. Flo says people get mugged on such days. I don’t believe her. I tell them that if someone tries to steal my BlackBerry, I will cut him to pieces. 

Minutes later, a friend I don’t remember stops me to say hi. Kero and Flo keep walking.

Niaje buda. Tuachie yetu( Wazzup bro. Give us what belongs to us)”

I am not amused. So I quip.. “What?” 

I suddenly realize I am surrounded. My ‘friend’ is now holding a hammer. Someone else has pliers, and someone has these huge iron sheets scissors. I am being mugged. Flo tries to scream, but a hammer is pointed at her and she zips up like a scratched CD. They empty my pockets right there in the crowded street and no one seems to care. I have been mugged! My BlackBerry is gone. And oddly, I laugh. I laugh so hard that people stand to stare. Maybe it’s because I am laughing and crying at the same time.

Probably, that Kamba security guard actually bewitched me.

Nairobi 3-0 Frank. In one week.

Nitakupaka ****

Sorry. This is disgusting
One of Nairobi streetchildren’s oldest trick in the book is walking around with human (shit) in their hands, and offering random people in the streets free make up sessions if they don’t pay up. These are mostly not empty threats, because, my friend, you will get a mighty smear on your suit.

Nairobi played this on me. I am escorting a girl, a first time date, to Bus Station (I don’t remember her name because that’s the last time I saw her); when we are met by a black person. By black I mean, charcoal black. Only the bloodshot eyes and strangely pink lips are visible. The guy is a walking chimney. He is wearing all black-I doubt the clothes were originally black, could have been white. He is dirty, and is accompanied by a big gang…of houseflies and this smell. The only thing I see is the girl running across the road, with her big, Luhya hips swinging clumsily. Well, I must admit I hadn’t noticed those. 

Boss, leta punch ama nikupake” (I want Sh. 500 or I will smear this on you)

I look to see what the make up is, and it’s right there-black slimy diarrhoea human output. I swear I can see a billion pieces of cholera and other assorted diseases therein. The smell itself can make a skunk cover its nose.I don’t know why I am not scared. Maybe I have had a shittier day already. I tell him in a snap that I don’t have any money for him. And I don’t care because kill him if he does. You know, it is a public bus stage, and I expect people to move in. I at least expect my girl to scream.

But this is Nairobi. I have to fight my battles alone, People are watching us from a distance. I can’t see my escort. I tone down.

The guy opens his jacket and removes a large syringe. Those big cow and hippopotamus syringes. Filled with thick blood. 

Hii ni AIDS, an ukijifanya mjanja nitakudunga“(This blood has HIV, and if you act truant I am injecting you) 

I am now sweating. I honestly don’t have money, otherwise, I would have given it all to him. My negotiation skills come into play. 

“I don’t have money”

“You are wearing a suit. Don’t lie to me” I was in a suit, remember the date?

“Sometimes we wear like this to look for jobs. I am a sufferer like you, man” 

We keep bargaining as if he is a hawker. I bring him down to friendship terms and soon, we are on first name basis. His name is Kim, or something, and he is telling about how he came to Nairobi to be tout, got fired, became a street boy, and now he was forced to be a mgondii. By the time I left, he even wanted to give me something small, to get me home, but I told him I was better, and gave him a loose Sh. 5 to get a maandazi on me.

Talk about random acts of kindness. Try to understand your mugger, or your conman. And forgive them if you can. I am still trying to forgive the socialite who abused my kindness to con me of money and she still tweets her good life. Story for another day.

FROM THE VERGE: A look back at iconic Nokia phones

nokia lumia_stock

Collection by Aaron Souppouris ( @AaronIsSocial ) –  The Verge

Today, depending on your perspective, we either mourn the loss of one of the most important phone makers ever, or celebrate that the people behind so many iconic phones will continue to work under the Microsoft flag.
As Microsoft, Nokia, and any number of regulatory authorities get to work on finalizing the $7.3 billion deal that will see Microsoft buy Nokia’s devices and services division, take a moment to look back at some of Nokia’s most beautiful, important, and bizarre creations.




Although it was by no means the first phone from Nokia — to go way back, you can take a look at the fantastic Nokia Museum — the 1011 was a very important handset. Released in 1992, It was Nokia’s first to run on a GSM network, and so can be seen as the first “modern” phone from the company.

The Nokia 2110 was not only the company’s first to feature the now-famous Nokia ringtone, but it was also the first phone Verge editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky ever owned. On the right is the Nokia 6110, the first cellphone used by Verge editors Thomas Ricker and Laura June.

Originally released in 1996, the Nokia 8110 (image credit: Unlock Unit) was a business-oriented device with a mechanical slider. Three years later, it featured heavily in the 1999 movie The Matrix, further driving Nokia’s popularity at the time.

In 1996, Nokia unleashed the Communicator 9000 on an unsuspecting world. With a full QWERTY keyboard, a 24MHz processor, and a giant 4.5-inch display, the original Communicator was every businessperson’s dream.

1999’s 8210 represented a huge accomplishment for Nokia’s engineers. The tiny handset had an internal aerial — an unusual feature in 1999 — and weighed just 79g. Despite its size, the 8210 still had advanced features like an infrared port for contract exchange and two-player ‘Snake.’
T

he Nokia 3310, the sequel to the taller 3210, took the 8210’s aesthetic and added some heft. The 3310 struck the perfect balance between desirability and affordability, and Nokia went on to sell over 125 million worldwide.

The 7650 was the first phone from Nokia to run Symbian, the OS all its smartphones would run for many years, and also the first to feature a camera.

The Nokia 6800 is one of many examples of Nokia throwing a curveball. A candybar handset that unfolded to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, the “butterfly phone” and its successors were popular in their day.

The short-lived N-Gage line was a serious attack on Nintendo’s handheld gaming monopoly. The first N-Gage bizarrely had its microphone and earpiece mounted on the side of the device, leading to much “sidetalking.” With the release of the N-Gage QD, pictured above, Nokia saw sense and mounted the earpiece on the device’s front.

The 2003 Nokia 7600 doesn’t represent a massive milestone for the company — although it was one of the first 3G phones from the company. Instead, it’s an opportunity to take in one of the company’s most outlandish designs.

Released mid-2004, the 7610 baffled users’ thumbs everywhere thanks to a distinctive keypad layout.

Presenting the 7280. Say what you will about Nokia, but it’s never been afraid to experiment. Announced in 2004 and affectionately known as “the lipstick phone,” this Symbian handset had no number pad, no touch screen (it was 2004), and very few sales.

The 7710 was Nokia’s first attempt at a touch screen device. In 2004, the strange shape and lack of a keypad confused many, and the device failed to gain traction.

The 9300, released 2005. This was Nokia’s attempt to bring its business-oriented line of Communicator smartphones to the mass market. It retains the Communicator series’ signature design, but was never marketed as a Communicator.

Released in 2005, the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet was the company’s first device to run on Maemo (later renamed MeeGo), the operating system that was supposed to be the future of the company.

The Nokia N93. Released July 2006, it’s one of Nokia’s many experimental form factors. With a Carl Zeiss lens, the N93 was marketed as an all-in-one smartphone and camcorder.

The Nokia N95. Perhaps the original “iPhone killer,” this Symbian handset was Nokia’s big release for 2007.

In 2009, the N97 was Nokia’s halo device. A big screen like the iPhone, a quality keyboard, what could go wrong? Lots.

If the N95 and N97 were the answers to the iPhone, the E71 was unmistakably an attempt to defeat BlackBerry. Praised for its high build quality, the E71 was let down by the then-aging Symbian OS.

The Nokia X7 (the X stands for “Xpress”) was the first X-Series handset to run Nokia’s Symbian^3 operating system. Symbian^3, later renamed “Anna” and then “Belle,” was the last iteration of Nokia’s Symbian.

Look familiar? The Nokia N9 was the company’s brave new hope in the fight against Android and iOS. It introduced the now-familiar Nokia Lumia polycarbonate shell, but rather than Windows Phone, ran the MeeGo Harmattan OS. Released in 2011, it was the last major release before Nokia made the jump to Windows phone.

The 808 PureView is a phone of milestones. The last Symbian phone, the first PureView phone, and still the owner of the record for “largest sensor in a phone.”

And so we enter the age of the Lumia. After the leak of the infamous “burning platform” memo, Stephen Elop moved Nokia over to Windows Phone, and the Lumia 800, essentially a reworked N9, was released in November 2011.


    tracking_pixel_5345_tracker tracking_pixel_5351_tracker

    HOW I GOT MY TWITTER ACCOUNT SUSPENDED, AND RESTORED

    You have been on Twitter for some time now. You know how hard it is to get ONE twitter follower. The one day, you open twitter and see this:

    Yes, that’s my Twitter handle up there: @FRANKKENYAN. And I got supended from Twitter this last Sunday!
    Oh. The panic! I was with some friends chatting away, checking Twitter every few minutes. Then I refreshed the page. And saw that. And the mood changed.
    How was I to get those followers again? Notice the 0 following, the 0 followers, and the suggestions? As if I am a complete newbie. I decided the unimaginable. I would never return to twitter! 
    The first thing I do when I wake up is check my twitter, and that’s exactly what I did the following morning, and my heart sank AGAIN when I met the damning statement.
    What would you do? This is what I did, out of sheer faith.
    1. Read the rules.
    No one reads any TOS. They don’t amount to anything after all!  
    Yeah, me too! But Twitter has rules, which it actually follows! You need to read them to see what might have caused the brutal punishment! The rule I figured I had broken is Randomly or aggressively Retweeting accounts through automation  Just a few hours before the suspension, I had read around the web and discovered a retweet tool which retweets #Hashtags, @users and keywords. So, I decided to retweet Kenya and #SocialMedia.-I love both.
    2. Appeal
    Just click on the link provided. You will land on a page where you can submit an appeal. When I say Appeal, I mean Appeal. Not demand. Beg, if you may. Okay, be polite and concise with your appeal; getting angry will not help. If you genuinely don’t know what you’ve done wrong (as I didn’t) then say so, but if you have an idea that it could be that third party app you’re using, say, like I did:
    Yesterday, my account got suspended, and I would like to explore re-instating options with you. 
    I have read the “Following rules and best practices and best Practices” and I would attest that I am not using an automated multi-following app. However, the day before yesterday, I signed up to an app called Roundteam that tracks and Retweets certain words. I figured it would be a boost to me as I was Retweeting keywords in my field of interest. Is that forbidden? 
    I have since Revoked its access, and all third party apps I have been using. Is there anything more I have to do to get my account back?
    Please help, I would love to get my follow list back.
    3. Respond to the Automated mail
    As a confirmation, I received an automated email from Twitter, which I HAD to respond to to activate the ticket. Make sure you reply the email and ensure you read the entire mail to know exactly what twitter wants you to do. Reply the mail stating why you think your account was suspended and if you don’t know why stating that your account was suspended wrongly.
    4. Sit back, try to relax, and wait. 
    That’s hard, so I found myself checking my email and twitter every few minutes. Your account will; most likely be restored. Mine took less than 12 hours, phew! Some may take even up a week, or forever! I am told you normally get a confirmation email. I got none, I just found my Twitter working. 
    Another thing: Your Follow lists will not come immediately! Might take an hour, or so. Don’t panic when you get confronted by 0 Followers, 0 Following……
    So, I got my account back, and I am happy. 

    Don’t go through this, avoid a Twitter Suspension by:

    1. Not following, favouriting, retweeting, mentioning other people aggressively and randomly.
    2. Double-checking  what apps have access to your account and revoke unnecessary ones
    3. Taking care not to get hacked. Have a strong password, and change it oftenly.

    © 2019 FRANKMWENDA. All rights reserved.

    Theme by Anders Norén.