FRANKMWENDA

The Writing of my Place in History

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If you are Circumcised

uncircumcised-penis banana

“Kama umetahiriwa nitusi tena.”

I was in my village last week. And I took a walk around the village one fine evening inspecting projects of development.

The girls I knew as babies were shyly smiling at me. Grown women who are now worthy of visiting my simba.  One or two now have babies of their own.

Boys I saw being taken home in baby shawls from hospital are now fearsome young laing’o capable of filling both cheeks with taxiies of veve (a feat I have never accomplished).

This is why I don’t go home often. All these people, plus my grandmother asking me if I have tested my masini to see why I don’t have a wife and children… these people make me feel old. Na mimi ni mtoto tu.

Back to my development inspection. I take my rounds, greeting everybody I meet, because, from the smiles everybody knows and loves me. The smiles are very very genuine. I should become a village elder.

Man-And-Wife-Fight-Each-Other-In-Public-Over-Infidelity-Accusation-PHOTOS

Until I meet an old couple fighting. They both look familiar but I probably know their parents. The woman, bleeding and carrying two stones, runs towards me, gets behind me and proudly announces:

Kama umetahiri rushia classmate wangu mawe, choo wewe.”

“Hata mimi Calif ni classmate wangu.” The charging man bellows.

How could these people have been my classmates? I muse, confused. Insults are raining around me and I am the shield. The Man has a slasher, and, like the woman, is bleeding for the face. He must have eaten a few rocks. It’s a bloodbath, literally.

Neighbours are on the sidelines, cheering them like it’s WWE SmackDown.

I ask the woman, “Classmate, what’s happening?”

This kiiji (uncircumcised man) beats me every day for nothing. As if he drinks my chang’aa”

Who are you calling uncircumcised? I’m killing you today! Toka nyuma ya Calif uone.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the worst insult you can call a Meru man is Mwîjî, uncircumcised. It’s like committing suicide. This here was a worse battle than the slasher and the stones. It is a war. And people can die.

To us, circumcision reigns supreme, and trying to insinuate otherwise, especially if you are a woman or a boy can land you on hospital with severe panga cuts.

It’s our ego.  And here is a woman committing this cardinal sin.

Somehow, they respect me, I calm them down, and the woman, now sobbing uncontrollably explains that the man, since miraa was banned in the UK, has been drinking without a care in the world, never mind they have three children in school. If she asks for money to buy food, he turns violent. And now, “punda amesoka. Akinipiga nampiga.”

That’s an empowered woman.

The man simply says, “Mwenda Caliponia, this is not a woman. This is a latrine. When other women are working in farms, she spends the day gossiping and waiting for me to bring her money.”

And he leaves, to the woman’s “mwiji” jeers.

As I walk back home wondering if I will get married and trying to remember if I got circumcised, I wonder what circumcision has to do with anything. In my culture, circumcision is very important. It signifies a graduation from childhood to responsible adulthood.

And it should be… along with whatever your culture uses to initiate boys into manhood.

If you are circumcised, act it, dammit! If you are circumcised take care of your family. If you are circumcised don’t do explicit hip-hop style hits in your mother tongue in your village. If you are circumcised don’t pee and shit on yourself drunk in a mtaro.

If you are circumcised get your ass up and toil for your family like God told Adam at Eden. If you are circumcised don’t beat up your wife. She ain’t your undisciplined child. If you are circumcised, respect your mother and father and everyone their age, and save everybody your crap.

If you are circumcised don’t effing embarrass me in my own village. Or I will help your wife beat you.

Man up.

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.

Take that selfie! 

selfieI saw her every day, apart from Sundays, for two months. She came every morning, washed my utensils (how I hate that thing), washed the floor, made my bed. She would even change my towels, arrange my clothes that I sometimes forgot discarded on the bathroom floor, and flush my toilet. While I sat, unashamedly working. It was her work, and while I appreciated the fact that I wouldn’t have to do all these things that us bachelors hate so much, I would rest easy that, it was work, anyway.

She became a friend. When I’d be frustrated with Wi-Fi, it was terrible at the apartment, she would come and join me in venting at the Management. When lights went out and the back up generator took some time before being turned on, she would tell me how “the current manager is the worst I have seen. She’s saving generator fuel as if you are not paying all this money. Sometimes I want to break her neck.” When she came to change the sheets on Monday and I had used all cups during the weekend, she would steal a cup for me from the neighbour “ukuwe unatumia before nikuje kuosha vyombo.”

Finally, I had to move from the apartment. Just as the taxi driver packed my last bag into the Toyota Noah one fine morning, she beckoned and said, “kumbe ulikuwa serious unatuacha?” I cajoled her playfully and said the house will find another tenant and she will forget me soon.

Then she told me, in an apartment block that was inhabited by expatriates mostly, none took her as the person I had taken her. To them, she was just a cleaning lady. “Wewe tulikuwa tunakula story.”

At that moment, I was contemplating taking out my phone and taking a selfie with this awesome lady who had been my mother for two months. I don’t k ow why I had this urge. I am not a selfie person and it takes bit of convincing for me to have a selfie. Photogenism is not a thing to me. I see many celebrities and I rarely take the selfie. Oh, and I have done only one or two WCWs. I doubt she was in Social Media so I couldn’t even tag her. I just wanted to… but the cab driver announced he was ready. I promised myself I would take her to lunch and have the the selfie with her next time I came around to pick my deposit.

I quickly moved on, occasionally remembering her when utensils piled in the sink.

Until last Saturday, when I went to collect the deposit. The particular manager was leaving the company and I knew she would have stories for me. So, I went looking for this lady friend of mine at a place where the star used to hang out. She wasn’t there and I assumed she was in an apartment, cleaning. But I would have waited, or gone to look for her whenever she was.

I asked,  “Ako wapi yule mama alikuwa anasafisha kwangu….” All this time I hadn’t known her name. I probably didn’t see the need, or the urgency, because when I had needed her, she was always there, dutifully.

This question brought some uneasiness and this deathly quiet that comes when your tough mother asks about the sugar that you had eaten up. Everybody looked down and I wondered if they hated me that much. Or if they were jealous I was looking for the lady only.

Then one spoke, “When did you leave?” I tell her, a certain date on a Friday.

Mary alituacha hiyo Sunday.

Oh. Where did she go?

She passed away.

Just like that. The news was delivered like a blow to my stomach. I doubled, almost gagged. The guard explained that Mary fell sick the same Friday I left and asked to leave early. And on Sunday, she died. Just like that.

As I left without saying goodbye, my mind was agonising over things. All bad things. I wasn’t mourning as much as I was regretting not taking that selfie with her that day. Maybe, it would have made me feel better. Maybe I would look at it and have some sort of closure. Maybe it would have made her happier, and the illness would have stayed away that day.

Why didn’t I take that selfie?

Life is brittle. It may end any time, you may see that person for the last time, or, they may see you for the last time. If you hear that little voice whisper, take out your phone, face the camera, smile and take a selfie. Record that moment in your phone, and most importantly, in your heart. Cherish your moments, for those moments, those small moments become memories.

Take that selfie.

selfie dog

Do it. Make a face and take the selfie.

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. 🙂

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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.

Sad Letter From Sister: Mother Misses You

sad mother misses you
When is the last time you spoke to your mother? The graceful lady that brought you forth, and brought you up? Does she know what’s happening in your life, you know, as she knew every time you got a thorn in your feet as you grew up in the village. Do you know about the thorns in her heart and mind? Do YOU know how she is?
Below is a heartbreaking letter I received from sister:
 
Dear Brother,
 
Mother called me yesterday night. She was worried. You haven’t called her in three days. She is wondering if you are doing well. I could only promise her that I would call you and let her know. You see you are the apple of her eye. Her first born. Her only son. She has sacrificed the world for you. She had you at only sixteen and she worked her butt off to give you the best she could. 
 
However, since you got your wings, you seem to have forgotten about her. She constantly worries about you it makes me jealous. I know she loves me. But you know I came two decades later. By that time both of you had a bond that only an only child can understand. I know I am loved but she loves you more. You also believe mum loves me more than she does you. We are both right.
 
I always thought you were my uncle. My mother made it clear from a very young age that you were my brother. I never looked at you as my brother though. You were more of an uncle to me. You visited once every fortnight without fail. When your car stopped at our gate, I would jump on you like a puppy whose owner forgot to feed. Teenage hood came and suddenly it hit me that you were my brother. I stopped jumping on you and instead started hugging you like a mature girl which gradually downgraded to a handshake and a pat on my back. I did not share my secrets with you like normal siblings would. You always thought I told you everything going on in my life but a girl must keep her secrets.
 
I remember the advice you gave me after high school. “Kendi, don’t get pregnant until you are able to take care of that baby.” I was in no position to question you. Though you were two decades older than me, I knew you didn’t believe in your own advice. Unless it’s only meant for girls. To me, it looked like your sole purpose in life was to multiply and fill the earth. You thought I did not know about your mistresses. You said, “Kendi don’t make mother a mother in old age.” Well, she is still a mother though she yearns to be a grandmother. You also said, “no matter what it takes or how long, make your star shine.” I am giving my best every day. Mother loves being grandmother, let her be grandmother not a mother all over again. As she is doing all that, you are nowhere to be found.
 
Show up. Visit home more often. Let her build a relationship with your current wife. She adores her by the way. Did I tell you the day she went to shop and almost visited her office only she could not go past the stairs? She did not know what kind of reception she would receive. With a heavy heart she turned back. She does not go where she is just tolerated. Why? You wonder. You have been married for three years now and your wife has never been home. She does not want you back because you are a mature man. She wants a relationship with your new family. She wants to hold your baby in her arms. Kiss him and tell him old people stories. She loves narrating about “mathabu ja carifrancis” and how they went to preschool during the precolonial era and Mzee Kenyatta’s regime.
 
I visit home more than you do. Yet I live in Nairobi and you are much nearer to home. Big houses are lovely, but they are as cold as hell. They need life to exude the warm and allure they majestically show from the outside. One day I will get married, when I do I won’t be around as often. I would love to take my mother with me. But I cannot. Not because I will have a new mother. No, my husband’s mother will be my mother in law and not my mother. I will love her as much as I love my mother, so help me God.  But I can’t live in my mother’s cloak anymore. Not that I do, but I am always at her beck and call. What will happen when I can no longer drop shit and rush to her rescue? I will of course be rushing to her rescue but it might be a few minutes late. What will happen to her then?
 
We don’t share our struggles until it’s too late but can you talk to mother? She worries if you have not shaved your hair and beard for two weeks. Remember the time she gave me Ksh 200 to give you to go shave? Little did she know you were trying to convert to Islam and you were so jaded you forgot the faith doesn’t forbid shaving. Remember the day you came home so drunk just because you missed her and you came to bring shopping and pay her electricity bill. You were so drunk but totally adorable. Where did all that love go? Does growing older take it away?
 
Please come back. If only because Mother misses you.
 
With Love,

Kendi.
 
===
Sister here is my friend, Kendi Gikunda. No, it is not addressed to me, but I imagined receiving a similar letter from my sister. I am now calling my mother every few hours. Truth.
It is so heartbreaking it makes my heart sag. Kendi is a writer that plays with all your emotions. She makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you jump, makes you sleep. I am proud to host her guest post in my blog this International Women’s Day | Read her blog

Kendi, Happy International Women’s Day…to you and my mother. The point got home.

Invest in Your Woman!

couple money woman

The past few weeks have been quite fast for me. Long nights, hard work (which I enjoy a lot, by the way), hours facing a screen of sorts and, well, not having time for myself, leave alone lovers and friends. Takes a toll on life, trust me. But it is a phase you have to go through when you have a young calf you need to breastfeed and support to stand on her feet. (See what I did there? Mhenga. 🙂 )

So, I have had to make a few adjustments- going to my local many evenings, ordering my favourite porridge flavour, and sitting at a corner doing nothing with my phone. I rarely talk to anyone- just sit and mind my own business, take my porridge and leave.

But last Friday I got company. A young woman I have been seeing having sessions like mine on her own walked up to me, drew a seat and stared at me! Seriously. She just came over, sat and glared at me! She didn’t talk, just stared with wide eyes and a linear pair of lips. I found myself pensively saying hi. This freaked me out for a moment. Ladies, is that how you expect us to hit on you in bars? It worked on me…Will it work on you?”I have been seeing you” She says, simply. As if we had spent the day together. Not a word of greeting.

“I have been seeing you” She says, simply. As if we had spent the day together. Not a word of greeting.

“Oh. Okay” I stutter.

“You have this mystery around you that I have wanted to crack”

Is that a compliment? Am I mysterious? What’s being mysterious, anyway?

Long story short, we speak for a very very long time. Hours. She tells me secrets! Things she should only tell her girlfriends. I think her porridge is more fermented than mine.

Bastard of a man!

Then she starts ranting about how a guy had used her. See, they were starting a thing, because they have this chemistry, “like the one we are having right now with you” and she had slept over at his place a few times. But the man was a BASTARD!! She shouts, visibly angry.

“Why? Is it something his father didn’t do?” I ask.

“No. His father is a former MP and the guy is rich. Whaa! You should have seen his place”

“Sounds like a deal” I say, now changing to soup….. This story is juicy!

“The guy never gave me even a single shilling”. I jump out of my seat and hit the ceiling. “How can a grown, rich man not give a woman money!”

Me, in my outright style asks her…

“Did you expect a payment for sleeping over at his place?”

“No” She wasn’t even offended. “But you have To make a girl you sleep with feel appreciated. If you have sex with a woman and you don’t give her money in the morning, she will feel used. How do you think I get my hair made? Or nails polished?”

“Sex”

“No, stupid! But if I sleep with you, I am giving you a part of my body. Give me a part of you”

“But I hear sex is mutual.”

“No. Only men enjoy sex” Oh well… “So, even if you are married, you must give your wife money in the morning if you made love in the night. If you don’t, she will leave you.”

We argued some…actually, a lot. Those “when you use your finger to scratch off an itch in your ear, what feels better? The finger or the ear?” Story for another day. 🙂

But she had this conversational gift. I found myself going to another soup joint with her. Her thinking mystified me. I didn’t learn much, but t got me thinking.

“Money can’t buy love, but it can definitely enhance your relationship” | Quote Me.

Your responsibility as a man

Fact, being a man is expensive. You have to live, you have to feed yourself, you have to feed your family, you have to get a car, land, build a house, buy a dog, buy toys…. And maintain a social status.

But, thy shalt never ever, forget your woman. Her hair is your responsibility. If kitenges are in fashion, you are called upon to make sure she had the best kitenge. If she works far, you must get her that Vitz. Start that shop for her and keep stocking it if she wants to start a business. If she has a headache, you are the one to get her Mara Moja.

 Get her flowers and chocolates, and handkerchiefs. Know where Lingerie World is located. Know her shoe size. These are the little things that get her heart beating in rhythm with yours.

Keep her nails spic, man. Keep her car fuelled. You were created to sweat (down your spine) so she is fed. And when you wake up in the morning, leave her money for food. Even if it’s that reguar Sh. 200 like Meru men.

“You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman. | The Bible

No. Don’t ask where her salary goes. That’s none of your business. If she wants to pay school fees for the kids, it’s a favour she is doing you. Heck… Give her your money to manage. Those people are created to be accountants for the house. Don’t worry about budgets, she got you.

Animals in love

That woman is your responsibility. Take care of her. When she is sad, support her emotionally. When your woman is tired, leave your mboys and massage her, support her physically. Feeling down? Read her the Bible and pray with her, support her spiritually. When she is attacked, risk your life for her, give her security. When she has hots, make it your responsibility to leave her satisfied, sexually. And when she wants anything, make it available for her, support her financially.

 Attention

The biggest investment, though, would be attention. What good is “quality time” if you’re not giving your woman your undivided attention? Put the cell phone away, forget about all other distractions and give your woman all your attention. Listen to what she has to say, give her eye contact and engage in great conversation with her. Your attention is valuable and if you invest that into your woman — imagine how amazing she would feel. If you won’t, a girl friend told me, she will find ways of sing her time, without knowing. Why else do you think people cheat?

Invest your energy, time, money, life…in her. You will reap the benefits. Trust me. That’s what my grandmother told me. I am waiting to find out with you if it’s true, too.

 BUT, get returns. Every investment has to have a sort of return. You think that you’ve been earning extra bonus by doing extra favours for your little sweetie, but the reality is that if she doesn’t contribute to the relationship equally, your efforts are in vain or at the very least, they’re going down the drain. If she belongs to the “sweetie nibuyie squad”..if she responds to your WhatsApp four hours later, if she doesn’t get you shirts and boxers once in a while, if she is having those untimely headaches recently, run away. 

If you are truly committed to your woman and want to make your relationship last, then you must get her to invest at least 50% of her time and money into the relationship. Simple investment rule.

 Oops! I have destroyed a perfect story. Maybe that’s why I’m still Looking for a Wife….but let’s be real.

========

PS: Girls… forget what that girl said. If you are not selling it as a service, don’t expect money in the morning. That’s actually demeaning. Methinks.

Hello – The Nonsense Cover

hello cover Kenya
Hello
Niaje
How have you been?
You liked 11 photos on my Instagram yesterday,
Did you stop because my 12th pic is a #WCW?
That made me think unanistalk,
Are you?

Hello, can you hear me?
Ni California (my childhood nickname),
Namiss vile ulikuwa unaniita Calif,
When we were young and free,
I am now older, just call me Frank. Nikuite Mama nani?

There is such a difference between us
I hear you have three kids..

Hello from Mauaaa!
Nimekaa nikikupigiaaa
To tell you, to send back, that teddy bear nilikupatiaaa
But when I call uko mteja,
Did you block my number,ama ulichange,
At least I can tell my current girlfriend I’ve tried,
To get that teddy bear back,
But it don’t matter. I clearly shouldn’t have told her about it..

[Two days later]

Hello, how are you?
Did you get my voicemail? I’m sorry
Nilikuona online Whatsapp,
Haki umeblock number yangu?

And it’s no secret that I am looking for a wife,
I am running out of time.

So hello from Mauaaaa (Maua)
Niko base nachew miraaaa! (Miraa)
Najua, utaniita mbuzi, lakini sijali (sijali)
But seriously nitakutumia Njuri Ncheke,
Pick up the phone nikwambie,
Nitakununulia teddy bear nyingine unipatie hiyo,
Nilipewa na grandma,
It matters. Clearly I was in love with you when I gave it to you.

(High, highs, highry, handas)
(Nimekosa low za kuweka hapa)
Anymore

Hello from Mauaaa
I must have done this better than Jimmy Gaiiiit
Lakini, najua, ya Dela iko juu,
But when I did this nothing was on my miiiind,
Hello,I know I know this post doesn’t make sense,
At least I can say that I’ve tried (I’ve tried)
To say things that never came from my heart
But it don’t matter. I have done this post and I won’t delete it.

Seriously, though. Even that ‘album cover’ up there is nonsense.
🙂

Have You Seen This Idiot?

Kay Eye Isaac
I hate Whatsapp! Let me rephrase that. I dislike some aspects of Whatsapp. Like the endless viral messages you receive from 69 people and in 13 groups. You may get the same freaking picture 7 times in the SAME group! I would uninstall it any time were it not for my stinginess with airtime. Why chat on Bob’s expensive airtime when you can do it for free(almost?).

By the way, it is official! You will NOT be paying for annual subscription for Whatsapp! I would not have paid. Kwani ni stima?

Back to where I was. Sometimes I don’t view the images and videos sent over Whatsapp and later, muuch later, I chance upon weird things in my phone that I don not remember downloading. Some are funny and silly (few things are funny and I looove silly things, because I am silly?).

So, today, I saw this video in my gallery three times. THREE times! I could not trace it to anyone . Okay, I keep deleting Whatsapp chats due to reasons known to myself.  I have been told it is doing rounds on the App. It was featuring my guy- Kay Eye! Remember the guy I told you quit his job while we were at Bata to pursue his singing talent? I have not met him since but I have seen him doing stuff that I want to do when I grow up…. Be on TV, nini nini. Oh, he has won the Riverwood Awards, too!

That is singing and dancing and acting. But in this video, he is an idiot! A complete idiot!


Now you agree with me. Kay Eye, if you are reading this…you cracked me up! Go on, become the biggest comedian from Ukambani since rain. (see what I did there?)

Goodbye 2015, that was a Rollercoaster!

goodbye 2015

How years move! Just the other day, we were in 2014….kufumba na kufumbua, I have a 2016 diary. Is it only me or are years running faster every passing year? Or, is it a growing-old thing? A year was a very long time in primary school.  Have I been too busy?

Too much has happened between January and December. Some have been the best things ever to happen in my life, and some have been the worst things ever. The bittersweet rhetoric has never been clearer.

When I went back to work in January, I was going to do my third year in one workplace-Bata Shoe Company. Talk about loyalty in a move-around age. I had just been granted a house in the company estate and life was going to be easier. Heck! I had a kitchen garden, and I could do the farming I had always wanted to do.

2015 was going to be another normal work year. Only simpler since I wasn’t going to be paying rent and groceries. I also had a Sports Club on my disposal. I was going to relax, work and be normal.

I was wrong.

I started travelling, finally!

“This is a multinational and you will be traveling all over the world. Just have your passport ready”

That’s one of the baits the HR manager had given me to join the company two years earlier. 

And I had waited. And waited. And given up. To make matters worse, my department was doing so well, people from other countries would be sent over to be trained by me! You don’t know how terrible that sounds when you know it should be you travelling to get trained in another country. Or to train them in their country.

So, mid-February, I was surprised with the ‘prepare your passport’ line. I was going to India! The son of Maua was going to ‘panda ndeke‘ and bring to truth an old prophecy by my grandmother “You keep studying as hard as you are doing, and you will fly with the birds”!

So, we had a big hassle with my erstwhile partner in crime, Julia, looking for elusive documents that threatened our trip, hoping against hope that this once in a lifetime opportunity wasn’t going to pass us by due to some shit bureaucracy. And we got them.

And we went to India! I had started travelling, finally! Forget the Jambojet ads-that was a crazy first time flight that I’ll tell you about sometime. (Remind me. How many stories do I owe you, by the way?)

I lost a brother.

This was one of the lowest lows in my life. I still don’t believe Eric Mfa is gone. I keep feeling like he is here and will show up or call. And then a voice tells me he is not around any more. I have been home for Christmas and I keep half expecting him to come by to ask for movies, or a belt because his is loose, or to give me a plot of some sort.

Sad puppy

But he ain’t here.

This was the major blot to an otherwise great year. It was the worst it could get. Do they celebrate Christmas up there, bruh?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, several other people I know, from my hometown, followed him to wherever he went. (The accident claimed four lives, and was followed by a series of deaths that got all of us scared)

My prayer is that this never happens again, in 2016 or ever! Please say Amen.

I left Limuru, and Bata!

Yes, that’s right! As I said, life started perfectly, you could say rosy- travelling, more responsibilities, more achievements…and my thriving garden (forget any pictures of spoilt cabbages you may have seen doing rounds in social media. Those are my political enemies).

Organizational direction for eCommerce(what I do, by the way) changed that left me bored and unenthusiastic. And I sent out a few job applications, while building my small Future Concepts start up behind the scenes. I was either going to get another job, or I was going to do my business full time. One of my mentors once told me, “if you are unhappy with a place, move! You are not a tree” There! I shouldn’t have told you all that but I just did.

Things moved a bit fast in the last week of November and I was out in the first week of December! I moved! I moved out of my beloved Limuru. I left the relationships and friendships I had created in Bata(sorry, Evelyne) and the small, lovely town of Limuru. I left the cold, I left the scenic tea plantations, I left the green, swaying trees, I left the orgasmic smell of shoes and leather, I left my small garden, and I left the house I had fallen in love with.

And I took the bold step. I joined a revolution that will sweep Kenya to greater heights in the next few months. That feels good, trust me.

This Blog

I have been writing this blog for some time. But 2015 became a revelation. We had more stories, we had more hits,  we got initiated, we looked for a wife together and we engaged more.

I got many many new readers in 2015 as I wrote this blog more and more. I got true readers who stop me in the streets to say hi. That always makes shy Me blush. I will not get used to your love.

God willing, we will make this better this year. I will tell you more and more stories from my crazy life(by now you know that 🙂 ). If you would like to write in this blog, just email me, Facebook me, or whatever, and let’s do it!

May we grow more and more, together, in 2016. It will be a great year. I can feel it. The only way is up. And God will be here with us. 

May we PROSPER

Amen. 

THAT Year After High School

high school jobless kenya
KCSE is over! I had forgotten about KCSE, it’s existence, and importance till this year. My brother, who has had a very difficult high school life and a live-in cousin have both completed KCSE. Welcome to semi-life, Evans and Alex. Now, please stop, and tell your parents to stop, calling me asking if you can come to stay with me for some time. I’m a bachelor about town and I like staying alone. More importantly, I want you to stay at home and ‘enjoy’ life as I enjoyed it back then-raw!
 
It was quite a year, well, not really a year because life became hard and I shipped myself to college too soon. It was a year I had been looking forward to for four years- when I would be finally free from the high school bell(I hated that thing), githeri and Maths. I would also turn 18 at some point in that year, and hence the license to do adult things.
 
Right after high school, an older cousin of mine talked my mother into making me go to her place to help her run her shop. It was fun for me because then, our part of world didn’t have electricity and I was a sucker for music, movies and coloured TV. I would spend the day alone in the shop in a very bad location, reading novels, listening to music, playing Snake on my Nokia 1100….. and entertaining girls from the neighbourhood, also Form 4 leavers. Winnie, are you reading this? 🙂
 
It got boring. I had fast, warm blood and I didn’t want to stay in a remote town doing nothing. I wanted to go back home where I knew more people, and where I would stay without working.
So, I ‘resigned’ and went to Computer School. Those computer basics classes people go to study Microsoft Office and MSDOS. Here, I reconnected with friends, made new friends(Are you there – Jon, Maureen, Aggy, Matthew, Deno?). It was a fine, two hour class, after which people would take each other for lunch, go to one of the rich kids’ house to play computer games and deejay; laze around, or go home. Life was good. Until KCSE results came out in February! People separated themselves-those who passed, those who failed and watu wa katikati. It was a childish game of esteem. Don’t ask me where I was.
 
In the process, I got a job! You see, I was, and I think still am, a fairly respected member of the society and I was offered a job to teach every afternoon, after computer class, at the local secondary school! They didn’t have many teachers and had to share classes among three or four teachers, but then, there were only two classes, Form 1 and 2. No one could teach Geography. I asked them to give me subjects I loved, like English and Swahili but the elder who approached me told me they believed I was capable of teaching any subject. So Geography it was-never mind I didn’t take Geography in high school. I simply summarized the text book and dictated notes. For a whole two weeks! And then I resigned. Teaching wasn’t fun. Ladies and gentlemen, this was how long my career as a teacher lasted-two weeks!
 
Since there was nothing I was doing in the evenings, I started going out like a proper circumcised Meru man. I would go to “canteen” ( take it to mean town or shopping centre) and hang out with other guys. I have always been sensitive about who I hang out with, so, I never misbehaved too much. I never chewed miraa, which everyone else was, so, I would always get tea and ngumu and make intelligent analysis of the village politics, play pool and watch soap operas. I did not miss a single episode of Love is Timeless on KBC!
 
I had just discovered Hip Hop and in true gangsta livin'(knowwhatamsayin?), we would spend days in Maua town, listening to hip hop in barber shops, photocopy bureaus, and cyber cafes. The crew- Marti(he used to run his father’s battery charging joint), Royson, Kawaida, Kiumbe, Anto(the only employed person in the group-those chopees work for Equity after school), Mwalim Tembe(he had accepted the teaching vocation) and Alex (he used to run a photocopy)- had formed a clique, clad in flashy tshirts, baggy jeans and standin’ caps). Sometimes, armed with Marti’s car batteries, Anto’s woofer, Alex’ computer and my music CDs, we would go to parks, blast music (I should have become a DJ, Virtual DJ) and fool around with the hottest girls in town.We were living the gangsta life, man.
Don’t they look G? Royson, Marti, Kawaida and Chief Kiumbe
But then we started disintegrating, or growing up. Some of us were shipped off by their sore parents. At some point, an NGO appeared, giving courses on community mobilisation and HIV to idle school leavers. We formed an objective group of five. We called it Touch and we had lots of dreams for the community. We would perform play-skits in churches, youth camps and an event we developed-The Touch Extravaganza. It was fun. We were talented. We would not write the scripts. Since I was tasked with coming up with ideas, I would write one paragraph synopsis, and the team would know what to do or say. I have paused here to stare at the ceiling in nostalgic memory. That was a good team. Me, Alex, Doris, Bessy and Mfa (Bless his soul). I think this is how the high school leavers should spend their one year. Getting creative for the society.
 
I also had a girlfriend(say Amen). She was still in high school and I would make her late for school every time on opening days. When she was around, we would spend as much time as we could. She had two other friends and with my clique of Alex and Royson; and a few introductions and match-making, we became a group of 6 young lovers-3 couples trying to outdo each other in love antics. We did crazy things. Not bad things-my girlfriend dumped me because I was not ready for sex no matter how hard she tried. Story for another day.
 
Buoyed by the new free labour, my father finally bought a cow. For too long, we had been the only home in the neighbourhood without a cow. And the cow he bought was a guzzler. A Fresian cow. Those things can eat- they are supposed to eat 90 kilos of food and 50 litres of water every day. Living in a suburban place, there was no way we could get this much food. She was placed under my care and life became hell. I cut all the banana migomba at home to feed her, I ran a fence to the ground, I drained the water tank, and the cow would moo throughout with that loud mouth of hers. I decided that was tabia mbaya and resorted to corrective action. Every time she mooed, I would whip her, or hit her with a stone. Soon, she associated mooing with pain and stopped. What was the name for this from Biology?
The Fresian cow is a beast. Pic: LIC
 
But she was a snitch. Any time she heard dad come through the gate, she would throw tantrums like a kid. She knew this would always earn me “why is the cow hungry” questions. Another thing, she hated women. No woman would go close to her. And I was the only guy spending time at home. Why do females hate each other so much?
 
Silly cow made me cut my free year short and go to college.
Main Pic: Unemployed youth www.amshaafrica.org 

A Kenyan Man Goes to Buy Condoms

conndoms

So the girl you have been eyeing for ages has finally accepted a sleepover and you have a feeling that this will be a good night. You had praised your kitchen skills on Whatsapp and she wants to taste your food. You will cook for her. So, you go to the market, or supermarket depending on where you are, and buy cooking stuff you don’t use in your bachelor pad, like carrots and cucumbers, garbage. You get ginger, dhania and pilipili hoho, too. If you are like me, the only malighafi(read spices) you normally use are salt, a small onion and tomatoes. Today you are stocked. It will be a hot dinner. You aim to impress the empress.

Your bachelor pad has only one bed, and you have a feeling that the kitchen won’t be the only hot room in the house tonight. You see, on Whatsapp, in your late night chats, you have started raunchy Truth or Dare games with raunchy details. You have this gut feeling that you have been blessed. Not for procreation purposes – she is not here for marriage. And you don’t want to return home ‘on a vehicle carrier in a box’ as your grandmother once said.

You will need condoms….. you know, just in case.

So after your shopping, you set out to look for the sheaths. That’s where trouble starts. You don’t buy these things like you buy potatoes. You have to sweat for it. As they say, good things rarely come easy.

So, you walk down the street, peeping into shops to see, one, if the good old packet is hung on the shelves and two if the shopkeeper is an approachable agemate. If you live in a small town, the shopkeepers are mostly women the age of your mother wearing glasses and kilemba. Such shopkeepers don’t stock condoms. It’s a sin. Your best bet is a chemist. So, you keep walking, looking for chemists.

condoms Amazon
Assorted Lifestyle Condoms: Amazon

Chemists

Chemist 1 has a queue. There is no way you will queue, and in the full glare of the public, ask for the forbidden sachets. Pass.

Chemist 2 has more than one attendant. You can’t imagine walking in and whispering to the guy that you want Durex and he shouts to the lady. “Do we have Durex in stock?” To which she shouts back, “No! Tell him we have Trust Studded and Salama!”. And after you leave they will discuss you, anyway. Pass, again.

Chemist 3 has one, approachable guy. But there is an older guy there, eating stories with him. He has even been given a chair, and from the looks of it, he is not too sick to stand. He plans to stay for long. You kick an avocado seed in the street in frustration. Why do people go to talk with the pharmacy guy? These people are cursed.

Chemist 4. Voila! There is only one guy inside so you pull your hood to your eyes and walk in. You find him talking on the phone and he cheerfully lifts his index finger, to please wait ooone moment. You place your shopping paper bags on the floor and shuffle your feet impatiently. Then, just then, a cute girl from the neighbourhood walks in. There is no way you are buying condoms in her presence. You never know, she may be a potential. You ask for mosquito coil, and ABZ, for de-worming. “This elnino has come with too many mosquitoes”. You explain.

How to buy condoms

Kiumane

You start walking back the way you came. Popping your eyes into the chemists. There has been no improvement. You start trying to remember if you have any leftover CDs from previous sexcapedes. You have one piece of Trust, two pieces of Femiplan, one piece of those brown government condoms, and an empty packet of some Durex under the bed. From what she had said on Whatsapp, she doesn’t do the deed in the dark. Chucking brands upon brands of condoms will be suicidal.

You decide….kiumane. You walk into Chemist 2- it also has M-Pesa:
Naweza toa?
“How much?”
3-fefte
“Sawa”

As the guy is perusing his M-Pesa book, you ask discretely. “Uko na CD gani?” He unashamedly turns and takes you through the entire wall of condoms like those Bata attendants showing you different shoes in a rack. You cut him short. “Give me 5 packets of Femiplan”Femiplan has 6 pieces per packet and with 30 condoms and a limited supply of partners, you know they will last a long time. You don’t want to go through this gruelling experience again.

You walk home, feeling like a Roman general who has just conquered the entire world.

Your guest arrives to a hot, saucy meal and when that time comes… it turns out it is that time of the month for her. You will not be using the condoms tonight, or anytime soon. You wail in agony.

And die.

****************

condoms meme

Fat or Thin, you are Beautiful!

fat or thin

A girl friend of mine inboxes me on Facebook, “Frank, imagine someone called me fat today”.

I ask her, “Who? Njoki Chege?”

She hasn’t replied to me. I think she feels terrible someone called her fat. She actually isn’t big, she has a nice body, but could might have added on just a little weight. She is a modern girl. It is a taboo for modern women to add weight.

But. What happened to the world? When did growing thin and skinny become sexy? When I was growing up in the village, that’s before I came across neo-colonized lifestyle magazines, being big was a sign of prestige. A big woman meant a wealthy husband who could afford food- unless she had elephantiasis, of course. My grandfather would ululate whenever I got visited by a big, healthy girl. And he would commented on such, even in her presence, “Mwenda, umetoa wapi hii ‘ngutu’ nzuri hivi?” (Where did you get such a beautiful young lady?).

On the other hand, being thin showed either of two things. You were either poor and couldn’t afford food, or you were sick. Very sick. Especially with the ‘neck disease‘ of tabia mbaya

There was even a song to it. Pole Musa. …. Kweli Muusa, uliponioa nilikuuwa na afya nzuri, nilinoona, kama ngoima ya….(never got this part)…. Loosely translated to ‘Moses, when I married you, I was healthy. I was as fat as a ngoima(whatever it is)….. And now with our unhappy marriage, I am thin.

Then this somehow changed.  I don’t know when, I don’t know how. My theory is some thin model with anorexia(sorry) decided to turn her body to her advantage, and marketed her condition as an advantage. Wicked opportunist. And then it became a trend…You know women with trends, trickled to Africa, and baam! Our women don’t want to embrace the African beauty any more.

The barbs thrown at big women by other women is disheartening. Have you ever wondered why it is only women who jeer at other women because of their size? Because, we, men, love plus size. It makes us proud. It shows the world there is no drought in our homes, that we are feeding you well, that our homes are happy.

“Bodies should be praised for the amazing feats they accomplish every second of the day, not for how they look in a bikini. So rather than shaming thinness to empower “real” women, can’t we all just get along?”

To the naturally big ladies, be yourself! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad because of your size! Don’t lose your sleep because some thin person thought thought they are the SI unit of beauty and you are all things ugly. Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. That is beautiful. Your smile is beautiful. Don’t cry your face into gloom. Treat other humans well. That is real beauty. Inner beauty, and that is all that matters. Body size is just that. Size.

The fellow women writing all these things to put you down have esteem issues. True story. And when you see such a post in social media, comment with your photo. That’s the best revenge. Show them you are everything they are not.

You are beautiful

Don’t force yourself to be them. YOU are beautiful, let them also try to be YOU for a change.

When you force yourself to be thin and it’s not your body, it makes you look bad! You grow bags under your eyes, your neck looks funny, your breasts become oversize and overweight because they don’t slim with you, and soon, you bend over permanently. Can’t you see that? Don’t force yourself. You were created wonderfully and amazingly beautiful, don’t struggle to fit into someone else’s body. Don’t fight to become someone else! The master had a plan for you.

I didn’t say the slim women are sick. Okay, just a few. What I mean is, be yourself. You have your body for a reason, and whether you are plus size or minus size, it is your body. Keep it fit. Maintain it. Don’t distort it in any way. Dress it well, flaunt all you can. You are beautiful. They are not. Appreciate yourself, and others. Don’t tell others off because you don’t have their type of body. Shut up- unless you created them.

I am also not saying you get obese! God forbid. Just make sure you keep your BMI on point. Be healthy.

Norah: My Flame!

We all have those contacts in the phone that are just that-contacts! Numbers and emails we have no idea where they came from. Or, is it only me? I have accumulated so many over the years, considering I have never lost my contacts since I got my line in Form 2. Some have just come, somehow. Mostly in the era of 2Go. (Let’s not go there) 🙂

So, the other day, I discovered a name that has been lying in my phone book, long dormant and sleepy. Norah. This is Whatsapp, you can text for free, so I say “hi”. We start small talk-she has so many similarities, I think she is either a long lost sibling, or she is my soulmate. Same college courses, same tastes, same lifestyles, same county (it matters). The chemistry is tight. From her Whatsapp profile picture, she is cute. I think she is heaven sent. 

She reads my blog! And she wishes she can write, too. 

“Why not? Go on, write”

“But where”

“I can help you set up a blog”

“I will just write for you” 

She was in love with the  “Looking for a Wife” and “I will be the perfect Husband” posts. So, she wanted to be my wife! Teren teren. Her response was in a record few minutes! Read on:

I am waiting for my flame. I am not looking for him, it is his job to look for me. And if he is my perfect match, he will recognize himself in me. When he finds me, he will feel it, he will be drawn to me, in a way he can not explain. It will be mystical, perfect and we will fulfill the purpose of our union. Together.

As I wait, it is my duty to mold myself to perfection. To reach my highest self. I want to be perfect for him too. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Mentally. It is simple, we attract what we are. That’s the law of attraction.

I want to give my best to my flame. For him, it will be worth the search. For me, it will be worth the wait.

I want my beauty to run more than skin deep. I want my heart to be beautiful. I want it to love my flame, truly, madly, deeply. But before loving my flame so purely, I have to love myself first. To accept who i am and respect my inner self enough to be true to myself. Only then will i learn to love my flame in equal measure. I will cherish him, love his quirks, admire his strengths, i will love him so. As much as i love myself.

To love is to serve. I want to serve my flame. I want to cook for him. There is something intimate about cooking for your man. And serving him. Better yet, we can cook together. And enjoy every moment. I want to do his laundry. Clean our house. Make a beautiful home. I want our home to be our paradise.

Playful sex.
Relax, I got you. Source: http://blackartrocks.tumblr.com/
 

I love to play. And i want my flame to be my partner in crime. I want us to share hobbies. Laugh silly. Play games together. Have i mentioned sex? Hmm. Playful sex too. I want us to tease. A lot. Try new things. Be wild. Fulfill our fantasies. I want to be totally open with him, because he loves every part of me. Without judging.

Not everyday will be a good one, without sadness, there would be no happiness. I want my flame to be my shoulder to cry on. I want our relationship to be our safe haven. Be our source of comfort.

My partner will trust me enough to let me be his helper. Make me his partner. I would love it if we made decisions together. Run our finances together. Invest together. I want us to be a team. A strong one at that.

Finally, my flame will understand that if God does not build a home, those who build it do so in vain. He will let God be the centre of our relationship. We will pray together, for ourselves, and our family. He will understand that a family that prays together, stays together.

So here i am, waiting for my flame. When i see him, i will recognize him. My handsome prince charming. I will admire his masculinity. He will cherish my femininity. He will love me, like Christ loves the church. And I will respect him so much, I will submit to his authority. I will let him lead me. And i will follow him, gladly. When he finds him, I will definitely marry him.

With all my love.

Isn’t she just perfect? She is waiting for her flame. Will you be her flame, or should I just be? I am sliding into the friend zone quite fast-even before I meet her. 

Yesterday was her birthday. Happy Birthday, Norah!

Catch up with her on: Facebook 

To My Teachers and all Teachers: I Love You!

teachers punishment Kenya

I am who I am largely because of my teachers. I am even writing this blog, in part, because I don’t want to let my teachers down. They all thought I was going to be a journalist, or editor of some sort, because, English and Swahili were my bread and butter. Oddly, all teachers, both in Primary school and High school; even teachers who never taught me but knew me… They all advised me to be a journalist. I feel like I let them down. Or maybe I should write a newspaper article and send copies to all my teachers.

 Somebody hook me up with a newspaper!

 I joined nursery school, or preschool to you, at three years old. I think my mother was busy and she wanted me to spend my days in school. Who else went to school that early back then? And so, my second mom became Teacher Seberina. She would take me to the ruhusa( that’s short call to the uninitiated),  she would feed me and do all the things moms do. And because my parents used to teach me how to write the alphabet, my name and their names (first child syndrome), I was very bored in class, I knew most of the things Seberina taught us.

Our Class 1 entry test was “Write your name” I wrote mine and Teacher Seberina promoted me to Class One. But the hunger I felt that day! Nursery pupils would go home at around 12:00 noon and Class One pupils would go at 1:00 pm. I simply couldn’t handle the hunger… so, the following day I went back to Nursery and told Seberina my mother had told me to go back. I never told my parents – they knew after a few months – Parents, check your kid’s books every evening! If you know Seberina, and where I can find her, please tell me.

When I decided time for Class One had come, I went ahead and met Teacher Mutunga. Now, Mr. Mutunga was feared by pupils in Upper Primary. But to us in his Class, he was every so gentle. He rarely caned us, and was just too patient. In first term, I got paracent(100%) in all subjects except Kimeru, where I got 36%. So I had 736/800 points and I was still number 16 out of 81 pupils. It was a huge class of clever pupils managed by one teacher. Mr. Mutunga called my grandfather to school (I will tell you about my father one of these days), and told him to buy me a Kimeru textbook, and he would be amazed at what I was capable of doing. I got a Kimeru book, and needless to say, the following term I shot to number 1. My grandfather still talks about this one incident. Long live Mr. Mutunga.

 By class two, I was a philanthropist. My teacher was Mrs. Maore. She, like Mr. Mutunga, had two sides. The gentle one, and the tough one. She taught us the National Anthem in both languages, the Loyalty Pledge, and the Lord’s prayer. I think that was her mandate. We were the only class in that whole school that knew the Loyalty Pledge. One day, I did homework for my best friend, Barnabas, and Mrs. Maore knew from the handwriting. So, she sent me to the staff room to get a cane. The only cane in the freaking staff room was this loong bamboo stick! The teacher who handed it to me just told me ‘Good luck to whoever is going to be punished with this’. To cut a long story short, I have never helped anyone else do their work since then. 🙂

teachers were savage

 Class 3 was also a big big class. We were 73, in one class. So big it was divided into two classes though in one class room. Two rows were a separate class from the other, with a separate class teacher. Miss Susan and Mr. Kathukumi. They split the subjects, but marking would be done separately. They would sit with us in class, each on their side of the class. And they somehow managed us. I was position 3 in all three terms.

Upper Primary: Coming back after lunch!

Now, Class 4 was different business altogether. Upper Primary. On a separate block and “coming back after lunch”. Discipline was paramount and you were now a responsible youth. Our big Class three was cut down to only around 40 pupils. Some were ‘asked’ to remain in class 3 and others just dropped out. Others went off to boarding school. Mr. Kathukumi went with us as the class teacher-all the way to Class 8, but now we had to live with many teachers. Different subjects. Life was tough.

 Mr. Kungutia taught us Home Science and Mathematics. This was another crazy teacher who I hated with passion in school…and loved outside school because he would always come by our home to chat with Grandpa, and buy Mr maandazi. I meet him every time I go home, to date. And he has maintained if he didn’t beat me as he did, I wouldn’t turn out how I did. But he says he wished I was bigger- I was so small, “nilikuwa nakosa nitakuchapa wapi“. He became my best friend when he was transferred.

students share a desk Africa
Pic: www.npr.org/

Mr. Mbogori taught us Music and Mathematics at some point. He would give you one stroke of the cane for every sum you got wrong. And since I was one of the poorest in Maths, I was an enemy. I was guaranteed to receive canes. One day, he came to Music class and said “There are two clefs in music. The G-Clef and ……. “. Being a mjuaji, I raised my hand and said “Bus Clef“.

Stupid! Which bus are you talking about, Kensilver, Stagecoach, or Kamawe Bus? It is Bass Clef.. pronounced, Biis”.

I was the happiest when Music was scrapped and he became our English teacher. He became my best friend henceforth. Last we met, he introduced me to his teacher friends as “.….he used to write compositions better than most novelists….

 Female teachers are so much like mothers. Smiling with you one minute and beating the bejesus out of you the next. Take, for instance, Mrs. Mutua. She was a very good friend of our family, and her daughters, Dorothy and Bessy, were and are some of my best homies. We loved her in church and the community (still do), but when she was on duty at school, woe unto you if you came to school late. She used to cane our bare feet-in that cold. One day, it was raining and I refused to be beaten. We had running battles all day with her, and I presented myself to her in the evening when she threatened to report to my father. Mrs. Kamau, too. She taught us CRE and was very motherly, always counseling and advising our adolescent heads. Until she caught you getting naughty. She would cane you while advising you. “I-am-doing-this-to help-you. You-Mwenda-will-remember-me-in-future!” How many hyphens did I use? Those are strokes of the cane.

 Did I tell you I loved and thrived in languages? My favourite teachers, obviously, were my English and Kiswahili teachers. Mr. Marete and Mr. Ngeera. I would entertain them using my English Compositions and Inshas and they would repay me with special care. They would give me books-novels and riwayas– and compositions from other schools. Where I lost points in Maths, I made up in languages. We talk with Mr. Ngeera all the time on Facebook, and I still exchange novels with Mr. Marete whenever I go home for holidays.

Sorry, I never made it to a journalism class as you had wished.

 Head teachers

There is a time our school had a different head teacher every term. I don’t remember most, but it was a very unstable phase-when I was younger. The school performed very poorly-inevitably. This changed in my upper primary years. We had two headteachers:

 Mr. Meeme  did so well, all the surrounding villages sent their sons and daughters to our school, and he was poached to head Maua Primary School-where he is to date, because-it is in town and, and, as the face of the division, we want Mr. Meeme to maintain it for the visitors. How crooked is that?  Now, Mr. Meeme was a no nonsense teacher. He also used to come home and talk for hours with my grandfather-an education pioneer in the region-but would not be smiling at us in school. He had what he knew as, “Twenty Strokes of the Cane” Twitch your Chill fingers…that’s how he used to demonstrate it. He would have you hold the flag post during assembly and work on your small ass with his rapid fire cane.

 After Mr. Meeme came Mr. Mutua, commonly known as by his first name, Richard. Now, Richard was a nice man with lots of stories. He taught us Mathematics in Class 8, and oddly, I have never hated him like I hated all my Maths teachers. He had stories. And he was the sponsoring church chairman. And he was very caring.

I was crazy enough to sleep away from home on the second day of KCPE, and I came in late-who does that?- Poor Richard! I met with him at the school gate coming home to see why I wasn’t there yet. He hurriedly took me to the class, where the papers had already been handed out. He is so caring, still. We talk from time to time, and the other day, when the rogue NGO was hiring, I was on top of his list. Since retired, he is now running a school of his own and is quite successful at it.

Unbroken records

Frankmwenda Gitura Primary School classmates
Some of My classmates

We had good teachers. Teachers who had taught our parents before us, there was stability in Gitura Primary School. They produced the best class ever in the school-us, and most of them were promoted and transferred to other schools right after we left in recognition for their good work. And the school has never been the same again. It pains me that the record I set- I came in the first position-has never been beaten, so many years later. Neither for Boniface, who came second, and Lenana, who came third. The school has never beaten our mean score, and the way things are, we will hold the record for some time. I wish I could save it.

Sadly, the big class of 81 we had in Class One completed with just 23 pupils. Some repeated, some never completed. It is all good. Those that completed are doing well- we met the other day, at Eric’s funeral. We are represented in  most professions, some of us are married, with kids and I am looking for a wife. 😉

I am glad the teachers’ strike is over. But teachers deserve the highest salary affordable. It should be the best-paid profession. I am here, writing this blog because my teachers taught me. You are reading this blog because cliche as it may sound – a teacher taught you how to write. LET US PAY TEACHERS!

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

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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.

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Baite Inside! Yes, I am a Meru!

Meru Boy chewing miraa

A few weeks ago, I was lazily scrolling my Facebook when I saw a beauty. Some of you will call me a fisi, but males are supposed to “see” beautiful females, right?  I see them a lot. But this one caught my eye. She was beautiful. I just like such photos. But I commented on this. See, she was wearing a tee shirt that resonated with me. It had this message that I had seen before but, frankly, hadn’t given much thought: Baite Inside: Proud to be Meru. A few inbox messages later, I called up Ivy, who happens to have a very callable voice, and we struck a deal. I wanted my tee shirt delivered to me in diaspora!

A day later, my shipment arrived, complete with a complimentary CD-of a collection of some of the best Meru hit songs. It is a black cotton Baite Inside tee which is as comfortable as it is head turning. She has a whole line in several designs and messages and they are too cool to be missing in your wardrobe. Stay with me, I will tell you how you can get them.

 

Baite Inside t-shirt and Meru songs
This is the package

This t-shirt is not a fashion statement for me. This is a memoir. A constant reminder of who I am, and where I come from. Remember, it is okay to be aware and proud of your tribe without despising other tribes. It is okay to celebrate your music(or lack of it), your customs, your history, your beliefs, your politics, your financial activities, and basically, who you are.

I will close my eyes down this roller coaster:

Once upon a time, a community was slave to another community that wore red clothes(Nguu Ntune) that lived in Mbwaa the. They suffered so much, they needed to escape. So, led by their god-chosen leader, they went to the master king and demanded freedom. They needed to move. Since their labour was needed, the king adamantly refused to let them leave. He put them under hard tests with a promise to let them leave if they passed the impossible tasks. This community was so bright,they managed every time, but the master king wouldn’t let them leave. So, one night, they escaped Mbwaa, but came across a Red Sea(Îria Îtune). They panicked. The master community was closing in on them fast. The gods instructed the community leader to strike the Water with his stick, and guess what-the water parted! They crossed, walked through deserts and eventually reached the land of milk and honey, around the center of Kenya.

Sounds familiar, right? Yes, from the Bible. But this story had been told even before Bibles came to Kenya. This is the story of the Meru! See, we are like Israel. There is a place in Meru where Jesus walked. We have footprints to show! Do I sound proud enough, or should I up my game?

 

Njagi Junkie Jesus footsteps Meru
via: @njagijunkie

Yes! I am a Meru

Yes. I am a Meru. I am as arrogant as Prof. Kaimenyi. I don’t have to listen to what you have to say because where I come from, men are automatically what psychology calls Assertive Sanguines. I am not sure that exists but hey! It exists because I said so. It is, in reality, not arrogance, but sheer self belief. I am an alpha.

Yes, I am a Meru. I speak loudly. You may have your ears close but I will shout into them. I shout into the phone and I shout my whispers. Why? The point above. Self-belief! And then I don’t like repeating myself. Once I tell you something, I have to make sure it is loud and clear. Especially loud.

Yes, I am a Meru. I am hot tempered and I can cut you into pieces at the slightest provocation. Sorry, remove the “cut you into pieces”. We don’t cut people to kill, we cut people to teach them a lesson. We will cut your hand for stealing miraa(not food). Your face for grabbing someone’s wife. Your leg for trespassing. We will never cut you to steal your livestock. Or because some politician didn’t win an election. Or because you are from another tribe. We will cut you to discipline you, and take you to hospital afterwards. We are peaceful people.

 

Miraa farm in Meru
Money on a tree. Hands up if you have ever seen a miraa tree

Choose your punishment

Speaking of discipline, a man from Laare (google that) caught a thief stealing his miraa. Ili liwe funzo kwako na wengine kama wewe, he generously gave him four options:
  • Wear gumboots filled with boiling porridge.
  • Get his left hand cut off.
  • Eat a bowl of latrine soup. That is, the smudge: combination of shit, pee and worms fetched from a pit latrine. Worse than sewage.
  • Eat a live chameleon. (Those things are as creepy as they are poisonous).

What would you have chosen?

Yes. I am a Meru. I live on a herb. Miraa! My father built our home strictly with miraa money. I was educated using miraa money. I am building a house using miraa money and I will take my children to school using miraa money. Our churches, schools, community health centers are built and run using miraa money. And yes, we meet every evening to chew the holy herb. We chew and tell stories, dreams, visions- miraa is eye opening- and then go home and perform our “family duties” exquisitely. And it is true, miraa is a drug…. just like coffee, tea and Panadol!

Yes. I am a Meru. We have beautiful, humble, intelligent, hardworking women. Our women let us the men run affairs like the Bible wants women to be. They take up the role of the neck nicely. They support us (also hardworking) men wholly. They leave the responsibility of, say, cutting, to men. They don’t cut men’s transformers like some people we know. And men, even in all the cutting skills, will never cut their women. Who cuts a good thing? If a woman wrongs a man,which is rare, the discipline is meted by the man’s woman: wife, sister, mother or cousin. We don’t fight our women! We went to Beijing.

 

Ivy
Soni: via Ivy

I am talented but I won’t show.

Yes, I am a Meru. I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t act, I can’t play any professional game. I don’t seem to represent Kenya anywhere. But that’s just me. There are 4 Kimeru radio stations and 2 TV stations playing 80% Kimeru content. We do sing(btw, who was that Meru guy singing in Churchill Show with Ali Kiba the other day?) We have comedians commanding the industry. We just don’t shout about it, and it is a good joke, anyway, when people say we can’t do all these things. We just don’t, because we have better things to do than cry on stage or play like children.

On a serious matter of Life and Death: You must visit Meru county. You must visit the wildlife conservancies ….experience the Meru hospitality in the hotels, streets, markets…. Get Grade 1 farm produce straight from the farm(money being the root of all evil, we will sell to you at almost-free prices)….. Awe and smiles are infectious in Meru..and please don’t forget to catch the enviable Amerucan accent!

Yes. I am a Meru. I stop when I want, and I am done with this story. You can share your Meru experiences in the comment box below.

Let’s now talk about Ivy, the Kamanu Entertainment and the ensemble. Call Ivy on +254724398865 or catch up with her on Facebook. Tell her I sent you, and make demands, like you want a CD as well, and you want her to deliver personally. She may send me a free hood if you buy. It’s totally worth memoir, no matter where you are from. And, oh, I am not sure if Ivy is married.

Here is part of the collection:

 

All these messages can be replicated to any of the designs. You get to choose your message, and the design!

ION: I want to join the Njuri Ncheke. Does anyone know how?

Fare thee well, Mfa.

Two children, A and B are playing in ashes. You know, the game of smearing ash on each other’s face to make “Kamuithia”. Child B’s grandmother meets the kids playing and panics. You see, the “ash” is actually a very poisonous coffee pesticide. She picks up her grandchild and runs off with her, leaving Child A playing with the poison, un-amused. An older child, C, comes along and is shocked. He doesn’t run away to call for help, he doesn’t join in to play, he doesn’t admonish him, he does a smart thing… he carefully ties Child A’s hands with polyethylene bags so that he doesn’t put his hands in his mouth… and takes him home.

Child A is me, and the saviour, Child C, is Eric. He saved my life at that point!

Over the years, Eric and his brother, Metal took up the role of big brother. We would make our wooden wheelbarrows together, go-cart together, feed rabbits together, make a nuisance in the village together, and all the things that boys do. I was a part of their family. Whenever Eric’s grandmother visited, she would bring me bread, especially for me, and they would bully me out of it to granny’s wrath. We were brothers.

He got initiated at a very tender age-which officially meant he couldn’t interact with me kîîjî, but we still played together, only that he would hide when other circumcised men passed by.

When I got the cut myself, he would always visit, daily, without fail. And Mom always wanted him to come and be with me. You see, traditionally, when “you are in the house”, you are at the mercy of the young men coming in to eat and pass time. People have been killed during that period. But Eric always came. And I would feel safe. He, and Metal, were my brothers, after all.

Eventually, we became bums. We would influence each other’s decisions…from the trivial ones of which girls to hit on, who to dump to lifelong decisions like careers and spirituality. He would ask my opinion of courses and I would ask him to research for colleges for me when I cleared high school. Even later in life, since I was always the village techie, I had a say in all gadgets he bought or didn’t buy. To him, my word was final.

 

Best friends with Maabi, my grandpa

After my high school, we formed a group called TOUCH. Initially, 5 of us: Eric, Alex, Bessy, Doris and myself. We used to perform plays in the church, and soon, became mainstays. We would have a slot every Sunday, and sometimes would be invited to other churches and youth camps for our plays. It was a great team. Soon, we had a bigger dream. We wrote up a plan to save the youth in the society from drugs, clean up the area, and, eventually, change the politics of the society. We roped in more members and would make shows for the youth, invite mentors and have a party. This slowed down when we all joined college.

When I was struggling homeless, remember Nairobi Initiation 3?, I would go to his college, AHITI Kabete(he came top in his class, btw, scooping most honours in the graduation, and we lost our voices cheering,bright guy) and spend weekends with him and Lenana. He would always come to Plot 10.

We were the proverbial partners in crime.

Friday 17th July 2015

I was in my usual Friday bubbly mood at work. Then I started receiving calls from people we have never spoken on phone with and people whose numbers I just have on phone from back in the days, asking if we have spoken with Mfalme. I would tell them I haven’t. By the fourth call, I was getting concerned. Then Glory called me and told me she’d heard Eric’s phone was being picked by a cop.

He’d said the owner of the phone and a few other guys had been involved in an accident and taken to hospital. I said, fine, if it’s hospital, we will go the hospital the following day, Saturday. I called other guys living in Nairobi, Alex and Nancy, and they told me they were on their way to the hospital. I figured those were enough for the day, since I live farther, I would still go the following day.

Then Glory called me again and told me her brother was at the mortuary. I quipped at her. “Mortuary?”

“Yes, Frank. They are not alive”
“Who and who”
“Eric and…..”

 

I disconnected the call and went to sit, shaking. I wasn’t believing. Alex wasn’t picking his phone, Nancy hadn’t arrived yet, and people were calling me left, right and centre”.

I also left for Thika. Oddly, my first time ever to go to Thika. I kept confirming if we were going to Thika Level 5 hospital, or the mortuary next door. They said mortuary. And the mortuary was a mess. Alex and Bessy met us at the parking and confirmed the worst.

Four people had passed away, and Eric was one of them.

When Alex, who had viewed, damnit, the bodies started giving us details,  I felt liquid. Just had to sit down. The entire sheltered area was made of people I know. Mfalme’s friends. The sight of his girlfriend, Naomi, crushed me. I don’t remember greeting her. It was all a dream.

We stayed and waited for the relatives, and tried to track down the family of one of the deceased, who we didn’t know, just to be helpful. Others went to the scene of accident, Makuyu, to see the car and collect any possessions.

Evening came and the relatives had arrived. Martin, Eric’s eldest brother, came for Eric. They had to officially identify the bodies and we had to be there with them. Being the most paranoid people I know, I wouldn’t have gone in..but Alex literally pulled me in.

It was all a haze. Darkness in my head. I vaguely smelt the preservatives, or death(it has a smell, right?). As the bodies were being pulled out one by one I just looked on. When Eric was presented I would have sworn it wasn’t him. The injuries were bad. The mortuary sonofabitch attendant was eating roast maize in the mortuary and motioning to us where the bodies would be restructured. They looked as if they were just asleep, and would wake up. It was still a dream, now turning a nightmare.

I went back home that night, still hazen. I had to take hard stuff to clear the dew in my head. And I slept peacefully. I never remembered the images, I think God erased the moment from my brain, and even now as I write this, I have no memory of the bodies. I feel like I am narrating a scene by a third party. Thank God for the amnesia.

Friday, 24th July 2015
After a week of arrangements, our village had the biggest funeral ever. Could easily be the biggest event my village has ever hosted, sadly. A funeral for two. Attended by who is who in the society, from the deputy governor and all the elected and administrative leaders in between.

See, Eric was a man of the people. He was a promising young man with a bright future ahead of him. And everyone had to be part of this. All his friends came. We rallied and had everyone away from home to attend his burial. It was a massive get together. Our entire class met for the first time since we finished primary school and we savoured the ghostly reminders of our former school. Sadly, as we concluded, we were only meeting due to the death of one of our own.

It is now a resolve that we will be meeting every chance we get. Granted, we are spread all over the country, some of us are outside the country, but we should never meet only because of the death of one of us. (Think about that, friend, when do you ever meet with your childhood friends, classmates, college roommates? Will you only meet during burials?)

In other news, why do politicians always steal the show? Why do they use forums, even mourning ones to selfishly turn the tides? All the speeches after Alex had spoken on behalf of Eric’s friends were all political. The current MCA and MP vs the aspiring MCAs and MPs. Words were thrown around, statements made, the underlying issue of the village road, one of the biggest feeder roads of the county, now impassable, and all that crap politicians always belch. The mass was ending at 6:00 pm, and the burials were to happen afterwards. When I die, I don’t want politics in my funeral.

Then we went to Eric’s home for the actual burial. I was barely listening to the pastor. My mind was replaying Eric.

It was now slowly hitting me that he was actually gone. When soil was thrown in I flinched. When rocks hit the coffin with the thunderous this they always make, I felt pain. They were beating my friend. When I was handed the shovel to throw in soil, I did. I dutifully gave this last service to my brother. When the pastor said we should mark the corners with sticks I looked for sticks and marked the corners. I had this energy surge.

Then it actually hit me. I had promised myself not to cry, but I got choked. I excused myself and went behind Eric’s house. And I sobbed. I cried with nothing in my head. I felt lonely. I just cried.

My other friends came round to me. Bessy covered her face with Kero’s jacket, Deno stared away, into space, Marti leaned on a tree and stared down. Kero placed hands on his head and trudged away to the grave to plant flowers with Twinnie.  We locked our ears to the world and the silence got eerie.
It was now real.

 

Always bubbly with laughter. Wedding ‘security’ freak

He is gone. Just like that. He won’t be the theatrical Head of Security that he always took up in our weddings. He won’t be calling to ask me what to do with his laptop or phone. He won’t be coming to joke with my grandfather on all the matters of the world. He won’t be shooting pool with me again. He won’t be building the house which he had just started collecting kokoto for. He won’t be joining the university he wanted to join for an environmental course. He won’t be sharing his dreams for the society again.  He is gone. Forever.

Fare thee well, Mfa. Walk into heaven in that walking style of yours. And walk in noisily as you used to walk into our places. We will always remember you. You will remain in our minds. We will try to achieve some of the dreams we had in TOUCH. Won’t we, Bessy, Alex, Doris?

I always hoped this was a dream and I would wake up. The touch of soil woke me up. It is true.

Goodbye, and say hi to Metal.

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.

Nairobi Initiation 5: Plot 10, the Sin City.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wanaume si mamako

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray for our shoes

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

“Where did we put our shoes?”

“They should be at the door”

“No! They aren’t!”

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

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

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

Bugs and rats

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

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

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

Ni kama vindio ni kama ndrama.

Main pic: Full house, full bed, any time, Twitter.
King Rat: Penguins of Madagascar, Fanpop

Nairobi Initiation 4: “We Ate Bread With Sirua!”

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

Where were we last time? Yes,we had to leave the house we knew as Mwanyenye- we knew only the house girl’s name because everyone in the house used to call her so loudly in Kisii,even in the middle of the night, to pass a glass of water. Poor Mwanyenye. What do people think house girls are, slaves?

Anyway,let’s move on,we had more problems than her. When we left, we had no place to go, not even an idea. We just carried all our property in one sweep. Only the mattress was stress, really.

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

Saved by a prostitute

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” 

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

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

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

Wanted by Police 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mulango 

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

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

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

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

This was the life. Pic: BarakaMwau-slumurbanism

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

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

Then I got really angry.

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

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

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

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

We ate bread with sirua!

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

We used this money to move the very next day…on a mkokoteni, all the way to the next phase of our lives, Plot 10!

All our stuff fit on the mkokoteni like this, and we ran after it, all 10 kilometres. Pass the marathon medals, please.
Pic: The Drome Diaries
Nairobi had almost won one against us.

The Nairobi Initiation 3: “I Swear I Didn’t Do It. Blame the Cat”

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

Read Nairobi Initiation 1. and Nairobi Initiation 2.

Makena had progressed a big deal. She was way ahead of me in class-she was almost finishing CPA while I was starting. She was a laid back, devout young lady while I was a Hip Hop head.

 But then, if we had started something in high school when she was a fourth former and I, a mono, we could find our way back. This time I could treat a girl, and I could not shy away from hugging…even kissing… like I had been in high school. I was also a bit of a playa, entertaining these thoughts and I had a girlfriend at home! Nairobi men!

So, we would meet, talk about things in a monotonic kind of way – we had no stories. Until she introduced me to her cousin, Ken, who happened to be my classmate – she was clearly bringing her family close – and had a crazy suggestion, that we move from the hostels and live together!

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

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

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

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

Tumeamua Kuhama

The bastards were packing everything to a cart! And by everything I mean everything… Everything that belonged to them was everything – except our clothes!

Bewildered, we asked what they were doing, and they said, “Tumeamua kuhama

We were frustrated

Who moves without telling the roommates? I mean, just moves with everything and leaves two people to pay that much rent, without notice? Who moves and leaves friends with nothing, not even a light bulb?

Kero was sobbing, I was angry. We asked them if they could at least leave us one bed since they would not be using both and they told us “Not unless you hire it. Pay us Sh. 200 daily for the bed.

 We were devastated as we watched them move – they carried the freaking padlock and the curtains too! We then walked into the house… all dark and empty except for our small suitcases at one corner.  There was even no place to sit and cry. Trouble had started. We had no place to sleep, no light, the house was open to the public and it was late in the evening! Shit was real!

Matress, bulb and two chapatis

Luckily, we had not paid rent yet. We went out, bought a small mattress, a light bulb, and two hot chapatis mwitu. There was no place to stand to reach the bulb holder, so I stood on Kero’s shoulders and pulled it down, wires and all, to the floor. Our light was at the floor level! Then we set the only bed sheet we had on the main window…as our curtain, ate our chapatis and slept.

Real life had started.

 Rent was due the following day and we couldn’t possibly get the 10K. No school that day, we had to move out. So we crossed into the Railways Estate and spoke to our friend Jeff’s sister who was living in a very small single room SQ there to assist us in getting a place to stay. She told us we could move to her place and she would help us get a house before the day ended. So, we moved, unsuccessfully looked for a house all day. 

We slept at her place… on our mattress, under her bed!

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

This room is much better than ours

Room within a house

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

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

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

 We never washed our room – people wash under the bed and tables and the kitchen and the toilet, and we had none, so there was nothing to wash. And we were very okay with that. The madam of the house soon started making noise. We once met our window open, somehow, and when we asked she said the room was stinking, so she opened the window to let air in.

I told her, in a very stern Meru tone and accent; “It IS our room, WE pay rent to live, independently. So, if you think it is stinking, learn to live with that. I don’t want to get that window open again, ever!” ..then walked into the house and slammed the door hard. Kero was laughing so hard inside, he was literally on the floor. Being stereotyped works sometimes.

The following day, I met the window open again, I didn’t talk, I just stood there looking at it and trembling in anger. The house girl met me in that state, said hi, and when I didn’t respond, she ran back into the house and came out with the owner. Madam just said, 

“Pole, ni paka alifungua”. I was like “I want to see that cat, and cut off its hands”.

 The window was never opened again.

 By the end of the month, we broke a basic rule and had to move. This time, we had no place to go, no plan, no money. Did we become street boys? Find out in the next edition. 

 

The Nairobi Initiation 2: “I Walked to Rongai!”

Rongai Nairobi stage

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

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

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

Lift and Toilet drama

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

The guy went into the lift, and I followed right in. At this point you may be thinking this was my first time in a lift… No! I was a town person! I had got into a lift back in Class 8 when we had gone on a class tour of KICC! But at this point, I wouldn’t know what to do inside, so I waited till everyone had pressed their floors and leaned back… Waiting for whatever. I decided to stick with my guy after some other people alighted at the second floor.. to third floor.. Which turned out to be the Visions reception!

I walked in like I knew what I was doing and asked for a brochure (I knew these since I had carried home a paper load of brochures for every college I had come across in my registration trip.. and doesn’t Nairobi have colleges in every building!) 

Shockers! 

The fee was less than half KCA’s!

Dad, I have changed colleges

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

Still with cash in my socks, I went to the washrooms to get it out!

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

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

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

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

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

“I have to tell you something”

“Did you get robbed?”

“No, I didn’t go to KCA”

“What?”

“Yes, I went to Visions Institute”

“Really? And where did you get the extra money”

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

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

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

Pic: Kenyanlist

 

Kero: The MP’s Nephew

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

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

“Hi, we have arrived”

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

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

“Which Total, which other building can you see opposite?”

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

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

“Yes, we have seen I&M Building”

All the way from Rongai

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

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

Stop laughing!

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

I did make it to I&M in one piece, with a bounce in my step, and Kero, short for Kerobin, aka Kelvin,our MP’s nephew, came into my life, for the first time, never to leave.

Now, Kero was a yo-yo in his own right. He had a red Ferrari jacket and shiny trousers with several guns and a 50 Cent impression at the back.He had this bewildered look about him, and the first thing he asked me was:

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

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

“Don’t worry, I will take you around Nairobi one of these days”

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

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

Makena

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

I bumped into her at Visions….and a new life started. Read about it here. 

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

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

I see a flash of tears in her eyes and she looks away fast. Tells me in a croaky voice to call her when I arrive.

“And keep the money safe” I am carrying cash. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Wee, no caps and sagged trousers allowed in here!”

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

I go to the office and proudly present my forms, passports and all the requirements till the clerk asks for the deposit slip and I stare at her. I thought they would take cash since I have arrived late and the bank near the entrance is already closed. She doesn’t heed to that and says I should go home and come back tomorrow.

Go back where? Home is a day away and you tell me to go home? I expected to sleep in the college hostels tonight and you tell me to go home?

” We have no hostels “

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

” Sorry about whoever said that, but we don’t have hostels “

I stare at her with my mouth.

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

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

© Booms Beat

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

“Hi Frankline…my name is Ann and I will be your host tonight”

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

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

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

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

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

PIC: Nairobi Half Life: www.hollywoodreporter.com

Throwback: 1983’s Laptop

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

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

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

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

Introducing 1983’s Portable LCD Computer!


Source: Yahoo

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

Blame these politicians for the terror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT. But politicians are to blame. Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think it’s because we are too divided.

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

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

I blame politics and the holding politicians.

God help Kenya.
Pic: How it started. 1998 bomb blast. Telegraph

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

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

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

10 Corporate Social Media Mistakes

You are likely well aware of how powerful social media channels have become for Corporates and Brands. When used correctly and mistake-free, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product.They can also harm your reputation, big time. Let us look at 10 Mistakes you are probably making on your Corporate Social Media efforts and how to avoid them:

1. Just plain boring.

Being boring could ‘kill’ your Social Media following. It will make people perceive your brand as a super duper boring brand. Therefore, you must think of some interesting content that can make people like it, comment on it as well as share it among their friends. Think out of the box or look for ideas in other brands’ circles so that you could come up with something more interesting of your own.

2. Overdoing Freebies!!

Using free gifts, cool contests and lucky draws to entice people to like your Facebook page may be a good idea. However, don’t overdo it. It will make your brand look like a sugar daddy who always like to give away freebies.

There is a saying, “you’ll harvest what you sow.” By overdoing the freebies marketing, you will get a lot of non-loyal fans who are there for your free stuffs only, and not because they love your brand’s products and services.

3. Going Totally Out Of Point!

Your Social Media theme must be closely related to your brand. It must reflect what your brand sells or market to the world. Always share content related to the things in your industry. If you sell shoes, your content should be about shoes and not about food or other things that are completely alienated from what your brand really is.

When it comes to business, stay focus. Funny, cute and unrelated stuffs, please stay away from it.

4. Lack of Interaction

There is only a one way speech and not a two way dialogue. Brands would just behave like news anchor persons disseminating information. And when people gave their feedback, only the positive ones stayed and the negative ones, banned. There is hardly any dialogue between the brand and the fans.

Social media is a two-way street. It can’t be just one person talking all the time. It’s a conversation. You need to be active on all platforms. Don’t just talk about yourself or only share your work. Post content that will generate discussions. Pay attention to the people in your network. In other words, show people you care about them, and not just yourself. You’d be surprised how this type of interaction pays off.

5. Advertisement Galore

Facebook gives your brand a personality or a voice in the social media world. Your brand speaks and interacts with your clients and prospects. You educate your fans on the benefits of your brand so that it would position your brand well in their minds.

Don’t constantly ask people explicitly through online offers and sales discounts; shouting them out in each and every single post of yours, to make people buy your stuff.

Educate, don’t hard sell.

6. Boss’ Birthday? No one Cares

No one cares whether today is your boss’, your boss’ father’s, your boss’ brother’s or your boss’ cat’s birthday? Talk business and give your clients what they are looking for in your page. People just want to know how your product or services is going to be of benefit to them.

If you have to share, don’t make it a ritual.

7. Not Monitoring your Social Media for Negative Comments…all Comments.

Monitor your social media regularly. Check all the comments, all the tags..etc. Negative comments can bring down the credibility of your brand. Hence you to constantly manage the brand reputation.

If the negative comments are proved to be genuine, it is ok not to delete or hide them as spam. You could simply publish your apology openly to the said user so that this will make others perceived your brand as honest and transparent. Who in the world has no flaws?

Sometimes you will get companies advertising on your Page or competitors putting nasty and untrue comments about your brand on your timeline. Put them in their place. Be alert. Block, Ban and Report!

8. Too Much Technical Jargon

By putting too much technical jargon or scientific terms is a bad strategy. It is not a PHD textbook, you know. And unless you want to make your fans and followers professors and doctors, refrain from using complicated jargon.

9. Tag or RT to Your Friends NOW!

Never ever try to ask people to tag their friends to your pictures. Worse still, don’t give them a specific number of friends to tag in order to exchange some kind of gifts from you. Tagging and RTing is good as it can increase the brand’s exposure virally but let them do it out of their own wish.

It is very irritating when that funny “spammy” picture just appears in your profile page without your permission. I block the company’s facebook page immediately.

10. Not Taking Advantage of The Bio

The first item for visitors to spot on A social media page is the bio(About on Facebook). You must complete this section with vital information, like location and website [URL]. It should look interesting, too. Have a little fun with it. If you’re creative and interesting, it will give more of an incentive to follow or like you.

What other mistakes do you think Companies do with their Social Media? Add in the comments section below.

KIDS AND THEIR CLASS ANSWERS

I adore babies, I really do. So, when my times comes, I will have a dozen
I dislike viral forwarded messages on email, text, WhatsApp and wherever. So, if you send me such a message and tell me to forward “to get blessings”, I won’t.
But when the forwarded message is about kids, and it is really fun or helpful, I get that juxtaposing feeling. Bitter sweet. I received this message via WhatsApp and I think I hear a rib crack! A couple of jokes about kids’ answers in class. They are old school, but, well, we are old school at heart.
See what I was laughing about:
Children Are Quick and Always Speak Their Minds
____________________________________ 

TEACHER:    Maria, go to the map and find North America . 
MARIA:         Here it is. 
TEACHER:   Correct.  Now class, who discovered America ? 
CLASS:         Maria. 
____________________________________   

TEACHER:    John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor? 
JOHN:          You told me to do it without using the tables. 
__________________________________________ 

TEACHER:  Glenn, how do you spell ‘crocodile?’ 
GLENN:      K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’ 
TEACHER:  No, that’s wrong 
GLENN:       Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.   

(I  Love this child) 
____________________________________________

TEACHER:   Donald, what is the chemical formula for water? 
DONALD:     H I J K L M N O. 
TEACHER:   What are you talking about? 
DONALD:    Yesterday you said it’s H to O.   
__________________________________ 

TEACHER:   Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago. 
WINNIE:       Me! 
__________________________________________ 

TEACHER:   Glen, why do you always get so dirty?                 
GLEN:          Well, I’m a  lot closer to the ground than you are.   
_______________________________________ 

TEACHER:     Millie, give me a sentence starting with ‘  I.  ‘ 
MILLIE:         I  is… 
TEACHER:     No, Millie…… always say, ‘I  am.’ 
MILLIE:         All right…  ‘I am the ninth letter of the alphabet’       
________________________________ 

TEACHER:    George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn’t punish him? 
LOUIS:           Because George still had  the axe in his hand……     
______________________________________   

TEACHER:    Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating? 
SIMON:         No sir, I don’t have to, my Mom is a good cook. 
______________________________ 

TEACHER:       Clyde , your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your brother’s.. Did you copy his? 
CLYDE   :         No sir, It’s the same dog.     

(I want to adopt this kid!!!) 
___________________________________ 

TEACHER:    Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested? 
HAROLD:     A teacher 

Day made? I bet.

50 Life Lessons: Be a Better You!

We should always work to be better people. We have the tools, and they shouldn’t be wasted. How you decide to become a better person is up to you. It may mean being a better spouse, parent, sibling, son, or daughter. Perhaps it means being a better provider, a better employee, or a better employer. No matter what it means to you, it means work. One should not shy away from the work that it takes to improve as a person.

That said, here are 50 simple lessons to becoming a better you I collected for you from here:
 

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s okay to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s okay to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. 

40 Entrepreneurship Lessons From World’s Billionaires

Here is a collection of quotes from the World’s biggest entrepreneurs-Billionaires. Valuable advice for start ups:
1.      “For me, businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you don’t like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take another. Don’t like that one? They’ll just keep coming. There’s no end to buses or businesses.”
          Sheldon Adelson
2.      “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.”
          Ingvar Kamprad
3.       “I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
          Elon Musk
4.       “If you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe in an easy way through’’.
          Isabel dos Santos
5.       “Whether you’ve found your calling, or if you’re still searching, passion should be the fire that drives your life’s work.”
          Michael Dell
6.      “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”
          John D Rockefeller
7.      “Getting the job done has been the basis for the success my company has achieved.”
          Michael Bloomberg
8.      “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
          Steve Jobs
9.      “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
          Mark Zuckerberg
10.   “Loyalty is not won by being first. It is won by being best.”
Stefan Persson
11.    “There has to be a balance in life. A balance of business, family, and the opportunity to learn and teach.”
          Chuck Feeney
12.    “If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small.”
           Azim Premji
13.    “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
          Richard Branson
14.    “You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
          Ted Turner
15.   “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.”
           Mark Cuban
16.    “If I’m going to do something, I do it spectacularly or I don’t do it at all.”
          Al-Waleed bin Talal
17.    “When there is a crisis, that’s when some are interested in getting out and that’s when we are interested in getting in.”
          Carlos Slim Helu
18.    “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
          Bill Gates
19.   “Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.”
          Donald Trump
20.   ‘‘No action is too small when it comes to changing the world… I’m inspired every time I meet an entrepreneur who is succeeding against all odds’’.
          Cyril Ramaphosa
21.   “Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.”
          J. Paul Getty
22.   “Vision is perhaps our greatest strength… it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown.”
          Li Ka-Shing
23.   “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
          Andrew Carnegie
24.   “What other people label or might try to call failure, I have learned is just God’s way of pointing you in a new direction”
          Oprah Winfrey
25.   “Don’t think you are unstoppable or foolproof. Don’t think that the only way your business will work is through perfection. Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for success.”
          Eike Batista
26.    “Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.”
          Tony Hsieh
27.   “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
          Henry Ford
28.   “If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.”
          Jeff Bezos
29.    “I think in business, you have to learn to be patient. Maybe I’m not very patient myself. But I think that I’ve learned the most is be able to wait for something and get it when it’s the right time.”
          Bernard Arnault
30.    “After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.”
          Aristotle Onassis
31.    “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”
          H. Ross Perot
32.    “In Life, you don’t get anywhere or do anything you hope to without some sort of sacrifice’’.
          Stephen Saad
33.   “I think that our fundamental belief is that for us growth is a way of life and we have to grow at all times.”
          Mukesh Ambani
34.   “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.”
           Larry Ellison
35.   “Failure is not the outcome – failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
          Sara Blakely
36.    “I’ve never chased money. It’s always been about what I can do to motivate and inspire people.”
          Tyler Perry
37.   “I feel like in a world where we all try to figure out our place and our purpose here, your passions are one of your most obvious guides.”
          Nick Woodman
38.   “Hard work certainly goes a long way. These days a lot of people work hard, so you have to make sure you work even harder and really dedicate yourself to what you are doing and setting out to achieve.”
          Lakshmi Mittal
39.    “I realized that in a lot of failures, there are a lot of opportunities.”
          Clive Palmer
40.   “High expectations are the key to everything.”
          Sam Walton

Pic Source: Harvey Mackay | More Start Up Advice: Addicted2Success 

MCashBook: The Ultimate M-Pesa Application.

In a world of hundreds of Thousands of Android applications, I have ‘discovered’ an Application that is actually relevant … that works for me.

M-Pesa is arguably the greatest innovation of our time, a revolution in mobile banking. Any banking has to have a trail, though-bank statements, a transaction history, among other reports. M-Pesa has been lacking these, and sometimes all you have to show for your transaction is an SMS-which you may lose! Granted, Safaricom Self care is now solving some of these, at least you can now get your statement. But that’s still basic!
This is where M-CashBook comes in! M-Cashbook is a mobile phone application intended for M-PESA mobile money transfer users in KENYA, designed to help you keep and easily view your MPESA transactions-even if you lose the MPESA confirmation SMS messages.
MCashBook will automatically save your MPESA transactions on your phone immediately the MPESA confirmation message is received by your phone. Transactions that were previously done prior to installation of MCashBook on your phone and are still in your inbox can be scanned and saved by the application. MCashBook will also enable you to backup all your MPESA messages in your inbox to an excel file that you can transfer by bluetooth or email to your PC. 
So, MCashBook can be used by both MPESA users and MPESA agents to keep,manage and backup their MPESA transactions.
Some of the features it boasts include:
  • Backup SMS messages. 
  • Export MPESA transactions to excel. 
  • Organise transactions into different categories. 
  • Create reminders. 
  • Scan messages for and retrieve MPESA messages. 
  • Group transactions into categories i.e. Deposits, Withdrawals, Bill payments e.t.c
  • Handles both MPESA client transactions as well as MPESA Agent transactions. 
  • Summary and transaction details reports.
I have tried all these, and yes! It works perfectly! 
What’s more-it is FREE!
Download it here: SAFARICOM APP STORE or SAMSUNG APPS
M-Cashbook has a phenomenal 4.5/5.0 rating on Samsung…I give it 6.0/5.0.  🙂

Witty & Intelligent HR Questions & Answers

Witty…funny…just as I like them. Had to share:
Here are some of the typical HR questions asked to find out if the candidates have “out of box” thinking capability

Question 1:
“What will you do if I run away with your sister?”
The candidate who was selected answered ” I will not get a better match for my sister than you, sir.”

Question 2:
Interviewer: He ordered a cup of coffee for the candidate. Coffee arrived and was kept before the candidate, then he asked “What is before you?”
Candidate: Instantly replied “Tea” and got selected.
(You know how and why did he say “TEA” when he knows very well that coffee was kept before him?.
Answer: The question was “What is before you U? (-alphabet). Reply was “TEA” T (- alphabet).
Question 3:
You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it’s raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:
An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
An old friend who once saved your life.
The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing very well that there could only be one passenger in your car?
This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.
* You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; * or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to ! pay him back. *
However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again…
The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. Guess what was his answer?
He simply answered:
“I would give the car keys to my Old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams.”
Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to “Think Outside of the Box.”

Question 4:

The interviewer asked the candidate “This is your last question of the interview. Please tell me the exact position of the center of this table where u have kept your files.”
Candidate confidently put one of his finger at some point at the table and said that this was the central point at the table. Interviewer asked “how did you decide that this is the central point of this table?”, then he answers quickly that “Sir you are not supposed to ask any more question, as it was the last question as you promised …..
And hence, he was selected as because of his quick-wittedness.
This is what Interviewer expects from the Interviewee..

Pledge to Plant a Tree – Twestival Nairobi 2013.


Warren Buffet once said : Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. 

Let’s face it-The quest for a super skyline is destroying our Greenline. Unless someone does something NOW, the coming generations will be living in a ballast forest-so to speak. Imagine Nairobi without trees….and the title we all love- The Green City in The Sun gets lost. 


“The cost of planting and maintaining one seedling is Sh.200. Donate to this cause via M-pesa 89857 #PAWA254


We wouldn’t love that, I would abhor imagining that! And that’s why I have to tell you this:


Twestival Nairobi seeks to raise funds to assist the Nairobi Greenline, a KWS – KAM project to protect the Nairobi National Park by planting and taking care of at least 750 seedlings, online and offline. The climax of this all will be on the PAWA 254 rooftop on the 22nd November 2013 from 6pm. ” The seedlings will be planted on the 23rd November 2013 and will go a long way in ensuring that the 30km long, 50m wide forest of indigenous trees shielding the Nairobi National park from our growing metropolis target is achieved “


There are various ways you can help achieve this noble target:

a)      Send monetary donations to MPESA BUY GOODS TILL NUMBER 89857
b)     Attend the fundraising event at Pawa 254 on November 22nd from 6pm. 
c)       Purchase merchandise to support the cause. Merchandise can be ordered online or bought during the event.
d)      Email twestivalnbo@vancemuriu.com to partner with Twestival as an individual, a corporate or brand. 
e)      Join in the tree planting exercise on Saturday 23rd November 2013. 

For more details:

Visit nairobi.twestival.com for more details. 
Twitter: @TwestivalNBO.
—————————–

 TWESTIVAL is the largest social media fundraising initiative in the world. It’s a movement that uses social media for social good, empowering communities around the world to organize one-of-a-kind offline events in support of a greater local cause of their choice. All events are 100% volunteer run, and all proceeds go directly to the projects.

7 Tips for Successful Business Social Media.

Last week, I commemorated (not really, just nominally) my year in Corporate Social Media. I now feel like a guru! I believe I now know a thing or two about Social Media to “write a credible academic journal”-or not. Corporate Social Media and personal social media activities are the same. You adopt your industry current and swim along. Only that you can’t Retweet some stuff. 

Let me share with you the following tips that I have learnt over time. Tips for successful business social media activity:

1. Use your Personal Voice

People want to communicate with an individual, not a business entity. Keep all of your posts in a personal voice. This way, people will respond to you as a person.
Don’t be flat, or Robotic. Be personable.

2. Provide Information.

Each of your tweets has to have a purpose. It has to provide information about relevant topics in your area. People want to engage social media accounts that provide useful information. I read somewhere, and I totally agree, that only 20% of your social media activity should be self-promotional.

In Social Media, stand for something and become an authority in it.

3. Know your audience and engage it.

We all want to reach everyone with our posts. That’s not very possible if you want Point 2 to hold. Know what your key demographic is and who you are going after, then create and design your content specifically for them. Keep them engaged, or you will lose it all.
Relate with your audience. 

4. Connect Individually

Social Media is about interaction.  If someone tags you in a post or tweet, try your best to comment back when possible. This will help build a direct relationship with the individual. You want a personal connection. This is why you need to engage your audience by sharing articles of interest and talking about issues that are important to you and your customers. Something else that works: Greet them by name.
Respond to your followers and engage your audience. It’s ‘Social media,’ remember!

5. Be Honest

Are customers complaining? Are you running a social media campaign? Stay transparent. This way, your customers are going to look favorably on you and it adds to your credibility. Don’t overhype something and then the customer feels short-changed. 
Be frank. 

6. Use Hashtags

Hashtags turn words into hyperlinks that connect with all the other folks using that same term on the Social Media platform. Twitter has been known for hashtags, but now Facebook and Google + are in the mix. They are a great way to engage with a broader audience of people talking about the same topics. This helps draw attention to it, and is more likely to connect you with your target audience. 
Hashtags connect you to your audience. Be relevant. Don’t overdo them.

7. It’s never too serious

Remember Point 1? Because you are tweeting for a business doesn’t mean that it’s all business. Post/tweet fun photos and quotes. Make your timeline interesting! You can create a viral post too! And you know what normally goes viral-fun!

All work and no play in social media makes you a boring corporate.

Something else that works for you? Share it with all of us in the comment section below.

365 Ways of Becoming a Millionaire (Without being born one)

Some time ago, I used to attend one of those highly successful evangelical churches in Nairobi. One day, the Pastor gave an example of how he had had a visit from a young man who wanted his help publishing a book. He had already written the book, “How to Make Money”. Now, our pastor refused to fund the project. Why? This young man wanted the pastor to “give him money” to publish a book on “how to make money!” He simply told him to apply the principles he had written in his book to make the money he needed to publish the book.

And I agreed with him. There are several inspirational books in the stores, all showing people how to make money, how to be successful, how to be happy, how to achieve your dreams….and the what not. They are great books, by the way, and they may help you…but then you notice the writer is not enjoying what he wants you to enjoy himself!

Before reading a non-fiction book, I like looking at the background-the author- to see if the theme sits well with what he stands for. Real life experiences are the best ways to study. The author, Brian Koslow is the founder and president/CEO of Breakthrough Coaching, Inc., a company that provides business training to professionals who aspire to become top earners in their fields. He was a millionaire by the time he was thirty-one – I still have some way to go, so, I reckoned he could assist me.

When I came across this book- 365 Ways to become a Millionaire (Without Being Born One), the title resonated very well with me. I wasn’t born a Millionaire and I don’t expect to inherit millions, but I want to be one! And there are 365 ways to become one? Wow. I expected 365 ideas that could generate millions, and I was ready to try some. However,  It won’t show you how to trade in the Stock Exchange, start up the next Google, or be a great real estate investor. No! Far from it. Basically, the book’s premise is that with your very positive, opportunity-seeking, desirable self you’ll bump into enough to have that million rub off on you.

The keys to real success, says Koslow, can be found within. Factors such as mindset, attention to detail, and a strong sense of ethics, are among the most important elements. In 365 Ways to Become a Millionaire, Koslow uses a lighthearted style to divulge inspirational and practical advice — the very strategies, tactics, and unique insights that made him a millionaire. The result is a serious, yet accessible guide for anyone who wants success in whichever field, whatever position.

Through 365 practical and philosophical tips, Koslow shows people how to build a mindset for success and turn their wealth-building aspirations into reality. These are in the main aspects of Integrity, Credibility, Leadership, Relationship, Reputation, Negotiation, Money, Entrepreneurialism, Productivity, Time, Listening & Confrontation.

Every Page has something to learn and quote! Actually, I would recommend one buying the book and reading a nugget every morning, reflect on it, and at the end of the day, you will realize you have gone some steps ahead.

In particular, among several others, I took home these points:

  •  Circumstances are not a valid excuse for lack of performance. If you cannot confront and overcome your circumstances, your performance will suffer. 
  • Be anchored to some ideal, philosophy, or cause that keeps you too excited to sleep
  • Being highly committed to making more money will make you more money
  • If you would not volunteer to do the job you have, you are probably doing the wrong job
  • Always keep your word. If a change in circumstances means that keeping your word would be life threatening or otherwise devastating, renegotiate with the intent of maintaining your integrity
  • Your integrity is at stake when your actions don’t match your words, moreover, your reputation, credibility and relationships are at stake too.

These are some of the things you will read in this book. Insightful, huh? I finished it feeling like I had all it takes to be a billionaire! I grew a few feet!

Conclusion:

If you want to learn practical ways of living a successful life, the normal way, by all means buy, read and enjoy the book.
If you want more focused advice, on how to Get Rich Fast, try something else! 

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.


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    THE ART AND SCIENCE OF MEMES

    Watch your Facebook or Twitter TimeLine for a minute…There! You saw a meme, right? Some go viral, and a lot more get stifled under the pressure of the largely capturing ones.

    Memes are one huge way of building exposure in Social Media- a creative meme is sure to garner you lots of attention, get your point across in a funny way, and get you the engagement you crave for.

    But what is a meme? How would you define a meme? How would you use a meme? What’s the difference between an excellent meme, an average meme and a bad meme? How many types of memes are there? How did they evolve? How do you structure each type? Where do you share your meme?

    Well, here is an infographic by Mozy that breaks all this down for you.

    Book I Read: DELIVERING HAPPINESS: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

    I read books, always. As you read this, I most probably have an open book. But, up to now, I haven’t read a book that has resonated with my mind the way this book by Tony Hsieh (read Shay) – the easily admirable CEO of Zappos.

    This book is divided into 3 sections. The first part follows Hsieh’s entrepreneurial adventures from when he was young, for example his attempt to start an earthworm breeding business at the age of 9, a mail order button business in middle school, and a grille at Harvard University. After college, Hsieh founded LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft for $265 million two years later. He founded Venture Frogs, an investment fund, of which Zappos was one of the investments. The second section, Profits and Passion, details Hsieh’s involvement with Zappos, beginning with joining the company full-time as CEO in 2000. The third section, Profits, Passion, and Purpose, covers Zappos sale to Amazon, as well as lessons Hsieh learned in public relations and public speaking.

    At first, Tony just worked as an intern in software company, and he also worked at Oracle, but later he found that those jobs are boring. Then, he co-founded his first company, LinkExchange, an internet service about online advertising.. In that time, Google Adwords had not been so popular. The idea was, a website could sign up for LinkExchange service, put some banner in their website, and whenever a visitor clicked on that banner, the website would get some credit which would be used to promote it on other websites too. At that time, what Tony thought was just to build a large network of these link exchanges and then sell the company to bigger companies at a profit, remembering that theoretically, they didn’t spend too much on initializing this startup.

    The company became bigger and bigger, and Tony received some offers to buy his company (including from Yahoo), but he still didn’t want to sell it. Later, he found that the company became boring too, all of his work became routine, which he wanted to avoid in his previous jobs in Oracle. So, he sold the company to Microsoft for $265 million.

    After selling his company, Tony became an investor for other startups, especially technology startups. This is how Zappos came to be. It was initially Nick Swinmurn idea, in which he saw a huge market for footwear. He imagined that it would be a lot easier for customers to just choose shoes they wanted from the internet. He made shoeunite.com, which later changed to Zappos. Tony, thyrough his investment company saw potential in Zappos…backed it, eventallly becoming the CEO and there has never been looking back.

    It explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and others.

    Check out Zappos’ Core Values…like no other.

    Deliver WOW Through Service
    Embrace and Drive Change
    Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
    Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
    Pursue Growth and Learning
    Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
    Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
    Do More With Less
    Be Passionate and Determined
    Be Humble

    Tony Hsieh, former investor and now CEO of Zappos, explains how important it is to establish a core-value-based organization, and to hire new talent who are purely in sync with those values.Have you heard of any other company t pays new employees to quit and makes customer service the entire company, not just a department.

    Hsieh understands the power of going beyond what’s expected, particularly in our ever increasing word of mouth world.  People talk about that which surprises and delights them, and meeting unrecognized needs is sure to do both.  It’s not a matter of doing the minimum, but of doing the maximum that leads to long term success.

    Business success for this generation (both for the individual and the organization) will go to those who understand their strengths, build a culture around it, and use that culture as a framework to exploit every opportunity to delight their customer.

    SO: If you are looking for inspiration about how to live before you die… this is a MUST READ.

    Want ‘Free’ Information? Pay me.

    Be nice, Share information

    I once wrote a rather historical-informative article for a company blog. Now, it required information from either books, or people who had been in the organization for long. You know, to provide me with the milestones and important dates for the organization. I dug in the archives and got little such information-so I had to resort to the latter-people.

    As always, they were very helpful. That organization  is one where teamwork and ‘community’ is embedded. I got information, and where they could not help, they would refer me to someone who was likely to have the information. Most pointed to someone who has been around for some time. Their father figure.

    So I talked to him. And got shocked.

    “Why should I help you do something for your own benefit? When you write that story there will be nothing for me, all the accolades will go to you. So, I am sorry I can’t help. I don’t work that way”

    To say I felt dejected is an understatement. Why did he have to behave that way? What’s in such information, anyway? It is common knowledge, and you have nothing to lose, so why, hold such information? It’s for the benefit of the organization. So, why hold it?

    It reminds me of the 2009 Kenya National Census which I took part in. Two homes bluntly refused to be enumerated. Why? Because I was being paid to talk to them and they were not being given anything? So? One old lady even asked for a bribe.

    Why do you refuse to assist when you can? This is one very bad trait. There are people who outwardly appear friendly, decent colleagues but inwardly are withholding information, playing dumb, and looking to gain any minimal advantage. For example – A software which is relatively straightforward to use, but might be a little clunky to use – Colleagues will give you no hints, tips pointers, overview. They won’t give you the real knowledge to get the job done well – whereas its bare minimal information, with nothing to lose!

    Assisting others helps develop a reputation as a team player. This altruism also can enhance individual feelings of worthiness, competency, and belonging.

    When that student comes to interview you to complete their college research work, why not help them? Or the intern/new employee looking for their way around, why withhold the information they need?

    And there is the stranger who asks you for direction.

    These are some of the basic qualities of being a human being. You never know where you will meet them tomorrow.

    7 Social Media Tips for Business

    One of the things I do is Corporate Social Media. Over time, I have read a lot of articles on Social media use in business and tried all those rules. My university thesis was on the use of Social Media in the organization. My experience ( both theoretical and practical) is that to succeed in Social Media, there are certain aspects you should keep in mind.

    Flow with Me:

    1. Post Relevant stuff

    The social sites have grown and changed from those first days of posting things like “I am eating Omena” You need to start posting more relevant information. Make it about your readers and followers, not about you. Post solutions, inspiration, and interesting facts that can be useful and helpful.

    2. Use the available tools and features

    What’s the newest feature on Facebook this week? Social sites changing and tweaking daily with more tools and features than ever before. Note all these tools (and keep yourself up to date on what’s happening) and learn to use them for the benefit of your followers and your business.

    3. Go Visual

    Did you know that pictures are the most widely used and shared method of posting on Facebook? That the most Retweets are generated by image tweets? Marketing is going visual and you need to do the same. Embed text and your business info in relevant graphics to post. When people share your images you want them to see your website link or other relevant info.

    4. Social Media Customer Service

    Social media customer service just checked in! That’s the primary reason Bata (manufacturing), Safaricom (telecom), Kenya Power (parastatal) and Red Cross (NGO) are in Social Media! No matter what business you are in, you cannot provide solutions to all your clients’ needs. Be willing to post links, information and resources of other businesses that can help your clients where you cannot.

    5. Your Analytics has a purpose, use it.

    Your Facebook page has an Insights section for a reason. Review your analytics regularly to see what is working and what isn’t. Are people visiting one social site more than others? When are people visiting your pages? Find out everything you can from your results. You can learn a lot from your analytics but you must utilize them to reap the benefits.

    6. Connections first, Sales later.

    Social media generates sales. It is one of the things I do-sell online. But..use your social media pages to connect with your potential customers not for sales. You want to use social media to share information, respond to questions and comments and to showcase what your business is about. You don’t want to continually bombard your social sites with sales pitches and ads. Help your followers find solutions, do not pitch to them. Then sales will come rushing to you.

    7. Concentrate on Fewer Social Sites

    Concentrating your marketing efforts to a few of the better producing sites is more effective than spreading yourself too thin over many of the social sites. The time it takes to successfully participate in social media is substantial so you need to build a strong presence on the sites that deliver rather than trying to dominate them all.

    Have I forgotten something? Hit the Comment button below.

    6 Things you Must do to be Effective.

    What does it take to stand out as an effective person?

    The other day, we had a sit-rep (that’s military lingo for unofficial inter-flow meetings) with Christine (you probably know her as MrsMwiti). Now, if you have had a chance to visit her blog, you will be mystified by the wisdom that she oozes. What’s more, she is my official mentor. We sit-rep all day at work. Call me lucky.

    Now, the other day, we had a meeting, and the topic of discussion was Personal Branding- that is, how I can brand myself, how to be really effective, productive….. how to be perfect at workplace.

    We came up with the following points:

    1. Write things down

    Christine emphasizes this to me, always. She had told me to get a get a diary for 6 months, and I kept, well postponing. I had this book where I used to write my stuff, and it was a huge excuse I had-I would even write the date at the top daily. One day, she just brought me a diary- and I am better! You see, a diary makes you more focused, helps you plan and grow. It helps you gather your thoughts, hold yourself accountable and helps you not forget, even the small important things.

    This is age old. When you write things down, you can’t forget. I have learnt to write a to-do list every morning, but Christine told me I need a Not-To-Do list. This helps you have the things you ought to do at the back of your mind, and in view. It helps you know your priorities-what you must do ASAP,what you can do later, what you can do if time remains, and what you won’t do! Go back to pint one-those are the benefits.

    2. Always Respond to communication, ASAP

    You receive an email or a phone or a message on social media from a workmate, or a customer. You need to respond! Even if it’s just to say ‘Noted’. This lets the other person know that you have received the message, and now, the ball is in your court. It makes them satisfied and earns your brand a point or two. When someone addresses you, kindly respond. Let that person know that you heard him. This is common courtesy. This alone will set you apart from others who routinely say nothing, but stare blankly into space.Responding to people is just another way of showing them that they matter. Believe it or not, some customers will determine how much business they will bring to your place of employment based on how well you treat them.

    Urgency is also a virtue here. You need to do what needs to be done immediately.

    3. Build the reputation you want with people 

    People see what you want them to see in you-and they will treat you that way. For example, in my work line, I depend on other people to fulfill most of the duties. If I don’t pester (oops! Follow up on my teammates, I will build a reputation of “Frank’s work is not so urgent, he doesn’t follow up, so, let me push it down my to-do list” and I will be grounded. Or if I don’t do my part of the bargain, they will say “He doesn’t do my work well, so, I won’t do his well”. In a nutshell, the golden rule applies. Attitude for attitude, respect for respect.

    4. Be dependable

    Christine tells me, Always deliver. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but just deliver. Be dependable. By your actions, show people that they can depend on you, and that you keep your commitments. Arrive to work on time, return phone calls, and perform tasks on time—remember that simple commitment is important, too.

    In addition, no matter what you are assigned to do, strive to achieve a consistent level of quality and excellence. Be known for performing tasks well all the time.

    5. Interact, Be Up-To-Date.

    You need to know what is happening around you. Get the broad picture (national, global view) and the local view (your workplace, departmental view). Read news daily, keep learning. You can get news on the internet, papers, books.. and most importantly, people! Grapevine is very important for growth. It doesn’t always have to be useless gossip. Milk information from people, pop into conversations if you have to-it’s a gold mine. Just don’t look snobbish. 🙂
    In summary:

    • Know what your tasks are and accomplish them well. Prepare a to-do list if you must to ensure that nothing will slip through the cracks. Your checklist will help you keep track of the things you have to work on.
    • Be a good teammate. The office works like a machine with many parts. If one part does not function well, the entire machine will not work well. Participate in all activities. Cooperate. Do your part of the job, and do it well. Always keep in mind that there are people depending on you. Don’t let them down. Be dependable.
    • Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it.
    • Avoid procrastinating. Do not delay performing tasks which you can work on today. Be proactive.
    • Keep learning new things. There’s always something new to explore and learn about. Learning new things will help enrich your knowledge and capabilities even more.

    Pic Source: Inside Facebook

    This list is not exhaustive. Add your tip in the comment section below.

    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.

    Relationship Advice: Men Need Space!

    Men need space in love
    Pic source: SBM

    The other night, I received a call from my friend’s girlfriend (It’s complicated, now-I will tell you why), she called me at around 8:00 pm as I was reading a novel, waiting for my broth to cook. THAT MOMENT! She is a jovial person, and calls to say hi, or tease me.

    Not today. She was sobbing, that struck me. “Frank, uko wapi (where are you)?” No greetings.

    I told her I was in the house, and she asked if I was busy. Well, I was, but given the situation, I said, “It depends” to which she said she had to see me “now“. Friends, what would you have done? What would you have thought? A thousand thoughts crisscrossed my mind. The most prevalent was on the premises of death, or some calamity.

     So, I just turned off the cooker and went out to meet her. It was late, and the trail is not so safe, and she was out there, coming to me. I just touched my Bible, put on a jacket, and left the house.

    So I met her. She was crying. Sobbing loudly.

    Too much for the suspense. I told her to tell me what was going and she got started, chattering how she had met her boyfriend ( that’s my friend, let’s call him Fred), the whole story, how she has never loved anybody like him, how they were so different but strong love bonded them, how they had SMSed each other the previous day (she showed me, some sweet lovey dovey nothings), and all those, 30 minutes.

    “But since yesterday, he has been unavailable on the phone”. The bombshell was on the way, “but when I called him a few minutes ago, a girl picked up the phone and told me she is Fred’s wife, and that I should never call the number at night again, or EVER!”

    At that point, she was getting hysterical and passers by were staring at us. I felt embarrassed, but relieved. This was no bad news!

    So, I now assumed the Dr. Phil role, and found out that “We have not been having any problems lately, as you could see from yesterday’s SMS” and “he was mteja all day, and when the phone went through, I called more than ten times without him answering, finally the girl answered” I figured out that the guy had no wife, or anything close, he had gone looking for some ‘wife’ to answer the phone! Genius!

    I even called him, and he told me so himself, that he was just tired. And I figured out something else, THE GUY NEEDED SPACE! Shoot me.

    If a guy feels you are too demanding in the relationship, that you are mother-henning him, that you are nagging him, he will start clamoring for space! Especially if he has some ego problems he want to solve. Fred has been out of contract at work, and he is really feeling down. And that she had told him the previous day, not to worry about that, that things will be Okay. That he will get a renewal, and if he needed anything, she would be there to help. Kaboom!

    And I told her, give him space! Don’t call him, he will call you back, and we can bet on that!

    See, a man with issues is a difficult one to understand. At times his mind will get so foggy that he can’t see or think clearly, in other words, the path he was once on is no longer visible, there may be a ton of issues that’s on his mind including his relationship with you. His way of solving his issues is to first begin with the present, which is his significant other. He will ask for space, (understand that he’s not shutting the door on your relationship, he’s just merely pushing it in a bit with hopes of returning), at this time he will utilize his time alone to prioritize and sort through what’s badgering him, it may take a couple weeks, a month or moreregardless, if you feel that he is someone worth waiting for, then all you need to do is be confident, trust and have patience. Once he’s able to start solving his problems, the fog slowly starts to disappear which now makes the path he was once on VISIBLE again. This is when he will attempt to follow the path back to where he left off in hopes of you still being there. Asking for space is a risk that he is taking, it’s a risk of losing his significant other, but if you both had a strong relationship and you knew that you fulfilled each other in ways that no one else could, then there is a high possibility that his significant other will be waiting for him.

    Women are more open with their emotions, they are more sensitive, they love to talk things out when there is a problem, cry easily and tend to need reassurance at times. Men on the other hand are more reserved with their feelings, it’s never up for discussion, being pressured to talk does nothing but push them away and even if they are heartbroken, they keep it to themselves. Men cope with emotions differently, men will probably say things to their significant other that may be hurtful, when in reality they don’t intentionally mean to hurt you, they do this in hopes that it will be the end of the conversation at that very moment, deep down they are probably hurting inside just as much as you are, but they just don’t know how to let that feeling out especially when they feel pressured.

    Am I right, or wrong?

    SMALLWIG TURNED- BIG: VIDEO

    My friend is on TV! I am from a village, so, my type of friends and I find it very hard to appear on TV- unless it’s a wedding video.

    Just kidding, I know Bigwigs, too!

    When I met Kay-eye, it was our first day at my place of work, you know, we were all fresh faced, and in full suits and ties( that is, before the suits were discarded) and we clicked on first site. I’d have said love, but that’s gay. Hehe

    Kay Eye is a musician. I raised eyebrows and dropped them. We are all musicians, right? We sing in the bathroom, and whenever we go upcountry, we attend local church/ youth concerts-and show them what we got from the city. So, my eye brows remained down, till he gave me his Soundcloud and YouTube URLs.

    Man! I was in personal terms with a mighty celeb!

    Kay Eye is a wise guy, just spend thirty minutes with him, it will come down at you. So, I called him Egghead(search that up) and opened a Blog for him, called EGGHEAD, and told him to write his ideas there. Then I knew this guy would be great!

    You should visit the blog and read his poems, and philosophy.

    Back to music, all his salary went to the studio, he would be broke by Date 5. He grew dissatisfied with the work, as it didn’t accommodate his vast dreams. And he resigned!

    To make music, and freelance work. The guy is a mathematician. An experienced statician/ analyst to boot.
    So, I kept waiting for the video (I had already listened to the raw audio).

    First, he sent me a link to the video shoot, on Mombasa road. A very rugged guy almost beat him up, for stepping on him as he rapped away. Those are the problems smallwigs face! Watch it here. I pitied the guy.

    Then the final video landed! The guy has moves, lines, and this creative sense I have not seen in Kenya! He is a mkamba, so, gangnam style yellow all over, he is jumping like a maasai, though.

    What’s more: Its Gospel!

    Watch the video, and drop a line of encouragement, or whatever, for my guy.

    Mourinho Made Ferguson Retire

    You know who I blame for Sir Alex Ferguson deciding it’s time to retire? Jose Mourinho.

    If you think that is absurd consider this: Mourinho’s return would present him with a challenge to knock Manchester United off their perch. Chelsea have been Premier League champions and they’ve been European champions. So what could Mourinho offer?

    Fergie has talked in a beautiful, endearing way about how he wants to be with his wife, who has supported him for years. It was emotional just listening to him.

    But for me the possible arrival of Jose back at Chelsea precipitated the end for the greatest manager English football has seen.

    A chance to take over from United permanently as the dominant force in the Premier League and Europe.

    Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho
    Real pain in the behind

    That is Mourinho’s challenge, should he choose to accept it, rather than messing around with pay-offs and financial issues. (If he loved Chelsea, money wouldn’t be a problem, surely?)

    Ferguson has every right to turn that challenge down. He is interested in football, not soundbites and enigmatic press conferences.

    He is also not interested in any touchline nonsense.

    The last time Mourinho was asked to end the dominance of another club was when he took over at Real Madrid. He had no chance of doing it with football, so he poked a coach in the eye, called Barcelona cheats, and left Pep Guardiola so disillusioned with football he gave up.

    If Mourinho is happy doing that to Guardiola, he won’t shirk from trying similar tactics with Ferguson.And the old man couldn’t take that-any more.

    Adrian

    SHAMED BY MY MP

    There is a TT dubbed #SomeoneTellLinturi regarding an MP who appeared in TV stations on Wednesday, whining in a rather accented voice that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission that deals with MPs and other Public Officials’ salaries had overstepped their mandate and called for the Commission’s wind up.

    Previously, MPs used to mug us, Taxpayers at gun point.  They would wantonly set their pay, and resist any tax on it, they drove huge cars-my sweat. A traditionally severely divided lot, they would speak in one voice during such discussions. At one point, only Karua and Peter Kenneth were against such a move.

    When they were ordered to pay taxes, they said they wanted more salary, so that the taxman can deduct that extra amount as tax, one said they were not gaining, it was a +1-1 math. Then a few of them decided to make it a publicity stunt, Queing at KRA to pay tax. It was ceremonial to them- to us, it’s a crime not to.

    Anyway, that is past.

    Only that the past is back to haunt us. The devil bearing it this time is my MP.

    I haven’t accepted him as my MP, whereas I wasn’t around, little birds tell me that he didn’t win fairly. Dead people rose to vote for him. IEBC official stamps were found somewhere in a bush. The man who was so vilified somehow won the election. Wonder where he got the votes-Don’t quote me.

    Now, seeing him talk like that, and #KOT telling him as they (we) do, I felt ashamed.

    Why do people have to be so greedy? Is it a curse unique to that house? Or is it a haunted house? We have seen several seasons of the Reality Show that is Kenyan Politics behave in exactly the same manner. Total disregard of the laws that be especially where their greedy, huge tummies are concerned.

    And why did my MP choose to be the King Pig? I feel the nudge to call him a few select words, but I leave that to Cabu Gah. 

    Friends, as it is now, I don’t have an MP.

    I don’t. I am not at home anyway.

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