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!)
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”
“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!
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!
I did make it to I&M in one piece, with a bounce in my step, and Kero, short for Kerobin, aka Kelvin,our MP’s nephew, came into my life, for the first time, never to leave.
Now, Kero was a yo-yo in his own right. He had a red Ferrari jacket and shiny trousers with several guns and a 50 Cent impression at the back.He had this bewildered look about him, and the first thing he asked me was:
“Murume, when did you come to Nairobi? Were you born here?”
When I asked why, he said “From what I have seen and heard, to know Nairobi, one has to live here for at least ten years!”
“Don’t worry, I will take you around Nairobi one of these days”
But I was already wondering why the MP’s nephew looked so confused. He was with an uncle, who I assumed was the MP’s brother, equally confused. Someone joined us a few minutes later and the uncle told me to take the kijana to where I was staying, as he had some business to handle with the other guy. We were to look each other up the following day. That was my first let down, I had imagined with the MP’s DNA and money, I would have lunch at a Five Star Hotel, and get some pocket money. Now, this was becoming a thankless burden.
Kero, like me, was coming to KCA-the one with hostels. Within five minutes, I had convinced him to save the cash and join Visions…plus Duwano Hostel(At least with Duwano, I got a cool Sh. 500 introductory commission-the first money I made in Nairobi). I had become an instant influencer to my new fan.
Let’s drift abit. In high school, while I was in Form 2, I had a girlfriend in Form 4! Seriously. Her name was Makena and she was one of the best badminton players in the country, if the number of Nationals competitions appearances is anything to go by. Makena trained me how to treat girls. I would be stuck talking to her, always staring into space and keeping a distance. Makena taught me that I have to look into girls’ eyes when talking to them..that I should hold their hand in public, and hug them when we meet. We would walk hand in hand during school funkies, and eat biscuits under a tree at the farthest corner of the field. Once, a Form 4 who was interested in her almost gave me a beating after a funkie-she had snubbed her terribly in public and ran to me.We were in love! When she finished school that year, we lost all contact-she disappeared into thin air.
I bumped into her at Visions….and a new life started. Read about it here.