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?
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.
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!
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.