Thursday, June 23, 2016

In Nairobi: Unfrozen by Love

Unfrozen by love

When I reminisce on high school days the bloodbath that used to precede examination periods comes top of the list. 
It used to be admirably crazy! 

People buried their foreheads in books. Some fell asleep next to books and some used them as pillows – well, I think, hoping osmosis would magically happen and they’d then wake up smarter than Einstein. Few renegades like me are the ones that found time to talk about girls and Chelsea – because both are great anyway. And don’t get me wrong here I lived for those days. The bloodbath days. This is when I because useful to everyone from cool kids to wanna-be cool kids and the comfortably and proudly dumberi kids. I would become like a ka-consultant explaining about moles and molar concepts, sines and cosines, why cold-hearted Odie never mourned his grandmother and why Wak was a prick for fleeing during war and how both lacked any Shreds of Tenderness, and things about ventricles and how Jesus heals the broken hearts. 

This was like meth to me or rather I got the vibe that Sherlock Holmes has when they tell him new dead bodies have been found. Invigorating!

But I never read much. I just knew those things because they were taught to me. Ok that’s a lie, I read my butt off just not as hard as most kids!

He’d ask, “Na wewe husoma lini?”

And I never had a definitive answer, “Mchana na sa zingine usiku”. Most of them were callous. Or sarcastic. 

“But si we hulala sana”. Erastus once told me.

Of course I used to sleep a little longer after the morning bell but hey a man needeth rest after those brain wrecking lessons about things I never asked to know about. Like who wants to know which ventricle pumps blood sijui to where? What if all I want in life is to be a fancy duck? Does a duck care about ventricles? Certainly not!

Those questions were from my form one mentee Erastus who I hope made it in life despite following my bad example. But I must reiterate that I wasn’t that bad. Ama what do you think? I mean I made it to the cream of the crop in my school, top in my village – standards were low there – and certainly almost top in the entire chain of villages two or three ridges away of where we lived –standards here were a little better than my village but again still low. And I sorta made it in life given I own some stuff here in Nairobi, about three sheep and a couple of cockerels in the village and the cashier at Equity Bank knows my name (I’ll edit this part when I make it for real).

Regardless, I was good in those things because I read them to pass and impress my old man and then go to college because they said there are pretty girls there and then to get money and wear #TMT hoods and wave to people from inside a V8 (then it was a Pajero but they aren’t fancy anymore) under my name. That’s pretty much it. 

PS: I have the TMT hood but not yet the V8. I’m taking donations. Ata I’ll take a used one if any of you want to upgrade to a Mercedez Maybach.

But there is one thing we had in common besides the pre-test bloodbaths – we rarely showered! (I can feel you’re already judging me but I’d wait if I were you). Why? You ask. Well because it was always freaking cold man. And I am determined to make a point and so I’ll say this, the only good thing about that place was the clean shots of happy trees under the morning fog that Mutua Matheka would consider orgasmic while pitching his photographic eye behind his heavyweight Canon camera. He’d have endless ‘In-the-wild’ shots that’d easily win you over as desktop wallpapers. (Ivy you need to check out this guy).

You know I have seen cold days in Nairobi. Today is particularly cold. And you should know this because you’ll hardly see those common belly buttons trotting down Moi Avenue or idling at Kenya Archives. They are hidden beneath impressive trench coats and meticulously knitted sweaters bought from ‘the guy’ at Ngara or Gikomba. Or Woolworths because not everyone cares about rational pricing nowadays. Talk of Kenya’s Yeezy collection! Actually at my financial state I can only buy a sweater at thao nne if it will also act as my PA on busy days and cuddle me on cold mornings.

I went to a high school in Kinangop. It gets as cold as twelve degrees there. That and the frozen water was more than enough reason to let the body clean itself naturally. See how you were wrong judging me? No? Okay try jump in the shower at 5 a.m. with water that spent the night outside and we’ll see if you’ll still remember your name after that. 

I was used to clenching teach beneath my boshori (Haha we used to wear those in form four – big baby style).

“What do you think of our school?” The principal asked me this one time I bumped into him behind the kitchen boiler. I was kinda new then.

“It sucks bigtime sir”. That’s what I thought of saying but instead I told him nice stuff he wanted to hear like how I loved (hated) waking up at 4.50 am to go read stuff I liked (hated) in the foggy weather.

Now Mr. Igogo if you’re reading this I have confessions to make. Firstly, that place direly needs heaters in classes, that’s why I lied when I said I enjoyed waking up early to go read. I mean nobody reads in such cold weather. Second those lunches are too heavy man! I haven’t forgotten those meditation sessions after lunch that almost made me a Buddha. Third, if you could be like Oprah Winfrey and get everyone a boshori that’d be awesome because someone stole mine this one time and I had to tie a kilemba for a whole week and you know I am not a mkorino. Never have been.
Now this article is beginning to suck because I loathe those imperfect memories.

Let’s talk something else. How are you guys fighting off the cold? Someone said such weather is survived in pairs. Like when one is making tea the other runs to get bread (this is a joke that has passed through all Kenyan WhatsApp groups including the one group I am in whose job is to notify us of developments in other groups that probably you’re in; yeah we are watching you guys). Or you’re using the usual method;

“Sasa”. The dude goes.

“Poa asana…niambie *smiley*”. The chic responds.

“Niko fiti. Ni baridi tu ndio mob *wink*”. The dude texts back.

I’m not sure how the script goes past that but you get it. 

CO - Words of Whimsy
And then there is the single’s battalion which I chair that has do to with lots of coffee and tea and trousers made from duvet materials. The number of clothes I wear to work nowadays can be used to start a ka-clothing stall downtown. If say I get kidnapped and end up in Zaire I will have enough stock on me to still make it big in life. Then you’ll see me in the papers or on the ‘daring abroad’ show having become a mtumba mogul by starting with a clothing stall and I will be married to a Zaire chic and you’ll say I am speaking with a funny accent because ata you don’t know the accent that Zaire people have. In short I carry a big part of my wardrobe with me nowadays. 

This is a good thing – the coffee part not the wardrobe – because I have ended up on a lot of ‘dates’ given there is no way I am drinking coffee alone there at Moca Loca with everyone staring pitifully. Now, I will marry you if you give me a call for a coffee date before July ends! There is this one I received on Wednesday;

Her: “Are you free we go for coffee in the afternoon?”

Me: (Wipes tear from check and stares in the sky and respond in a crackly voice) “I am always free”

Her: Are you crying?

Me: (Firmly) No. Ushai ona nikilia kweli? Niko na homa.

The date was heavenly.

(If you’re my friend and a random chic asks you if nilipona homa just say yes for me please).
Oh and if you’re a guy just hit me up we will go take calabash Uji at Highlands hotel and chat over football.

And before I go on, you people who go to places with sitting booths (which are a lot) and then sit alone in a booth and deny us who come in pairs space to chat peacefully your whip is being smeared with pepper by the devil. The whiplash will be heard by small boys all the way in Timbuktu and those grazing cattle in Morogoro.

Back to our story.

And I am not alone in the quandary of cold weather, I can count on all my fingers the people that I know are surviving on coffee and more coffee. Good thing is that over that Java double shot mug a flickering friendship is rekindled, over the Café Deli Dawa mug ending love is extended and over Uji in calabashes at Highlands business ideas are inspired. As we all chew on shiny sausages and crunchy samosas we extend more of ourselves to those around us. To the world. We are sharing the love and beating the cold.

We are being unfrozen by the love.


  1. dude, first of all... that's an exceptional read...
    am quenched my you play of words. i can only wish to be like you.

  2. Been meaning to check your blog....since I love your comments in bikozulu and I must say, that was so an awesome read. Inspiring funny and....where in Kinangop by the way? I think I will spend my Friday reading your blog over whiskey rather than spend it sitting at a booth with at my local.

    1. Oh look a new fan! Thanks for checking this blog out. I hope you enjoyed the rest of the articles as well. You can tell me which ones sucked too :) And you're sure you don't know Kinangop? Like foree? Come I'll take you there on a trip.