Lamu

On my first visit to Lamu;

I was picked at Manda Airport and tossed over the ocean in a boat. My first ever; I wore both excitement and fear, which I strapped tightly with an orange life jacket.

That evening I absentmindedly stared at couples seated between glowing restaurant lanterns listening to the soft ocean breeze, and I thought about the woman I loved.

I remember spending my last day – a Saturday – riveted to the allure of the oldest National Museum in Kenya which soaks in history dating as far back as the 12th century. Try as I might, I couldn’t absorb half of it by midday, and had to reluctantly leave.

My second,
third,
fourth visits, I can’t remember much. But I certainly can’t forget my most recent.

July 15th. I hurriedly shot off for an emergency mission as Mpeketoni Attacks tapered off. Tense, cold. Streets bare, and business at a zero. Religious fangs were out and an uneasy silence stooped over Lamu island.

I must have held my breath till I left. But not before visiting the mainland where pain had found a home. I wrote some accounts here.

On my last day, I took a walk in the island. Lots of construction using stone blocks, instead of coral was going on (stone blocks restricted after Lamu was declared a UNESCO heritage site). On my last day, I walked by a crowd surrounding a man lying prostrate – unconscious after a drug overload. Common scene.

As I hovered over the island, I stared out my airplane window thinking about a text message I’d received from my mainland volunteer translator two nights back: ‘there is a shoot-out happening outside. . . what do I do?’ 
I stared outside feeling like a spurned lover, nostalgic about good old days; wishing I could call them back. And lovingly gaze outside that window. With my woman.

It’s a year down since Mpeketoni Attacks.

Apology to my barber

Dear Barber,

Havn’t done this since we had that talk years ago.

I cheated on you.

Due to pressures of time and distance, I had to get it cut at a shop nearby to avoid the suspicion that I had joined a cult or something like that.

Am sorry. But not entirely.

See I landed in the hands of a female barber and I sort of liked her gentle ways. She nudged me here, gently pushed me there, and apologized each time she thought the machine has stroked me the wrong way. Oh with my head clasped in her hands, I kept my eyes closed the entire time. I mean what else would you do? For a moment, I wished I had hair like my friend Maich so she could shave and shave and shave. . or like the fairy in Rumpelstiltskin only mine isn’t golden.

She asks if I mind facial scrubbing. I tell her that I do. There was no way I could betray our brotherhood.

But immediately I get my scalp washed, she goes straight into some kind of head massage. No, she doesn’t even ask me this time.

I am offended.

But the way she knuckles me ever so gently down my spine, turns my head this way and that, then anoints me with some oil that only wafts freshness, I let her be. Not without protesting that this kind of stuff is alien bro.

My pleas sound like gibberish. She’s deaf to them. It goes on for about 5 minutes. Imagine! 5 LOOONG minutes!!

But wait.

Who am I kidding?

 

I kinda liked it man. .

So I may take a while longer before visiting you again bro,

15086965-cartoon-of-barber-cutting-hair

 

Lakini bado, tuko pamoja!

 

Edu ule mmoja.

Saturday night out fever-Bash II

This is part of a fictional story travelling across blogs. Part 1 here.

____

Delicately sashaying across the office, Tash could sense their drools. When she did eventually find her desk, she let the burgundy-coloured-purse drop, and turned this way to survey the aftermath. . .

The pairs of eyes following her submerged for a moment, and even though a bit disappointed that the guy from purchasing hadn’t arrived yet, she bent slightly to plug in her machine – her final dance of seduction.

Oh, I tell you she could have lived in that moment forever had it not been for the new office intern who awkwardly marched towards her – abruptly stopped – then hesitantly walked away.

Weird chap. . ,” she thought. Now a bit distracted, she noticed an upturned helm on the edge of her dress but quickly brushed her hand over, to straighten it, paused and then realized what had happened. “Oh no, this can’t be!”

“Yaani, of the hundreds who’ve been staring at me since morning, no one had the heart to tell me that my outfit was inside out?” It hurt her, bad. Her alchemy of emotions swinging between anger. pain. dejection. .  . as she sat on the cloakroom bowl sobbing. Her dignity, gone. The assailant, herself.

-x-x-x-x-x-x

Meanwhile Pato from IT and David the firm’s accountant were placing bets outside.

Unbelievably, not a single guy in the office had noticed that anything was amiss. They were drank with her perfume, and drowned under her spell. The contest at the moment was over who would take her home tonight.

“Lakini she kinda likes Maich (the guy from Purchasing) ama?”

“Yeah, and even though she has her moments, Tash is a church girl, she won’t come near our drinks tonight . .”

The conversation fizzles out the moment Maich strides into the entrance.

Just then, the ladies’ cloakroom door creaks open. .

24brllg

Damn. .

___

Next: Part 3        Part 4       Part 5

Outside my window

Jammed with traffic here. The sun is hitting my window at a confrontational angle
I turn the other way. .

Outside the window is a bus.. from my almer mater. Nostalgic memories already.

It’s certainly the 5 o’clock one to Athi River. As expected on a Friday evening, it’s just a handful students inside.

They’re probably international students; or some chaps with hot weekend dates – so hot they have to ride back. Who knows, there could be a few who havnt seen course notes this semester but have to prepare for exams coming next week.

But there’s also a gentleman in in a black suit seated right behind the driver. In his 40s, with a stuffed laptop bag on his laps. It’s bulging.

I wonder who he is, what’s he carrying?

If I walk over to the bus, I’d ask him; I’d tell those readying to study through the weekend that their chances of doing it are slim. But not slimmer than that chap by sitting by the window – alone. His nervous face is stuck on his phone, busy, oblivious of the hot sun.

It’s likely he has a date in campus tonight.
But it’s likely she’s Nairobi bound right about now. . Hehe. To find a less serious guy.

I’d tell him that his best chance is probably the lady glued to a novel just seats away. Make a move dude!

But traffic is easing up now, the sun is still poking me, and there are more important things to do, like writing this post . . .

Young Rich – Kitemoto Transcript

I stumbled upon Young Rich on a lazy day. Showing was a feature about bodaboda operators who had made a fluid entry into real estate. It glued me.

Since then I have re-watched it many times over, sharing it with co-workers, friends. . . because it challenges me! In it is a perfect model for chamas today.

One little problem showed up when the link crossed borders though. As it’s almost purely in Swahili, I’ve had to transcribe the whole 35 minutes of it :/ and insert subtitles in the hope that a certain investor would help fund a few youth groups here in Ke. Which is my point of writing this.

That it’s time for local content producers to cater for broader markets.  If we are to go global, our content must be scalable, not just by sharing it on multiple platforms, but preparing it in a way that makes global audiences consume it as well. Certainly subtitles and sign language will be a great way to begin, because you never know where your content lands!

Someday, this lose transcript may assist someone to better understand the message so I’ll leave it here. . .

Transcript below

Continue reading

Of Kenyans and ingenuity

I always dreamt of touring Kenya. Am living that dream. .

My trips take me to some of the most remote parts of this country. And it’s fascinating to see solutions to tackle everyday life:

1. Pimp my ride

Toy car

Toy car | Location: Lamu

2. Magic cable

In an area with no phone signal, one shop serves as the village  phone booth. A cable extending up from a power generator somehow hooks local telcom signals, at a cost of course!.

In a village with no phone signal, one shop surprisingly serves as a phone booth. Here, a cable extending up from a constellation of power generator wires somehow hooks local telcom signals. Connecting it to your phone in order to call, comes at a cost of course.

Location: Serif, Wajir County

Location: Serif, Wajir

3. Salt-lick trough

An old tyre for goat salt-lick trough

An old tyre opened up to serve as a goat salt-lick trough | Narok

4. Local ‘trum’

It's looks like a boat, only you don't paddle. Serves as a transit bridge | Location: Sagana

It’s looks like a boat, only you don’t paddle. Serves as a transit bridge

DSCN0271

Location: Sagana

Any other fascinating innovations you’ve seen?

Address Unknown

They say men are predictable.
 
Her line was: ‘Hi, how u doing.’ And whenever that came, the next one would certainly be: ‘Am stuck somewhere, can I borrow 1k . . .’
 
Half a dozen years younger, now an extremely beautiful young woman. His own blood. . .
Careful that she didn’t turn to other men for help – as they would prawl on her for pleasure; he sometimes obliged, other times he let the message sit in the cold, shrivel and decay till the next one came, in usual fashion.
 
Often she told him things she wouldn’t tell her parents. Things she did, her break ups, life plans. . He listened, sprinkling doses of advice from time to time. But at 21, on a breezy night, she announced that she had let her innocence go.
 
It cut through him. He moaned for her. 
 
‘She’s all grown up, I guess,’ and now grown apart. Space. Distance, have come between them too.
So someday he wants to warn her about a leech who’s clearly in it for play;
Like her, he writes: ‘Hi, how u doing.’
And just like him, she scoffs, let’s it sit in the cold as it shrivels and decays.
 
Their warmth gone to the dogs.
 
________
 
Title from a timeless novella: Address Unknown