“Nikusaidiaje Chief” (How can help you chief), asked the watchman; okay security guard; as I just cleared the 2 steps into the building. These guys always amuse me with the things they say and ask. Maybe its a tactic to deter loiters. I imagine to myself that they probably get into  trouble with the coastal women-folk, the buibui clad women who have a mastery of the put-you-in-your-place tongue lash. I can’t help but chuckle under my breath

“Wait do i look like I’m loitering?” I quickly scan myself, “naah, nothing loiter-ish about my appearance today”

“Hapana soja, niko sawa, asante” I assure the soja, probably leaving him wondering why I was smiling to myself from his question. I can feel him staring at my head, and probably thinking he should have scanned me with those metal-detecting things of theirs. “he can sort himself out” I mutter and head on my way.

I head towards the stairs ignoring the now familiar smell of vet drugs and supplies. Its a big room or rather space with shelves stacked with all sorts of items and sacks on the ground. The stairs are actually those cross breed types- like it was to be a spiral stairway but not really and is some what straight, then on ascending you keep curving along the wall. It’s steep steps not making it any better.

On getting to the floor above, it the usual scene; typical of our front-counter shops. Customers lined up on one side trying to catch the eye of the many female attendants who keep zig-zagging across the room on the other side of the counter. Zooming in and out of the shelves lined with boxes and packets of various sizes and shapes.

“By the end of the day I bet they would have walked the equivalent distance of Mombasa to Kilifi or there about” that voice in my head confidently asserts.

At the other end of the table, is a computer work station where they regularly check the  product codes and print out the invoice/receipt and what not. They (the uniformed ladies) tend to crowd there a little longer, I guess its hard to find the letter ‘e’ after the zig-zag dance across the room.

Just before the counter on the left end of the “room” was a low lying (coffee) table and a young lady leaning over it, her small fingers busy writing on an order book, transferring things from a shopping list of some sort.

“Hello! she is new here. Haven’t seen her the last time I was around here”

Her face was as bright and glowy as her bosom. She had a young face, pretty and her bosom too.

“Okay!… enough with the bosom!”.

But I couldn’t help it, even if I wanted I could not not see the bosom. Okay I could, if I closed my eyes and if or when I addressed her, I talked with my eyes closed. Plus my height was giving me an undue ad vantage-point, over the bosom and glowy face .

‘Scribble, scribble, scribble… tear off the page. start another one’ Just like a stage performance she went on.

“Please don’t address me please don’t address…” I kept saying to myself. But you know the way things go, what you wish not to happen, actually happens just to show you who’s boss.

She then looks up slightly and smiles at me, a warm smile that makes the glow even more. She was probably in the lower quintile of her 20s, maybe. Miss Glow will definitely kill many without trying hard, and she will certainly make this very difficult if she comes to be the one to attend to me.

So I do the only sensible thing. I move away. And slowly,  towards the counter while also trying to squeeze a smile so that hers doesn’t go to waste.

“Take one last look at the glow, she knows you saw her glows” Curse! this brain of mine.

Getting to the counter, I don’t bother to hustle to get through to the front , no worries I just wallow in the scent of the pharmaceuticals, paper and money. I’m in no hurry to get the attention of the zig-zagging ladies, nor get to the counter. Why? I don’t know! Probably because I have not yet decided how I will ask what I want to ask.

“Ooh why do I have to be tall?” I avoid eye contact with the female attendants, as I try to look preoccupied as if to recall what brought me here.

Sasa! sema…?

I’m brought back to my senses, only to realize that I’m the one at the counter, and on the other end who but Miss “Glowy”! I’m dazed, I quickly look back wondering when and how did she finish her scribbling and get back to this other side of the room. She smiles at my reaction, probably noticing my confused look. She seems pleased with her self, enjoying my reaction to her flash-Gordon like actions.

“Ooh such pretty hands and tiny fingers she has”  Okay how did I move from recovering from the shock to noticing her hands? Then they say men cannot multi-task!

“Ooh Hi, you’re chap chap” I respond back, gesturing behind me with my left hand.

Another smile.

“Okay, so I would like aaa aah… uummm, where is it..”  I stretch my neck as if trying to see something that had just been brought onto the counter.

aaiiii, haiko” (not there), I respond.

“I would like a dewormer”.

I didn’t notice I had whispered, till I saw her face blank out, she then moved slightly towards me and half way through, seemed to have gotten what I wanted, and leaned back.

“Maybe she also can read lips”…I don’t know, maybe.

She turns around, hesitated for a few seconds. Probably “trying to remember the aisle where my order may be at” …yeah maybe.

And they still glowed, the face and bosom in unison.

It probably would have been easier to buy this



The Good, the Ugly and the Aha! of celebrating women

I like having a good time, well who doesn’t? The secret I learnt about having a good time is that the longer it’s extended the better, kinda makes sense why Mondays are hated (light bulb!). It so happens that having a good time is one of the great Kenyan habits we love to celebrate and finding an excuse to celebrate (I think its African). In the spirit of keeping it real with my Kenyaness, as the world marked International Women’s Day this March…I’m saying let it be Women’s Month!

cel•e•brate verb \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt v.intr.
1) To observe an occasion with appropriate ceremony or festivity.
2) To engage in festivities

So other than the drinks going around-okay where I’m at, there have been drinks going round the entire week, and Yes tea does count! I thought what better way to celebrate and give a toast to the womenfolk than through some (interesting) facts about women.

PS: If it so happens that I do not survive this month by virtue of some of these “toasts”, then I say unto you… “Life is too short, go ahead poke the bear and cross the road”


1.  The female sex sign is represented by a small cross with a circle on top; and this sign actually is the same one which represents planet Venus (men are from someplace-the pitch and women are from Venus)

2.  Women mature much faster than men; so explains their command of diction and fast paced talking. I guess also why it is said that man discovered fire, but the woman learned how to use it

3.  The two highest IQ’s ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women.

4.  Female mechanics get paid more than male mechanics Why? For the answer we revert to stereotypes: Women are more verbal than men, they’re easier to approach and to talk to and both genders agree that women instill more trust in others — at least with car trouble.

5.  Almost everywhere in the world, women have a higher life expectancy than men do.


6.  Women own only 1% of the world’s land

7.  Approximately one in five women worldwide reports being sexually abused before the age of 15

8.  Over 100,000 girls got pregnant in South Africa in 2011 from old men

9.  About 16 million adolescent girls become pregnant each year, with over 90% of those girls living in developing countries.

10.  Each day 800 women die as result of pregnancy or childbirth complications. Nearly 99% of these deaths occur in developing nations with more than half of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one third occurring in South Asia.

11.  There was a woman who was pregnant for 17 months 11 days and is recorded as the longest human pregnancy ever.

12.  1 in 10 African adolescent girls miss school during menses and eventually drop out because of menstruation-related issues. But then a donation of Kshs.200 towards buying sanitary pads can keep a Kenyan girl in school for one year?


13.  Globally less than 16% of the world’s parliamentarians are women. In Kenya recent election only 16 Women had been elected as MPs. None of those that vied for the governor or senator positions won. The number of women MPs elect may remain the same as in the previous parliament despite the exponential increase of constituencies from 210 to 290 countrywide.

14.  For the first time in the history of the Olympics, the 2012 U.S Olympic team had more women than men. 269 women and 261 men.

15.  Women who play more online video games tend to be happier in their relationships than those who don’t.


16.  The average guy’s largest muscles: His quadriceps (yaani the sqwaqs or maskwembes) the average woman: Her uterus

17.  The average guy spends 1 hour and 20 minutes a week looking for the TV remote. The average woman: 7 minutes (I don’t mind the average, coz I think I’m above average but once I searched for the remote for 12 hours)

18.  93% of female mobile phone users feel safer with a phone, 85% feel more independent; 41% use their phones to increase their income and professional opportunities. I just wonder why then it takes them too long to find the phones in their hand bags when ringing

19.  Women will drive miles out of their way to avoid the possibility of getting lost using a shortcut

20.  The most embarrassing thing for women is to find another woman wearing the same dress at a formal party

21.  If a woman goes on a seven-day trip she’ll pack 21 outfits because she doesn’t know what she’ll feel like wearing each day. DARE to offer to carry her luggage and you’ll share my experience



What worries me about being Kenyan and a 12 year old President

It so happens that today is the second day after voting in Kenya. The second day after we stood in the sun or shade from 2, 3, or others 10 hours so as to exercise our civic right and duty to cast our ballot.


Amazingly, on this day two and with the hullabaloo about the delay in relaying results, its amazing to see and talk to people and see them stressed, going through emotions, lose all energy, from their choice candidate either not showing growth in votes, or votes growing at snails pace. Personally I think the time could be well spent doing something like washing the dishes, or looking for a girl who can make chapatis.

We Kenyans are a worrisome lot and of short memory; and this is the one thing that Worries me about being Kenyan. We should be more concerned about the Governors, Senators, Ward Representatives and Women Reps or if we can attain the 2 thirds gender balance.

The constitution we passed, immensely devolved power and decisions to a point where even a 12 year old can be president, if so the people would choose one. A system of checks from Parliament and Senate to ensure that each and every appointment or decision is proper and representative of the country and for the good of it.

We should be more concerned if we voted the right people into the Senate who will represent the diversity, safeguard the interest, support and push the development of our counties as well as, with the muscle to check the upper house.

A Governor who has a clear development and management sense to be entrusted to manage the affairs of the county including resource and revenue management and mobilization.

MP’s who understand policy issues and can effectively and efficiently look at the interest of our constituencies and wards,and have the balls to stand up and check on the excesses or decisions of the President and Executive. One who will be interested in the good of the people not their own.

Ward representatives who have the aspirations of the local people at heart and not merely interested in being “big shots” and flexing their muscles to be recognized as waheshimiwas. Those who understand that the local infrastructure is their business.

Women Rep, who will not just be there as flowers to the cap of the house. That they can articulate the agenda of the people not just of women, but of men, children, men, the aged and whole society. Women who will be heard and not just seen. Who will have the ability to make their mark in history as women of influence of political and development will and strength.

This is what I worry more about. Give me a toddler as president for all I care, but if these are not set, then it does not matter whom we elect president. Because it will not be any  different from our last disappointment of a government.

PS. I’m thinking of moving to the diaspora, so that next time I can vote diaspora-tically. I can’t miss girls who’re expert chapati makers there or at least pancakes would also do.

(Too much Love) The Un-Love Letter

It’s that time of the year again where an invisible flying baby, goes around shooting arrows at people causing them to buy gifts, snacks and junk-food for each other; while the affinity to colour red grows exponentially. It is as they say, the month of Love. It so happens that we (my country folk) love a lot of things. We love our random plots, we love our language, we love our organization and disorganization, we love our women and men and love hating on them, we love talking about love, but also importantly we love love love politics.

Imagine being on a restaurant or bar and at 7pm the music is paused to tune on the TV for news just to see nini iko kwa siasa leo (what’s in politics today)? We love the games and tricks and politicking that our politicians do all year round without fail. We fret and curse at these antics but still stop some talented Dj with “mad skills” to tune in to a show of political circus, only to go back to cursing and fretting at how wrong these men and women are

But before I digress too much, this February it’s not just the month of love but a countdown to the general elections. A time where we get to show some love to our Country and un-love to politicians and put in anew, more like a pageant of sorts to pick the fairest of the pack.  This time we’ve got to show some real love for our country, because we cannot dare not to.  We cannot afford to; because as it happened in history to Martin Niemöller our version will be;

First they came for those at jobless corner, but I did not speak out because I was in the office.

Then they came for those breezing at the park and I did not speak out for I had better things to chat about

Then they came for those in the market, bus-stops and jua-kali sheds, and I did not speak out for I was detached from “those guys”

And when they came to the nominations, I did not speak out because I did not “feel them” or the process

Now they’ve come to me at the ballot and I’m stuck with indecision because none of them is worth their salt;  and there’s no one to speak out for me as I’m forced to make a choice

My Prayer So Prayer

Well My Country Kenya is at a confusing moment right now. It so Happens, that I trully do not feel or understand Kenya and of being if a prayer be said this is it. AMEN!


Written by Virginia Kamau

Nowadays I have a different prayer:
Don’t keep me from trouble,
Teach me how to walk through trouble.
Don’t lift me up to the sky,
Give me wings so I can fly,
When they want to bury me,
Don’t get me out of the pit,
Help me shake the dust and step on it,
It will lift me higher.

Don’t give me fish,
Teach me how to fish,
Don’t pick me up when I fall,
Give me the strength to rise up when I fall,
Don’t love me too much,
Give me the chance to love me too.

Don’t hide me under your wings all through,
Give me the courage to walk alone when I have to,
Don’t cure my pain at instant,
Help me learn what it teaches,
Don’t wipe away every tear I shed,
Give me the chance to wipe some of my tears,

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27 Indisputable Facts….

It so happens that some things are indisputable even in another universe.
Fact 6 is probably the reason I opted for locks.
About fedoras (#10) well….It’s all in the framing on the head.


27 Indisputable Facts That Everyone Knows Are True

Dave Stopera 


1. Sunglasses are always more expensive with writing in the corner:

Sunglasses are always more expensive with writing in the corner:

2. The main difference between cats and dogs is this:

The main difference between cats and dogs is this:

3. This will happen every time, no matter how well you know the song:

This will happen every time, no matter how well you know the song:

4. This:


5. Your signature will always look like this:

Your signature will always look like this:

6. Haircuts always go like this:

Haircuts always go like this:

7. This:


8. Sadly, this:

Sadly, this:

9. This:


10. Fedoras are always a mistake:

Fedoras are always a mistake:

11. Some bread is useless:

Some bread is useless:

12. School busses make no sense:

School busses make no sense:

13. You should never accept friend requests from anyone with this name:

You should never accept friend requests from anyone with this name:

14. This will make you cry everytime:

This will make you cry everytime:

15. And this flinch everytime:

27 Indisputable Facts That Everyone Knows Are True

16. Everyone feels this way when bowling:

Everyone feels this way when bowling:

17. Gary Busey should never, ever pole dance:

Gary Busey should never, ever pole dance:

18. This happens every birthday:

This happens every birthday:

19. The maximum amount of swag a person can have is 41:

The maximum amount of swag a person can have is 41:

20. This ruins whatever you just bought:

This ruins whatever you just bought:


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Tru Story I was thea..

It so happens that I lived a life of the slum. My friends and  all of my generation too. Nothing bad really, and in no way I’m I trying to seek sympathy from anyone who cares but the facts say that I did.  Well I have evidence to this conclusion. It was a simple reading test. Really

It is a very happy and (I think) a common feeling when one reads a text and feels a profound attachment and connection to it. The story seems so real, it’s like the writer was there. In Mombasa there is a phrase storytellers use to put emphasis  on their yarn “Tru story I was thea” . Meaning that it’s a first person real-time evidence narration; front row observer status my friend.

This slum life is not the “uuh aaaah” of Slum Dog millionaire movie. No! Its rewards were a million times more than the money in the film. So I have always wondered alone and aloud with friends if the generation after ours (yeah you can call it talking about our yet to be born children) will know of and enjoy our slum-life.

The priceless joy of having school shorts with the bottom torn from sliding on sand/ground; of coming back home from school with shoes full of dust, soil, weeds (I think to some extent we contributed to soil erosion and pollination); The triumph of scaling 2M walls to gather mangoes not caring about the “Beware of Dog” or “Mbwa Kali”(Ferocious Dog) sign; The knowing the power of the phrase “…I will slap you to sleep!” and most of all the ingenuity of our stories (lies) to get out of trouble on getting home (forget about TV Series, seasons and episodes).

That right there was the slum life. Tell me it doesn’t sound familiar. He (Ted) thinks so, and apparently, missing that slum life has some consequences……

When the adult becomes a baby

By Ted Malanda

When the adult becomes a baby

Nothing warms my heart more than watching a dusty looking boy or girl walk home from school. For me, the picture is never complete unless they have dust in their hair and socks, or what remains of them, look like they have been dug up from an archeological site. Often, their shoes are caked with mud, never mind that it is the dry season, and their school sweaters have holes exposing awfully dusty elbows — on a Monday.

Then I know those children had a fruitful day. They played, wrestled, fooled around, got into mischief, lied their way out of it, got caught and whipped and generally got an education.


But such children are getting rare by the day. Children as so perfumed these days, so tidy and programmed to be clean. They must wash their hands before every meal, not swim in ponds, not step in dirty water, not play in the rain and not eat things that fall off the table. It is a miracle they even manage to fall sick.

Put differently, we are raising a generation of youth who can’t take risks, a people averse to danger and adventure.

No wonder it is no coincidence that the most innovative survival techniques and small time business models emerge from slums, and not in middle class homes and universities. Thank God slum children remember adventure. Our children are protected to ridiculous heights. We even escort Standard Eight pupils to the bus stop to catch the school bus and have a maid waiting for them at the same spot in the evening.

Even when they are in Form Four, we insist on taking them to school and picking them up on closing day. We escort them to university on the day they report and buy them furniture when they graduate.


And then we get shocked when they regress as young adults — drinking themselves into stupor, driving from one pub to pub till morning on Friday nights and remaining drunk all weekend.

We get surprised when they go to watch rally cars perched on the rooftops of their cars, sitting on car doors with their heads propping out of the window, yelling like lunatics and hoisting beer bottles.  We get shocked when this mindless recklessness kills them, forgetting that they are being the children they never were.

We merely protected them so much that they never were that dusty looking, hole-in-the-elbow, nicely educated child trudging home on Monday evening.  

Eating the national cake

It is a picture an artist would kill for — the matronly woman perched on the rear end of a bicycle taxi, her arms wrapped protectively around an enormous cooking pan and a cooking stick.

The rider will deposit her at her doorstep. An army of children will emerge. Noses running, distended bellies rumbling, they look at her — eager and impatient for whatever tidings her basket brings.

Meanwhile, her good for nothing husband watches, loafing from beneath the shade of a tree that has, like his children, grown up on its own.

Occasionally, he swats an imaginary fly away with a flywhisk and barks at nothing, his face contorted to mirror the furious generation of wisdom and thunder where none exist. 


In a short while, the sweet scent of baking ugali wafts from the kitchen to his nostrils, causing his tummy to rumble, like a gunshot. And then the much-awaited call:  Lunch is served, his turn to eat.

But just when she is pushing the table closer to him like the feudal lord he is, a gay voice hails her from the doorway. That voice suggests a level of bonhomie that only exists in the caller’s imagination, something akin to “wananchi wapendwa”.

 “Oh… Not again!” the long-suffering woman groans inwardly.

She grunts, “Karibu,” without meaning it or dignifying her helpless “You are welcome” with a smile. And as she offers a plate to this new loafer, her eyes glance with irony at a framed picture on her wall proclaiming Jesus Christ to be the ‘uninvited guest at every meal’.


And this new loafer, he is an artist. He can really jaw it. He talks all the time, dramatizing for effect, mimicking and laughing. But it is all a ploy because as he yaps, he hogs.

His style of eating is horned from many years of experience. Instead of focusing on the portion nearest to him, his hands meander to the side of the mountain of ugali nearest his host. He rips off a huge chunk, molds it into a humongous chunk — all the while talking his head off.

Then he ponderously swirls it in the thick gravy and flings it in his mouth, his face taut with expectation. So huge is the bolus that it twists one cheek sideways, yet he is still rapping.

Even when he forces it down his bulbous throat, where it slums down with a ferocity that could wake up anti-corruption officials if their outfit wasn’t a ghostly graveyard, he is still yapping.


Four more chunks and the ugali is gone. His host, a fellow loafer, but who in manners eating is a mere councillor, a small but corrupt city council askari, a lowly traffic policeman, curses. He is still starving.

But behind the house, in the small sooty kitchen, the woman of the home sits surrounded by children in various stages of malnutrition fighting over crumbs.

And when she emerges with a kettle of sugarless black tea, the uninvited guest at every meal waves her away, saying it is no good for his stomach. He only ‘drinks’ tea when it has milk — lots of milk

from Crazy Monday, Standard Digital , November 5th 2012


I’m off to re-live my Slum life