Thursday, February 18, 2010

" And yet I still love you, you dastardly bugger"

Stuff i wish i knew once upon a time about commuting in Nairobi:

-Rush hour gridlocks are a way of life. Don't burst a coronary or pull out your hair -no one cares that much darling. Take a deep breath, sit back and catch up on your reading. This is Kenya; you'll get there eventually so hakuna matata.

Good general rule of thumb when choosing a seat in a mat:

a) Avoid taking the back seat, unless you enjoy absorbing the jarring shock of the mat hitting each & every pothole on the road. And yes, pot holes are such a norm we get all teary eyed if we encounter a smooth, non-pothole Kenyan road.

b) Avoid sitting directly in front of the speakers (or simply avoid mats that play loud music). It will leave you conversing with people like this:


Office watchie:
Mzuri madam. Kila kitu kiko sawa?

(very perplexed) SWARA? SWARA AMETOKA WAPI?

(by this time the watchie is looking a touch alarmed)
Needless to say, the conversation went downhill from here.

The above dialogue took place approximately 10 minutes after I had alighted the mat.

c) Try your best to get a window seat. This way, you avoid getting offended by those who 1) spent the night at a brewery 2) Cologne dousing enthusiasts 3) Those who religiously view bathing as an optional activity

-Don't trust the Kenyan motorists: These guys are not content with helping you -the pedestrian- along to that heart attack as you cross the road. Nooooo, they have to make you pee in your pants just for kicks. You can establish eye contact with the driver all you want...he'll still barrel towards you, lights on & continuously honking like crazy. Only for him to be the tail end of a traffic jam a couple of feet away from you. Ever noticed the Kenyan pedestrian has this harassed look and is always scampering across the road even at Zebra crossings ?
Well, that's coz he just can't trust those darn motorists to stop when they are supposed to. Hell, I even had a mat driver wildly gesturing at me to stop so he could pass the zebra crossing first.

Spotted: nailed to a fence next to the cathedral in south B:
A warning sign reading "Kojoa hapa- upigwe fala"

across the side of a van driving along Uhuru highway
"Donkey users response team, mtunze punda akutunze"

I'm thinking, if the above team is meant to safe guard the welfare of donkeys all over Kenya shouldn't they call themselves The donkey response team? I'm just saying.

Intriguing advertising:

"Madam njoo hapa kwa mat ya ku-over lap! MAT YA KU-OVER LAP HAPA!!!"
shouted a Kange during the morning rush hour.

You've got to give him props for aggressively selling that ma-three seat. And the words worked like magic; everyone at the bus stop rushed to the ma-three ya ku-over lap.

Eternally puzzled by this sticker stuck on the rear view mirrors of several route '46' nissan mats:

"Don't kiss the driver"

No offense, but every time i see this sticker, and look at the driver, I'm left wondering; Seriously? why would i want to kiss the driver?... Seriously.

The below was forwarded to my in-box:

...Only in Kenya:

where a debonair pizza gets to your house faster than an ambulance or the police

where people run towards gunshots and bomb blasts instead of running away

where we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well. 'Poli' in latin means 'many' and 'tics' means blood-sucking creature

where the president holds a press conference to declare the legit members of his family

where you find a zebra crossing directly below a foot bridge (fly over) on a busy highway
where a 01 litre bottle of mineral water is more expensive than a litre of diesel

where a lady asks you out on a date and expects you to settle the bill

where the music is turned off in a club 'coz guys are watching news

where trees have got nothing to do with the rain...rain just falls from the sky

And i added a few of my own bizarre observations:
-Where a minister publicly brags of diverting education funds in order to 'help' his people, and his audience of ordinary wanainchi cheers him on...

-Where excess milk is thrown into the gutters...

-Where kids as young as five accompany their paroes to the pub & entertain the adult audience (the parents included) by dancing like they see it in the music videos. These parents call it a family outing...

-Where churches make a killing by selling a handful of 'blessed' soil, 'holy' water & 'blessed' hankies to its congregation...

-Where a non-Kenyan contributes to the education of the Kenyan child while the wealthy Kenyan doesn't and won't be bothered...

And yet I still love you Kenya, you dastardly bugger you.

True, nothing works the way its supposed to; fads are all the rage; the nastiest hyena is king an
d we're slaves to status but i still have a fondness for the sights, sounds and the feel of this beautiful country.

Mob wendos,


PS: What's all the fuss about this Hellon dude? My curiosity poofed the minute i laid my eyes on all that permed hair. And someone called him a spiritual adviser? Seriously?!!!

Which reminds me; my mum once told me to be wary of men who love the mirror and use beauty products more than i do. True Story.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Life is slippery. Here, take my hand"

The pirate code of the brethren had a stipulation that went something like this:

"Any man that falls behind is left behind,"

The old school pirates didn't pretend to team build, and they sure as hell didn't do friendship. I was reminded of 'the code' as i turned to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (again) for comic relief last night. And yes, I'm one of those people who turn to the silver screen when things get keeps me sane and entertained. And the past couple of days sure have been stormy.
Some 'friendships' were blown to smithereens, others rekindled, new alliances forged and new found respect emerged from unexpected quarters.

And no, i didn't come out smelling like roses. Life lessons were learnt though:

Like the importance of being clear on which friendships are real and those that are pizazz and sadly nothing else...

Friends who just talk up a humongous bonfire as you trip are not friends you'd want to have in your corner when shit hits the fan...

Real buds stick up for you when you're wrong and affectionately call you "Funda wewe," at sun up...

It's hard not to be pals with (or at the very least have new found respect for) an acquaintance who comes to your aid when he/she really didn't have to...or wasn't even asked to...

It is precious to realize and pray, that though your true-blue pals would walk to the ends of the earth and back for you, you'd never make them.

FYI: The pirate code of the brethren doesn't historically exist. Now that's a relief to us wretched souls who are prone to falling behind don't you think?

Most scary weekend encounter to date: This one has to go to the Sunday Nation piece (on 07th Feb) written by one Gitau Warigi. Dude pats Mr. Zuma on the back for keeping it real, then takes a swipe at President Obama for voicing his concerns about the government of Uganda wanting to legally execute its gay community (who, fyi, Gitau merrily calls serial sodomists). While Gitau is happily frothing at the mouth (he even gives us the quick lowdown on Obama Snr's exploits) he seems to forget the one glaring fact is, no one is shouting, "Death to Polygamists! Philanderers! and real scum of the earth!" ...Wow, sir, bet you gave yourself a hearty pat on the back for writing such an enlightening piece, didn't you sir?

Don't you all wish we'd take on issues like children's rights, health care, education and the environment with the same feverish gusto we seem to approach bedroom matters and all that's smutty?

Mr. Ayub Juma Mwakesi: Now this is a man we could learn a life lesson or two from no?

Coolest print ad to date: Orange's Valentine's Airtime ad that quips, "We can't give you the courage, but we can give you the time," Simple, to the point and it makes you smile.

Have a beautiful week all,

Mob wendos,


PS: Indulge me as i quote from one of my fave children's books:

From "The house at Pooh Corner" by A.A Milne

"Pooh, promise me you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I am a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little.
"How old shall I be then?"

Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.