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.


  1. Ok Jacky,

    i think you have gone nutters, now let me give my two cents worth of this piece.

    1st of all TALL people should avoid sitting in the back seat of Matatus cause clearly those seats were meant for short people, and this is especially those Nissans that have their speakers under the seat, whoa unto you who has to crunch ur neck and be very weary when they are about to hit the bumps or potholes u might just break your neck .. . . true story

    Jacky yaani you climb those loud matatus cause i for one avoid them like the plague too noisy for my liking, Na mat ya kuoverlap thats hilarious hahhahahhahhahhhaah

    I enjoyed this piece my darling and as for that Helon dude, i think he has brain washed those chicks tooooooo much they neeed to be chapwad with a nyaunyo washike adabu im quite saddened by that vibe by the way.

  2. Swara? Hahahahahahaha..........

    You are such a special child! Can you believe this is when I'm getting round to catching up on your archive? Apologies, but I the first fiction post kinda threw me off course. :-)

    The thing of kids in the pubs with their folks bothers me to no end, I blame it for all the nonsense we're seeing in high schools, and not colleges.