Sunset

“…Some people look at sunsets as the end of something beautiful that once was: the day.

Others see it as simply a new beginning to a different, but equally beautiful thing: the night.

Perspective, my darling. It’s always perspective…”

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Kissa…

Kissa, isn’t ordinary. She has a bouncy personality and carries her curvilinear shape with a regal pose. She is the type not content with being ordinary. So you won’t catch her in dreary clothes. Her style is bright and vibrant to boot.

Kissa doesn’t just stretch her hand in greeting. No! She draws you into a bear hug; your unfamiliarity notwithstanding. Like a mother checking on her young, she then holds you at arm’s length, giving you a sweeping glance with warm eyes. Her broad smile reveals white teeth, gleaming even in the evening sunlight.

Kissa, is the epitome of local hospitality. She goes out of her way; beyond mere courtesy. The kind that lyrically speaking, involves rolling out the red carpet. Quite heartwarming.

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Kissa is keen on how she treats her guests; propping them on her comfortable seats with a glass of something (red or otherwise), as soft music plays in the background.  Quite the bubbly one, her escapades keep the conversation flowing effortlessly (no uneasy bouts of silence). Hilariously she narrates her trip down the lake to buy fish, which funny enough, she hates touching, but loves eating! In an unguarded moment, she also reveals a deep longing……. (Dear God, if it’s Your wish, grant Kissa the desires of her heart).

Kissa has the food ready and served, and it’s not her style to just dive in. Instead, she holds an opening ceremony. Everyone huddles round the table, then the food is uncovered.  Oh, the aroma! If only, yours truly had such culinary skills!

Kissa says, ‘if you want to eat good food, you have to make it a ceremony. You have to think about it, plan and execute’.

She doesn’t hide her distaste about our boiling ways. Her mouth curls up as she describes our food despicable preparation process – githeri-boiling, githeri-freezing and githeri-microwaving! She can’t stand the ‘one-pot’ nonsense. Kissa is quick to bend over backwards not only for close friends, but even acquaintances.

Cheers Kissa!  You re-affirm a belief in humanity, even in such changing times.

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Take the stairs…

Her footsteps thumped through the hallway unmeasured, but sure with intent. She stumbled into the room panting. Completely out of breath, she tried explaining her message.

“…kindly stop all that you are doing and please exit the building” although her message was clear, her delivery and anxious voice indicated something was amiss.

I lifted my eyes from my furious writing. Her distressed and bewildered demeanor drove panic and everyone started filing out of the room. “Please do not use the elevator, take the stairs”. That last direction heightened panic amongst the crowd; some shoved, others ran. The doubting Thomases of course took their time rising to the occasion.

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Of course not everyone follows instructions, at least not when you are 14 floors up. The elevators were jam packed. Enroute to the staircase, one of the elevators opened and without a second thought, I jumped in with the crowd. Big mistake!

The doors of the elevator doors closed, but the expected descent only got two floors down. It surged up and down uncontrollably, thrice. A few minutes passed in uncomfortable silence. Everyone was deep in panicked thoughts.

Bewildered, we looked for answers in each other’s faces; no one had any. By now, the lift had come to a complete stop in between two floors. Someone pressed the alarm button that links to the control room. A female voice (already aware of our predicament), requested for calmness and assured us that a dispatched team was looking into the issue. This did nothing to calm the agitated group.

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Crazy thoughts raced through my mind. “If only I had taken the stairs. Why, oh why did I get into this lift? Wouldn’t I have been done with the stairs by now? And what was the emergency that necessitated all this? Will we get out? Can we open the hatches in the ceiling; that stuff works in movies, right? Maybe we can try prying the doors open? What if we collectively jump in the elevator, wouldn’t that action wake it from its slight slumber?”

As I have this monologue in my head, around me, everyone else seems to be talking at the same time. In the small room, this sucks the little air above our head. A lady beside me is sweating profusely, she starts to remove her clothing and sinks to the floor. Someone shouts, “This lady has fainted”. With that, paranoia checks in. one lady is talking so fast, and blaming the whole world. A gentleman is talking on phone with his colleague and blaming him for not pushing the maintenance guys to work faster (really, really now?), another is shouting himself hoarse.

My paranoia was a little bit different. I wondered what would happen if someone had to use the bathroom and we had not been rescued yet. I earnestly hoped no one had consumed a plate of kidney beans that morning or yester night….

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“Hello!” “Hello!” the booming voice drew me from my trance. Finally, someone was working some magic outside there to get us out.  They we two actually. Together, they pried the doors open.

The elevator was stuck between two floors, so there was a concrete slab that prevented our exit.  A small space allowed some of us to crawl through.  At this point, all traces of decorum had gone with the wind, everyone wants out.  One by one, we lifted our stretched hands up to the maintenance crew, grateful for their presence and help.

The Man with the four fingers

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The man with the four fingers always stood at the corner of the 6th street, Eastleigh.  With his flute, he played magical tones that would attract a crowd.  The street was his workplace, the flute his tools of trade and the crowd his clients.  No one knew this any better, than the man with the four fingers.

An early riser, he reported to work at dawn and left at dusk.  He played all day long, beautifully.  He played all genres. Like a DJ, he also took special requests from his audience.

Ever so curios, four-year old Mark wondered why everyone called him the man with the four fingers. Didn’t he have a name?  Everyone had a name, right? He had four, named after his two grandfathers. The man with the four fingers, should have a name, right? Inching forward slowly, curious Mark voiced his deeply thought question.

‘Unaitwa nani’

A broad smile played on his grizzled old face. He stretched his hand to Mark and said, “Mark, jina langu ni Mark”. His eyes glistened, for in his long career, only a handful had ever asked to know his name. Mark, was only the fourth.

———–

 

Master Oyieyo

One morning last December, I was seated with my mum, when we hear a small commotion in the kitchen. I look up from my phone, my mum from her notebook. We stare at each other for a split second, strain our hearing with our heads slightly turned towards the source of the noise, and squint our eyes as if prompting the noise to do another take.  It heard us telepathically (whatever it was). A bit louder this time, the noisy commotion goes again. This time, we sprung to our feet and rushed to the kitchen. I am a bit scared, but my mum’s face is gleeful.

Mum: Yes! Finally you have been caught! I knew it.  You thought you could go on with this for a while?  No way!

Me: (looks at her blankly, but she offers no explanation).

Mum: God is great.  Your time has come to leave this house. In Kanye? Ipondo Kanye? Aol gi wach mar ni jikon mara ema isiko ka ikethoe gik moko. Iparo ga ni iriek? Ndaloni orumo! Kutkut mi goyo ga, orumo! Nyalie wa! Kawuono oyudi! Kawuono bura oloyi! (Translation; where are you hiding? I am tired of things being spoilt in my kitchen. Today is your day of reckoning).

Me: (more alarmed and wide-eyed, am perplexed that my mum is conversing with a non-existent person). Who are you talking to? Ng’ama bura oloyo?

Mum: Oyieyo moro ne odonjo e oda ka, nyocha.

Phew, so the other party in that conversation was a rat! For a moment I thought it was a ghost….. wait a minute, a RAT! I jumped (ladies instincts’ are always to jump, something about protecting our legs; after our faces that is. Protecting the selling points kind of a thing, I guess).  A rat! What the hell was a rat doing in my mum’s kitchen!  Now I am furious!  How dare that rat just swagger into my mum’s kitchen. To do what? Was it just passing by on its way to shags, now that it’s December and all bunnies (summer, costo or shags) are immigrating? Was that it? A shags bunny that is, on its way to upcountry in Nduberi or Chebarbar?

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My fury can only be understood by someone who has never encountered a rat, but has grown up reading all those books that place rats below the gutters (ratatouille included); disturbances which need to be terminated at sound and sight. In my community, when someone refers to you as an Oyieyo, they couldn’t have degraded you much lower than that.  You are basically the scum.

Oyieyo kayi to kudhi”, is a famous saying. It means that a rat bites you and blows into it so that you don’t feel it. Hence, you can’t feel the pain but it continues to bite. Essentially, a rat is the enemy within.  A Judas Iscariot of sorts.  The kind that sits with you plotting the teachers’ strike, but later sneaks away to statehouse to sell you out in the middle of the night, after sipping some statehouse tea. Translating this explanation is an arduous task, so forgive me if it doesn’t sink in. This is how we classify rats;

  • Oyieyo mar gudhu gudhu or Oyiiech gudhu gudhu – a farm nuisance. Urban folks refer to it as a rodent. It eats the leguminous plants.
  • Oyieyo mar Kanisa or Oyiiech Kanisa – a church mouse. My mum’s pastoral version is that makes people poor because is eats the blessings in the church (so now you know who to blame for your poverty).
  • Oyieyo mar ot or Oyiiech ot – rummages in neighborhoods; prefers the comfort of houses.

Master Oyieyo, the terror rodent that dared set foot in my mum’s kitchen, falls in the third category.  Yes, I have given it a name and salutation. After all, we all deserve some respect, right? It looked young, hence I christened it Master Oyieyo. Mr Oyieyo, I presume, is some geezer somewhere who is yet to know what trouble his young’ un has squeezed himself into. Girls don’t get into senseless trouble, so no, its not female. (Gender peeps, drop some rocks in your Chivas and continue reading, it’s never that serious).

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Back to our discovery of Oyieyo, it had been caught on this DOOM thing that look like a bait, and seems to be the in thing for catching rodents (did we do away with mouse traps and poison?) Being a diligent and ardent #KOT Sacco member, my phone is at hand.  I just press the camera button and click away.  This moment has to be captured.  This is a highlight in 2015.  Others have tried before, but failed. Their DOOM failed them miserably.  Ours didn’t. Here we are (or my mum rather) having achieved that fete! We stand on the brink of greatness, if I may be allowed to call it that. Allow me some floss mode seconds here.  I have never been part of a mission; covert or other. So this is big.  Plus we are in 2015, where we take photos of an accident first, post them on FB/Twitter to brag about being at the scene, then proceed to assist he victims (if ever). Oyieyo deserved a picture moment, his 15 seconds of fame; we all did in 2015.

Kawuono omaki! Today is the day”. I can’t help but think my mum is having a field day with this Oyieyo mission. She is on a high about its capture and continues having a conversation, the rat caught and hoisted. She asks me to bring a paper bag and marches out of the kitchen triumphantly. As willing deputy commander of the mission, I retrieve one and follow her outside.

Our march takes us past the main gate, the watchman looks bemused and says, ‘ndiyo hiyo?’ She retorts, “yes, can you imagine!” Even the watchman is aware of Master Oyieyo. Proof that women are great talkers.

She puts the sticky DOOM thing with Oyieyo inside the plastic paper bag and orders me to look for a big rock. (Luos and rocks *sigh*. It’s not just our ability to retrieve & hurl them with lightning speed and precision, we go a long way. Our history with rocks that is. From Luanda Magere turning into a stone after his Nandi wife found his secret source of strength, his shadow and pierced it; to Luanda Bindu where apparently there is holy water and once you enter in, you don’t come out; to Got Kwer where the Legio Maria Leader was buried and Kit Mikayi the weeping rock.

As I try to hand her the rock, she commands me to stone Oyieyo. “Nege wa?” wow! That was not part of the plan. Atleast the willing deputy commander of the mission had not been briefed on that part.  Or was this plan B, which is effected if plan A has been compromised? In that case, only the Commander knew it.

‘What?You want me to kill it? Are you sure? Isn’t it enough to just throw away the bag in the trash?’ At this point, I have caught feelings for Oyieyo. I have been taking pics for a couple of minutes, so we were already bonding. I was directing the photo shoot.  He was my subject of study. Never mind that I had brought the killing stone. Still, the death penalty has not been effected for years, such sentences are commuted to life imprisonment. Oyieyo deserved that; to be left out in the cold. He wasn’t going to be free from that sticky DOOM stuff, why not just toss away the bag and let the cats to do rest?

She was having none of it.  “Nege, nege wa! If you don’t it will creep its way back”. Later, I thought, she must have been in a catch 22. If she didn’t finish Oyieyo, he might come back (with a gang) and finish her pantry.  It was a battle after all, shoot first before you are shot.

Oyieyo is gone (I plead the fifth on the how). Master Oyieyo will not be coming back. Maybe his brother. My mum is not taking chances though. The battle is still on, so her stash of DOOM Glue Rat Bait is intact.

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Mai Mahiu in Pics…..

Mai Mahiu a mix of hills on one side and a valley on the other. The sight is a picture to fathom. the expected El-nino rains are over, behind, they left a greenery that is pleasing to the eye. the winding road round the hills provide excellent view.

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The sun, an object of great study, shone brightly. Its afternoon warm, a welcome to one’s face. The last rays slanted over the hills.

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the valley! An awe of God’s wonderful creation

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The clouds, pure and rich in tone!

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If you get thirsty, drop by this kiosk. you will leave with one or two curios to boot.

 

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Matatu in motion…..

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…. in motion. The truck on the foreground couldn’t help but photo-bomb the landscape pic. Awesome!

 

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Saving the best for the last…..

Hand up if you’ve tried and made it through Jane Mukami’s 10-day detox diet

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Jane Mukami and her 10-day detox diet are the in thing. If you are not doing it, then you are not hip (nor middle class like me). It promises heaven for people who want to lose weight. Her constant social media updates of her toned body does, further drives subscription, and new Facebook recruits and of course page likes (it seems followers and likes are the new currency).

So are you part of the above? Probably……..

(Read the full Story Here)

Maputo!

If the accommodation is not worth it, then you will not enjoy it!  Catembe Gallery Hotel was every minute worth the stay.

If the accommodation is not worth it, then you will not enjoy it! Catembe Gallery Hotel was every minute worth the stay.

The sight that greets you in Maputo; the Indian Ocean!

The sight that greets you in Maputo; the Indian Ocean!

Imagine watching the sunset! simply amazing. The water may have been too cold for a swim, but the sight to behold was worth it!

Imagine watching the sunset! simply amazing. The water may have been too cold for a swim, but the sight to behold was worth it!

Radiant Moon over the Ocean (Maputo)

Radiant Moon over the Ocean (Maputo)

Night view of the pool against the City and Ocean backdrop! (Maputo)

Night view of the pool against the City and Ocean backdrop! (Maputo)

Magnificent night sight of the City (Maputo)

Magnificent night sight of the City (Maputo)

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Kalahari

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The Kalahari group strode in; confident, shoulders squared and self-assured. So, these were the faces behind the ingenious names. It’s hard not a judge a book by its cover. They were right; the anonymity (in name and face) makes you judge the content without bias.  Now, that would be hard with all the subjectivity of the looks, demeanor, story, clothing, voice or cars.  You sit and have a monologue in your head.

“What is their story? Did they spring from a ‘home’ with pale pink flower vases or a one-roomed smoke blackened house? Did they ride bicycles in their childhood, or rode the metal-wire-made cars that ruled Makongeni in the 90s? Ivy League or street educated? Pooled themselves by the boot straps or daddy-bankrolled? Are they humble or the kind everyone would be rolling over themselves trying to please?

The clothes were casual, hard to judge on which side of the spectrum they fell, except for the hat. Black, velvet and a bit rugged; it bore the marks of rich old money. It wasn’t all that, but it was something.  Something that is hard to put a name on. Or maybe, the way it sat on their leader’s head, that said it all.

….. of business lounges

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What happens to us when the price tag changes to “free”? Why the change?

It’s interesting to note how we change from measured consumption to almost gluttonous habits. Picture this, standing at the self-service restaurant, a gentleman queuing to buy a meal or drink, first asks for the price  if its not shown.  In most cases, if the price is too high (noting how airport costs are on the higher end), then he is likely to change his order, or walk away.

Fast forward to the business lounge, the scenario is quite different.  Here, the food is free, so you can eat to your fill.  Your fill should be just that, your fill. While in Munich recently, I sat opposite a gentleman who drank water, juice, beer, wine, cappuccino and a cocktail of some hard stuff, all at the same time.  Note, he did not start with one and progress “logically” to the next, no!  He had all those drinks lined up on his table and kept sipping them intermittently. It didn’t stop there. Similarly, he served the snacks, salads and hot meal all at once, and ate them at the same time.

Does it have to get to that level? The level of pure embarrassment, discomfort and inconvenience, when your stomach ends up retaliating and you spend three-quarters of your flight time in the cabin toilet?

Oh well, it just happens, right? Freebies change us!  *sigh*