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Paula Norah

And With Just A Few Words…

“How much longer did you except her to live?” she asked with a calm voice, her eyes slowly but steadily studying our reaction to that question. She was probably expecting to get an answer. The silence in the room was evidence of the discomfort the question had brought. What were we supposed to say? We had lived with her for almost a decade. She wasn’t just grandma to us, she was part of our everyday life. If you give a direct timeframe to her question, it would imply something else and if you don’t, like we all didn’t, it would imply that you know and actually accept that given the situation at hand, there was nothing you could have done to pretend or postpone it. And even if there was a way to postpone, you are still not willing to give a specific time that would have been appropriate for you. So basically, it was a question she knew she would get no answer to; but it would make us see our only option in the case was to learn to live with the reality.

That was the most difficult question I have had to face this year.

It’s now been a little over two weeks since the burial. Everything in the house is still intact. Nothing much has changed. Except she is not here. It’s too quite. It’s the same; but not quite.

The sequence of events on that day are still fresh in mind. Making me wonder daily is there any way things would have gone differently? A question I know too well is not healthy to ask. But still…

27th January, 2018. Saturday.

My parents, my elder sister and I had travelled home (shags).

It is the memory of how I got the news that overshadows every other activity of the day. I was at a cousin’s home; my phone was off. I plugged my phone in the charger and when I switched it on, I had six messages from Lynne (my younger sister) who had stayed in Kisumu with my Aunt and grandma. They were not good. She was updating me on grandma’s condition during the day and she was shaken and after reading her texts, so was I. I tried chatting her up just to get her mind off everything; then I got a call from Mum’s number, but it was Arnette (my elder sister) on the phone.

‘bado mko mbali?’
‘tuko tu karibu kutoka. Kuna shida?’
‘sawa wewe kuja basi’

And she ended the call. That was unlike Arnette so I called her back using her number.

‘hey.. kwani nini mbaya? Unanishtua’
‘wee kuja nikuambie’
‘woi Arnette si useme tu ndio atleast nkikuja nikue najua kitu ya kuexpect’
‘aa.. wee kuja’

She ended the call once more. I know my sister so well and she is not one to keep anyone in suspense. She speaks her mind no matter where she is and at what time. Her tone in that phone call and how she kept insisting I had to be there was worrying. I decided to call my mother’s line. She picked up.

‘hello.. Mummy kuna shida? Arnette ananipigia na nkimwambia aongee anakata simu.’
‘where are you?’
‘we are just about to leave kwa kina Allan, I was charging my phone to a manageable percentage. It had gone off’
‘it’s ok. If you are on your way, then you just come’

She ended the call. My mum’s voice is usually so soft when she talks to me on phone. This time round I could tell she was struggling to maintain her voice. By that time, I had already told Allan (my cousin) that we needed to get back home ASAP. I called Lynne to see if she had perhaps heard something I should know.

‘hey.. have you heard anything from Aunty since aende na Kukhu hossy?’
‘no.. hajanipigia. Wewe have you heard anything?’
‘no, but Arnette has called me and the way she is talking she is really scaring me. It’s not her usual way you know..’
‘what’s she saying?’
‘nothing. Every time nkiuliza anasema ‘wee kuja’ then anakata. Am really worried. Can you try talking to her maybe she can tell you’
‘oo sawa’
‘sawa, then get back to me.. ok.. bye’

I turned to Allan and asked him, “how fast can you drive at night?”
“as fast as possible. But uko sure you won’t freak out? My driving scares you”
“I won’t freak out, just drive. Fast. But carefully”

Lynne never got back to me. I sent her two messages that went unanswered. It doesn’t take a genius to know all those signs pointed to something being very wrong. When we got home, I rushed to the house. The sitting room was empty. I headed straight to my mother’s room already panicking and scared. My subconscious had been trying to process everything for me based on the details I had but I kept fighting it. I wouldn’t want to even imagine THAT being a possibility.

I opened my mother’s room and lying on the bed was my Mum and sister, quiet. Arnette lifted her eyes to look at me when she heard the door close and that’s when I knew. I knew it, I just didn’t have the energy to ask for a verification. Her eyes were red and still very watery. A clear indication that she had been crying for a long time. My Mum turned a little and I could see she had her eyes closed and a handkerchief on her left hand. I turned back to Arnette and the look she gave me this time round broke my heart. She was talking to me with her eyes, but I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t want to tell myself what I already knew; I needed to hear it from her. She wiped a tear and looked at me to speak…

“We’ve just received bad news…”

“Kukhu?…” I could not recognise my own voice. The weight that word put on my chest as it came out hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt in my life. I could feel a warm tear already on my cheeks as my heart was sinking further. Her next words were bound to be the confirmation of painful truth that I had not wanted to let myself believe. There was just no way… As if studying me and hoping her words don’t break me more than I had already started breaking, she slowly told me what I didn’t want to hear, and yet needed to hear. Every word had its own weight of pain. Each more painful than the previous. They are words I can never un-hear, they are words that are stuck with me as they are the words that cemented the undeniable, yet the most painful truth ever. Just a few words…

“Yes, she has left us”


I only told four people about this; people who know me so well they know better than to ask me ‘how are you doing?’ when they know I won’t answer. I did not share the news on social media. I did not want to. Yet somehow I felt I owed some of my Facebook friends, and even other friends the truth. I just never knew how, and wasn’t ready. My Facebook friends were occasionally entertained by short stories on my grandma. She had so many fans. Some even requested me to be doing a special category just on her. It was a brilliant idea; but I never got to actually doing it. I never wanted to write old stories; I wanted new stories. And I got so many then new stories, they are now old stories… memories. Beautiful memories…

I have been away from social media trying to get myself back to normal. After further assessment, I realised normal is not really the goal, for it cannot be accomplished. It is living with the reality that is the goal. And I am working towards that. The most progress I have made is documenting the events of that day. One step at a time, right?

It is the nights that I dread the most. The darkness, the silence. Every night I lay awake in bed thinking…trying to understand the whole concept of death, loss and grief from a whole new angle. Every time the same thoughts come to mind, yet every time I don’t get an answer.

I hate the silence not because it keeps me thinking, but because it’s a constant reminder that she is no longer there. Kukhu was always praying at night. She would pray anytime she woke up until she drifts back to sleep. Most nights I would stay up just to listen to her talk to God. Her voice at night was always a reassuring factor that even if I sleep, I am protected. I stay awake this past few weeks in the silence trying so hard to remember her voice, her prayers. I wouldn’t want to forget her voice. I would love to always remember the words she said, even if it’s just a few words.


For the past decade, every new year has found me in church. 2017 was no exception. Other than it being a family tradition, I love the joy that comes with celebrating the new year in church. This year, as the clock struck midnight on the 1st of January 2017, the music was suddenly sweeter, louder and intoxicating in the right way. The keyboardist became more vigorous in playing the notes, the soloist was singing at the top of his lungs and the congregation was wild with joy. Everyone hugging everyone. Enemies smiling at each other across the aisles. It was a NEW YEAR .

Am pretty sure in the middle of all that celebration those who owned diaries full of resolutions were ready to begin ticking them. Those who made promises to visit the gym in the new year suddenly started thinking of better ways to spend that money; anywhere but the gym. Those preparing to go to school started stressing over what corner of the house they placed one side of their shoes. And I, was living the moment. Dancing to the music like it was my last day. My immediate thought at that point was how my bed will be cold when I get in and how my body heat would eventually warm it. The next thought was how to restock. (You’ll get this as you go on). The new year was just a few minutes old in all its glory, then I blinked and boom! It’s ending.

Its undisputed that the year 2017 has flown right past our eyes so fast. Just while you are in the process of coming to terms with an event, another passes right by to remind you no one’s got time to wait for you to process things at your own speed. So much has happened this year and it all felt like a movie trailer; considering how fast the year seems to have gone.

For one, this blog was officially birthed this year. We have shared stories and experiences together with our readers. Our interactions were not limited to the blog only, but to our social media accounts too. To connect with us there, visit our page HERE. It’s been a learning experience for both my partner and I.

Away from the blog, several other things have happened this year that could be talked about.

My partner is the kind of person who loves talking about anything and everything. ‘Hey Paula, whats your take on the driving rules?’ ‘What do you think about the current political climate?’ ‘Tell me your take on githeri media.’ ‘Have you read Nyakundi’s posts? What do you think?’ There is always something new to be discussed with him. Sometimes I cooperate and we have a good and rational discussion. But sometimes and most of these times, I just don’t tell him what he wants which makes us have a small problem. Nothing that can’t be solved by an emoji though. The other day he wanted to know what I think about lab processed meat. I mean I get that there is so much on the internet and every day the crazy factory that is science and technology will give us something new. I didn’t give him my view on it. I have no opinion.

There are times when things happen and I sit back and check how much I got left. Am not talking about money. I mean all the shit, fucks, crap, damn and possible rats’ asses that may be left for me to give in any scenario. Then I realize that am out. Fresh out of everything. These moments have all happened in the stretch of this year. 2017 has been the year when most of us ran out. I know I did.

For instance; we have had a never ending politically charged period; and it is not just in my country Kenya, but across the globe there has been a fair share of political drama, limbo, and sometimes even a breakthrough. America has Donald Trump, a president whose supporters are rarely heard, but has more critics that the Kardashians. Zimbabwe just got to have a new president since their independence. Kim Jong-un with the nuclear. Kenya made history by being the first African country to have its presidential elections nullified.

We have seen the rise of the boy child. A movement I must say I support. I do not however agree with the unorthodox and crude means the self-proclaimed president uses in order to get his point home.

So when my partner wants us to talk about all these things and I find a way not to, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about some of these things, it’s just that am honestly fresh out of things to give in such cases. You see there is so much that has happened in 2017. So much to talk about, but there is a moment when you are honestly out of what to give.

But again there are times when the pot is overflowing and there is so much to give. Like when it’s my birthday and the whole country is obsessed with two political candidates instead of sending me sweet birthday messages. Or maybe while browsing through the internet and learning that the one sided relationship I built with my long term celebrity crush, Enrique Iglesias may fail to come to life; and no, it’s not because physical distance is a problem (that can be sorted), but its solely because he got twins with his long term girlfriend (whom I had accepted by the way) and now his focus will be more on the kids. I have never been more heartbroken. But its ok, no hope lost still.

It is these kind of stuff that I give so much about.

It is the end of the year and like I said before, I will be in church. In the meantime, I will restock. 2018 seems like a year that will have scenarios that would need the pot full.

This is the last post this year, obviously. On a personal level, I never have resolutions. But as PepperLife, we have one main resolution. From the coming year, we will do away with the bad spirit of procrastination and laziness when it comes to posting stories. Just like we had promised when we moved here from the WordPress account, we will have a story every week. After further consultation and pointing fingers at each other, we have agreed to mutually share the blame on our failure in this.

Lastly, we are saying a big thank you to our readers, you have kept us going through the year. You are the reason we look forward to the next year. To those who kept reminding us that’s it’s a post day, thank you. We won’t let you down. We are happy. Keep sharing our work to the world. We immensely love you.


Happy New Year 2018!

Familiar Much?

The time is 10.28pm, Monday 4th December 2017.

I am not yet asleep; I am watching a movie. It’s a Marvel Studios’ production. I am a huge fan of Marvel. Other than the fact that their movies are awesome, they know how to cast. If you are not enjoying the movie, you are enjoying the view. Greek gods…

My phone is ringing. It’s a new number. I stare at my phone, then mute it. I would probably sing along to my ringtone; but it’s late. So muting is the only option. I recognize the number from earlier in the day.

I was meeting my friend after a really long time. All we have been doing is communicate through social media. Comment on posts. Like posts. Spruced up by occasional chats in the inbox. She was in Kisumu, and we decided to meet at around 11am on a sunny day. Levine, beloved sister, am just bringing to your attention, next time we meet you are probably going to wait for me for at least thirty minutes. It has got nothing to do with you keeping me waiting; I just feel deep down in my heart that on that day, I may have a valid reason for being late.

We headed to Naivas Supermarket, for some refreshments while catching up.

Just as we were in the middle of exchanging the latest gossip (please read important data exchange) a young man lurch at the edge of our table. Not tall, not short. Dark complexion. I hadn’t noticed him until he spoke. It really is wrong to interrupt such weighty discussions between ladies. I was hoping this was important. Part of my mind was convinced he knew Levine. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Hi…” he said in a tremulous voice.

Hi”, Levine reacts.

My name is Kevin Omondi

***awkward silence***

Levine stares at her phone. I stare at him. He suddenly had my attention. A man who walks to a table of ladies confidently grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if you speak gibberish, you have that courage, you got my attention.

Ok, I have told you my name how about you also tell me yours…” he says addressing both of us.

Hahaha… I didn’t realize that was the trade,” I remark.

hehe… ok, so what are your names?


Huh? Pau…

Paula. P-A-U-L-A

Wow. Ok. And you are?” addressing Levine, who has now kept her phone away.



No. It’s Levine, not Lavine

There is actually a difference you know”, I add.

Wow. You ladies have unique names.” He declares, and immediately adds, “But I told you two names and you’ve told me just one each.”

You made the choice to tell us two of your names. That doesn’t mean we are bound to do the same. Does it?” I politely asked. It may not look so in writing, but believe me, it was polite. Sort of. Let’s not dwell on that.

Not really. Anyway, am not sure if you noticed me, but I have been observing you from where we were seated. I just had to come and say hello.

Oh… No we didn’t notice you…” It’s really good to be honest.

You really look familiar you know. I think I have seen you somewhere…” he said with his eyes fixed on me. Levine, God bless her lack of self-restraint, burst into laughter. A cruel mocking laugh with no pretense of sympathy. I could have laughed too, but one of us needed to play the composed role.

Ummm… Let me try to get this… Could it be that I look familiar because a few minutes ago he was busy staring at me before having made the very brave decision to come over and blurt it out… In the process, he suddenly realized how I am familiar because like I said, he had just been observing me… Which makes the issue of my familiarity in his memory (which is still very fresh and dependable) abit confusing. To an extent that his mind assumes I may be familiar from a past incident… It’s possible because it all just happened in less than an hour. Therefore, deducing that I look familiar is simply an affirmation that he has a good and working short term memory; but does not in any way mean am actually familiar.

Ok… I know, I got a little carried away in my thoughts there. It would have easily been a labyrinth in my mind had he not spoken again.

Could I have any of your numbers?” His voice flat and steady.

Wait, you actually want to choose between us whose number you want?” Levine asked him.

Yes. I will appreciate any number…”

Before we discuss whose number you may or may not get, how about we go a little back to the matter of my familiarity to you. Do people still use that line? It’s really getting old you know…” I told him.

Am serious. I must have seen you somewhere…” Hahaha… Like am going to buy that. It could be true. But pffft…

Hahaha… nice try. So whose number do you want?” I asked him.

I will appreciate anyMaybe even both” He scoffs darting his eyes across the table.

You really need to be more specific than that,” I insisted.

She is my sister. You can’t ask for just any of our numbers. And you can’t have both. Just tell us which number you want,” Levine said coolly.

I can even take yours.” He says pointing to Levine. “…as long as it helps me get to her,” pointing to me. Wow dude. Wow.

Aha… So it’s my number you want?” I asked in a calm, unhurried voice.

Yes” accompanied with a little chuckle.

Well why couldn’t you just go straight to the point…” Levine said (gesturing at a bottle of soda on the table) “If you needed this soda, would you have gone in circles before picking it up?

hahaha… no

At this point I was convinced he would just drag himself  away. But he didn’t. He reached out and handed me his phone. I graciously took it. Keyed in my number and handed it back to him. I didn’t save it. How he saves my number on his phone is his business. I just hope he doesn’t include ‘h’ somewhere. To confirm if it’s a real number, he calls me. (this is why I recognized the number)

Ok, thank you. I will give you a call later we talk…

I nodded.

Just then, he rolls away. My number the latest acquisition in his contact list; probably saved with the wrong spelling.

Drama follows you,” Levine says with a cheeky smile on her face.

You have no idea how much, I thought to myself.

Back to this moment. Am staring at my phone as it rings; still not sure of how or if to answer it at all, until the screen goes black. It is late. I am not picking a call from someone I just met earlier in the day; who had all day to call me but chooses this time, and who may or may not want to ‘interrogate’ me to figure out how to manipulate his speech into making the topic of my familiarity sound more believable.

Men, or the boy child, please stop with that line. It may be true, but we are sick of it.

I expect the phone to ring for a second time. But it doesn’t. I go back to watching. Then my phone beeps. It’s a message. It is awash with the words (these are not even words) ‘plz’ and ‘dia’.

I keeeeeeennnnnntttt!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, for those waiting for me to clear the way, am sorry to disappoint you. As long as am still ‘dia’ and familiar, something I will never buy, the jam is going to be here for a while.

I have said this before, am not a popular person. There is no way I am familiar to people. (Remember paranoia?) Even if I am, don’t tell me. And if you tell me, then you are lying. That line is dead.


The time is 7.54am, Tuesday 5th December.

With my earphones plugged in, I am listening to music. My phone rings. It’s the same number…

To pick or not to pick… Decisions… decisions… decisions…

Hello Ex Friends

Hello Ex friends,

It’s been a while. I am doing really fine; how you are doing is your own personal issue right now. Why am I writing to all of you now? Well, lately I have been thinking about all of you. How my time with each of you was, and I just felt I should write something about that. I initially planned to write an anonymous story on another blog that would have featured all of you, but well, here we are. I know you all wouldn’t mind; and even if you did, you have no say. Anyway, just know none of your names will be featured here.

So straight to the main thing. What happened? My time with each of you was wonderful, some of you made me almost believe in the whole life-time-BFF thing; then the inevitable happened. We went our separate ways. Was it me? Don’t answer that, really irrelevant at this point. But it would be good if some of you would one day send me the cliché message ‘hey, it’s not you. It’s me’. Then maybe I would have gotten some closure and wouldn’t be here right now writing to all (is it 5, 6 or more) of you.

Ex 1. Remember that one time when we all, for lack of a better word, hated that other person? No? Well I do remember that time. Because you and I made such good memories and had fun times finding faults and things to laugh at in the other people. It was so much fun because in as much as it was your idea, I found it interesting to have something to do with you. Can you imagine my shock when the two of you actually became BFFs? Trust me, the look on my face at that point was priceless. I was hurt; not because of the new bond, but because you dumped my ass so fast and hard I think I broke a bone. Anyway, I accepted it. I did my best to be friends with you on my lower level, but time and distance may have been on your side. I moved on.

Ex 2. Wow. You have broken my heart more times than I would want to admit. Sometimes I think I have learnt my lesson with you, then you show up, all humble and needy and I fall for it. You shower me with love like never before; and it really is intoxicating. You my friend, might just be my drug. You know, cocaine. You are bad for me, but am addicted to you. I should know better, I know, but damn! Anyway, the numerous times you broke my heart, I always rose. I would take you back in the blink of an eye, but am not sure if I can do that anymore. See, before I considered you as family; and now? Naah… You and I were more than just friends; I would do anything for you. I kept your secrets. I advised you where necessary. I loved you. I confided in you. Then one day you left. You changed your number; and you became tight with all those who hated me. It still breaks my heart. It is because of you that I actually decided to write this. And since we are being honest, I still stalk you online. Maybe even daily. You look happy with your new life, and in as much as it hurts me, am happy for you.

Ex 3. Where do I begin with you? I only added you to this list because I started thinking of all my ex friends. Among them, you were the bitchiest. (Since Word didn’t underline that it means it’s an actual word). Why am I saying you are the bitchiest? You deliberately tried to sabotage a good thing I had going. I tried my best to forgive you, but you and I, nope. You were a mistake from the beginning. How’s your new life by the way? Good? I don’t really care about it. Just enjoy your life. Bye Felicia!

Ex 4. You are among the latest. You and #2. You haven’t fully settled down at the Ex zone but you are already there. All I need to do is shut the door on your face now. And that will be done shortly. I just have some things to get off my chest with you first. Expect my call anytime from wherever. You and I started really well. I being the conservative type decided to take some time to know your intentions before ever opening up to you. So when I finally did, it felt good. Because you always had my back. I would come to you with a silly thing I did, or was planning to do and you were on my team. Then one day, you met one of the people that actually made my life a living hell, and just like the others in this list, you drifted. (I am noticing a pattern here.) Your betrayal hurt me because it happened right under my nose. I mean, I saw it coming, but somehow I just hoped it wouldn’t happen. But it did, right after I opened up to you. Why would you do that? Anyway, I will revisit your situation. Am still in shock.

Ex 5, 6 and the many more. There is nothing to tell you. Some of you are history. No hard feelings though. You don’t expect me to talk about all of you now, do you?

The no hard feelings thing goes for all of you, except #2. I still can’t wrap my head around it. Anyway, why did you all decide to betray me? Do you people know how much of a good friend I was to all of you? Of course you don’t. How could you when the only thing you ever thought about was yourselves? Am I mad at any of you? Hell yeah! Am very mad. Extremely mad. I am a fragile person, and the moment you all learnt of that you ducked the other way. What is wrong with you?

You know I wouldn’t have been so mad if some of you had just walked away with some decorum. But no, you had to spill some of my secrets. You had to rub it in my face that I was just a phase and you were now moving on. I get it, it’s your life, now if only you wouldn’t use your lives to ruin mine we would be in a better place. Don’t you all think so? I think so. I kept and am still keeping the information about most of you as I know it’s the right thing to do. Spilling some of the things I know would ruin your current lifestyle choices and I don’t roll like that. Believe it or not, am a good person.

All in all, after thinking about my time with all of you, I realized one thing. It’s not me; it’s never been me. It’s you.

Yours Exly, (I’ve made this up)



***PS. Hey future friends, when you see me hesitant with this friendship thing, just know am very skeptical, paranoid, and I have a lot of trust issues***

Whose Baby Is This?

By Agnes Opondo.

Earlier before that random Friday, I had the following conversation with HR after she looked me in the eye and told me, “You need rest! Take a day off.”

“How do you know that?” I asked

“I can see it in your eyes”

“I know my glasses have no tint but, can you actually see the fatigue through my glasses?”

“Agnes just take an off!”

“But there is a lot of work!” (Me pretending to be employee of the year hihihi!)

“Work will never run out, you look tired… I have noticed with great concern that you don’t use lipstick lately.”

“Well…..pretty hurts.”

“What is so painful about dabbing some lipstick? Huh?”

To cut the long story short, I took an off day on that random Friday. Not because of HR’s concerns, but because I wanted to. I wanted to wave my middle finger at the universe and tell it, “No matter what you throw at me, I run my life, motherf*cker!” (Breathe Agnes, take it easy). Have you ever been at a point in your life when you feel like you are losing control? Have you ever wanted to do something crazy like get a tattoo? Or an extra piercing? Or even propose marriage to a random person? How about get into a relationship with a random person and make sure that it is as peaceful as Rob Kardashian and Black Chyna’s romance just to prove to the world that you run your life? OK, don’t look at me like that, I didn’t keep up with their reality show. That is general knowledge.

Anyway, because I was not going to work, I decided to do some cleaning. This may sound weird, but dirt removal and organizing my stuff is super therapeutic for me. After cleaning, I showered, dressed up and headed to the CBD just to prove to the world that I can go to town if I wanted to because, it’s my life damn it! (OK, enough of this proving to the world madness). I boarded a matatu and while the conda was wooing pedestrians into the matatu, I noticed two women standing at the bus stop. One was carrying an infant and the other was carrying a toddler (there is a difference guys). They were deeply engrossed into a conversation which I could tell was either good news or gossip, juicy gossip for that matter. I mean, they looked happy. The conda approached them and asked them where they were headed and after talking with him, the two women exchanged the babies they were carrying. The one who took the toddler got into the matatu and took the seat next to the conda’s seat.

Hell broke loose immediately the matatu took off. The baby began crying she became louder as the matatu progressed. At first I thought that crying was caused by fear of motion. I hear there are babies who are terrified of being in a moving vehicle and considering the seat that this lady had occupied, that could be true. The lady tried to silence the baby lakini wapi! The baby had no intentions of hiding her protests to this journey. This attracted the attention of other passengers and one man turned to the lady and asked her if she had breastfed the baby. The lady who was now beyond frustrated, ignored that question. I could tell that she was about to cry, the veins on her forehead began to show and eyes were getting bloodshot. She kept trying to calm the baby down but her efforts hit the wall, a good one.

A certain middle aged man seated in front of me turned to the lady and asked her, “Madam huyo mtoto ni wako ama umemwiba?” This sparked murmurs among the passengers. A lady seated at the back seconded the middle aged man, “Exactly! Tumwambie kama mtoto ni wako!” Hobee! The lady with the child was now already crying, “Sijaiba mtoto, mimi si mwizi” This argument irritated the baby and she cried even louder. The conda, who by now had an assistant, (ama what do you call that guy who dandias the matatu along the journey not as a passenger but as a conductor number 2?) asked the passengers to calm down.

For some weird reason, the assistant conda caught my eye. I don’t know, maybe it was his blue black complexion or his big dry cracked lips. In fact for the purposes of this read, let’s call him, ‘Crusty’ in honor of his cracked lips. I like the name already, I will call my next pet Crusty, sounds so exotic, right? So Crusty, sat next to the lady with the child looked her into the eye and asked in his heavy Dholuo accent, “Madam hii mitoto ni chako ama wewe nilikuja Narobi kufanya opareson kama mwisi?” If the DCI ever needed someone to coerce criminals into confessing the truth, then trust me, Crusty would do a legit job because this question triggered the tear glands of the lady! Elnino style! This interrogation was interrupted by a sweets vendor cum preacher who boarded the matatu some few kilometers from the CBD. He was fully armed with his tools of trade, a packet of sweets and a Gideons International bible, but before he could introduce himself to the brethren, the baby who had been quiet for a while now, unleashed the loudest cry. Meeen! This baby will grow up to be such a hater. So the preacher, took a French exit never to be seen again.

Finally we got to the CBD and while people were alighting I chose to stay behind, I mean, I witnessed this baby owner drama from the start and surely I must see how it ends. We got to the Railways bus terminus and everyone else had alighted apart from the lady with the baby, the baby, a certain old man, a middle aged lady, the conda, Crusty, the driver and I. Crusty upgraded his interrogation techniques by yanking the phone from the poor lady’s hand. He then asked her, “onasave aje baba ya hii mitoto?” “Anaitwa Godfrey!” The lady replied amid sobs. Crusty dialed Godfrey’s number on the lady’s phone and upon calling him, the guy admitted to being the child’s father. When Crusty asked him whether he knew the owner of the phone, he said that this lady was taking the child to his mother.

Makosa! Mistake! Crusty turned to the lady and yelled, “tunapeleka wewe kwa polisi sai!”

The poor lady whose wails were now in perfect harmony with the baby’s crying, pleaded with Crusty, “Nimemchukua kutoka kwa mama yake, mama yake alishindwa kumlea juu akona mtoto mwingine mdogo kushinda huyu!”

“Sasa akisindwa kulea, mama yake napatia wewe mtoto. Madam! Iwalo koda!” Crusty was now boiling with rage. The conda tried to restrain him from doing something stupid.

The old man, turned to Crusty and told him that he should contain his anger as it is wrong to hit a woman. “Huyu mama hasemi ukweli, unajua nimewahi kudeal na wezi wa watoto nikifanya kazi kwa hospitali kama nurse!” The middle aged lady said. “Na mimi nimework na watu wa children’s rights najua wezi wa watoto!” Added the old man, I don’t know why I did not believe this old man. Crusty was quick to jump in, “Mwisi ni mwisi!” then the driver, “shukeni mmpeleke kwa polisi basi, nataka kuendelea na kazi.” The conda who was a bit empathetic to the lady said, “pigieni mama ya mtoto kwanza ndo twende kwa polisi.”

Now that everyone was giving their parting shot, I couldn’t be left out. So I said, “Guys despite having two left feet, I can burst decent Bazokizo moves and even better, I have ever gone live on Kilimani Mums!” I know. My comment was totally unrelated to the issue at hand, so that is why I didn’t say it. I kept quiet and observed the whole drama unfold.

Can you guess what they did to the poor lady? Am so sorry to disappoint you dear reader, because I also don’t know. I had to leave to go do the nothings that had brought me to town. I run my life, remember?


Now am pretty sure you’ve all enjoyed this piece. Perfectly penned by Agnes Opondo. Click HERE to connect with her on Facebook. And HERE to view her blog for more interesting stories.






Paranoia Or Just Too Much Fear?

I am not a popular person. I would say am not a celeb but let’s all agree there are no celebs in Kenya. We just have popular people. I freak out when people look at me when am walking on the streets. I freak out when they try talking to me. How am I supposed to meet ‘Mr. Right’ when every time someone attempts to have a conversation with me I think of sprinting to the left? By the way, there is no such thing as Mr. Right. No such thing. It’s a made up sham to prey on the emotional balance of vulnerable women who have been hurt a lot. But it provides hope though.

I also freak out over minor issues like too many friend requests in a day. Before accepting, I go through the mutual friends list and ask myself why would this person send me a friend request? Did one of these mutual friends whisper something about me and now curiosity got the better of the person? Is someone out there sharing a link to my profile? It can’t be my posts, I tell myself, because sometimes even I am shocked when I read some of the things I write. This week, I received over 100 friend requests in a span of two days. That freaked me out.

When I open my mobile data in the morning and find over 10 conversations on WhatsApp, especially when there is no group message, I freak out. Like I said, I am not a popular person. Even among my friends. I am the kind of friend who will have a lively conversation with you but there are minimal chances that I started that conversation. It’s never fully pride; I just really suck at small talk. Like skip to the point already! So when I find such messages on my phone my first instinct is to ask myself ‘damn it girl! What did you do?’ It is a relief when I find it’s just a lot of hello(s) and hi(s). But it’s also questionable. Like why are they all saying hi to me today? What have they heard? What are they driving at?

I am a very paranoid person. I overthink situations, and not with a positive angle, I think towards the negative. My What Ifs are 99% of the time towards the negative, and in equal percentage towards life threatening situations. I can’t help it. I have tried. I also fear a lot.

When I was still a child, at around 8years or younger, I accompanied a group of school mates to a home whose owner I did not even know. There was a funeral going on and the late was somehow relevant to my school at the time. Even after several warnings of ‘Do not follow people to their homes’ ‘Come straight home after school’ and ‘If you want to go to a friend’s place, ask for permission’. On that day, I did not even think twice, I just followed people. In a matter of minutes, we were in the home. Then there was a line. And it was full of my schoolmates, so I went and joined it, and slowly the line started moving. I did not know where we were headed, I just followed them. It was not until I also turned my head to the right like everyone that I saw what the line was for. We were viewing the body. Before that day, I knew when someone dies; they immediately go to heaven if they are good and hell if they are bad. No one mentioned the motionless body being part of the equation. I freaked out and froze on the line. This was someone I didn’t even know and there I was staring at what used to be him.

For over a year, I could not be sent into a dark room and go willingly. I would tiptoe to the room already having a panic attack, switch on the lights and once am halfway calm, I start imagining things. What if I turn my back to search for whatever I was sent and then something comes in and I don’t know…does something bad to me? Because I was already paranoid and scared, I would not have enough time to search and instead I would quickly run out of the room without switching off the lights and innocently say I haven’t found whatever it is that I was sent. Someone else would be sent and they come back with it almost immediately.

I watch NatGeo Wild more times than I would want to admit. I know so much about animals now. I know how to differentiate a crocodile from a monitor lizard. Since am being honest here, there is no point in knowing the difference. When you see any of them, RUN! I know some animals I never even imagined existed. It is common knowledge that hyenas are very selfish and gluttonous animals. This is true, but wait until you hear about the Tasmanian devil tiger. Small predators but they are so mean and selfish. The children chase away the mother just to eat as they fight amongst themselves. NatGeo Wild is a great channel, unless they are showing doctors biting sheep balls off, then it gets disgusting and you can never unsee that.

As a constant NatGeo Wild watcher, I thought the knowledge on everything I fear would help me relax. Instead, I now have more reasons to overthink and thus keep my paranoia at an increasing rate. The other day I was taking photos in the compound and then I remembered a segment in the channel where a snake hid in a very similar tree. That was the end of the photo session.

I have always had an ardent fear of spiders growing up, I still do. However, my fear of the real thing is not such a big deal as compared to the fear I have towards all the imaginary spiders in my head. I once ran away from a room because my own hair brushed unexpectedly on my neck. It is not helping that I have an overactive imagination. When I see more than one ant around, I imagine there is something sweet somewhere around, which could mean there is a bee or two around. And what are the chances that that bee has not attracted a bear. What are the chances?

For someone like me who also has a fear of irregular patterns, and a cluster of small holes and bumps (Trypophobia), opening links with the caption ‘Top 10 most disgusting things in the world’ or ‘This woman was uncomfortable and when she visited the doctor…this will shock you’ or ‘17+ strange places where dangerous animals hide’ is not an option. I have however out of curiosity opened some links; I am still recovering from that sight. My skin still has goosebumps when I think of such times. When a part of my skin gets itchy, I imagine all sorts of negative things related to whatever link I opened last.

Is this paranoia or just too much fear? Don’t tell me it’s the same thing.

I could go on and on about my paranoia, and fears but am already feeling bored of typing.

My Boss Is A Jerk

A few months ago, I got a job with a highly reputable company. I was lucky to have been one of the elite to partake the training prior to being accepted in the company. It was a test by my now boss to see which candidates can work best under all circumstances and be able to deliver. I know I should be glad I have a job, but the truth is, my boss is a jerk. Sort of. I will explain.

She is a very young lady, definitely not even in her 30s. She is chocolate in complexion and is indeed very beautiful. If we were both single and she was not my boss, I would definitely pursue her. She is a slim lady who is perfectly endorsed in the right places. Her hips curve perfectly just at the right angle to compliment her small waist. She has stern eyes. When she stares at you, you are tempted to confess all your secrets to her, hoping you successfully hide the fact that you think she is a jerk. She wears no make up except for a pinch of lipstick enough to get you staring at her lips like an idiot. Her hair is always in different styles, but natural. My boss is the true definition of African beauty. Except she is a jerk.

About a week ago, one of my colleagues left the boss’s office almost in tears. She is a young lady whom I had started this job with, so we were a team. I went over and asked her what had happened. She looked at me with anger in her eyes and told me ‘that bitch just told me to redo the work I have been doing tirelessly for the past week. And guess what? She wants it by Monday. It’s Friday Mark. Friday!’.  I know women can be emotional hazards so I tried to come up with a consoling statement before walking back to my desk. I couldn’t come up with any so I just gave her a part on the back and walked away. She is not talking to me well lately. I don’t know why.

As I was approaching my desk, I saw my boss walk towards me. She had her eyes fixed on me. Just me. I tried so hard to focus on the right thoughts. Like did I finish my task? Did she see me with Anne and was coming to give me a warning? What did I have for breakfast? Am I hungry? What was the title of that song that keeps playing in all the matatus I board? Anything to keep my thoughts from drifting to her perfect self walking towards me. My boss walks as if she is weightless. Her feet touch the ground at very low volumes she could easily sneak up on you. I find this weird considering the fact that she always wears heels. She is not a tall lady but with her heels, she can easily dwarf anyone she wants. She was wearing a cream trouser suit on that day with a black sleeveless top. However, when walking towards me she wasn’t wearing her coat. Her perfectly toned arms were on full display. Do I like my boss? This is not good…

She got to where I was and stared right into my eyes. She had to tilt her head to an angle to see my eyes and I could see that she hated that. I am a tall guy at 6’ 1”. My height did not seem to please her.

“Mark. Right?”

“Yes madam. That’s me.”

She stared at me as though I had just murdered her cat. I was scared already. She is intimidating.

“Please have a seat. I need to talk to you”

Did she just ask me to sit down? Politely? That was new. I froze. I kept staring at her like the bloody idiot that I am. Why did she need me to sit anyway? Was it her power position issues? I kept wondering as I finally composed myself to sit. I adjusted my trousers just a little bit to ensure all my business was in check and in case of anything, no one would notice. I tried being as discreet as possible, but I know I heard her chuckle.

“How can I help you today madam?”

“I talk first Mark.”

Brutal… But ok

“Sorry…” I gestured towards her and tried maintaining a composed posture.

“How long have you worked here Mark?”

“A few months”

“Do you know the exact number?”

“4 months”

“Wonderful. What exactly do you do here?”

“I am in marketing”

“Mark…What exactly do you do here?”

“I handle marketing and promotion of this company’s products and services. In addition, I also help boost the social media following”

“That’s now an answer.”

She then stares at her watch, then at her phone. Why would she need to check the time twice? Did she know just how uncomfortable her proximity made me? After a minute of silence, she cleared her throat and looked at me again. Her eyes are stern, but still magical.

“How much do you earn?”

“Per month?”

“Do I pay you any other way?”

“50000. Net salary.”

“Hmmm… Do you have a family Mark?”

“Not yet. But I hope to one day”

“Do you save for your family?”

“I do what I can madam”

“You need to stop calling me Madam. It makes me feel old. How would you feel if I reduced your salary?”

“Are you planning to do that?”

“Not really an answer Mark”

“I would feel really bad… honestly I might even consider looking for another job. I barely survive with the 50k.”

She did not talk to me. I knew I had messed up big time. Me and my big mouth! Couldn’t I have just kissed her ass and given her the answer she might have hoped for? But who ever knows what she thinks?

“Are you good at your job?”

“Yes I am”

“Would you like to keep it?”

“Yes. It’s hard finding a job in my field. I need this job.”

“Hmmmm…I need evidence of your ‘good work’ by noon. Is that possible?”


It was 10minutes to noon. That bitch! She did not walk away. She pulled a chair and sat on it. Swinging round and round as the clock ticktocked. I honestly was confused. I had no idea how to behave. How do I give her proof of my good work? Therefore, I decided to sell one of her company’s services as she watched. I made a call to a promoter friend of mine who is helping me look for a plan B job. I ensured the phone call was loud enough that she could hear both sides from where she sat. I told my boy to get me a client interested in the company’s services. A few minutes later, I had convinced a stranger over the phone to switch from their random suppliers and be loyal to us. All I needed to do was draft an agreement for the client to sign.

I had less than a minute left to midday. I turned to my boss and told her “am done”.

She glanced up from her phone and asked me calmly “do you want a raise?”

“Yes I do.” I had realized it’s straight forward answers that work with her.

“You might get a 7% raise starting next month”

“Thank you mad… sorry. Thank you”

She smiled at me and stood up. I stood up too. Just in case there was a handshake to cement the new deal. She just looked at me as if I was some lost puppy. She turned her glance across the room to where my colleague was. While still staring she asked me “why can’t some people just do their work efficiently?” I knew better than to answer that one so I just kept quiet. She went ahead and said, “I should hire your friend. The one who linked you to a client. Am firing someone soon”

What did she mean by someone? Was it me? Was it Anne? She was after all staring at her while saying that. She had just promised me a raise, not directly, but it should count. That someone couldn’t be me, right? If its Anne, do I give her a heads up? Or would that get me fired too? This lady acted like she was made of stone. There are stories that she was deeply hurt and completely shut down after that. But no one knows any fact about her. Except that, she is a jerk.

She turned and looked at me. Then turned to walk away. Her light steps fading as she disappeared into her elegant office. That was the second time I heard her voice, and the first time she talked directly to me. The first time was while she addressed all employees on the day I joined. Just as she sat down in her office, I got an email. It was from her. To paraphrase it, it said she needed an immediate report on all my accomplishments in the company and to notify me that I would be working on the weekends. Half a day. I literally had no words.

On that day, I left work earlier than usual. Coincidentally, a bad one, I shared the lift downstairs with my boss. She maintained silence in the whole ride. Once we were on the ground floor, she asked me, “Am I a bad boss Mark?”

That was not one of those questions that needed honesty. So I told her “No, you are a good boss”

She smiled at me and looked at her watch.

“See you tomorrow. And don’t be late”

Keep Reading

The ‘Man’ In Every Woman

You will understand the featured photo as you go on.

I am the worst patient ever. I know this for a fact. I have an ardent fear of anything medicine related which means I can take even 10minutes to swallow a tablet, even one that is sugar coated. I hear there are such. I don’t have the guts to taste any. I will just take my sweet time thinking about what angle to use when throwing the tablet in my mouth, to avoid any tongue-tablet contact. I don’t care if the tablet is tiny. Those are the worst! Other than that fear, I am stubborn. With that comes the need to be pampered. Like let’s say you want me to eat, talk to me nicely. Seduce me with your words such that I don’t just submit to the food but to any other order you issue. Talk to me like a child. Feel my temperature at intervals of 5minutes and most importantly, yet the most silly, ensure my phone does not run low on power.

As a patient, I can be very petty and by extension, exaggerate any situation. When I have the flu, you will think it’s a chronic illness or some ‘mathematics’ malaria. I mean the +++ ones. I will easily win your pity. The most I can do at such a time is cuddle up in bed and look pale. I can do that so well. It’s not a choice. It’s an involuntary reflex setting my body reverts to when am sick. In short, as a patient, I can sometimes be a pain in the ‘you know what’. (Feel free to read that as you may please. A three-letter word would suffice.) You can imagine the frustration in everyone when I had a sick scare recently. If there is such a thing.

Where am I going with this? When I had my sick scare, my Mum told me, “You are the only one among my children that I still don’t know how to handle when sick. You fall sick like your Dad.” Which I think narrowly translates to I fall sick like a Man? I don’t know. That is how I interpreted it. So it’s what we will all go with. No debates. In addition, it’s a known fact that men fear being sick.

This statement got me thinking. If I can fall sick like a man, what else that’s known about men do we women do? And I came up with this.

According to some article on the internet, a study actually, one of the facts known about men is that they lie six times in a day, while women lie three times. I don’t know how true that is, but I will not question the internet. Not after all the years of relying on it for all my assignments. However, if it is true, then I have some emphasis on that. First off, everyone lies. The men just happen to lie more in a day. Women however, have a tendency of linking unrelated situations together, which comes as an added advantage to them when lying. For example, the car is linked to the phone, which is linked to food, which is in turn linked to cleaning the house, and further linked to the story you as a man once mentioned three years ago. So with all these linked together, women need to lie less, because when caught in a lie, they can easily manipulate their way around a situation and instead link it to the other unrelated situations. Men, will have to come up with a lie to cover that lie. But the bottom line is, men lie. Women lie.

It is common knowledge that men forget a lot. And women remember a lot. As I have stated above, women link everything to everything. A trait that has seen men losing almost every argument they engage with women. Especially if you have a history together. However, women also forget. What triggers their memory is the ability to link a situation to an irrelevant one. A good example:
Man: I met Jane today. She said hello.
Woman: Jane…Jaaa…..Jannnnee….Jane Jane Jane…Jane. Which Jane is that?
Man: She used to work in the shop next to….
Woman: Aha! Jane. The one who had to move out of her husband’s house at night?

What a man can do, a women can do better? Really? What a man can do, a woman can do. Just that. Well except getting another woman pregnant.

There is something about a man, laziness, carelessness and disorganization. I can’t quite put a finger on it, but it’s there. I have more male friends than the female ones. So I know what am talking about. Besides, who said I need to have a huge number of people that I can sample from? IPSOS publishes their findings all the time and not even once have I heard anyone say they were part of the survey. The things I have mentioned, are not just associated with men, get a woman to feel comfortable with you and you will be surprised at how much the ‘men’ in women is paramount.

Men, ok I will say most men, thrive in disorganization. There is no specific order in which things are arranged in a man’s house. As long as there is a space, and the item fits, it will be placed there. Until it’s needed. Then the search begins; introducing new forms of disarrangement until the needed item is found. For example, why separate the shirts, trousers and socks? Why not pile them up together and only engage in a serious search party when you need one? You think only men do this? Think again.

I had a friend in school who never saw the need to separate his clean clothes from the dirty ones. He relied solely on his sense of smell and sight. Who says women are any different? They may be more civilized enough to separate the clean ones from the dirty ones, but not always. The jeans are an exception. (I won’t talk about bras, ladies know themselves). The jeans are always clean, it does not matter how many times they have been worn. They are always clean. Another man-thing in a woman is the need to just do nothing, and possibly have someone else do it. Laziness.

“Ablutophobia. Ablutophobia is a persistent fear of bathing or any other form of cleaning activity. It is found to be more common in children and females.” I will not even talk about that. It’s completely open to interpretation. (Photo relevance comes in here) Let’s move on…

Ever heard of an alpha male? Well, there is an alpha female too. She has her own pack. She determines which way they go. She determines who can join the pack and most importantly, you cannot even think of dating her ex. When you have an issue with the alpha female, as a member of the pack, kindly humble yourself and take the high road, or else, she will destroy you. Unlike the alpha males whose only limitation to the pack members is the ex-thing, the female alphas have more control over their packs. The men call themselves bros, but it’s always clear who the leader is. The women call it girl-squad, with a dictator for a leader. Therefore, another man-thing in a woman is that. The alpha thing. Women however take it way too far.

Do I need to talk about clothes? Football? Or some other sports generally associated with men? How about cooking? I don’t think so. You get my point.

What am I saying in all these? There is nothing so different in character between the man and woman. There is that aspect of the ‘man’ that will keep manifesting in the woman. Some, women hide pretty well.

Genesis 2: 23 And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

I will leave you with that.


My brother’s school is very close to our house. It’s literally a minute’s walk to that school. They had their prize giving day yesterday, a day that also counted as their official closing day. My elder sister was the parent for the day. As for my Mum and I we were to travel. Actually she was to travel but she extended an invitation in my direction and I said why not? For us to leave the estate, we have to pass through the school’s field. As we were passing, the MC or someone was calling out names of the kids receiving gifts. Best Student, Most improved. Then came the most discipline. And without even thinking, I quickly said ‘mummy hapo nae wako hayuko’ and to my surprise she was not even mad. Instead she added ‘ingekua ni naughtiest ningekubali…na si leo wamedrag hii event yao’.

It was only then that I realised it was already 1pm. Yet our scheduled departure time was 11am. This is where the relevance of the topic comes in. We were late. Not because I did something but because mum picked that day to be a tailor. Work she had procrastinated for months. If this thing is hereditary then I got it. And I got it big time.

My procrastination does not choose when to manifest itself. It can happen anytime.

Back when I was still a student, ok it’s just been a month but still, I was never on time for my classes. I tried, I failed. If I had a class at 10am, I knew deep down that I was supposed to start getting ready latest by 9am. But somehow I would convince myself that there was still time. I would end up getting ready past 10. At which point, I was already late. The same applied to studying where I would keep on telling myself ‘I will do it’. I would reassure myself of the abundant time available, only to end up doing it in the last minute. The only thing that motivated me was the last minute pressure associated with studying. But I have survived school; I should be able to handle anything.

While writing this, I have left a month-old pile of clothes back home that are in desperate need of my services. I know am supposed to do my laundry but somehow I keep finding clean clothes and that has sort of made me very lazy and succumb to the spirit of procrastination. A week ago, I told my sister to wake me up while she leaves for school so I can get time to do my laundry. She kept her word. She woke me up. I woke up, looked at the pile on the chair (you know that designated chair whose sole role in a house is to carry clothes that just can’t find their way to the wardrobes or wire lines? That chair), looked at the time, and told myself 30 more minutes of sleep won’t make a difference. Well a week down the line and here we are. This is just not right.

To prove just how much this is a problem let me give another scenario. I have known since my last post that I will be posting exactly after a fortnight. But what did I do about it? Nothing. I kept telling myself ‘there is still time’ over and over again that I believed it. Until there was no time and I just didn’t know which of the five unfinished stories I should focus on for publication. Since I could not decide, reality is I postponed even making the decision, I texted my partner Lewis to write this week instead. He wanted a reason. I mean how was I to tell him directly that my procrastination tendencies are closing in on me? So I evaded the question all together. I then told myself that by the end of Monday, I will have written something, we edit and wait for Wednesday to publish. Well, you’ve guessed right, I had nothing by the end of Monday. It’s not like I don’t have something to write. I have tonnes to write. Tonnes. I just can’t stop postponing.

In related news, I have a 100paged document I should be editing, and a business plan I should draft. Both of which I have not even started. I don’t know when to start. What I know is I should start. ASAP.

I love travelling, but only when it’s spontaneous. If it’s planned, I will just come up with the craziest excuse to push it. I should have been in Nakuru weeks ago, but I kept postponing that for weeks. Until there was no other chance. My problem is real.

Have you ever sent a message to someone and you are still waiting for an answer? It could be as you are reading this or even before. The wait could be any duration. From one minute to one day and to infinity. Well, I have this problem even with messages. Sometimes I get a message, I read it, I draft a reply in my head and tell myself I will get back later to reply. Then I just don’t. Because with procrastination, comes forgetting. It’s a very bad thing I know, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I am working on that though, it can be an emergency one day, right?

I am beginning to imagine my procrastination is fuelled by my deep love for doing nothing all the time. In other words known as laziness. One of my most peaceful moments apart from sleeping is when am doing nothing. There is no pressure in that. Because of this, I have a habit of cancelling things.

The other week I had a meeting in Maseno scheduled for 11am. I did my best to ensure am not late. But that procrastinating spirit embedded deep in my core kept telling me ‘how about we just push this meeting to I don’t know…later? Next week maybe…or just another time. Let’s just do nothing today’. I was almost making the call to cancel when the other party called and rescheduled it to half past 11am. It was the best the universe could give me for my dilemma. I took the deal.

It’s always said ‘denial is the first step of acceptance.’ I am done denying my procrastination. I now accept I have a problem. And am afraid it may be my undoing.

Meeting Old Friends

The other day, I was to meet my class 5 crush for the first time since I transferred schools in class 5.

He suggested Tuskys. It is one of the few places I avoid in Kisumu. If you ever lie to anyone that you are away from town, do not and I repeat, do not show up in Tuskys, you will meet. I assure you there will be no way you can hide. Tuskys is the ideal meeting spot for the people you intend to avoid. It doesn’t help that it’s the only mall next to the main stage. It also hosts the only KFC place in Kisumu. I still can’t understand Kisumu people’s obsession with this place. In short, Tuskys is a place to avoid if you don’t like crowds. Human traffic is guaranteed. It is this same Tuskys that Crush chose. So I said ‘why not?’

When we met, we had the usual pleasantries, which were full of ‘I can’t believe it’s you’ ‘waaaaa’ ‘so we finally meet’ ‘you look so lovely’ ‘I still can’t believe it’s really you’ and my favorite ‘you are beyond what I expected’. A girl can be flattered. A girl can blush. We decided to find a place to seat and talk. We had over a decade to catch up on. Just after passing the security point, which by the way I found to be shitty, we met another class 5 classmate, the best friend to Crush. I immediately knew there would be a change in plans. We will call him Best Friend. I am not using anyone’s name here today.

We catch up for some time creating a minor traffic at the shitty security checkpoint. Finally, we all agreed to go for bhajias. When you visit Kisumu and you happen to be in the mood for some bhajias, the place to be is at Mama Hassan’s. It’s located in Ondiek estate, just a few minutes from Tuskys mall. Best friend was in the company of a petite girl, who looked like his girlfriend (I will justify that) and another guy who was in denim. I hope you are all getting their names. Just in case you are lost, there is Crush, Best Friend, Petite Girl and Denim Guy. Now keep up please.

We leave Tuskys and head to Mama Hassan’s. Let me tell you why this place is sacred to those like me who have no problem eating junk food. Mwitu to be specific. One, Mama Hassan has been there for as long as I can remember. Two, her bhajias are just heavenly, mouthwatering. Three, there is something called loyalty. It cuts across several avenues. Salons, Barbers, and now as you have all learnt, food kiosks. Four, my sister recommended it sometime. So the fact that my sister, who does not know Kisumu so well, found this place means it is the best. I could go on and on, but this is not a marketing post.

Just as we approach Mama Hassan’s, Petite Girl says she knows a different place that is actually good. She gives us an impression of this new place; there is no waiting and that we would get seats fast. Unlike Mama Hassan’s place, there are few people. She goes further and tells the rest of the group to go to Mama Hassan’s if they are not for it but as for her, she was going to the other place. Best Friend, or as I would say Suspected Boyfriend, asked for our opinion. Now I knew it was just for formality purposes because the facts were 1) There was no way Best Friend was going to a different place from Petite Girl 2) There was no way Crush was going to a different place from Best Friend and 3) The moment that division option was brought up, we were all going to the new place. These were facts. A chain rolling out.

That was my cue. I should have just created some ridiculous story and excused myself from the group but I didn’t. I also needed to hang with old friends. Crush to be specific. It had been a decade! All this, for my class 5 crush. Dude you owe me better bhajias.

The other place wasn’t as promised. One, there were no seats. Two, there was a crowd. Three, there was a waiting line. We were group #3. Each group waited at least 30minutes. Do the math. In short, I was missing Mama Hassan’s place. Petite Girl decided to look for seats. As for me, I was targeting the group that was doing literally nothing next to us. They had eaten. They needed to leave. Well, they did leave and we got their seats.

And so the wait began… and my observing eyes began to work…

When you use observation for content, you need things to be real, not stage-managed. Therefore, I was counting on that just in case I decided to write about the place. Crush however decided to issue out a warning to everyone. “Be careful what you say, and how you act. She is a writer and she can be savage. The other day alimulika a guy just for tweezing”. How do you get real content when everyone is now on the alert? You employ patience. Eventually people let their guards down. Am not savage in my posts. That’s just a misconception. Sort of.

Let me give you all a picture of how the place looked like. It is an outdoor eating shack with two possible seating areas, outside the compound and inside the compound. The seats are plastic chairs that are available depending on your arrival time and the willingness of the previous occupants to vacate the said seats. Everything was being done manually or rather traditionally. The potatoes were peeled with knives, and later cooked using three stones and a huge black pan half filled with oil. A duck kept patrolling the area at intervals of 10minutes. A baby was crying, I never got why. She was a lovely girl in pink. Her mother however thought it wise to plait her half-haired head. I think this was just torture. Why punish a child like that? Maybe that is why she kept crying. The cooking staff were for lack of a better word, very slow. For a place with that much traffic in form of customers, their service delivery was uncharmingly (this is not even a real word) slow.

It was half an hour since we had arrived and still we were nowhere close to being served. Petite Girl later suggested we all move into the compound and not outside as we had initially positioned ourselves. Best Friend had to ask (formality) if we are ok with that. We had to be. Refer to the facts previously stated.
Inside the compound, I had no view of the activities going on outside, like the progress of our ordered Bhajias.

After minutes of waiting to be served, the lady in charge comes and takes our order. Five plates of bhajia. Pretty simple huh? Well it wasn’t to her. After all that waiting and finally getting some hope she comes back with just two plates. Two plates! We were five! She smiles at all of us and says, “Aki nikienda kuosha plates ule aliuza order yenu”. You don’t play people like that when it comes to food. I pitied Denim Guy most. He had reached out for a plate, which he had to let go, so that the ladies in the team can have the first share. Being a gentleman needs its time-outs. I did feel for him. Unfortunately, it’s only he who was waiting. Crush joined me. Best friend joined Petite Girl. (I promised to tell you why I suspected Best Friend was Boyfriend, right? This is the place. They shared Petite Girl’s plate. She gave him her juice when Denim Guy snatched his and I could swear it was during this time that I heard one of them calling the other ‘babe’. It could also just be my overactive imagination)

Best Friend was making some calls to other friends to join us. His only problem was giving the directions to where we were. Petite Girl took it upon herself to confuse the crap out of the guy more. ‘Tell them to come near the old VCT’ ‘tell them to come to Akinyi’s (not the real name) place’ ‘tell them to use Ondiek’ and many more tell thems. Well, somehow the friend found the place. I was expecting a crowd. It was just one person.

The whole team got to some catching up. I noticed Petite Girl did not talk much. She just stayed in her corner as if studying all of us. It was sort of like what I do when am in a crowd of new people. Denim Guy would join in only when there was a jab being thrown at someone. I guess he feared whatever he said might be used against him in this piece. The talkers were Crush and Best Friend. One discussion however caught my attention. Straight guys really feel a strong sense of repulsion towards the gay guys. Everyone except Denim Guy had an experience with a gay person and the tone in their voices when speaking of such moments oozed nothing but disgust. I will not share the stories. This is already longer than I expected.

Everyone got their share of bhajias eventually. It was lovely to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

It was getting late and I needed to go home.

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