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…..plus 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?

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

JOURNEY TO REDEMPTION

There are some moments you never want interrupted. You want to keep them in any medium possible and play them anytime you feel like. Such moments could come when you are at the shore of Lake Victoria, as the afternoon breeze smashes on your face, gets past your ears and you feel your body blocking its flow. The waves of the Lake flow gently with a little sunshine giving the breeze all the time in the world to ask yourself why you took so long to get to that place. Besides you stands a gem, with vivacious features and eyes that sparkle brightening your day. It is her idea that you are there in the first place.

You move close to this beautiful being as if to point to her something on the visible shore across you, and you steadily move your left hand to rest on her lower back, your right hand still on your side. Just when you are slowly moving your left hand even lower, your phone starts ringing. Phones never let you have your moments. I believe phones are the neediest devices in this world; they don’t want you concentrating on any other thing. If your phone has ever rang at such a moment to remind you that you belong to this world, then you will get it.

You are torn between picking that phone and just silencing it. You then check it only to find it is that call that you cannot miss. It’s mum calling, and when mum calls, you will pick. She is enquiring why you never got home the previous day. Apparently she had saved you some food knowing you will get home. She is worried that you have not stopped your behavior of randomly coming up with plans and go missing.

Just after the call, a new number pops up on the screen. It’s a lecturer informing you that he will be assessing you the next day. That means you have to go back to your work station. You have to leave the beautiful view of the lake behind and get back to the crowded madness which is the city of Nairobi. You break the news to the beauty and already notice the disappointment in her voice as she asks you if there is a chance that you might not go. Those are hard times, hard choices. You have to weigh your options. Well, you know you have to travel, and again there stands the lady you have been waiting to spend the evening with. Quite a tempting offer she gives you. You take in the breeze one last time as you stroll by the shore waiting to watch the sun setting in the horizon. Evening first approaches and you head back to the house bidding your better half a kiss goodbye, and just like that you are on the road.

My life happens in a flash. I rarely plan for stuff I do because it has proven time and time again that I do not get to those places. I know of people who plan their life in a diary and religiously stick to it. That is pure genius. I am one of those people who live life in the fast lane; you can wake me up from my sleep and tell me that we are heading for a trip, and I show up whatever the time. All I need is a reason and accessibility. Motivation is always on point.

I remember how I left my village the other day. I was ploughing the farm when I received a call informing me that there was a gig opening for some few days in Kisumu. I headed home, and even without taking a shower, I changed into fresh clothes and off I went. I told guys at home that I will return in the evening. Three weeks later, they are still waiting for me. I had left home without any set of clothes to change and yet here I was, going to spend one week in town. I am not sure if that’s crazy, I only know that I will survive. I would have to make do with what I have. Isn’t that what creativity is for?

One time seeing that beauty out, I had bent next to her. She then pulls up my shirt and on asking why she says she wanted to see the brand of boxer that I had on. I don’t know what she would say if after some days she would look and see that I am still in the Gildan brand. Or wait, did she notice and just keep quiet about it? I now have the sudden urge to ask her about it.

This has been me for a long time. In school, I didn’t know whether I would get back to the house by evening or not. I never knew where the sun would set in with me in. I stopped going to bashes because almost each and every one I attended, I would wake up in unfamiliar territories the next day. I had even started influencing my friends. One time a brother of mine got into a vehicle heading to school, and he ended up meeting a stranger who offered him some lunch she was carrying. After enjoying the scrumptious meal, he found himself at the lady’s house the following morning.

Living an adventurous lifestyle has its setbacks. I am missing out on opportunities in my career and even relationships. Having lost my focus on what I prime in life, I am now convinced that it was a phase that I am soon growing out of. This is the most serious statement I have ever written in my life.

After deep thought, I am considering quitting this life. It is not for me anymore. Times are changing, and responsibilities are piling up my way. If you were like me, what has helped you out throughout the months, or even years?

A DAY IN THE SPA

When you hear Nairobi you think traffic jams, Kanjos, live theft, and many more issues associated with our beloved capital city. Somehow even with all it’s bad reputation, there is still that thrill that comes with being in Nairobi. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the city. I don’t like congestion and it is a congested city. I don’t like the traffic jams. And don’t get me started with the Kanjos… (story of another day). I avoid the city by all means. There is the busy traffic which makes people like me (those who fear crossing the road) have a hard time. There is the noise. I am yet to walk to a part of the CBD that is actually quiet.

I arrived in the city on Saturday afternoon. I should have been in town by 10am but it just wasn’t my day. I had missed my appointment. And was very disappointed. All I needed was some consolation; the only place I know how to get that is a Spa. A treat for myself, from myself. There is this really wonderful nail and facial spa in town just near  Ambasadeur bus stage. They do quality work. They are just beside Lazarus’ Inn.

I walked in to the salon/spa. Casually said hi to everyone. Few minutes later this lady friend was working on my nails. They had free Wi-Fi. All was good. All I had left to do was observe and update Apps.

This Nairobi guy walks in with his group of boys. They look like they are fresh from high school. He was wearing rugged jeans (whoever thought this was a good idea for men’s wear, shame on you!), a very baggy vest that made his skinny arms look even skinnier. His gang of friends had almost similar dressing. Two of them had bags on their backs. They were so flat I was convinced they carried nothing in them. Well, may be except for their headphones. They looked like headphones people. All of them were wearing these huge Timbers. Basically, they looked like young Kanye(s). The leader, he was literally leading them in, walks up to a lady attendant working on a clients feet.

“Niaje…Mnafanya eye tweezing?”

I could not contain my laughter at this point. Its not because he sounded funny or anything, there is just no such thing as eye tweezing. Its just tweezing. The fact that he was just being specific made it very hilarious! You know that look everyone in a room gives you when you are the only one laughing? I got that. My friend joined in of course. That lady attendant was clearly suppressing her laughter. I think she was trying to be good.

“Hua ni tu tweezing. Hakuna eye tweezing”

“Ni how much?”

“one-fifty per person”

“Sawa. Ntaback”

Its a good thing he said he was coming back. I was hoping by the time he gets back, maybe with more people who needed eye tweezing, I would be gone.

I refuse to sit next to a guy in a Spa as he gets his nails done, his eyebrows trimmed (tweezing), or even his hair being worked on (for those who use hair dryer). Trim your nails at home. Go to your Barber for your hair issues. If you have to be in the salon/spa let it be because you are working there (It is not uncommon to find some men working in the salons nowadays. Its adorable how we got rid of classifying jobs), or you have just gone there to pick up your girlfriend, and maybe pay for the services. Just don’t sit down next to me, read a ladies’ fashion magazine, listen in on what we talk about, and who knows? You might just be a blogger! And a week later a link will be sent to groups ‘My day at the spa’. It will have all details pertaining to your day. Highly exaggerated of course, all in a desperate attempt to expose what goes on in there.

I always believe the Salon/Spa is the ladies’ sacred area. Just like the Barber shop is for the guys. The guys can talk about anything in the Barber shop. Politics. Women. Football. Business. Anything. The salon is the same for ladies. It may be known as a place where women ‘gossip’, but it’s also the place women can discuss their issues with each other without worry. Sometimes the topics are so fruitful and you end up getting some good friends.

Tweezing guys left and it sparked a discussion. How the fine line between being a man and being masculine is fading. How women are put off by girly men. Keep in mind these are not gays, they are just men who will do all girly things. Including wearing make up. It was one hell of a discussion.

There was this really brown woman who had brought her daughter along with her to the Spa. The daughter was nowhere close to the mother in skin colour. Mother was almost white. With some dark spots on her face and knuckles. I am not saying she removed some tint. Am just saying, maybe the daughter’s father was from Sudan. It is possible. So this woman wanted everything done on her. She wanted full pedicure and manicure (I recently learnt a friend thinks this is for men!). She wanted a facial. Oh, and because of tweezing-boy, she also wanted tweezing done on her. This lady had very few (almost none) eyebrows but still wanted them taken off so she can draw her own. Ladies, where did we go wrong? Who ruined us?

I could see her attendant really bored already. All that time, daughter was busy installing games on her phone. Give anyone free Wi-Fi and they want the whole App Store in their phone.

A woman whose name I got as ‘Dada’ came in and started marketing her products. Food products to be specific. Cooked food. She had everything. Pilau. Beef. Chapati (they didn’t look like The Chapatis). Rice. Beans. Green grams. Everything you can want at lunch time. Brown Mama ordered Pilau. It had been long since she had the meal, so she said. She ordered just one plate. But they were two (what would daughter eat?). It was none of my business though. Her attendant ordered the Chapatis. I still insist, they did not look good. I didn’t make any order. Trust issues.

At one far corner in the spa was a skinny dark lady who just got new fake nails and could not stop taking pictures of them. Instagram was not going see enough of her. I could imagine her tags. #Nails #Slaying #TheseAreReal #PreparationsForTheBash #HatersGonnaHate #KeepingItReal #SpaTings #TeamNatural. Then a series of emojis. Her phone had those pinkish-yellow silicone made phone cases that really annoy me. She kept taking selfies; one with her hand placed seductively on her face. That particular picture wasn’t going on Instagram. That was headed to Bae. She looked and acted like a light skin. Its only until recently that I knew some behaviours are associated with light skins. She was this Nairobi diva until she got a phone call. Her English was gone. Her Nairobi Swahili was gone. It was just her and her perfect Luo. And some bits of broken Swahili. Akinyi yawa!

My nails were almost done in less than an hour. I was having a time of my life relaxing in the Spa. I spent my time observing people. I wonder just how many were observing me. Well, my friend did a good job, as usual. I am definitely going back the next time I visit the big city. Who knows? Tweezing-boy might actually be there. Then I can ask him why he didn’t prefer a Barber shop.