In the year of Our Lord 2012 A.D, my stay in Eldoret was coming to an end, after residing in the land of Arap Samoei for not less than thirty-six moons. Despite my long stay, I had not blended with the community as I had intended when I first landed. I had made a point of contracting a mother from the neighboring village to supply me with Mursik every fortnight, and even at some point visited mzee Cheptile’s den for a gorogoro of Busaa, but it all amounted to naught.
I was not getting kalenjinised. Not when the Kalenjins I interacted most with were sons and daughters of rich wheat farmers; children who went to Moi Girls and Kapsabet Boys and couldn’t be bothered one bit to speak Kalenjin. Actually, more Dholuo than Kalenjin was spoken openly/loudly in the institution. Besides greetings, the only Kalenjin word I learnt was ‘tartar,’meaning ‘nisaidie’ or something close to that. We used to say it at Nancy’s Kibandasky, asking her ‘Nancy, tartar pilipili’ when we were either nursing hangovers or laying foundations. [Nancy’s was so popular it even had a WhatsApp group, although everyone has since left and I got a notification juzi I have been promoted to Group Admin.]
Having set sights on learning the local language, I was getting frustrated. So I sat and thought, “How can I become a Kalenjin?” So, on my trip back to the land where the wind is so strong you literally hear it with your ears, I ducked into one of the stalls around Ronald Ngala Street and grabbed myself a semi-leather jacket. A brown, multi-pocketed, zip-up and button-up semi-leather jacket, with a black lining and a cotton collar. 3500 Kenya monies asking, but 2000 after protracted negotiations.
I don’t know why, but that jacket made me feel like I was finally a Kale. I had not seen a similar one prior (it is known I don’t buy clothes I have seen on someone else) in the entire Rift valley, but there was just that feeling. Little did I know that I had just acquired part of what would later become part of The Kale Starter Pack- Te Prown Chaget!
Upon arrival in Uasin Gishu, I did not receive a heroic welcome like an Olympic winner, no. Still, I could sense curiosity and excitement as I walked past the townspeople around Barngétuny Plaza. When I went to certain ka-joint we used to offload some nagging cash that would distract us from studying, I received special attention- faster and friendlier service. I would recommend the joint to Lillian Muli if upmarket Kilimani joints are giving her a raw deal. Talk to me, Lillo.
I felt at home. I felt fulfilled, at last!!
The first person to openly notice my leather chaget, and for that I would highly recommend him for a seat in the fashion-watch panel of judges, was Mwango Kalu Kakim. (tell Lillian to talk to me when you get there bro, I can show her a place)
My leather chaget was the source of many a drinking spree feuds, as Antipas Kibet kept stealing it and his School of Engineering kale mates kept stealing it from him and I would get cross and we would do a ‘searching and retrieval’ process. Whenever Antipas scored a lass with my chaget on, I took the liberty of letting the catch know the chaget belonged to me. Yes, zero cumulative chills I had.
When Antipas was not stealing it, either Samuel Kariuki or Ephraim Wakaba was doing the same. Imagine, the same guys that came to seek me for prayers when the Red Man Calling story had caught on so badly.
Anyway, my Prown Chaget eventually hit battery low faster than I had anticipated, but it actually did try, seeing the many shoulders it perched on. Its last known owner was Swaraa, another Engineering kale student. I hear he owns it to date, Samuel Kariuki tells me.
Anyway, it did not occur to me that I had started a Kalenjin culture, not even when I saw several similar jackets sprouting in few and far flung areas of the expansive Rift Valley. Until juzi, when news landed at my desk that the garment is now symbolic in the area, worn by all, from the roadside peanut selling hustlers to the top leaders in government, tender committees and even athletes.
What can I say? I would say Rift Valley tuko pamoja, but then a phrase I use every day would now be deemed as taking a political leaning.
I guess I’ll just say Amen, this fur (haha)….Patrick Magochi nimalizie.
Type AMEN, like and share if you believe your Prown Chaget moment- your chance to create a popular culture- is just around the corner.
Now that I have created a legacy, si I can now die in peace? CRB, HELB, leave me alone.
Ephis Mburia says I own the whole Kalenjin starter pack; Savco, Leo Poldo and all. I say I don’t know what you are talking about.
Bwana Mdogo, cartoon ya Wakale wakiadmire mtu wa kwanza kuvaa Prown Chaget, wakienvision vile wanafaa kushika kama hiyo, inaeza kuwa kitu how much?