Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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The day I made the entire seven ridges miss out on a dance night

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Image source: trainingyournextgreatdj.com

If you prowl the internets today, there are names you are not likely to miss. Locally, we have the likes of Uhuruto and Raila, Gor Mahia and Julius Yego. Then you go out a little, you hear Trump, Obama, Messi…

Sometimes in the last century, we had a completely different set of newsmakers. And no, you did not see them on the internet; you read them in newspapers and magazines, heard about them on VoK or saw them on black and white TVs which had a nationwide distribution ration of 1: ALL. But they were big names all the same. Names like Yasser Arafat, Jay Jay Okocha, Pele, Maradona and me, Mugambi wa Man Beater. Yes, me, here…look at me, yes me.

I was international news in the last century, forget about these days even kids of The Rose’s neighbour have made a habit of asking me ‘unaitwaje?’

Well, let me explain how it came to be.

Long time ago, when every Kenyan village was allowed just two representatives in Nairobi, my cousin Nyuki was the Chief Events Organiser[CEO] in the Seven Ridges of The Mountain slopes. He took charge of organizing íthinga [mudding of houses] after-parties in the entire region. You could get a full package (Music+lead dancers+socialites+cane brew) or you could pick some and cater for others yourself. How did he land such a prestigious post, you ask.

Well, when he did not land the chance to go to Nairobi, Nyuki went to Mombasa. Word around went that he got employed by the then Coast Provincial Commissioner. Three years later, he returned to the village with a two-speaker, four cassette, 12 dry cell-battery radio changer. A few days later, he went to town and bought a 6-hole Lead-acid battery. From then, he gained instant fame, and unopposed rise to the CEO position.

As close family to Nyuki, I gained my own slice of popularity, despite my young age. But that is not how I made news, rather, not exactly how.

It happened one December that Nyuki decided to host a party for the seven ridges. A BIG PARTY. It so happened that during that year he had made so good business that he had cash to blow. Also, there was a rumour that Kivoi was in the process of acquiring an even bigger sound system, so Nyuki took the opportunity to cement his fan base.

He hired an empty shop in the nearby Kigumo market. This was to act as a dancing hall, with the little back room as an alcohol armoury. The day of the disco would be Jamhuri day, 12th December. 7pm until Chee. Charges: 10 ksh per dancing head…big discount!

Posters were made and distributed. Dry cells were collected all over the village and set in the sun to charge, even those that were dripping. Two troughs were made to hold a whopping 156 dry cells each. The lead-acid battery was taken to Njúe Kavata’s for charging three days prior. Everything was set for success.

IMAGE: Armed with Cassete tapes, all was set for a great night of fun | Image source: Wisegeek
Armed with Cassette tapes, all was set for a great night of fun | Image source: Wisegeek

 
On the material day, Nyuki contracted us- me, Bakari and Cos mkenya- to set up sound for him. The payment would be free entrance to the disco, although there was no way Mkenya and I could be out at 7pm. Bakari had gained internal self-rule, so he could stretch it to 10 or 11, or use the chance to agitate for full independence. There was one strict condition though: No playing music before time.

12th December was a bright day. There had been rain within the week, but the material day was bright and pleasantly warm, and, as a bonus, there was no dust.

After setting up sound, Nyuki did the testing and, convinced that he had finally made a name for himself, opened a Tusker in celebration. He then left to make other logistics, leaving us to keep guard. And that is when we made the biggest mistake.

Bakari left to make his own arrangements, and I convinced Mkenya that since we had no way of being at the party, we should get our slice of the fun right away. So we got the music up, sneaked into the armory and got a glass of Múratina each, then started bobbing away.

IMAGE: Nyuki's cassette could only be imagined to be similar to this | Image: stereo2go.com
Nyuki’s cassette could only be imagined to be similar to this | Image: stereo2go.com

None of us was familiar with alcohol, so soon Mkenya had to take a leak. He had not stayed out long enough to finish the business, when he stepped back into the hall in a mad dash. He informed me Nyuki was on his way there, and I immediately knew we were in hot soup.

Quickly I switched off the music and we dashed out of the door just before Nyuki arrived. We knew better than to wait for the CEO’s wrath. As he saw us leaving, he informed us that our payment was done; he would be dealing with us after the disco.
By evening, I could see lots of youths streaming in to the market for the disco. Gents in oversize Fubu and Michael Jordan/Magic Johnson shirts and ladies in platform heels. The sight was so promising.

But none of all that could make me break the Man Beater’s rule.
I checked in home at 7:14 pm, just as Edward Kadido was beginning to read ‘Matangazo maalum halkadhalika ya vifo.’ I was a bit late, but it was let go, and I knew one day I’d also gain independence. I could hear Nyuki’s disco from far off, but not much later I tuned it out- it was the only way to beat the disappointment.

I awoke to the noise of Nyuki in the compound, cursing as I had never heard him before. It was a rare occasion on which he appeared unafraid of both The Taliban and The Man Beater. He swore that I was dead meat; come what may. I knew that Nyuki was not a joker, rumor had it that he fled coast after chopping off a man’s ear Peter-the-disciple style.

That was the first day I left home without permission. It was also the first time I returned to my maternal grandparent’s home voluntarily. I informed them that my life was in danger, I had come to seek asylum. They were not to tell anyone I was there, not even TheRose or The Man Beater.

It is while there that I got the whole story- hello KTN!

Apparently, Nyuki’s disco had flopped badly, as the music went off at around 10pm and patrons became rowdy. Some were demanding reimbursement, while Nyuki and allies stood firm and asserted that their ‘ten bob was already finished.’ A big fight had broken out, and the government was still tracking the organisers.

And that is when it dawned on me: In the huff to leave after Nyuki returned, I had just reduced the volume and left the music playing. That had drained the batteries for like six hours before the party started. Nyuki had finally understood what I had done, and had informed the rowdy patrons as much, and, at the moment, everybody was talking about me and how I had sabotaged a national event. Some were swearing to get me to pay. No one mentioned Mkenya; what an unfair world this is!

Then, I understood and accepted why I was now a fugitive, running away from my blood cousin, my own brother in Embu customs.

Bonus clip: Love train disco dance https://web.facebook.com/OfficialAnttix/videos/1344960652199711/
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Thankfully, and I am sorry to say thankfully, Nyuki was arrested soon after as the chief organiser of the rowdy party. The Taliban, always a diplomat, The Lord rest His great soul, Negotiated his release in return for my pardon.
Needless, to say, Nyuki’s events business took a hit that reverberates to date, in another century. I feel somewhat responsible, but I also think that technology and urbanisation would have driven him out of the market either way. Si ndio?

IMAGE: Apparently, disco nights exist to date, as I am informed by Sammy Utuku | Image source: Facebook.com/sammyutuku
Apparently, disco nights exist to date, as I am informed by Sammy Utuku | Image source: Facebook.com/sammyutuku

#tbt #iRestMyPen

The Day I created a culture for the Kalenjin nation

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IMAGE: Artiste Drake's image photoshopped to show him paying Kalenjin allegiance | Image: Courtesy
Artiste Drake's image photoshopped to show him paying Kalenjin allegiance | Image: Courtesy

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.

IMAGE: US first daughter Malia Obama was roped in too! | Image: courtesy
US first daughter Malia Obama was roped in too! | Image: courtesy

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.

P.S:

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?

 

 

The day I started seeking cloud nine

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There was a police officer who was posted to my village when we, the community, demanded for a police post. Crime had escalated, as had petrol sales, because we were sending a message to the government that we were tired of their force being ‘Utumishi kwa wachache.’ We took to roasting thieves, literally, until he government gave in and sent us four police officers. FOUR (4)

It still beats me how for men could be expected to restore order where a whole community was failing. But this is not about that. This is about a quote by Kimeu, God rest his soul, one of the four policemen in the first batch posted to Kigumo AP post. Kimeu will be remembered for a lot of things, but above all for this quote: ‘Hii mambo haijaanzia leo, imekuwa tangu enzi za mababu zetu.’ One bit of a two-part quote. The second bit I wont state now, but, for those who might remember, it began as, ‘Kimeu alisema…’ So when juzi I heard of one Bro Ocholla who exposed his fisi-like ways in a prayer cell Whatsapp group, I remembered Kimeu’s saying; this search for cloud nine goes back a long way.

The year is long ago. In the years when you do not want your name to be Múthoni, because then you are automatically christened ‘Kifagio’ The cock has started feeling the urge to crow at around the same time the hens are displaying ‘henny’ characteristics. Girls tunics appear swollen on their chests. My friend Head Mud (Edmond) thinks they are hiding something in there. Robin thinks they are developing muscles. Having interacted with my older cousins, I proudly get these two out of the drain by informing them those are breasts. They are magic organs, I say,  but, for now, the only magic you might need to perform on them is aim for them if a girl challenges you to a fight. You hit one, she goes powerless, you win the fight. Now they know why I am not afraid of the biggest girl in our school.

Anyway, like I said, gacamba has tried to start crowing. I recently spotted  a certain girl and I felt thithii. Thithii is a confusing feeling when you are a young boy. You see, at that age, you are conditioned such that when any thought comes to your mind, it is followed in quick succession by the thought, “Will I be asked?” At least it is like that when you are the son of The Man Beater. Then again I wonder whether that could be a disease creeping up on me, and from afar, could I be getting bewitched.

But thithii does not give a hoot; I decided me and Múthoni had to become one. So I pondered and pondered how to approach her. Walk up to her….no! And tell her what? Write her a letter? Weeeh! What if it ands in wrong hands and people know I am looking fora girlfriend? Or worse, what if the omnipresent Man Beater finds out?

Or should I look for a close confidant to secretly convey my intentions? Paaarfect!

Not much to think about who to send. Njo is the chosen messenger. Njo and I are like Kenyatta and Mbiu Koinange.  And he is excellent at it. Njo goes to the same school as my Múthoni. He is one class ahead so he can talk to her with a little authority.

Anyway, all that is ilienda ikawa. Njo returns to me with a message the next evening: Mútho wanted me to tell that to her myself. “Tell me exactly what she said. Her words!” I demand.

“Kwa nini anakutuma, kwani hana mdomo? Mwambie akuje aniambie mwenyewe.”

She said that, are you sure? So, Njo, do you think that is a bad thing or a good thing? I think she hates me.

Of course it is a good thing, she wants you….

Get lost, is that why she asked if I don’t have a mouth?

She just wants you to say it to her….

So you mean she wants us to….

Yes she wants to meet you!

Ayayayaya!

What have I gotten myself into? So if we meet, where, when, what time? And talk about what? Sex? Books? Marriage?

No, Njo, no. We need to end this. Now!

Njo will hear none of that, he insists he is setting us to meet up. Ma ya ngune!! Nimejipeleka Hague. Can’t we return to vague and just have a local tribunal?

Njo is of kusema na kutenda type. The meet-up with Múthoni is arranged for the next evening, Tuesday. 6.45pm, as she goes to collect milk. That time most mothers will be home beginning supper preparations. No father will be on the road home yet. It is dusk, not too light for people to see us from a mile away; not too dark for Múthoni to be outdoors. We have five minutes maximum, more than that her mother will venture out looking for her.

And thus, we are here.

Hi……

Hi…..

I was told you wanted to see me…..

Yes…..

What is it…..

What Njo told you…..

He did not tell me anything……

[Thinking] Kumbe Njo is a cabbage! Aaah, this girl is shitting me!….He told me he told you….

Told me what?

[Silence]….

So what do you want me for?

….[Silence/sweat]

At that moment my mind is working overtime. Is that The Man Beater I see coming? What if I say something dumb? What do other boys tell her? Does she think I am evil? What if God punishes me? Will I start failing my exams? Who is the Minister of Education? Oh, teacher said it is Minister For, not of. Are Njo and the boys hiding around to hear how it goes? Yes they are! I can bet my ball! My pums ball. So I can’t blow this. But what is this lump in my throat?

I….I want you to be my girlfriend……

Si you have a girlfriend?….

No, that one is, aah, which girlfriend?….

You know her….

I don’t have a girlfriend…..

I have to go, nachelewa….

Aah, Ok, wait. Umesemaje?…..

Tutaonana.

And that’s that. That was the longest five minutes of my life!! Weh!!! Just like I guessed, Njo had spilt the beans, and the chimps had planted themselves to hear it all. They may say I blew it, but I am armed with two pieces of evidence:

  1. Ni vile she thinks I have another girlfriend
  2. She was in a hurry asichelewe. She said to tutaonana.

For now, I need to go and change, and also lie down. Never sweat so much before, or had such breathing problems before. Could I be contracting asthma? Hope not.

iRestMyPen

PS: I have just set myself up for big big trouble, a fugitive I am. See you next week.

 

 

 

 

The day Samuel Kariuki convinced me we cook matumbo

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Image: Matumbo fry and mukimo, an odd combiation in itself | Image source: pikachakula.com
Matumbo fry and mukimo, an odd combiation in itself | Image source: pikachakula.com

Growing up, I never used to eat matumbo. At all. Even when I was present during a slaughtering ceremony and the portion called ‘meat of the slaughterers’ was prepared, I skipped matumbo like Uhuru skipped devolution conference. I’d just quickly swallow half-chewed pieces of meat then chew exhaustively baadae. Reason? I had heard somewhere that matumbo instills fear in men, and that is one class I did not intend to attend. Fear, Britons, is what you call cowardice. Matumbo is, well, matumbo.

Then I went to college and budget cuts came knocking and somehow matumbo at Chela’s and Nancy’s eateries started tasting completely like meat, if not better. It is around that time I discovered Sossi is also a more nutritious and tastier kind of meat.

IMAGE: Well prepared matumbo.
Well prepared matumbo. Such preparation at Chelah’s and Nancy’s convinced me that matumbo was food | Image: whatsfordinner.co.ke

Also, Samuel Kariuki came along. That chimp used to convince me to do a lot of silly things. Like to live in the school hostels, to drink a little before salsa night (translated to passing out and missing the entire event) to buy a carton of sossi etc etc. Worst of all, to cook matumbo.

Sa si we are there on a Saturday recounting losses and feeling hungry and not feeling like we can swallow anything without throwing up. Kariuki, aka, O-sekeretary njeneral, aka projects co-ordinator, informs me that the recovery we need requires a good meal, and when he does not mention sossi soya, I immediately agree. Except he proposes matumbo.

But still, better than sossi. Uneventfully, and with very few words spoken, we go to the butchery right next to the hostel, and procure a whole kilogram of matumbo, our grumbling pockets regardless.

Plus a few other ingredients, tomatoes like this like that, and return to the task.

Ngai mwathani! That stuff smells bad! Worse than rotten rats mixed with week-old garbage and boiled for half a day. And because we have one room functioning as kitchen, bedroom, balcony and sitting room, we are in trouble. The smell is sticking on our bedding and clothes like those ‘party time chewing gum’ stickers.

So we choose the next best course of action- to open all doors and windows, rather, the door and the window. Now, that is what is called dirty linen in public! The smell which hits that hostel hallway! People can be heard closing their doors in haste and locking with keys plus antigen. (Enemies of development insist to date that smell made many ladies who were in that men’s hostel for the weekend leave never to return. They also say the janitor issued a memo, but si you know haters?)

And, because hangover is hangover, Kariuki still convinced me to eat that matumbo. I was bedridden for a whole two weeks, but Kariuki insists he has never seen me healthier, says I never missed a single lecture in that period.

IMAGE: Fried matumbo
At the end of our smelly session, we had something that could not compare to this |Image source: kaluhiskitchen.com

“Sisi ndio hatukua tunajua kupika matumbo,” he said, “lakini sasa nimejua njaro.”

Suffice to say we never cooked matumbo again during our stay in Kesses, and to date I personally haven’t. Anyone with a matumbo cookbook?

PS: It was in that same room that Kariuki convinced me to drink Bru Moon. I could tell you what ensued, but the committee of three people present during the act recommended that ‘Hiyo story iishie hapo.” So, #iBounce

IMAGE: Recently, Karis called me to convince me that Zuckerberg just had matumbo at Mama Oliech's.
Recently, Karis called me to convince me that Zuckerberg just had matumbo at Mama Oliech’s. I’ll be needing your help with this | Image: Facebook.com/MarkZuckerberg

#iRestMyPen

 

Timbitii overload archive, just for you

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Since late 2015, we have been doing throwbacks on Thursday’s, just like everyone else. Lies.

Unlike everyone else.

Because we can’t get enough self-esteem to pose for pictures- or display those our parents had us pose for in the days of Kodak- we do our throwback in form of a story, mainly on Facebook.

Now, we noticed you like our stories, and we must say we are more than grateful. It really feels nice to be appreciated. Thank you.

Enough with the niceties and blushing.

We also noticed that Facebook is not that great at archiving. Once Thursday is gone catching up with a post is tedious. So we built this little granary, where you can come any day and read whatever story you want. Where you can send even kids to retrieve stuff for yo.

So, dear fans, this is specially yours, just for you.

Also, we know everyone has a story, and we would really love to hear and publish yours. About anything really….growing up, school, being beaten with slippers, being sent back where darkness found you, college times, work trips….anything.

Just drop them in the box, mboyasworld@gmail.com or samuelkariuki@gmail.com. Not to worry about grammar and stuff, we’ll do the editing for your.

Lanes, people, lanes. See you in the memory one!