Rehearsal day

Sunday 3rd

The wedding is tomorrow, I wish I knew what the couple are feeling.

I started my day early at my aunts place, putting final touches on the house. We’ll be having visitors in the afternoon after worship which start at 10am. Within no time it was 9:25, time to head to place of worship. We were all scrambling for the bathroom.

The bride Pat, and her two sisters Esther and Rachel went in together. This is new. The last time I shared a bathroom with anyone was way back before I was a teenager. Those days in the village we would share the bathroom with my siblings and cousins male and female. In high school we all showered in the abolition block. I didn’t even know people still shower together except couples. Am told they always shower together, five of them including two of their nieces, Maria and another whom am yet to meet.

As time was moving fast I rushed into the bathroom, there was someone else in but I couldn’t wait so I joined in and we showered together. She’s Pat’s second degree cousin. I think I closed my eyes throughout, coz I do not remember seeing anything.

The wedding was to take place in Makindu. After Sunday worship in Mbui Nzau and lunch at my aunts place the bridal party left for the hall in Makindu. I had been given some time to manicure and pedicure the bride. Beauty is my side hustle, I decided to start it when my main job had reduced to just a job in months. I learnt the trade not from any college but from carefully watching as it was done on me over the years.

In Makindu we started with the arrangement of the seats at the hall, and practising our entry pattern and procedure following the songs selected by the couple for bridal party entry. We went through every detail as expected to happen on the wedding day.

Rehearsals were done at the reception area too. By this time I was bored, there was nothing new and I hate it when people take all the time discussing something that can be decided upon in a second. This is usually the time when I sit back somewhere in a corner and start writing.

Its was already dark when we got back at my aunts place. Pat’s brother had set the music system outside with everyone else around it and some space left at the center to act as the dance floor.

I forgot I was bored and tired. I took to the dance floor. It was eleven that we left for my house. Twelve of us – my son, sister, three cousins and the brides nieces and nephews including her father. With just two beds in my house the floor came into use, plus the many extra blankets and sheets that are rarely used.

It looked like a camping site.

The last night for the couple as singles

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Two days to the wedding

Saturday 2nd

One days to the wedding day. Having been away from my house for two weeks I had to start with cleaning. There was so much to do so I called Mwende to help with laundry. At 11 I made my way to Makindu ( 15 mins away) to decorate the cake.

The groom picked me up at the bus stage. He was staying at the best couples home, Kenny and Beatty.

First of all I needed to get some money from the bank (we’ve got no bank in our small town) and send to Mwende, her payment for the laudry work. With all the anxiety I instead send to Ma Mwende in my contacts. She’s our salonist, so I asked her to withdraw and give to Mwende who went for it at the salon.

Once in the house I went straight to the kitchen like I always do, but this time I was on official business of wedding cake icing and decoration.

I went through the notes that I had made when Juliet took me through the process at Bethel. She had also send me a WhatsApp message with information. The groom and a friend (Noah) left to run some errand. I stayed alone immersed in the task. I started with the small round cake, surprisingly I managed to roll the fondant and cover over the cakes with ease.

Trouble was decorating the cakes. I had purple and maroon flowers and pitch coloured ribbon. At this time I discovered that I never take a minute to look at the cakes decorations and think of the work that went into it. I called Juliet for help. Which she gave so I arranged the flowers on one cake just to get the impression. I went to the sitting room to relax a bit and stay away from the cake so as to have fresh eyes when I look at it again. I looked at cakes online to get more ideas.

Then I heard the gate open, it was Sela the matron, Noah’s wife. How happy I was to see her. I needed support. She was happy with the deco on the first cake. Together we worked on the other two cakes coming up with ideas and implementing them. We were happy with the end result.

By that time my back was breaking, I made my way home. All I wanted was my bed. But at home I still had to unhung my clothes and clean the fridge, everything in it had gone bad. Looks like there was a blackout when I was away in Nairobi.

It as a relief to lay down and relax my back. It never felt better. I slept for an hour. Having no food in my house and in no mood to make any. I made my way to my aunts home. Happy I did because they had slaughtered a goat. The home was buzzing with activities. People had already started arriving for the wedding mostly the brides family.

Hers sisters and their families filled the home, they were making dinner.
I joined in and made ugali.

We had a good time. I left with about five people to sleep at my place, my aunts house was full.

One day to the wedding.

Three days to the Wedding

I told Aggy to ask her father to come to the sitting room for a minute. I needed to let him know that I was leaving but would come back later in the week since I had a job scheduled for 6th and a meeting for the 7th and I had confirmed my attendance.

I had so much to do in town, buy a few stuff plus pick the wedding cake from Bethel on Ngong road. Once in town, I left my luggage at the Tuskys supermarket baggage area and promised the guy some lunch.

I had promised to arrive at 9am but due to traffic jam I arrived fourty five minutes late. Julie, just like Pat (bride) is considered a cousin though we are not related by blood coz she’s been in the family like forever. There are friends who truly stay closer than brothers.

As I waited at the reception I called Amos who’s is at Bethel to let him know that I was around. He’s a childhood friend but we lost contact for some years and whom we did reconnect later he told me that he was interested in me. He had a crush on me when we were teenagers. Right now we remain friends.

In her place Julie served me a plate of rice, fish curry and a glass of grape juice. It was delicious. She disappeared into their bedroom ( she’s married) and came out with a beautiful cloth, I thought it was an apron but she asked me to put it on. It fit just perfectly. If I wasn’t travelling I would have stayed in the dress

We then moved to the business that had brought me. The wedding cake. She took me through the process of icing and decorating and cutting. There is no easy job, its experience that makes it look easy.

Amos came when we were still on it. I like him but I am not sure if its enough for a lifetime commitment. My sister says hes not good looking while my bestie says he’ll bore me immediately after the honey moon, she says I need a man who can engage me intellectually.

We went back to our business and packed the five cakes in a box including all the ingredients for deco. Once done I dialled uber which came almost immediately that I forgot to bid Amos bye bye. But since would be coming back maybe will find time to hung out.

I took the cake to Tuskys baggage area again for I needed to buy a present for the couple, a card and wrapping paper. I was to meet my Bestie too, I had not seen her since she left home the previous day for work. She had spent the night at her friends place somewhere close to the airport. She was a little bit distant. I didn’t know exactly how she was feeling even though I have been in her place before.

With all my luggage I went to our stage at Athusi, where those golden coloured ugly mini buses were packing and unpacking. I got into one not allowing anyone to carry the cakes but I, I won’t even allow the turn boys to touch the box. I actually slapped their hands off the box a few times.

I need a personal car, it would have been very easy to travel. But will do with what I have, hopping the jobs promised will materialize and hopefully I buy one soon.

The goodness with this buses they do not stay at the bus station for long. Each bus is given fifteen minutes only at front raw. A minister (pastor) started preaching just before we left the stage and as usual asked the passengers to bless the work with whatever they had, then they would be blessed in return!!!

After he had alighted some guy in a denim shirt stood from the seat next to the door.

” Ohh, the minister has already left, , , ,has he collected his contribution already, , ,ohh I forgot to tithe…”

He was jocking.

“You have been fed spiritually, I am here to feed you physically” he announced to the passengers.

He was marketing chocolates.

“I have chocolates here, very nice ones, they are not just chocolates but have been combined with cake. For those who know what chocolates are you’ll appreciate this new taste.”

He went on and on about the nutritional value then shared a few packets before passengers started buying. He next started asking questions and whoever answered correctly( only those who had bought) would be given a present, a packet of choco-cake.

Question 1 “When a corpse is dead where is it taken?

Passengers answered, the montuary.

Haha.

Q2 “What is that last thing you lifted up last night then spread on the bed before you slept.”

They took a few minutes thinking, as some said bed sheet or blankes. I jokingly answered the legs.

Before this I had not been interested in his business.

” Right answer, but presents are for the customers only.”

Q3 ” Paul Ngei was the Kenyan who first flew the Kenyan flag on Mt Kilimanjaro after independence, how old was he?

The Kenyan flag was flown on Mt. Kenya not Kilimanjaro, which is in Tanzania. I got that too. So I bought some Choco-cake and got my presents.

Q4 “How many legs do vehicles run on?

He got the answer from the back.

Q5 “How many 7s are there between 1 to 80?

No one in the bus had an answer. He gave it to us. 18.

I arrived at around 6:30 pm in Mbui Nzau. A few minutes later I was at my aunts place. I had missed my son so much, we embraced for a while. I later gave him the things I had brought him. He looked dashing in the Indian attire and maasai sandals that I had bought him for the wedding.

I had bought Maria, Pat’s ( the bride) niece a pair of rubber shoes. Mistakenly I gave them to Esther her aunt, Pat’s sister. All the time as I asked her to fit I thought she was Maria. Thank heavens they did not fit, if they had it would have been difficult taking them from her and giving them to the intended person.

It was late when I together with Quincy and another of Pat’s nephew left to go sleep at my place.

I was exhausted to my nails.

Three days to the wedding.

At my besties

Sunday 19

It was still raining when I woke up. If they hadn’t woken up too I would have gone back to bed. I was actually delaying them so I hurried up. We drove in the rains all the way to General motors in Nairobi. It was surprisingly dry in the CBD itself where I was dropped.

I walked to the Azuri restaurant but found it closed, I had forgotten it was a Sunday. I boarded the MSL bus and headed to Kasarani, to my besties home. This was one of the rare times I was hoping for traffic jam to delay me. It was around ten and my hosts were still at Sunday worship.

So when I alighted at the seasons stage I decided to have some breakfast as I waited for them. A few minutes after eleven they picked me up. The first thing they noticed, the extra KGS. I told them and many others who asked that it’s the rain season in Kibwezi and that comes with lots of food. So it’s just natural to add afew kilos, it’ll all gonna be shed when the the dry season comes.

The neighbourhood hasn’t changed much from what its was six months ago. This place had been my home since 2009 when I was a third year student at the University of Nairobi.

I prepared lunch, the husband wondered why they had let the visitor serve instead of the other way round. She said, ‘ its good to have a luhya girl as a friend, she’ll always find her way into the kitchen.’ I have been to the house and the kitchen many times because I used to live a few blocks away and we spent a lot of time in each others house, it’s like a second home.

At three in the evening she started preparing for work.

” I am on night duty on Sundays and Mondays, and I knew if I told you that before you would not have come.”

She was right about that, we hadn’t talked for a while so I didn’t know her shift had changed, she works at the airport.

The seven o’clock news that evening were full of saddening events of killings in the Mathare slums. Rumours had it that they were tribal killings. A group of armed men had butchered and killed two young men and a woman too. The deceased are from the Luo community, same as the opposition leader.

The president was to be sworn in on Tuesday and the opposition supporters had promised to swear in their leader too, leading to heightened political temperatures.

” I don’t want to be killed just because I am a luo.” Louise lamented.

” At this point I hate being a Luo, and I do not want to die before I get married.”

She’s twelve years old and already thinking of marriage.

“My dear, you should be thinking of your primary school final exams next year and highschool, marriage is way ahead, don’t go too fast.”

That night when I went to bed I was worried that things might escalate leading to the same situation as 2007-2008 post election violence. Many people were killed then and many more displaced.

All I wanted was to get my cheque from Engineer Japheth on Monday and head back home where its calm and very few people are bothered with the politics in Nairobi.

With an Old Friend

Gone gone gone.

The song by Phillip Phillip woke me up. Its a Saturday morning and I have no plans for the day so I do not understand why I set the alarm. That’s my ringtone. Its an in coming call. I do not like being woken up from my sleep but I kinda smiled when I saw the caller, Bahati.

“I’ll be in Kibwezi today for work and am calling to see if we can have lunch or something.”

We’ll definitely have time. Life in small time can be boring sometimes, spending time with an old friend is a welcome.

“Please bring me something from Nairobi”

I had sausages in mind. Been craving them for a while. I lay back in bed planning my day. A thought crossed my mind. Bingo.

I woke up and started packing. I called my friend but she didn’t pick so I send an SMS requesting her for accommodation at her place for a few days. I then called Bahati. I was to travel to Nairobi on Monday anyway, will be two days early.

“If your colleague does not mind I would like to travel back to Nairobi with you” Other than worrying that they would delay me they were okay with my plan.

At two in the afternoon I met then at Billionaires camp and drinks (its owned by the richest man in this small town hence the name). After sipping on fanta and catching up we left for Nairobi. At Kiboko we bought roasted maize, I always do coz the maize here is fresh from the farm courtesy of Kenya Agricultural Research Institute located in the area. The institute is experimenting on better and easier ways of maize production ensuring an all round year of fresh maize supply.

As we neared Emali town the radio tuned in to the local language station (they come from this county) started announcing football match between Arsenal vs Tottenham. Him being a fun of Arsenal he asked if we could stop for a while to watch the match. I used to be a fun, but I do not watch soccer as I used to anymore.

At the …hotel we climbed the stairs onto the first floor and sat around a table facing a huge screen. He was all eyes on the game but not before we ordered. I wanted a glass of wine but they were selling in bottle only so I asked for a black ice. I also asked him if I could have some sausages, to satisfy the cravings. He agreed. I didn’t have any cash with me, but I did not worry, I trust him that much.

We were close once upon a time, I was just out of college and doing well. Back then it was me who paid for the drinks and the sausages. I remember this one time when we flew to the coast for a weekend, and I gladly financed everything. We grew apart after I found my faith and decided to live a fornication free life. Our options were marriage or breakup. We chose the later, he was still in college and we were not ready for commitment.

What a match! Arsenal won 2 nill, don’t get used to this funs it only happens once in a while. The journey from Email proved to be very slow due to traffic. At the Machakos junction we decided to take the right turn to Machakos town after staying in traffic for too long. We would spend the night there continue with the journey the next day.

In Machakos wele started with diner which the waiter had promised would be ready in 30minutes but came after more than an hour. I was disappointed. We later met his cousin at jingle place. It was full and loud. And they were playing this Jamaican music that I hate. I asked the DJ to play me two songs by Tanzanian musicians that I have been obsessed with. (Natamba by Aslay and Zilipendwa by Diamond etc).

I danced for a while looking forward to the two songs but despite a few reminders he did not play. It was after midnight and I couldn’t wait anymore so I left a little bit annoyed. Outside I played the two songs from my playlist on phone, that lifted my spirits. Its was starting to rain so we retired for the night.

I had my own room if you are wondering what happened later. My old friend is happily married and still keep my faith.

Insects everywhere

 It’s my first evening in Voi, we are chilling on the verandah after dinner. On the ground below I see a strange insect with horns raised high speeding towards us. As I stare at it wondering exactly what it is Alex run for his boots and it’s neutralized before causing any harm. It was a scorpion and the ‘horns’ are actually the teeth, or fangs!

I got bitten by one afew years back but I never saw it. At first I had thought it was a snake bite and rushed to the dispensary to find it closed. The kids using the security lights to do their homework are the ones who diagonized it as a scorpion bite from my description of the pain. 

My wish of seeing a live scorpion has just come to pass.

The milipedes are all over this place too, am told its because of the rains and the cold so they come into the homes looking for warmth. Wednesday night I saw one making its way past the sitting room and towards our bedroom. Chris kicked it out the door and a few minutes later I saw it crawling back in, not sure if it was the same one or another. I let it have a warm night. But promised myself to shake my shoes well before wearing.

The following day I saw one at the corner as I was sweeping. Because it was at the furthest corner of the house I didn’t wanna drug it all the way out so I pushed it aside cleaned its corner and pushed it back at its original position with the broom. 

On Thursday I saw one on the wall of the outside bathroom. I dressed up quickly, ran out and asked Tony to remove it which he fearlessly did. I know millipedes are harmless but they scare me with their countless legs, I imagine them walking all over me and that scares me out of my skin.

I thought I would be done with insects once I get back home. How wrong I was. I had insisted on not spending the night at my aunts place for I wanted the comfort and peace of my own house, my own bed.

My sleep was disrupted many time by insect bites. At first I thought they were bedbugs because this place is hot and many boarding schools, lodgings and even homes get invested with bedbugs. I checked around my bed but I saw none. On the wall I saw some ” insects ” all over like they were crawling from the ground to the cealing. I even saw one on the floor that looked like it was moving its mouth, or maybe I imagined.

I looked around for an insecticide using the spotlight on my phone, (there was a black out) but there wasn’t any. All I could find was a bottle of air freshener in the toilet. I sprayed them with its contents hoping its strong pungent would kill them or at least incapacitate them till morning when I could get a better solution.

I slept peacefully after that or maybe I was so tired to feel the bites. In the morning I called a friend to help me figure out the kind of insects all over the walls. He squeezed them with his finger and laughted so hard when I told him that I had seen one of them move its mouth at night.

“They are eggs”

Some stupid ( or clever) insect(s) had decided to lay it’s eggs and patch them all over my walls figuring out that the house was  unoccupied. The house has only been slept in like four nights for the last one month.

The task now was to forcefully move out the new occupant who had strategized his stay by occupying the darkest corners. Those corners that are only touched during the occasional thorough cleaning. I spent the whole day cleaning, from the walls the floor and the ceiling where spiders had woven their webs. I was careful not to squish any spiders because am told unless they are burnt the surviving eggs, if any hatch into even more dangerous spiders.

I also found a millipede under one of the couches, I called my neighbors seven year boy to get it out. 

The bites during the night were from mosquitoes. Since the place is usually dry I haven’t had much problem with them and haven’t been using a mosquito net. I never bothered to refill the electric powered mosquito repellant that I came with from Nairobi because I have had very peaceful nights.

With many more insects flying around the security lights every night with some finding their way into the houses, I think its us humans who have invaded their space. What I have gathered is that all this land was forest land once upon a time, allocation to squatters from Chyulu hills. Kibwezi forest is less than a kilometer from my home which opens up to the Tsavo National Park that streches all the way past Voi down to the Coast. 

Sometimes elephants are seen in Kibwezi. Hope I’ll get a chance to see them when they visit.

Is it called human- animal conflict, or should I call it human- insect conflict because till the end of the rain season we’ll be fighting.

Lucky me I am stronger and more intelligent ( as a human) and I have bought enough insecticide and repellants to last the season. 

Its war, and am gonna win.

The mighty and strong always get what they want, its the law of the jungle. 

I guess I live in the jungle.

From Voi and back home

Tuesday 7th November

Finally I decided to travel home on Tuesday afternoon. After purchasing afew things at the market I boarded the chania cool bus. I paid 300 bob for the journey but my ticket indicated 250, the bus conductor said the balance was his commission, I was in no mood to fight so I let him have it. He promised we would be off soon, it was fifteen minutes to three o’clock.

Thirty minutes later we were still at the bus stop even though the engine had been turned on and the bus was making some slight movement back and forth to give the impression that we would be on the move soon.

A lady boarded and asked to sit on the seat next to mine. I did not understand why she wanted that specific seat when the bus was less than half full, even the seats on the other side of the corridor were unoccupied. Maybe she wanted company. I thought of telling her no but decided otherwise. I wanted a queit ride to continue reading the prison journal by Lord Jeffrey Archer -Hell.  Was hoping to get inspiration to continue with my own journalling.

The lady refused to give her bus fare just yet. On her journey to Voi from Nairobi they had been kept at the busstop for hours, afraid of the same situation she was only going to pay when the journey starts. The conductor came time and again but she would not burge, I supported her making the conductor turn his anger towards me. If I hadn’t paid already I would have alight and looked for another means of transport most probably a transit truck.

We left the busstop at about twenty minutes to four and in a few minutes we were on the highway. The evening sun was coming directly onto us from the west so we moved to the seats on the east side. 

“Did you guys in Kibwezi vote on the 26th of October.” She asked me once we were settled.

” I do not discuss politics.” I answered not turning my head from the phone. 

“Would you know if other people voted?.” 

She came to me again assuming by my first answer that I had not voted.

I posed for a moment, took my eyes off the Jeffrey Archer ebook and looked straight ahead. I swallowed a puff of air and exhaled through my mouth abit loudly searching for the correct answer.

“I don’t know exactly what to tell you, but to be sincere I do not discuss politics.” 

She got it right and clear this time round. From the corner of my eye I noticed her stare at me for a while, (I wish I knew what was going on through her mind), she then turned her head to the right, levelled her seat to a sleeping position and was in slumber land in a few. From her ascent I knew the region she came from.

There have been controversies over the repeat presidential elections with the government asking citizens to vote while the opposition leader asking them not to. Chaos have erupted in some regions leading to deaths and destruction of properties. It safe to keep my position on the issue to myself.

I went back to my book, “the Belmarsh prison librarian had come to Archer’s cell to ask him not to sign any of his authored books (novels) because they were being stolen from the library by other prisoners. His signed books were being used as a mode of exchange among the inmates.”

The rest of the journey continued queitly for most passengers who were asleep.  Myself I spent the time reading, writing and moving from one seat to the next. At first I got uncomfy sitting next to her, she was occupying her seat plus a fraction of mine so I moved to another seat. I got uncomfy in that too and moved yet again. I looked like a night runner walking around when people were asleep.

Two hours later I was home, that was fast, faster than on the truck but if I include the one hour wait at the bus stop it still comes to three hours. Once in my house I unpacked and carried afew stuff to my aunts home. Most importantly I had bought perege( small fish) which I planned for dinner with my aunts family.

The welcome was overwhelming especially from poppy, my aunts dog. He has so much love to give, he’s always jumping around and on me but sadly I do not know how to enjoy that. I actually screamed for my son to come out and save me from all the love poppy was showing me. He was climbing all over me walking in his twos with his fore legs on me, it made me uncomfy.

My cousin Jane ran out first followed closely by my son Quincy. Looking at them come towards me at that speed I thought they would rum into me and we would both go tumbling on the ground. They’ve got good brakes those two. They were all over me and so poppy had no space but to circle around us jumping and wagging its tail. 

In the house after the niceties I gave each one their presents and the stuff they had left in Voi when we travelled back after the convention in August. My cousin had left a camisole and some inner clothes, a belt for my son and a shirt for my uncle. 

I prepared dinner which we enjoyed so much especially the small fish that I brought which was new to everyone. If they had been wondering just how I got big within  a weeks stay in Voi they didn’t wonder any more looking at the amount of food I ate that evening. We have been working on our weight with my other cousin who’s getting married in a months time and I happen to be one of her brides maid. Looks like we’ll have to enlarge our dresses.

It was a beautiful evening. My son tried to persuade me to spent the night at my aunts home but all I wanted was to sleep in my own bed. So I left.

Happy to be back home.