Trials And Tribulations Of A New Immigrant! (Part II)

The plight of an immigrant is a chapter in a biographical telltale.

kanyiwest

I finally got around to speaking ‘regularly’ so that Americans ‘could understand me’. I started speaking like a poor man’s Jeff Koinange. (Kenyan newscaster, former Africa CNN correspondent) Oh my! I was almost sounding like the Kenyan singer/rapper Wyre who sings in Jamaican patois! Maybe I was paying for my past sins of making fun of the accent of my high school geography teacher. The gentleman was one of my favorite teachers and he made the dreary subject of ‘jongorofey’ exciting! This teacher from a town called Mugoiri in Murang’a county had more problems than pronouncing parallelogram! We were used to him mixing his ‘r’s and ‘l’s. However, one day, he was teaching us about an oxbow lake. An oxbow lake is horse-shoe shaped. This chap just could not pronounce it right. ‘Horse sue sape’, he tried the first time. ‘Ho chu chaped’, he retried. When he did it the…

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Wekelea Nyama Nakuja*! Obama, Son Of K’Ogelo is coming to Kenya in July! 

They say laughter is good medicine. This one did me justice. I actually thirsted for more when I arrived the end.

kanyiwest

FINALLY!
Stop the presses! Londoner, I know I had promised to continue with the juicy story of the Bajuni belle! Ling’ aling’a*, that shall have to wait until next week omera*! Did you hear about President Barack Obama coming back home to Kenya this summer this July for an official visit?Obama is jetting into Nairobi, the green city in the sun for bilateral meetings and the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an annual conference that connects entrepreneurs with business leaders, international organizations, and governments.He has chosen to escape the blistering summer heat of Wuosinton DC and seek shelter in the calming July Kenyan breeze! How clever! That’s amazing news and all we can say is, karibu sana Jatelo*!
Barack Hussein Obama, I know you had gone to our neighbors Tanzania to eat their wali and ugali* and bypassed Kenyan nyama choma* a few years ago. You were angry with…

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The Garissa Massacre. A Synopsis. 

If when birds tweet humans could translate, the mysteries of the spirit would be solved. This be no tweet but words of wisdom that only a fool might fail to translate.

kanyiwest

‘Oh God Of All Creation,
Bless this Our Land And Nation,
Justice Be Our Shield And Defender,
May We Dwell In Unity, Peace And Liberty,
Plenty Be Found Within Our Borders.’
(National Anthem Of The Republic Of Kenya, first stanza)
I just started writing humorous tongue-in-cheek blogs that put a smile on those that are weary and heavy-laden. However, after the attacks at Garissa University College by Al Shabab operatives or terrorists on the morning of Thursday, 2nd April 2015, I have decided to write a more serious piece, a synopsis on the wretched unfathomable crimes against humanity that were committed by some murderous individuals that hide behind the veil of Islam to ruefully try to justify their heinous acts. I don’t profess to know the solutions to these problems and I don’t think that there is going to be a one-all one-stop solution to the issue of insecurity in…

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Growing Up and Liking It

In a shoe box lay 7 locks of hair.  Long black rich hair with shinny specks of rock to revise the memory of my loss. Why Oh why, I cried myself to sleep a while before I realized my head was covering tremendously and finally agreed to trash my treasure.  Mama shaved my head bald and reminded me that she had warned me against playing games with my hair.  I was not particularly enthusiastic about plaited hair and had no joy in having my head touched.  No one but mama and she slapped me a couple of times before it grew long enough to lock seven.

Dawn broke when we stepped out heading to school.  The girls attended one school and both boys separated at the doorstep.  Elementary was one fun place to be.  Kindergarten was hell with crippled Ms Elizabeth making life impossible for me.  She dressed me in that colored dress of shame every afternoon after kicking my bed whenever the cleansing salty water hit the floor.  I was completely oblivious of stare and not ashamed anymore.  I could not understand why I wet my bed everyday.  The dreams were good with games that echoed laughter until I excused myself to use the bathroom and hell broke loose out of my dream.  At three years, I demanded school not so much to learn but to accompany my eldest brother to a world of toys and play games children play.  Ms Elizabeth’s kick was not sending any right message as I learnt to wear a mask with a positive attitude.

Time flew and class four had me carrying a bag full of heavy books that made our short walk a soldiers drill. The dilemma of being eldest was the expectation of discipline.  Waking earlier than my siblings, helping the help in the kitchen and assisting the younger children was routine before Evril, my neighbor called out to walk with to school.  Tardy or late was never a word in our school years.  We arrived timely with enough spare time to play a game or two.

We sat on benches with enough room to accommodate our load of books in three’s. My desk-mate Irene lived a block away but did not impress me as a good friend. Our academic performance brought challenges to a none developed relation even with James seating between us.  Everything we did bore competition.  James made our lives miserable for lack of ethics and challenged us to a bout.  We were both not up to it until he laid his garage under the table.  Showing us his wee did not ring a bell.  We were too naive to understand why but one sure thing was, the emptiness we enveloped at the tender age of undeveloped sexuality.  We both kept our distance at the end of the desk and wrote our notes sideways nearly falling. One wonders why the teacher did not see or figure out a wrong in two shy girls seating with an extremely social loud boy.  James would not stop instigating. We took our battle to a field near home and Irene boldly slapped the rock off my palm to begin the fight. A passer by rescued her from my thrashing and named me bad.  I walked home feeling guilty but jubilant for being a winner in my first match and have not fought another since.

Our 15 minutes break would be spent around the safety of the classrooms reading Hardy boys or making little girly talk.  The boys rushed to continue yesterdays’ soccer game in the field.  They’d return after the bell rang still planning on who was in charge of providing tubes and plastic bags to beef up the worn handmade ball.  The most crucial bell for lunch was treated with urgency like a gun shot to release an Olympic runner.  Without those heavy bags, we were home in minutes and swallowed our lunch in time to walk back before the afternoon session bell rang.  Money was a no-see item but when Evril produced a coin on our way home, she could not contain her excitement.  The exhaustion of a full school day, then carrying a load of books in our back packs with plenty of homework was out of her picture as she begged me to cross the road to purchase some patco (candy).  If caught crossing the road by a neighbor, I would have to face mama’s disciplinary action and the thought of seating on a hard bench with a painful behind was enough to completely refuse Evril’s request.  Without much persistence, she hang her heavy backpack on my left shoulder and jumped a trench before plugging into the road.  In a split second, I could have sworn I was still thinking of how best to convince her not to cross the road but I watched as the green range rover crushed her little body and dragged her to a stop.  The driver bolted out and ran disappearing between the row of houses and shop walls.  Word traveled fast and a crowd was forming as I silently contemplated my next move with my hand covering my mouth.  The weight of our school bags was pressing   me down as I moved slowly  dazed.  Near home, I met Evril’s older brother and handed him her bag informing him how, why and where I left his sister.  Without a word he dashed out as I hurried home to narrate my story to mama.  Seconds later, the wind blew shrill voices of wailing bringing a hollow feeling of sadness especially for me who had not shed a tear yet.  I had registered some strange kind of shock and sat numb staring into space.  Mama stepped out towards the scene just in time to witness a policeman, chalk in hand asking to record a statement from a witness.  That would be me telling an unfolding dream.  I completed my homework and ate my dinner silently.  Witnessing death changed a perception of life in a portion of my existence that I would struggle understanding the rest of my life.  I overheard mama ask my brother to let me go to sleep at an unusual eight o’clock without watching my one hour movie that ended at 11.00 p.m. every night.

I lost my second friend and it felt sad.  My first was Marion.  We grew up together playing dolls till she got disfigured with stove burns. Her whole body had changed drastically and my fear of the new Marion made it impossible to leave our house to play.  That was enough and while everyone comfortably followed the procession of viewing Evril dead in a coffin, I was unwilling to change the big smile I had seen of her last moments alive.  They wailed and walked back and forth around the coffin but I still had no tear to shed and could not even look at a gone spirit.

No more friends for me, and the birth of a book reader ensued as I took my milestone entering boarding school.  A place I dreaded with a passion.

Business As Usual – Lion On The Lose

The white ford stalled in the shopping center parking lot and the man riding a black mamba bicycle shouted ‘thieves’ calling everyone’s attention. A moment of silence ruled long enough for every eye to contemplate before giving ear to the short story. He had followed this three gentlemen to claim his neighbors stolen automobile and the stolen guards pay seating in a black box in the car. Sensing the danger two robbers stepped out wielding AK47’s. That long hunters gun cocked ready for action was a mistake. On seeing the guns, everyone young and old confirmed a true story and sprang forward chanting a hum without fear. The rocks were a mystery and no one knew where they sprang from that hour of need. Women, men and children each held one. Shooting in the air did not sound a warning, they stoned him to death and gave chase to the second robber who took to his heels towards the Nairobi river. With the loot seating in his pockets, he plunged into the green mucky water and kept still.  ‘Black men don’t swim’, he could not survive the carbonic water let alone hold his breath for a minute. He sprang up to catch some air and scattered a bundle of notes towards his hunters. They lay in wait waving unspoken beckons for him to step out as they watched the money float away.  They were in no hurry and some had already sat on the river bank in wait. He gave it up and slowly walked towards his would-be assailants ready to die. He stunk so bad no one dared touch him as he silently led the way back to the shops while the mob threw a rock every two seconds until he could not walk another step succumbing and let go of dear life.  Stoned to death

Meanwhile, the driver managed to convince the mob he had been kidnapped and since the bicycle rider confirmed seeing the robbers force him to drive, his life was spared. The car stalled from an empty gas tank after the robbers interrupted the mechanics before completing a repair job.  Rocks down, business as usual and everyone quietly picked up where they had left.

In this neighborhood, you were either born here or joined your already established relatives and needed some sort of introduction to settle in. A new comer had to be welcomed on arrival. Petty thieves lived among us. They knew all activities and boldly approached strangers questioning their every move. Mode of life seemed inexpensive and renting was kept within networked families. Those unfortunate received the welcome by loosing enough material to vacate with immediate effect. The only enemy among the people in this location was a police officer. They walked around pretending to keep the peace yet scheming for a suitable location to ransack some weed for personal use. If you supplied wisely, cautiously and bribed them every once a while, you remained a peddler on their favored list. They did not require a reason to escort anyone to the nearest police station except by bribing them on the spot. They planted little pieces of weed as evidence before matching their catch to the cells. The cells were full of lice with none functional toilets and a little window close to the roof for light. Those experienced knew to stay out of a policeman’s way. They were also involved in major robberies around town by loaning their guns to renowned robbers until Detective Shaw caught up and killed them. The order was shoot to kill, no court no expense, guilty on the spot. Wearing dread locks was a sin in their black books and the number of times I visited the Jogoo police station lost count. This hooligans knew my name cause I had to deliver a loaf of bread and packet of cigarettes that never reached destination too many times. Well, dreadlocks had to go to maintain peace.

Where is animal control when you need them. The lion passed a vast number of people before the boy blew his cover.  Relentlessly posing as a dog and crossing many sections without being noticed, the only strange occurrence was the dogs howling, otherwise this lion had come a long way from the national park. Knowing the damage it can do is enough information but it is only suitable for televised programs in animal kingdom. This humans scampered taking even their dogs making him feel out-of-place. Even so, he shook his mane and kept going. He was on a mission to visit Nairobi City until a needle stung him and put him to sleep where he woke up back in his habitats. He adjudicated his own title ‘King of the Jungle’ and roamed without boundaries. We all sat and laughed at each other for running so fast before we saw the lion.