She was born in what was considered a small family, five siblings, and a mother; her father had died when they were still very young. She loved the rural life, where families gathered outside around a fire and every home would light a fire at their compound to illuminate light. Elders gave stories and lessons would be learnt through them. They were always instructed to treasure their tradition so there would be a continuity of many more generations which would uphold what the forefathers had taught them. These were the things that gave life a meaning in the village until the Pukwet (cattle rustlers) striked, killing villagers and raiding every home. They had cows and goats, which were the measure of wealth and the only dependence she had, as her ticket to secondary education. Her only means to help her mother and siblings, all striped from them. No she would not sit around the village and mourn like the rest; Wandia knew that she had to do something. She had heard of the Kwata (coffee lorry) that carried villagers to the town, to go work in the city factories.
‘Mama I will go to the city! Mama I have to go to the city! We need money and food and everyone else is mourning over the cattle, no one is doing anything about it!’ Wandia said in a loud voice as she entered the house, placing the pot of water she had fetched from the stream on the floor.
‘And why would you want to go to the city Wandia!! You are still a child! What do you know about the city?’ her mother asked with a tense and concerned voice.
‘Mama, Kwata is about to pass through the village, and I want to get on board with it, I know I don’t know how to work in the factory but that’s how people learn!’
‘No Wandia!! I have heard bad stories about the city! I don’t want you to be a victim! You will stay here in the village as we all figure out what to do!’
‘No Wandia, I am your Mother, go and gather fire wood, we need to start preparing supper!’ Her mother said as she cut off Wandia from talking.
Wandia walked away with her head hung low, she felt terrible but convinced herself that going to the city was the only way out from this misery. That night she could not sleep, all she could think of was dreamy fantasies of the city. A voice inside her encouraged her to wait for ‘Kwata’ the following day, and board it, she did not want to hurt her mother, but the voice was comforting, making her believe that she was doing the right thing. She packed a few of her clothes and left a note for her mother.
‘Mama, I just had to go, I will be a good girl, when I get to the city I will call Mr.Bahaya (the headmaster to her primary school) to let him know that I am safe. I promise to come back, don’t cry Mama, I will take care of myself, and one day we will be happy again. I will miss you Mama!’
The following day, Wandia walked to the nearby village because she did not want to board Kwataat her village since her mother would easily find her. When she finally got in, she could not hold her excitement. She could sense some fear of naivety and at the same time some conviction of truth that assured her a better future. On reaching the city, everyone was shown a place where they would sleep because it was at night: A dark alley with rough sidewalks, there were cracked leaks of the sewage. The air was not as fresh as that of the village, but all this did not bother her.
A crowded cacophony and droning noise woke her up. There was a blood flow of traffic each pumping from all corners of the city. Everyone else had left,she was lone. She felt confused because she was in a foreign land. Her small bag with her clothes was also gone. She strolled through the streets for hours, hating herself for leaving the village! There were all sorts of sky scrapping buildings. There were well suited people, all busy heading somewhere, each with their own itinerary. She could see beggars with whom she could identify their misery with, walking with their hands open hoping somebody could drop a coin so that they could quench their hunger.
‘You look lost,’ a strange voice said behind her, with a hand touching her shoulders. She turned and she saw a lady who had a worried face staring at her waiting for her to respond.
‘Yes I am lost, and I have lost my belonging in that alley…’she said as she pointed back to where she was sleeping, but realized that the alley was no more there, she must have walked for hours and the city was full of many alleys and buildings all confusing her, not knowing where she was anymore.
She could not hold back her tears as she felt so stupid for making false promises to her mother.
‘Where are you from? And where were you planning to go?’ the stranger asked
‘I was coming to the city to work in the factory but everyone else has left me, and I have no idea where I am or what to do. I have left my mother in the village back in ‘Kwitu’ and now am all alone.
‘Not to worry, let’s go so that you have something to eat as we talk more.’
Wandia felt a sense of relief; she knew that her ancestors had sent an angel to guide her. She had heard that people in the city did not care for each other, but she realized that people in the village had it all wrong. They walked along the busy streets of the city and entered a sky up through high rise building, and Wandia could feel a change in the environment. They walked into a baronial room with well carved Maasai antiques and a fully furred carpet.
‘Is this heaven?’ She felt as though she was in a dream
‘Karibu(welcome), this is my office I will have the secretary bring us the meals’
‘Wow this place is like nothing I have ever seen!’ Wandia said as she stepped into the office.
‘Well thank you, I just try to maintain it, my name is Pastor ‘Achene’ and I can help you. Tell me about yourself,’ the lady said
Wandia told her about herself not leaving out any detail about her search to build her future in the city by helping her mother. The food was served with drinks. The plates were spectacular and Wandia felt special because the only time she saw such plates was when food was served to the headmaster, back in the village.
‘I think I know how I can help you. In the city one can do house work, and get good money, and normally there is not a lot of work… do you think you can handle house work as we think of something better for you to do?’ pastor Achene asked.
Doing house work was not a big deal since back in the village that is all she did.
‘Yes I can do housework…am hardworking and I know as the days go by I will have saved up to go back to school.’
‘Good! Then let me drive you to my friends place, leave you there as I go to buy for you a few clothes. What do you think Wandia?’
Ohh she is an angel… Thank you God…
‘Yes that is okay with me pastor!’ Wandia said with a lot of excitement.
They drove past the buildings exiting the city, the smell emanating from shops as they entered the residential homes tingled her nose. The mixture of onion, garlic, dried fish, pepper and spices made a potent combination. She held her breath for a moment as she let herself internalize her good fortune.
‘Here we are Wandia. What do you think? Do you love the place?’
Yes I do Pastor, yes I do! Wandia replied as she stepped out of the car
They were approached by an old man who seemed to be in his sixties.
‘Karibu ’ he said as he ushered them into the gigantic, well decorated house.
‘So this is her?’ He asked as his eyes wildly roamed through Wandia’s body.
‘Yes this is her!’ the pastor replied with a grin on her face.
‘You know I knew you would bring a beautiful lady, but this one is way too beautiful. She will serve her purpose. I will teach her the skills’ the man said as she he let his hands wander over Wandia’s body.
‘Pastor what all this I is thought…’
‘Shut up Wandia, silly girls like you are our source of income! And I am not a pastor; now take your naivety back in the rooms. You will be shown what to do!’
‘No, I want to go home’ Wandia screamed as she ran for the door
No sooner had she reached the door than she felt a hard slap hit her across the face!!
‘Get back here you stupid girl!!’
Fear crept into her heart, a strange voice tortured her…
‘What have I gotten myself into??…’
You know they never found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. For those who do not know what type of disease this is; it is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, and it worsens as it progresses, eventually leads to death. Research indicates that the disease is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain, there are no available treatments that stop or reverse the progression of the disease.
Maybe am naïve, maybe I am not ambitious, or maybe I am just arrogant!! They call it a hustle, and as the gangster saying goes ‘you gats to do what you gats to do’ but I just never get why Alzheimer’s is slowly creeping into most young ladies minds in Kenya, as they greedily or desperately look for jobs in Saudi Arabia!! Well I get the fact that there are hardly enough jobs in Kenya to cater for the masses who have made Uhuru park their office, but then again I never understand why people would prefer to go to Saudi Arabia even with the dangers that come with its well paid chores. This kind of monolithic society is stemming from the urban areas and into the rural parts of the country. I always ask myself how do this people in ‘mashinani’-(what we call very remote and rural areas of a particular region) get to know of these utility providers who easily lure people reassuring them of a way out of and have a plane ready waiting to fly these women to the land of ‘glory’ and opportunities! I ‘kinda’ it ,the country might offer a big scale job opportunity, which would reshape one’s economic future and marry someone to join other Kenyans, who are also in a mission to better their lives, but at what cost?
I have heard of so many stories, some which seem like a movie to me, I mean does this really happen in this world? Breastfeeding on behalf of Saudi women, going for days without food yet working as a donkey, feeding Majini’s (spirits), being thrown from third floor storied building as a form of punishment, washing snakes, being beaten, Facing Jail terms…etc. This are just but one of the very few issues that these young women go through. Mark Ogutu of the Daily Nation newspaper quotes ‘At the mercy of their employers, women employed in these jobs endure untold hardship and suffering, some almost to the point of losing their lives.’ When I first used hear these tales of the Gulf, I thought that they were just fictions propagated by people in the office to break the monotony of a boring day, but reading it from the daily’s and also watching the ‘hadithi’s’ (stories) from women who have gone through this I realize that many young women have decided to have selective amnesia… which at times in my opinion is a twisted form of dementia… I mean a hustle is a hustle but this… Nah Ah Ah!!
Cliques of agencies always have the eve nerve and can easily convince you how much the apple you are about to bite, is the key to open your eyes and drift in a paradise of wellness, forgetting that the same apple will make you realize that you are naked, and getting the leaves to clothe yourself will have to take you back to the beginning!
PEOPLE NEVER LEARN
Just the other day two friends of mine got married, we were all proud of the new couple, they are among the first of my peers to get married, you can imagine how most of us drooled over the fact that ‘she found a good man’ and ‘he found a proverbs 31 wife oh well not me, I was proud of them but not envious, anyway, a month later I got to hear that the proverbs 31 wife decided to go abroad and work, apparently she had been told of the black gold mine,(African women) that was being sought by the people in the gulf, to do small time jobs for quick and easy money. I don’t know how she is fairing, because no one seems to keep close tabs, am left to assume that there are network issues with communication in Saudi, because my mind would not want to roam and start thinking of the ordeal she might be undergoing!
In his book ‘Screw It Lets Do It’ Richard Branson quotes ‘Aim high, Try new Things, Always Try, Challenge Yourself.’ I concur with this but get annoyed when people interpret such sentiments with arrogance, its never that serious, everyone needs something to aim for, say a challenge or a goal, but not at the cost of their life!! People never learn, but then again they have not yet found a cure for Alzheimer’s, so no CT scan can help try to remove the tumor of selective amnesia…
The weather in Nairobi is quite un predictable.I love it when the sun shines bright, every girl wants to be in a sundress, sleevless top, sleeveless jump suit etc it kind of reminds me of the Tacky neon signs that hung in shop windows, all enticing and calling one to do some impulse buying on attire that maybe we would never end up wearing-everyone salivates for the lovely beauties as they grace the streets of Nairobi.I enjoy such days because my armpits can breathe after always being crowded by the massive sweaters and jumpers that i religiously wear everyday.
It always reminds me of runway models, the streets of Nairobi, every lady trying to pillar their different tastes of fashion,I am not to be exculded from the list, although am one to topple over while trying to keep my head high with my ‘esteemed’ fashion ‘touch’… yes slowly trying to kill the ghetto crap out of my genes. Back to my point, with every effort being put out there to boost some self esteem, or confidence or merely to impress, there are those few elements that annoy me, okay disgust me. With a disdainful glare am sure many would agree as they stare at the beauties that even with the exposure of the skin, it is quite a put off to see hair under the armpits cave like a rainforest. I have heard conversations where many claim that each individual woman should shave what they’re comfortable with and maybe our society has an obsession with asociating hairlessness with attractive feminity. I am not trying to piss on anyone’s turf but i believe that if one wants to show arm skin, one’s got to shave!
I would not be part of an argument to try and understand why a lady should not shave her armpits, because i will clearly not want to understand the ‘saintful’ nurture of a rain forest in ones under arms.I once brought that argument on face book and was surprised at how many ‘females’ would prefer to have hair, with lame reasons such as ‘i am not out to impress anyone’ or ‘i only shave when i wear sleevless’ and ‘people are different and Corrie you can not force this on anyone, its one’s choice’… oh well true it is it is ones choice.
What i really dont understand is the part of trying to impress anyone, i mean do you dress up to impress people, I dont! I dress up to look good, to boost my self confidence, to feel good about myself,the rest follow suite.Now that nobody will be up your sleeve trying to asses your armpits , does that mean that you should not shave? I dont know whether its naivety or lack of exposure, but i find any lady trying to defend her opinion on why she would rather take farming to her arm pits very lame. Hair collects sweat, allows for odour to build up not to mention is extremely gross. It looks all jelleyed up when one applys ‘roll on’ to try do away with the bad smell that accompanies the weeded up rainforest.
As we doll up for occasions just remember that with the nice short sleeved tops, hair hanging out from the underarms spoils the whole charade that you try to pull out as you walk down the ‘run way’.
I Am that girl…yes I know which one? Being real is what I am, at times I think I take it over board especially when I go for blind dates and first time dates. See there is the trend in Nairobi, the whole coffee date gig, I flow with the trend but am pathetic at it. I call it the teenage curse trying to be someone I am not, but don’t blame me. They say you can remove someone from the village but you can not remove the village habits from this person. Being brought up in ‘mtaa’ : people I gave ‘mad’ respect were the ‘mutura’ and ‘maindi’ guy. It was easy for a guy in my estate to ask me out because we would simply walk down the street and grab a few bites of ‘mutura’ and ‘roasted maize’ okay not a few per se ,but I would enjoy the whole episode. The conversations were not like some brain surgeon preparation, and the itinerary was not complicated, am sure the ‘guys’ who took me out loved it, cheap date. Yepthat’s me.
Old habits die hard. Nowadays its coffee or dinner or lunch, which is normal because hey people have to eat right? Especially if both parties are busy doing a Wikipedia of their lives-that’s how dates are, or that’s how my dates are. Over the few recent months that have passed I have gone for a couple of dates, each with its own dilemma… what should I wear? What should I order to eat? Which persona should I bring out?-(because the real me does not work, after I show my true self, men do not do a follow up, okay most don’t, so I have to bring out my multi persona and filter out one that would suit best for the occasion .) Why you wonder? So this is me;
My date: So what are you into?
Me: I am a sucker for current affairs, I love watching series, writing, I listen to music-rock mostly but am a jerk of all trades, I go with the flow… and I go on and on about me… with an inclusive of how many we are in the family. (Clearly drifting from the question asked)
Signaling the waiter My Date: Oh okay, I see you are into a lot of things…so what will you have?
Me: Gosh at times I wish such restaurants would serve Ugali and Skuma (trying to sound funny) what do you think? (trying to see if I pulled a charm me-and here comes an arrogant smile, I assume and decide not to try being funny) anyway I think I will do house coffee (I have to ask for this because its one of the few things I know I would be keep me at ease, without trying to be all fancy-not because there is anything wrong with being fancy -its just that am not well conversant with the other types of coffee)
My date: Anything to accompany your coffee with?
In my mind (I wish there was bread with omelette and peanut butter) me: No am quite full
My date: Are you sure? Because you can have sandwich, they have awesome sandwiches.
In my mind (I would want to grab a bite, a big bite, but now my etiquette of using forks and knives is pretty low, okay its not low, I just don’t know how to). Me: No am easy, no worries (with a glowing smile)
My Date: okay fine. To the waiter get me a niçoisesalad and serve it with gutsy little anchovies, boned and rinsed with salt.
Screaming In my mind (SAY WHAT NOW????) …and the date continues… I try to act all normal and flow with the drift.
Me: So what are you into?
My date: keeping it all calm mentions in like a few sentences the few things that interests him, trying to be all modest…then directs questions to me, and here is where the blunder happens…I am not a small talk person, if you ask about me, I will give you a biography that will make you wonder why you asked that in the first place (Thank God I realized this before it’s too late *at least now I know*)
Anyway I simply end up messing the conversations, I think it is a defense mechanism to ease my nerves because I do not know how to simplify things, and I chose to bring out how am into ‘kibanda’ vibe, how I hate where I live because there are no ‘Mutura’ joints. Now who wants to hear all this ‘gherro’ vibe? After a couple of dates, I have come to learn what to order in a coffee and dinner dates. Back in the office I have practiced a couple of times on how to summarize my conversations. No man is an island and in life you have to ‘at times’ bring yourself to a level where you create some sort of balance without limiting yourself some happiness, at times you end up realizing its good for you. I still do ‘Vibanda’ and ‘mutura’ is still one of my best bites.
Me: in the recent few weeks, in a date : I will have a coffee latte, and fresh baked cream pie with a hint of coconut, do you have that? (ohhh yesss!!!!-it always feels good to Google for meals before going for dates) and yes it works… but you know when I am alone in the house I do the whole Ugali skuma thing.
Dates are no torture for me, but me being real at times just does not cut out for me to keep friendships, but there are those who try to hold on to me with hopes of changing me…Just like the way we vote in for the same politicians with the aim of giving them a second chance so that we can see if they will change.
The whole symbolic façade of being real is what our leaders should try to chop so that they can level with us. We know they heckle, at times talk garbage, make false promises in well flowered manifestos, that’s the real them… how about trying to pretend that they really care… say leave the ‘mutura’ charade back in their homes, and in public address issues which we know do not affect them directly, and at least pretend to show that their main interest is not stealing money and parliamentary titles. They need huge outlays of votes and we are forced to filter out their opinions so that we can express our democratic rights and evaluate their bids for the best man to win. How else will we know they have Kenyans interests at heart if they don’t act? We should refuse to operate in a comfort zone.
The whole assertion of ‘Kenyans need change’ has been criticized by many especially me… we have a new constitution that needs to yet be implemented, vision 2030 is what will keep up in the economic map high up in the ladder, but no, this are not the main concerns. This is when the cabinet realizes that the ethics act on chapter 6 of the constitution has an effect on the inductees of the ICC! Integrity has far reaching implications than what people think, just like what I posted in my previous article- In real sense I think it is a mere decoy to portray a fierce side of concern with the ideology that Kenyans need to know that someone is busy cleaning the house(parliament). In my opinion the bigger issue here is that we have not a single legislator in Kenya that is spotlessly clean, and many might perceive they are a bunch of thieves and products of the 24 year rule of misrule. What we need is a lesser evil, but then again we also require a lot of civic education because we at times, for lack of a better statement, are stupid…or arrogant… remember our leaders like it or not are a reflection of what we are. Don’t hate the player change the game!
How about this, to leaders and wannabe leaders ‘Google up what our itinerary is as Kenyans, do a follow up of things that need addressed, pretend you care then level up with us, maybe then, we will know that indeed we are heading somewhere. This ‘vibandaand mutura biashara’ is just not working… who needs to hear it anyway? Lets us learn of a new menu, something that can help us have an open mind, say a niçoise salad served with gutsy little anchovies, boned and rinsed with salt.
Now let me order a hot buttery toast sprinkled with sugar accompanied with Latte…