Monthly Archives: March 2019

MAKE A PACT WITH A STRANGER:Sketches of depression.

It is a cold but promising Wednesday morning.For some strange reasons I have grown to love Wednesdays,ask me why I can’t tell.To some untold weirdness I think they breed a sense of peace and relaxation.A promise of work halfway done,chills halfway broken and promises even halfway kept.

To some extent I feel like the optimist in me always reminds the pessimist that the glass is halfway full and not empty.Mmmmh,I rub my hands together as I rise from my bed before opening my eyes.Cold huh?this 19°c can be termed cold and welcome relief as the 30’s plus degrees have not had any relenting mercy lately.As the heat cold caresses my skin I am led to do the one thing I always avoid at all costs,open my phone before prayers;well,this day I do and I go into a whatsapp group and bang! This almost unimaginable long post hits my eyes.

Looks like those movie plots you see and hold onto the edge of your seat,with one popcorn chunk to your lips,await to shove it in after the suspense is done and you have known what hits next.Right in front of my eyes is a note so deep and intense.I read it once,then again and I make no sense in it.I mean this can’t be possible you know?Like it doesn’t even look realistic.

For a moment it now makes sense that nothing happens as a coincidence whatsoever but all things are planned by God.If I din’t believe in Him before,Today I did as I broke a code not so often broken.My prayers must always come first.But Today I have to attend to this course that only He,my Father and Master has given.Only after that can we have our conversation later.

I read through the responses in haste as I see what the note-writer says next but what ensues are encouragements and a number of scriptural verses of uplifting words;others rather misplaced in the current circumstance however.

My heart races as it is all but a scary internal exchange as I hope and earnestly pray my now new friend is doing well.

I pick out the number from the group,an act that I also feel strange about as I fret doing that often.I dial the digits and to my surprise it goes through..Quite strange you would almost think I expected it not to buzz through but buzz it does and there is a sure connection on the other end.

A beautiful and almost confident voice says halo,who is this and how can I help you?”Well,my name is PePa and I got your number from this Christian group.”I respond almost unsure if this was right or wrong.I go ahead and ask them if they are okay and the say they are well.A most common answer from most of us when we honestly know we ain’t cool but who gives a hoot if we are okay or not?Say you are well and finish off the conversation.We are busy people and we got more important things to attend to,huh?So a stranger asking whether we are fine or not never warrants any in-depth explanations of our situations.

Right here I notice a classic sketch of distorted relationships.It is my society too so maybe I,even I have played an ultimate role in this distortion.I chuckle when they say they are okay and ask,”Why do you say you are okay when from your note it indicated you aren’t?”At this point I lose all prior knowledge and rule of social interactions and developing trust in both friends and acquaintances.The rule is simple yet so hard to apply;before you get to pick out one fault in a person,try and give them a thousand reasons to trust you.A thousand reasons?This gives me a migraine as counting up to a 1000 is quite hectic,unless it was only a 1000 shilling/cash bill note,hahah.Breaking this rule costs me however as Alex on the other end tells me they can’t talk at the moment and asks if they can call me later.

Phew!! Hope I din’t just mess this golden chance.I get back to my prayers and ticked to my prayer list I have a new prayer item.Am a believer so to me every word counts and every event rarely bypasses me.I believe in science but still believe in the author of science itself.I wait for the call but nothing comes through.At around 10am however,am still disturbed and decide to text them.

The answer that comes through however is chilling and I feel like I have lost a friend that I never even had or met before.A simple thing to brush off most times but did you know it is worse losing what you never had than what you actually have ?Well,think about it.

Can’t be solved?I quizz and dig into my head.What was never possible to solve?If I ran in lower school with my flat ended feet and played football when I din’t know how to kick a piece of grass then what is impossible?If I grew from sharing half a loaf of bread in a family of 10,eating hunted game(a whole day’s work) and being raised with young uncles while mum bites away through books in High School to get an education and bring home a better future…am just thinking.If I went through that and more then nothing is impossible.

Nothing can’t be solved.We have a series of convos to and fro and it is not an easy fete but fate and grace win the day as this folds up.

For a bit,my heart rests peaceful and we set a time to meet and talk,4pm to be precise.Gets to around 4 pm and they change their mind.They are busy and reschedule to the next day.Am okay but I have an appointment the day next and they pick the day after.I ask them to make a promise not to do anything till we meet and they sure make a good promise.Good at least in my books.Good enough to make me sleep at night.

I have a dinner appointment with a friend Tonight and nothing goes down the throat better than a hearty meal of stories,catching up on the past and a plate full of hot wet beef and fried rice.Give me this any day and we are eternal friends.Hahahahha glutton you can call me but nothing tastes better than good friendships and amazing food.

The appointed day comes and my friend is sure feisty and almost goes away without meeting me.Am kind of running late and plead with them to wait just a lil bit longer.They give in and we are home and dry.

Across the road stands this African stature of true flowing ebony beauty.Why do bad things happen to good people I ask myself as they walk towards me.You can see no flows on their face or gaze as they walk,a typical case of don’t judge a book by it’ s cover.

We shake hands,I finish on a few calls and am all their’s.We find a nearby less crowded restaurant and share a cup of tea for me and a glass juice for them.A meaty kebab rents the air with its delicious aroma.Mmmh almost makes my full stomach hungry.Fresh and steaky it is.

A third person joins the table and on request he agrees to find another.This is a private meet in a public place I guess.I smile and look them square in the eyes and am like am all your’s.They smile back and ask where to start from.”Give it all to me,don’t hold back,I will only speak if you want me to but for Today all my ears are for you.”I respond with a full smile.

A beautiful young girl rejected by the father and with a mother who has no say in it,I envy my mother at this point as I listen on and feel that painful lump in my throat grow.She is beaten up by the dad unlike other siblings and even questions if this is her real dad,a question most mums dread.

A rejection with the first boyfriend doesn’t help and an abortion gone awry brings in more pain.I would literally hate all men if I was in Alex’s shoes but this woman has a will of steel and meets yet another handsome guy,falls in love and gets pregnant.If I were in her shoe I wouldn’t but honestly who controls when and how to fall in love so kick off your judgemental self PePa.Even I have not been with any little success at love so listen on.The second try at love and with a baby to show jilts her and wants an abortion which my dear Alex can’t go through with again.

She is thus rejected another time but this time round has a baby to take care of.A little girl,father refuses to pay her school fees anymore and after giving birth has to fend for her school fees and her baby’s well being! What do you do at 23?

Rejected,heart-broken,lonely and broke and with a little baby to feed?No amount of bible scriptures can help change this situation,no amount of preaching is needed.All she needs is to feel loved and wanted,for someone to hear her out and share their real experiences.You think she hasn’t prayed?You think she doesn’t believe in God?Nope,she has prayed more than you and fasting to her is not like you think..she fasts even when she doesn’t want to,she knows how to be without feels like.She is without and only needs someone to show her that she has more than she could ever imagine.

She has been called ghetto and ugly.At this point I wonder what beauty is for right before me,I see a little girl who loves her son beyond measure.A girl who glows with warmth and will do any possible right thing to see her son grow strong and healthy.If that is not true beauty then I think I missed a beauty class 101.

For a moment I now understand why I had to go through my perils before she did.Why my life has never been a bed of roses,I thank God for shining His grace upon me and enabling me to share my story of cactus and thistles and as the tears well in her eyes she now sees more clearly and realises that life is not easy but worth living.

The shoulder of a stranger proves softer to lean on than the hard floor of familiar pain.We share a smile and she realises she is beautiful and needs no validation from any man,father,friend or person.That her validation comes from the fact that God made her wonderfully and beautifully and that He gave her this day to accomplish something.That from one scarred hand to the other,He loves her more than her pains and sorrows can tell.

My friend Alex hence heads back home with a smile and hope that Today is a gift and she has to enjoy the little pockets of joy that come with it.

She now sees that her life is worth something when she still has it and not when she takes it away.

Ps.When someone is depressed,just give them an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.It makes a whole difference.Don’t judge or even offer solutions,just listen.PEPA.


Not basic-:The sketches that peril my world.

Nothing basic here,right from your glowing watery eyes I can feel the ooze all around me.I wish it was superficial but it is hence championed by all the night-scented flowers that release all their sweetness into the air.

I am masked if not my senses and nostrils for that matter by this aroma that is so overwhelming.They all call to me deeper into their essence but truth be told I am sincerely all but absorbed into you.

First glance and for all vanity am stuck on your nose-ring.Not the first I have ever seen but maybe a first on such perfection of gloss.It flows down to your lips that wear a lining of dark.Your lips I could linger upon with my gaze but I want to stay pure.An action that drains all my energies.

Why so much perfection to draw my being into?It is a peril I can’t fight against.I wish your smile was smug and stupid but no,it is an artist’s perfection.A picturesque,yes you are making me weak in all the wrong places and I want to escape.I run into the music tantalising my ears and draining my soul in the air but your pull is ever so magnetic am drawn into your space all but in once.

Your smile matches your lip gloss and peril is on me when my gaze wanders off your artistic glam lips,over and yonder to your smooth powdered face.This stupid gaze that I can’t withhold as I ask for your name.You answer with a confidence of a con-woman and my eyes find rest in your eyes,I am drawn and unconsciously your name matches all you are.

Mama thought about your name and needed not to consult papa for she too saw it in you all along…yes that you were the true description of a fairy tale linked up to a prince charming and all your energies oozed to the extremes.

Your name,I wish I could remember it for your eyes drew and tore me apart.Now am here still trying to trail my fingers to this beauty that oozes through my space.We are miles apart and I can’t live within myself.Till I put my fingers upon those lips and take a deeper gaze into those eyes,I can’t remember them but I want to drown into them…right into your soul.

I will call you my peril for now.Yes the sketches that peril my world.

LITTLE ACTS OF CHARITY: Sketches of starvation.

Little acts of charity,little beautiful amazing and heart-touching acts of charity.This is what is playing in my mind as I think of an amazing story I can share Today.

Right above and on the windward the sun glows beautifully on her way down.You must now go to rest I speak to her,you have been a menace of real torture in temperatures.A bright cloud beautifully crawls right in front of her to ease off the heat.

Well,I come to and now realise that it has been quite sometime;with it was this amazing trip into oblivion.A trip filled with immense ruminations,entangled in the sketches that wedge beautifully into this amazing masterpiece that is my existence.

In the air I catch this amazing ballard that is more a love song than a melancholy of nostalgia;
I’ve just got to let you know
Because I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely?
Or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying I love you

This is Richie Lionel himself,a total captor of deep and unrelenting emotions.Sure love can fill the air even in the most unwarranted of places.That lies in my background though,music as I have come to realise lately sounds much better from my back than when it is blaring right in the front of me.Still it could just be the rhythm and softness in this that sure teases,calms and plays games with my nerves.

It is mid-week and truth be told I honestly wish this was a Friday evening.Why Friday?I guess because Saturday only leaves me with one more day of peace and calm from all the bleets,baas,honks and hoots that come with each weekly frenzy.

Speaking of frenzy,this has been quite a twisted one to say the least.Starts off with hunger hitting the Northern part of our country.A highlight I can’t miss though is the twist of irony in society.

Remember a live concert going down from one of our celebrities a few weeks back?(at this point I lose meaning of who a celebrity really is as I have seen quite a variance in meaning and display lately)This however,is a well-known singer or call her dancer for a wider understanding.A mother of not one,two or even three but if my guess ain’t too distorted then five beautiful babies(a budding adult included)

Wondering why am talking about our queen from the lake-side?It is the act of her pulling a show that left many tongues wagging that is of contention,praying contention is what this was all about.While others are wagging their tongues,a different block of skeptics was condemning her utter display of shamelessness and unwanted mannerisms in our country and not for our adulting little girls.

Most if not all of us took to social media(that great evil and gift to the global village)and condemned how bad an influence and role model she was being to our little daughters.This was sharply and quickly followed however with an expected disclaimer and trail of defence and harsh words from the lake-side hailed queen.She is well known not to mince her words,let alone hold them back.When I say hold back you know she never holds back or have any qualms.After all,she is not your daughter’ role model,in her words that is,as she can’t be one even to her own daughters,quite ironical I must admit.

In a twist of fate however,and with few weeks past,the same unconventional role model frowned upon and flagged down by our bloggers and social media watch and a cross-section of media personalities becomes a “saviour in disguise”.She comes up with ingenious plan to collect funds,funds for hunger on hearing tales of our hunger stricken Northern county.

A span of twenty four hours’ collection rolls out hundreds of thousands in self-willed charity fund.Amazing is not enough huh?Where was the social media watch frowning at her when this help was needed?What of the back-lashers too?So now do you realise that love covers a multitude of sins?Well maybe not the right way to pass this but I pray it rings a bell now..

Since that drive however,I have seen more posts of truckloads (beats the point of giving if it is for show)of foodstuff and other utilities posted on social media by our honourables.Well,I thought bills and solutions would have been passed and laid beforehand to curb and mitigate such unpleasant and controllable calamities,calamity funds disbursed and checkers put in place all in time?I just thought though.I will be excused from delving much into this though,right PePa?

Back home though,I remember not more than two days ago,in walks this usually very calm client.He beams his warm hello and reports he was just passing regards.Before he leaves however,he narrates about his employer’s intention to cut off a portion of every employee’s salary in aid of those starving.

His reaction to this was both hilarious and priceless.He intimately warned that no one should dare touch his salary unless he feeds his family.That if they did they should also cut off his head.

In this hard economic times and climatic narrations no one wants jokes on their hard-earned and flinching incomes.Not after taxes have been levied and people paid to implement the constitution,in the process of which billions get lost in scandals created and henceforth dissolved overnight.Not when a billion,say two or the tune of 100’s is treated like a mere lunch bill in the hands and pockets of some of our honourables.

Noooo PePa refuses too,not when billion dollar scandals are covered by reshuffles and counter reshuffles.Not when one person can donate a truckload of food from we don’t know where whilst another goes to jail for failing to clear a thousand bob debt.You think he was a bad borrower?Ask me and I will tell you nope he wasn’t.Another if not many owe him 100’s of thousands but he was being patient in waiting for payments when a third party lacked the morality of patience with them.

No still becomes viable.Not when one stashes away billions under a safe house in stolen government loot and walks free whilst a chicken thief gets locked up;and yet another gets thrown away from family and friends for an alleged and unproven rape case.Did I mention the chicken thief with a ten year sentence rotting away versus the upper hand who accidentally shoots their kin?

Well,my pen inches off with a drain to the ink as the lustre on the once beautiful clouds windward is now fading.The swoosh of the wind through the umbrella trees slows down as the previously glorious sun edges behind the horizon.A pointer that PePa must now unwillingly take leave of rest and let the rest of you devise the best course of action.To love or to pretend to survive.

Are we starving from hunger or are we malnourished from our own gluttony and lack of humanity?Just think for a moment,if all the funds availed was put into good use and equitably distributed then would our dear Turkana county need food aid?Wouldn’t it be all sufficient?But no,let us eat our fill first.


FOR THE LOVE OF WARMTH:Sketches of an attendant.

She watches you come in and many others in her wake,she watched me the first day I did,more like a guardian angel.Always aloof yet so present.

In my skin I would have gotten tired of this routine but not her,not those eyes that have so fast grown affection and the glint of warmth uncommon to many.I mean different faces everyday,sometimes arrogant seething eyes and mean in most.The habit of most clients.

It takes effort to evoke genuine warmth and smiles out of them you know?But not to her,the charm is effortless and always achieves desired effect.Like she was built,formed and sired for this very job.You know the way the glove fits perfectly you would think it was made as a mould with the fingers?Yes now picture that level of perfected welcome and treatment.

She walks to your table and you gaze off your wandering thoughts,bringing them in unison with her smile,they meet and she inquires of your comfort(now why in the world would you care whether am comfortable or not unless you wanna drag me down the drain.)Something I find strange for a total stranger,the irony and conflict of words huh?

The sincerity in the inquisition though I would term as state of the arts if such an observation holds water.I would conclude that the rigorous training in care school brought out such decent untainted and honest concern but no,no school teaches you true manners save for societies expectations.Only a sincere heart and love for oneself brings out such beautiful sincere care.

So with her sticky smile if I may not say infectious you find yourself return it and it comforts all your breaking worries.She is African so to her motherliness comes natural,not to taint other races but what can we,a third world castigated selves pride in save for our heartfelt sincerity and inborn warmth and tenderness?

Well for the wives who take no good care of their husbands you will forgive me but right here,right here stands the very reason your husband won’t come home early in the evenings,not cuz he is philandering but because he finds genuine concern and care he would pay for in this beautiful African beauty.

Thank God she is not from the lake-side for then you would cry all obscenities.Still with her heart she can carry the whole world.She is a woman and hence with it comes the strength of frame and heart of steel though this time wrapped with flowers and scents of beauty.

Doesn’t mean she is perfect,no,she fights her own insecurities but her strength comes from the fact that despite her weaknesses and worries,she would rather see her clients happy than dissatisfied.And it lies in the warmth she emits.

So she doesn’t serve because she has a job and must make a living but she does it because deep down,it makes her human,kills all the animal in her and in its place fills her up with the joy of seeing another with a genuine smile and appreciation.

So will you be able to tip her,does she deserve that or even more?I know not but for my peace of mind,I will,even though she is paid at the end of the month,what she offered was more than her job description.Choice is your’s though.

She is my favourite attendant.Call her Dale Today,for Tomorrow I may not be allowed to see her again.

Ps who is your favourite attendant or whom do think ever deserved a tip or recommendation from you?write their names in the comments.


LETTING GO OF YESTERDAY;the sketches of withdrawal.

Come now and let us walk,let us throw away the pieces that made our eyes tear Yesterday,let us forget the pain,that cut deep through our souls and marrow…it all lies in the past.

Still plays a trick on the mind and down in your sleep you toss and find your soul pulled back,back into the darkness,back into the reminder,that you were better Yesterday.

All a mind game,so what if you had a good Yesterday,so what if life was fun then,so what if you did great things then?Yes it all lies hence but not to stop your tread thus,not to hold your drift here…no…not to push you into oblivion.

So come hold my hands and I will lead you to paths un-treaded,I will open your eyes from the deep sleep that brings no solace.Come take a leap with me into the depths uncharted,to the blues of the deep that have a mellow not sang before.

Yes,walk with me and together we could find the projection into a future not seen or felt before.Because Yesterday is just but a memory,one you can’t hold onto,one that has no grip on Today….

So come and merry in this moment with me ;sit right here where the wind takes the skies homage and the red skies light up the ends of the ocean with remission and a hope to see beyond borders….

Take a dive with me if the air is not enough.For with every wrong step made and with breath still in our nostrils we have a wave of possibilities right in our breadth.

So yes,come take this leap with me PePa.

EAT AND BE MERRY:the sketches of acquaintances.

“A thousand words on your lips,a thousand thoughts in your mind?All amazing and so well knit,you are the kind of man who would sway me off my feet if words had that effect on me,”these she said with those big beautiful lips,haha,I remember she called them full lips.

Full lips?I din’t know they came in this amazing shape of fullness of life and warmth.Always thought it came with nicely done lipstick and a liner to the base you know,a total replication of the amount of time spent behind the mirror.With raging questions of Queen Ravenna in Snow white and the huntsman.She would look at the mirror and naturally aspirated ask,”Mirror mirror on the wall,whose the fairest of them all?”

Well,I laugh about it and play back my day,a series of clips if not an actual season’s play.The trails my mind and heart so dread but hey PePa,these are the trails that so liven our path you see?

Back to my morning though,waking up can be quite a task for sure.Who even said we have to fight this battle every morning?Truth be told,whether it is a Monday or a Sunday,now waking up,that has so often than not been an uphill task for me if not to the most of my like out there.

A stretch of arms and twist upon my sheets helps not in this excruciating exercise.Will this throbbing headache really allow me to go to Church Today?Even God would sure have a clue into the sorrows I face right now I guess,huh?Perfect excuse for a lazy Sunday morning struggle of waking.Even if the famous Dj C.K called me for a million bucks this morning I wouldn’t go forth for the same,wait a minute!!!Did I hear a million bucks?Now this I would wake up so quick…but it is Church,God will understand huh?

So for a moment this bolts up my brain and I see my folly:wake up for money but not for my God,goodness me!Now when did I or so many of us discard all our priorities so fast?

With such a painstaking realisation I draw away my duvet so heavy on my lazy body and stretch out my entire frame.Crackles up like a nut-cracker,like a wood monger actually stretched me out the whole night.Aaaaaggggh!!! And I drag my lazy bones out of bed and down on my knees for prayers.

Damn it! My head throbs more but I tell the devil,”No not Today,not now not ever again.”So I give thanks and hit the shower for that soothe and relaxation that so takes away all the tired in me.Especially when that warm trickle hits my neck…meeen,even the masseuse’s delicate fingers can stay away at this moment.

So my body stops crying foul and I know this is an amazing day right from the smell in the air.Sliding on my sheds(hiphop crankers call them stunners),am off in a vroom and in Church I arrive.Praise and worship is done but at least am not missing Today’s sermon.Not after I was taught to be a good listener the previous Sunday.So all my energy levels are off the ceiling and sure we are taught to eat.Ever been taught by your preacher to eat in Church?Hahaha,today we was.

So eat we sure ought to cuz as it dawns,great conversations don’t actually start with a Guinness but they sure do start with a great meal,a stoke of laughter and a bounty of joy.So I tease Sony my friend how we need to eat Today and we should get a friend to do so with.

Sermon is great and ends with laughs and hugs…we hang back on after and I actually realise this Church has beautiful people.No wonder people meet amazing persons in Church and thereafter we hear announcements of jingles of marriage and sometimes happy ever after.Hahaha quite a classic tale of love huh?If only those fairies still flew in by night and hid on our backs by day….

In swings this classic tale of African seduction,the one that makes you think twice about your initial thought of being a senior bachelor.But then you are a gentleman and from Today’s sermon,you just want to meet another friend,have a great conversation and be at peace with all your stars.

Conversation rolls in and lunch tops list in a twist of let’s call it fate Today.I love how the constellations sometimes just realign to play in my favour.Like I can virtually see Orion the hunter give way to Taurus the bull to Charge through into an encounter with pisces,gemini and even scorpio.

Geez!!!see how I easily lose trail if left to my whiles?Well then,this is how a beautiful afternoon should be,I love my preacher for Today as this joke of food is proving to make best of friends out of an encounter borne from a single smile,handshake and subsequent mince of laughter and words.Across the table and bolted on her beautiful chubby face are these deep brown eyes,held into sockets filled with warmth and flow of beautiful eye shadow,brow nicely brushed away and lashes mascara’d so delicately she would beat Snow white.

Snow White,Oh poor girl,why did you have to go through so much pain to find true love?Haha(evil laugh)I think your prince charming was right here in East Africa and you had no planes back then to come find him,and you was busy looking for a tall dark and handsome to come sweep you off with a kiss of life(wewe shinda huko Germany na mimi niko Kenya).

Well,phones all stashed away,Sony in their world of smiles and chunking down the thighs of chicken amidst gobbles of drinks,laughter rents the air as Leu Mu is all but a bunch of heaven-sent this afternoon to tear my heart apart with laughter and trails of childhood.She would literally finish a whole pack of serviettes and wet wipes for her tears of joy but she ain’t about to mess up her mascara and explain she is happy and not crying to the on-looking puzzled attendants.

I try to hold my behind on these cushioned seats but no,the laughter is a total craze of jolly and extremities I can’t contain.So is this what happiness is all about?Bottled up in small bouts of joy and encounters with strangers who then grow into acquaintances?Acquaintances who then make you realise that your once small cocoon of loneliness and self-pity is not all that exists in such a big world of hearts so open and ready to receive a once broken heart?

I must admit at this point that however much I have so trained and guarded my heart against out-pours and welcoming strangers,sometimes it don’t hurt a bit to just let go and be yourself,to take on a single moment and magnify it,not actually losing oneself but relishing the little bits that make life worth smiling at.

Yes I don’t take the credit from the moon and the stars,not even from my sunsets and rises,but Today can I just grasp onto this very moment and enjoy some light skin moment.?

Take a chance,take a moment,throw caution to the wind and let it breeze through your heart.Find yourself in the maze and try to live just every moment as it comes,share a meal and get lost in the moment.Then enter the sketches of acquaintances.


THESE STREETS AIN’T LOYAL :the sketches and perils of a Nairobi inhabitant pt2

There is no scorch Today as it has been in the past few days flowing into weeks.5th March,the year of our Lord,clouds hang low and the humidity sure sticks within the nostrils.Still the skin aches with the heat that hangs loose all around.Threatening to disintegrate the dermis and epidermis;in whichever order heats faster that is.

The streets and walkways hold a halo sense of dissertation.A kind unexplainable only inuended with instantaneous creaks of that empty trolley with the single uneven rubber wheel,needing a change but must be worked to exhaustion to warrant that change.Work from which is proving a a strange term in these streets.

Across the pavement though, lay a clatter of wooden beds and old woven and nylon sacks well laid out in the name of business hustles.A pile of second hand clothes for males and another for children whilst yet a third and similar fourth and fifth border each other.Such used to be quite lucrative a venture count back three to four years but right now,right now creases strained faces with lines of sorrow harrowing over them is a sight quite common.A sign of resignation to fate on their faces and in others a matter of what to do.

Before it passes my vision a yard away is a pile of oranges,ukambani mangoes,in others imported grapes and yet passion fruits splay across the rest with a bunch of sweet bananas or normal huge bananas as well.Business looks quite slow as these ladies,I would call them mothers for emphasis sake;they keep spraying the fruits with water from a specially designed bottle mouth of strained bottle top.Quite creative and ingenious I must say,typical of our mothers,African especially,they always invented a new thing to deal with whatever predicament was at hand and this comes into play right here in this market place.

It so strikes me that this day might end up with the continued spray of the water on the fruits with little to no sales made by close of day.The capital input might look quite negligible but the dependence on the same business for basic needs am sure does not change whether in a small family setting or a big one for that matter.The same way the high riding class must eat is the same way this low income class must put food on the table this evening.A sad reality as where from I honestly can’t put a finger to.

My thoughts glare back at me as I stray back to the batches of mitumba(second hand clothes) down the street.The creased faces tell it all.Man left wife pregnant at home(definition of home can be quite varied at this point you know?),a single room affair with two children warranting a total room transformation when night falls to suit both kitchen,dining and bedroom for both husband and wife plus children included,a nuclear family you know,let us cross our fingers the in laws din’t visit from the village this time round as the dynamics become quite complex.

Well,here lies this man’s predicament,a situation of which with the current economic status if not squo is hard to tell if another day is gonna shine bright or the diamonds in the sky remains a mirage in Rihanna’s song.

While my mind still finds itself on the shoe-shiner down the road,there is a bit of commotion as the traders bundle up their wares,quite a handful it they are,they whistle to one another in high pitched tones and every one scrambles away with their bundles.The table mounted fruit make-shift grocers though have a hard time bundling it all up.Instead they scuff up their dresses and shukas round their waists and swing their voluptuous hips heavily as they hide behind corridors.Not a beautiful sight at all.Not as you may even imagine.

The bundles are thrown under parked cars along the pavements and every trader acts as if they were on their way.A jest of total unimaginable reluctance this is.

What was the scuffle for?Business is low and the county askaris are on their necks,this time round the soft pallets of notes exchanged under the guise of handshakes and fake smiles is not available and these askaris know no other kind of greeting.

You know the way you are used to coming home with a pack of bones for Spot your favourite pet dog,you whistle from the gate and he comes happily and jumps onto you,licks you with joy knowing he is getting a bone to chew on?Now picture a day you don’t get the bone while your friendship was based on nothing but bone exchange?Mmmh the dynamics are quite unpredictable here and I would easily predict a chase from the same dog down your pavement to the gate…I mean Spot your pet dog doesn’t recognise you Today,you are a stranger and he has been trained to chase down strangers.

Well,what do we do in hard-stricken times like Today?We scuffle and run away from Spot.But before we run and hide PePa,let us talk about the shoe shine guy seated at the electrical wares shop entrance.

I casually walk and sit at this spot that has over time become my favourite shoe-shine spot to go to,that is since I realised I din’t have to spend two hundred shillings to buy shoe polish and a shoe brush when I only had two pairs of shoes that need shining every once a month,not that I even do a job half as good as these guys do you know?I remember some of those days I would want to go on a date in my brown loafers,passing by one of these guy’s stools always made the regular market guy look like one of the shots in those high end Wall street movie characters,suave that is.

Speaking of Wall Street,remember the movie called eeer,the Wolves of Wall Street,played out by Leornado De Caprio?Yes,these guys transform your look like that of De Caprio in this skit,I would be led to mention James bond and how accomplished he looks in his skits but that would not bring out the ruggedness of De Caprio in Wolves of Wall Street and the transformation that ensues thereafter.It is more like a dirty mould filled silver bracelet and a wash to the same that makes you see your image right through it.

Now with the kind of transformation these guys bring,why would someone in their malnourished unthinking senses come and topple this nice stool of transformation over.All in the name of doing work through the streets of Nairobi in the name of congestion and obstruction?Surely what did we congest and obstruct.Am sorry but on this mind overdrive I don’t want to reason as my emotions and not as baseless as you may imagine have taken a total toll upon my thought process.

Well,what was the work of all the city planners appointed to high offices and why are they on a payroll if they can’t plan for this shoe shiner of mine.Before I get over and above myself I might not have mentioned I sauntered to his place he was engrossed in this heavy set novel.Am impressed to say the least cuz I can’t recall the last time I sat down and picked a book to read,let alone a newspaper column,not that I din’t want to but I found it too much work and most times the English confused my already exhausted mind.

I casually joked that I would like to take over the reading job and he gayly handed me the book.I set out to read the first chapter as he requested I remove the shoes instead so he does a good job.Brush brush he brushes away as English boggles my mind.Wished I had a dictionary with me.I ask him what level of education he attained as what am reading is quite complex.

He smiles back at me and says a degree.In what I honestly don’t want to know as am left wide-mouthed.The injustices of our systems and here I would outrightly point a finger at him and say,”If only you studied harder kijana(young man) you wouldn’t be here shining shoes.What am saying is that the places we find ourselves in society does not directly point to our mistakes in life.

So why should a failed system condemn the innocents such as these?

The sun starts scorching and the county askaris have left.At this departure of Spot,the mats and sacks have to be laid out again and second hand clothes re-arranged,the spilled fruits across the road after the raid have to be picked up and washed again before the ladies resume the water spraying action.The guy who delivers water from down the river as we don’t have a proper water and drainage system in place has to go round and collect 20kshs for the gallons of water he delivered early morning.I mean if the system is dirty we can’t all remain dirty so a little cleaning is inevitable and the water guy comes in handy.

What can we say PePa,it gets tougher daily and each day we learn to adapt to the strains that come our way.You never give up hope that Tomorrow,Tomorrow could be a better day.Yes Tomorrow,but Today we live.

We just don’t forget that these streets ain’t loyal and stay woke always.


THESE STREETS AIN’T LOYAL:the sketches and perils of a Nairobi inhabitant.

Quite a day that has been and with the setting of the sun is such welcome joy.I hitch-hike my brother’s canter ride and drop off at the slip into Globe round about.I quite admire his lorry-driving skills and how he manually shifts the gears,something I find quite a hustle in these stress-stricken moments and the dawn of the automatic automobiles.

Well,I hike off and am soon inside my automatic tarmac treader,phone plugged into auxiliary and music sipping through to calm away the sorrows of the day and the 34°c heat that was.My friend Sylvia calls it a total meltdown in literal sense.I concur.

Earlier on though,to the events that lengthened my day and week,let me get back to Monday 25th.They say Mondays come with Sunday blues but mine rose from quite a disoriented one.

Filled with confusion and a determination for closure and discovery(call it self-actualization).

These paths I always dread though in the midst of confusion,heart-ache and excruciating pain,once through which,all resolve wanes into oblivion.Rescue to which is brought by nothing but truth.

Did you know however that with the quest for truth,along comes pain and broken frames with it?They say seek the truth and it shall set you free.Free from what they never said.I hence tell my heart that with truth shall come freedom of peace and maybe expression.

“Expression?Haha,I always thought you was the most vocal person Jay,”asks PePa,O no PePa,vocal and expression ain’t no bed partners you know?

Reason for this episode though isn’t really pursuit for truth but cutting through the chase,truth was found and with it came pain and broken vessels and cartilages of frame.A bleed was evident and still takes route.

Fast forward through to my present Friday evening.I am relieved from the week’s extreme events and pressure now brooding a sweat.A culmination of long phone calls,multiple misunderstandings,extraneous days and unending bills.All topped up with insincerities and disappointments to quip.Phewks!!!

My day is done and with this phone plugged into auxiliary,I recline into my bucket seat.Comfortable to say the least.If it could do the honours the BMW seven series long wheelbase edition does then I would be home and high.Speaking of the BMW 7series,apart from being the ultimate driving machine,this girl’s seats do a total head,torso to thigh massage,haha,almost sounded like thai massage.Hit down on the throttle and the sexy monster will jolt you into the horizon with sheer agility.

This however my companion is no AutoTrader car review so on I go.My soothing classics together with The Afters gospel hits help ease my wary nerves previously crying foul not more than seconds earlier.

A call comes through the speakers interrupting my music.Thank God I have no ringtone as I would have missed this call in my drift.My pressure on the accelerator pedal eases as am resigned to slow down on my onslaught.With thoughts having blazed through the panoramic sunroof,this is an utter pleasant call.

Am just getting started with this call and another persistent one comes through,not once,twice or thrice but up to the count of four and I thus relent and pick it up.

“HALLO,BRO HAKI NAOMBA UNISAIDIE,”deep and almost pleading(bro,am honestly in dire need of your assistance)is the voice on the other end.I find myself at a halt along Limuru Road just across Gigiri’s Dominos.My heart sinks as I hear the voice of plea from mine own blood.

“But bro I told you to drive carefully,”I quip through as I feel a surge of anger,pain and near disappointment rip through my veins and blood cutting through my heart.

“Calm down buddy,calm down,now breath it all in and then out,now let composure take form and please remember it is an accident that needs quick response,it could have been you,”this guardian angel who has helped me so much through my anger management assures me almost charmingly.

I calm down instantly,much to my surprise.With a breath of air as I wind down my windows,I make a few calls.The rage surges up and down again as I am literally pleading with the now wrecked matatu owner so as to come to an amicable agreement.

Did you ever realise that family and close friends are the only people who can almost if not bring you to tears?You care about them so much it only stops when they are okay?

The phone calls end in no reasonable agreement and in less than ten minutes,acceleration,power and speed get me under the globe round about overpass.Seconds later,mama whom we hadn’t quite agreed on phone gets too to the scene.

On my arrival,my brother looks like he is literally grasping onto salvation and is pleading with his eyes.I sweep over him with my eyes and ask if he is okay and not hurt anywhere.First thing he says is,”Am sorry bro,it was an accident.”I tell him to calm down and am to be honest so glad he is fine and in awesome shape.

Nothing weakens me more than an honest apology and right now all anger wades off just by the fact that he is okay,unscathed and that only the Walokana sacco matatu is ripped at the back.

I said ripped,right?A rip to which mama retorts,”So is this the rip why you were shouting obscenities and demanding a ransom-like payment?”I hold my tongue in disbelief and request mama to calm down.Something am sure I can’t achieve now as this same management has taken me ages.

Truth is they was asking for way too much payment but what do you do when all odds are against you but be calm?Not that any of us had that kind of payment anyway but it had to be found and please don’t ask why am not even thinking insurance right now.Truth is that my brother was at fault.Not that being at fault is evil in any essence but when dealing with hungry matatu(local transport co-operations)touts and their owners thereof,a simple fault could easily escalate to a murder-like situation around here,add to it the current economic pang and relapse and it could be an actual case of murder or robbery with violence your honour.

My pockets are bleeding but worse though is the lack of apathy in society and in these touts thereof.I once thought that the same kindness and sanity I so treated people with when at fault with me was the same I would receive in a same like situation but O PePa,not in this world,and especially not in this city under the sun I suppose as am met with a head-banging rude shock.(Either you pay the said amount or the cars go to the Central police)

A famous singer once sang,“Tenda wema nenda zako wee,usisahau Mungu anakuona,”(do good and go on your way and don’t forget that God is watching).It made sense right now.

Now this evening I learn two things,anger management and that these streets ain’t loyal.I,after loads of contemplation,settle the demanded amount and I must admit the relief on my brother’s eyes was worth more than I could ever ask for.He swallows painfully but with total gratitude words can’t form.I allow him to drive on as he assures me total carefulness.Mama leaves and so do the relentless touts.

Am left shaking my head as I look to the skies,dark and un-assuring.PePa looks on and I sigh deeply in retrospect.I whisper to the higher being and tell him he knows better.

These streets ain’t loyal and these are the perils of a Nairobi inhabitant.City under the sun.