About Loss

About Loss.

What is Loss to you?

Ever lost something precious or valuable in your life?

In January 2003, I lost my best friend, then in high school, Form 3. His death pierced my teenage heart like a poisoned arrow would.

He was a brilliant kid. Would have grown to be a great debater, contrarian and supremely knowledgeable. But with a pre-existing condition, in one of our deeper conversations, unlikely for children, he told me, he would never live long enough to enjoy life. However, his death barely three weeks into opening school in 2003 made me so sad, and I had to lie(a long with my homsie) to our deputy principal (bless his soul) that he was our cousin to go witness his burial. And seeing him in that coffin was extremely educative of the cruelty of death and loss.

Later that evening in school, I wrote a song, a tribute to him. The song was straight from my heart. Four stanzas, and would have sounded something close to Peter Cetera’s Glory of Love.

Back then, I used to nurse dreams of being a musician, and while my vocal range proved to be scarily annoying, my song writing skills were quite good and I recently checked the book I wrote a dozen R&B songs, and I commended myself. They are actually pretty good and standard.

Back to the song about my departed friend. For the longest time, I moved around with the book that had the lyrics. It was always with me. Stayed with me. From Kisii, to Koru, to Fort Ternan to Kisumu, to Kericho, to Nairobi and everywhere I went. But somewhere down the line I lost the book or the piece of paper with the lyrics. And try as I can other than the opening lines, I can’t remember the song I wrote down.

Of all my big losses of life, discounting the deaths, those lyrics still haunt me. However long it took me, I still believed that one day at the very least I will produce the song. And now that I have means to do so, I can’t replicate the lyrics and it constantly hurts me.

Everyday.

This morning I reflect on the things we lose in life. Your phone. Your laptop. Your dress. Your sunglasses. Your music collection. Sometimes it is your favourite boxer or panty that you forget in a far away hotel.

Or a valuable friend that you grow apart without noticing to a point they fall off the map.

Loss punctuates life. When I went to States five years ago, I picked the best books in my library. And what a collection that was. It was the best of classics. I remember this African American cop who searched my bag at the JFK airport and wondered why I carried so many books and gave me this condescending lecture that I will write about one day.

When I left the States, I couldn’t carry the books with me because Swiss Air flight I used had like a 2KG weight limit. I left that collection plus some of the best books I bought in New York’s Inama Bookshops and with hopes that maybe I will be able to ship them home or go back for them. Long story short, nothing of the sort happened and I have mourned that loss every day. Kemunto Nyakundi superb Facebook bookshop has nothing on that library I left in States. They were at least 500 books.

How do you deal with a loss. I saw a joke somewhere that a heartbreak can make you wash one leaf of spinach for one hour. There are moments where whiskey can help numb certain pains and losses. Some we leave to time. Time is an inadequate answering machine, but it tries.

Personally, having lost some of the most precious people in my life at a young life, sort of cushions me when dealing with loss, because there can never a bigger loss.
That doesn’t make losing any less painful, though. If anything it can aggravate it with the usual, ‘why me always’. Like when this boda boda guy sped with my phone in Kampala when I went there for a break. Thirty minutes into my arrival, I was phoneless.

But how I deal with loss is to remind myself, in life, everything is fleeting. Whereas somethings are irreplaceable, and some losses more damaging, the realization that it is futile to cry over spilt milk can be cartharthic. Sometimes it is hope. That you will meet your departed friend. Or the abiding faith in their memory. Often it keeps me going.

Also, every day I realise the futility of life. Like the things that trouble us the most, when we scrutinize them further, we realise, they hardly matter.

My most recent loss was 7,000 word manuscript, part of my novel that is due out later in the month. Try as I could to retrieve it, I could not. And you can never rewrite something with the perfection of the original inspired flow.

I was besides myself with grief, but I had to dust up myself and go back and write.

What have you ever lost, that was hard to deal with and how did you come to terms with the loss? Or deal with it…Or how do you deal with loss? Let’s talk.

The Illusion of Freedom

Do you think in this world you are free? I have noticed most people with a university degree have this pervasive and persistent belief that they are free.

Free to choose, free to think, free to do.

The biggest and worst lie in the world is that we are all born free and our only responsibility is to seek happiness and material prosperity. Nearly 99 percent of the people in the world know that happiness is a mirage.

Of course, life offers you pockets of happiness. That affair you have when your husband offends you and you get away with it. Especially when you come back home and find him sitting like a toad in the living room, trying to order you around. It can be the first sip of a devilishly cold, crisp beer on a hot Tuesday afternoon, after receiving some good payment you have been waiting for some time. It can be the shocking beauty and sweetness of ice cream when you have craved it for some time. You know.

But these pockets are always invaded by pockets of sadness.

You knock your small toe against the side of the bed. You lose a sad one. You pay Sh 50 for avocado, only to discover it is rotten, on unripe. A matatu drive knocks your car. Someone adds you to yet, another pointless WhatsApp group. Your neighbour plays bad music and insists on high volume. On any given day, there are petty peeves that drive you over the edge.

You are free to choose how to react to them, but some always overwhelm you, and often you don’t have many choices as you often imagine. Frequently, you have to endure: Traffic, a bad relationship, bad sex, bad food, bad friendships, bad books, bad movies, bad relatives, a boil in the wrong crevice of your body. Or a hangover you knew you were going to have when you bought another round of cheap whiskey to top up the better whisky you were having.

The educated are the most foolish. Being knowledgeable does not translate to any discernible intelligence or wisdom. I know bus drivers who make better choices than a rich woman with a masters. I know a mama mboga who has a more organised life than a university professor.

By education I mean some university degree or Masters, or heck even a PhD and some liberal pretensions. I used to think that education serves to remind us how monotonous and mundane life is or can be. Or remind us that you can’t have it all, but I meet adults with misplaced expectations and a total lack of awareness of their surroundings and circumstances. Women especially. Education serves to enslave them, than it liberates them. Because, firstly, educations limits their choices badly.

So here is a reminder. You are not free. However much you want to be independent, you don’t have the money to support your independence, because independence is money. You can’t be independent if you still live at home. Mum still wants you to wash those dishes, and maybe you can’t leave the lights on until morning as you watch some trashy series. You will find that you are beholden to people who support you in whatever ways.

For men with this illusion, what I have noticed is that they expect everything will go their way. They get shocked that despite driving a top-of-the-range car, some woman will reject him because he is full of it. Or when men he considers beneath him don’t show up for his whiskey.

In a sense we are all trapped. Life is a big trap. There are external and internal traps. You are trapped with that bad spouse and those who say, can’t you walk away, it is not as easy as you think. Just because you did, not everyone has the emotional strength and the resources to do so. Also circumstances differ.

You are trapped with that bad body shape. Maybe you can work out and beat it to shape. But gathering mental resources to work out or resist that juicy goat rib is now a walk in a park.

Everywhere and every day, life reminds you that you are not free. You are not in charge of your fate. Of course, you can be a misanthrope and live as if you want to fulfill all the vices in your head and there those with the capacity to do this. But they are also trapped in their addictions. Of course, you can firmly control your destiny, but you soon realize it comes at such a heavy price.

So, do you give up? No. Being painfully aware of the limited choices you have, is the ultimate freedom to choose what angers you, what works for you and what you can work with.

With that, you can control to what level will your spouse annoy you, to what level can your family interfere with your affairs, to what level can a colleague get on your nerves.

Most people who don’t know how to manage these are the most frustrated in life. Because they think you can dictate life how you want. If there is anything Corona has reminded us, we are beholden to something other. Government, our jobs, spouses, children, responsibilities.

Let’s Honour Ken Walibora: And Every Hero Alive

Kenya has had her fair share of intellectual giants. From sciences to arts.

Kenyans have played critical roles at a global stage but there contributions are never felt at home. Abroad, their contributions are either minimised or erased for the you-know-who to take credit and at home they are spurned altogether.

In Kenya, the government and the citizens have a complicated relationship with some of our best brains. Often, we are ignorant, indifferent or sickly apathetic.

But even when we know, like in biblical times, we never honour our prophets. At least, not in good time.

From Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Calestous Juma, to Binyavanga Wainaina to Wangari Maathai, Odero Jowi, Ali Mazrui, we rarely appreciate them enough to erect a monument, or to tap into their ideas in good time.

When they die, of course our leaders will shamelessly cobble up some empty platitudes, and the media will give them a platform to ‘mourn’ them. If their profile is big enough, some fake ass state sponsorship towards their funeral will be granted and some boring CS will be sent by the powers-that-be with a soporific speech and that will be it.

In the meantime, our sons and daughters are giving their brains away, in Europe and North America but they can’t get even a semester to teach and engage with students locally because, maybe, they don’t have a Ph.D according to some rules set by CUE.

Why don’t we love our best brains?

The number one culprit is ethnicity.
We keep asking ‘where are experts for ABCD?’.
Guys, I have news for you. You may think that our universities are useless, but Maina, let me tell you, I went to a Kenyan University. They are not perfect and while there, I met some of the most brilliant minds with groundbreaking research and expertise in their resume.

The first problem you face as an expert in the country when the a certain ministry needs some expertise, often, they don’t go for the best. If the minister comes from a certain tribe, he will look for a professor of his tribe, however mediocre (given some buy papers) and give him(mostly him) the job. Or an old colleague. In short, there is no meritocracy.

Ethnicity affects promotions, career growth and everything in between. Most bosses in colleges are professional gate keepers.

Secondly, most lecturers are frustrated. There is no room for career growth, and the last six years with Jubilee in power have been wasteful. Extremely. Underfunded(you will laugh if you checked the amounts university allocate for research), underpaid, frustrated, humiliated, most lecturers have no reason to be patriotic.

Thirdly, the state, i.e the government has always had an uneasy relationship with our teachers. No respect whatsoever. Because our politics attract the Waititus and the Sonkos of this world, you can see why they always have extreme contempt towards higher education. If a university wants a favour from the government, they have to grovel, come up with some fishy honorary degree in order to get some funding so as to put the name of the giver in some ugly building, built like a block in a provincial high school.

Since Moi started this contempt towards lecturers, it has never stopped. Partly because, some lecturers(probably out of hunger) became rent seekers. I can’t begrudge them. It is not uncommon to see a university professor( real professor) argue with so much idiocy to support his political benefactor. Rent seeking. That is why some are humiliated. I once saw Prof. Mbithi the former VC of UoN at State House with Kamba elders and I cried the whole day.

I can go on.

But the first point is what frustrates me. Ethnicity is the worst and hardest cancer to fix.

Ethnicity demands that for one to be appreciated, he or she had to be 100 percent perfect. If I say, the University of Nairobi need to rename one of its theatres to Ngugi wa Thiong’o, there will be a million arguments, mostlyfrom envious folk arguing why it is not a good idea.

It is safe to say that if Lupita Nyong’o was an actor in a local program, maybe she may never have won anything worthwhile locally… And if she did, it would have been politicised.

We honoured Wangari Maathai with insults and slurs until the Nobel Committee threw her some morsel back in the day.

You know where this is headed.

Yesterday’s we learnt about the death of our foremost Swahili novelist. What a prodigy! I can’t stress enough the impact Siku Njema had on a generation. And that is how literature should be. Enjoyable.

Ken Walibora was a local hero. Born here and educated here in Kenya. And at the age 33-35, he penned the greatest Swahili novel of recent times.

I doubt if he ever won a Presidential medal. Dennis Itumbi has one. Githeri man has another.

Walibora was the foremost defender of the Swahili language, which is a worthy cause. He was probably the most celebrated living author, which is ironic because he wrote in Swahili, a language that frankly we don’t give a damn about.

One last thing. I have noticed that public universities have in recent times closed doors to outside voices. Last time I tried to have Literature Symposium at two public universities it proved a bureaucratic nightmare.

But private universities are doing well and lately home of the better debates from outsiders. From USIU, to Daystar to Riara, that is where all the action is taking place.

I really hope, public universities can open doors to talent, loosen their unnecessarily strident rules and let great minds to teach. This fear of radicals, gay intellectuals, feminists and ‘out-of-the-box thinkers is robbing students great talent and that is why we may end up with young men who don’t question things.

Dr. Walibora was a colleague at Riara University and I hope the University can honour him with a befitting monument.

Why Arranged Marriages succeed and “Love Marriages Don’t

Is there such a thing as a soul mate? If you watch too many movies or read so many trushy novels, you may believe in this.

It is one of the biggest frustrations of millennial women, because they grew up believing in knights and such BS.

Very few people are perfect in line with our expectations. The reason we all have to compromise on several fronts.

Scientists have discovered, on average you have to date 100 people in order to find someone who matches your expectations.

Now, realistically, how many people can date or sleep with 100 people? I know a few exceptions. But most of us, the numbers are quite average. Now scientists say, you can get your match from the square root of 100, which is 10.

Now, you are to go on date with the ten and find one who rocks your world, according to this wonderful book that I am reading (the book is a self-help, and it is not a relationship book, but hang in here).

But even so, you can’t go about dating in a mathematical approach, so most of us use feelings. And feelings are as unreliable as your Jubilee government.

It is one of the biggest frustrations of millennial women because they grew up believing in knights and such BS. sand. That is 0.0001 percent.

Yet women still search for that elusive man who will be kind, perfect, thoughtful, forgiving, who showers them with kindness and gifts and never forgetting to take out the waste bucket.

Study by Andrea Lockhart shows that people who expect a fairy tale relationship experience a lot more disappointments than those who don’t.

The reason why fairy tale marriages fail is that people assume that once you have married ‘THE ONE’, you don’t have any work to do. Yet relationships, just like your dream job, need a lot of work. That is why divorce is prevalent in the West and increasingly so in Africa, especially in the urban set-up.

Now, here is another strange fact: Arranged marriages tend to be successful than fairy tale marriages. (I need to verify this from India and Pakistan where this is the norm, but certainly divorce rates in America and Europe are likely to be higher).

Earlier on, ‘Love marriages”/Fairy tale” are happier than arranged marriage, scoring 70 out of 91 on an academic love scale, compared to 58 out of 91 for arranged marriages. But later, something happens. A decade later, arranged marriages score 68, and love marriages score 40 and below.

The explanation is simple, for an arranged marriage, you are dealing with the reality from the word go, and you have to work to make it work.
“You are not saying ‘we are soulmates!” and then becoming disappointed when the universe doesn’t hand you wedded bliss on a silver platter. You are saying “I am handcuffed to a stranger and I need to make this work.” And so, with time, you often do, and as anyone who has ever been married will tell you, it takes work,” writes Eric Barker.

So, don’t beat yourself too hard if you move in with a man you don’t love because you had unprotected sex and you got pregnant. Whether it is economic convenience and whatever reason. When you look around, nobody really married their crush. Only one in like a thousand get lucky and even so, their marriage is not a garden of wedded bliss.

PS: Gram Media is looking for humorous story tellers. See poster below for details.

We need well trained ambassadors, not political deadweights and Unqualified Relatives of the Elite

Other countries when they send ambassadors to Kenya, they usually go for highly competent people. Because ambassadors often double up as intelligence officers. Their espionage is more than gathering political gossip and the sexual tastes of the leaders of the country they serve in.

Most of the time, they are cutting deals for their countries, looking for new opportunities to expand their country’s business responsibilities. You have probably looked up when being driven through some leafy suburb and saw an embassy of some country like Kazakhstan and you wondered what possible ties could we be having with them, for crying out loud. But maybe you have never checked to know where the rice or wheat you consume comes from.

For us, most of our ambassadors are mostly political deadweights, relatives of the ruling elite, loyal civil servants from various departments like the military and parastatals whose time to be sacked or retire has reached, or they have to be shoved aside from that key parastatal or military position to pave way for someone under them from the right tribe or with proper connections to take over. And of course, there are a few good ones.

Where other countries ensure that the ambassador is qualified academically or in terms of experience, for us, academic qualifications don’t matter at all.

For instance, when sending someone to France to be our ambassador, as a prerequisite, one should speak French and understand a bit of French history and their way of thinking. As well as other countries that we don’t have a shared heritage.
I don’t know Sarah Serem’s qualifications that earned her the job in China, one country that we ought to send our very best to if it matters. I know she did well at the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). She is a good Adventist, but I don’t know anything else.

I know our ambassador to the United States has been an abject failure if you ask Kenyans in the United States. They bungled even the simplest exercise of Huduma Namba, even when some patriotic Kenyans decided to go get registered.
When ambassadors from the West go back, often they write books and those books are very insightful. I don’t remember any Kenyan ambassador who wrote an instructive book that can even be used in a university for diplomatic studies.
I think as Africa, we like a lazy approach. We like giving people free rides to go and have a good time in these foreign countries. Do we even have a way of appraising the work of ambassadors? Do we have objectives in the countries where we have foreign missions? Do we work hard towards those objectives?

Yet, we have some of the most brilliant brains anywhere in the world. Too bad some of the brains don’t have a good enough last name, and most of the time, they spend languishing in some third-rate university, fighting departmental politics, because that is what they have been reduced to. Meanwhile, mediocre windbags are elevated, and before you know it they are representing Kenya in a very strategic country when they don’t even know the country they are representing well.
Over the years as a journalist, I had the privilege of working with some Ambassadors, mostly from Europe and Maina, let me tell you, those guys often earn their keep. I have seen how they nearly come to tears when they run into our bureaucracy (spelled as corruption), and how they do their best to beat it.
I don’t what our ambassadors often do. Except that when there are Kenyans being attacked in South Africa anytime the xenophobic attacks erupt, the last person you will expect to see on TV to tell us what proactive measures they have taken to safeguard the lives of Kenyans is our ambassador down there. Neither do we see our embassies acting fast anytime they need to help a stranded Kenya. Often, the media and Kenyans abroad must shame to do it.

Kenyan government always has a disdainful relationship with Kenyans in the diaspora. And for a reason. 99 percent of Kenyans abroad went there purely out of their personal effort. Through scholarships, escaping, jobs and what have you. But there is no Kenyan abroad who will tell you that he or she went there because of some government help or intervention. Even scholarships given to the Ministry of Education are probably handed to most undeserving relatives and girlfriends of the officials.

Hence, Kenyans abroad are treated badly, but we like their dollars, pounds, dirhams, you name it. Presently, diaspora remittances have overtaken what we used to earn from coffee and tea. They have plugged a huge hole in our national budget, but still, we don’t want to treat them with dignity, for a fraction of what they send.

You guys, you need to read fiction in order to understand the subtleties of ambassadorial stuff. Start with Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor and its sequel, Executive Orders. As well as The Bear and the Dragon. They are huge tomes, in biblical font and the prose can be a bit of dross, but you will pick so many insights into how these things work than you will ever learn in any other movie or classroom.

Lastly, I don’t think, Kenya or Africa should always operate from a ‘woiye woiye’ standpoint. We have a right to be here and standing up to bullies is how we are going to earn our dignity back. The right place to start is always hiring competent people who will know how to navigate the sensitive politics of diplomacy as well as knowing which side of the Kenyan bread is battered.

This is the only way we can balance the trade so that it will now be one-sided. We import virtually everything, but we can’t even export the best Kisii avocadoes, because apparently, they are substandard, in countries where people eat bats and snakes and GMO.

#ManAboutTown1: :KITENGELA-The Dust Capital of the World.

What is freedom to you?

For me, it is living my life knowing that I will never, ever wear a tie again. I have this persistent fear, sometimes a dream, that soon, I will get a job where I have to shave my beard and wear a suit. Makes me sick.

Sometimes it is the days when there is no one at home and you walk around in your boxers, reading a magazine, having ten books open on the table, and watching your series, all at the same time, without the questioning looks from the missus, who wants everything returned to its place.

Or better still, it is Sydney Keari Obachi calling on a random Tuesday afternoon, like he did the other day. Call came exactly at 11.31 a.m. I wanted to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, the read some bit of Nairobi Noir and then write kidogo. All these sounded like hogwash to Sydney who told me, we going to Kitengela and search for the best kienyeji chicken.

I never say NO to food. Also, it is always good visiting Kitengela, the Dust Capital of the world. All the fun in Nairobi has moved there.

There is no greater joy than driving down Mombasa Road, windows rolled down, listening to Franco quarrel in some TP OK song while avoiding a truck driver who wants to climb onto your car as he rushes to some wench pale Mlolongo.

Down the slope, as we approach the Kitengela tunnel, some guy in a Toyota Land Cruiser overtakes us dangerously, while driving at a speed that is only reserved for ambulances. I have come to know that men in such cars and in such a rush are not in a special hurry to go and inspect their greenhouses in Isinya. Probably, some young student they keep in an apartment in showed them some nudes, all shaven and now it is an emergency.

Anyway. Down we go and pick Bantu Kivai from his digs and we arrive in Kitengela at 1 p.m. We have agreed that chicken is rubbish and tasteless. We should stick to red meat like our ancestors.

Bantu instructs us that the best meat will be found at Pavilion. Which is our first stop.

The Pavilion looks like a decent place. Good sports bar and Bantu says it is the best in Nairobi. Indeed they have invested some good screens.

But we are not here for the ball. Now, the guys roasting goat ribs and legs rush to us, like Ongata Rongai matatu touts. Bantu knows the guy who serves him. The meat roasters force-feed us bitings and let me tell you guys, Tuesday maybe the most boring day on earth, but have you ever tasted nyama choma, well dried and salted on a Tuesday afternoon?

But those guys are so badly behaved, they start bad-mouthing the guy we are buying from, in his and our presence.

“nyama yake si mzuri, iko na mafuta mingi,” shouts one, getting so desperate…

“shida yake ni bei…” mutters another short dude.

“That is bad manners. I can buy from him today and buy from you tomorrow, but if that is your attitude, I can’t, you are immature,” Bantu admonished them.

We go in and sit to wait for the fatty meat we have ordered. The good thing with Pavilion, it is an open space, thus airy. the breeze, slaps us well, as we order, what Kibaki used to order when he was a kijana baru baru.

Pavilion have rubbish fridges, or they had not turned on by the time we settle. Being served a lukewarm first White Cap is a sign of bad luck. We complain. And the waiter tells us the fridges have some glitches.

First round done, the meat is brought. It is in two portions. One is scintillating. Another, not so. But boy, I know we are not getting any younger and gout is upon us, but si mafuta ya mbuzi ikichomwa huwa orgasmic sana. The lean sections of the meat, are well dried and on the crunchier side. Nyama choma should be served hot and sizzling.

Another problem with Pavilion and many restaurants I have been to, is their furniture. It is is tasteless. Is there a restaurant that actually has high tables that work? And why do most bars go for extremely uncomfortable chairs? For guys like me who weigh 115kgs, it is always too much work, drinking as you ponder and when next is the chair going to ashame you. Also, those high tables, you have to keep stashing serviettes beneath them in order to balance them or to stop them from shaking. That sucks. The floor surface is always uneven or the tables were just made in such a rush to do a good job.

We go to the lounges. Most lounges are mostly made of synthetic leather but I hate leather on anything that is not a shoe or my man bag. Because sitting on leather on a hot day can roast your balls a good one. Could be why men are firing blanks.

At Pavilion I run into a former high school and campus mate, great lawyer buddy.

Of course, you can’t be in Kitengela, without some middle-aged Maasai man with torn ears trying to sell you their medicine. It is Bantu who spots him first.

“Uko na dawa?” Bantu asks.

“Mingi sana,” the Maasai responds.

“Inatibu nini?”Bantu asks expecting some predictable answer…And the guy laughs.

“Inaosha tumbo, inasafisha dam una hata inasimamisha hiyo kitu ingine…” the Maasai pitches.

“Uko na bibi wangapi?” Bantu asks, cheeky!
“Bibi tatu…”

“Na wote unaeza kazi?”
“Kabisa.”

Bantu: Ngapi? Ngapi?
Maasai Man: Mbili mbili kila mtu, kila usiku!

Uproarious laughter.

Sensing we are wasting his time, he leaves? By the way, do those things work? I ask girls here, do your boyfriends use stuff like Mukombero, or the Maasai medicine to start their engine? You can inbox me, I will keep a secret. My OCD means I will never try that medicine. When I see those vibuyus, all I see diarrhea.

When a Maasai man tries to sell you, liquid Viagra made from mysterious trees, it is time to hit the road. And our next stop was is Club Halcyon, a few metres down the road, at the edge of Kitengela town. The word Halcyon means untroubled or cool and calm.

And Club Halcyon, is presently the best club anywhere in the country, maybe discounting Milan. In terms of their interiors, the guys went an extra mile. First, the furniture. The owners went for sturdier metallic seats (stainless steel), woven with some nice grey fabric. Grey was a theme at my digs for a long time, still is and I love it. Then upstairs there are some really good lounges chairs. The owner also went an extra mile to put a waterfall inside the club. You can be sure the owner cannot be a Njuguna, Mwangi or Wahome or anyone born a radius of 150 kilometres from Mt. Kenya. That waterfall wastes so much space, but aesthetically, it gives the club a coolly aura, a certain magical presence you have not seen anywhere.

Halafu, the place is huge. And last time I was there, the place was so full, and I bumped into special persons.

One thing I noticed about Kitengela clubs, is their toilets. Very clean. Some people rarely pay attention to toilets, but good work for Pavilion and Halcyon.

One for the road, and we on our way back to Nairobi. Except that Bantu says, at the Signature Mall, there is a whiskey library, which we try to check. Nice, intimate place, low music, most of the time, Rumba. We also, down one there, and acknowledge that a Whiskey Library was long overdue. Some two Luo folk enjoying their Glenfiddich, mess with about a quarter of it, and it is returned to be stored, maybe for tomorrow. I pray that one day, we can all have that kind of maturity. Also, smaller, intimate bars are increasingly disappearing, giving way to large, inhuman spaces that pack the whole world.

Then we sped back to Nairobi. All in a day’s work. So much for a boring Tuesday.

To be continued. Next week, Ngong Road.

A Girl and a Bouncer, at 4 a.m.

We had been in the club since 6.30 p.m. It started with the usual two beers with no absolute intention of staying beyond 8 p.m. But 8 p.m. found us with two beers to spare (nobody notices the second round of beers by the way), and just about time, friends joined us, and more rounds were thrown.

Like all accidents in the bar, the devil himself advised that we buy a mzinga at around 10.30 p.m. Finally yielding, to the girls doing a Famous Grouse promotion, we bought the first bottle of the famous bird. We were six of us, now. Six people, four men and two women take an average of 1 hour 47 minutes to down a mzinga. And just like that, a second one was on the table. That means, by 12.30 a.m. guys were sufficiently drunk to dance with strangers.

I always love night outs. Because, there are girls who are willing to dance with strangers. Sometimes with no strings attached. Often with some expectations of a one-night stand, or coffee sometime in the next week, before proceeding with a forgettable tryst.

There were girls. There was a short one, with that ass that leaves men with their mouths open, and since she was in the mood to dance with any man, men did try their shot. All she asked for were shots of Tequila, and she would grind for you, as long as the DJ maintained the trashy Jamaican ragga. She moved around tables. Most people noticed her ass. But for me she had those thick those thick lips that if they kissed you, they will give you an electric shock. Good stuff.

She was wearing an extremely short jeans like those dancers in Hivyo ndio kunaendanga… Her light skin thighs looked edible, with no starch. She is that girl you don’t who she came with. But seemingly alone. And you don’t know on whose bed she will end at night. But in the end, one of your boys, danced with her, and did take her home. And for the next three nights out of drinking the girl was a regular in our table. Before she disappears from it for good.

Later Instagram brought her up as someone I would know. I discovered she is a young single mother of a two-year-old girl. But her body is so fine, not even a single cell betrayed her.

But that is not what caught my attention that night. Around 1.30 a.m. a bunch of four girls came in, and since the guys sitting across our lounge chair had left, the girls naturally moved there. They were in the highest spirits (no pun intended.) There was the plump one, seemingly mother hen, and she looked like what a particularly awful high school principal would look like. Fat girls come in two shapes: the good-hearted ones and the awful, even nasty ones. From the word go, we knew that she was in charge.

The rest of the girls were awesome. In their early 20s, and we later learnt that they go to school in JKUAT, which is a far cry from a time in 2009, that JKUAT had about five girls, all of them too serious for life, to go for a drink. Nowadays I hear, there is no place on earth filled with women, who know how to party, and smoke weed. Anyway.

One of the girls was a slender—almost model-like—, with a face to match. She had a coastal name that I forget. She was wearing a green dress, was approachable but highly reticent. The rest were the usual small (body wise) college girls. They are small but dangerous. You know those dangerous ones? The type that can give you a steamy blow job inside a cab…Yeah, those ones.

From their dancing, their flashing down shots of whisky, it looked like a night that they were down for whatever. Two of them got lucky.  The matron, at some point became subdued, stopped bothering men who wanted to dance with the girls.

At around 4 a.m. the club started emptying out. Soon, there were just us, the earlier group of six and the girls, and the two men who had taken the two girls. The matron was alone. As usual, there was a young man conked out in the corner, about to be robbed his sixth phone in as many months.

I always have some sympathy towards waitresses and bouncers. Because I have been in tables with tenderpreneurs and kids of the rich, who swipe Sh 150,000 in a night out. And I wonder what it like is to be a waitress and see someone drink your two years’ worth of salary in one sitting. I often look at their gaze, when the club is a bit relaxed and they are waiting for their order. It is the worst designation in life, to have people have so much fun, when you are just staring, hoping that the tips will be enough to take a sick child out the following day, and rent is due. I have seen some try to dance, bump a head here, shake some ass, hoping that the seedy and petty manager does not see her.

A while back, while celebrating a birthday of a friend, one of the waitresses, definitely a weed smoker, became overly familiar and every time she was serving us, she took a shot of whisky and at some point, became visibly drunk. I wonder if she kept the job.

And then there are bouncers. Their job is to maintain law and order in a place where chaos can erupt any time. To get tips, they befriend regular revelers, are always polite, can fish a seat for you when the club is full to the toilet seat.

Lately I have observed as the night grows, some openly ask for shots from your table and you have to be a misanthrope not to share with them. I used to wonder what they make of the many girls they see. Do they have feelings like we do? What happens if they saw a nice girl and they wanted to talk to her. Maybe take her to bed. Or marry. Do they have the guts? Do they have the incentive?

Because their job is brawnier, less brainy, they are relegated to a certain zone where we look down upon them. However, I have never been more mistaken. Bouncers probably have better access to premium girls (corporate, rich and all) than I do. Because, women no longer rank stuff like intellect as a must have. Do you have money? Can you lay the pipe? This particular night, the bouncer, a tall and muscular dude, had been standing near our table, naturally because, we seemed as the ones likely to leave the club last.

I went to the loo and when coming back, one of the small girls, extremely hot, extremely delicious, with a body shape that is every man’s erotic desire was throwing herself at the bouncer, who while enjoying every moment was acting all mature.

She danced to him, and the dude, took the grinding in, must have been nice, he nearly cried. As the club was now empty, and the probably petty manager somewhere salivating at the night’s sales, the girl started to make out with the bouncer. Whereas the bouncer seemed to politely decline, the girl was too much for him and at some point, they sat down, and the girl did give him a proper red-light special. It is hard to predict how the night ended. Or if they had a tryst. Because we left.

But that scene has always stayed with me. I have always wondered, what made the girl opt for the bouncer. When coming out, did she intend to make out with the bouncer. Did she expect to be seduced in the club? Did she want to sleep with a stranger?  Is it what she does every time she is drunk?

What I discovered, in the end, we all want human contact. Human touch. Touch is the most incredible sense. And when we are alone, or horny, anyone or anything can do the job and we tend to be less selective.

I would love to know if the girl would pick out on the bouncer if she was sober. Or would she be proud if she dating the bouncer.

I am alive to the fact that sometime, everything is more physical. Not any different from men who date women with big asses but nothing they can talk about in that post-coital relaxation.