My early agency life was filled with a lot of ‘supeshio’ foolishness. Or what my mother would call, JUOGI!
Juogi Kinda Foolishness, is an ultra thick porridge like foolishness brewed in titanium caul- drons, stirred continuously by demons of mischief. To make it very rich and smoothly texturized, they used dandruff from the devil’s head, collected in banned polyethene paper bags, and shaped into squares to look like Royco cubes. It’s a bit spicy, I guess. Coz that foolishness always itched.
Crazy itch like you want to go deep sea fishing in what looks like a lake to you, but it’s a filthy pond. And then you catch toads. And you bring them home, because you are a man, and you throw them to your mother’s or sisters’ feet. And tell them,
‘Cook those. Nimeleta food. Mimi ndio ule msee.’
Because you feel accomplished, you go to the sitting room and put your legs with dry mud and Garissa lodge dust on your mother’s yarned vitambas. All the while her eyes trailing you. Which was far much worse than your sisters trying to make you eat the raw ‘fish’ as they watched.
If my mom was up to it, she would always come knock my feet off her tables with a mwiko and work on my joints. Only the joints. She called it, panel beating. She was always up to it. If you ever received panel beating from my mum, and you were able to walk alright, it wasn’t properly done.
She called the second round of panel beating, Wheel Alignment. Back to agency life…. 2008.
This colleague, Nelly, tells me to go help her get her stuff from her brother’s house. She left them there, and she needs help to carry them. She promised lunch.
We get a mat to Hurlingham and alight at Chaka. We head towards Kamburu Drive into some really nice apartments. But we don’t go to the houses houses.
‘Ni pale.’ She points to a shanty town with three very old tiny wooden cubes lined up on the rusted perimeter wall.
We head there.
First of all, these houses made of wood, and they have a metal door. My mind is trying to figure out why a thief would go through the trouble of going through the door when he can pull out the nails one by one.
Before I can process, she knocks loudly and from nowhere starts shouting.
‘EBU FUNGUA. Nimekujia vitu zangu.’
A still small soprano one voice from the house whispers, ‘Ohooooo, umekuja. Si ndio?’
I am about to tell her, ‘Your brother has a sweet voice’, but the voice interrupts me. He says, ‘Chukua!’ And all I see is a microwave flying from inside the door.
My mouth is very wide open. What is this? Immediately, an iron box flies out, ‘Fiiiyyyuuuuuu…’ and crashes on the floor.
People are now gathered on their balconies and some are out of their doors. Ata caretaker amekuja.
Me: (To Nelly) Nini mbaya na brathako?
Nelly: Nkt. Anakuanga hivyo. Ebu mwambie aache kutupa vitu zangu?
Ati mimi nimwongeleshe? So I call out from outside and ask him to calm down. The guy ask, ‘na wewe ni nani.’ Before I can answer, this chick shouts, ‘MY BOYFRIEND!’
I just heard a loud gasp from the crowd of witnesses in soprano and alto harmonies. I want to ask her, what is going on, yawa? Someone shouted, ‘Huyu ameuwawa leo.’
Before I finish turning to her, kibronje ametoka na side ya hao. Like he took down one of his walls and how he is now outside staring down at me.
Let me just say, I just saw a figure. That guy was big, tall, huge, heavy and gi-mongous. With a faded yellow spaghetti top vest with stripes.
BONGE LA JITU. Plus ni weida. Actually weida watatu. Three-In-One. Na soprano yako imara.
Him: Ati boyfriend. (He has clenched his fists, shaking.) Me: (Shaking my head slowly in denial while interceding with prayers of penitence). Him: Ati boyfriend? Nelly umeniwacha?
Caretaker comes to the rescue. He has a tape measure and a rope. He starts speaking, Caretaker: Hapa kwa hii ploti kukiwa na shida, nataka tukae tuongee ndio…
Kabla amalize Weida ashamwekelea kibare ya mwaka, PPPWWWAAAAA, amenguka akajif- unga funga na hiyo kamba yake huko chini. Nelly huyo ametoka kijiko.
Mama mwingine mswahili Bi Mswafari hapo kwa balcony yake ashasema, ‘Haiyaaaa, nishike kiuno sasa tucheze ngoma.’ I just started crying. You know the undignified African embarrassing crying and wailing, rolling on the floor, kicking around, makamasi and tears combined, and calling your ances- tors to come help you? The crying that marks you have reached the point of no return? The
one you cry in your mother tongue?
Not that one. This was just loud enough for him to hear.
So I tell him as calmly as I can in a whisper, ‘Zii buda. Huyu ni colleague wangu, tunafanya job na yeye and she said she is coming to her brother’s. Mimi ata mambo ya wasichana sitaki na sijawahi taka. Ata ona hizi ID zangu.’
I show him my ‘I Choose Life’ card and the ATM (Abstinence Till Marriage) card K-Krew had been distributing and I was always carrying.
And then he started crying. He tells me, ‘I am sorry. Ebu kuja ndani.’
Me: I am ok standing outside here.
Him: Nimesema kuja ndani.
Me: (What is it again?) Nipitie mlango ama ukuta.
Him: Kama hii ukuta ni yako sawa. If not ingia na mlango. (He used the door he created on the wall).
So I went in. We had tea and bread. He told me he was a bouncer at a Club on Kimathi Street. And then he asked for my advice. We wrote a goodbye letter to Nelly and then he gave me her stuff to take to her. I told him, ‘wacha achukue kwa caretaker.’ He hugged me.
When I was leaving his house, the caretaker was still trying to untangle himself from his rope. Funny enough, when I got to the office on Ole Dume road, I had his tape measure in my pocket.
Any who, someone recently asked me to take them to collect stuff from their boyfriend’s house, and I declined.
Because that chronic Juogi kind of foolishness is troublesome. And I am not about that foolishness anymore.