A cup of tea along the highway

I was in Turbo today which is roughly 34 kilometres from Eldoret town, and was making my way to Kipkaren- which is ideally 50 Kilometres.

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So, there I was looking outside the window counting the endless acres of maize farms and wondering just how vast Uasin Gishu county is when we came to the junction of Eldoret and Kitale famously known as Maili-tisa (9 miles).

This is your simple hotel by the roadside, some place you walk in and get a hot cup of tea, or some warm food before you hit the road. It has no menu just a waitress who is glad you stopped by and immediately sets a cup before you and serves you hot milk tea!

Now, before you say hello, she starts by reciting the menu and then asks “Utatumia nini?”

Woe unto you if you say, “Dakika tano nifikirie” because that’s what I said…and before I could sip the tea before me, the team I was with were already washing their hands and digging into their ugali and beef stew!

I tried to get a better shot, but when you carry a compact DSLR chances are people would be drawn to what’s in your hands, and just when I thought I’d gotten a great shot…this tanker just pulled to a stop blocking more of the hotels, but you won’t miss them.

They look something awesome as this:

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And when you drive towards Kipkaren, some 10 or so kilometres, you’ll get to see the Baraka Farm Shop where you can get some milk, and cheese sandwiches if you are into your dairy products 🙂

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Stories from the field

It’s been a while. I’m talking about being on the road and seeing how crazy Kenyans are.

So, yesterday I was in Seme, Google says it takes 39 minutes to Namba Kosea (the red icon) but hey, I was in a matatu and the number of stops made were more than the commas I have used in this paragraph.

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So, we get there, visit the Chief and then have a chat with the Assistant Chief on the challenges they are facing in that community and I’m busy taking notes. See, the Assistant Chief rents office space at the local market center and she’s right beside a posho mill, so every time she says something noteworthy I hear this vru-du-du-du….vru-vru-du-du right in my ear.

When we’re done, I ask about any local food joint because I am both thirsty and hungry and the kids running around sucking on ice jwala are not of any help! We are taken to this small clean mud house and we sit on benches and a tall lady comes to us. Her hair is sticking out on corners that shouldn’t be known to mankind, but I am drawn to the lesso wrapped around her waist, it’s jungle green with bold flower patterns. I ask her what’s for lunch and she says “chapat go’ganda, chai maliet, kuon gi sukuma, kuon g’omena hao hao.”

We all ask for ugali and omena and she serves us this:

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Fresh omena, deep fried and it tastes like nothing heaven has ever served up…or that could probably be, because we were so hungry I nearly told the man next to the Assistant Chief’s office to stop powering up his posho mill! And as I was eating, my mind kept going back to soda. A cold sugar-filled drink to wash down the omena and I asked the lady if they had Fanta Passion. She looked at me and asked, “mano to mane?”

Seriously, haven’t they heard of or better yet had a sip of Fanta Passion? I simply shook my head and said it’s okay, I’ll take some of her water to drink if she didn’t mind. Now, Coca-Cola Bottlers had better increase the supply of Fanta Passion, because the people around me need to have a sip and bottles of this awesome drink!

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As we were leaving the area we had visited, a lot of things were going through my mind, most of them revolving writing and as you have probably read so much about- my next book. I thought of writing about my experiences on the road and it felt so good to have such a burst of ideas and energy that by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to even look at a writing pad or pick up a pen!

Have a great day and here’s to writing!

Swing low

You came up to me today.

Black shirt, black Nike shoes, a grey back pack and you slowed down…a little screech offsetting the rhythm of my feet. It could have been the whiff of your cologne, or just the way the hair on the back of my neck stood, but you were there, staring at me.

“Sasa,” you said.

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Your feet maintained their steady pace on the pedals, and your hands gripped the brakes but your eyes were on me. Black.

I wonder why I always assumed they were brown.

“Poa sana, ndiyo kuingia kazi.”

“Hapo fiti sana, si I’ll see you around, acha nifike.”

“Okay, have a good day.”

“It already is, bye.”

“Bye.”

 

 

Like thunder

Michael.

He is the embodiment of all that is strong, swift and calm. A little bit cunning, a little bit wanting but never lacking.

Scratch that, I can do better!

If I told you about a storm, the kind that ruffled the clouds, shook the earth, scattered the dust and misdirected the wind, you’d say I was exaggerating. 

You would look at me, shake your head and walk away as though I was the plague coming to strike you in your house, but that’s the situation with Michael.
Love. Lust. Desire. Ambition.

A relationship that does not require a status because “it’s complicated” is cliché. He hails from the estate down this long winding road, a voice rich with promises and a face filled with dreams, my dreams. 

So, here I am typing away, confiding in a friend, about this dream of mine, and when I go to bed, I ask myself, “why is he always wearing that black jacket?”

For a while now

The art of spinning a tale has eluded me for a while now. Like smoke off a cigarette butt, it is caressed by the wind and vanishes unaware of my sorrows.  I thought about it at 4am sitting on the cold cement floor in my bedroom, one leg stretched out to accept the cold and the other folded as though being introduced to the cold. I think at 4am, often write at 2am and clean the house from 6:30am when nothing but cold water reminds me of chores that are to come.
What usually starts with a word, a feeling and ends in a composition has left me thinking of what should not happen.

These thoughts keep me company as I take strong tea, brush up my hair and tie it in a bun and leave for work. I plug in my earphones and click on ‘No longer slaves’ by Jonathan and Melissa Hessler. I walk to work, slowly making my way past Uzima University (they have a new bus and students whose attention is always on the road and not their destination), Frank’s place– he makes the best chips and has chilli sauce for days. I walk past the Carpenter’s shop at Robert Ouko who walks into his shop every time he sees me approaching, mistaking me for my sister, he never fixed the drawers she had paid him to, in September 2014.
My feet advance me towards the Le Savanna Junction, where motorcyclists speed past you’d think the traffic police were right behind them, by this time the song I am listening to is almost ending.

So, I slow down and watch the vehicles speed past me, children rush past me to school and I take in the stench of the latrines of St. Mary’s Kibuye Girls. At this time, I am tempted to start dancing as Usher’s song, ‘No Limit’ starts playing and then I realize that I don’t got that same master p he’s talking about, but even as I smile and laugh, the people walking past me think I am crazy. They would not know the joy of listening to lyrics and not the beats of a song.

I walk on past Mountain View estate, four tuk tuks are parked, and the drivers in their seats ready to take passengers.
I make my way to the coca cola shop across the road, buy two sachets of Nescafe, hand the man twelve shillings- careful not to brush his fingers, he has yellow fingers- the kind Magda calls tinted fingers. He smiles, ‘have a good day today.’ I nod and walk past the woman who sells tea and hot mandazi to the boda boda guys every morning. She has a purple head wrap today. I love the yellow one, it’s the epitome of fresh sunflowers.

By this time, my playlist has reverted to either some Daughtry or what I always call mellow music. It gets me reflecting on my life and why I work every day. Who names their playlist ‘Sober?’ Seriously!

I cross the road, look at how much dust my feet have gathered and this time Justin Bieber‘s Sorry is playing and I am tempted to start twisting my ankles and swinging my hands in the air, but the office is only two minutes away, besides, I walk past The Neurosciences Center, I cannot unleash my crazy right there. So, I keep my cool and let my soul do the dancing.

And as I reach out to push the gate open, Kings Of Leon comes on and I suddenly wonder why I tap the shuffle icon on my playlist because clearly Sex on Fire is my jam and now I am officially under the complete scrutiny of the HR department and cannot wiggle, now do you understand why the art of spinning a tale has eluded me?