Another random walk. Another blank page.
Clean and fed now, it all seems like a blur, becoming clearer as the words flow out 😉
Unlike last time, today was driven purely by the spirit of adventure. I was minding my own business (read surfing over 15 tabs at more or less the same time) when my friend Bill came to visit. All men know that after two males explore the topics of women, booze, sex (different from women, in a way) and money (genre includes cars and all that it can buy), what follows is the weird silence. Where ladies would normally fill it up with conversations of their boyfriends, hairdresser, or a good shoe she saw at Jade Collections, we men are not inclined to do the same. It is the spirit of the Bro Code 😉
So after roughly fifteen minutes of conversation, with all topics explored beyond all points of available research at the time, Bill and I decided to take a walk. It was meant to be random, no direction at all, and so it was.
We left, followed Thika Road for sometime, which I must say is turning up to be quite something (although I still think the foot bridges are overdue, I saw someone narrowly miss getting hit by a speeding car yesterday), and walked leisurely. First stop, a furniture store where I saw this nice sofa bed(huh?), nice ended when the lady outside told me it is worth 40K. You know that feeling you get when something turns up to be too expensive to be beautiful? Yup, that kind..
Where was I?
At the Kahawa Sukari (which always sounds like a different way of saying chips funga) turn, the idea to enter Cyber Inn (the CRAPIEST name ever given to a club) and find out how good their nyama choma is, but it remained just that, an idea. Then there is the place where Pause Club (which I always thought was ‘Paws’) used to be, that little deformed club that was actually just one triangle tent at the end of the petrol station?
Into Kahawa Sukari, and the journey began…
If you have ever been at the Kahawa Sukari shopping Centre, then you know that as a visitor, there is not much to see except a few shops, clubs and such shenanigans. For the keen eye though, the economy of that little shopping centre seems to be built on something else that is not visible, at first. That’s when you notice the posh cars following the road…and what used to be a big barrier for getting into the estate. Now, when you look at it from the road, it seems like a small estate, I have only been there once before, a few months before I joined campus, and I kind of got lost…but that’s an embarrassing story only my journal knows ;)..
Two packs of sugarcane worth 10 bob each and the journey began…we just walked in as if we know the place, followed the tarmac road. Proboxes and its cousins the Succeed and other ugly but still practical cars were in plenty, I think I almost got hit thrice because I thought they were leaner than they seemed, like we could both fit on the road.
Kahawa Sukari is a posh estate, posh in the sense that you can see the well-manicured lawns and the effort placed on making the outside of the houses fit in. There are small shopping centers, a lot of quiet and peace after you have left the business of the highway. Bill asked me a funny question, it was funny to me because I was thinking it too, ‘how comes I do not know a single person who lives here?’. It is not like I would have dropped in or anything, but none of us knows anyone, at all, or has ever known anyone, who lives in this Sukari place. It is an upper middle class, mildly rich place, the kind of place you move to after several promotions, with or without quotes. It gives you a sense of what the gated communities such as Tatu City will look like when and if the court battles and greed ever end.
We stalked a girl for a while, okay, I just said that to sound creepy, we did not stalk her, she just happened to be headed the same way, and she kept looking behind like we were rapists at 3 PM (very few freaks have those kind of balls missus). Anyway, it is a boring place, there is little to see except big houses built on one of the few tracts of land that the Kenyatta family has sold. There were huge gates, monstrous houses, too much effort on the outside appearance, except for one guy who had what seemed like the empty crates side of EABL and KWAL combined on his balcony…trophies?
So we kept walking…
An hour later, we came to what we had been looking for, the end of the tarmac road. For the seasoned adventurer, this is where the learning begins. But it had already begun a few meters before…At the end of the tarmac is an academy whose name escapes me. It looks posh-ish, not exaggerated, but you can tell that only a good payslip can afford it. Next to it, next like sharing an electric fence (‘sharing’ in that one side erected it and the other has to live with it) is a public primary school with dilapidated buildings, and children with torn uniform. My camera was working, but I could not bring myself to take a photo of the school sign erected a few meters in. There is no gate, no fence except the one that divides them from Kahawa Sukari. It is Irony at its crudest…
Anyway, where was I? The end of the tarmac…yes…
And the snaking earth road where we had to hop into the tall grass to escape the dust from passing trucks and Proboxes (this things are everywhere!). 200 meters and we found the stage where those tiny matatus (if you can call them that) behind Engen dock, were in Mwihoko.
Mwihoko means hope in Kikuyu, and its on the other side of the valley from Kahawa Sukari. Its situational irony, or the person who named it wanted to pass a message. There is little to see in this place, the dilapidated houses, the new apartments, the dust, the clay soil…When you look behind you, the beautiful houses from where we just were in this journey. This are the unofficial servant quarters of the Sukari side, I presume. This is where the gardeners, house helps, drivers, watchmen, out-of-town thugs, come from. It has little to show except for open fields, and in the horizon, the Eastern Bypass. I actually saw a plane take off from afar, then when I was going to show it to Bill, it was not there anymore. I am sure I saw one, at least I was at the time…
Yes, Mwihoko was not the end, we just walked into the town, getting dusty in the process, with the early evening sun doing what it does best. The valley stretches for miles and miles, with little civilization in the dry river between the two humanities. It is a weird balance, yet it shows the perils of capitalism, the way some have and some do not, and in most cases, it is a fault of neither. So whom do you blame for such an imbalance?
We just followed the road, staring at the little children with running noses outside their houses as we passed. Mwihoko is not a slum, at least not in the context of dilapidated houses. Actually, after a few turns you can see nice houses, and fenced plots of land. There are no paper houses, at least in the parts I saw, and there is breathing space. Some houses are so good that they seem lost on this side of the valley, but somehow, they seem to fit in…
SO we walked on…
Then we got to what looked like an open field, it was not a field, it’s a huge tract of undeveloped land which am suspecting belongs to that family from Gatundu. Its an expansive tract of land, I think it took us about half an hour to cross it, and on the way we saw a couple of teenagers making out, that, or they were miming at each other, cows in abundance, and a lot of excrement. I cannot say here whether it was all animal or not, but I bet there is something from intelligible life from other life forms there.
At some point I thought we would emerge somewhere in Mwiki, or the backside of Kasarani (which sounds so wrong), but when we got to the civilization we had been seeing all along, I knew where we were, Kimbo, where I was in my other random walk! Phew! For finding, we had not gone so far, and darn! For the dust attack we were just about to endure…and endure we did. We walked all the way back, sometimes walking for hundreds of meters without saying a word. There was little to see, at least for me, until the turn where we could escape the dusty road and head back to Wendani, but there were more than three weddings. I am not one to show concern for such ceremonies, but the dust…I guess someone will have to take a very long shower before those honeymoon perks can be viable.
- Then there was a road (thats Bill on the left)
And there was litter of cute dogs, cute, until their mother growled from underneath them when I went too close. I guess today’s walk was somehere between 12-17 kilometers, which is not the longest I have done in the name of randomness, but it ranks as one of the most random. Bill said he got three coats of dust from the changes from tarmac, clay soil, weird looking dusty murram, and the dusty soil whose name I did not care to even guess. That, and that the Nakumatt attendant almost held her nose when I walked up to her.
So, where to next?