All posts by owaahh

A man, a pen, a keyboard I mean, bananas, and mugs of coffee. This is a labour of love.

Once more into the fray (Live and Die on this day)

“Once more into the fray

Into the last good fight I’ll ever know…”

 

My penance piety does not suffice

As the fray takes toll upon my mortal

As the dagger slices and dices

The fort crumbles…

 

Hope and pray I be reborn

To dive into the fray one other

To face demons whose fire I stoke

That my soul for peace to have

My heart for ants to feed

Yet death hath become this life I boast

All good fights have come to this

The moment on which I stand

The weapon upon my hand

Broken sheath under my feet

 

On this day I am born

On this day I die

I must hope and pray

That one day I learn to hope and pray

 

Eyes gaze beyond the clouds

For an omen I might see

This fort mine blessing and curse.

 

Immortality it might be

The bright light that cometh my way

Into the last good night I’ll ever see.

 

“…Live and die on this day

Live and Die on this day.”

7 Business You could start in Kenya (Not the Sane Ones)

Its no secret, there are no more formal jobs for any of us who do not have one already, and not enough money for those who do. The number of graduates tarmacking after four years of sex and alcohol (and a few lectures) is worrying so we all need to knock up some ideas that will bring everyone money, not just to live on, but to buy that shoe (for women) or peace (for men) that you have really craved.

Continue reading…

7 Acts of Villainy Made in Kenyan High Schools

High school was a morbid experience. I doubt the kids in high school now have gone through some of the things we went through (as each generation wants to think it more badass than the next, and less than the last). Given that I was in form 1 at around the time bullying was losing its gist and creativity was already on a downfall, this list is most likely incomplete. But that is not to say that legends do not exist…

#7 The Shoe-Ericsson

Definitely one of the classics, and could have been an activity by itself, or part of a master plan of villainy to make your form one life a living hell. It was always about smelly shoe…a shoe so smelly that the reception was kind of decent…

No, those thread-like things are not radio waves

First day of high school, you are excited but apprehensive. Your parents are leaving, and you are standing near the gate waving them goodbye….balancing tears….

Three mean-looking boys walk up to you. You can tell they are senior because their clothes are all torn and they have hardened faces. “

MONO, toa kiatu!” your mum said be obedient, so you remove your right shoe and hold it awkwardly in your hand.

“Pigia wazazi simu uwaambie wasisahau Vizo!”, that was your welcome to high school…..

Red Number calling you

Later in the Evening:

The Tethered Dog

Sometimes, the things you go through at the hands of frustrated or high-on-cheap joints Form Fours make you want to eat yourself.  The  details of the ‘Tethered Dog’ are pretty basic: a senior used a tie or any other rope-y thing to tie you to, say a bed in a crouching position, like a dog….mean, is it not?

Replace the pet with yourself….

Well, that’s not the whole story, once tied, you had to act like a dog, you had to growl and bark at anyone that passed (and piss on a hydrant, but lets not go there). Fun, is it not? Well, that is If you are barking at your peers, but the highest probability is that your peers are tethered too. What about barking at another senior? That is what this one was made for, it was not an end in itself, or a means to an end, and rather, it was the classic start to the trail of destruction

#6 The MIME

This is one of the legends,

It is actually pretty simple…..

First, a senior tells you to close your mouth, then he holds out his clasped hands and tells you to imagine that is your mouth and mimic his movements….see the genius here????

You get the idea

It is pretty easy when it is just opening and closing, but we all know it went further than that, yes. He would twist and turn, and to the onlooker, you looked like you were doing weird facial massages, or the alien in you was trying to get out.

#5 One Week Later…..

“I stroll into dorm 7, just to have kick out of its structure, it’s the first time that I am getting in, and the rumors in class have to be confirmed. And true to their words, it does appear to be a hall with beds flung all over; no partition whatsoever can be seen. Satisfied, I turn to leave. “Jokaaa, okia” I turn and see an upper form (they all looked ugly, bearded and old then (they still do, no?) student gesturing to me. I walk over to add to the number of shaking monos, huddled together.

He asks me what my name is:

“Kimiti”

“Jina moja kama blue?”

“John Kimiti”

“Jina moja kama Blue Band?”

“John Kimiti Kiarie”

“Jina tatu kama Blue Band Choco?”

“ehh!”

*slap* “joka unanijibu vibaya”

*whimpers* “apana’

‘Uliruka mwaka?”

“ehh”

“ebu nioneshe venye uliruka”

“I attempt to jump up”

“Joka unaruka juu ama unaruka mwaka? ebu assume hii box ni mwaka na uruke mwaka”

*I jump over the box* thank God it was a Rabble’s box.

Then he asks us to sing Christmas carols and the loudest one can leave.

I really have no intention of overstaying my visit, and I flick on my singing voice and belt out a few choice notes. He is satisfied and lets me leave. But before I go, his pal, who was sleeping, asks, “nani huyo anawika huku kama mboch vajo?” He hands me a shirt to go wash. Since I don’t stay in that dorm, I just won me a shirt.”

 

“Its a sato, general cleaning is over, a forth former is lazy, does not play any game and cannot stand the heat in the Dh, so he is behind dorm 1, lying on the foamy mattress of a random form one. The sun is too hot, so he sends a form one to get a bed cover and three other guys, they come and miraculously become four posters, holding up the bed cover and shading the douche from the sun for a 30minute siesta before the bell announces the much awaited lunch of lumpy rice and beans. I should know, I was the back right post.”

Dramatisation

#4 The Condoms

I cannot say who went through this; because I believe they are still traumatized and might need therapy after reading it (Plus a few girls they might have kissed might read this and want to die). It was a sunny Saturday afternoon as I made my way back to the dorm. I met my friend, let us call him Phillip (still, any relation to persons alive, deceased or incarcerated is purely intentional!). Phillip was running out of the dorm, with a weird look on his face like he had just tasted the devil’s juices….well, turns out he had…

Inside, a Form 3 bully, a diminutive guy called KaNyamNyam (you do not wanna know) had been busy fiddling with his unused condoms when he thought up the most evil of plans. For interior décor, why not make some balloons for the dorm….to improvise, why not use condoms? And since Form Ones are certified blowers, why not get a host of them to do the dirty….slimy….work?

That’s where my pal Phillip comes in…its exactly as gross as you think it is , blowing a condom until it gets as big as a blown balloon (as opposed to what I do not know yet). That should be pretty easy, yes. Actually no, blowing a condom is hard work, it turns out, plus the tip will always be out on the other end looking all weird….have I mention that the oiliness gets to your mouth? And that as per what my friend went through for the next few days, three to be enact when his stomach was the site of weird grumblings (turns out tapeworms do not fancy protective sex).

In something related, I know someone who once got a whole can of Vaseline (the big one) applied to their naked body from head to toe! This was high school, they were no hot showers to melt it out….it was a cold shower as the drops of water slipped over his very-vaselined body! I don’t know who came up with this sadistic idea but am sure if he is reading this, he can tell how gay it looks now, does it, bully?

3. The Food

This was an isolated event, but it still stands out as one of the greatest acts of villainy ever thought of by a team of idle boys. We all know the idle mind is where Lucifer does his thing, but what if the idle mind has food for twelve people?

Let us start with some background…My high school was run by the law of the jungle in the latter part of my freshman year because the deputy principal had just been transferred. Not that he had been of any help, given that he thrived in chaos, and would yell “You Cccchoooooooullllld be a Man, You Chooooould resist!!!!” if you walked into his office claiming to have been bullied. But still, he brought order and his promotion left a vacuum his acting successor, nicknamed Ali Baba (who was my father’s student, back in the day, story for another day) could not fill.

So Form Fours would take all their food to the dorm and eat like they were in some cozy 0.5 star hotel. Behind Dorm 7 was our makeshift gym, which is just euphemism for a few connected stones of different sizes, and a makeshift bench-press. Two Form ones, let us call them X and Y are feeling very macho and venture into this restricted territory. They have a good session building their six-pack and all, until some Form Fours watching them from inside the dorm ‘pity’ them and offer them food…wait, did I write offer? I meant forced them to eat….get this, they had already had their supper, and before them was food that was meant for……wait for it……wait for it…..12 people!!!

Food for Thought.

To their credit, they cleared the ugali and bad veggies because they were form Ones and were therefore almost always hungry…but it gets better….

Yum Yum…*puke*

Someone offered them a glass of water each….which was good and brotherly….before they offered them another…..and another after that…..and even more! You know that feeling you get when you have fed past satiety? Imagine four glasses of water on top of that…….and a glass of very concentrated juice!

<They lived>

#2 Electrocution

This was the height of torment. Luckily this was a legend when I got to high school but it seems intriguing and the genius of bullying and cheap torment. Now, most schools have what’s called a ‘Lights Out’ (any relation to the series is purely coincidental, no boxing ring). This is mostly during prep times and other times when the school administration will switch off the lights in selected places to discourage truancy. Its sort of like if aliens invaded earth and started farting all over the place except at sea, where we would have to go die rather than die from extra-terrestrial farts (is the image disturbing enough yet?).

Okay, so these timers did not recognize weekends, which meant that even when there were no preps and there should have been lights, they were off. Everyone herded at the entertainment hall until 9.30 p.m, or went to the dorm at the risk of being bullied, raped (story for another day) or kidnapped (still, a story for another day). Now, a small movement of evil geniuses, bored and mad at least, figured out that when most people got to the dorm at 9.30, the first stop was the washrooms before they went for cheap chitty chat , sleep or smoking joints. So, what did our antagonist’s do? In this particular dorm, the meter box had been placed right above the urinal (madness I tell you, madness). So, someone with a wicked sense of humor (who probably likes to be strangled and whipped too) poured salt on the cistern, dipped naked wires into the little pee that’s always left even when the other flows….can you see the genius now??

They/he then changed the timer to 5 minutes and then…..waited….

On the other end of our story is a little Form Boy, make that three little form One Boys. They have been hiding behind the crowd hurdled over the TV at entertainment, watching a soap opera (I should probably claim the time-barred defense of the Bro Code). They run away at exactly 9.20 and head to the dorm, timing it so that they will get there just in time for the lights and just in time to avoid getting bullied. So at 9.25, they get to the dorm door and enter…..wait for it….wait for it….they head to the washrooms because a man must empty his bowels, right?

Now, visualize three boys reaching three boys reaching for their zips. Visualize these three boys, reaching for their privates….can you see them now?

Dramatisation

A naked wire was just minding its own business when some bugger tugged on it and placed it in smelly pee pee.

The pee pee left the bladder alright and headed up the channel, through the pipeline, momentarily heading upwards in a trajectory. It then yielded to gravity and headed down as the boy directed it there….it shot in a jet….right to the top of the naked wires just as the timer hit 9.30 and the lights came back on!

Can you hear the morbid laughter in the background?

Simple physics will tell you that this was essentially the crudest of all booby traps (perhaps exceeded only by marriage and mousetraps)

Suffice to say that if our three form one’s are reading this, they are shivering up and down their spines….I hope that, when you get Erectile Dysfunction at 30, you will direct your wives and fungas to this blog so they can know why…

My personal favorite

#1 The Fraud of Spoons

This is where Bernie Madoff and that DECI guy learnt their thing, maybe even Kamlesh too. On supper of day One, every Form 1, even the one who will later become a ‘kamjuaji’ is lost in the confusion and mayhem that dictates life in a dining hall. After supper you wait for directions, herded together like sheep….So, what is the Fraud of Spoons?

Spoons; The new gold

Think of it like this, before you went to high school, a spoon was just that…..a spoon…then you went to high school and it became a currency, a valued item that could be exchanged for favors (such as the name and address of a girl you had your eye on)

The Fraudster of Spoons thrived on these two things; ignorance and the worth of spoons. He was just a normal guy with an ingenious business idea….as you sat there looking all confused after supper; a serious looking fella would approach the first table holding an empty Kasuku (can). He would tell you that due to the worth of spoons, they are kept in the safety of the dining hall and he….in this case could be the Zeus or even Jesus…was the Guardian of the Spoons.

You were not naïve; you were following directions, right? And after the first table of suckers, the others would fall like a pack of dominos. A guy would leave with, say, 100 spoons for every 101 of you, the exception being the guy who did not go for supper that day….

Can you smell the fraud here?

So at lunch the next day, as the weevil-infested githeri swam in the soup on your green (or red) plastic plate, you waited…..patiently…..for the spoons or the Guardian of the Spoons…..but we all know what happens. Someone would notice no one was eating and enquire, and in your innocence, you said you were waiting for your spoons, and he would seek clarification m his eyes smiling already….then he would ROTFL like a mad hyena!

A few days later, when the demand for spoons was extremely high and supply non-existent, rumor would start that there was a guy selling spoons….at 20 bob each, and just like that, you would buy the same piece of cutlery twice.

Ignore this Image

Then there was that tree behind dorm one where jokas in that dorm used to be made to hang, about 10 of them and then fall off like ripe peaches.

Then you had to collect darkness using buckets.

Singing the national anthem in your mother tongue, singing it to the tune of “Wasn’t Me!”by Shaggy and Usher…

First there was this…

 

Owaahh, 2011.

Fire, Oil and the Price of Ignorance (and the story of a woman scorned)

Disaster in the city…again.

Same script, new players, same villain.

Something happened yesterday; a fire in a Nairobi slum killed tens of people in the span of a few hours. Media houses were in shock, as was the rest of the country, and they ended up showing extremely graphic pictures, disgusting the good heart of our nation, even those claiming to be tweeting to help.

As someone who has been to a human anatomy laboratory, and around the bodies of the deceased more times than I count, I can tell you for sure that you do not know how you will react until you get there. Instead of whining about our little consciences, it would have been nobler to start organizing counseling services for the hundreds of residents, rescue workers, police officers and most of all journalists who were there all day. I placed the last as the ‘most important’ for one reason, they had to take photos, and then edit them. At least police officers and rescue workers have counseling services, or an iron armor you develop when disaster strikes too often.

Sad as it is, the fire was prophesied once, two years ago by two budding journalists. They cheekily titled their story (or the editor did, I suspect) The Fire Next Time: Slum Courts Doom. Two Years later, on a rainy, cold Monday morning, doom did accept to be courted, actually it came and took away about a hundred people and ruined others. The fire next time became, well, the fire next time indeed. The government was frustrated because local MPs would not allow the forceful eviction of residents. Ignorance paid off again, as it did several borders away in Congo where it smouldered about 240 people trying to siphon fuel. Of the three disasters that plagued the Central and East Africa Region, killing over 500 people in two days, two were fuel related, and all were machine failures. Still, on the bright side, it was not terrorist-related (or self-inflicted) like the attack on the WTC 10 years ago. Now we blame God, the government and poverty.

When someone asked me why I agreed with @machariagaitho when he wrote in this opinion piece that the price of impunity (and in extension, ignorance) had been paid and yet this people were driven there by poverty, I answered using the adage that ‘Ignorance is no defense’. You cannot live on an oil pipeline and not anticipate danger. Hell, I even mumble a prayer every time I get into a matatu. The saddest thing is that we are a country, and a world, of idealists. I salute the journalist who wrote this, reading was disturbing, even for me. and by the way , just in case you are looking to buy the fuel that survived, read this first.

We want the subjective, sieved details, we want to see edited photos and talk about the disaster. We want photos of the better part, not caring that there is worse happening. We romanticize and we look at disaster subjectively. We act as if disaster is a new thing, and yet it has stuck with humanity all through. Poverty or no poverty, realism has taken a backseat and we are where we are no because we have denied ourselves the truth…

The sight of charred remains, still smoking, the remains of what used to be a human body. The disgusting photos of the half-burned bodies floating in a river, as the people standing on the riverbank hold their chins. Of a slum where one neighbor knows not the other. Where people have died with no identity. It is the greater equalizer, death.


Stalin said that the death of a million is only a statistic, as is the death of a hundred in this case. Even if only one person had died in this fire, it would and should have been a tragedy enough. But the truth is that we have too high a moral sense, unwarranted to begin with, and we sympathies and empathize, and it is a new morning, whats the news?

When I was in college, my financial accounting lecturer told a story about his near-death experience. He was a college student back when the first oil truck overturned near Banana in Kiambu County a little over half a decade ago. As he headed home, he saw the truck and the people getting pails and buckets to get fuel. He joined in; like any other good Kenyan would (I am making an assumption here). When he had his first bucket full, he ran home to get another and just as he reached a few hundred meters away, the truck exploded. Drenched as he was in oil, he did the first thing his mind told him to do, silly, as it was he ran back. What he saw still haunts him, the one memory of a woman running towards him, like a human frame of fire, screaming and wailing for help. She fell to the ground and started rolling in an attempt to put out the fire, but an oil fire can be an ass.

There is no moral to that story, except where one believes that experience is the best teacher, or the story that is retold after that. Do not misquote me; I know if another truck overturns, or a fuel pipe leaks, people will go to get free fuel.

I believe that the worst disaster is the disaster of human ignorance, that innate ability to refuse to listen to reason because we think the universe knows we are poor, or homeless, or unfed, or rich, or tall, or short, or framed, or justified, or beautiful. I have it, you have it, and it will be the death of us, and death is a good thing, living with the scars is much harder.

smouldered, a pile of ash held together by death...


ION and on somewhat of a lighter note, Walking with my friend @wambumishi yesterday, we happened upon this leaflets (read printed papers) distributed all over.

Hell Hath no Fury Indeed

Now thats a woman scorned. This I believe is a classic case of the propaganda war, slander her name using all possible jabs. A little advice to women, if he is going out with her, fight him, not her. Then again I know that hit on deaf ears, even the realist in me can not understand why this woman would choose to get this tryped, printed, and distributed.

The last lines are the kind that ‘send a chilly feeling up and down the culprit’s spine’

This is the Beggining

Maraya!!!!

Now my friend and I are arguing about whether Maraya in this case is the woman’s name, nickname, or an insult misplaced. Whichever the case, the four exclamation marks place emphasis on the point.

I Prayed

I knelt on a mat beside my bed today

And prayed.

I prayed for the souls of the living

For power and water and food

I prayed for a good life

I prayed for age, for a bumper harvest

I knelt and prayed to all deities

I lay prostate and offered my being as a sacrifice

Hoping and waiting

I prayed for the future of the poor and the Conscience of the rich

I prayed for the insomnia of the wise

For the oversleeping of the daft

I prayed for water, for a full stomach

I prayed for a special heaven

For Hades to be consumed by its own fire

I prayed for the balls to face tomorrow

I prayed for love, for music, for all emotions

I prayed for art and for science

I prayed for might and meek

I knelt and prayed for pain, against pain, for torment, against torment

I prayed for revenge and for forgiveness

I prayed for a small fire to consume a big fire

For a small god to outdo a bigger one

I prayed for muscle and for flesh

I prayed for a great country

For a truth, any truth, some truth

I prayed for darkness, and then I prayed for light

For rain, and then for sun

I prayed for the souls of the undead

For the memories of the immortal

For the innocence of the unborn

For the death of the dead.

I knelt there, and prayed for Satan.