You stand there when the storm comes. You smile at her. You make promises of assurance. She calms down. You look at her and see the green in her eyes, and you set your camp on her conscious. In … Continue reading
#NewPost “For obvious reasons, my cousin and I always met in a bar in town. In fact, I got to know him through a bar, unlike everyone else who is introduced to their relatives in family gatherings. So, yes, this is like the vice versa of that story that you know, the one that ends in a bar and the one that she will not reply to messages. This one starts right at the bottom, the bottom of beer bottles and whiskey glasses.
If I ever pictured drinking in high school, I pictured a Harvey Spector whiskey on rocks kind of drinking. The one where after a kick-ass long day of dealing lawyers and haughty, entitled business people, he stands by his large window, palm against the pane and drowns his pain (see what I did? No? Windowpane? Come on!) It never happened like that, not even by a mile…”
#dennispetersblog #MukiriGitiri Continue reading
I was nineteen when I began writing her as my next of kin when opening bank accounts and creating Chama Accounts. It came naturally and in a way that I cannot even explain. The registration form would ask the … Continue reading
I remember an easier time, when Thika Superhighway was just Thika Road. Nothing was super about it, not even the traffic. We were regulars at a bar and lounge just before you get to Kahawa Wendani, I cannot recall the … Continue reading
I remember a time when we always fought in the morning with mother about shoes. This memory is embedded in my brain like Shrapnel. Nyandarua was this cold place that was always raining hail, too cold. When it rained, … Continue reading
I once got hit by a truck at Roysambu. It happened fast, really fast. I was actually minding my own business on the side of the road with white earphones slack from my phone to my ears, checking out … Continue reading
I can almost tell what will happen the moment I open that door in the evening from work. Daisy will not come running to my arms, her laugh will not fill my soul with life, fire and desire. Her little … Continue reading
People who have not been close to death should not speak about it. Death is an academic Degree; you are only an expert when you have survived it and won the hat. Personally, I know death. I have seen … Continue reading
Recently, my parents grabbed themselves a piece of land. They paid for it though, unlike your favourite politician. They say they want to build themselves a retirement home, leave the city and never come back. They chose Malindi as … Continue reading
Living in Nairobi is not an easy task. Surviving is not difficult, but then, surviving is not the same as living. The other day I was just minding my own business, reporting to work, my first job, for the first day, then all over sudden, I found myself in a police cell. Mind you, it was my very first day at work where I was supposed to make an impression of positivity and intelligence but there I was in a cell with drunkards and smokers hurdled in a corner for two hours, for simply being stupid. This is a true story, I swear! You know you people like carrying me stupid so much.
So this is what happened, it had just stopped raining but there was still faint traces of light downpour sparkling reluctantly to the struggling rising sun. I had just alighted from a matatu from Kiambu, and I was headed to board another to Mombasa Road where I was starting out as a Software Engineer. I was new to Nairobi, I actually still am. I never master anything in this town. It is as if buildings migrate at night. But recently I have mastered how to get myself to Kencom anytime I am lost. The other day, the one before this one, I went round and round Archives Building like thrice trying to find Choppies Supermarket at Commercial. I was frustrated. I ended up asking a taxi driver who pointed a place I had been through twice! I felt stupid. It is in Nairobi that the forest monkey realizes that it cannot outsmart the grasslands of the savanna with its climbing proficiency.
Anyway, on this day I alighted at Commercial. The day before, I had asked kina Francis the Lone Puppeteer to draw me a map of the city and for like an hour and a half, they described to me where to go and where to assiduously avoid. They told me that if I found myself on Luthuli Street, I would come out of the other end with neither money nor shoes. These people are good at scaring people. I, therefore, paid more attention to where I should avoid more than where I should go.
Easter Holiday was my boyfriend’s birthday and I was determined to get him a gift. I did what any cool girlfriend would do – I decided to offer myself like a Christmas gift from Santa Claus. Men do not … Continue reading
The day I met Mukiri is unarguably the most important day for the art that we have both practised through the years. She had this wildness in her eyes, a blazing fire that I automatically became determined to match. … Continue reading
I met Maria the second the time in a strip club as she was busy shoving her nice pair of big breasts on my face. It was a club in the dingy dark dreadful streets of Nairobi. She … Continue reading
City food is either shitty or expensive. For this reason, I will climb the stairs of Ujamaa Building in CBD to the rooftop. Stairs always, never the lift, this is my ritual. Then I will pull out my … Continue reading
I walked from school to home, the same way I had done for the past six months. It was an uncomfortable five kilometres walk, hard to imagine walking to and fro each morning but the white man was sharing … Continue reading
I have too much to say about 2017, but I have a limit of 2000 words. If you need a bathroom break, please rush now and while you are at it, kindly do so silently. Esther Wanene. … Continue reading
“It is going to be a good holiday”, she points out as she walks into the balcony from the living room. I turn towards her momentarily before I gaze back to the wilderness, thoughtfully, looking … Continue reading
…I have remembered an ancient story by my grandfather of a man lost in the green savannah grasslands of Africa in the 19th Century. A man trying to find his way back to his wife and kids. Then in his search for directions, the man encounters a lion, that springs up from nowhere and stands defiantly before him ready to attack. In dismay, the man has recalled an article in the Nation Newspaper of the murderous man-eaters of Tsavo. The man with all determination to survive and get back home to his loved ones takes a moment to examine his options. There was no tree, no cave, no bush or rock that could have come in handy in the situation. The man stares directly in the eye of death and came to terms with the impossibility before him. At this point, we would look up to grandfather to tell us how the man survives the ordeal but he would end the story abruptly saying that the man went back home and his family and they were very happy to see him. We would demand an explanation on how he got away from the lion and grandfather would casually shrug, He found a tree, climbed it and waited for the lion to go away. You said there was no tree, no cave, n0 bush or rock, we would reply impatiently. And grandfather would easily make the lesson of the story that there is always a tree. Given the right motivation, there is always a way to get what you want or get something done… Continue reading
My mother once threw a shoe at my face. It was a nice sneaker, she had bought it for me as a birthday present from town together with the cake, but when she got home, I was nowhere to be found. My friend had invited me to an adventure to the forest, so without the permission of the house help, I disappeared not to be found for the entire Sunday. That day when I came home with a dry skin and filthy clothes from swimming in the river, I saw the freak on my mother’s face, and I could have almost sworn she had been worried sick to the level of tears. She could not even speak to me, she just gave me a blank worried stare and there the shoe came flying to my face. The house help took me to the shower before she threw the other shoe or the cake. The memory I hold on to from that day was her the expression on her face, scared and resigned.
I have a son now. He is seven years old. It is just him and me now; his mother left when he was five. She said something about feeling unfulfilled in her life. That motherhood was not going to be her eternal task. She wanted to travel, discover and build her career. Before she left, she took a piece of my sanity away by dragging me through court hearings with regards to the custody of my son. She said she wanted to keep him and that he would be better with her because I was always working and the judge agreed. Continue reading
I am sure you have previously heard stories from grown-up women like me speaking about rape. Mostly we lie. Make it sound like we fell on our backs and our knees trembled in fear the second it happened. Nobody ever speaks about the fight we put up before these marauders let themselves unceremoniously into our thighs. Truth is I remember being scared stiff barely able to hear my voice above the sound of my heartbeat. Mostly I remember the aftermath of the whole unpleasant ordeal, my heart contracting with indefinable fear, and I lay there motionless, looking at everything but nothing. I remember hiding in my bed with my head deep under the sheets, and it was then that I heard her speak in an interview on the television. That voice, assertive and sure taking my fear, unit at a time and turning it into a fighting spirit. She was a rape victim and had survived the worst. She was a prominent American figure, and she spoke so fiercely, and for the first time, I shed tears, not in weakness or in memory of his spiteful breath panting on and on at the nape of my neck. They were tears of jubilation, tears of conviction that made the memories fade, tears of strength. I now knew that I did not have to hide, I now knew that a rape victim could speak out and have people listen to her. Continue reading
There are times I have taken a matatu and sat next to a stranger. A big man with broad shoulders and even a bigger smile. A man with an atmosphere of graciousness all around him. A man who looks like he plays part-time Santa Claus in December. A man who would be readily adored by kids. Just about when we are making a turn at Laikipia University on a journey from Nakuru to Nyeri, he turns to me, and I look away from my phone reluctantly. Then he exclaims about the school and how he studied there forty-seven years ago when it was just a kindergarten. When the entire region was a forest, and the number of trees doubled the number of people. In a half-baked attempt to be nice I put on a fake smile like the joker in Batman. I nod my head to show concession on how much it has changed. Then I stick my face back to my phone screen and plug in my earphones deep in my ears to avoid any more conversation. Continue reading
After primary school in Nakuru, she had gone back to Narok and undergone the Maasai girl rites of passage. Had it been a few decades earlier, the rite would involve the cutting off of the labia in a four-day ritual. She would have been dressed up in the best clothes and the finest of the traditional jewellery. She would get blessed by the elders using milk and cow blood to represent the way of life of her people. The whole community would sing songs; while their mothers would teach them how to please their husbands sexually and socially. All this would be beautiful, but earlier in the morning of the fourth day the same knife would be used to chop off the clitoris and labia of more than twenty girls. Nataana would have been expected to be strong; she would have been expected to be a warrior woman and not scream when it came to that moment. Her mother and other women would continue singing about Emuratta and Enkiama. Good girls get circumcised and then married, the song would say.
As the blade cuts off her numb skin, Nataana would be shaking profusely like a twig on an elephant’s footpath. She would be shaking not only because of the time she spent submerged in the cold river water but because of the pain of having surgery without an anaesthetic. She would try to scream in pain, but no sound would come out, and she would be glad because her mother did not have to hear her become weak. It would be over now; a few scattered stitches would be put in place to replace the chopped off body parts. Sometimes these stitches will go all the way making urinating tough, but at least it would be over now. From that, all that follows is food, good healthy food in a closed room for a month until she healed. On a good month out of the twenty girls with Nataana, eighteen would heal completely without an infection. Nataana would be among them because she is a fighter. She would leave her hut and never see the door of a secondary school classroom because she would get married off immediately. She would know what pain is, not by reading or by tales, but through experience. A strong woman who would then be expected to give birth to a baby less than a year after such an ordeal.
But days like those were gone and forgotten. In 2009, she was lucky the Emuratta of girls had been banned in the country. Now there was just Eokoto e-kule and Enkang oo-nkiri that consisted of meat and milk from cows and not humans. After primary school, Nataana joined other girls in a three-day long session about sex education, human rights, and self-confidence. Instead of mountains being set on her education, she was empowered to study and compete alongside her male age mates. She wanted to be a pharmacist. Off she went to secondary school back in the city and then to university where I met her. Continue reading
It begins in a bar because of a girl. A whisky glass dangles loosely on my fingers and I stare at it, looking unresponsively at its content which is running low for the umpteenth time. The more the number of times the base of the glass gets into view the deeper my mind sinks into a drunken abyss. My eyelids become heavy, constantly fighting off the increasing demand for sleep occasionally teetering on the razor edge between deep relaxation and unconsciousness.
The bar is poorly lit with party lights blinking on and off in unison with the raucous music playing from the bar’s loud stereo. It is rap music, which on usual circumstances would have had me listening closely to the lyrics in an attempt to obtain a unique rhyme to use as a Facebook status but not today, more so, I had heard the song more than a hundred times making all discoverable rhymes already exhausted. Continue reading
Employment is where dreams go to die. It starts with self- doubt, you question yourself on whether you are good enough to go on entrepreneurship alone. Then a monthly salary makes you comfortable, and your dreams start to drain down the gutter. Then, when your passion dies and you are a desk zombie, you build up hasty conventional dreams of climbing up the corporate ladder. Three years, you will be assistant manager, then three to four more years, you will be a department manager and then a senior assistant manager before a senior manager. If you do not go back to school to improve your skills, then your life becomes stale at exactly assistant senior manager o’clock. Continue reading
Moved to Nairobi last week and found a journal in the clothes cabinet of my new apartment. I am as pleased as anyone would, to find out that the previous owner of a place I now call home, was contemplative and took time to write a journal. Other people find possessed dolls and hidden cult caskets, I found a journal. Reading another person’s life in their own handwriting, to a writer is like discovering treasure. They are honest, vivid, raw and bare. It might be against the law, but if the law was a little bit interesting, we would all read the constitution on vacations.
Well, we are a family, let me share, a little for everybody. No gluttons please, there is enough to go round… Continue reading
She pants a step ahead. You follow closely behind as a dog does to a master. Her pace is slow, too slow and you secretly hope she was faster. You cannot outdo her speed for two reasons; one, you do not want to be an overly competitive moron and two, you like how her ass bubbles up and down before you as she jogs. She is exhausted. She signals you for a break, and you oblige. She places her palms heavily on her knees and breathes fast and heavily. You are scared she could pass out. You stop a distance away from her and observes her with eyes full of pity, like a sympathiser in a slaughterhouse. Unsaid, you quietly envy her determination.
Running three kilometres has never been a problem to you but today is her first day. She is not accustomed to such kind of resilience. You want to be helpful; you do not want to look like a self-gratified arrogant buffoon. You do not want to be the guy who sneers at her effort. You ask her to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. She squints at you from the corner of her eyes as if what you are saying is Calculus. Regardless, you persist, breathe in using your nose and then breathe out using your mouth. Nice and easy. The look she gives you makes you sure that that gibberish is not going to cut it. Continue reading
Elections found me working for an aspiring governor. A big man with a big smile for the crowds and deep pockets, deeper than the boreholes he dug for the locals to aid in their water problems. He knew what to say and when to say and the exact ways to mould it when saying it. And when he said it, even when it was gibberish, the red flags went up high, and the locals pledged their loyalty. He had made his fortune from his family wealth, but when he spoke about himself, which was quite often, he said of how his intellect had made him a successful business person. He gave us tales of his big cup of excellence, and like the dummies we were, we sat by his feet sipping slowly in coveted admiration.
The March long rains came and fell with both hands, the water gouged out deep channels and swept away twigs, leaves and the top fertile soil. With it, we marched into the rural areas and dived into the locals’ conscience and asked for their votes in the primaries. We met them tilling their gardens, feeding their babies, taking out urine drenched mattresses from last night’s atrocities by the young boys, basking, and drinking. Sometimes we met their dangerous unwelcoming dogs or abandoned houses, but we never relented. The Jacaranda beautiful purple flowers collected into small groups on the murram roads beneath the intrepid trees and with it, the beauty of Central Kenya shone like the morning star. Continue reading
On most days they are four of them. The two masculine figure are not residents here, who I am supposed to stop but I no longer interest myself in the dedication of arguing with drunk people. So I let them pass, I actually think they like me for that. They walk with footsteps slowed to a jarring and unmistakable cadence like zombie footsteps. Past me and into the hostel lobby and later to their rooms and minutes later after the laughing and indistinct loud statements die down, I can hear heavy breathing and low moans. Sex. I always try to create a mental picture of what goes on in that room but over and over, my imagination fails me. Continue reading
When I met Maria, I had just come from the Rift Valley. I had been there for three days, working. This assignment was special. It involved a very important man. My contact, the person who had handed me the assignment also sounded important but identity was not any of my concern. So on a misty Tuesday morning, as a helicopter sailed an important person to the plains of the Rift Valley for an occasion, I lay flat on a raised ground one eye shut to put all the juice on the other one that was looking on a tiny aiming hole of my father’s M21 Sniper Weapon machine… Continue reading
The scientist in a cruel lab, performing ninety-seven trails and receiving ninety-seven failed test outcomes. A scientist slowly becoming a monster with each trial because it gets to you brain, it feasts on your sanity with a big spoon and serves your heart as dessert. Continue reading
Mother, today I would like you to listen to a story that happened many years ago. I would like to suggest that you lose that judgmental temperament you are always carrying around the house, at least until I … Continue reading
My grandfather Chief Cornelius Kuria Kahuba always said that age is never about the number of years one had lived but rather the number of lifetimes one had experienced. Seated on the visitor’s seat on the edge … Continue reading
I have never had a review of any of my articles by someone in the same field. The reason is not that I have never thought about it, in fact, contrast to that, I have always thought … Continue reading
The greenness in the grass of Nyandarua highlands should be the ninth wonder of the world after the wildebeests of Mara and the ego of Jeff Koinange. I say this with utmost sincerity and honesty to those that have never … Continue reading
Eventually, little Ciku and her friend arrived to the destination of the survivors. The number had reduced significantly but the cold had multiplied in hundreds. The destination was a police station where they were received by the men and women … Continue reading
A dark cloud gathers on the sky above chasing the blue away with one swift move. The wind blows and darkness descends slowly like a bride does on the aisle. The birds culminate their day’s rhythmic music and all over … Continue reading
My radio is old. I inherited it from Kate Njenga when she completed her undergraduate, shipped it all the way from Eldoret, Rift Valley to Nyeri, Central Province. I needed it that much. My love and my moonlight. I … Continue reading