By Wacheera wa Gathaithi
Wacha now I tell you why WE “Summer Bunnies” are so annoying.
So I buy my ticket while checking the exchange rate- dollar to shilling. I realize these dollars will sing to me even when Biko and my boys in Kenya dismiss my US shenanigans. Ahem. Summer Bunny I am. Here I come. I cannot wait to land dude! I will LAND in Kenya. I am anxious, ready for this trip buda boss. Ever heard of anxiety; a feeling that is well known in “Minesorra” and in other states within the USA; It is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at some point. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with making an important deadly decision-which many times may be confused to a mental disorder in Kenya. When this happens, Mathare could eventually be my home if I do not bring with me my anti-anxiety medication. Kenya can be Culture Shock galore!
I have transformed and I am different now from the days we hanged at Oyugis in Kisumu and the tweng is not the only thing I bring with me, difference in lifestyle lol. That arrival to Kenya first off, is traumatizing. Wah! The last time I landed in Kenya, the terminal was so far away, that I had to catch a Matatu or a Bus (not sure what to call them these days), from the airport landing strip to the ARRIVALS.
The immediate realization that you have now landed in Kenya is when you are hit by a certain heat wave at the arrivals gate. Biko, you are mistaken when you state that I would probably be walking out with a black jacket all blinged out; hell no! That one, I figured out, should be stuffed in my carry-on bags. The stuffy cloudy air at the Arrivals entrance brings me to reality-I am finally home. I hate how this heat and stuff environment feels but hell yes, I promised to return- I am here now.
I make it to immigration while hoping that “There Is No Hurry in Africa” and that other phrase “African Timer” are just but myths. I pray Biko, that the congestion on Mombasa road to the Airport does not delay you again. I remember that last time; you blamed it on traffic when you arrived one hour late, to pick me up!
As I stand in queue, to pay for my 3 week vacation- $50 dollar Kenyan Visa charges, a very well dressed Kenyan man asks me if I want the process expedited-visa stamp. He says he will go into the back room to make this transaction faster, and I don’t have to wait for long. I think he right-I can’t wait to catch up with you buddy! He asks for my American passport and the $50.00. How many other tactical misdeeds must I endure before meeting up with you buddy?
Luggage and all, which may look like I am carrying the world, but most of it- is your preferred Nike/Jordan shoes, my sister’s request for handbags and Victoria’s Secret panties, alongside shirts, caps, jeans, trousers and scarves-you name it-straight from WALMART. The things YOU PEOPLE make us to shop, lol!
I finally make it out. I see you dude… Biko is that you? Dang man you look thin. Waassup. Howz the goin… Shit man… Hugs hugs; fist bump, high five; the works. I got you dude man. Biko is also maweng weng. He give it back to me, “wass happenin. How’s the goin’ dude.” Laughter follows; not sure why we are laughing but happy as dang to see each other.
I long for that Tusker at K1. I close my eyes, but I can feel you buddy watching me, as I drain the brew drown my throat. For the love of this beer, it honestly does not taste as good as it felt last time I tasted it. May be because last time you had asked the waiter to “wekelea kachoma.” By the way, if you have not seen a Saturday on a Thursday, walk into Klub House on Thursday. I must tell you, Kenyans either do not work in the morning or if they do, they must start their shifts, all communally at 10 in the morning. There is no way these many people will hang out till the hours of 2:00AM+ and still make it to work the next morning. Or so I assume. Wait, there is more. Kenyan women are fierce man!!! No! I was not “cock blocked” Biko, you may have thought I was disappointed. Bro, I was SCARED. The chic was a rubber stamp. This chic was bums cracking on me, gobble up some dollar- bought- drinks and then ask me to show her my room; only to realize that I aint that dude; yah know wah I am sayin’. She walked away dignifying herself stating “this dude is like a brother to me” as I sat there waiting to tell you amidst all the really loud (cannot think) Reggae music, “Not on my first day bruh!”
Got “home”; jet lagged like crazy, I need a shower. I walk to the host’s bathroom shower which I squeeze my not so tiny body (effects of McDonalds) into. By the way, ever walked in a walk-in shower where the shower curtn’ continues to smother you. C’mon Kenyans, build bigger showers!!! I wanted to scream. I realize that I need to play with some switches to get this hot shower gadget working, the one hanging loosely above me. Where is the damn switch! I find it and switch on, then comes the rambling sound of boiling water! ALL OF A SUDDEN, a splash of the hottest water hits my body. “Dang man; should have warned me!!” I will complain about that Biko.
Biko, what you did not talk about is our experience the last time I was there. Yes, driving from Ngara to Nairobi West, stuck in traffic for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I asked you how long the distance from Ngara to West was and you told me that it is a few Kilometers. A few? This felt like a journey to shags. We could not roll down the car windows, amidst all the humidity and course air filling the car; all the while seated in traffic. I am in constant fear that our belongings may be snatched from the open windows and possibly the unlocked car doors. On another note, do Kenyans use the built-in Air Conditioning in their cars? I sat there drenched in sweat, well aware that downing the window would surely be catastrophic. Scared!!! I will complain about that too Biko.
While you take a detour, headed to another hang joint, Nairobi-Thika highway was your pride and joy and I welcome your excitement to show me this super highway. Though to your disappointment, while driving me through this great multi-lane highway, I remind you of the thieves who keep stealing from this multi-lane highway. It was in the news. I watched the news. I am worried about this new local development you find pride in and I remember reading “A wave of vandalism targeting road fittings has hit the US$360 million highway linking Nairobi to Thika Town, posing a new challenge in the maintenance of the new road infrastructure in Kenya.” Biko, as you drive through those lit tunnels, I am thinking of how we can eradicate such a vice. How dare Kenyans steal from their only, SUPER Lonely Highway?
When we sit down for a mouthwatering Tusker, I will surely address my concerns.
Most Kenyans stop for gas (petrol) every few kilometers. I did not understand the meaning of that Biko. Why not fill the gas tank. I will ask about that too and complain as you continue to do it. Before I am done with this letter, I would like to point out the most astonishing thing-street lights in Nairobi are of “State of the Art.” The streetlights countdown- how much longer must we wait in order to ‘Go.’ Before you can answer that, the MAN in blue appears, briskly walks right ahead of you and stops all traffic from moving, just as the countdown reaches 0. That Biko is the most hilarious episode on our drive back from showing me the beautiful build of the imported Chinese Thika Super Highway.
Till next time.
Summer Bunny Always Will Be Complaining