House-help chronicles part 2

I like writing about househelps (or domestic managers as they are now called) because let’s face it, they add a certain flavour, excitement or even drama to our daily living. From eating the baby’s cerelac, to entertaining male “friends” and wearing the employer’s clothing; their shenanigans are the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters. Love them or hate them, they are an important part of our modern city life. Here are a few types I have observed: Madam Appetite One lady in my hood had a househelp who, in the name of tasting the food she had just cooked, would eat a plateful of food, then at mealtime, eat another plateful. Especially on the days she cooked meat dishes, ha ha. I know it’s true because the local “CNN” always had the freshest 411 from every household as soon as it happened. Read more

Everybody needs good neighbours

Buruburu Estate has always been a pleasantly unassuming place – a kind of urban melting pot with all kinds of people from diverse backgrounds living together in harmony. For the most part anyways. There are always those neighbours who consistently test the limits of good neighbourliness because they do not want to adhere to community guidelines. These are the kind I want to write about today. Issa rant! First off, let me talk about individualism. The extreme kind that’s slowly creeping into our community life, threatening to turn neighbours into strangers and in the process kill the heart of our African culture. Back in the day, it was just as normal to be sent next door to borrow a few matchsticks, as it was to have a neighbour knock on your door asking for a cupful of sugar. Today, I Read more

In loving memory of my dear sister

Happy Birthday Wangari! About four years ago, you celebrated your last birthday on earth but you did not receive a happy birthday wish from me. I had sent you my customary happy birthday text message, but it is only later that I came to realize that you did not receive it because you had changed numbers. When you left us a mere 3 months later, one of the things I regretted was why I didn’t also post a happy birthday wish on Facebook, because then you would definitely have seen it. I remember the last conversation we had some weeks earlier. You had come home to collect some merchandise and we had an interesting conversation about how Size 8 had gotten saved and married DJ Mo. You wondered if it was truly possible for someone who was a certified “bad-girl”, Read more

Chronicles of a train-catcher part 2

The train-catcher’s story continues… Monday 29th Sept: Was late today, so I missed the train & had to take two matatus to work! Not funny because since I started using the train, my transport budget has reduced by a third. There is only one train back this evening and I’m now beginning to suspect that Kenya Railways are trying to make this the rule. Anyway, I don’t mind leaving an hour late because I have a good read in my bag: “The 4:8 Principle” by Tommy Newberry. –*– Thursday 9th October: D-R-A-M-A! The honeymoon is officially over. I got there by 6:15am but no train arrived. After waiting for a few minutes the crowds started dispersing in search of other means of transport. Seems they had inside information to the effect that the train was going to be a no-show Read more

Chronicles of a train-catcher part 1

I first used the train for transport to and from town in 2009 and then, it was more like an adventure. Those were the days when Kenyans used to ride on top of the train or hanging from the windows and doors. On my very first ride from the CBD I stood next to the door (like a pro) in my power suit & heels, carrying a handbag and feeling like a tourist does on their first matatu ride. I wish I had carried a video camera to capture that experience *sigh!* Adding to the drama were traffic policemen stationed at random points along the tracks, ready to whip the pants off guys who were hanging from the moving train. I revisited it in 2014 out of necessity, having been stranded one too many mornings due to matatu scarcity. My Read more