It’s the 28th of August 2017. Am seated on my bed at around 9:57 pm staring at my laptop’s screen. I have been staring at this b*tch of a word document for the last 15 minutes. I call it a b*tch because I have been editing it for the last God knows how many weeks now but still, am not feeling it. It seems to spectacularly lack something that I can’t see and am beginning to get overwrought. In fact, it’s like this piece has waved its middle finger to my face and yelled, “kiss my a**!” OK enough cussing. It reminds of that awkward moment I bumped into my childhood crush in town and realized that he wasn’t the isht anymore. I wanted to get those large tummy butterflies like I used to but no, they were gone. Off to South Korea or somewhere nearby. So after an awkward hug and conversation, I told him that I garra go.
Anyway, I slowly shift the pressure from one butt cheek to the other hoping that this will trigger my creative juices, lakini wapi! By now my roommate is already asking when I will switch off the lights. Today was her birthday and the birthday girl wants her beauty sleep. I ignore her question and bingo! I get an idea! Maybe I should write a letter to my ex! How exciting! However when I turn to my word document, I notice that the cursor is blinking a bit faster than usual. I swear! I figure, that is the cursor vehemently disagreeing with my idea. If it (the cursor) was a chic, it would be the type that actively uses social media to make the ex-lover jealous. Probably even go an extra mile to hire a boyfriend just to make the ex explode with envy. The cursor makes me realize that I can’t afford to make my ex’s day by dedicating an entire blog post to him. How about Nyawanda’s cooking? This lady surprised us with the most delicious home made potato crisps the previous day and I think it’s time we started a food biashara. The thought of my sister’s culinary skills makes me hungry already so I discard that idea. Surely what do I write about? I reach out for my hand lotion that was gifted to me by my aunt, Sister Josephine Paul (a nun with great taste). I looooove how it smells but its good aroma does very little to my creative juices.
I am slowly sliding into panic mode because I have no inspiration to write something new. So I take a musical break. Two of my current favorite songs will do, I play Fena’s Doing Her Thing Tho and Visita’s Naishi Huku in that order. I listen to the songs as I search for an unpublished article in my laptop. I serve a Living God and He comes through when I spot an alien word document on my desktop. I read through it and I fall in love. It is by someone who borrowed my laptop and I have been a fan for a longtime. This is how you get people to write for your blog! (insert long evil laugh) He is an engineering student who loves to bleed his thoughts on this blog pettybratblog.wordpress.com. He wears cool grey framed glasses and is the most loyal Eminem fan I know. Quite the ladies man if you ask me, he always has dem girls giggling. (Bro, hapo nimekuuzia sera kwelikweli) The first time I heard of the word ‘petty brat’ I wanted to steal it because it sounds sooooo cool. I happen to have known him from when he was a little boy and now that he is taller than me, he thinks that he is my elder. Majameni! Watoto wa siku hizi! Sigh. His name is Clifford and he is not as petty as he tries to make you believe. I text him to ask if I can publish his article on my blog and he agrees. If that first word document cannot cooperate, hapana bembelesa! Forward ever! Chokeeee! So without any further ado here is his ultimate guide (mostly for men) to places you must know to survive in that new neighborhood:
It’s not always that you will stay in the same neighborhood all your life. At some point, you will have to shift residences due to one reason or another. You get to a new environment where everything and everyone is strange. You will be lucky if you find a friendly neighbor. Having shifted residences a couple of times, there are some basic stuff you need to check out as soon as you move. Things that only after figuring out you can claim you have settled.
- The Local
For those of us who partake the blessed water, it’s essential we locate this basic location since we crucified the only person capable turning that tap water to something alcoholic. This is usually done over a span of a couple of days as you sample the different bars. As an expert once told me, the bottle doesn’t matter, whether tusker cider or senator keg (the worst brands in the republic) but how it’s served. The setting also matters a lot. That’s why you will still find high end guzzlers parked next to those shabby mabati dungeons that have the tag of a pub.
- Barber Shop
Men are known to be more loyal to the person who does their hair than to their girls. To get a perfect one takes a lot of trial and error. You will be lucky if on the first attempt you get the one. It’s here that you can ask for your numerous nephews to come for a weekend and as test specimens, you drag them to different barbershops. The one who does a perfect job becomes your guy.
After a couple of trials here and there, I settled for Kings’ Kinyozi, opposite Kobil in Kitengela town. The guys there do a perfect job that even after I left for school, I kept, my hair for months till we closed semester. I can’t trust anyone else with my hair.
- Nduthi Man
Come to Kitengela and you’ll appreciate these people. Unless you have a private car, just know they’ll be one of your frequent mode of transport. This is if you live away from the town center, which most of us are. Moreover, they know all the routes plus panyaroutes which during your initial days look like duplicates. However, they have the downfall of trying to vibe our sisters and mothers too. Before you enlist one to be your regular, please make sure he’s not a member of the Mafisi Sacco.
- Men in Blue
There is one person who once made a joke that if you don’t trust cops, the next time you are robbed, call thugs instead of cops. Though with a tainted reputation, it’s good to know the location of the nearest police station. If possible, have the contacts of one or two in your phone book saved with their titles. Late last year, some itchy fingers scaled the perimeter and took off with our screen and other valuables. In the morning, we took two hour to locate an AP post that was less than two kilometers from home. As we speak, the old folks have the OCPD’s number on speed dial, and once in a while they surprise his Mpesa balance. Mzee also buys him a round whenever they meet at the local. With this created bond, we are sure of police help at whatever time of the day we request should buglers decide to strike again.
- The neighbor Next door
I am an avid supporter of the Nyumba Kumi initiative. It’s good to, no, mandatory you know who the beautiful lady residing in the next compound is. Though I don’t have a formula to accomplish this since some jiranis are so private. There gates will always be closed, only opening when the car is driving in and out. The windows may be tinted that even determining the gender of the driver, leave alone the other passengers may be impossible. Either way, it’s good to know a family nearby, one who can induct you to the new place, tell you of who to and not to trust etc.
- National Archives of your new place
Nairobi CBD has national archives, KICC and Hilton, Mombasa you will have to stand at Posta and while in Kisumu, go to Tuskys (United Mall). These are the main points of collection in case you are a newbie. For instance, go to archives on that afternoon you lack anything constructive to do. You will find most shagzmodoz standing there with some china phones that are heavier than the kilo of meat you are required to turn up with back home at the end of the day. Here is where those who have stepped the city the first time come to wait for someone to collect them. Having noted this, in case you are coming to Kitengela, I highly recommend Eastmart supermarket, Kobil, Pizza Inn or Naivas (I don’t know the exact name of the mall housing this, and so do 99.99% of Kitengelans. Naivas is its widely accepted name. From either these places, I can easily locate you.
- Place of Worship
In a country where freedom of worship is acknowledged, it’s good to know the place where you’re your tithe should go. I don’t advocate for the panda mbegu system where we use mobile money transfers. Stroll around a couple of days before your supposed Sabbath day and look around for the nearest church, mosque, temple etc you subscribe to.
- Mtu wa Mikono
For those of us who have soft hands, hands that Aziza, the character in Muhammed Said Abdulla’s Mke Wangu, its paramount you get a jack of all trades. A muscular man that is always available to do manual jobs such as slashing the tall grass, weeding, unblocking a clogged sewerage among others. He doesn’t have to be on a permanent payroll, but whenever duty calls, he should avail himself.
- Nearby Friendlies
Try to find out who of your extended family or workmates live in the vicinity. That boring Sunday afternoon instead of heading back home from church, it will be more fun to head there and have a family get together and sometime later, you reciprocate it by hosting them. They help when you want to go for that function out of town and you don’t have anyone to look ater the kids. You can drop them there and pick them up when you are back, even if its after two days.
**** Karibu Kitengela but since when did residents of Kitengela become Kitengelans?