I am seated in a little known quiet restaurant loved by it’s loyal patrons for opening early in the morning. I am talking 6am early; the people are the same everyday and over time we have gotten to know each other. We don’t know each other’s names, and a year later, we are still comfortably stuck at plastic smiles instinctive nods to each other. Every now and then we shall politely ask each if we could share a table in the rare occurrence that all the tables are full. It’s our little morning family and we prefer it that way.
Interestingly we are all prisoners of routine and everyone’s is unique. I for instance will arrive at exactly 6 am and slide in to my usual spot, a corner table that faces the sunrise. I will take out my notebook and write down three things that I want to accomplish that day. It sounds stupid but I have struggled with concentration all my life because I get bored easily so this is my way of making sure I get things done. After my list I will do one of two things, depending on whether it is going to be a busy day or not. My preference is usually take out a book and read for a solid hour. Again I will remind you that I get bored easily so at any one time I am reading 3 books or more and my pick depends on what I feel is interesting for the moment. After this, I will take out my laptop and seize the day.
There is an old man who usually checks in the restaurant earlier than I do and like clockwork, he reads 3 newspapers of the day in exactly the same order every day. The waiters know his breakfast order for each day and so I have never seen him ask for a menu. He is a strange and quiet character. My wild imagination tells me he must be a former priest or a criminal or detective from the old school. He has a dead gaze that says he is not looking at you but into you. Based on my assessment, I chose to mind my own business. Ignorance is bliss.
On another table in the dimly lit corner next to the backdoor, is where some young kid in this late teens normally sits with his beat up laptop, drawing pad and comic books. I can tell he is in that age where the world is exerting undue pressure on him to behave like a focused 45 year old. He has never combed his hair and he always looks anxious. My guess is, his daily plan is to get out of the house early and only go back after his parents and siblings have gone to work. I think I am right because one day his mother walked in and scolded him for wanting to become an animator. She was loud and I could make out that she was trying to arm twist him into signing up for the traditional and ‘respectable’ university courses. She ended the conversation by telling him that no child of hers will ever become an artist and take drugs. I would rather not go into what my thoughts are about what the kid should do because that’s his monkey.
Moving on, there is this good looking middle aged woman who is always in a rush and feels the need to say hi to everyone. I find myself almost telling her that it’s against the rules but whatever, it just takes two seconds of my time to respond to her greeting. I find her disgusting though; she has a habit of always licking her cup, spoon, fork and knife when she’s done having breakfast. I have tried to understand her behaviour and I hope these are not attempts to erase her DNA from the crockery as it would be counterproductive. At this point I always bury my head in an excel sheet or something more boring.
I could tell you about all the other loyal patrons of our morning express but it would take a lot of time.
One of the insights I have gained into my morning family is that most couples fight in the morning before they go to work. This I know because every now and then there are patrons who are confronted by their partners, spouses and sometimes side dishes as they have their breakfast or go about their morning routine. Some are regular and some are one-off instances. Sadly, some have concluded their relationships here and it was dramatic. In line with the unwritten and unsaid code of the morning express crew, we (other patrons) do not interfere unless it becomes a safety issue. After all, our relationship is all nods and plastic smiles and polite requests to share tables, nothing more.
Every member of the morning express comes here for a reason. Some come to escape the miseries of the ones they live with. Some are just lonely and want to be around other people even if there is no real interaction. Others have been working on their dreams and over time you learn to read their victory and loss faces as they close in (or out) on their goals. For instance, there is a struggling music artist who always comes in early, puts on their headphones and samples music from all over the world. I know this because his laptop screen is always in my line of vision. I can tell he is struggling financially just from what his order is every morning but I respect the kid and I think he’s moving in the right direction. Persistence, I have observed, sets successful people apart from the failures.
All in all, I find this place interesting because as I do my thing I get to observe and appreciate people. Everyone is dealing with something but one thing most people have in common is the need and urgency to improve their lives. To achieve this, some quiet time everyday to dream, reflect and plan is greatly needed.
I am a mixture of personalities. I like hanging out with people but I also like having moments alone. I especially love early mornings because it is when my mind is most active and there are fewer distractions. If I miss a couple of early mornings alone I get anxious and I feel like I am losing control of everything. And yes I believe it is important for people to have time alone to meditate, strategise and most of all to be fully conscious.
Happy Africa Day!
“The stench of rotting flesh filled my car as we rolled down Waiyaki way looking for a spot we could dump the black garbage bags. Every time we thought we had found a spot, headlights would appear from nowhere and we would abandon our plan. We had been driving for 3 hours now and we feared we would be stopped by cops at any time…”
A few months earlier we were sitting in a restaurant planning on what we thought was the best money making plan ever. It would be short term and best of all, the proceeds would be tax free. We held our meeting in hushed voices and wrote out a sketchy plan on some white serviettes.
The project was going to take 4 months after which we would cash in and move on to other bigger things. The partnership was made up of myself and my long time friends Jimmy and Muba. We felt invincible and we were confident that we had explored all possible scenarios of the plan. Little did we know our venture would end up with lives lost. It would also turn out to be one of our most memorable business lessons ever.
We set into action by ensuring our finances were okay. We asked around and carried out due diligence by gathering successful case studies. To cap it all, we already had a willing buyer who I had gotten connected to by a credible source. The buyer was specific; every ‘package’ had to conform to a weight of 1.5 kilos, no more. Otherwise it would raise a red flag with his boss and the whole deal would be considered suspicious and eventually cancelled.
We wrote out a plan and swung into action with the vision of a handsome profit burning brightly in our minds.
We bought 600 birds with 100 of them as insurance against the unpredictable. In poultry farming you have to account for losses, some stemming from negligence by the handlers and others just from random acts of God. We carefully followed our plan and not before long we started to see our project grow into the most promising venture. The birds grew big so fast that they crossed the 1.5 kilo mark on the third month, even our farm neighbours could not hide their envy. We had opted to feed the birds with the highest quality of chicken feeds available and the good thing was, all this was still within budget. We had estimated that we would break even with the first batch of chicken and start making profit on the second batch.So I called up my guy the buyer and explained to him our weight problem. He brushed it off saying we needed not worry as he’d ‘sort’ it with his boss. The only condition he gave was that he wanted a cut from our sales. We gladly agreed.
So finally the day came for the slaughter and our my guy gave us the green light to deliver the chicken at his boss’ hotel by 8PM that evening. So we enlisted the services of this giant of a man who had a reputation of being the most efficient chicken executioner in Nairobi. He was this 6 foot hulk with the most scarred face and the coldest eyes we had seen. He always walked around with his tools of trade; a set of knives, string, a sheet of polythene (which he wore to to prevent blood spatter) and a pack of cheap cigarettes. He looked like a morbid serial killer. Anyway he looked like the perfect person for the job because it takes a lot of cold heart to slaughter 500 chicken.
He filled a drum with water and started a fire under it. Soon he was snatching birds from the chicken barn, snapping their heads off their bodies like dry spaghetti and throwing them into the boiling water. He made short of the work and in two hours the chicken were hanging upside down dripping a mixture of water and blood; all ready to be delivered to the customer in the next two hours. Now it was time for the delivery.
The load was almost a ton and I could feel Iris my old station wagon groaning under the heavy weight as we flew down Kangundo road in the open savannah towards the city lights. We dropped ‘the executioner’ along the way after paying him [much to everyone’s relief]. It had been very uncomfortable riding with him at the back of the car just staring into a crazy trance. All the time, he never said a word despite our repeated attempt at having a conversation. We couldn’t stop fearing he would go crazy and snap our necks from behind, then bury us in shallow graves on a lonely stretch by the road.
As we edged closer to the city, I called my guy to tell him we were almost there. That’s when everything went south. He pretended not to remember that we had spoken about the birds being overweight. He also indifferently asked whether we had a signed order from the hotel which obviously we didn’t. He then delivered the final blow saying that they had already gotten a delivery by their usual supplier and therefore they wouldn’t take our stock. It took me a while to process the whole conversation and at some point I thought I was having a heart attack. As I broke the news to my partners, I could see Jimmy almost tearing up the steering wheel in frustration and I could hear Muba laughing in the distance as he usually does when he can’t comprehend what just happened. We pulled over to the side of the road and took a moment to feel sorry for ourselves. This was turning out to be a really bad day.
After brainstorming, we came up with our first idea for mitigation. We would ride into town and sell the chickens on the busiest highway in the city. So we drove to Uhuru highway and parked on the side of the Nyayo stadium round about and went over our preposition for the millionth time; a chicken worth 700 shillings at a price of 250 shillings. We were sure it was an offer customers wouldn’t refuse. We targeted to sell at least 50 birds each between Jimmy, Muba and myself. The plan was to offload as much as possible and sell the rest to a restaurant owned by a sister to Victor one of the friends in our circle. Little did we know this would turn out to be the hardest sell ever. Motorists would roll up their windows whenever we tried selling them of the chicken. It never occurred to us that selling chicken stupidly cheap (and on the highway) was suspicious! Someone in a matatu even told the rest of the passengers that we had slaughtered the marabou storks that are usually perched on the trees along Nyayo stadium, and that’s why our chicken were too big! We got so desperate we even offered them to motorists for free. In the end we had disposed only 10 fat chickens with 490 to go!
We packed up and headed to Victor’s sister and sadly, she would only take 5. By this time, we had even bought ice blocks because the executioner had warned us that after 24 hours the chicken would start going bad. It was almost midnight when we got the idea of asking our friends and families to assist with storing some of the birds in their refrigerators but they could only take so much. We still had 400 to go. At 2AM we gave up and decided to leave the remaining chickens in the car hoping the ice would keep them fresh until morning.
The next day was a work day and as we left the house we couldn’t help but catch a faint familiar smell as we walked towards the car. This is when our real ordeal started.
The Thika superhighway hadn’t been built yet and so the traffic usually started on our doorstep. We had opened all the windows and we could see everyone on the road sniffing and trying to investigate where the foul smell was coming from. I had never felt so defeated in my life. As usual, Muba wouldn’t stop laughing and Jimmy eventually joined the laughing band. I personally was just in a daze. Clearly we were having one of the worst days of our lives. As Jimmy dropped us to our workplaces, each person went into their office carrying two chickens for ‘advertising’. To date we all agree that Muba had the most hilarious experience of all that day as he was suspected of murdering his boss but I’ll tell you about later.
Jimmy went ahead and parked the car under a tree at his workplace hoping the shade would slow down the decomposition of the chicken. By midday he had called us saying his workmates were reporting an overpowering smell of death.
That’s when we all spoke on phone and agreed that our business had gone bust and it was time to pull off the final act. Disposal. We decided we would buy garbage bags and wait for midnight to find a discreet dumping ground. We also enlisted one more accomplice in our circle Naito who would help us with pulling it off.
At midnight we headed out into the dark. At first we tried finding dumpsites along Thika road where we used to live but the mayor had done his work well that year. We couldn’t find any. So Jimmy suggested Waiyaki Way as the perfect place since he had grown up there and knew the dumping sites like the back of his hand.
The stench of rotting flesh filled my car as we rolled down Waiyaki way looking for a spot we could dump the blag garbage bags. Every time we thought we had found a spot, headlights would appear from nowhere and we would abandon our plan. By now we had been driving for 3 hours now, and we feared we would be stopped at any time by the police. That’s when it hit me that we had committed mass murder because thanks to us, more than 400 chicken had lost their lives for nothing. As morning drew closer we decided to go back home because the situation was getting risky and out of control. We were tired and sleepy and as we turned into the last street home, Naito made a comment about dumping the whole thing on the roadside just before our gate. Little did she know what she had just said was the best idea we’d heard all week.
The next morning we woke up to chaos in the neighbourhood. Somehow stray dogs had managed to rip the bags open and strewn the carcasses all over. The stench was overwhelming. Good thing no one knew who was responsible. We quietly slipped into our car which was still reeking and drove out to work. We had gotten away with murder. But we wouldn’t eat chicken for the rest of the year let alone look at it rotating on the grill behind the Kenchic joint window.
The whole event taught us some hard and important lessons. Firstly every business idea needs a proof of market before one invests their hard earned money. Secondly always have a backup plan to your backup plan because anything can go wrong. Lastly, always be cautious when someone offers to hook you up with a contact while saying “I have a guy”.
I’m fat. That’s a fact. I don’t want you to ever call me a ‘big guy’, ‘mzito’ or ‘big mike’ again because I know that’s what we call fat guys so they can feel better about themselves. I feel heavy that’s for sure, but I don’t hate my body or appearance. Why should I? I am too awesome for that. I’m able to do everything my peers can do except pushups; which is understandable because my belly just won’t leave the ground no matter how high I push myself. The last time I managed to do five I almost drained my intestines in my living room. My arms wouldn’t stop shaking for two days and I almost visited a neurologist. I decided to leave that part of self determination to YouTube athletes. However I can run further many fit people but then I also understand it’s about fuel capacity and efficiency.
I have to admit that lean guys get more perks in life compared to fat guys. Lean guys can walk up to any store and walk out with nice clothes or even an extra large pizza. For a fat guy it’s different. You have ‘your guy’ when it comes to clothes. And even with this [your] guy, you have to keep your fingers crossed because clothing manufacturers make really bad clothes for fat guys. The evidence is everywhere from polka dot shirts with spots which look like little mini-me’s arranged in a neat motif, to jeans with a low belt-line meant to show my crack every time I stand up. I believe there’s a worldwide conspiracy to force us into losing weight. We must be using a lot of resources and just maybe, we might be the original cause of global warming.
The airlines are doing it too. Fellow passengers cringe when you’re pace up and down the airplane isle looking for your seat number. And for a moment in the plane it feels like lean people have been forced into playing a game of Russian Roulette; fat guy being the bullet. Which unlucky passenger will have their side squashed by fat guy’s upper butt? Who will be the miserable passenger who will have to endure an eight hour flight next to a sweaty fat dude who’s evidently eyeing their food and asking for whisky refills throughout the flight?
In defence of fat guys, I wish to state that the mind has a way of making you appear smaller in the mirror. Every time I’m topless mirror I can swear there’s a six pack peering through my one pack. Ok, you need to get your dirty mind of the hairy man boobs if you really want to get my six pack story. Fat guys are often called good huggers because they actually look and feel like oversized dolls or as you would call them Teddy Bears. They hate it and love it in equal measure. Being a fat dude makes you appear somewhat friendly and dumb at the same time especially when you’re in oversized clothes. Fact. A fat guy should never go a day without a shower. Too bad they have to use more soap than the rest of the population. We should seriously consider signing up for a daily scrub at the local carwash.
So what to do? For most fat guys, the whole fat experience involves learning how to deal with yourself daily. It also involves pondering over some strange challenges in our lives. For instance, most fat guys miss at least one meal a day which translates to something like “My car can go on an empty tank every now and then”. Genetics? Gastric abnormalities perhaps? Are we even trying to lose weight in the first place?
So this is where I speak for myself. This year, I plan to quit being a fat guy. Not because I hate how I look; please don’t get it twisted. I can still get laid more times than you skinny guys can count. I’m just tired of panting every-time I have to tie my shoe laces. Hint: That’s why fat guys totally dig slip-on shoes. A big stomach can make the world literally disappear under your nose. Honestly I just wish I that one day I will see my toes again.
Though very difficult, I want to eat right, train right and have healthy hours of sleep. I want to dance all night in the club without having the waitresses follow me mop-in-hand. I want to show off in bed and not end up waterboarding my lay. I want be able to pick an meal from the menu without feeling like it’s the night before my final exams. Did you know that it’s very hard for a fat guy to get a job waiting tables in a restaurant? Not because we’re slow but apparently the customers always suspect the fat waiter of foul play whenever the portions come small. Moving on…
Now I know almost every lean person is always looking to give a fat guy their secret of staying lean. But this is the world cup baby. It’s much harder than it looks. For one, fat guys naturally try to lose weight privately which will often fail. Why? Because the world doesn’t adjust for you. The food will be always be floating in the air and the beer will always be the right temperature after every long day. I like how Kiyosaki views obesity as a condition caused by emotional and psychological factors but not food. I think he’s right. We ate candy and greasy chips every breathing moment when we were kids and we never grew fat. But somewhere along the way life got real and suddenly the body went into self preservation mode.
I can write different fat article everyday for the rest of my life because I have tasted life (sic) as a lean guy and eaten it with a big spoon (sic again) as a fat guy. Both have advantages but one has more disadvantages than the other. Trust me, you don’t want to be that guy that suffers those terrible night sweats and snores like Godzilla even when you involuntarily nap during working hours. So if you’re lean, just stay that way and I mean stay that way! If you’re fat and you hate yourself I have no advise for you. You can choose to sulk and look fat and miserable and be sure the CIA won’t save you. But if you’re fat and you love yourself and you feel like it’s time to get your breath back then make friends with like minded people. The road from fat to fit is lonely and hard; it only makes sense to walk with someone. Regardless, let’s raise our (water) glasses to always keep trying to get fit.
While I was going about my business sniffing here and there, marking a bush or two with my pee, I kept wondering if there was a new way to hide my hard earned bones other than the traditional dig-a-hole-and-bury method. Where could I put my bones and watch them grow so I didn’t have to keep scavenging like the stray dog that I am? How could I become the most successful and happiest dog in the neighborhood just like Bosco the smooth furred happy-but-scary bulldog down the street? What did he do to become that confident and powerful? He sure is very ugly but why is his bowl always full? Why is his pack that big?
I decided to face my fears and confront the happiest and most confident dogs [that I admired] in the neighborhood and ask them what their secret was. I was surprised how warmly these happy dogs received me. You see as a dog you get used to being constantly chased off marked territories with your tail right between your legs so you can understand this was new to me. Anyway I asked them how they did it and they gave me five investment options to making my pile of bones grow and most of all being a happy dog.
Invest in yourself, the Bulldog said
Investing in yourself should be your biggest priority. How good are you at fetching? Can you sniff better than the next dog?Are your teeth constantly clean? What do you know about catching a rabbit mid air? Do you practice? As a dog you are constantly in a state of growth. The only difference between you and the next dog is your rate of growth. If you don’t grow you become irrelevant over time. Growth starts from knowledge; how to run without tiring, how to know what to chase and what not to waste your energy on among the things you should master. Knowledge becomes power because it changes the way you act and react. When you put an effort into gaining more knowledge you have understood the first rule of investing in yourself.
Investing in yourself should be your biggest priority. You wish you had a few less pounds so you could run faster? Or you with you had more muscle so you could be the better dog in the fight? Invest in keeping in shape by knowing how your body works and embarking on a training program that will suit you. Keep your fur clean so you can be confident. Keep your teeth clean and sharp and avoid eating leftovers. In our world dogs are attracted to unique dogs who posses unusual capability. What is the one unique thing that you posses that a pack will identify you with? Is it how you sniff? Is it how you hunt? What are you good at? Surely you don’t want to be the poor lonely pup that no one remembers for anything! Invest in your uniqueness and the world will reward you for it.
Invest in Family the, Pug said
I know a dog who knows a beagle who dedicated his life to fetching and collecting bones and in the process became very successful… and lonely. During his quest for tasty bones he paid little attention to his bitch and puppies because he convinced himself that he was doing everything so they could enjoy a never ending supply of food in the future. Now his puppies are all grown up and are always turning down his generous gestures because they feel like they are being bribed. His bitch left him and married an average retriever whose big heart compensates for his often empty bowl and they are quite happy. Our rich beagle is forever lonely and what’s more sad is that all the friends he has right now are there because of his pile of bones. It’s good to work hard, but it is also good to share your time with family.
Invest For Yourself, the Rottweiler said
After trying my paws at the numerous hunting ideas I got through friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that I will always sleep hungry when I follow another dog’s hunting idea. My point is, if the prey is not in your kill zone you can always let it go and hunt it another day. All in all knowing that a good hunt is hard to come by, it is very important to keep something for yourself because the future is never a kind friend especially if you didn’t hide your kill well. As with all forms of bone hiding, there are rules and the biggest one is don’t hide all your bones in one hole. To hunt you need energy and this can only come from the bones you saved from the last hunt so you can eat and share but always keep some for yourself.
Invest in Faith, the Poodle said
Yes I was surprised to hear this from a pampered dog that I have never seen hunting. But her point of view raised a very important point. You need to believe that the hunt will be successful. The success of the hunt must first happen between your flappy ears before it can be real. There are certain events in your life; good and bad that serve as evidence of a power that is always watching over us. Be thankful in advance and acknowledge the greatness of this power. Take time to feed your spiritual self by meditating on a successful hunt. By doing so you can strengthen your faith and live the quality of life you want. Faith is the beacon that always keeps us in the right direction regardless of the situations we face in our lives.
Invest in the Pack, the Terrier said
Along the way you will find canines of strategic importance. One of the dogs I interviewed was a terrier named Swish. He told me the main reason for his success was his pack. He likes making new friends and he has realized that every time he’s on an hunt he’ll always find dogs willing to help him track down and catch new rabbits. Why? Because he realizes every dog is unique. Some are fast, some are brave and others like him are smart. He genuinely cares for his friends. He will always visit a member of his pack and offer him a bone for no reason. He will call out his pack for a run in the fields just so they could feel the wind on their flapping tongues together as one. You see, being in the pack is not just about hunting, it’s also about family and support. Just because of investing in his friends, Swish’s pack is the biggest and most successful of all. They eat well and their furs are forever shiny.
So I’m at the dog pound having my fur and claws done when I overhear a conversation that sounds quite interesting. These two customers are having an interesting discussion on life. Why are Africans the most volatile people on earth. Where the hell do our problems come from? Just what is wrong with us? Is there a solution? So the conversation draws mixed reactions from both dogs and eventually the whole pound sounds like a bar in a mental hospital. I choose to keep quiet and ignore the whole conversation. I refuse to engage in such discussions that don’t bear solutions. However being in privileged position of a writer, I can jot down my thoughts; a better chance that my pups will read them when they’re older. I have a feeling that they will listen and follow my dogvise. I have quite a few provoking thoughts that I would like to share with you bark to bark. So you can either choose to fetch my bone or go pee in another bush outside my territory.
Ever wondered why men are hesitant when it comes to the commitment of marriage? Have you ever stopped to think why he keeps you around but hasn’t yet made ‘the move’? Well I’ll tell you one simple reason. It is COMPLICATED! Meet my Joe who’s been in a relationship for five years. He is a good guy and he loves his girl to death. Unfortunately, he hasn’t yet proposed to her. Her name is Joy. Stunningly beautiful and smart, she is every man’s dream. She is a home maker and a tiger. A rare combo. Infact, Joe would be a stupid dog if he ever lost her because even his best friend wouldn’t mind risking a 15 year friendship for this woman.
Joe works as a junior clerk in a shoe factory in downtown Nairobi. He works hard as he has to support his ailing parents and siblings who are still in high school. Joy works as a sales person in a Chinese owned health products outlet. She also sends money home every now and then as she also comes from a very humble background. Their salaries are meagre, but they still manage to get by. They are hopeful that everything will get better. Joe and Joy have lived together for three years and now plan to start a family together.
Bark to Joe. They say romance happens only between two people who love each other unconditionally. How blissful. Let me tell you what the future holds for poor Joe. At that time when he thinks he is ready, he will propose and Joy will say yes. Then the determining period that we call engagement will begin, and they will realize that they were actually meant to be together. So Joe will take Joy to meet his parents and they will definitely love her. Next, they will plan to meet Joy’s parents just to inform them that they are the ones in possession of this ‘lost goat’. How lovely. Two young people with a great future following customs to the satisfaction of society. So this particular meeting will go well and they will leave the girl’s home feeling like conquerors. So the negotiations will start and for a while everything will seem to look orderly and exciting.
Exit bliss enter reality
Being a good guy, Joe believes that the world revolves around good will so he will be eager to round up his elders, who will be act as representatives in the negotiations. On the other hand, Joy’s parents will start preparing for a ngurario and will name their negotiation line up like a soccer team. D-day will begin in confusion because Joe’s parents will appear with ‘uncles’ and ‘grandfathers’ that he has never met. Picture a group of shabbily dressed old men in dominantly brown-checked-double breasted suits, screaming colored ties and red muddy running shoes. It will be the same on Joy’s home as she and her family wait for the boy’s ‘people’.
When Joe’s party enters Joy’s parents’ compound, they will be chased back because it’s the women who are supposed to enter first with four crates of soda as a gesture of good will. And so the games will begin. Joe will be told to appease the girl’s parents since they have taken the ‘extraordinary’ pains of bringing her up well and schooling her up to university… 100,000. Next, Joe will be told of Joy’s great uncles who require blankets because the world has changed and the nights are ‘colder’. Being an intelligent young man, Joe will be confident that he has it all covered. Initial budget, 150,000. He will now think the process is just about over. He will be wrong. All this time, they will still have negotiated on the actual dowry. That is, the goats and cows. A goat costs Kshs. 4,500 on average. A cow, Kshs. 15,000 minimum. Two cows, Twenty goats. How good is your math? And so on will the negotiations go downhill.
All through while the negotiations are going on, Joe will not be allowed to utter a word. Custom dictates that the young man and his parents are not to speak at the negotiating table. Their opinions do not count. Secondly, the boy’s family should cover the seating fees and transportation costs of the elders. By early afternoon, Joe will be in debt and Joy will be crying in her room. All this because a bunch of ‘elders’ that they never saw while growing up made some selfish decisions. Let’s give joe a noose to tighten on his neck. Minus Kshs. 100,000. He is also supposed to remember they had given friends and relatives a tentative wedding date. 6 months. Great. These two puppies Joe and Joy had wanted to finance their own wedding with the money they could raise by themselves. A small but lovely wedding. Now, they will be forced to turn to the society to help out.
They will eventually get married. On their wedding day, Joe will be expressionless while Joy will cry the whole time. Everyone will say they are crying because of the love. They will have guessed right. Such is the cost of love in Africa. The previously unknown relatives will disappear right after the pilau just as mysteriously as they had appeared. And the newly weds will be left with a huge amount of trash to clear up. The caterers will burst their phones the first week and threaten legal action. Did I also mention that they will have to lie that they are on honeymoon? Yep. Truth is, they will be in the house sleeping and not talking to each other. Outside the door will be the landlord. It’s always the middle of the month.
A month later, they will have their first major fight. They can’t make ends meet. Yes they are still two people but for some reason, the budget will have shot through the roof. Joy will start missing her salon appointments on purpose. Joe will grow an ugly beard and forget there was ever an invention called deodorant. 6 months later, Joy will start coming home late and Joy will start having an affair with the boss. Let me stop before I get more creative. Wag your tail if you can fetch what I am trying to say.
My fears are every African man’s whether wealthy or starting up. I would like to salute our African women, who have chosen to stick with us through thick and thin. Most of our parents met when they had nothing to call their own. I believe it would have been easier on them had customs been lenient. most of our fathers are still paying bride price decades later. Debt is carried down for generations. If not for us, let’s look at ways how we can change the lives of our children. Let’s give them the ultimate freedom. These are my paws for thought.
February 8, 2011 at 11 am
In the dungeons below the city council building there is a man who has been locked up for the last twenty days. He has been denied trial and the council officials even deny that he exists. He has not been logged in the offenders book. He was accused of jay walking. That is, crossing or walking in the street unlawfully in disregard for approaching traffic. This man has not been charged nor has he been given access to a lawyer or even a phone call. The council refuses to consider his plea for medical attention.
January 12, 2011 at 1 am
It’s two hours since it started raining and she still has not showed up. She knows I’m waiting for her. I know she can’t wait to see me. I am a lucky man. What are the chances of a girl of this calibre falling in love with a guy like me? Thank God for small mercies. Thirty minutes. She’s probably held up at work. Let me head on home and wait for her to call me. No, I’ll walk to her house and wait for her at the door. It’s almost three in the morning. It’s not safe for a young woman to walk from the car to her front door all alone. I will wait. I wonder how she’ll react to see me waiting for her. She will be too excited! She’s lucky to have me love her. She knows it.
I’ve been happy the last few days I think. I think it was the meds that were the problem. The doctor says I’m crazy. I say HE’s crazy. I mean, don’t crazy people walk naked on the street? I felt insulted when he told me I had a psychological disorder. He says the voices in my head are not supposed to be there. What does he know anyway! They (voices) tell me things. Important things. I would die without them. I feared they had left me when I was taking the meds the doctor gave me. Now I’m convinced that the crazy doctor wanted to kill me. That is why I’m never going back again. How can my own family conspire with a doctor they hardly know to kill me? Their only son?
My life has changed since I met Sarah. You see, Sarah and I have a bond. We have never spoken but we understand each other. I like following her wherever she goes. I know every place she visits in a typical day. She likes the shawarma at the mall. Red is her favorite color. She owns thirteen pairs of shoes. She has two best friends who I happen to hate because they point their fingers at me whenever they see me near her. They also think I’m crazy. If they only knew how much Sarah and I love each other. One day, we’ll get married and I will propose to keep these vexing friends out of our lives.
The watchman at the building where she works doesn’t like me. Her workmates don’t like me too. They claim Sarah told them that she’s scared of me. They’re just jealous. That won’t stop me from waiting for her. It will not stop me from loving her. It’s the least I would expect froma beautiful woman. Every man would die to have her to himself. In the end, they will realize it is me she loves. You’ll see.
She hasn’t been picking her phone lately. But it’s ok, I know she’ll call me back when she gets the chance. You know how busy people in the media are. She must be working hard at the station. One more reason why I like her. She does her job well. I never miss the news when she’s on tv. I like how she matches what she wears with her underwear. Private joke. I think I’m the only one who knows the color of her underwear. I watch her laundry dry when she’s at work. Through her broken window, I have watched her dress and undress countless times. It is the reason why I quit my job. It is funny the things that love can make you do. Being a manager in the biggest software company in the country didn’t give me as much happiness, as falling in love with Sarah. The headaches were a sign that there was something else out there for me. Sarah. they voices told me that our love was pre-destined. They were right. I can see it in her eyes when she looks at me. Other people would say she looks scared but if you know her well, you’d know that’s how she looks when she is excited. I would lay down my life for her.
It’s been two years since I met Sarah. It’s been hard to keep up with her lately. She’s always walking with a man. It must be her brother. Why else would a man hold a woman by the waist? Then there are these city council askaris who keep chasing me from my spot. They say they will arrest me for loitering aimlessly. They should know I am a man waiting for the love of his life. She knows i am waiting for her. She’ll show up I’m sure. Then what will they say? Because I am a good man, I will accept their apologies. For now, I am willing to stick around until the day she talks to me. We’ll get married immediately and have beautiful kids. Dad will be proud of me. Mum will love her. I love my life. I love my woman. I hate doctors. I hate medicine.
I know she’s thinking about me wherever she is. I could be with anyone in the world but I choose to be with her. What a lucky woman!
Erotomania: a delusion in which a person believes that another person (typically of higher social status) is in love with them. It is also characterized by excessive sexual desire.
As life gets harder in the third world, more and more people are exposed to mental challenges that prevent them from living as normal human beings. I thank my friends Kikata, Muba and Yoram for reminding me of these misbegotten people.
I dedicate this post to persons suffering from erotomania. We call some of these people stalkers. In a society where mental health has not been taken seriously, these people continue to suffer in obscurity. For most of psychological disorders arise in childhood. Maybe it’s time we raised our children better. It’s time you treated your siblings with care. It’s time you got your stalker some help.
By Michael Ngigi
Today, I take this moment to tell all the women in my life something that I have been meaning to say all along. I love you. I love women and I respect them. God help me to always champion for their cause and to recognize their efforts. Ladies, I stand by you. You have my word. Moving on to the usual…
At one time or another every man and woman has been subjected to the ‘honesty‘ speech. You know where someone tells you something like “You can tell me anything because I am your friend”? Women are are especially big on this one.
“Honey, please never feel scared to tell me anything ok?” she says, ” I will always understand as long as you’re honest with me”.
Can you LISTEN to yourself?!
I have never met a woman who can handle cold truth in a calm manner. Remember the nights you used to sneak out of your parents’ house to sleep over at your boyfriend’s? You shamelessly would say you were going for church fellowship? What if your mother found out? All the sessions of steamy sex you had at 16 when you were supposed to be busy singing for God?
Well, as a man that is the kind of life we are subjected to for life.
I was raised in a christian home where values were everything. I was told character makes the man. A man’s worth is based on his reputation, my mother would often say. In the spirit of freedom, I was also taught to be honest and to share my life’s experiences without fear. That seemed to work out for me, at least until I was fourteen.
I smoked my first joint and liked it. I was scared that I was getting addicted. I was even more scared when my father demanded to know why my grades were dropping in my last year in primary school. I wondered to myself , does he really want to know? That December after my final exams I broke my virginity on a girl almost twice my age from my mother’s church. Again my mother wanted to know why I couldn’t accompany her to this girl’s home for lunch after church. It was a turning point in my life.
Ultimately everything I did was outrageous. I was just trying to find my way in life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t share it with anyone. Reason? The truth was too much to bear. And so on went my escapades, from having a mandrax and weed addiction in high school to peddling hush at nineteen. Truth is a bitch. It ate me from inside because I couldn’t let it out.
Those days are long gone but now we have an even more complex situation. Does my mother know I still smoke a joint once in a while even though it could land me eight years in prison? Does she know the girl she wants me to marry has four boyfriends at any one given time? How about my dad?What would he say if he knew my friends where criminals who think the police are sissies? What would be his reaction if he knew how much I make; comparing with what he’d do with the same amount? Ask me why a man should never reveal his pay-slip even to his wife!
Before you get angry with me ladies, remember what I said in the beginning. I love you. I can’t live without you.
The truth is like coffee. Not everyone can handle dark coffee. It is an acquired taste. Next time you ask your woman why she seems not interested in sex anymore with you, brace yourself. Are you going to handle it? I feel sorry for the women who are always angry when their men eat out instead of home. Personally I don’t think I’d hold it together if my child told me they were gay. But at the end of the day, the truth is the truth. No two ways about it. It is cold, relentless and ever present. It is buoyant and can never be sank. At least not for long. The truth is what no one wants to hear yet what everyone will pay to hear.
Brace yourself. Should the doctor call you to tell you you have cancer of should you fall out of love with your spouse, you will open the door and realize the truth never left. Even for one moment. One thing is clear though, some truths are better left unsaid. At the same time, some truths will set you free. You just have to be truthful to yourself. Old trick but works just as good as any other.
By Michael Ngigi
What have you been up to lately? Are you still whining? Still angry that things never go your way? I bet you do have ambitions. Daily score sheets that never seem to serve their purpose. A hopeless picture filled with sad colors of the dreams that never came to be. Will you ever amount to anything? You’re always scared to jump into the unknown. To take the risk that will set you free. Are you afraid of getting hurt? Yes you are. Yet the world beckons to you. Showing you what you’re missing. Love. Life. Wealth. Health.
In the background you can hear David Gray’s faint voice singing Babylon. “If you want it, come and get it…“.
Have you ever stopped to count how many restaurants there are in a street near you? How come they open everyday and seldom ran out of business? Each one of them makes its own profit at the end of the day. How many beautiful fashion conscious ladies are wearing hot sophisticated black high-heels? Did they buy them in the same shop? How is it then that you will not believe that you too have a share of the world and all the good things herein?
You will never appreciate warmth if you have never felt cold. Happiness if you’ve never shed a tear or got heartbroken. Is it that your case is different? Is it that the girl you want to talk to wouldn’t like a guy like you? Maybe you’re right. But how will you ever know if you don’t try? You want to travel and see the world. When will you start?
You want a pay rise. Instead, you go to work everyday an angry girl. Snapping at everyone whose intention is just to check up on you. Will you walk to the boss’ office and make your plea?
Tell me oh cowardly dog. Have you seen the pyramids? Have you been to the moon? Are you dating the girl of your dreams? Do you have even have a bucket list? Tell me ten things you would want to do before you’re old and grey. The world is for the bold. Hunger sharpens the mind. Vision is good for your heart.
The body will never agree with willpower. The body blames everything around it but itself. Risk it,and you could get hurt or on the flip-side, you could get very successful. Pick up that phone, call her. The worst she could do is say no to coffee. Tommorow, meet a new girl. Repeat the process after learning what when wrong with the previous one. You will realize that the more you do it, the clearer your visions of this ‘super girl’ become. The closer you get to her.
The same goes with everything your heart desires.
Today wasn’t my day. I failed at most things I set out to do. Partly because I was afraid of losing. As low as it got me, I can’t help smiling that not all deals will go your way unless you repeat your quest everyday. To be better and not to make the same mistakes again. After all, it’s just business right?
I’ll call it a day. Tomorrow, I will strike again at the heart of my fear. If tomorrow doesn’t yield, then the day after. Until something gives.
By Michael Ngigi
Hooray! You just got a job! Now it’s time to start living.
Think about the options that are now available to you. You could move out of your parent’s house. Maybe consider buying that piece of furniture that’s missing in your living room. In short, your options are now more than they were when you were jobless.
A friend asked me to give them advise on what they should do with their first earnings. After thinking about it and realized I was in need of the same advise. So I called up some of my friends who are more successful than I. The conversations we had were mind blowing. I felt like I had wasted my life all along. However, I have made a resolution to tell anyone who cares to listen about this age old secret that determines everything.
So for a moment, imagine me in white flowing robes, floating inside a light bulb. An idea bulb. I am speaking to you in a dream…
You cannot, should not celebrate with your first salary.
Yes I said it!
Come up with a lean budget based on your needs and fight yourself down to stick to it. I’m sure you’ll be left with some change (considering that your first job will most likely suck at paying!). This change is your lifeguard. It is your insurance for the future.
You see, in your early twenties you will be tempted to think you have time to make mistakes. But have you seen the increasing number of millionaires being made every day? Yesterday, my twenty-two year old friend announced to us that he’d bought a house. I was devastated! How did he do it? Maybe he stole, maybe he sold his soul to the devil but he bought a house… at twenty-two! Well I wouldn’t advice anyone to use the means above to get stuff as nothing comes for free (if you know what I mean). But time is closing in on us. If you’ve just started earning, you are lucky and blessed. If you have lost a lot of time like me, this is our last chance.
Eight years ago when I started earning, the year 2010 looked distant. In fact, I thought the world as I knew it would have ended by then.I was scared to invest because I thought I’d lose in the end…but so did John Rockefeller in 1855 and Manu Chandaria in 1955. Get it?
Lesson: The world is going to be around for atleast one more minute so plan for it.
Let me introduce you to an interesting concept in simple math. If you were to buy a 10 year investment policy for Kshs 5,000 a month a, you’d have accumulated Kshs 600,000 in the end. Now let’s go back to the start. Suppose you’re getting a minimum return on investment of 12.5% for your money you’d have Kshs 720,000 after 10 years. What if you bought three more policy’s for the same amount? Does Kshs 2,880,000 sound like music now? I have a feeling that you’re still not impressed…
I know what you’re thinking. Maybe you’ll start a business and make more money than what I propose. Good enough. But did you know nine out of ten businesses fail within the first year? Ok now you don’t believe in statistics? Read the signs puppy. You are young, with very little money to play with. Very little to waste for that matter. But then again, you need to dress up, eat better…
” A girl has needs you know…” says one newly employed young ‘professional’ woman.
” You know I got my people to take care of.” adds another responsible guy.
I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings but I have to break it to you. You are poor! Did you not get it when I said it the first time? Lean budget. Sharpen the axe first before you begin cutting down the tree! Your family will always need taking care of. Needs have always been there. Investing is about conquering yourself now so you could increase your options tomorrow. Wouldn’t you feel good buying real gold instead of plated junk? I thought so. I’m sure you’d also like to take your mother to the best physician and a list of a million other things that require you to be ‘equipped’.
Where there is smoke there is fire. We know that, even though we cannot verify it. But we are blind to more obvious signs. We walk into burning buildings and saw off the tree branch while we are seated on it. We just never seem to learn!
Well good people, life is interesting. It favors the bold and rewards those who take the narrow road.
Next time, I will tell you why you and I need to be wealthy. I will give you a picture of what money can do for you. For now, study the puppy.
Give him some food in a fancy dog bowl and he’ll wag his tail and be happy. After he’s done, he’ll run round the compound and when he comes across his food bowl, he’ll forget that was where he ate from a few minutes earlier. He’ll wag his tail even more, indicating he is twice as happy.
He has just found a new pot to piss in…
Hey folks, today’s guest writer (Name withheld) has come out guns blazing. In this controversial post, he presents a well crafted case that will make you feel something. Trust me ladies, you’d want to read this…and react.
I was on the bus today. I was headed home after a long day. Usually when I take the bus, I put everything aside and just think. I think about life, missed opportunities, my dreams. I ponder as to where my life is headed. I deliberate on what I have accomplished so far and what I would like to accomplish in the future. Today my thoughts were interrupted by someone shouting, “You son of a bitch!!!!” That’s harsh and made me think about this blog. A day in a dog’s life. A dog hmmm lets consult Wikipedia for a moment…
The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The domestic dog has been the most widely kept working, hunting and companion animal in human history. The word “dog” may also mean the male of a canine species, as opposed to the word “bitch” for the female of the species.
The word “bitch”, literally meaning a female dog, is a common slang term in the English language, especially used as a denigrating term applied to a woman. It often refers to someone (traditionally female) who is belligerent, unreasonable, rudely intrusive or aggressive. Its original use as a vulgarism, documented to the fourteenth century, suggested high sexual desire in a woman, comparable to a dog in heat. The range of meanings has expanded in modern usage. In a feminist context, it can indicate a strong or assertive woman, one who might make men feel threatened. When applied to a man, “bitch” is a derogatory term for a subordinate
Now I thought to myself, I may be a dog, but I am certainly not a son of bitch. In fact I haven’t met a bitch in my life. Now before you go and call me a liar, allow me to clarify myself and dedicate this blog to all the lovely ladies in my life, some good, and some bad but without a doubt, not bitches.
She is undoubtedly, the best thing that has ever happened to any of us. She’s been there all through; she’s been a shining light in my life. Nurtured me, she gave root to my dreams. Set me on the right track. I can’t give count to all that my darling mother has done for me. I have been called a mama’s boy so many times but I could care less. I am who I am, because of how my mother raised me. Thank you dear mama. I treat my girl like a princess because I was raised by a QUEEN…
I have been blessed to have two wonderful sisters and they are the best sisters in the world. They have been confidants, partners in crime, advisors and so many other roles. They evolved to guide this brother to what he is. My success is dependent on the impact they have on my life. They have been role models and I have been a role model to them. I look up to them and they look up to me, my proof that perpetual motion is possible. They inspire me as much as I inspire them. They were always there when I needed someone to LEAN ON…
She is that person aside from family that means the world to us dogs. She is the rock beneath our feet. Our foundation, she is the one that changes us for the better. As much as we hate to admit it, we know she completes us, she is there for us, we love the way she cares, the way she looks after us. Deep down we are suckers for that and we are just glad that she loves us with all our faults. It’s not an accident that she is our better half. We THANK GOD FOR FINDING HER…
These are the ladies that simply make life beautiful for us. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t hunt every girl that comes our way, we do make friends. They are colleagues, acquaintances, ladies that simply are there for us dogs, at work, school, and neighborhood. They are headstrong, driven and a joy to be with. They have been there for the good and bad times, they are a refreshing sight. They make life….BUBBLY!!!
Everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes we make bad choices, other times we ruin good things. Anything, whether positive or negative, plays a part in building who we are. I have quite a number of ex-girlfriends but they are not bitches. Some have certainly made it hard by being belligerent, unreasonable, rudely intrusive and aggressive. We have had our differences but I have learnt from that and made better choices, avoided past mistakes and learnt my lesson or lessons to be more precise. They were the guinea pigs when we were learning the ropes on how to love and treat a lady. And for this we say thank you. Not everything in life is peachy, but after a BAD DAY, we learnt to move on…
So those are the women in my life and I may be a dog, but none of them is a BITCH.