Why The Banana Peddler Decided to Stay In The Village And Vowed Never to Go Back to the City: Here Is His Interesting Story
August 6, 1998, will never be august in my life. I t was the day when I set foot in the City for the first time. Besides the fact that Nairobi had the highest number of thugs per square kilometer, that could not make me turn down my uncleâ€™s invitation. No sooner had I received the message that my presence was needed in Nairobi, than rumour did rounds in the entire village.
Consequently, the Hoi polloi from every nook and cranny frequented my house purportedly to congratulate me. During that time, gong to Nairobi was a dream that hardly came true to many. Some brought gifts like bananas, yams and millet while some brought with them witchcraft to bewitch me. Some of my haters suddenly turned friends, whereas some of my friends suddenly turned haters. The people who hated our family due to dearth instantly respected us. The call from the city raised our family standards. I suddenly turned a village celebrity and the discussions dwelt upon me.
After traveling the whole night, I finally arrived in Nairobi for the first time. Initially, I had heard a lot about city in the sun. Since childhood, my greatest dream was to live and work there. I had my uncleâ€™s address written in a piece of paper.
At the time, there were no mobile phones, but landlines. Letter writing was the commonest method of communication. There was nothing like social media. I remember before leaving for the city, my mother had proffered me helpful pieces of advice on how to conduct myself during my stay there.
Back in my village, children used to obey their parents. Surprisingly, things were upside down in Nairobi. I was mesmerized to see parents obey their children. In the streets, children commanded their parents to buy them gifts and they obeyed unlamented. Damn these parents! I thought to myself.
I promised my mother that I will follow her advice to the latter. I was too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated by any situation. I remember her warning me to stay away from the city girls. She had also cautioned me to be vigilant on the type of company to keep for friends. Before alighting from the bus, I started seeing wonders. I was appalled by the manner in which women were dressing. They were semi-naked.
I boarded the Mwiki bound bus no. 17B. This Matatu was full of damn devilish graffiti. On one side, I remember a graffito that depicted Lucifer. Beneath, it was inscribed with some funny message â€œWelcome to Hellâ€
On my way to my uncleâ€™s residence, I shared seats with this voluptuously attired city bimbo. The bespectacled girl was in a company of three other bloody thugs. She and I occupied the second last seat from the back while her comrade-in-arms took the back seat. She held her purse away from the window in fear of robbery. Besides the gigantic handbag in her possession, she also had a small digital camera and I even wondered if she was a paparazzo.
On our way to Mwiki, the discussion that came from the girls behind us was abject gossip that dwelt on men. At some point, they gossiped about me but I opted not to berate them in fear of reprisals. Among them, there is this stammerer who did not know how to speak but she spoke louder than the rest.
Nyaboke was tiny and sexy. The dress she wore killed me instantly. It was approximately six to ten inches from her waist and tighter enough to display her well built figure. It largely displayed her swollen boobs that were partially covered. As the Ugali eating Kisii man, I was profoundly touched by her striking figure. Although she exuded prowess in prostitution, she was good from far may be far from good. Conversely, I nearly lost my mind and I asked God to send a Moses to get me out of the Egypt I was in. She had oversize smiles anyway. Ahem! It is her makeup that caught my attention. She had a multicolored face that made her look more like Peter Marangiâ€™s television adverts.
Her overdone lipstick made her look like she was fresh from drinking blood. Initially I thought she was one of the clowns that I had seen on television until I realized that that was the trend in the city. As a village dweller, I had readily observed that albeit she has a great figure, she lacked class, brilliance, style and authority as a woman. Perhaps, I was the halfwit.
The perfume she sprayed temporarily put me under siege. Alas! It was stronger than the police teargas. Yes, it was teargas perfume. I nearly wound up dead due to stifling. For a moment I thought to myself, â€œIs this a wife material, a girlfriend material or just a raw material?â€ The spectacles she wore covered almost three quarters of her face. When she glanced at me, I thought she was peeping through the window. What about her necklace? God! She reminded me of a tug-of-war rope back in the village. After vigilantly studying her looks, I thought to myself. â€œWhat a certified devil worshiperâ€ She applied a concoction of makeup with strange names to a villager like mascara, lipstick, blusher and eyeshadow. However, I had a premonition that she borrowed things that did not belong to her life.
As my immediate neighbor, we couldnâ€™t sit like enemies. I overweeningly engaged her in a conversation, having shredded my tension as a village boy. What we talked about, only the devil knows. I saw an honest girl in her. We clicked anyway. I saw a beauty queen who loves her body. Strangely, the girl seemed to know me from somewhere. I also had a premonition that I knew her from the village.
After scanning my memory for some time, I realized that I had dated the same lady around eight months ago. The reason why I didnâ€™t recognize her early is that she had changed the color of her face from dark to light. Initially, I thought it was only the chameleon that had the right to change its color â€“ ladies too? The events that defined her character and lifestyle left me pondering a barrage of questions.
The only thing she forgot to blend was her hands. I remember a moment when she was scratching her neck with her hand. Since the complexion of her face and that of the hands never matched, I thought someone was trying to strangle her, only to realize that it was her hand. My goodness! I nearly ran to her rescue. Nevertheless, I thank God I did not act fast, let alone asking her. So, I had dated one person twice thinking they were two different girls? The girl was two in one.
After having a discursive moment with her on our way home, she promised to help me locate my uncleâ€™s address. I also noted changes in her speech. The way she used to speak in the village was contrary to the way she spoke in the city. She had acquired a false American accent. Nonetheless, her flow of lingual did not conform to the grammatical rules. When speaking, she sounded like a parrot learning to speak Chinese.
Mesmerizingly, she confessed to me that she had not found a real man to marry. For a moment I asked myself, â€œHow come such a fake girl with makeup all over her body has temerity to demand for a real man?â€ But, very quickly I remembered my grandfather opining to me that â€œCharacter is like pregnancy, you cannot hide itâ€ She agreed to help me search for my uncle until we find him.
We got to my uncleâ€™s place but unfortunately, he had travelled to the village the same day I was travelling to Nairobi. Since I had nowhere to go, Kemunto promised to take me in. I had no option given that I had been rendered helpless. All that while, she was carrying her handbag that big enough to hide a human being. Only God knows what she was carrying inside. We arrived at her one bed room house and she told me to make myself at home as she prepared dinner. After twenty minutes of waiting, Kemunto emerged with something that resembled food. Initially I had thought it was a burnt offering because of its preparation.
After eating the food-like stuff in vain, we slept until the following morning. That morning she asked me to accompany her to Kenyatta National Hospital to visit her friendâ€™s father who was involved in a road accident. I agreed.
When we arrived at the hospital, the victimâ€™s next of kin were already there. Mr. Mwangi had been unconscious in the hospital for three days. When we arrived, he was waking up from the unconsciousness. After waking up, he called for the nurse because he wanted to inquire from her what had transpired.
â€œSir, I am truly sorry but you were involved in a grisly road accidentâ€ said the nurse.
â€œWhat about my pickup and the goods that were inside?â€ The man from Kiambu County asked. â€œOh, it was seriously crushed. In fact, it is irreparable. You also lost your left arm and your right leg. We were unable to save themâ€ The nurse answered apologetically.
â€œDid you manage to save my Rolex watch and my Ksh.7000 that I had kept in the socks?â€ Mr. Mwangi asked hysterically.
â€œNo Sir. We did not manage to save any of those. Nonetheless, that should not worry you as long as you are alive. Your life is more important than any of those. Right now you are in a critical condition but your family is all here to make sure you get well soonâ€ The nurse consoled him.
Mr. Mwangi ordered for his family to be called in. They all went and gathered around his bed. He started calling them by their names. The first to be called was his wife.
â€œWaithera, are you hereâ€ Yes sweetheart, I am here to make sure you get well soon my husband. I wonâ€™t leave your side until you are wellâ€ His wife vowed. Next he called his last born Mwangi Junior.
â€œMwangi Junior, are you there my son?â€ â€œYes dad. I am here to make sure they give you the best medication. You know how much I love you dadâ€ Mwangi Junior responded.
â€œWanugu and Matheri, are you here with me my sons?â€ Yes dad. We are all here to make sure you recover quickly. They replied simultaneously.
â€œWhere are Njambi and Njeri?â€ â€œThey are behind you sweetheartâ€ His wife interjected.
â€œSo, you mean all you idiots are here? Do you now see the reason why Kamau and Njorogeâ€™s businesses are getting ahead of us? It is because you have never been serious with ours. Now tell me, if all of you are here, who is taking care of our businesses? Before I forget, have all our debtors paid us? Has Wafula paid for the flour and the eggs he took from the shop?â€ Mr. Mwangi ranted in rage but died from heart attack upon learning that the debts were still unpaid. I decided to leave the hospital anyway. Furthermore, I had some pending unfinished business of tracking down my uncle.
I left Nyaboke in the ward since I had no business there. On my way out of the hospital, I made friends with this old filthy bloke who stunk like bloody hell. Bakari was a taxi driver from Mpeketoni. He was a man of few words. He was short, mustached, heavily bearded, and bald headed. To me, he looked as if he was the offspring of an Arab and a Kenyan.
His odorous feet were bad news. The strong smell they produced corrupted the air without notice. At some point I thought five nearby toilets had simultaneously gone on strike. The respect I had for him as an old man, coupled with the fact that he had offered me a free ride in his car, restrained me from letting him know that I was suffering.
Despite being hygienically challenged, he had a big heart. Before I could judge him, I remembered my motherland proverb that â€œEven the kingâ€™s anus some odourâ€ No one is perfect. I sat right behind the driverâ€™s seat as we took off.
After twenty minutes of driving, there was a moment of silence. I wanted to ask Bakari a question and I patted him on the shoulder. What followed was mesmeric. Bakari screamed, lost control of the cab and nearly hit a nearby a Bus Stop sign. The car swerved, went up to the footpath and stopped a few centimetres from an electricity pole. For a few seconds, everything went silent in the cab. Suddenly, Bakari broke the silence and said,
â€œLook here brother, let me warn you for the last time. Donâ€™t ever do what you just did. You scared the hell out of meâ€
â€œI am truly sorry brother, I didnâ€™t know that such a gentle tap could scare you that muchâ€ I vehemently apologized.
â€œSorry my friend, itâ€™s not really your fault. Today is my first day as a taxi driver. I have been mortuary van for the last twenty yearsâ€ He replied after cutting me short. But before he could finish, I got out of the vehicle and headed straight to the famous Machakos Airport where I boarded the next Kisii bound bus.
I went back to the village because I could not take another surprise from the city dwellers. From that day onwards, I have never dreamt of leaving my village Gesangero for the City. For Nyaboke, although I left without saying bye to her or even thanking her for her tender-heartedness, I always pray to God for her to abandon the city life, come back to the village and turn over a new leaf.