By Gabriel Oguda via fb
There are things we take for granted in Nairobi.
I tried downloading a paper-thin file from the internet yesterday and that circular thing kept going round and round until my battery ran from 36% to kaput. One minute the network bar is fuller than Jubilee’s bag of pre-election promises, the next minute all the bars are deader than William Ruto’s hair follicles.
Then I ran to what they call a cyber cafe in this village’s peripheral market. You would have mistaken the room for my grandmother’s garden store, Ojuajni, had it not been for the extension cable running across the potholed floor throwing sparks in the air. The only functioning computer in there was last used by Lwanda Magere during the Nandi-Kano War of 1483. The missing keys in the keyboard the Nandi carted away as spoils of war are yet to be replaced 500 years later.
You should have seen the flashdisk they wanted to inject my laptop with. A 4MB rehabilitated contraption carrying more dust than Arsenal’s trophy cabinet. My laptop’s antivirus correctly identified it as a ‘harmful foreign object’ before proceeding to give it an anti-rabies jab and asking that it be ejected from the clinic and be put on solitary quarantine.
I will never forget the towering image of the printer sitting on the desolately leaking corner of the dimly-lit room. I had dismissed this rusty improvised drum resting on a three-legged traditional stool until I was asked to pull the power switch up. The slight tremor felt in the room was the impact of the contraption roaring back into life, releasing plumes of dark cartridge that sent me coughing like my village madman’s 1906 Datsun. The momentary tremor caused the loose wall-hanging above come off the hook and hit the upper deck of the printer in protest, before landing on my toe-thumb with the weight of an anvil. It took them fifty minutes to summon a thin strip of cotton wool far less whiter than Baba.
There is no Facebook or Twitter here. Just misery-ridden villagers struggling to keep off petty crime by carrying grounded vehicles through knee-high mud, and charging you an arm and a leg for thinking you’re immune from the ravages of rural poverty. You get to pay for bad governance one way or the other, and pray you aren’t broke when your turn comes around.
Good morning, from the forgotten land of the rising sun.