There is a little rat that hovers my box,a tiny creature that almost always follows men to wherever they go.It is my hope that rats will follow us to hell too,after puncturing a few of my clothes and damaging my food wares on earth,it is only fare that we share a place in the everlasting brimstone and sulphur fire of hell too.The fire of all fires,that would be sweet revenge for our unlikely companion.She knows when i get to the house,as soon i unlock the door,i see her hurriedly speed off and quickly jerks into into a hole in my sub-woofers speaker system.That hole in your speaker that breathes out the bass,I have no experience whatsoever working with sound systems or a local radio repair,otherwise I would have told you the exact name of that hole,for now let us just call it shimo ya speaker.
In case you are wondering what box I am referring to,then i will have to take you aback to the campus heydays,as the platitude goes,”Huyo dem aliingia box’‘.This is a common cliche among Kenyan campusarians,it vaguely means you have successfully seduced a lady (most probably a beautiful one,otherwise you have no business bragging about a catch you don’t want the rest of the world to see).My Swahili teacher back in high school,Mrs Katasi (I miss her lessons by the way) gave it an even elaborate and vivid description.She told us that the term ”box” which in this case is now a neologism,was used to describe the boys hostel rooms.The Nairobi university hostels are cuboids,that you can also refer to as a box,so whenever a naughty uni kid would seduce a sweet lady into the box, well the phrase followed.Let us say our guy is called Brayo,he has sweet talked a freshaa and now wants to call his roommate Johny to officially exile him.
The conversation would go something like this:Brayo:Hello,niaje Johny.And then johny would reply happily thinking Brayo is calling to hook him up with one of those common cups of senator Keg that is common in campuses for their inability to break their thin wallets.Johny:Poa brayo,uko base(referring to the Keg joint).Then Brayo will break johny hopes and beer ambitions like so.Brayo:Zii maze,nimeingiza Tesh(the beautiful freshaa) box.So nlikuwa nadai uingie exile kiasi.I dont know what Johny’s reply would be then.Anyway see what I did with the box there hehee. After giving that detailed explanation of the box lets get back to our rat.
She is my only companion in these lonely times,she scares and comforts me in equal measure.When i have no one around in the box and i have to spend the entire night in the expectant silence,I know I am not alone when i hear her nibbling on refuse in my dustbin.Eating those remains and busy chewing plastic papers,she must have one hell of stomach for plastics to be digestible,or maybe she is just a dump rat that found herself accidentally in a bachelors house.That should be a no stay house for rats because the only thing that cooks in this house is hot water.Anyway she survives by eating all the paper i throw in the dustbin,so on the other hand she helps me to recycle the waste,thumbs up for me,I must be a genius.
Where did she come from this new maiden of mine,well i originally was not staying in this box,I had a sweet apartment,right next to a forest,just the way i like it.Every morning as i headed to town,i would occasionally see a couple of monkeys,take a few snaps sometimes on my new camera,on a lucky night back to the house on a motorbike,we bumped into an Impala.She stood confidently in the middle of the road,with pride and charisma,she was not scared of us,or the motorbike,she charged at us,with that attitude that kinda implied she was saying ”Get out of here”,i swear if she could talk,these were the words that would come out of her herbivorous mouth.That was the beauty of my old place,but as is the thing with life,sometimes we got to change.So the token meter that feeds electricity into those wires that take turns behind the concrete and terminate on either a switch or a socket had gotten spoilt.The landlord lived in Turkana and was not able to deal with the problem,having spent almost a month in darkness,and without power to put on my laptop so that i can pen such prose,I couldn’t take it anymore,I had to move,to move quick,out of anger, that made me move hastily, leaving behind my haven,my domiciliary habitat.
The next available room was this box.This box that I am trapped in,with a rat mark you.She must have been from the numerous matope houses that surround my place.Don’t get me wrong here,I am not a classy person,but i have to call a spade a spade.I have nothing personal against matope houses,I have been raised and brought up in one myself.This smorgasbord of vibandas and sub-standard houses with rusty and corrugated iron sheets is called Mitume.The drainage that passes water out from the interior of my plot bursts out apologetically right at the entrance of the place.The black water rests still as if telling the inhabitants of this place ”I am not going anywhere folks”.Surprisingly,right after you get inside the plot,everything changes,it is not filthy anymore,concrete all over,from bottom up.I see no single shred of grass or vegetation when i enter into this place,that’s what turns me off though,i like nature,I am a cosmic conscious fellow,so where the only sign of life is people,and an occasional chicken that will be slaughtered sooner rather than later,then i shy off from such places.
I had no choice however,because I was hasty in my moving and had no time to decide what was best.I had to bite my pride off,and move my little belongings into this new domicile.The rat must have snack into my room through that drainage i guess.It should have told itself that I like eating and since I am dirty fellow it would have a lot remains to eat.It was wrong though.At this rate I am sure she will starve to death soon.You wait and see,and when she does,I will invite you all for the funeral. Stray-dogs are numerous here,they constantly remind me of a character in one of my favourite movies,El-Gringo,the Sheriff of a little shanty town much more a like to this place, somewhere in Mexico really hated stray dogs.He would shoot at any one of them whenever they crossed his sight.I honestly think the man from the movie would be of great help down here.They bark all night long,disgruntling any hopes i have for a peaceful night sleep.
As you may guess I mostly wake up tired and dream about being chased by dogs all night long all thanks to this undomesticated bastards if i can call them so.The drainage’s are dirty,filled with litter and plastic material.They are natural drainage’s,the folks here have no time for digging out an artificial one,the rain does that job for them.As rain waters flows downstream,bending to the immediate order of gravity,it scores the ground beneath it,over time it forms definite terraces that are now the official waterways and drainage’s in this ghetto.After the rain completes its hard task,the human beings that inhabit the place come in to play there part.They dump all kinds of wastes they can eject from there miserable houses.This includes refuse,baby diapers,chicken feathers,plastic bags,waste clothing and all sorts of staff that you can normally find in a dumpsite.This makes the place ugly,it has no admiration,the terraces stink,the cocktail of that waste material plus sewerage produces a stink that rages your smelling buds.
The children are uncountable,they are dirty mostly,looking like an outcome of what i call irresponsible parenting.There clothes are tattered,they look unattended to,there faces seems to request the people passing by them to show them some love.They play on the dusty fields,most at times Lifundo(a football made out of plastic bags and ropes).A naughty one would occasionally knock the other on the head,the knocked one will then proceed to yell,opening his mouth wide,tears freely flowing from their mostly wide eyes,as they call on their unavailable mums to come to their rescue.The naughty one would grin,sometimes laugh,and tell the crying one:”Enda ukuje pia na babako,nitawapiga wote”
There are numerous vibandas,mama mbogas,they sell the same items. Sukumawiki, cabbages,some few fruits and occasionally some sweets.They seem to have no sense of constructive diversity,they all clump their vibandas by the roadside and hawk off their wares.They are mostly arrogant and at times seem bitter.They serve you as though they are doing you a favour.They got no enthusiasm,I can see it in there faces,I can see the hopelessness,its there,written all over there faces.They got no drive,hell some of them cant even wash up. Desperation is all over,no life in them,they are merely walking dead.
The men are seldom at home,they make their way back to the place in the late nights,mostly drunk,singing to diamonds hit songs that they probably were listening to in the pub as they gulped down the bitter spirits down their hardy throats. Occassionally you will hear a quarrel,deep in the night,husband shouting at wife,using obscene terms right in the presence of their children.They will quarrel for a while and then the drunk fool will fall to sleep eventually,leaving me in peace to pen down a few articles.All that being said,morning always comes,a new day brings a new hope.I wake up to the sight of men rushing off to work,women taking their children to school,the shopkeeper busy selling off bread,the milkman juggling his milk between cups and the dogs lazily sleeping on the dirty veranda’s,tired from barking all night long.
Am i a sadist?This question may have been criss-crossing your mind as you read through the article.If you got to this point of reading then here,let me calm your nerves down.Don’t hate me just yet,i didn’t mean to be rude but I come from a lineage of people who speak the truth.This is my truth.I have been born and raised in this very place.About fifteen years ago,i called this very ghetto home.I can recall a lot of what used to be this place, however,it was not as dirty as it is today,the people back in the days were humbler,they were full of life and zeal,they were enthusiastic and hardworking.Most of all they were clean and responsible,the place was not as littered as it is today,the grass was green,the children were clean ,including me,that does not mean I did not play Lifundo,No,It only means i had responsible parents.I maintain a harsh tone through out the article because i know this place can be better than its current derogatory self but hope cannot be lost just yet.Fate had a reason for getting me back to my roots,back to my place of birth,back to where project ”me” started,back to where I made an entry into the universe.Maybe,just maybe I am that agent of change.I can’t change anything that I am not disgusted with,thats why I have to be angry at the people here because hunger gets things done,Until next time lets see how much change i can influence down here.I have returned to the source of my being and i have to do something to make this place better,cleaner,healthier and full of life.