The perks of living in the mid-ghetto (You can’t just call where you come from a ghetto nani) that Embakasi is, includes seeing drama way at the gate. You can smell it when it tries to unfold. You know I live on the sixth floor of one of those building you always look and wonder who lives in them; the other day I invited a guest from South B, and then as we neared the building she asked ‘Yaani guys live here…’ I had to contend with walking her to some mall I had not planned to, so that we would sit and diss people who live there (Akina mimi).
Back to the story, so sixth floor. Sixth floor is the hub of young motherhood. The type of motherhood that happened while some chic was laying someone’s husband, and because this mzee with a pickup and serious money wanted to avoid drama, threw that chic in a house he pays, and takes care of the kids. The child grows knowing stairs ni zile vitu mummy alisema tusichezee. Here, parents are old school ass whipping, unforgiving sleuths. They can tell the child is headed to the stairs while they do dishes. That alone earns the little bow legged infant a whooping. I don’t understand that logic, in fear of a baby running towards probable death, you threaten them with a taste of death by your hands… I swear I’ve heard a ‘Wewe mtoto ukikaribia stairs nitakunyonga’… More than once.
So sixth floor babies started going to school. They have a 123 Kid bag dangling joyfully on their backs every morning as their mothers drag them to the cold 5amweather to wait for the school bus. And then after that the mother will post some #MotherhoodTingz on Social media. But me those posts stopped scaring me. Totally… Because I know what goes on behind the Instagram filters. Oganda mar Nyasaye, homework is a sellout on this side of town. You know our houses are small enough to know who drinks blue moon and who sips Famous Grouse. Our walls are thin enough to have people’s carnal knowledge so well as to have the correct map of where your girlfriend should not pass by while airing laundry (Open google, type carnal knowledge… You’re welcome). But the worst one is how it is a sellout on homework.
How did you do your homework growing up? Forget me fighting over pegs with single mums and maids on this floor, I am a sharp kid. Me by the way I used to see a belt and everything went straight. I ended up in a National School, a University and later at a job, to my father’s pride. So homework was never a problem. But I know a friend and a neighbor to whom homework time was Hiroshima reloaded. Homework was done with a belt on the table, a pipe by the door and slippers on their mother’s hands to slap some vocabulary, BODMAS and ngeli into them. These are guys who used to stand by the gate at the end of a school day and start crying after seeing a school bus. Because they know where they are headed. And woe unto them if their folks came to school… Story for another day.
So while this little class one kid was doing homework the previous day, I had her mother blurt out answers. “Andika Three… Takataka!” Went on for around an hour. Now kid came back home today and started crying out loudly by the stairs. The kind of cry that said “I know where the pain is but I can’t do crap.” So mimi I don’t like interfering in other families business. I shut my door just in case the war felt like pouring over into my house. You never know what these ‘Social Studies’ generation can do, kiboko ikizidi you run to any space. While I was growing up, quite the opposite. While being worked on by your folks, if they looked at you, you pause and cry while chewing your sweater. There was no allowance to run… But syllabus ‘Tingz’.
The kid walked in… And her cry was even louder.
“mummy mimi sitakiiii…”
Then her mother drew out the book. Remember that homework we talked about? The homework we said pale wa “Andika Three”? That homework that her mother was blurting out answers? She got 2. And you can be sure it was not two out of three. Because it started a war. Me I was here sitting telling myself kumbe the problem is not the child. She is only a cup from the thermos her mother is. She is a tributary (I have always wanted to use this word in a sentence from my GHC days) from the river that her mother and/or father is.
If your folks answered your homework correctly, you can sit pretty and blame yourself for making or not making it in life. Otherwise, you are not the problem.
So… I was just writing this to let you know that I have published my website… You can also send your rants, however short or discombobulated they may look. Send, we will work on it and publish it with your name. Everyone sees things, well, let us tell the story… Share, laugh, live.