Do you remember back then in church when they would call for testimonies? Testimonies were called Ushuhuda. And then some mama from behind the church would start leading a song as she walks to the pulpit… “Ingia, Ingia, Ingia Ingia, Ingia, Ingia… Wee mmoja wa Kondoo,” (You remember that song?). From there six other mothers sitting sparsely around the church stand up joining her chorus and join the testimony. She stands on the Pulpit where the chorus drags for another one minute, which trust me is long. The church does not have fancy drums, pianos, dope looking band members, just one big loud hand drum which gave the key, beat, tempo and everything. When they stop she introduces the crew of mamas flanking her, then she reminds you ‘Nawaomba msisikie sauti, msikie ujumbe,’ before some mama from the back comes to pinch her kimbelembele child who walked to the front… That is how testimonies were given right?
Sigh. Consider the entire paragraph above null. Because I just felt like reminding myself how church was. In this day and age, you need that memory sometimes before you throw your story. I have seen a lot this past week my people, but, life is boring. At least mine is. Mine is so boring, I wait for mali mali guys to pass by so I can run to the balcony and hear them shout ‘Maaaaaaare’. And when your life is uneventful like mine, you usually look for the smallest things to get you noticed. Turn around, look at whoever has the most colourful shirt or skirt, who has the oddest hairstyle, the tightest pants… Now you know. Because that’s what I do; I charge the boring parts of my life with small pleasures like clothing. I tried women, but I took one of them out one night and she blew a cloud of Sheesha smoke and got me doing the math… I pictured how I would pay for bills and flights to India, how many Harambees I would do for the same cause and I told myself I could do better. So I started a conversation about Coldplay (decoded, I ended that chat). So clothes work for me.
Last week, in that same spirit, I walked into a stall in Nairobi, knowing clearly what I wanted; Print. I have been seeing these things on Instagram, kids be looking cool in print designs and you know what happens when you picture yourself in someone else’s shoes right? It always looks good. In fact, I looked so good in that mirror it looked like Witchcraft. I picked Polka dot, Print and animal print. Ladies and gentlemen, animal Print is what you read back there. Yes, the things you see on cool fashion blogs of akina Wambui Njogu, Aluoch Aliedo and Micere Wahu (There’s always something about fashion bloggers and two African names).
I dressed in Polka dot, everyone said I looked dope, I dressed in that pink thing, felt homo for a day, and it sounded bearable. The worst I got was a comment on Instagram saying my Selfie skills were growing. So when one plus one is two, I was confident 3 wasn’t that far. I picked the animal print, black loafers and a black trouser… Thursday, no office work so I decided to go to town. I don’t own a mirror, so I was banking on what I had seen at the stalls. Usually when you don’t own a mirror, your first hope is the nearest building in town with those reflecting windows we pretend not to look at. Me I stand in front of that thing whether it’s a hotel or a bank and I tuck the hell in. I’m sure whoever’s inside sipping tea always feels threatened, but like I said, my life is boring. But even then, I had a feeling while walking down the stairs that I was looking like a Leopard.
Why? First, the caretaker, that man who has no sense of style whatsoever, said to me “Naona umeamua”. People the next time a caretaker says that to you, go back to your house, take the most basic shirt and put it on. This caretaker, in broad daylight, wears a full Kaunda Suit, sometimes a full jeans suit, and sometimes a maroon leather jacket with safari boots that have zebra markings (And he greets you by the road with your house number, like ‘Habari 603, naona Asenali tulichapwa bwana!’ So everyone who knows you should not know someone dressed like that looks at you with those ‘kumbe you know this guy’ eyes and you have to look calm and composed). Then outside the gate, mama duka, my favourite woman from “Nakumat (Yes with one letter T) Kiosk Enterprises and General Stores Embakassi” took a minute before saying hello. And when she did, she just waved. Still, as I walked, I had a feeling something was off. You ever felt like someone walked past you and turned even without you turning to check if they did? I had that, terrible feeling, that people were watching me…
Now this is where everything changes for me. I boarded an Embassava bus to town. Usually what they do is they start collecting fare at Donholm. In my pocket I only had a thousand shilling note and I handed it to the tout. The man stood right in front of me and started counting change. You have been in matatus, right? Who even does that? I can swear to you I saw him pick a 500 shilling note from some man and didn’t’ give back change. But because I look like wildlife on this side of the matatu, this man could not just risk it. He would rather count and hand me nine hundred and fifty shillings, with most of the notes being 100 bob. I always sit next to a lady, always. That day, the beautiful late 20s lady who found herself next to this piece of awesomeness didn’t have kind words. Have you met a lady in a matatu who types on her screen so that you can see what she is typing? She goes on Facebook, and Facebook asks her what’s on her mind. Do you know what she typed? “Feeling Adventurous”… Translate that; I’m sitting next to a stark memory of wildlife, and suddenly I feel like Maasai Mara is just here.
Guys when you see those posts on Instagram with cool kids wearing print… Think about it. If you enjoy listening to Lil Wayne of 2006, you cause mayhem in pubs so that your playlist can be recognized and your ID is a laminated document, that thing is not for you. Now look at me, buying a jumper in this hot sun… Crap