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The Village Girl

Nairobi girls are a nuisance. Nairobi girls are a burden. Nairobi girls are complicated. There are only two ways a Nairobi girl shows any interest in you; if you have a fat wallet, or if you look like Idris Elba. And I – the son of a mere teacher – am none of those things.

A Nairobi girl doesn’t care what job you have; you could be a Banker or an Intern at Chase Bank or one of Babu Owino’s goons for all she cares. So long as you earn enough to buy her a box (or two) of pizza, take her to Imax for the screening of ‘Perfect Guy’, take her to dinner at Sankara Rooftop, buy her Black Ice and Shisha at The Space, and, maybe, drive her to yoga practice. A Nairobi girl wants you to remember her BFF’s birthday and her grandmother’s 70th funeral anniversary. A Nairobi girl wants to be your number one priority; she wants to be the first person you call when you wake up in the morning and the last one you talk to before you go to bed at night. A Nairobi girl celebrates her birthday for a whole month. A Nairobi Girl wants you to follow her on Twitter and like her pictures on Instagram.

But Fuck Nairobi Girls. There’s something about Village Girls. There’s something so touching about the excitement in their eyes when they see you; There’s something deeply moving about the way their faces light up when you wave ‘Hello’ to them; There’s just something inexpressible about how they smile at you; and, even though you hate it, deep inside, there’s something flattering about that “Xaxa xwiwy, uliniota?” text that a village girl sends you every morning.

You may or may not have gathered this by now, but I’m currently upcountry. The last time I came down here was 23rd December 2014 but who’s keeping record. I needed a break from Nairobi; I needed a break from the sleepless nights banging copy for non-paying gigs; I needed a break from Nairobi thugs; I needed a break from the tomfoolery in Nairobi joints and the twerking of Nairobi girls; I needed a break from chaps I owe money (Hehe). The one thing I miss about Nairobi, though, is the Whiskey. By Jove, it’s practically impossible to find anything decent down here. I have walked into all the joints and the most exquisite thing – by their standards – is Richot brandy. That is what the cremè de la cremè of down here quench their thirst with after a long day of crunching numbers at the CDF offices. And because I just came back from the big bad city they only hear stories about, chaps here think I’m loaded. So they’ll be blowing up my phone every evening like, “JaNarobi, donge kawuono hiyo Richot tunaangusa, kose?” in that Jango accent. And I’ll reply, “But of course”, trying hard not to laugh at the fact that this guy just pronounced Richot as ‘Rikot’.

Also, I have come to learn that these chaps act like they know shit when they really don’t. You ask them what they drink and they’ll say what they’ve never even tasted but have, perhaps, heard of from city folk. Take this for instance; The other day I’m going out to quench my thirst with keg – that, kwa nyinyi watu wa Lavington, is basically just cheap beer. I meet this guy and he says he wants to go too. Then I ask him which kind he takes – you know, because there’s the dark one that we like to call Guinness, and there’s the brownish ordinary one that we call Tusker – and you know what the guy says? Take a guess. No, just take a guess.

The jamaa thinks for a minute then says…wait for it… “Mimi sanasana napendanga ile Johnny Walker” and goes ahead to look at me with a straight face. I don’t laugh, I don’t say shit, I just pat him on the back and whisper, “Atta Boy.”

Anyway, we were talking about village girls. There’s this one that has been particularly insistent ever since she heard I was around. She goes haywire whenever she sees me. She texts me all day, all night, without a single care whether I reply or not. She asks questions and answers them on her own, it’s like she’s having conversations with herself in my inbox, and she’s enjoying every bit of it

Now, because I don’t respond to her texts, she thinks I’m shy. So the other day I wake up to this riduculous text, “Hyyyyyyyyyyyyy baby boooooooooooouy. Wake up xhy boy” I wasn’t even mad. I giggled kidogo. I remember thinking, “Yet people say I’m the mad one? Shit.”

Sometimes she calls me in the middle of the night and says she can’t sleep without seeing my face (I know, right?) Then she asks me if I can sneak away from home and meet her at some spot and because I don’t want to be rude on the phone, I just say, Sure. Of course I never show up. Then fifteen minutes later – during which time she’s been waiting for me at the spot – she texts, “aki pole kma nmekxmbua, nlikwa 2 ntaka kuona iyo xura yko xupuu.” I swear I’m not making this shit up, I’m literally copy-pasting her words here. Forget the jibby-jabber, yaani this chic apologizes for being stood up! Have you ever stood up a Nairobi mami? Wacha hata 15 minutes, have you ever kept a Nairobi girl waiting for just 30 seconds? Wueh, utajua mahali hizi floods zinatoka!

She texted me again last night like, “Xaxaaaaaa bby booouy, natamani kukukixx,” and I said to myself, You know what, it’s time to end this shit. So when she asked for a meet again, I showed up this time, in some warm trench coat that she raved about for more than two hours. Then I asked her, “So, what’s your deal?” and I regretted addressing her in English the moment those words came out of my mouth. Because she went, “Eh, aki siku hizi unaongea tu kisungu. Hii Narobi inageuzanga watu aje. Sasa hizo vitu umesema ndio nini? Ati deal…hivo ndio siku hizi mnaita warembo ama?”

“Namaanisha unatakaje? Mbona huwa unaniita baby boy?”
“Ooh. Aki Ian, si ni juu nakupendanga. Kwani hujui?”

“Tangu lini?”

“Tangu kitambo sana. Kwani sijawai kukuambia?”

“Hapana. Na nani alisema kama unapenda mtu unamwita baby boy?”

“Ni hivo tu. Niliona utapendelea.”

“Sasa unatakaje basi?”

“Aiii. Mbona unakuwa mkali hivo? Kwani wewe hunipendi?”

“Napenda Whiskey, kila mtu anajua. Wewe….sijawai sema kitu kama hiyo.” [Sarcasm just doesn’t come out right in Kiswahili, ey?)

“Ati Whisker? Yule msichana wa hapa chini? Nilijua anakunyemeleanga, hana ata haya.”

“Apana. Sio Whisker. Nimesema Whiskey.”

“Ooh. Huyo ndio yupi? Haki baby boy hao wasichana wa town sio wazuri.”

“Wacha kuniita baby boy.’

“Unataka nikuite nini?”

“Niite na jinangu.”

“Sawa. Baby Ian.

*Frustrated* “Niite tu Ian.”

“Aki na vile nakupenda unanitolea ukali hivo. Sasa wewe unataka nini haki?”

“Sai? Hakuna. Labda shot ya Jameson kama unaeza pata.” [Agin, failed sarcasm, smh]

“Ati nini?”

“Never mind. Ona, wacha tu kunitext hizo vitu zako na kunipigia simu usiku. Sawa?”

“Aki Ian. Na vile naibianga mamangu credit ya kukupigia nayo simu. Naskianga tu furaha nikikuona. Saa zingine ata naangalianga tu namba yako na nasmile pekee yangu. Unajua hata niko na picha yako kwa kitanda yangu.”

*The Hell?* “Wait, what? Gani? Ulitoa wapi?”

“Nilitafuta tu nikapata. Hivo ndio vile nakupenda. Ata ukirudi Nairobi naskianga tu ni kama roho inanidunga. Siwezangi ata kulala bila kukuota aki wewe Ian. Huoni vile nakupenda?”

“Ile kitu mimi naona ni unahitaji usaidizi.”

I don’t know guys, was that harsh? Because she walked away crying. And I woke up feeling like shit. Because here I was, struggling to get the attention of some mami with fake hair and fake eye lashes and fake nails and fake shoes back in Nairobi who kept blue-ticking me on WhatsApp yet right here – before me – was a mami so into me she steals airtime from her possibly insane mother just to call me. Tell me guys, would I be crazy if I wifed this village girl and said to hell with this Nairobi mami who says she drinks wine yet the only wine she knows is Cellar Cask? Would I be crazy if I wifed this mami who has no idea what Instagram and Twitter and Nairobi Diaries are?

[Note To Self: Dear Ian, If you ever do decide to wife this village girl, just do yourself one favor. Tell her to stop calling you ‘baby boy’ damn it!]




  1. hadi9blog 9 May, 2016 at 12:56 Reply

    I just wasted 5 minutes and a couple of brain cells reading this…….. ooooh *light bulb* maybe I should start a blog and write about it!!!!

  2. Shiroh 9 May, 2016 at 21:03 Reply

    I love this piece…. Dude you should buy me that “Rikot”. Bored outta my wits here in Kisumu 😛

  3. judemutuma 10 May, 2016 at 20:48 Reply

    “Xaxaaaaa bby booouy, natamani kukukixx.”
    Hahahah no thanks. I’ll stick with my Nairobi girls and the blue ticks.
    And there’s a girl in your hood called Whisker? Hama huko buda

  4. margaret gati 11 May, 2016 at 13:20 Reply

    awesome. Ian just wife that village mami. Every lady hates waiting. Not Nairobi ladies. Travel across the borders..but do i say! nice piece as always.

  5. Anne Dottie 12 May, 2016 at 10:53 Reply

    By jove!!! sarcasm doesn’t come out right in Swahili, unless you are from Coast.

    Note to you: Make sure she never becomes a Nairobi girl & reads this.

  6. Mulunga 16 May, 2016 at 21:25 Reply

    Hehehe! Now thats what I call village drama. Be warned a Nairobi mami will ‘chanua’ her so fast she’ll be the one wanting that pizza! Love the piece!

  7. Writer Ian Duncan 29 March, 2017 at 09:31 Reply

    […] Writings: Kenyan Men Are Not The Problem, Ladies, You Are; Of Lawyers And Their Misled Ego; Village Girl; If You Can’t Cook Chapos…Do Not; Meeting An Ex; Save Me From This […]

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