It’s 10.42pm and everyone in the house is deep in slumber. Village folk sleep early, except the special few, whose careers involve running around naked in the dead of the night, knocking on people’s windows, and depositing stinky shit on their doors, sometimes even smearing it on walls. I’ve heard the strangest of stories about these nocturnal professionals. That every night, when they leave the house for work, the wife has to keep frying a single groundnut, all night, making sure that it doesn’t burn. And if she slumps on the job, her husband will be caught that night. Another tale claims that if you accidentally meet a jajuok while he/she is busy with his shenanigans, the hairs on your head will stand straight on end, and you will turn whiter than peace. Then, you will stay rooted on the spot till he gets home and his wife serves him the single groundnut, upon which you will be free to go, but without any recollection of what transpired.
One such omera had made our home his office. He had a ‘desk’ at one of the corners of the compound, just behind the toilets. Here, there was a shallow depression, made probably with his bare butt. Every morning my brother (he was such a scaredy cat then, nothing like the giant of a rugby player he is now) would dare me to go and check if jajuok had reported to work the night before, evidenced by freshly displaced earth and footprints that resembled a camel’s. We would shudder at this sight. Now, my mum saw this as the perfect bait to get us to eat our food.
Eat your food. Or else I will throw you out into the darkness to be jajuok’s supper!
Sigh. Mothers. Bless their souls.
Save for the night runners and a few other abnormities, there is so much peace and tranquility in the village. The air is fresh; you can actually breathe in and ascertain that this is the oxygen God truly intended that we inhale. Pure. Nothing like the chips-kuku sama-diesel fumes-stinky sewers-infested air in Nairobi. There are no horns blaring through the air. No loud music threatening the health of your ear drums. In the village, you do not need to hold your purse or bag as if your heart, brain and intestines are in there. You need not worry about getting into a matatu and being drugged, robbed or both. Or being packaged in a bus like teabags in a box. You can easily walk to wherever you want to go. But if you have to, pikipikis and bike bodabodas will transport you there for a mere 20-50 bob.
The other day an okada guy carried me but didn’t have change. It was about 8pm, and as it stood, since that was the only note I had between me and bankruptcy, we would have to go back quite a distance to ask for change. After some quick deliberation, the guy, to my surprise, said that he would come for the money the next day. Remember it was dark, he couldn’t even see my face. He didn’t know me, and he wasn’t even from around our village. In fact, he hasn’t come for his money yet. Heeeeee! A Nairobi okadaman will follow you to your bedroom. 😂😂😂
There are special market days in the village. So you cannot involuntarily consume teargas because you will never be caught in the crossfire between kanjo and the bend-down-select mitumba sellers. Ever since one such seller was arrested before he gave me my change, I have become wiser. And to think that out of 1000 bob I was only buying a pair of tatu-mia socks! So nowadays, if you don’t have change I will leave your things. Simple. Eh, but some of these sellers are the devil’s toenails. They sell to you shoes that in the beautiful street light, look like they came straight from Kanye West’s Yeezys collection. But when you get home and take a second look, they are yeboyebos, a totally different color from what you thought you bought. One wash and all the dye comes off leaving you with shoes that look like they are a living testimony of World War II. 😒😒😒
In the village, you realize that you have been taking Wi-Fi for granted. That it was your relationship with Wi-Fi Passenger was referring to when he said you only know you love her when you Let Her Go. You finally agree that Safaricom really needs to cut their internet bundle prices. So you type LOL even when you haven’t watched a funny video on Facebook or Whatsapp. Voice notes and audios that are not in kilobytes will have to wait till you are back in the city. You certainly won’t be Netflix and chilling for a while. You also have no bundles to waste on Tweemwits who mention you in the stupidest of tweets and conversations.
You think twice about dyeing your hair while in the village because you fear walking out of the salon looking like a Koffi Olomide dancer. There is no proportionality here. Dye is dye.You have to decide between red, brown or orange; nothing in between or in smaller shades. Yesterday I went to a barber and asked him to reconstruct the line which Deno wa Gladys had beautifully carved out in my hair when I had the big chop. The line was faded and as an important part of my identity as at now, I need it. So I show the guy the original picture and ask him a million and one times if he can pull it off. He keenly studies the picture and looks at my hair, tracing out where the line should be with his finger, then studies the picture again.
Ah, madam. Hii ni kazi raisi. Si inaenda tu hivi halafu hivi halafu inaishia hapa hivi nyuma ya kichwa. Ngoja nikutolee uone venye itatokea smart utaenda ukiulizwa nani alikutengenezea hiyo line nimwendee ata mimi! (Ah, madam. This is easy. It just has to go like this, then like this, then it ends here at the back of the head. Wait and see how I will make a masterpiece out of it so that people will ask you who did the line and will want you to bring them here!)
And with that he turns on his shaving machine. Some 20 minutes later I look, and my line looks like the works of a toddler with a crayon, scribbling on a wall. Like a graph showing the mood swings of a woman on her periods.😣😣😣 The only people that will be asking me who did my line, will be doing so as a precautionary measure. To avoid the works of Satan over their heads, literally.
Greetings from the village. What’s good in Nairobi?