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February 23, 2019

Nature is a good distraction from clingy rural folks

PEACE AND QUIET: Folds hard at work.
PEACE AND QUIET: Folds hard at work.

I believe it is now official that it is absolutely normal for Kenyans to be abnormal. It is only in Kenya I have seen very sane people acting obscenely inappropriate, and life seems to let them be without as much as a public outcry.

After all, the public that is expected to condemn the impropriety, are themselves Kenyans and at some point, they have been involved in similar atrocities, or worse.

Talk of throwing the first stone if you have never sinned. From the common scenes of our leaders fighting in Parliament, in county assembly halls and in public galleries, to couples taking each other to radio stations and airing their bedroom woos for all to listen and comment, to married couples planning and killing each other.

The list is endless. Just last week we saw how little in regard we take the Presidency – learned and the so-called civilised people refusing in a manner that can be referred to as being uncouth, to listen to a message of condolence from the President to his political opponent. But again, they were just being Kenyans, albeit taking it a little too far.

I went home during Christmas and the now normal shenanigan of majority of the new Kenyans followed me there. Being a highly social and cosmopolitan county, Nakuru is full of people from all over East Africa, and from all counties of the country. Having gone to school there, I was looking forward to meeting my former classmates or schoolmates for that matter.

At Kabarak High School, we had pupils from Uganda, Kisumu, the Kalenjin community, Kikuyus, Somalis, Tanzanians, South Sudanese, people from coast and so on.

I have kept in touch with some of them, and it is always a pleasure to reconnect and have a chat when we have a chance. So, I had called in advance to let them know I was going to be around.

I wish I had not mentioned any of that because, majority of those I was supposed to meet were already two days drunk before I got there. They had spread the word that I write for a newspaper and writers have loads of money.

Where they got the value of my payslip is a mystery. They had the bills saved in their favourite pubs, for me to come and pay. Some of them, although I might have known them for a brief period after school, insisted that we were best of friends. When I arrived, most of them could not even recognise me. They were totally inebriated.

I was very disappointed that I could not hold a meaningful conversation with any of them. I paid the bills, and went to my mother’s house. I wanted to get angry, but I reconciled with myself by remembering that they were just being Kenyans. If I wanted them to go to the street and sing my name, they would have gladly done that for another bottle of beer.

The new Kenyans seems to have stepped aside the teachings of our grandfathers, the founders of the nation, that nothing comes to you for free.

I was one time having lunch at a game lodge in Samburu National Reserve. We were sitting outside the dining, overlooking the river. From the bushes nearby, came a young ground squirrel. He was about to pass by my table when I decided to take some photos of him. But he looked as if he was in a hurry, although he did not seem to worry about our presence.

I quickly threw some nuts to him so that he would slow down for me to click some shots. He stopped, scooped all the nuts, and stuffed them in his cheeks then, ran to the fence.

There, he dug a small hole and buried the nuts. He then climbed a tree nearby and I could see him munching the fruits from the tree. I interpreted that to mean, “I know how to look after myself. For the nuts, I will eat when I have to”. Meanwhile, several waiters had gathered around me and my clients.

We had finished eating and we were about to leave for our destination. They were not there to say goodbye. They were waiting for a tip from us. I let my clients know what was happening. Because they were just being Kenyans, waiting for a free dollar. How beautiful the squirrel was!

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