When my Mzungu bae tried ugali

She ate the stew first, then turned to the white 'cake'

In Summary

• Bachelor is trapped when American friend moves in unannounced, settles down

Ugali and wet fry beef accompanied with kachumbari and sukuma wiki
Ugali and wet fry beef accompanied with kachumbari and sukuma wiki



My beautiful friend Harper from the US of A, who’s in the country on vacation with her girlfriends, is serious about staying in Kenya.

When I talked to her on our coffee date a few days ago, I thought she might be kidding. Last night, she ditched her friends and showed up at my door.

The problem with us men is that whenever a pretty woman is within reach, we stop thinking with our big heads and use the other one instead. It’s only as I invite her in that I realise she has all her suitcases with her.

“What happened, your hotel burned down?” I joke as I tow the luggage in.

“See?” she says. “Your sense of humour is one of the reasons I’ve missed you. But seriously, the girls left for Chicago.”

“You mean were serious about staying?”

She looks dejected. “Unless you don’t want me to. I could get a hotel tonight and book the first flight out tomorrow.”

“Oh, no, no, no.” I herd her towards the sofa. “You stay here with me for as long as you like. There’s still a whole of Kenya you haven’t seen.”

“I don’t intend to be a bother. Maybe I just need a little break from everything, you know?”

“I understand. And nothing says ‘break’ like being 10,000 miles from everything.”

“Actually, it’s 12,875 miles. I checked.”

We both laugh. I offer her a drink and excuse myself for a minute.

Out on the balcony, I do something I haven’t done in a long time. I call a friend for advice.

“You have a mzungu in your house?” Lucas asks. “And you want me to tell you how to get rid of her?”

“Not get rid, per se,” I say. “You don’t know this woman. Harper isn’t the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of woman. She’s a keeper, you know what I’m saying?”

“I know you sound insane. You finally get a keeper, but no, you want her out.”

“I’m the perpetual bachelor, remember? Come on, Lucas, any akufukuzaye hakwambii toka ideas?”

“Just be a lousy host, I guess. But you’re going to regret this and I don’t want to be part of it.”

Left to my own devices, I decide to show her the real Kenya, hoping she’ll hate it and leave. First, our food. I make her a meal of ugali and stew. Even telling her how to take it, I cringe as she eats first all the stew, then the ugali.

“How was it?” I ask.

“The stew part was good, but the other cake thingy… ugali, you said (she pronounces it uga-la-i)? That part could use a little sugar. Maybe some oil, too. But I loved it.”

Oh, drat!

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