Hakuna Matata Tarmacking!


The mzungu, i almost cursed him and his agenda for touring Africa. I looked at him and willed him to look my direction so i could show him the fin…no, the envelope. I cursed him not because his ancestors ruled us way before weyathi but coz of the mineral water he was sipping. Yes, such a seemingly trivial matter you might think, no? You just wait there i tell you the story.

As the story goes, boy met girl, girl met boy, and Harry met Sally. In my case it was more dramatic; boy met world, world effed boy. Case closed! Nowadays Harry no longer meets Sally, that’s too main stream, he meets Barry. Things have changed man!

But Barry Harry Sally is neither here nor there. This post has nothing to do with lovey dovey and bally bally (if you know what i mean) stuff.

Oh, Italia my team got beaten by Costa Rica. I feel nothing, it won’t even make me lose sleep. I will not even hack my neighbours head with a machete!

Year was 2001, Abu Amirah was just a young 20 year old lad dreaming of being a journalist one day. That day has never come so i quit dreaming and started my sleep more. Sleep inspires my blogging, usiniulize kivipi! I had just completed a FULL COURSE in computer packages and i felt ready, or rather the times back then made me believe i was ready to enter the corporate world.

And so i did try to enter the corporate world armed with a worn out A4 envelope, a fake tie, a shirt that had seen better days, pants that were never sewed to be matched with a tie and shoes, well, my shoes had a story of their own.

The mzungu and the mineral water, you just wait, am coming to him.

I had seen an ad at the notice board outside Odeon, the place where they have that Kuna nduru gizani church. One thing with looking for work back then is that you either saw a vacancy advertised in the dailies or at Odeon. Odeon was famous for this. Haven’t been there in a while so i wouldn’t know whether the trend is still on.

Nowadays a job placement might just be a Whatsapp text, tweet or Facebook inbox away.

The notice said:

“computer operator WANTED (the wanted was always in caps), KCSE mean Grade D (what? Dunder head?) MUST be proficient in MS Word and Publisher. Good salary. 3 vacancies available”.

So i got my certificates photocopied and headed for the interview. That morning i ate Ugali and veges and a banana. I know it has no bearing in the story but i just thought you should know.

Goodness, the line was long. I had no idea there were so many people proficient in MS Word. There were men dressed like me, some even worse coz their shirt collars were totally worn out, their shoes clearly showed signs of too much tarmacking while their faces tried to portray the image of aspiration. Man, life was hard.

The women wore cheap make up and lipstick and nail polish. One even had different colors on each of her finger nails. She was seated next to me acting all diva-like i actually thought she was there to audition for a River wood movie or something. There was dirt lodged underneath her fingernails, a fine layer of red dust on her ‘stee hehe letos’ said that she was from Banana. Banana is a place very far from Nairobi CBD and no, it’s not a banana republic and yes, it does have a few monkeys and chimps.

I looked at the divas hair; oil lined the edge, mixed with her anxious sweat and came off as something horrible. And she had the most horrific scent in the name of Bint El Sudan, that ka Green face powder with an image of an overly dark girl. Aiiiyayeee, that thing had a terrible smell, the one who invented it must have had a problem with his sense of smell.

All in all, i failed the interview coz i couldn’t find G (not the overrated one)on the keyboard. I swear that keyboard had no G! Little miss diva bint el freaking Sudan was hired coz she could find G. I was left out, and the way i had prepped for it, going through all the things my ‘lecturer’ had taught me about MS Word.

So out of desperation i found myself seating on a concrete bench facing KENCOM on one side and Hilton hotel on the other contemplating my next move. My plan was to laze around till the time i could catch an overloaded Githurai 45 bus and pay 10 bob. I actually contemplated robbing a bank at that very moment.

That’s when i saw him, the mzungu. He was emerging from a van which had obviouisly picked him from the airport. He was in Kenya to see monkeys and elephants and wildebeest and probably racoons mating. He would take snaps and sell them to BBC and Nat Geo for a fortune. He would pass by some forsaken village in Kenya and take snaps of naked kids with huge bellies, ashen faces and herds of flies vacationing around their mouths. He would be famous.

Yes, he angered me. He looked so serene and rich and carefree. Me, i couldn’t even afford to travel to the next town. So he is sipping his water and am soo freaking thirsty i found myself licking my dry lips. He threw the bottle into a bin, unfinished. Wah, the things human beings take for granted.

Sitting there opposite Hilton brought to our sight (this is the spot all job seeking youth in Nairobi used to hang out back then) all manner of human beings. Most times i questioned myself, thinking i had done something wrong to suffer that much.

I remember asking myself how hard or easy it would be for the son of a pauper to strike it rich. I had no answer. I picked my desperate self and headed to that ka joint opposite Ramogi studio where fries were sold for 20 bob.

They are quite less, the fries on the plate but at this place we eat by faith. I put lots of chilli and vinegar (what benefit does vinegar have?) and drank lots of free water till my tummy was full.

It’s been a while since i went there; i just might go there for old times sake. Nowadays i do Mc Frys on Moi Avenue because tarmacking already went digital, i hope you know this!

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