A-Z of Only in Nairobi (K-M)
· KCPE/KCSE school results mania: kumbuka paros camping overnight in certain primos so that they could enrol their kids into pre-unit, and people engaging in magendo to get their kids into certain secos ati ‘cause that primo/seco did well in the exams. Hata siku za CPE na CAPE kulikuwa na the same exam results mania.
· Kei-apple fences: hah-hah those were called “kayapa” or “keiapa” – they were grown as fences and they were full of thorns so that no mwizi would risk getting pierced. There were also those cedar? fences which looked nice but they couldn’t keep off wezi. Lakini nyokas pendad the kei-apple fences so people opted for stone walls. These stone fences had particular designs, usually floral and popote you were in Nai the floral designs were similar.
· Kusengenya serikali: aah you couldn’t ati talk about politics and the government ovyo ovyo or you would be pelekwad Nyayo house haraka sana (apparently huko kulikuwa na matunnels, caves and they’d throw detainees in maji baridi). Maze people were so scared of talking about the serikali for fear of an informer/undercover CID. If someone criticised Moi they were told ati he/she was trying to geuza the serikali; wehh hizo siku za one-party state zilikuwa oppressive sana. I still marvel at how far Kenya has come.
· “Kenya-1”: I think it was the name of that car that Mo1 tokead with as the first Kenyan-built moti. Hah-hah we chekad when we heard ati a moti had been jengwad by Mo1 and it was shown sijui in Kasarani stadium being driven round the athletes’ track lakini that car became a mkebe very quickly.
· Kiosk-“hotels”: aah these used to furahisha me. Our housie used to take me with her (before I started chuo) to a kiosk-hotel during the day. There used to be Kienyeji music and people would be eating combos like githeri na soda, chapati na mayai, matumbo na chai. Our housie was a splengo and the men in that kiosk used to fuata her, and they used to insist on buying us sodas. One day some guy ordered porridge for me, I was like “err no thank you” lakini that was the community spirit. Those kiosks had grandiose names like “The Intercontinental,” “Hilltop Hotel,” “Mt. Kilimabogo resort.” Those kiosks used to get good biashara.
· Kiosks kawaida: hizo ni essential kabisa, I think they are unique to Nai/Kenya. They used to sell everything from newspapers to household necessities – hata jembe na fertiliser I’m sure they sold. Usually there were a few kiosks per Esto lakini nowadays I think they’ve multiplied too much – back then you juad the Esto kiosk owner, you saw his kiddos grow up, lakini now kuna kiosks mingi sana.
· Kuchinja mbuzi/kuku: some haos bought their own kukus live and they’d chinja them themselves. One day our housie was chinjaing a kuku by cutting its head off and the kuku ran off bila kichwa - woi woi I still don’t like live kukus to this day. And they used to lia when they were being chinjwad. Aah I heard about some Kenyans in a wazunye country who bought a live mbuzi for Jamuhuri day; heh they wanted to chinja it for the sikukuu lakini the wazunye neighbours itad watu wa Animal Welfare and that mbuzi was okolewad by an animal sanctuary. Hah-hah watu wa Nai kabisa hao.
· Kusoma gazeti extensively: maze people in Nai somad gazeti from cover to cover and they would gawanya the Nation, Standard and Taifa Leo (people didn’t penda Kenya Times cause ilikuwa propaganda ya Moi pekee). On Sato/Sunday I pendad reading the youth sections of the papers.
· Mare kwa mare: they had like a uniform theme tune (“mare kwa mare” in alto-soprano), and when you heard them you could go and exchange your old newspapers or clothes for household goods. People always stored their old newspapers, hata some people had Taifa Leos from siku za Kenyatta. In return you’d get cutlery, glasses, ndoo, etc. I hope those mare kwa mare people still do their thing, hiyo ni biashara kitamaduni style.
· Mathrees: they could get you where you wanted to get quick, fast, with no timetable or highway-code restrictions, with added customer experience of being tuned, free high-volume soundtrack, and one-to-one contact with other passengers upende usipende. Kumbuka those Peugot mathrees (peugot 604 “with Injection”), maze people would be squeezed in like warus.
· Mathree touts: it’s good that Nai has revised its mathree system ‘cause for real those manamba of back in the day were wenda wazimu but in a good way. I pendad the way they used to hang and swing from the side of the mat (we should have wekad them in the Gymnastic team of the Olympics). Hao kazi yao ilikuwa kusikia music pekee na kutune dame, yani until the owners of mathrees went hasara and they decided to take over. Next time chicks climbed the mats they found middle aged budehs taking money – sio the manamba that were tuning them. Lakini some chicks took it to the extreme. I remember pandaiing a mat with a chick who thought that paying fare was not her forte so she tried to tune/be tuned by the tout lakini he was like “hakuna kitu kama hicho.” Maze I had to pay for her to save her the embarrassment, the way she was flicking her eyelashes at him. Back then most mats were new, ziki was allowed (I’m sure it malizad many people’s hearing capacity), mats had names like “Knight Rider” and “Starship Enterprise,” lakini nowadays mats are more like mikebe.
· Maziwa (mala, ya nyayo, na kadhalika): maziwa was like the backbone of Nai. I pendad maziwa mala sana sana, yani just add sugar; it came in those bluish tetra-packs. And maziwa kawaida also came in tetra-packs with green stripes (shaped like a pyramid). Mnakumbuka being sent to the kiosk to buy maziwa? I pendad it, it was an excuse to get peremende. And at chuo we were force-fed “maziwa ya watoto wa nyayo” – it came in orangeish tetra-packs (KCC really pendad those pyramid tetra-packs). I heard ati one kiddo found a human kidole in their maziwa ya nyayo. Weh! I never drank it again.