Stay tuned for High School pt. II. Can’t say I have fond memories of high school, kwa hivyo my subconscious has dharaud a post entitled ‘high school pt II’ until badaaye.
Is it just my perception or are Kenyan men and women shorter than they used to be? Niaje na protein deficiency au is it just that as you grow up the way you ona other grownups changes. When I was a kiddo anyone over 18 looked and acted like a grownup. Maze those days men/women used to wear suits, skirts, blouses, na kadhalika. Women would tengeneza their nywele like Margaret Thatcher (kumbuka that perm/hair rollers combo) and men would aspire for a pot-belly. Haiya there was a time when a beer-belly was the epitome of a mdosi – hah-hah mnakumbuka Bogi Benda, that cartoon strip? He used to kunywa pombe everyday and his mke would raramika. I also kumbuka women wearing headscarves esp if they were endaring to shagz or the rough sides of tao.
Lakini siku hizi niaje, you cant really distinguish an 18 year old from a 25 year old, yenyewe they all look the same. Hakuna mambo ya suits na ties, yote ni baggy jeans pekee. Aah that’s not the way grownups used to be. Back then kiddos would call anyone over 18 “Auntie” and “Uncle” and the purpose of kiddos in the hao was to be tumwad hapa na pale: “get my handbag” “bring my slippers” “tengeneza chai” lakini siku hizi labda you bribe the kiddo first ama you lipa them a salary.
I used to dream about what I’d be when I grew up. I planned on buying a hao near central tao, driving a Peugot 504 (heh-heh kumbuka those cars they were so popular back then, they were like a saloon car with a kisogo) and vaaring mamsuits, blouses, etc., Lakini when you fika the umri of being a grownup you find that actually you want to hold on to your youth, na hizo masuits unavaa reluctantly – and who in our generation would vaa that Maggie Thatcher hairstyle or weka those Kaunda Suits that were popular with budehs?
One of the things about being a grownup in Nai is, now when people address you hawasemi “msichana” or “kijana,” they sema “huyu Auntie” or “yule mwanamume.” In the 80s I kumbuka all women over a certain age (esp if they were married) being called ‘mama’ lakini now chicks would be like “weeh, I’m still a youth.” Hakuna mtu ambaye anataka kuwa old anymore. It’s a shame yenyewe, maybe one day the prezzo of Kenya will be wearing a ngepa and jeans or thong nyande.
Personally I used to think ati the faida of growing up was having the independence and the bakes to do what you wanted. I planned on kulaing ice-cream for breakfast and chibos/milkshake for lunch everyday, lakini now I’m like weh hizo zina cholesterol na saturated fats, zishindwe kabisa. Back in the day hakukuwa na any mambo of cholesterol, in fact I kumbuka that if someone was skinny they were enjoyiwad and if they had big madiabs/ hips the teenies would fuata them. I kumbuka people kulaing with bidii so that they could have a figure “8” (kaa binti alikuwa na figure 11 alienjoyiwa kabisa).
The economic situation in Kenya back then wasn’t bad at all if I kumbuka correctly. I think it’s mostly to do with the lower population level in Nai back then, siku hizi cause everyone heads to Nbi hakuna majobos mingi. I kumbuka my cuzos finishing in Nbi Uni and getting jobos bila shida yoyote, now they own a hao and a gari (+land for some). Lakini siku hizi it’s much harder for kina 20-somethings to live that grownup life in Nai. Back then people used to move out of home when they malizad their education lakini siku hizi 8-4-4 has held people back.
I remember an ad in the ‘80’s that had different kids saying “when I grow up I want to be..” There were aspiring pilots, engineers, doctors, lawyers, the whole stereotypical shabbang. Lakini when people heard ati med training involves handling maiti they were like ‘ai basi hiyo hatutaki.’ Kina business-type careers became popular and yenyewe 844 ensured that we somad ‘business education’ – I kumbuka balancing profit/loss accounts in std 6.
Kila mtu aliassume ati prosperity awaited them when they grew up provided they somad - remember the song “someni vijana/ mfanye kazi yenu na bidii/ mwisho wa kusoma/ mtapata kazi nzuri sana.”
Another feature of Nai grownups was their rights with regards to bus seats. Yenyewe you could wake up early to board the bus first lakini when the thing got packed a grownup would either ask you to simama or they would look at you intently until you simamad. Lakini the same principle was applied irrespective of age (so grownups stood for elderly people). I heard a storo about a packed Kenya bus into which a mzunye tourist climbed, then an old cucu stood up to give him her seat (ai, jameni!); the mzunye kubalid and sat down. Weh-seh! He was mobbed sana ati doesn’t he have any heshimu for a mzee.
Na je these days, what does it mean being a grown-up in Nai? Si you’ll enda Bubbles (was that its name?) or Carni and kutana with akina form 2s huko ndani hanyaring like there’s no homework to complete.