It is an early morning on Friday even before the first light strikes the face of Nairobi, I have an early morning and therefore I have to leave early for a gig somewhere in the outskirts of Nairobi. Don’t you just love how Kenyans work hard?
As I make quick strides along the road leading to the bus stop I cannot help to note how business has already kicked off barely 6 in the morning. I walk past my Mama Mboga, her kibanda is fully stocked with fresh produce she purchased at Marikiti about 2 hours ago!
The guy I visit every morning to have a taste of his pastry. He sells mandazi mwitu by the roadside; probably they are deep-fried in transformer oil that is why I keep coming back. He has already prepared some and wraps two with an unga paper, and off I hit the road chewing the delicacy.
It is such a noisy morning as the matatu crew is already doing their live performances adjacent to their empty buses with a handful of `passengers’ who are only posing to create the illusion that the bus will soon be leaving, owe unto me.
I board one of the Matatus. It is a bit warm in here, thanks to the humming engine; the cold weather is evident as most of my fellow passengers have a shuka round their neck. It is important to note that a matatu can only have a nice scent in the morning as people are leaving their homes, but come evening it is a mixture of garlic, ginger and other raw spices rolled together into one musk.
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The Matatu is finally packed and you can hear an argument between the conductor and the decoy passengers, as they demand for their dues.
The driver is playing a popular breakfast radio show in one of the FM stations; this is not even soothing, as the conductor has to wake the passengers up in turns, as he demands bus fare. They are still trying to have a 30-minute nap. (I think people in Nairobi are sleep deprived, they bring their slumber in public places!).
We are already along Mombasa Road and you can see the presence of police officers with their green reflectors along the road. If you are visiting Kenya, remember a cop is either easing traffic jam, collecting bribes or both.
“Hii mvua imekuwa too much bana” the passenger seated next to me groans.The city center is flooded owing to the heavy downpour last night.“Na huyu gavana tulichagua ni bure Town inakaa shamba” he further whines. We have the normal raia talk and finally we are in town.
The city center is chaos, you cannot wade through without using a mkokoo.At the bus entrance other taxpayers with mkokotenis and trolleys are eagerly waiting for us to alight and board their state of art ubers.
Some passengers are still in disbelief at the floods surrounding the matatu, but the conductor wants everyone to alight so that he can make another trip and we result to hopping to these uber style carriages.
“Ni mbao tu” the mkoko guys says as I board, he takes me to what I would call a higher ground since there are no more floods within my vicinity. I `alight’ and proceed to my destination.
It is sad to see the street families that braved the cold night on the streets verandahs, but that is Nairobi to every Kenyan , nobody bothers about them after all kila mtu alikuja kutafuta.
The famously city in the sun looks like dumping site , clogged drainage systems that even the famous rescue team cannot rescue us from. People are standing at a newspaper shade, trying to get a glimpse of what the not so independent newspaper headlines are trying to sell.
Getting a moment with a newspaper is a powerful weapon to take you through the day as even colleagues listen to every information that you crammed on that piece of paper.
I duck into a café, it is a beehive of activity, and one would think operations in the café ran around the clock, but these waiters report to work before I even wake up. On such a morning, tea is the signature order and the waiter brings the tea even before I order.”Leta na chapo mbili” I request.
The problem with Nairobi tea is that it is laced with a lot of tea, this a proof that we are big tea exporters. I sip my tea as I scroll through a Whatsapp group chat to see which members spent the night online. It is not easy being a Whatsapp admin I guess.
I leave the café immediately after gulping the last amount of my tea, as there are other Kenyans who want to take tea and are hopelessly looking for an empty seat.
The moment I step the streets are crowded with people walking hurriedly, well I guess it is another day to make Nairobi great again!
By Victor Von Njagi