Saturday, 6 July 2013
WHERE ON EARTH IS KENYA? By Diaz Waitherero
Pwani si Kenya, Rongai si Kenya and Nyanza si Kenya, could
somebody tell me where to find Kenya? The border line must be
looking queer if all three are eliminated. These three catchy words have
been all over social media. Photos have been shared, pages have been
formed and groups recruiting the members of the so called ‘Diaspora’
are the norm. The radio has not been left out in this shenanigan as a
matter of fact it plays a key role in making Rongai look like it’s out of
With jokes like ‘vehicles from Rongai make ten pit stops before
reaching Nairobi ‘or ‘you can finish a whole series before you reach
Nakumatt Galleria’ and so many more that I choose to keep to myself.
Rongai is not that far to tell you the truth but the hours you can spend
on the road usually give you the wrong impression about the
destination. The habitants of this great place can confirm that Rongai is
a dream that you wouldn’t want to have every day. It is one of those
once and never again kind of things you go through. When you wake up
you wouldn’t be sure if it’s a dream or a beautiful nightmare.
Having next to five years on this side of Kenya, it has been a brain
freeze in the making. My very first time to step on this type of soil was
in 2008, when we had had enough of city life and the only option was
to go to the greener side of life. The grass is usually greener on the
other side but on this side of Kenya it’s more of brown than green.
Packing and Shifting scheduled on the same night, was one of the most
uncomfortable episodes of my life. All I remember was my family and I
packing in one second and in the next I was in a lorry lying on a
mattress on top of a fridge.
I had never realised how beautiful the sky is at night until that day. I
lost count of the stars after hearing kanjo at intervals of five minutes.
Those people are not exactly people-friendly especially when it comes
to a couple of minors being carried at the back of a lorry. Dead silence
followed after seeing any flash of torchlight then the frenzy continued
soon after. My brothers and I had a lot of fun on our way there; it was a
good enough ride. Though a mixture of fear and a plank of wood poking
my back aren’t on top of the list on my way to a new beginning, I
Sleep was finally kicking in and the plank of wood had become a
comfort zone, then we arrived at our home in Rongai. Talk about a pain
in the neck. The worst part of unpacking is realising what you left
behind was more than what you carried. Soon enough the basics were
over and the only thing remaining was the bed to be set up. The
mattress was the only thing running through my mind and the fact that
it wouldn’t be on a fridge, made it even more appealing. We all called it
a night after it dawned on us that we stopped living in the fast lane the
minute we left Nairobi.
The next morning my brother and I did all forms of cleaning; you would
think a dignitary was coming. It’s like the previous owners took their
trash and equally distributed it all over the house. What a nice way of
welcoming new bees. After all the sweeping, scrubbing, wiping and
fetching I was damn hungry and since it’s the first day in Diaspora, our
fridge was nothing but empty. The leftovers were not exactly left over
considering I was the last to get wake up. So I decided to go for a stroll
just to get to know the neighbourhood a little.
On my walk to nowhere, I followed our road which is a branch of the
main road. It was not only muddy but it was also extremely narrow,
somehow like the road to heaven I imagine. A one-way kind of road, no
U-turns possible, no hummers allowed since the walls were really close
together. The only way you and a car could simultaneously pass, is
when you literally push yourself against the wall. If you are voluptuous,
you would be forced to go back up to the end of the road just to let it
pass, I call it a painful form of exercise.
The lines on my forehead only got worse when I reached the main road;
the open air market graced me in a way that I did not anticipate. That
was the conclusion of getting to know my neighbourhood and my quest
of satisfying my curiosity. Word of advice; try shifting houses when it is
daylight just for familiarity purposes and to avoid shocking episodes.
We moved a couple of times afterwards and finally settled in my
mother’s dream house, still in Rongai. It seems we can’t get enough of
Despite having a heart-location confrontation on the first day, I have to
admit I liked the fact that I dint have to travel to go to the market or to
see Ngong hills. Nature and resources were really easy to come by. For
those who wonder if there are lions running around eating humans, I
assure you that there no carnivores feasting on us. Proof is the fact that
I am alive and typing. Rongai is not exactly in the popularity contest but
if you want to get away from the city and lead a private life, this is the
place for you.
Take my word for it, you don’t have to be old and retired to come here,
no age limits in this zone. I know I sound like an advert but Rongai is
good enough for everyone. As much as people are not up for residing
on this side of town, you would be surprised by the number of retirees,
university students and hardworking Kenyans who live here.
This leaves me wondering who exactly makes fun of this exotic place; I
know it’s like the whole of Kenya but I just had to ask. Just to mention,
Ngong hills are our view, Kware our market, Tuskys our supermarket,
Ole Polos our hang out joint, Galleria our mall, monkeys our pets and
Bomas our amusement park. In a way it’s a whole new world over here.
As for Coast and Nyanza, I have no comment regarding them. All I know
is there is no sign board written ‘welcome to Kenya’ as you head to
Nairobi from Rongai. To all my lovely friends who do a great job at
reminding me that I live in the bushes, may you realise that we have
unlimited supply of light and I am not referring to the moonlight.