Tuesday, December 18, 2007

aT tHe KiJiJi

Nairobi just like Babylon, is a mixture of Splendor and squalor. Sometimes you would be forgiven to think you are in a different part of the city (seeing there is city in the sun and city in the garbage) Maybe the contrast can be seen between the Nairobi Tom Mboya street and just down at the Kenyatta Avenue.

So this past weekend i went to the kijiji to do braid my hair. I really don't have a problem trodding these areas but somehow i always have that hidden fear like something would happen. Anyway accesibility to the kijiji (slum) is not as easy as one would like it be, you get off a good estate road and start walking down to a place where lights, tarmack, toilets, water are a distant dream.

Stupid me didn't even wash my hair (water is a luxury), and i had my hair washed rinsed with just one bucket.I am used to gallons and gallons of water washing my head but anyway really it made no difference.

Now thats is no of real interest to me. What jazzed was the number of guys passing through the salon just to chat (do people still do such things) The guys who we were warned rather loudly to take care of our belongings because those guys were thieves. So i looked up, though i have been mugged once i never ever got to see the culprits. I saw how thieves look like. The guy went on to say

"Kazi yangu inaanza saa sita but mi siwezi kukuibia coz nakujua"

Thats the closest to a confession i have ever hard.

So he would look at guys passing and start saying ati so and so has such a nice phone, bad thing i know her (Dayum).

The curious thing is these people look like they co-exist very peacefully, understand each other's profession and the fact that someone knows you is enough for them to leave you alone. Even thieves have honour!

The guys entertained us, they is even a corrupt version of some Kenyan song ati "ti ti shika matiti" It didn't though leave my conscience that these guys were confessed thieves. They talked though of some tough cop called Ndombolo who has slayed many of their friends caught stealing from the residents.

Politics
Somehow i have not see any active campaigns where i live. But this kijiji is a beehive of activity, all sorts of politicians were even on foot campaigning. There were vehicles with all colours and manner of parties. The good thing was there was a level of tolerance. Except for Kibera, intolerance has been absent this campaigns but that kijiji was spectacular in their level of tolerance. No insults or anything just campaigns and supporters moving from one part to another. It hit me campaigners do actually know who needs Hope and to be given hope and promises however empty those promises are. The residents of the kijiji decided that they are not voting anyone who is not giving them money, coz they know anyway thats the last time they are seeing those guys (what a pity!).

So when it was time to go home, it was almost dark and most of the residents were trooping back from where they do their various menial jobs. I asked why Esther Passaris had not visited and i was told that its not possible because the residents usually pull the electricity from the poles.

I went back home and forgot our brothers and sisters of the Kijiji.