Kicheko ajabu

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Hello forks… Or is folks?. We won’t discuss that right now, but I studied in a school whose classroom windows were bigger than the doors and English was taught in my mother tongue.
Fast forward, 20 something years later, I find myself in Nairobi.
Today, in Nairobi, I had an experience that I would love to share. I am used to having my lunch at a popular joint called “Balcony Cafe” or “Kwa Mathee”. It’s one of the best places you can ever have your lunch in town, and feel free to halla at me when you are in town, I’ll take you to the joint.
What I like most about Balcony Cafe is that they serve NATURAL foods. Foods am familiar with since childhood. The menu is friendly… Githeri, Githeri Special, Chapati, Chapati blown, mbosho, Ugali, matumbo… The whole menu is stuck in my, and most of Mathee’s customers minds. You walk in and they know on Tuesday, this guy takes Chapati Ndengu, you have your seat and service pap! Every meal is accompanied by some very sweet soup, chapatis come in twos, and they are centrally stabbed with forks. It’s that SIMPLE.

So today I attended a training in one of those 3-4 hotels. At 10:30 AM we had tea break. That’s when I sensed some danger. Am used to tea that is ready, only thing you add is some sugar and then order your mandasi. Here, I was given an empty cup and that was it. I picked a teabag, added some “milk”, then sugar and picked some few snacks. I realised that the so called Star Hotels charge you so much, yet you literally do the work. Make your tea, serve yourself, kazi yao ni kuosha tu vyombo. #RESIST.

After tea, we resumed the training, which was awesome!!!
1:30 P.M LUNCH BREAK. This is where I had issues. As usual, it was Self-service, but they will give it a cool name such as Bufee* [spelling siko sure nayo]. I once again queued and picked up a plate and started serving myself. The only food I was familiar with was Ugali and Chapati. Every other food had been baptised and confirmed. All the other foods had some funny names like Quiche, Burritos, Fajita, Quesadillas, TarTar Paste,Pollo Ripieno, Impepatta De Cozze. This food names sounded like Football Teams from Bulgaria and Azerbaijan … Yaani jina ya chakula inakupea stress kuliko njaa uko nayo. so I served foods which looked familiar. There was something which was white/brown particles which I believe was rice but jina ilikua imeaitwa imeanza na Rez… So siezi kumbuka. Then towards the end of the bufee, there was Nyama Fry, Fish and Chicken. They had different names but I am familiar with the smells so jokes on them. Plate fully packed, I proceeded to a table. I wanted to sit with my colleagues but there wasn’t any space. Ikabidi nmekaa mahali kuna wazungu wawili and an Indian lady. But Kenya is my country, so they can’t tell me nothing. Sasa kukaa kwa meza, There was a Knife and fork, wrapped in a white sparkling clean cloth. Something was MISSING! I searched and searched and searched. Couldn’t find it. I called the waiter. “Excuse me Paul”… He came to where I was seated. I cleared my and said “Mlisahau kuweka kijiko hapa”. He courteously smiled and said “Sorry Sir, we only give Knife and fork”. I looked and my food and there was rice, some cabbage, legumes…! Nkule mchele na fork? What the fork!!! Then I asked Paul “Where can I wash my hands please?” and he said " You may use the restroom. Am sorry we don’t have any taps inside here".
Wait… So I have rice, which am supposed to eat using a fork, and boned meat which am supposed to eat without holding it with my bare hands.??? What was supposed to be a nice lunch turned out to be a hectic afternoon. But am not a member of RESIST movement yet, so I said, what’s the worst that can happen?. I started taking my lunch. Rice nlikua nakula kamoja kamoja kama njugu bana. Chapati nadunga, naiweka kwa mdomo vile ng’ombe huweka uncut Napier grass. I could tell the Jungus around me were either amused by my habits or were feeling uncomfortable. After about 10 minutes of struggle for food liberation, I was done with everything else except the meat.

I looked around and saw how guys were handling their baggage. Knife, not just knife, BLUNT KNIFE on the right hand and fork on the left . Yes? I started with the fish because it needed no mathetics because it was boneless. But vile nlikua naikata nlikua naona ntapasua sahani. Every time I produced a “KWA KWA” sound. But that’s the hotel’s problem. If they had washed my hands, we wouldn’t be there in the first place. Fish Done. Sasa noma ikafika kwa Beef na Kuku. There are bones here and meat surrounding it. How am I to extract it. If it was at Mathee’s Kiosk, hii nyama naishika na both hands, Naichangamkia bila kuhurumia na nanyonya ile bone marrow. FREEDOM IS KEY.
I said a short prayer, and decided to start with beef. Saitan ni Saitan. I firmly held my fork and forgot to hold the knife as strongly. Ile kisanga ilitokea huko mtaiona kwa news btw. I applied all my strength on that piece of beef, and the bone separated from the meat. Hio mfupa ilitoka kwa sahani yangu kama risasi! Kwa fork nyama yote ikabaki. That bone went straight to one of the Jungus with a white shirt, kwa chest and all the bone marrow splashed on his shirt. It looked like an assassination scene my frens. The guy stood up, banged the table and asked “What’s wrong with you???”! Everyone looked at our table. My fork firmly stuck on some beef steak which had just divorced the bone, knife on the right hand and the mzungu looking like a chef. It was awkward. Deep down I told myself “You Guys colonised our Forefathers, Take one for the team too”.
The manager came and walked with us to his office… It was a long story which I am not able to share here.

At around 5P.M I left the hotel, the Mzungu was bought a new shirt and given a dozen of apologies. And today, yes today, was the last day I will ever use knife and fork to eat.
This is modern day colonisation.


Beaut story. Knife and fork are an inevitability of life and if you are to avoid more social disasters in future you just have to train yourself on their use, preferably in the comfort of your house, until they are easy in your hands.
I hope your colleagues will not be calling you bone marrow or some such other nasty nickname from the incident behind your back.
You see, social disasters can stick with you for the rest of your life and undermine your confidence…

Wonderful experience.

swaffi!!! tumia mikono

what the fork:D:D:D

I don’t know why its seen as “well brought up” using all those utensils neatly laid on your sitting table but, Hey!! u just have to learn not to embarass yrself.

Hehehe. Gud wan

… tulikuwa Mayfair, evening party after weddo fulani. kuna kale ka soup huletwa kwa bakuli alafu tu mkate na butter ziko round shape.
nilidunga ka piece ka butter na fork na nikarusha ndani ya mdomo. kutoka hapo, sikuguza any hadi nione wenzangu vile wanafanya ndio nicopy.

Hawakuwapea soup kama appetizer. That comes with a spoon. Hiyo trick ndio mi hutumia.

Just visit Kampala they don’t do fork at all.


Angeenda washroom aoshe mkono alafu aenjoy chakula. In Africa people should use hands to eat, except Kenyans from Nairobi.

Hehehe…funny story but with a tonne of salt. I always wash my hands and eat chicken or boned beef with my hands and it’s never a big deal.

Pole kaka pia it happend to me once… i was with boss nikajaribu the same thing to try and get the nyama out of the bone with a blunt knife and folk… in my case it was the plate that flewed towards but boss but nikama alikua chojo… he stopped it and aknishow niende tu nioshe mkono


Kuna wengine kwa buffet huanzia dessert