I can almost feel the wrath and contempt of the Anti-Diasporans heaving down on me; and thats because they will not see the funny side to this!
Anyway,i have spent more of my life outside Kenya than in Kenya and i left before i had a “gitambulisho” so i will let you work that one out!
t get me wrong,i am not even from "ubabini" i grew up in a very modest suburb of Nairobi West having been born in Ngong,Kajiado.So i know what pit latrines are and i used them even when there was no water in my modest Nairobi West house not to mention boarding school of which i completed my High School education in Kenya. Anyway,it was 14 years until i made my first visit to Kenya (Dont ask why,its complicated! and you wont believe me anyway!)
I remember landing at JKIA and anyone who has lived in Europe or America will attest to this,the heat and humidity is what re-awakens those forgotten senses of Home.There is also the overhanging smell of pollution (old diesel engines if you ask my opinion!) that is in the air and then the forgotten “toa kitu kidogo” bolloxollogy that you have to deal with;and thats just to get your Visa!
I will leave politics for another day,i am here to talk about pit-latrines…if you
ll excuse me! (pun intended!) For some reason after 14 years away from home you are very nervous about what to expect;more nervous than even the moment you left to go to an unknown land where you knew no one! You worry about what became of your friends and family and if all they tell you on the phone is all true,you go through the list of all the dead relatives that have gone while you were away.But most of all you are self concious and you worry about how people will percieve and see you; are you fatter,did you accomplish anything,are you behaving funny and awkward?,are you talking funny?......the list goes on and on and the nearer you approach Kenya and you can see on those tu-GPS things on the plane the more nervous you get! Nothing prepared me for the Pit Latrine experience and i had somehow deleted it from my memories of living in Kenya. I arrived home early in the morning so apart from the masses of people walking to go to what i would like to believe was there places of work,i wasnt too surprised,i even got comfortable enough to sleep off my jet lag through the rest of the day as all my hosts carried on with their daily routines.
Shida ilianza the next day when we had to go and visit an aunt in Kikuyu. Now my aunt is a gem and the most jovial and carefree person you will ever meet and that day she had gone out of her way to make me and my family feel at home in her house.The only problem was that the “toilet of inside” Kikuyu translation for inhouse toilet was not working because of water shortage-to be honest ,i think it was just a cosmetic toilet that nobody ever used!
t prepared for the challenge that is "squatting" and tthe last time i had squatted was in P.E doing frog-jumps for Basketball practice. Anyway,i convinced myself that i was still fit enough to attempt a "dunk" in my not so familiar environment and anyway,had i not done it for years before i left Kenya?! Now we have all been to the gym and tried "something new". My first instincts as i closed the door to that outside cubicle with a bent nail was one of utter nolstagia. The size of the hole on the floor left me in doubt of my target precission and the overwhelming stench made me sure that i didnt want to take any longer than i should in this confined space so i had to do what i had to fast and get out!
But then there was the blue,green and multi-coloured “grade” size flies that didn
t seem too phased by my prescence in the "little room",they almost seemed happy and buzzing to have me in their company and that was before i assumed my "squatting" position hoping that i didnt miss my “target”
I was now all settled and persuading my bowels to move when on the corner of my eye i saw what looked like a camouflaged lizard blatantly walking upside down on the hot metal roof and after an eyeful of me in my compromising position continued on his way like he never saw me!
I quickly remembered that i had seen that before in my younger years and that i should
nt be worried;afterall,that is where lizards lived! What i wasnt prepared for was how many of them and in how many colours and sizes they came(i counted at least 8);and when i saw a colourless one staring right down on me as if racially taunting me,i knew this session had to be postponed!
Trousers up,and the “need” now gone and forgotten,i couldn
t get out of that toilet quick enough ..if only my now muscle cramped legs could let me!.... I didnt visit any pit-latrines after that and i made sure to have a routine “dunk” before any long outings in the safety of my house before i left and i did so for the 3 weeks of my holiday.It was so bad that the next time i had the “need” at Mtito Andei on my drive to Mombasa and saw the flashable pit-latrines again,i held my
peace until Mombasa!No way was i going to take another chance.