Anyone who has gone through our Kenyan Universities knows of the different financial situations that most ‘kawaida’ undergrad students are in at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the semester. I happened to be a ‘kawaida’ student in a campus near Kikuyu town and my main source of subsistence money was the HELB loan and a few side hustles over the holiday.
The first two weeks of the semester were care-free times when the pockets were loaded and no lectures taking place. These are the times when one would get slices from that fresher you have been eyeing coz you could afford to take her out and buy her random gifts. As the semester progresses, the effect in the pockets would be felt and one could only afford courage to approach a ‘tired’ third year, who no one is interested in or ‘import’ one from the surrounding village or the nearby TTC(A hekaya for another day).
These were among a raft of measures that came naturally in order to adapt to the changing financial situations. Actually, a popular saying around campus was that; “At the beginning of the semester, you eat chicken. In the middle of the semester, you eat chicken products. At the end of the semester, you eat like a chicken.”
Among the measures that my crew had devised, was buying meat and foodstuff from Dagoretti Market at very cheap prices. The market had/has a slaughter house and @Wakanyama can bear witness that meat is being sold at very cheap prices. Another attraction to the market was cheap weed and illicit muratina brew. These factors combined would make my crew and I take a 30 – 40 minutes trek to the market to get drunk, stock up on food and weed and enjoy the walk while at it.
This hekaya happened in the middle of the semester, some time around the third or fourth week of the semester. On a slow Saturday morning, Marto suggested to me that we visit ‘Ndonyo’, as we called the market, to kill boredom. An impromptu crew meeting was called and five out seven members voted for while the other two feigned commitments and a short notice. The ayes carried the day. We agreed to meet at the gate in an hour’s time for departure.
Guys came and off we went. As usual, when we got to the railway line, Marto lit up a big blunt. We all puffed in turns like a ritual. This must have been a potent one because I felt like we had taken less than ten minutes to cover a 30 minutes stretch. Our arrival at Ndonyo was marked with pomp and colour. Every one of our suppliers, from meat to weed knew it was a good day from the bounce in our steps.
We passed by Kama’s Butchery near the Slaughter House and ‘measured’ 2.5 Kg to be cooked wet fry and some other 6kg to carry back to campus. He would call Marto when the meat was ready for consumption. Next stop was the foodstuff market then muratina base. Lundu couldn’t wait to go through the motions of buying waru and kitunguu and requested that we find him in the muratina den.
Our crew of five had now reduced to 3, with Anto going to see some mukorino girl who washed dustcoats at the slaughter house and Lundu not being able to hold his thirst any longer. We bought our warus and other stuff then finally settled in the muratina den. We found Lundu already tipsy teasing the old mama who sold the muratina.
The brew was coming in jugs and guys were buying to buy. By the time Anto was coming from his mukorino, we were already drunk and engaged in a serious argument with an old man who wanted to display their knowledge of the Queen’s Language and occasionally pour himself brew from our jug. Kama called and we cleared the jug then noisily went to take our wet fry then went back to the den to wash down the nyama.
We imbibed till dark and we were calling the shots there. Well, with a jug going for 50 bob, 200 bob was more than enough to have drunkards calling you “Chairman, umepotea sana……”. Another one would swear to have known you since childhood and shout “Chief, ile maneno yetu bado unakumbuka?” Then he comes near the table and pours our muratina into his cup.
We left the place at around 8pm, with our paper bags in tow and headed to the usual route, up a hill then joined the railway track towards Kikuyu Town. Lundu was singing Luhya circumcision songs and lamenting how he had missed that year’s circumcision ceremony. Anto was grumbling that we should have taken a mat since the fare had only risen from 30 to 40 bob. Marto was silent and was being weighed down by the weight of the warus in his paperbag amid staggers. Mwas was trailing a few meters behind us, since he was a slow walker and the alcohol only made it worse.
A few meters into the railway track, Mwas let out a war cry and as I turned to check on him, I received a slap on my chest executed by the flat surface of a panga. I swear that panga had an electric charge in it because from what I felt, I would have peed on myself were it not that I had emptied my bladder a few minutes before.
Talkers, allow me nifanye kajob kako hapa then nikuje kumalizia hekaya