“Nani amekunoki zaidi kunishinda?”
I remember asking her that question more times than one. I had to survive you know? All needs fulfilled and met in the pursuit of the ever blurry horizon. Her name will be Myra for the purpose of this writing. Myra was beautiful in every Aspect of the word. She had flawless black hair, eyes that always wanted to explore. The eyes were big, big in an awesome way. I remember my friends nicknaming her Pinky because the first day we met she was in a bright pink top and blue jeans… The reason she got that name is that that day I was too nervous to even ask her name. So when we went back to the hostel, I asked my roommate Johnie…
“Ulicheki huyo nguna alikuwa amevaa top ya pink?”
“Maze alikuwa on point kaa decimal”
And the name stuck.
So finally I was through with registration and I had to fit in; search for the timetable, look for lecture rooms, find the student mess ( I never ate there for the entire four years I was in Uni) and most importantly know where the ladies hostels were.
Settling in Kakamega wasn’t easy for me for more than one reason most important being the moody weather and I was exceedingly uncomfortable with the natives. They seemed violent and when they spoke that language… man it was frightening.
As the years went on I adapted and came to appreciate everyone for their diversity. I was introduced to mukombero and ugali number 17 by the Luhya, omena by the Luo, Mursik by the kales and … (fill in the blank space) by my fellow Kikuyu brothers.
Along the lanes of campus pavements I met many great people among them:
Johnie aka Maish
He was this black dude. You would have confused him for a son of the lake. Coming from Murang’a the guy had so much ukiuk ndani yake. At one time he even brewed muratina in the university hostels. The stench from the room was so strong that even the caretaker came to inquire what was happening with us. On seeing the bottle, Maish convinced him that it was herbal medicine that he required for diarrhoea.
Hussein Aka Mianzi
Huyu jamaa was the most slippery of all the guys I met in campo. He always made fun of everyone and the bottle was a close friend of his. In our first year, his weekend always began on Thursday and ended on Tuesday. He was the guy we depended on for feasting and drinking during Idd since he was a muslim.
Then there was Obare Aka Ray.
He was Hussein’s partner in crime. You couldn’t miss the two together. They were either in the gym or planning on which ladies to ambush… This guy had so much soprano but we couldn’t blame him. He was form the Kisii community. Ray was the crazy one and the most built (alikuwa ameunga). One day we were coming back from campus at night after raving the night off. Upon arrival in town, we were ambushed by boda boda thugs. Thinking that we had security among us, the guy just screamed: “Uoga ni ngao majamaa” and he rushed off faster than everyone else…
Leaduma was another piece of the gang. He was the smooth operator. Always seeming quiet but you never had a chance trying to fathom what was going on in his Samburu head. I at one time asked him whether he had ever been a cattle rustler… he answered me with a laugh. Coming from samburu county, we at one time nicknamed him ASAL but the name never stuck because of his appetite for the ladies of Mt Kenya.. hahaha
I won’t write about the ladies I met much but they were many, some teaching me lessons that I still hold close to heart. There was Mamji, Sarah, Gacheri, Mercy, Winnie Achieng’, Judy, Gatwiri Georgina among others. They all made life in campus easier in one way or the other. Gatwiri, I wish I had a chance to say goodbye but life is just that; you gotta make the most out of it when you have the chance. I won’t forget your smile anytime soon. To you and Mamji, all the best in raising your beautiful daughters.
Life in college was an opportunity to interact and accept diversity and difference from their roots. As the time sped along, I realized how rich of a culture we as a country have a grip on; unfortunately one we never appreciate. Going back to school, I always had the privilege of passing though many counties and what I always saw was mind-blowing; from zebras across parks, the rich environment we were blessed with and the promise Kenya had in its people.
My interactions with different members of different communities taught me that we all have a dream for this country. A dream of prosperity and development for all and sundry. I learnt through the years that what separates us is not our differences in ideology but poor, selfish and self-centered politics practiced by our elected representatives. To date I came to understand and accept that the greatest investment a government can make is in its people.
Campus life is done and I gotta take a leap of faith and plunge myself into the tarmacking world. One of trials and hardships. One am sure will be characterized by more challenges and losses than wins. Having done Disaster Mitigation and Sustainable Development, I hope I didn’t throw my four years to the wind.