I was supposed to meet Dee on that day. I call her my daughter. Mjangos are gobsmacked when I tell them I have a daughter. I love that reaction that is portrayed on their faces. A facial expression that is confused about whether to be happy for me because having children has always been a good thing or to be embarrassed because I am barely old enough to get married. One time I told my girl friends I have a daughter and they were like, “Aw that’s so sweet. Can we see her?” I was like why not. I showed them pics and they said, “She’s so cute. Khaaai!” (The khaai especially got me cracking silently in my lungs.) “Ni kadogo na kasupu aki.” Trust me I was feeling myself already. A day cannot pass without Dee taking a selfie or pictures in their wonderful yard at home. “What’s her name?” I said Dee. “Kakona miaka ngapi?” I paused so that within my sly conscience, I would kiss goodbye the fun moment I was having that never lasts for long. I said, “She turned 18 this year.” I was this close to being insulted for playing around with the ‘aw reactions’ of girls. Those that they keep in store for events such as baby showers or when their girlfriends get one more piercing on their navel.
Yea so Dee is an adult. Old enough to be written in a blog without her mum or especially her big sister, Kazz having to ask who gave the authorization. But I call her daughter not only because she is tiny and cute and I am quite tall and with a beard; which may be the best evidence of masculinity you may note in me. It’s because of how fatherly I have been to her since we became acquainted about one and a half years ago. Those are her words by the way, not mine. Her lovely Dad whom she always makes me wish I met – went to be with the Lord some two years ago. Yea so now you know who Dee is.
It was on a Friday. I felt like the last time I had seen her was when mammoths still walked on the earth. We were supposed to meet at the creamy inn opposite Archives in Nairobi. I had to say creamy inn because she loves ice cream so she won’t forget. I had given her the freedom to choose where we would meet and guess what she said? Like all other mjangos who don’t know about the criminal ghosts that roam around the city, she said Archives next to Mr. Price. I forgave her for that and told her, “Dotty, there is no point of meeting at a place that will see us go back home without our phones.” And as you’d expect, she is a young lady growing into a woman and all of them are just the same when it comes to time. I later understood why she was late though. She had stuff in school to take care of but that still shakes hands with the saying ‘If she is not late, she is not a woman.’
I had to find someplace to sit and chill that wasn’t Archives. I chose Kenkom stage. I would have walked into a joint and ordered a soda while I waited. But I think I was in the mood for something different on that day. I took time and watched mjangos go about their businesses they hope God will bless them through. And to be honest, I expected to see someone. Someone I have lived to see in town doing the same thing he does every day. Begging. My mind was taken away by one lady who was a stone throw away from me. She was a street vendor. However, that was not what was interesting. What was interesting was the fact that she was using sign language to communicate. (On that note, check out CESLIS. They provide sign language interpreting services.) Perhaps she is unable to hear or speak. She seemed to really get along with the people around including her colleagues. I told myself that if she could speak, she would be very talkative. Regardless, I was touched to note another case of disability not being an inability.
Just then when I had acquired my case study, he shows up! The mjango I was expecting. He is ever in a blue beanie cap that I bet he seldom takes off, an oversize woolen jacket, a pair of trousers with one side of it raised to the knee and a pair of open shoes that probably know everywhere in town by now. He has one part of the trouser raised to the knee because of what looks like a wound that rests on the shin of his leg. No offence, that wound is too ugly to be looked at twice. If you’re the easily irritated type, you’d involuntarily find yourself saying, “Will you cover that wound with a bandage for God’s sake!” And so he is ever walking with a walking stick on one hand and a cup for collecting money on the other and a ‘nisaidie brathe’ face. Okay so mjangos like me look back at him with an ‘okay tutakusaidia brathe’ face. But there’s only one problem.
I know you cannot remember me but I can remember you just the way I remember my ex. So you bet I’m never really happy to see you, again, just like I may not be happy when I see her. Do you even remember the faces that ‘saidia’ you? So that when I tell you “Sina leo brathe,” you’d say, “Ni sawa brathe. Najua ushawahi nisaidia. Kwa hivo si ati hautaki kunisaidia. Lakini ukipata tena usinisahau. Ama aje?” And not, “Brathe wacha kujifanya. Wewe ni mwanaume kama mimi na wanaume ni kuokoleana…” that precedes a sermon of you used to have a normal life like other people until that day the mother of misery gave birth to trouble and his sisters into your life. All the way up to when you got that ugly wound on your leg.
By the way come to think of it, I have always seen you with that wound. Twice have I given you money and twice I didn’t have any money and once I have seen you coming and I left before you could reach me. Most of those times, I was in high school and you know what? Now I am in university. Please don’t say I am being a hater. But I have heard from not one and not two people about you. About how ungrateful and impatient you get with people who claim not have anything to help you with. I bet that happens on bad days when you haven’t made enough money huh? No wait, I meant collected enough money. Or should it be begged enough money? You know best about what you do. So your bitterness with the one who blesses men and allegedly failed to bless you enough on that day added on to the bitterness you’ve carried in your life because of the wayward decisions you made or how unlucky you think you are – is what you let out on people. People who are hustlers like you. They may say they don’t have money although they do but that doesn’t mean they’ve lied to you. Who knows what that money is for apart from the God who helps them get money? And what makes you feel like they are obligated to give you money? So that you can spell shit to them when they don’t give you a penny!
I speak like this because we all know how some beggars end up being rude when you play stingy or when you genuinely have nothing to give. We are not against helping them, are we? If begging is all they do, who are we to come between their course with the Maker? All we wish not to be is casualties of their ungratefulness and bitterness. You give a twenty shilling coin to a street boy who has followed you all the way across Agh Khan Walk just to get him off your tail and what do you get in return sometimes? “Brathe unanipea aje mbao? Hii ni matusi. Wacha ujinga na uongeze salasa!”
Anyway, there is nothing we can do beyond that. We accept them the way they are but it doesn’t mean we will not tread carefully.
Oh and by the way, Dee did show up and we had a great time. I am sure she wouldn’t mind me mentioning how male vendors teased her (not inappropriately) because of how short and lovely she looks – as I walked with her along the streets.
And please note I haven’t said all beggars are rude or not genuine. Let them beg!


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Written by The Mjango

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4 years ago

That jamaa is just lkjvgygewvhuretg. YES! I typed gibberish… Its been years but his kidonda haijaipona.

Reply to  TheMjangoSeries
4 years ago

If you live in Nairobi na humjui you don’t belong here