A Kenyan’s Guide To Kenya, Vol. I

Unashamedly stolen from an Email forward. . .lol .. .
Enjoy. .

A Kenyan’s Guide To Kenya, Vol. I

I’ve often been terribly disappointed by the tourist guidebooks
written about Kenya. Most of the time they tell you stuff you already
know, like “you can go on safari and see some lions.” That’s probably
why you wanted to come here in the first place, so that’s not helpful.
Other times they give you all manner of useless information. For
example: what’s the point of telling you how to ask for directions in
Kiswahili if you’re not going to understand the answer? (Sometimes
they seem to be written by a malicious Kenyan who hates tourists. One
time I was lying on the beach and was accosted by an earnest American
who said, “Jambo. Nyinyi muna kula viazi?” First of all, no Kenyan
says “Jambo.” Secondly, I was lying on the beach, I was alone and I
definitely wasn’t eating potatoes.)

These books never tell you about all the amazing people you can meet
in Kenya, or how to understand what they’re saying. Determined to
correct this horrible wrong, I’m issuing the first of many useful,
practical tips for our many visitors. Herewith Volume I of “A Kenyan’s
guide to Kenya.” (Disclaimer: this is written from a Nairobi
perspective. Other parts of the country are a whole other story and
will cost you extra.)

Here’s what you should know:

When we want you to pass us something – the salt, say – we’ll point
with our mouths. Example: We’ll catch your eye then say, “Nani.” Then
we’ll use our mouths to point at the desired object. This is achieved
by a slight upward nod followed by an abrupt thrusting out of the
lower lip, which is pointed in the object’s general direction. There’s
no explanation for this. (“Nani” can be roughly translated as, oh I
don’t know, “Whats-your-face,” “You,” or “Thingie.” We’re unfailingly

Frequently, and for no reason whatsoever, we’ll refer to a person as
“another guy.” However, this MUST be pronounced/slurred thus: An-aa
guy. This also applies to “the other day,” which is when some
momentous event in our lives always took place. We do the same thing
with Kiswahili words like ‘bwana’, which is pronounced ‘bana.’
Example: “I was driving in town the aaa day and this guy comes from
nowhere and cuts me off, bana. Man I abused him!” ‘Abused’ in this
sentence must be drawn out and emphasised for maximum effect:

We claim to speak English and Kiswahili, which technically means that
we should be able to communicate with the English-speaking world and
Tanzania. What we really mean is that if you’re not Kenyan you won’t
understand a damn word we say or why we say it.
Example: “Sasa” in Kiswahili means “now.” We use it as a greeting.
Correct usage: “Sasa?” “Ah, fit.” It confuses us that Tanzanians don’t
understand this.

We also, just as randomly, might greet you by saying, “Otherwise?”
Common response: “Uh-uh.” There is no explanation for this.

Kenyans are multi-lingual, but all this means is that we believe that
if we translate something word for word from one language to another
it will make sense. A Kenyan might say, for example, “You mean you’re
not brothers? But you look each other!” Be kind, they just think that
muna fanana can slip into English unfiltered. Speaking of filters,
that’s why some people (tribe/ethnicity withheld to protect my uncles)
will claim to ‘drink’ cigarettes. If you’re not Kenyan you won’t
understand this. Let it go.

We can buy beers at police stations. Grilled meat too. Heck, in some
cop shops you can even play darts. I am NOT making this up. Example:
“Man the aaa day I pitiad (pass through) the Spring Valley cop station
after work. I was leaving there at midnight, bana. I was so wasted! I
told those cops to just let me go home.”

Oh, that’s another thing: when we’re leaving a place (your house, a
wedding, the cop shop bar) we tend to say, “Ok, me let me go…” We’re
not implying that you’re holding us against our will; we’re just
saying that we’d like to go. (The plural is, of course, “Us let us

When Kenyans say that you’re mad, it’s a profound compliment. “Man
this guy is mad. You know what he did…” then they’ll go on to
recount some of your admirable exploits. It’s high praise. Smile
modestly and accept it. By modest I mean look down, draw a circle in
the dust with the toe of your shoe (or just your toe) and then smile,
draw your mouth down into a brief frown, and smile again. Alternate
quickly a few times. This is known by English-speaking Kikuyus as The
Nyira Smile, or The Sneering Smile. Then say “aah, me?” in a high,
sing-songy voice. However, only do this if you’re female.

On the other hand, if Kenyans ask, “are you normal? (Sometimes
pronounced “nomo”), then they’re getting a bit concerned about your
state of mental health. Reassure them by buying another round.

Which brings me to Alcohol. Our national pastime. You know that myth
about Eskimos having thousands of word for ‘snow?’ Well, our beloved
drinks are known by a thousand names and phrases too. Kenyans will
‘catch pints (or just ‘catch’),’ ‘go for a swallow,’ have a ‘jweeze,’
‘keroro,’ ‘kanywaji,’ ‘jawawa…’ really, no list can be exhaustive.
Be aware, though, that the words you use will immediately tip off your
audience about your age. (For the Kenyans reading this, no I was NOT
born during the Emergency, you swine.)

Our other pastime is religion. (What contradiction?) If you’re broke
on a Sunday – and your hangover is not too bad – stroll over to one of
our parks and catch some open-air preaching. Jeevanjee Gardens in town
is a prime location. There you will see us in our full multi-lingual,
spiritual splendour. There is always, and I mean always, a freelance
preacher thundering in English while his loyal and enthusiastic
sidekick translates into Kiswahili.
Preacher: And then Jesus said…
Sidekick: Alafu Yesu akasema…
Preacher: Heal!
Sidekick: Pona!
Preacher: HEAL!
Sidekick: PONA!
It’s hypnotic. We suggest you go with a Kenyan who understands both
languages because sometimes the sidekick nurses higher ambitions and,
instead of translating, tries to sneak in his own parallel sermon. If
you’re bored in Kenya it’s because you’re dead.

As you’ve probably figured out, we like abbreviating things. (Why
would the word ‘another’ have to be any shorter than it is? Why would
the Kenyans reading this find it odd that I keep talking about
‘Kiswahili?’) This can lead to unnecessary confusion. But by now you
should have figured out that when you’re catching and someone says,
“Si you throw an-aa ra-o?” they of course want you to buy another
round of drinks. Don’t worry about the ‘si;’ like so many words in Swa
it’s impossible to translate. Embrace it, sprinkle it liberally in
your speech and move on. There are several such words, which will be
tackled in Volume II.

Posted via email from Mwangy’s Posterous

Making an informed decision

Am still on the constitution and Clergy demanding unreasonable things
from the faithful who still flock to them despite having their young
sons molested in the confession box.

Insisting on chucking the Kadhis courts on the part of the church
displays that they are eithre very ignorant & arrogant or someone else
is pulling their strings for totally different reasons.

The clause that they want to be expunged now is there because they
insisted that it be put there by the PSC. The way it was put by the
PSC is really not legally sound because you cant put such a blanket
order on outlawing Abortions without leaving exceptions for
extraordinary situations like in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. . .

The kadhis’s courts are not a religious court and though they are for
a select few, the Muslims have had them as a right and the history
behind them cannot just be willfully ignored because you don’t like
that someone else has something you don’t have or need. If you want
the kadhi’s courts expunged, then you should be prepared to give up
the coastal strip to Tanzania. . . Say goodbye to the beaches, trade
and tourists. . .

We cant have double standards and try to force our opinion on everyone
else and think you will get away with it. . . . .If the church doesn’t
change their stand, They will be embarassed. . . .

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Are you really as bright as you think? . . .

Leo has been too long. . . I move for Kenya to adopt daylight saving
time n slash the day to end @ 3pm . . yea yea I know tough luck. .
Anyhoo, was munching on som succulent roast maize leo that I had
bought for 10 bob when a conversation I had overheard amongst a couple
of pastoralists came to mind. .

Th 3 or so Maasai herdsmen were seated on the road side resting after
trekking for enough days and I happened to be seated not too far away
resting my gangly bones too(don’t ask me why there.. . ) there was a
guy roasting maize across from where we were seated and my buddy whom
I was with could understand what the herdsmn were saying as they
talked animatedly and gestating towards the guy roasting the maize. .
. when he (my buddy) started giggling, I pushed him to share the joke.
. . .he declined and told me he would tell me later. . . .

when I finally got it out of him, He explained that the Maasai’s think
the local agrarian folk aren’t very bright. According to them we tend
to our maize crop for months on end , fighting off weeds with an
arsenal of chemicals and jembes, painstakingly wait and pray for
rainfall to fall according to our plants and when we finally harvest,
sell off a whole cob for 5 bob. . .

His herd on the other hand in the same period will have produced
several more kids, calves and whatever camel offspring are called. . .
.all for a total worth of several hundred thousand (courtesy of the
camel apparently they cost afew arms and legs)

Couldn’t help but agree with the herdsman dude coz the cows provide
milk, they build with their shit and generally all they do is walk for
miles. A regular wanjiku on the farm will have dug up an acre of
farmland, planted, weeded shooed off goats, cows, and at times
elephants from her crop which will if there is severe shortage fetch
at most a few thousand shillings. That is if she isn’t planning on
feeding her family on Githeri for the rest of the month. . .

Most people think Maasais are daft for following animals all there
life and protecting them like there’s no tomorrow. . . .if you think
bout it, we do the same with land. . . .yet for most people it earns
them a pitiful living. . . .

So the next time you see someone you think you outrank on the IQ
scale. . . Take another look. . .

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Linen : Dirty or not

Today has been a long day. . . Spent most of the day washing stuff and
in the breaks was tweeting and face booking and gmailing all at once.
. . and they say we cant multi task. . . .Anyway, one of my friends
who is a fan of all things technological like me had an issue with his
chick and the worst part was that seeing as both were both good @
social media and stuff, the whole drama spilled over unto several
hundreds of home pages. There proceeded to be allegations, insults and
all else that is spewed during relationship breakups or arguments, all
on international public media for all (including your boss) to see. .

Suffice it to say all this was extremely embarrassing for the guy and
though the female in question may have got an avenue to vent herself,
the damage is permanent. This led me to question as to the wisdom in
carrying a relationship using social media. I say bag the chick using
all tools necessary but turn the communication thereafter to sms and
phone calls. This business of canoodling on ‘walls’ and updates may
seem cute but the record shall never ever be erased when you have a
nasty fight and words are thrown around. . .The relationship is after
all between the two of you. . ..

So if your chick or dude is forever on your ‘wall’ and commenting on
everything for everyone to see, when things go south dont expect
him/her/them to be silent. . . .You have been warned. . . .

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Growing Up

One of the times I looked forward to while growing up was when I
wouldn’t have to be answerable to anyone and ad decide whether to wake
up or sleep in till midday, whether I would eat or not or decide to
eat junk all week etc.. . . was totally convinced that this was the
best thing that could ever happen to me and deep down am still
convinced it is. . . .

But growing older in this our hospitable mother land a few things
started coming into focus. . .dad,s car runs on fuel which is found
@ the fuel station and he always reached into his wallet while we were
there. . . as a kid this is inconsequential because If you were like
me, Dad was the richest guy around. . but later when I understood that
he worked for it, n he had a boss whom he had to please otherwise he
would be kicked out, n his salary wasn’t a blank cheque. . .then I
dint have much fun. . then as he started his own thing and had to look
after his employees, and his margin and a plethora of other things
like assets and liabilities, the fun gradually got sucked out of being
grown up. . . .

My point for this post is , the only real fun you will ever have is
when you are a kid when you are as ignorant as a toad and wouldn’t
know better. this is because you are truly innocent and all your fun
is good n clean devoid of scheming and plotting and attitudes. . .

Lets give our kids a chance to be happy. . . .just like we were. . . .

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The CoE : Why they are real experts

Being a comrade and not liking having some guys gloat and give
themselves titles whose value I don’t immediately recognise, I dint
like that a bunch of lawyers were being called experts on the
constitution. . .I mean have they written 20 other constitutions for
other countries for them to qualify as experts?

I thus was thinking here was another money hungry committee/commission
of sorts that will just yap away and wind up with little to show for
it. . . but a little thought and analysis later revealed how
ingeniously brilliant these guys are and why they had to do what they
did. . . Allow me to explain. . .

All the corrupt politicians don’t like this draft constitution. It
mows down most of their influence and works to eradicate public
ignorance that they so relish. It brings in massive amounts of money
down to the core administrative units that really need the money and
keeps it away from their control. In the new arrangement there will be
lots of vetting and enough signatures to issue a payment such that it
will be that much harder to issue fake ass contracts to ghost
companies. . .

It address land issues and provides for maximum and minimum acreage,
all land is generally communal land so the guys with 70,000 acres
sitting around doing nothing will have to explain why guys should
slaughter each other over fractions of an acre while you sit with your
fat arse doing nothing on the land. . .

Constituents will be able to recall MPs e.t.c amongst many more
positive reforms. . .Now the beautiful part is actually the part we be
calling contentious and screaming our lungs out about. I dint quite
get why they would include the kadhi’s court when its historic
significance has dissapeared and mutilate the abortion clause when the
PSC had made it nice n clean for the church. . . . didn’t seem very
expertly to me. . .But when I study politicians and the public mood, I
understand. . .

It was a silencing move that has kicked the air out of the vitriol
spilling politicians lungs. . .now no-one can start fanning tribal
crap and land issues while we have a much more “contentious” issue
like abortion. . .The public is fixated on abortion and kadhis courts
courtesy of the church and few will listen to a guy yapping bout
majimbo and devolution n crap like that. .. . politicians who insist
on talking bout these things will seem out of step, selfish and
seemingly don’t support equality or the right to life. . .Thats why
Ruto is in a rut and all the others dont seem like they know what they
are doing. . . .Baba jimmy if you are behind this, Respect. . ..

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Draft Constitution and an Enormously Gullible Public

Something is seriously wrong with us if we are going to be divided
over a new constitution.
Why no one is seeing the plot by these politicians is beyond me. . .
the new draft constitution will seriously cut the MP’s powers and
influence and though they will retain the mheshimiwa title they wont
be beyond punishment by their constituents as there is a provision for
recalling them . . . that’s gotta send some shivers up n down their
spines. . . .the new constitution is a lot more freeing and creating
alot of checks and balances on the presidency and other public
offices. . .This draft I believe is what Kibaki wants to leave as his
legacy and it sure will be one kickass legacy. . .for the guys
fighting it coz of abortion and kadhi’s courts, give us a break. . .am
particularly disappointed with the church(Christian that is) as they
really aren’t providing much leadership. . .Allow me to explain

Rejecting a whole document based on a sentence or two which can later
be changed doesnt sound like a smart thing to do. . .the church has
immense influence I agree, just like a father has over a trusting son
or daughter. But tell your son to pick a gun and shoot himself and he
will hesitate since though you are generally wiser than him an idiotic
order remains an idiotic order and he wont follow it. That’s what the
church is saying, “shoot yourself. . .because we said so. . ”

I don’t like the kadhis courts, don’t like abortion either. . .but I
don like our 40 year old constitution any better. Ad rather have a few
clauses to lobby my MP to push for amendment later than get stuck with
our current one and spend a few more millions writing another one and
have some old guy keep yapping about a new constitution at rallies and
TV. . . .

Make your own decision, listen to your favourite cleric n politician,
but make up your own mind. . . .

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The origin of Makmende

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My Bucket list

Everyone's gonna die. . . . that's right, including you. . .

Was at a funeral at the end of '09 and the pastor at the church presiding over the service gave a sermon that I actually listened to. . .he lamented on how guy simply refuse to acknowledge that they are going to die and thus sort out their lives before they go and end up leaving a humongous mess what with wives crawling out of the woodwork and having relatives fighting over mundane patches of infertile land. All this would have been avoided by simply writing a comprehensive will. . .. nothing trumps a lawyer with a document with your signature on it. 

many also go with a million and 1 regrets. . . wishing they had been nicer to that neighbour, gotten the balls to ask that girl out those many decades ago, wishing they didnt blow that cash on a silly coasto trip or investing in that fishy pyramid like scheme. . . and so on . . truth is all these characters are in denial of a very simple truth. . . .we all have limited lives. . .and the sooner we start doing things we like the happier we will be. On this note the following are the things I would like to do before I kick that big 'ol Bucket. . ..who knows maybe tomorrow. . . .

  1. Sail around the world in one huge yacht/ship/dhow/raft anything that can float
  2. Get every single countries stamp on my passport
  3. Go sky diving and fall for like 10 minutes(not sure if that's possible but al sure try)
  4. Overcome each and every phobia I have. . . .this am sure will be hardest but then again I aint getting any other chance. . . 
  5. Go to space even if for minutes or seconds. . 
  6. Get a personal Autograph from my childhood heros Stone cold Steve Austin, Jim Carrey, etc. . . 
  7. push the button to detonate an explosive that causes a phenomenal explosion (whaaat?. . . its my list)
  8. Meet an Alien. . . (I know al need a stick of weed for that one. . . )
  9. Get twentyseventeen kids that will be running all round the house breaking things an being a real pin in the neck. . . 
  10. Spend a year in tibet with the monks. . . .
  11. Appear on the cover of the Times for whatever reason. . . .worlds most prolific criminal would do. . . 
  12. Create a simple yet ingenious invention that will put me in science books for the rest of eternity thomas edison style. . .
  13. Save a life or two
I know I may not even get to half on this list but writing it down is a start. . . . Whats in your list?

Posted via email from mwangy’s posterous