Surviving life as a boarder (part 1)

Bonus photo-The Library

so quaint looking!

This is for unyc, who wonders how life as a boarder is. And for an aunt who wonders how you operate with 3 roommates (though she wont be reading this..). mark you, I said roommates not housemates. That means that privacy is only a dream away. So daily life is a struggle to overcome modesty and shyness. Thank God boarding high school gave me a start.

So the alarm goes off at 5.30 a.m. You naturally reach out and snooze it. But a minute later, a roommates’ also goes off and from there its an alarms galore. Thankfully, am trained to sleep through it all, so I doze off amidst noises of opening lockers and banging doors as guys go to the washroom. Around 7.30, a classmate comes in to ask for some clarification in some notes, coz there is a CAT at 8. You leap out of bed like the karate student u are, fully awake and rush to the shower. Of course by now, the hot water is over and the shower is ice cold. You tell yourself it is more refreshing than a warm shower anyway. And you are in a panicky mood coz there is that CAT you had forgotten about,  but then your IQ is above average so u take deep calming breaths as u brush your teeth.

Dressing is an art, especially if u are shy or have some insecurity about your body. So when u get out of the shower, u go to the room, hang out your ‘unmentionables’ at the line at the balcony. If you hall faces the guys’ hall, be sure there will be a few peeping toms hoping your towel will fall. You now start dressing, making sure ur towel is still in place. A minute to 8, u are fully dressed, but no time for breakfast, combing your hair, make up or such like stuff, heck, u don’t even make your bed, even though your roommates will frown at you coz u are making the room have an untidy feel, but you can’t care about their feelings at  a time like now.

Now, about what you wear when you go to bed. This occurs to you as you shove your sleeping clothes(unfolded) into the locker. if you are one of those people who love sleeping in your bday suit, this is not a good place to do it. You surely do not want your roommate who’s stumbling to the bathroom at odd hours to see ‘things’ as your blankets are all on the floor and u are in an acrobatic posture. This is the time to invest in a long sleeved cotton nightdress, complete with old tracks, woolen socks, a marvin or more commonly, mitumba stockings. For the record, let me add I don’t wear anything on my head when I go sleep.

If you have one of those sexy outfits for bedtime, save them for more private quarters. The guy you might want to impress is most likely not around, and as you head for the shower, u’ll meet that creep who keeps giving u the eye, and ur skin will literally be crawling as he scans u head to toe, u wish u had that long-sleeved cotton nightdress am advising you to get. The creep might crown it all with a lewd message, interspersed with several “please-call-me’s”. To make an already bad day worse, as u get out of the shower karaoking a song like Nelly’s Hot in here:

 It’s getting hot in here (so what?)
 So take off your clothes…
 I am getting so hot…
 Am gonna take my clothes off…
 Just a lil bit..just a lil’ bit…get it all off..
Then you open the door, almost doing the jiggle that goes with it. And who do you find? The chairman of the Christian Union, having a prayer session with his sisters-in-christ. Awkward does not even begin to express the tension in the air. You do not have the grace to say hi as he does his best to avert his eyes, and you quickly grab the clothes u were to wear and dress in the bathroom.

You are not spared either if you are a guy. You can’t get away sleeping in just your boxers. That chick you have a secret crush on might be coming to your room as early as 7 o’clock to borrow assignment so she can download (copy, photocopy, dub..), and u sure as hell don’t want her seeing ur scrawny chest, or your fries-influenced one-pack. Of course u have been meaning to get that six pack, and a month of the low down gym at the students center has only served to increase your appetite.

On the days your alarm goes off and you actually wake up, intending to be the first in class, you make your bed, even time to listen to the radio as you take breakfast (instant coffee in a plastic cup, washed down with loaf or mandazi or oily doughnuts.). the radio is belting out gospel tunes and the presenter is irritating, but you stick to what your roommates want. By 7.45, you are ready to go to class, so you consult the timetable and oh no! this is the day your first class starts at 2p.m. Now you rue the wasted sleep.

That is why I love my Wednesdays, my classes start at 8.00 and end at 10 a.m. my roommates are usually busy, so I have the room to myself, for the day. I choose the music I want to listen to, at the volume I like, I wash my clothes and tidy up the room, then lie on my bed and read a novel, or doze in this cold weather.

That’s it for my mornings….part 2 is afternoons

Lousy net, am the SI unit!!

Here i am at the supposed university of technology. We have internet in our rooms, supposedly. But it is supplied with some other wires people would mistake for clothes lines! The pictures better describe them. Don’t worry about the quality of the photos, am yet to get me one of those digital cams, so I had to make do with a phone. Lakini, how is Africa supposed to develop when we have lousy net as ours? We are supposed to be beyond broadband, beyond fibre optics and even beyond wireless! We are supposed to set the pace!

Now you know why I don’t blog as much. Just as am about to hit the Publish button, or post a comment, a strong wind or even a gentle breeze blows the internet away…

The horror cobwebs!

and it gets worse

what is that??

and yet another one..

clothes lines ndio hizo

they come down from heaven

Tusker Project fame-the end

So, Tusker Project Fame is finally over. Esther, that Ugandan chick, deserved to win, hands down. I never heard her struggle with her voice and singing at any one time in the academy. She was always cool, calm and composed, ever the sophisticated lady. I could say when I grow up, I want to be Esther, but then, am already grown up.

Esther

Wendy, am sure it feels bad to have come so close, then lose it last minute. I always wondered what people saw when they said she looked hot, but then beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Let’s hope she wont be a one-hit wonder and that she’ll go on and angusha an album sooner so people can listen to the musician she has become, or is she just a celeb now?

Wendy

David, so mellow voiced, and all those cute cornrows. But then I guess chicks wasted their votes on Hemedi, the drama king.

David

Victor only got to top 4 coz he is Kenyan, but then not all musicians are exactly talented. A lot rides on image, personality and style.

Victor

Felly

Hard to say anything, he was just sweet.

Felly

Steve

He had the talent, but then not much in the looks department. Am willing to bet that majority of the voters were chicks, and besides, he’s not a Kenyan, and that is not a good thing. How else can you explain Victor’s remaining in top 4?

Steve

Linah

When you are from another country, have little talent and not much endowment in looks, it is a miracle to make it to top 8. Linah is one of those walking miracles. (this is a bit mean, but when u become a celeb, be prepared to swallow some nasty stuff..people hate on you big time. It’s the celeb’s life.)

Linah

Hemedi

This guy was the drama king. I could say something mean like “even if he was taken to an old people’s home, he’d still have crushes.” But let me digress, and say this guy has a lot of growing up to do, and maybe one day he should star in a local soap opera, something like, “Better Days” on KTN or even Vitimbi in KBC. He can be Mzee Ojwang’s adopted son who’s driving kina Mama Kayai crazy!! (both literally and figuratively.)

Hemedi

I wonder what I shall be watching on TV now, pop idols usually has bad timings, I only watch TV on Saturday and Sunday night, and I can’t stand soap operas, which are in plenty during the weekend.

Monday Blues

Ok, this should be more like weekend blues. I had my pals from high school over. We used to be roommates (yeah, we had rooms, only they couldn’t be locked from the ourside..). One CN didn’t make it coz she is apparently a busy artist, but we plan to have another sleepover soon.Vee and others made it..and we had fun..

The weather was awful so we didn’t even go swimming as we had planned, but we will swim when they are here next, come rain come sunshine…we caught up, gossiped and talked about all topics under the sun.

We wondered, female is to dildo as male is to……..??!! (Xs, do ur research…)

The Final Farewell

So I attended the funeral after all. Of course that means I had to travel to my shagz, a place I love and loath in equal measure. I must admit my shagz is beautiful, what with the rolling hills covered with lush green vegetation, topped up with trees. Every now and then, there will be a new tin roof shining in the sun. however, the frequency of the tin roofs is now alarming, the trees are declining rapidly and people have dug all the way to the top of the hills. The air is crisp and clean, and the temperature near perfect.

 

It’s not so much as hating the place but rather the attitude of those who still live there. And no, am not hating on my shagz. I had a reasonably good time though I went for my great grandpa’s funeral. I actually shed a tear, but that is a story for another day..(next post).

 

Anyhoo, sample why it ain’t all fun and all expressions like : “My how u have grown!!” or “You were such a tiny baby, now look at you”…. Here is the flip side.

 

“ You mean you don’t know how to cook (ugali), how will you cook for your husband?” A patient smile as an answer.

 

“What will you eat if you can’t kill(slaughter) a chicken?” Another smile, actually genuine coz there is this joke we share with my brother about live chicken. We wish we could say we love our chicken dead  – a line from the movie Rush Hour 2..

 

“What will your in-laws say if you can’t even milk a cow?” Huh? Which century is this again? Am about to unleash another og those killer smiles.. when this is added “ What about the shamba?” I frown and say yes, I can dig..

 

“Where will you get firewood from if you can’t split firewood?” Ala! Gimme that axe and u’ll see what I shall do with it.

 

Later, I got fed up and spoke my mind, enunciating my points clearly:

  1. I do not have to get married. Who says u have to get married in this life?
  2. I do not have to know how to cook ugali for me to get married. My husband might not like ugali anyway. And yes, he does not have to be from my tribe.
  3. I like my chicken dead. Preferably without innards, legs and the head.
  4. I will never keep a cow, goat or any other such live farm animals.
  5. I do not see how firewood will fit into my dream house’s chrome kitchen. Besides, use of firewood destroys the environment, with tree cutting and all
  6. I shall not be living with my in-laws, that is if, and only if, I ever get married.

All within hearing laughed their heads off and said I have spirit and didn’t they all have ideas when they were young? And thus I was dismissed.

 

It can be a bit frustrating, like waking up a few minutes to 8 and people wondering I if are sick, coz generally, people are up by six. But the quietness away from the city can be good too. No electricity, but I heard the moonlight is supposed to be romantic?

 

Anyway, it’s over now, at least for one Ibrahim…(great grand pa).

Grandfather passes on

My grandfather passed away on Thursday. Not my grandfather, per se, since he is my dad’s grandfather but everyone called him grandpa. I dedicate this to him. He was more than 100 years for sure.

For years you toiled on
Ever since i was born
you were always there
sitting under you tree
with your spectacles, you cane and your chair

i remember the few times i came to visit you
and asked you to tell me a story
and you always told me the same story over and over again
you even sang the song that went with it
except now with the passing of years
i can harldy recall the story
but i do remember when you told me you built the railway
and came back home with 5 shillings
which you subsequently built your life with

i remember the day grandma passed away
i could hear the catch in my dad’s voice when he spoke at her funeral
though it was 9 years ago
time passes quickly
and i know you missed her terribly
i can only hope that u are now reunited with her
and u are as happy as you can be

i did not visit much these last years of your life
perhaps i feared you might not recgnize me
or maybe it was the distance
whatever the reason, and i know how lame this sounds
am sorry i hadn’t seen you in a long time
and even now i shall not be attending
you last ceremony on earth
i can only pray for your soul to rest in peace
perhaps one day we shall meet
for we are all mortals
and death catches up with us
no matter how we run

A COLLEGE ROMANCE

Song of the moment: Big girls don’t cry by Fergie
All right, I confess am a big girl now…and I don’t want to cry either…but I guess I gotta get some of the stuff on my chest…so here goes..

Meeting one
One day, girl X is walking along the corridors with her classmates, laughing and making lame jokes. Then as they approach the mess, they all decide to go for lunch. Classmate Y has seen a table full of his buddies, and decides that they should all sit at that table. So, like the peer pressured youth they all are, they all decide to sit there to. So classmate Y, who has not left behind his manners this day, makes general introductions…names quickly forgotten as soon as they are said. Except one, let’s say J (hope this does not give X away… )..lunch hour is soon over, as people shuffle from the mess, their minds on the next lesson..it has to be a busy weekday.

Next Meeting
This time, there are fewer people seated at the table. J gets to make some small talk with X, and did he actually smile at her joke? Nothing remarkable about that, lost of people have very unimpressionable senses of humour…and in a place where the ratio of guys to chiks is 6:1 (I have done the math), you really can’t claim prowess in jokes. Again, this meeting doesn’t really register anything in X’s mind, since it was just coincidence that they sat together at lunch, it is not like he came searching for her or anything.

And the Next time
X is having an alone day, the days when you just don’t feel like talking to anyone. Maybe a bit depressed (must be the moodswings…maybe it’s the time of the month..). face frowning. Then she meets J on the path as she shuffles to class, and her face breaks into a smile. Damn, now why did she smile? She was supposed to be giving people the ‘stare’. The cold treatment. But she is all smiles after saying hi to J. Even the afternoon lecture can’t deter her..she is answering questions and generally acting teacher’s pet.

It Happens
Another not so interesting day, X is running late, as usual. Huffing and puffing her way up the stairs to class. Then, she meets J coming down the stairs, and my, isn’t he cute? Just look at those eyes. Then, as they meet, instead of J saying a quick hello and stepping aside, he stops on the step just above hers, his cologne engulfing her, and extends his arms for a hug. Suddenly, the world melts away, and she is in a place where dreams come true….its been, how long? 1 min? 30 seconds? The hug lasted forever in her time frame. There is renewed energy as she tackles the remaining stairs to class. This time, she is totally not in class..mind keeps wandering to that time at the stairs. She tries to concentrate, and wonders why a hug should affect her so much.. and shares this information with her pals, who assure her that yes, she is falling for the dude.

The first real meeting
X has been waiting all week to catch a glimpse of J, but why does he always walk around with all those guys? Isn’t that supposed to be a chick thing? But no matter, he hugs her now every time they meet. That’s a good sign, right? But how come he isn’t asking for her number? She decides to take the first step. She gets the number from classmate Y, who has been very helpful so far, setting up chance meetings, giving X excuses to go to J’s room.
So she calls, the first call a bit awkward. He says he can’t talk coz he is at church? (Now what is she getting herself into? A C.U guy?), but you never know. So she hangs up and swears never to call again. Then on Friday, she is at the low down and crowded student’s center that is saturated with sweat and cigarette smoke, pretending to be enjoying the rugby world cup on the screen. Her buddies play rugby and she thinks a little moral support is in order…besides, is all that muscle those guys in hotpants( ok, short shorts)?
Then some guy (Bryan Havana, she thinks) scores a touchdown. She almost yells touchdown before her friend tells her it’s called a tri. She wonders why there is no goalie and gets a short course in the rules of the game at half time. At least she knows she should support the ‘underdogs’, like Fiji…ok, she is totally hopeless. There is no Kenya playing…after all(it was 15 aside.)

Then the phone call comes, and she is out of the door before you can say ‘conversion’. Her rudge friends wonder how one can walk out when someone is just about to convert. “chicks!”, they collectively sigh. The dust settles as leaves…

X finds J alone in the room. She seats on the chair, coz he is doing his ironing..(when is the last time she ironed her clothes? She can’t recall..a neat one, huh?). they are now having small talk. There is a song playing, but it is on a Christian channel. Hope perhaps. So in an attempt to appear ‘good’ and ‘holy’, she says her fave song is “the promise” by I don’t know who. “oh, that…it is played like everyday on Family Fm.” (Everyday? When did she last listen to family? Or hope? later, when she tells her pal about it, he wonders why she couldn’t say a song like ‘amazing grace’ since it was apparent she was clueless when it came to gospel music ).

He finishes ironing, and seats on the bed facing her, and she suddenly can’t talk. Heart beating…clearing her throat..to cut the long story short, they eventually start talking..and before they realize it, it is past 11pm. She says she has to get going, he asks her what she is going to do. “nothing,”, she says, standing, and lazily stretching..”maybe sleep”. “there are beds here,” he says jokingly and she smiles. Then instead of returning to the chair, she sits on the bed. Next to him. He moves closer, holds her face and looks into her eyes. She closes them, anticipating his lips on hers….and the rest is history…

Much later, they decide to take a walk in the moonlight (more like there was a CU bonfire somewhere..but a good excuse nonetheless..). they find the bonfire ended hours ago..but have a great time in the cool night air, the only two people in the world. They kiss under a tree, sneer at a watchman, and hold hands. Hug goodnight at the hostels door..it’s a bit cold..
she walks on air the whole week.

The Aftermath
The dust settles soon enough. It is clear that hormones alone are not enough to sustain a relationship. She has done her part, she believes. She has given enough clues that she likes him. (actually, has even said it..). so now it is his turn to ask her out…
Exams begin a few days later. She regrets why they didn’t meet at the beginning of the semester. But still he says nothing…maybe his mind is on his exams, u can’t blame him. It is not like guys can multi task. Then the semester ends, and they go their separate ways, with a promise to call as often as possible and maybe an occasional meeting.

But we all know how time and distance can change stuff. X goes holidaying near the blue oceans. J remains in the city area. Some distance….expensive safaricom credit, and it is not like either of them is working. 5 months apart. Little progress. Still hasn’t popped the question..(relax guys, the question is “will u be my girlfriend?”).

Holiday ends…they meet again. Hard to pick up from where they left off, if they left at anything. He hesitates when she drops the loud hints. A week later and he still doesn’t know her room number while she can tell you the color of his roommate’s bedcover. She is beginning to realize that things are fast becoming one-sided. Besides, what is his ex still doing hanging around in his room? (he swears they are no longer going out…). She has to make her decision. Her friends tell her that answers come in all forms, even silence is an answer. I guess she has her answer now. She stares at the phone that never rings (when it does, it is mum with “how is school dear? Take care of urself and have you talked to my grandmother’s cousin’s daughter who is in 3rd year?—like we are 30 people in campus—“mum, am still searching for her”). Listens to the knock on the door that turns out to be guys coming for BS (Bible study, she has ‘saved’ and ‘love the lord’ roommates). Meets him with his pals and longs for the hug that has been substituted with a quick hello. And she knows the answer in the things undone, things unsaid. But still, big girls don’t cry, right? Can they still wish for what might have been? She is finding out they can.