A Letter to my 13-year-old self

I was tagged by Chiira so here goes.

Dear thirteen year old Savvy,

I know you are in class 8 now, even though you look 10 and love reading novels instead of studying. I can see you love your sleep, don’t worry, that’s not going to change. I don’t want to tell you more than you should know, lest you start altering stuff and you know the butterfly effect and all…oh you don’t? Am sure you’ll google that right away. Google? Oh..it’s a search engine. What’s a search engine? *Sigh*. You’ll know soon enough.

Boarding school has been tough, huh? At least now you can borrow the deputy his mobile phone and stand on that anthill for better reception and call your parents. The food in that school is bad, but high school will be much better, I assure you. You’ll curve up sooner or later.

Do not hide during the P.E. lessons and games time, it’s for your health, ha ha. We both see the joke in that….exercise is just not in you. Enjoy reading the novels anyway because you’re still going to ace that KCPE exam, and go to that school that wears all red that you want join. However, you might want to go slow on those Sweet Valley Universities and Mills n Boon. Harlequins are also included in that category…yes, even the cowboy ones. Or oh, well, you can read them this year but keep off them in high school. They’ll make you dream of your first kiss, not knowing it will come in 5 years!

See Mr. Nani? The ex-high school student teaching you math whom you are crushing on, don’t worry, you won’t see him again, so quit fantasizing about the future. Treasure your friends now, because you’ll be out of touch for many years to come.

Life is going to be full of ups and downs, mostly ups. So just sit back, and enjoy being a teenager.

Love,
(Very) Early 20’s Savvy.

P.S. In the spirit of tagging, here goes Soulfool (she’s new to blogging but heralds great promise), Wamathai and Shiko Msa

Locked Up

At the Police Station

If I had left one minute earlier, or one minute later, if I had walked to the stage instead of taking a boda boda, if I had skipped breakfast, or taken breakfast in mess, if I had made my bed….if I had done any of these things, I might not have taken matatu number KXX XXXX( am not protecting the identity of the matatu; I can barely remember its colour except the yellow line in the middle)… and if I hadn’t taken matatu number KXX XXXX, we might not have been stopped by cops and I wouldn’t be having a criminal record as we speak.

Okay, it’s not as serious as it sounds but I have a green slip that can show I was fined Kshs. 500 for a minor traffic offense of not tying a seatbelt for my own safety. Criminal case no. TR something something. I won’t state it. Just in case it’s illegal.

Friday morning, when the cops pulled us over, I thought it would be the usual harassing of the driver and conductor, after which the conductor would discreetly hand over a bribe; then we would drive off amid indulgent smiles from the passengers. Or perhaps there would be no bribe because the matatu seemed in good condition and there were no extra passengers. Instead, the cops entered the mat, looked around, and told us we had all been arrested for not wearing the seatbelts. Not even the driver had buckled up.

It was futile protesting; we were caught red-handed. As much as it may promote corruption, on-the-spot fines should really be introduced, because we ended up spending the whole day in the pursuit of justice. Not exactly, but it sounds nice to say, “in the pursuit of justice”.

We were first driven to the police station at Kasarani, and that was when it hit me that I had been arrested. I excitedly tweeted (follow me on twitter already). Really, really arrested. I thought we would pay our fines (or bribes) at the police station and be done with it. We were led into this room behind bars (confirm with photo above); and I realized I may have to call someone to bail me out. I called my mum. She was really understanding and promised to be there soon. I tweeted this. ( I really am addicted. To twitter.) The cops took our names, called us out one by one, put us in another matatu; ironically overloaded and without seatbelts, and drove us to the high court.

The High Court. For my first crime! (Not that there will be more to come…). Before you can be arraigned in court, you are first put in these cells. Real cells, leave alone that big airy room at the police station. The Nairobi Law Courts building has these basement cells, they looked so desolate and had this permanent smell of urine and disinfectant. There were solitary cells (you just see someone desolately curled up at the corner), crowded cells, overcrowded cells, empty cells with red lines in the middle, cells with a lone guy staring blankly through the bars (what are you in for, murder? He didn’t answer my telepathic question.) they have this common feature: all seemed dark and airless.

By the time I was realizing I should have taken a pic, the cops were trying to put us into order (we were like 200 traffic offenders) and this fat, obnoxious cop took my phone and switched it off. He had alcohol breath (never have I hated alcohol breath this much; this guy spitting as he spoke in your face!) yet it was around 10 am. We were then put in this cell, where I spent the better part of the morning amidst other criminals.
The cell wasn’t so bad. It was dark like all the rest, but the women were friendly, some had complicated cases like fraud, others had been in for days and were dying for a shower, and all I was worried about was my phone so I could tweet away the anxiety (if your case is not heard on a Friday, you have to spend the entire weekend in custody till Monday.) or call my mum.

An office at one of the basement cells...

Eventually, the cop gave me back my phone after a long(ish) emotional struggle with him. I told him I could give him money once I got out; equivalent to the phone even, while he kept said he’s fat enough already, he doesn’t need any money. He kept going from cell A to cell B, talking to inmates, opening and locking the cells, calling out those who were due in court etc. at one time, he called out, “Onyancha? Onyancha..” I shuddered. I thought, Onyancha here with us? Turns out it was a sick joke.

We were finally called out, and my, wasn’t I glad to leave the dingy cell. To the airy Traffic Court on the second floor. My mum had found a relative who works at the law courts and was hanging out there while we waited to be read our charges. It was my first time in a court too…there was a case ongoing involving ATM Card theft. It sounded almost John Grisham like. Questions like, “did you see the accused or not?” “Answer the question. Yes, or no.” “Mr X, on the morning of 24th November, 2008. You went to the ATM at M Building, 24th Street, Nairobi and withdrew Kshs. 8, 243.76 cents. True?” WFT? Like you can remember how much you withdrew two years ago.

We spent two agonizing hours being read our various charges, paying our fines and by the time I was walking out of the courtroom, I was ready to take 10 showers and 5 dinners.

Buckle up next time. Alternatively, know someone big in the police ranks and you’ll be let go at the police station. These traffic rules are in effect and guys are arrested randomly. The fine for being an extra passenger is Kshs. 2000, plus of course Kshs. 500 for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for alighting/boarding at an undesignated stage is Kshs. 10, 000. Yeah, believe it, because Mama’s brother was fined that much.

P.S. I agonized over the title of this post… “Savvy’s First Arrest, In Court, Savvy Goes to Jail, Jailbird, Convict etc” so I asked Wamathai and he suggested locked up.

The Chips Funga Phenomenon

Makmende doesn’t chips funga; he eats at the counter.

That was one of my best lines during the Makmende craze. If you are a Kenyan and haven’t heard of chips funga; then you are a gone case. Not the chips funga, but chips funga. Let me try and elaborate.

To chips funga comes from the words: chips takeaway. You know when you go to a fast food, and you don’t want to eat there and then, so you ask for takeaway to go eat at home. In Kiswahile/Sheng, chips funga. So to chips funga means, in simple terms, to take someone home for the night. Quite possibly a stranger, and no, not to give them shelter, but to have ‘hot’ random sex and then walk away.

I know some friends of mine who have been chipoed (chipoed is the past participle of ‘to chips’), and they know that the person taking them home is only interested in the one night stand and that’s it. You only exchange numbers if the sex was good and you want to do a repeat. No emotions are supposed to be involved.

Most people are chipoed at the club. I mean, no one in their right senses will take a stranger home unless their inhibitions are lowered by liberal amounts of alcohol and a twinge of loneliness (I think.) Some chips funga their friends/acquitances, some total strangers they just met. Chipoing a stranger is dangerous business, though have been warned. They could be Onyanchas in the making. (Google him, or click on that link and don’t ask me questions 😉 )

Chipoes (those who have been chipoed) are not supposed to sleep over…but if they do, they should not expect breakfast in bed. In fact, when the one who fungad them wakes up, they should have left. However, there are special cases of chips funga: (Thanks to @switcheeks for some of these categories!)

Regular: this is your fallback, friend with benefits guy/girl. If you aren’t lucky that night..you’ll call them and you be sure to get some. Sometimes they can come over for the weekend, and on Sunday evening, you’ll be ‘giving them a push’ to the stage so they can take the bus home.

Corporate funga: this is chips funga that occurs during the weekday.

Sausage/kebab funga: this is when guy is the one being chipoed. *symbolism in sausage/kebab? which symbolism?*

Chips funga is closely related to the walk of shame; the morning after when you- the chipo- is leaving with yesterday’s clothes hoping you don’t meet anyone who saw you in the same clothes. This can be avoided by carrying one of those big bags that contain everything: including a change of clothes. Switcheeks called them Chips Funga bags/ Fornication bags.

The fornication bag

Have you ever been chipoed? Would you rather eat at the counter? (Whatever this may mean.)

P.S. This was added later. I was corrected that Chips Funga can occur even in sober situations. What? People got to eat too…even if they don’t drink! Read the comment by Shiko_Msa

The Story of My Life

I found myself taking a trip down memory lane…so here goes.

When I was one, I used to cry a lot. So am told. I don’t remember anything from that year though.

When I was two, I have no memories either. Who does?

When I was three, and had started speaking, I used to follow my mother to nursery school where she taught.

When I was four, I started school, and loved every minute of it. I remember racing with my brother to school, or was that when I was five?

When I was five, my brothers were 3.5 and 1 year respectively. I was still in nursery school though.

When I was six, I went to class one and learned to read. I was one of those kids were proud of because in my 7th, 8th, and 9th years, I was the perfect kid who played, came home in time and was number one every end of the term.Which I did throughout primary school.

When I was 10, my breasts finally showed. It felt so weird coz that time they were er…like big pimples.

When I was 11, I went to boarding school and hated it at first.

When I was 12 and 13, no major incidents in my life. I aced KCPE and went on to high school.

When I was 14, I happily reported to high school and went on to have some of my best and worst times. First form was a good year.

When I was 17, I got suspended for not attending church, I cleared high school the same year.

When I was 18, I finally got my first kiss. I started attending church, got baptised, the whole works. I also started blogging here.

When I was 19, I reported to campus for my first year, was very focused and topped my class that year. I also drank for the first time…I remember laughing for no reason, asking myself why am giggling and then giggling further coz I had no reason….

When I was 20, you can find most of my stories here

When I was 21 (heck, am still 21), I lost my wallet and ID’s twice! Lost one phone too, finally got paid for writing, lost my virginity (I know you are waiting for the blog post!), had my first working-at-the-office experience, got into a fight where I had my face scratched (I still got the marks 😦 )

When I turn 22 next week, I wonder what lies ahead. At least I’ve now found myself. Whatever that means.