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In matters of life and fun, Kisumu merits the Nobel Prize

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I do not understand why anyone would leave Kisumu and come to live in Nairobi.

For that city there on the lakeside is the most beautiful, pleasant city in East Africa.

I drove to Kisumu a week ago in the family fridge (maybe it was a car, but it felt like I was driving the fridge, with a year’s supply of meat in it to boot) and I can’t wait to go back.

First, Kisumu is the only city in Kenya without traffic. If you think that is a small thing, try driving across Eldoret, Nakuru or Meru. From the airport to Kisumu city centre is a pleasant, breezy drive of just a few minutes.

From Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, to the city centre, you feel as if you need a full day and an AK-47 to fight off crazy matatu drivers.

Kisumu has only a few matatus and boda bodas. Milimani, the posh estate, is only a few metres from main thoroughfare. It is a gentle walk away. There are no crowds of pushing and shoving folk in Kisumu, nobody is in a hurry.

In Milimani, there are no “for sale” or “to let” signs, no struggle for space, no profiteering grabbers, no ugly flats reaching for the sun. Only genteel, old houses in gardens that would make the land-hungry aliens of Nairobi weep with desire.

Bucket of Rhumba

But it is in matters of life and fun that Kisumu and its wonderful citizens merits the Nobel Prize.

In Kapenguria, Murang’a or Garissa, a man goes to the club to catch a breather, but his head stays with his problems: What is happening to the stock market; will the growth of that slum destroy the value of my plot; what is my neighbour up to?

When a tall (and most are), Luo man brings his woman to heel on the floor of Signature Club in downtown Kisumu, the world ceases to exist. And it is not just because when you enter the club, you feel as if you have dipped your head in a bucket of rumba—it clogs your ears, fills your nose and jams your throat.

The slow, languid but graceful rumba steps remind you, bizarrely, of an Airbus A380 attempting a vertical take-off, a thing of massive but retrained power, of audacious beauty but with highlights of danger.

For when folks take to the floor here, there are no secrets. Each roll of the shoulders, each slow step, each snuggling of the neck, is a bold and public declaration of lascivious intent.

Weak Knees

Jaber, denda bonjre bonjre, to wiya chwakre kapari! (I go weak in the knees when I think of you!)

So it’s a Tuesday and there is a board meeting in the morning. So the workers are on strike. So you have an important speech to give the following morning. So the children have been chased away from school, your in-laws are in hospital in India and the body of your cousin is in a mortuary in Mombasa. So what?

Min Bebi, otieno ni mari kendi! (I dedicate this night to you).

I don’t know whether there is an academy where the Luo are sent to learn to have fun, live in this beautiful way and make each other feel like a million dollars. If there is, it needs to open campuses countrywide.

If you go to Kisumu, you might fuss about restaurants not opening for breakfast or your steak being lovingly embellished with mushroom, pepper, tomato, a generous dollop of oil and every description of spice and condiment.

But the only thing you will disagree with locals on is politics, especially if you find their single-minded dedication to ODM and Raila rather tiring.

And then the Rift Valley

The Rift Valley is equally beautiful and I love the easy humour of the folks there. The thing about modern navigation is that it guides you to your destination, but many times you have no idea where you are.

Your location is just a line on the screen. Having been born with the sense of direction of a homing pigeon, I was absolutely delighted to realise that I had no idea where in Bomet (pronounced Bpoomet), or was it Kericho, I was.

“Where am I?” I asked the man at the biggest bar in the market centre. “Uko fee IB,” he told me. The bar is called VIP.

I noticed that the mongrels sleeping in the sun in this town were good, exotic breeds and I wanted to talk to him about that, but he didn’t strike me as the type that could be interested in pets.

Whereas in Kisumu folks love fun, in the Rift Valley people love Jesus. Every village has Bible society this or Christian retreat that.

In Eldoret, which has traffic jams as bad as Nairobi’s, our track stars have invested in swanky, well-appointed hotels and eateries, but not in good cooks. I made the mistake of buying a rib-eye steak in one of those and I couldn’t eat it.

But if you love roast maize served on the roadside like I do (all the while thinking about H. pylori, which we all have anyway) this is a wonderful place.

If you are going to have prejudices about people, the least you can do is get out of your house and go visit them. You will change your point of view.

By MUTUMA MATHIU – [email protected],

Courtesy Nation.Co.Ke

Lifestyle

Guinness Set to Bring Rio Ferdinand to Kenya

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The nation’s most extraordinary beer, Guinness, has today unveiled an exciting new partnership with legendary English Premier League football legend, Rio Ferdinand. Best known for his time playing for The Red Devils, Ferdinand will be working with Guinness over the next 12 months to find and celebrate Kenyan football fans Made of More. (more…)

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I Am A Middle Class Kenyan, Isn’t it?

I am the one whose vote counts the most and will affect the most and yet I am the one who is the most tribal.

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I am a middle class Kenyan. Juggling my way through life…

Don’t own my home, don’t have what could be considered a salary (mine is still considered wages).

I semi own a car with the bank (although if I test our relationship by missing a payment I will discover I dont semi own anything).

Every end month I become a juggler. All my balls up in the air… Mshwari is paid and withdrawn to pay KCB Mpesa, then this is replicated with Tala and Branch waiting in tow before any bills are paid.If any ball in this process is to drop….CRB will get my name faster than it takes to finish writing this.

My Mpesa handles huge amounts of money, but they’r always flowing in and out immediately. It’s a better ledger than my bank account. On its strength alone I look like a millionaire and I’m obsessed with seeing those figures on my M ledger because it makes me think I’m growing financially. My Facebook and IG pictures tell better stories of my life. In there I’m smiling, laughing, travelling without a penny to my name and sleeping in big hotels whose costs are higher than my nightly per diem.

I am a middle class Kenyan.

My phone is riddled with numbers of big shots, whenever I call and they actually answer my day is made, people constantly ask me for so and so’s number. I am rich in my networks but my worth in who I have come in contact with does not translate to assets. Every once in a while it results in a ka deal who’s proceeds are used to boost my KPLC power token, extend my milk account with Kinyanjui, take my kids for a picnic at Machakos or blown to smithereens in a single night on the town buying drinks for friends who have all manner of malicious gossip about me and who wouldn’t lift a finger to save me from my troubles.

I am a middle class Kenyan.

I feel like I’m two contacts away from a breakthrough in my life, and yet I know with trepidation that I am only one mishap away from a disaster in my life.

If I have a medical emergency the size of the late Janet Kanini’s (God rest her soul) I’d be done overnight.

If I’m caught drunk driving and have to pay a 50K fine one of my balls will drop and I’m done.

If my house rent is raised by a paltry 10K it would upset the balance of things and I’d have to move.

If I have an accident with my semi owned Toyota Succeed (ITS NOT A PROBOX) with its tu third party insurance and the liability is mine I’m cooked.

And let’s not talk about what would happen if I lost my job…I’m superstitious… so “tuteme hio mate”.

I am a middle class Kenyan.

My phone is more expensive than my child’s school fees structure for a term. My telly is connected to DSTV which I hardly ever have time to see and I always meet people at Laico where black coffee is 500 bob so that I can keep up appearances and get that 2 step connection to glory.

My shoes are knock off’s bought from hawkers whose deals are quick at dusk and my clothes are mitumba’s, but I look good because I have a guy who gets me “zile za camera”.

I am a middle class Kenyan.

I am the one whose vote counts the most and will affect the most and yet I am the one who is the most tribal.

I am the one still voting for a presidential candidate because he is my tribesman and attacking and insulting strangers on facebook using bundles I have “flexxed’ while seriously psyching myself that the bets I placed jana will pay off and make me an overnight multi millionaire.

Some of the people I’m trolling,make more money and have more clout than me but it feels good to cut them to size on social media.

If their lives hit an iceberg, they’d have lifeboats but If mine did I’d be found below the ocean floor.

I am a middle class Kenyan.

I have never bothered to find out what tribe the guy driving the mathree is on the days I have no fuel to drive. I just board and yet my life is in his hands.

I even relax and dose off or enjoy the Wi-Fi as I’m sped off to places unknown because I cannot see the front and if I was to unceremoniously land an impromptu appointment with my maker all the balls would drop and I would be leaving nothing but bills……

I have never found out if the butcher I buy meat from is from my village or if the doctor who treated my child was “ours”…..Even Kinyanjui my milk guy isn’t really Kinyanjui but Wepukhulu but I don’t even know or care.

I am a middle class Kenyan.

But the President? Hio ni tofauti. That one must be “mine”.

I am now hiding under the banner “Tribeless Kenyan” on Facebook because it’s politically correct to do so and it will get me many likes (because I am addicted to those). ……and anyone who doesn’t like my post is NOT my friend.

I am an idiot who’s juggling won’t stop no matter how things go on August 8th.

Come August 9th regardless of the outcome….

I’ll still have one ball in the air!

I am a middle class Kenyan 🙂

— Courtesy: This post first appeared on Facebook via Levi Kones.

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Europeans Have Just Discovered Miswak, and Are Selling the “Revolutionary” Toothbrush For £3.90

The revolutionary “Raw Toothbrush” with health benefits.

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The West has often borrowed a lot of trends in health and food, right from ghee, haldi doodh, and even dandiya workouts. And now, they have just discovered Miswak! 

Fizkes / Getty Images

 A Czech company named Yoni recently posted a video about a “revolutionary” new product called the Raw Toothbrush, full of ~ minerals and vitamins ~.

https://www.facebook.com/yonilifeuk/videos/1873988802817474/

However, like most revolutionary ideas people have had of late, this idea too comes from a tradition many across the world, especially Indians and or Africans, have stuck to for thousands of years — a miswak twig.

Only used twigs have been miswak and neem, and they cost much less than £3.90.

Of course, people immediately started calling them out for waking up a few thousand years late to the benefits of using the “Raw Toothbrush”.

Via Buzzfeed
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