He was out with the boys last night, I hear it’s called squad now. He pulls himself and his hangie out of bed, jumps into a cold shower and leaves the digs. He can’t take tea because he still has that terrible after-taste in his mouth that can only be tackled with another bottle; those who have had a serious tipple on the rocks know what I’m saying. He walks the dusty interiors of his place, past the smell of mandazis in low budget cafes and rocks up to his workstation. I had breakfast in one of those cafes by the way, not too bad for 140 bob, someone should write reviews about some of these places, they don’t have to be samaa swanky coffee shop along Argwings Kodhek road and have skirts serve your breakfast.
Anyway back to this jamaa. He goes up a spiral staircase that leads to his shop; he fiddles with the keys a bit then opens a door to a pool joint. Next to it is a boutique and then at the corner somewhere is an MPESA place that he runs. Like clockwork guys start coming in from nowhere to play pool, generally guys with nothing to do with their time and spend the whole day throwing coins into the table. I don’t get pool, it doesn’t tickle my fancy when I’m seated at a bar, I mean a chic beating some balls with a long stick is always a spectacle but that’s about it for me, maybe it’s the word pool, because me and swimming, that’s anaa story. Once in a while a couple of ladies (there’s always a lady with her friend) come in to buy a shoe or a top, the MPESA biashara does very well for him too. At the end of the day he stops by the watering hole, takes one or two…or three and goes home to do it all over again the next day.
I’m in Kahawa West, I know a guy. He’s called Martin. He sounds like the guy that prepares your pizza behind the counter right? Marto is the one up here; he let me crash at his place for a couple of nights. This is how you know a guy is doing well without necessarily driving Njoki Chege’s blue SUBs. You walk with him to his house and a ginormous screen greets you, you sit down on the couch and he asks you,
“Niko na Fifa, utacheza PS2 ama 3? Kuna chupa kwa fridge.”
Bliss my friend, bliss. Gentlemen?
He leaves and goes back to the shop. This chap didn’t like school, it wasn’t for him, he didn’t go to university either, not that he can’t but this is the life that makes him tick, biashara. You only read about these people in the papers, people who wear the hustle on their sleeves, business-minded folk. He says that he can’t learn anything about life on the streets in a classroom because he has done his bit without books, he says isn’t done yet, he still has to work his way up a little more and do his time before he can take his place at the table, that’s the kind of attitude that makes him a great man. This is his hustle, he stands by it and takes pride in it, he holds his hat against his chest and he respects it enough to do it with a hangie, he says he has to do it otherwise he won’t eat that day.
And that’s what this is about. [Cue in a slow song here] Friends, twenty posts we’ve done here, we’ve had our laughs, we’ve watched the sunset, and we’ve stayed up till 2 a.m. to get over the stumbling blocks. We laid the foundation and you gave me the blue ticks, we did the thorny stuff and we said goodbye to a prince. We started off with just the camera, and then we went for writing, we came up behind it, pat it on the shoulder, and took a stab at it, it has stayed with us ever since. But I believe tis time we took a break from it all, I haven’t stopped having the camera against my face and telling the story, it’s just that sometimes what you love doing wears you out and you feel like you’re dropping the whole ball of wax, you can only take some time off it because you want it to pitch tent within you so you respect it. You let it go for a while. If anyone asks tell them I’m on sabbatical. See you in three weeks.