Category Archives: Humour

Held Up in Traffic

 If you’ve ever been robbed at gunpoint, you know what it’s like, how they steal your money, your property, and your dignity. – from Wiki

It was a pleasant Thursday evening, around 5pm. I had just left work at Upperhill, walked to the parking lot where I met Kareynzs, a friend and former classmate. We were going to the Safaricom Women in Tech monthly meet-up at Safaricom House on Waiyaki Way, Westlands.

For Nairobians, we all know what a nightmare evening traffic is, especially around Upperhill. This means instead of a direct route to Uhuru Highway- Waiyaki Way, we decided to go use Valley Road, then to State House Road, to the Kileleshwa Bypass then to Westlands. I don’t think Google Maps has the Bypass mapped though, it kind of misled us but in the end we reached our destination in time. However, that is not the interesting part.

Roughly, same the route we used to Westlands via James Gichuru road

Roughly, same the route we used to Westlands via James Gichuru road

 

We flew (yes flew, my car is so light :-D) down Valley Road towards the junction at State House Road, and then stopped for the traffic lights to turn green. Okay I lie, we were waiting for the cop to (mis)direct traffic because at peak hours, traffic lights are hardly functional. As I stated earlier, it was one of those sunny evenings, and our windows were rolled down to enjoy a cool breeze. My friend and I were catching up as we listened to music and waited for the cop who was 3 cars away, to wave us on.

Suddenly, we got held up.. at shit point. I know that sentence doesn’t make sense!

There appeared at my window a chokora (street boy). He held down my window with his left hand so I could not roll it up. He was a wearing black, dirty coat and an equally filthy hat. In his right hand, he held human faeces, which were smelling fresh (and apparently steaming, said Kareynzs later). He said quietly:

“Auntie, haina haja nikupake hii mavi. Let mia mbili tu.” (Auntie, there is no need for me to smear you with this. Just hand over 200/-)

I had frozen when I saw that shit. In fact, it’s exactly like they show in the movies. Time freezes. The cop’s hand froze mid-air, there was silence in the air, the only sound was our heartbeats. I remembered reading on facebook of such incidents where people are held up, not at gun point, but at shit-point, by street boys.

And then, time unfroze, and I realized I didn’t want to have human shit smeared all over me. I scrambled around, found a 40 bob coin in -that space in the car where we put phones – and handed it to him. No way I was going to give him my last 200 bob (it was around payday and like most Kenyans, I live paycheck to paycheck).

“Shika hii 40 bob ndio niko nayo” I gave him the coin.

“Hapana, leta 200″. (No, bring the 200)

“Aki, hiyo ndio niko nayo” (That’s all I have).

Later, is when I realized I have bargaining skills, LOL. I am being held up at gun-sorry, shit-point and here I am bargaining instead of handing over the 200 bob.

 

kenya-40-shillings-coin

The Kenya 40-shilling coin. Image from www.kenya-today.com

He left, slithering quickly away among the vehicles idling in traffic. I rolled up my window. The whole exchange took maybe, 1 minute, but it felt like forever. I was shaking afterwards, still in shock. I realize we had been lucky, I mean Karey had in her hand her Samsung S3 mini, while just next to where I had removed the 40-bob coin, I had my Samsung Note III. But he hadn’t asked for them.. though I think if it had come down to that, I would have fought back and maybe we’d both end up with shit on our faces. I don’t know.

While evaluating the incident later, we wondered where he got the shit from. Did he um.. ask a friend to drop him something into the black plastic bag? Did he do it himself, and how did he know to stop? How much is enough? He also must have panicked, I mean there was a cop barely 20 meters away. That’s why he didn’t ask for our phones. We also knew it must have been unpleasant for him, I mean no matter how you live, human shit is not pleasant to handle

I felt so helpless and angry at being held up and there was nothing I could really do, unless I wanted to end up with shit all over my face (urgh!). How low can a human being sink, to what depths does the search for a livelihood lead one to use shit to rob people?

Although I try to keep my windows up in traffic and switch on the air conditioner, no amount of AC will ever beat the feel of a pleasant breeze across your face on a tropical afternoon/evening. Guys, keep your windows up and your doors locked in Nairobi traffic.

Afterwards, I still had to navigate the roads using Google maps that misled us, since the bypass appears not to be mapped. Somehow, we ended at ABC Place on Waiyaki Way, crossed the road and joined other women in tech trying to (or already did) scale the corporate ladder.

That is the story of how I got held up in traffic.

N.B.

Learn more about human faeces on wiki. Apparently, it comes in all colours including blue and purple, and can actually smell nice depending on a certain diet. However, what we saw on that day, was a normal, soft, brown, and smelly disgusting mess.

Dear Friends, Terms and Conditions for IT Advice

Disclaimer: Believe at your own risk, but I am seriously considering these guidelines that I came up with myself.

As a techie, I sometimes get asked for advice by my friends, ranging from computers, internet, phones. I decided that I will be charging for my services, I need to make that extra money on the side and after all, nothing in life is free.

So you are calling me to ask me where the ANY key is on your keyboard? Remember I'm charging. Image from ragetrolling.com

Here are the general rules, terms and conditions:

1. Before you ask me a question, ask Google. Rule number one: JFGI. Go to Google, type JFGI and click on I’m Feeling Lucky.

Image from jfgi.com

2. If you need information that Google cannot provide, such as a local phone review, search my blog first before you ask me. You might get lucky.

3. Please use proper grammar: things like “xaxa wot do i do wid dis file?” will be ignored. Also, too many typos will give me a headache so I shall sue you for physical distress

4. Ask me only those things that will benefit you, or both of us. For example don’t ask me how you can hack into your boyfriend’s account. I charge extra for these services.

5. I set the fees I want and you either take it or refer to rule 1, ask Google

6. I’m not a hardware person, so if your computer has short circuited, I am happy to refer you to an electronic repairer. At a fee.

Your computer has a problem? Call the computer doctor! Image from iconmegastore.wordpress.com

7. If you ask me too many questions regarding a subject, and I have already referred you to the book “-Said Subject- For Dummies” I shall have no choice but to drop you as a client.

8. By agreeing to take my advice, please note that I shall not be liable should anything go wrong. Mungu akuonekanie.. every man for himself, God for us all

9. Note that charges are private. I shall charge whatever I want depending on the relationship I have with you or your needs, so it may vary from person to person. The closer you are to me, the more expensive you shall be charged.

Also, a down payment is required before advice is dispensed. The rest after or I shall call the auctioneers on you!

10. If your email ends with 1100 quotes from many people, I shall trash it. If your username is kind of weird, like “whynot” or “xyz” I will probably not respond.

11. Should I sense a reluctance on your part to pay up your end of the bargain, you shall enter my list in the black book. In other words, blacklisted!

12. Get straight to the point. Please don’t give me paragraphs about the weather and what you planted over the long rains, see I charge by the hour!

13. This part I insert legal mumbo jumbo that basically means “you shall not understand this part but I own you now”

14. Your signature is required on this draft before I can consider business.

15. I shall charge you for reading 1-14

Here and There: A Picture Story

Hint: click on the photos to open a bigger and clearer version. All these were taken through my trusted and much loved Ideos phone.

I get around in Nairobi much, mostly running errands on behalf of parents, brothers, cousins etc. One time, I was near the Kenyatta National Hospital and there was this fleet of vehicles running funeral services. I couldn’t believe when I saw one written “LOL Funeral Services”. Was that some kind of sick joke? So I moved in closer for a paparazzi shot because the driver was chatting with someone and I didn’t want to be seen taking pictures of them.

However, on closer scrutiny, it can be seen that the O is in fact a B. Someone should tell these people that there are other font options available!

LOL Funeral Services

LOL Funeral Services

A second image that made it to my camera this past week was of a guy with a padlocked bag. Not those stylish, small and decorative suitcase padlocks but one of those we used to lock our boxes with in high school.

Two flaws with his logic: if someone wanted to steal stuff from his bag without alerting him, they’d take a razor blade and slash the bag.. easier than breaking the padlock. Two, if they were to take his bag by force, the padlock is not going to stop them.

Moral of the story: put a padlock only on non-slashable bags!

Padlocked bag

The padlocked bag

Now if you must know, I’m an amateur photographer. I love taking photographs of anything interesting (or sometimes not).

The Cooperative Building is next to the site of the former office of the US Embassy. When the embassy was bombed in 1998 by Osama bin Laden and his people, over 200 Kenyans died and thousands more were injured (I hope these are the exact figures). The Cooperative Building is made of glass on the front and back side (the photo below is a side view) and you can imagine what happened! All that glass shattered and flying around, lodging into people’s throats etc. The horror.

The building itself however survived and was repaired. Now it’s as magnificent as ever.

Cooperative House

Cooperative House, which suffered a major shake up during the bomb blast of '98

Here and There: A Random Thursday

On Thursday morning, I went to a job interview. I woke up very early, probably the earliest I’ve woken up in a month so I could beat the traffic and arrive at Westlands in time. I think the interview went well, I don’t want to write about it in case I jinx it!

I’ve decided my two financial goals this year are to raise money for a motorbike and college applications. I’m looking for a university to do my graduate studies next year, and so far all applications must be accompanied by an application fee of not less than 100 dollars/euros/pounds. So if you intend to apply to 10 universities… do the math! Don’t even get me started on the tuition fees! As for the motorbike, I want something that costs 60-80K. Something gisty, and awesome.

A job will definitely come in handy!

Back in town, I ran into a former primary school classmate! It’s been about 10 years since I last saw her but she hasn’t changed a bit. She didn’t recognize me so that should tell you I did the changing for both of us! I remember she was one of the cool girls back then, I think I became one of her entourage! There was also another girl who was part of the sidekick group. One day, the popular girl went home sick and I was mean to the other sidekick. I still feel a bit guilty to this day, I hope she forgot about it!

We exchanged numbers and went on with our lives. We’ll probably never call each other unless there is need to. Life happens.

My Lunch

I had lunch with a friend at The Savanna Lounge on Loita Street. I thought about becoming an restaurant reviewer, but I’ll start next time. Just know sandwiches, served with fries, are recommended. Don’t try the mocktails, don’t let the menu scare you (it’s a dirty laminated thing), and the service is average. Food is good. The Mango juice is awesome. The coffee too.

The Savannah Lounge Menu. It probably doesn't look too bad in this photo but it's rough around the edges

As I walked towards my stage, I saw this sign at the JKUAT (my alma mater) town campus:

Loanding zone? Seriously! Loanding zone! Still can't get over that. Loanding zone!

Bro’s Lunch

I went back home around 4pm, met my brother who was coming back from KCA where he does his accounting studies. He tells me that for lunch, he went to Area 4. That’s at Mathare North behind KCA. He doesn’t think he’ll go back there but the food is at its cheapest! One big 30cm in diameter chapatti, costing 15bob. The second one is discounted at 10bob. You have this with some kind stew. Avoid the Mix. The Mix is a mixture of all kinds of soups and vegetables.

Mum is Back Home

We live not too far from the main road, and not too far from Githurai either. We live at Kahawa Wendani (or Barracks since there’s an army base here.) This building (see below) always fascinates me. This is not where we live though, I don’t know who would want to live there!

Weird building in Kahawa Wendani. I would love to know its architect.

Anyway, whenever mum wants to go grocery shopping, she goes to Githurai. If you can avoid the stench of rotting vegetables, mass of humanity and vehicles, dust/mad depending on the season, then you are going to buy the freshest and cheapest groceries in Nairobi. Traders from other estates come to Githurai for their supplies.

Whenever she comes back with a big paper bag of groceries and/or sweet potatoes, bananas, maize etc she calls whoever is at home to go to the stage and help her carry the luggage. This time, my bro and I reluctantly walked to the stage and there she was, with a whole bunch of green bananas.

She had a bunch exactly like this

After hurriedly crossing the dangerous and very wide Thika road, we decided to give someone the porting job. My bro gestured this street kid who sniffing glue and watching us. We gave him 20bob for just a short distance, less than 100m. On reaching the stairs of our apartment block, he dropped the bunch and walked off! I knew we shouldn’t have trusted him.

Definitions

I didn’t want to tweet this coz a blog is more permanent, you know? Anyway, maybe you’ve read them before but they always make me smile.

Cigarette: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & an idiot at the other.

Love affairs : Something like cricket where one-day internationals are more popular than a five day test.

Marriage: It’s an agreement in which a man loses his bachelor degree and a woman gains her master.

Smile: A curve that can set a lot of things straight.

Lecture: An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through “the minds of either”.

Conference/Seminar : The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.

Tears : The hydraulic force by which masculine will-power is defeated by feminine water-power…

Classic: A book which, people praise but do not read.

Divorce: Future tense of marriage

Office: A place where you can relax after your strenuous home life.

Yawn: The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.

Etc.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.

Committee: Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.

Experience: The name men give to their mistakes.

Atomic Bomb: An invention to end all inventions.

Philosopher: A fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead.

Diplomat: A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.

Opportunist: A person who starts taking a bath if he accidentally falls into a river.

Optimist: A person who while falling from Eiffel Tower says in midway “See I am not injured yet.

Pessimist: – A person who says that O is the last letter in ZERO, Instead of the first letter in word OPPORTUNITY.

Miser: A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.

Criminal: A guy no different from the rest… except that he got caught.

Boss: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.

Employee : One who gets paid for reading such mails……

Which Tree Did You Fall From?

Sounds like an email forward, right? Well, it is. Kinda cool though, I mean it was right about 80% of my character.

I was born on April 23rd, if you must know.

Jan 01 to Jan 11 – Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 – Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 – Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 – Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 – Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 – Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 – Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 – Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) – Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 – Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 – Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 – Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 – Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 – Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 – Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 – Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 – Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 – Fig Tree
Jun 24 (only) – Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 – Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 – Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 – Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 – Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 – Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 – Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 – Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 – Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 – Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) – Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 – Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 – Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 – Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 – Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 – Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 – Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 – Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 – Fig Tree
Dec 22 (only) – Beech Tree
Dec 23 to Jan 01 – Apple Tree

TREES (in alphabetical order)

Apple Tree (Love) – quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate partner.

Ash Tree (Ambition) – extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands
attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (Creative) – has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (Inspiration) — vivacious, attractive, elegant,friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (Confidence) — of rare
strength, knows how to adapt, likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

Chestnut Tree (Honesty) – of unusual stature, impressive,
well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) — strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give but
doesn’t necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to
gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (Noble-mindedness) — pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.

Fig Tree (Sensibility) — very strong minded, a bit self-willed, honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when wants to be, loves life
and friends, enjoys children and animals, se xually oriented, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great intelligence.

Fir tree (Mysterious) — extraordinary taste, handles stress well, loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them, hard to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness and laziness after long demanding hours at work, rather modest, talented, unselfish, many friends, very reliable.

Hazelnut Tree (Extraordinary) — charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and
expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (Good Taste) — of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (Doubt) – intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but
not always enough time to
use them, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.

Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) – no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

Oak Tree (Brave) — robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.

Olive Tree (Wisdom) — loves sun, warmth and kind feelings,
reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.

Pine Tree (Peacemaker) — loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, low self esteem, needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (Uncertainty) — looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity,
great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (Sensitivity) — Vivacous, full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, extremely passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (Passion) — unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous
and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (Melancholy) – likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.