Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The Road in Flamingo

I just kumbukad this kashairi I wrote and submitted while chasing a scholarship in Dec 2006. I didn't have pesa za kuishia L.A to see if I'd be nominated for the USD 10K . Then the jamaas sent me emails mob sana trying to make me subscribe to a poetry newsletter or something. My goal was to get some money, not spend the little that I had. My shairi has a new meaning now. Its kiasi long but I hope you enjoy life in my neighbourhood in Naikuru. I doubt much has changed, except I miss my ex-boyfriend, in a weird sense.


The road in Flamingo is busier

than a hive in the morning,

Adhiambo can't cook enough mandazi

by the gutter to feed the Flamingo population,

Mburu's grandmother has to get to the market

before the sun rises and withers the Sukuma Wiki from Dundori,

Soni runs to buy milk at Sugunoi Dairy,

the only place with unadulterated milk in town,

thanks to the kind Kalenjin,

Atieno needs to get to Pangani before James goes to work,

Or, someone else will do his laundry

Mama Karuga holds her three-year-old Stevo by the hand,

and rushes along lest he misses his Math and writing classes,

And Mathenge better run to School,

if only to avoid the angry master-on-duty's cane.

By noon, Mama Nguo has already

made her rounds in Flamingo,

and sold her imported mitumba clothes on credit

Tomorrow she will collect the

cash from last week's sales

The man from Dundori has sold

one sack of potatoes on his bike

Nyaloka has sold all her omena

fish to her fellow Luos and Luhyas

Tony and Nini finished unloading the Coca Cola Truck

And Kariuki Wakiraini has sold his usual portion of sugar

and yeast to the chan'gaa brewers.

At sunset Teacher Wangu

finishes her after-school Math

and English language tuition to three-year-olds

Wangui braids her last customer’s hair

Wambui tips her fellow brewers about the

young police officers pausing as chang’aa customers,

as if she doesn’t know who drinks at whose house

Chali brings his grandmother’s goats home.

And Kimondo picks out new people

who might have cell phones worth some cash

Mothers sit at their doorsteps

cutting Sukuma Wiki to eat with Ugali,

Chatting with their neighbours across the open sewer

Fathers come home from the new mjengo construction job

Boys go to buy maize flour at Kariuki Wakiraini's

Girls light the charcoal jikos

And Kamau Wetu is already drunk enough

to give his daily political speech on the

deplorable standards of living in Flamingo

“Siasa mbaya, maisha mabaya”.

The road in Flamingo is full of mangoes in January

Pears in April

Guavas in August

Red plums in December

And every day,

The road in Flamingo is full of mourners,

boys running around with no pants on, and drunk men.


CHEGE said...

Murugi we wi, muguruki creative, Am grateful for hii experience u had and you ponder as you face the pentagon in Alexandria in Virginia.
For sure this life seems like a whirlwind and a beehive of activities just in an attempt to make both ends meet in Omingoo (Flamingo) estate as they try to make both ends meet.
Thanks for the documented episode from Jumuia junction to Lakiee...

Maua said...

Yaani, are they waiting for the MPs to do the road, ama the kanju? But, haidhuru, they r making their ends meet, and they live happy as wananchi.

There, my 2 cts worth.

Knoppix! said...

Pretty much the same face i see wherever am ina matatu along kanu-street.Doesnt it suprise you why that or those Busaa Dens have never been shut down all this years.Nice piece PKW.We will update you when you cross the next border.