By February 7, 2017 August 1st, 2017 Long time ago

February!!! We are keeping up with the red moods, and this got our pastor a new parting shot: `dear brethren, in this month of love, I ask of us to keep surprising the church by putting on red attires’.

In that red spirit, I refuse to overfeed you with that Valentine’s hullabaloo, but if you consider yourself a tall, brown and handsome kijana, in quest of a mrembo to `play couple’ on Valentine’s weekend, hit me up, will you? (Jokers are encouraged to grab this chance; wallet and handsomeness apply).

Happy New Year my people; Happy new month.

People my age are not of yesterday. We are proud beneficiaries of `maziwa ya Nyayo’; a lot that grew up when the internet users were as rare as 11/02/2011 (chemsha bongo), way before the discovery of the Kiswahili word for internet. You see those lyrics that you can just Google and get? Our eyes had to be opened wide on the buzz magazine which always had lyrics to a song. We searched for that buzz like a lost coin; in our father’s pockets, in butcheries, under the pillow, everywhere. We would then cut that lyrics section squarely and stick it in some exercise book which was first covered in some `jogoo paper’ then a clear polythene and labeled Songs in BOLD with a blue fountain pen. That song book was as valuable as a mobile phone.

It was trending news if your eyes landed on a Kenyan who had an email to his/her name. That newsmaker was a national hero who was most likely a top government official, or a black American, or a cool kid whose parents were the descendants of a colonialist, or else a Nairobian who owned a motorolla and used a Kencell line.

Maxwell my desk mate was a boy who walked in the ways of a cool kid. I don’t know how else to refer to a child who had 3pairs of toughee shoes while we walked barefooted (jiggers had an easy time), used sharp-pointed pens while spido and aim pens were our favorites, and was never a kikuyu speaker while some of us were affiliated with broken English {kikuyu speaker ×33}). He knew a thing or three about the internet and one of his short-term goals was to open an email to his name. Did the rest of us have short-term goals? Ooh yes, like being very obedient towards closing day so that we’re given 5bob to pay for video (those Nigerian movies or whatever they were that were shown on a 10 inch screen and we would pay the 5bob on the entrance, sit quietly on the floor and watch).

On this particular August holiday, my desk mate achieved his goal; he opened an email and that made me an internet user by association, and somehow somehow we became the face of the school as people would storm in class to stare at him. The compliments Matiangi is receiving is nothing close to what this guy got. During that term, our opener composition was to write on `A DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET’ and voila, my deskie narrated the email opening story. He scored marks high enough to pay for fare three times from Githurai to town and keep change (35/40). That score made those who had 25 and below to kneel on the parade ground with hands up and a paper stuck on their forehead reading; `I am a poor composition writer’. For lack of better thoughts, our English teacher Mrs. Maina saw eye-pleasing vocabularies like internet explorer, Google, 404 error, cyber café, mouse, yahoo, and thought, wow, this kid is way imaginative, he camps reading novels as his vocabularies are a break to the kawaida `as fast as a deer’. During assembly, the theme was praises to Maxwell and Maxwell became a mwenyeji to our ears. His composition was even read out aloud during parade and while at it, all the houseflies around were having a party as they met open mouths. The vocabularies!!! Then came that part where he parted with 110bob to open an email; it had me screaming as if a rubber band had just revenged on my hand. 110 shillings. Do you know that was 22 times my weekly pocket money? From that day, the boy legally acquired the nickname Mapesa. If you come across a man by this name Mapesa, tell him that I still love his wallet.

Those were the days. If this got your mouth open, head shaking, and you mind guessing how many years ago this was, I am your legit grandmother; people my age are your grandparents. Heck, I just wanted to feel a bit old.


Tall, brown and handsome (see above for details). Until next time, keep spreading the love.

The Unique Mumbi

About The Unique Mumbi

I smile a lot; let’s just say I am a smiling machine. I have never felt how it feels to have an English name; in that case, you can call me unique. Writing became part of me after my first and best heartbreak ever. Wasn’t this man an angel? Slow internet makes me want to scream, and cashew nuts love me too.

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