Githurai, my Precious Nairobi Home

Githurai, my Precious Nairobi Home

Githurai, my Precious Nairobi Home

By / Life / Sunday, 22 July 2018 11:06

Seated at my usual spot on the bus, I look up from my book to find the bus conductor staring at me with a rather agitated look. I return the stare with a lift of my brow then it dawns on me that he had approached me earlier on while I was engaged in Steve R. Covey’s book on seven ways to being successful. After noticing the book, he acknowledges it and wants to find out whether I am a lecturer or something. I lift the book to show him the cover and just smiles before scurrying to the next passenger to ask for bus fare.

No sooner have I picked up from where I left off than the bus comes to a standstill. I felt satisfaction coursing through my chest, knowing that my read was giving me powerful success insights. The evident shuffle of feet by the rest of the passengers to alight is a clear sign that I have arrived home. Home. This is neither East nor West but somewhere I feel content, my nest of rest if you like. This had not been the case at first.

The year is 1999 and the duo of musicians known as Mr. Googz and Vinnie Banton release a hit about a town situated along Thika Road.  I had heard of the place before, an area marred by robbers that came close to rivaling Wacucu and Wanugu, Kenya’s most dreaded criminals of all time. Listening to a bunch of upcoming musicians showering praises to a town which in my view was tainted, I was not convinced.

A few years later, my parents arrived home one day with the good news that they had acquired a piece of land and as perceived in Kenya, owning this type of property guarantees one financial security. The day set to view the place had arrived, as this would be where the family would later set roots.

On arrival, we were greeted by a packed town, people scampering about with determination etched in their faces. I later came to the realization that that this was a way of life, that despite the difficulties of life, they kept hope alive. On the far-right corner from where we were standing, was a market where uncoordinated sounds of people marketing their goods could be heard. In addition, a stench emanated from a nearby heap of garbage, a clear indication of how filthy the town was.  It was clear that my first impression of the town had been signed, sealed and delivered that I would never consider this home.

From the market, I take quick steps towards the G-Mart supermarket, the pioneering market in selling ready meals for locals and visitors alike. I look forward to getting my usual kilo of minced meat among other products. Taking a look at the butcher’s section I see Maish, my butcher who never fails to crack a rib or two as he gets my order.

As I approach him he grins at me and asks, ‘’Niaje Superstar?” How are you Superstar?

Poa sana mzito.” Am doing great big guy.  

This has been our opening banter for the past two years since I became his loyal customer.  He asks me about my day and I go on and explain a funny story that had happened along Kenyatta Avenue as I walked to work. We chat for a while before three other customers come after which we say our goodbyes.

After grabbing other stuff, I make my payments at the cashier’s and head out for the door. I meet my Church youth coordinator on my way out, exchange a few pleasantries then part. Being a Friday, I head towards Mama Stacey’s to book a hairdressing appointment for the following day. Upon arrival, a wooden seat is set out for me. She goes on attending to her present customer as I explain to her the nature of my visit. There is a trendy hairstyle that I have been ogling and would love to see it on my head. She nods, assuring me that she can handle it. I admire the progress she’s made on her customer. Since being referred to her by my neighbor, Mama Stacey has worked on my hair, a meticulous hairdresser whose result is a work of art.

Having fulfilled the task at hand, I cannot hide my delight. I picture the comfort that awaits me as I will get to unwind after a day’s work. I walk towards the footpath, making quick steps towards the tarmac road leading home. On the way, a ruckus is playing out, with people surrounding a guy at the centre, whom one would confuse for a circus man. He lifts a set of clothing from the medium pile set before him, and he goes ahead and announces the price of each item, the announcements coming out as a sequence of musical notes meant to entice passersby to come closer.

From afar, the clothes looked trendy; the type that the fashions police would approve. After debating with my inner self, I decide to bend and sample the goods. I get my hands on a yellow t-shirt from Githurai’s finest fashion trends that have caught my eye. A girl of medium height standing close to me agrees with me that the t-shirt fits me perfectly. I pay the seller for it and walk away making a mental arrangement of how I would match the t-shirt with my floral print skirt bought from another seller stationed two meters away from where the first seller was.

I then rush home to take my much-needed rest.  A walk of 30 minutes is all it takes to get me to my destination. I come across a group of children: 3 girls and 1 boy jumping rope, sheer joy expressed in their moves as they sing along. Kui, a girl of around four feet with braces on her teeth notices me and alerts the rest. They all burst into a graceful run eager to approach me and narrate to me the highlights of their day in school. Nancy, the youngest of them all reminds me of her upcoming seventh birthday and I am reminded that I should attend her birthday and come dressed in fairytale dressing akin to Cinderella’s.  In unison they run back to their game as I proceed to open our main gate.

 It dawns on me that I am finally home, that despite the first impression, the second one showed me a brighter side. It is evident that home is where your heart is content: not the infrastructure nor other people’s views.


Emma Njeri Gitonga

Emma Njeri Gitonga

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