Monday, April 26, 2010

Disappering Act

One of the most famous illusionists of all time is Harry Houdini. I don't know much about him except for the information I've gathered on the Internet. Case in point, this guy could disappear and make stuff disappear.

Ordinarily, the average working Kenyan employs a housie a.k.a house-help, maid, mboch (Sheng) to tidy up the house. For those with little kids the house-help is usually resident but for the majority (I think) the person comes on designated days of the week to tidy up the kraal. This is the arrangement I currently have with one cleaning lady whom I shall refer to as "Auntie".

Last week, some maize flour fell victim to my Ugali spinning prowess. This white, solid cake-like mass was accompanied by honey-glazed chicken. The practice at home is to get the raw cereal and haul is to a posho mill for...milling (duh) So, on this eventful night, the flour (or flawa/flower as the case may be) container was full to the brim less the little that was subjected to my gastric juices.

As usual, Auntie came the next day to tidy up the house and all was well in the evening when I  got home. A day later, the Ugali cravings struck again. It is at this point I almost collapsed. 

For starters, the flour container felt lighter than usual. Hmmm. I placed it on the kitchen shelf and took a look at my biceps. They were still the same size; if not deflated. In two days, the flour level had dropped by half. HALF!! Now this is not a small container. It can hold about 10 litres of water. Did the flour evaporate from a sealed container? Had it been mixed with some radioactive material that caused to combust without smoke? Of course not!! Auntie had pulled a Houdini!

Auntie has been coming over for almost 3 years now but that doesn't give her the right to expedite quantity control techniques on house supplies. What happened to common courtesy? "Ask and it shall be given unto you", the great book says. 

There's been a serious breach of trust here and that warrants an inquisition and perhaps a summary dismissal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Matatu Songbirds

Early morning traffic in Nairobi is usually characterised by every comprehensible form of commotion with the exception of unicorns, mermaids and suicide bombers. An ordinary morning in a matatu shuttle features some the following sights, sounds & smells:
  • A conductor who is severely hangovered from a combination of nocturnal activity and a conglomerate of alcoholic drinks
  • A mixture of a myriad of perfumes,colognes, soaps, creams, sweat and what-nots in the air
  • Bump and grind R&B playing on the radio...and sometimes accompanied by a video projected on a very large screen situated at the front depending on the kind of matatu you've boarded
More often than not, some madam seated in the mid-section of the matatu shall be singing along to one of the ballads playing on the radio most notably the Whitney Huston & Boys II Men kind.

This is where all hell breaks loose.

Aside from not knowing the lyrics to the songs, the singer's high-pitched voice is horrid. If you've ever stepped on a hyena's tail, then you have a good idea. To make matters worse, they can't stick to the key of the song. This reminds me of the estate Jumuias (Christian Communities) where as soon as you strike the first chord on the guitar, the gathered faithful immediately dive into the hymn in different keys and pitch. It's annoying, irritating and on some occasions, traumatising. Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in freedom of expression in whichever way you deem fit. However if your freedom impedes my peaceful ride (reckless driving notwithstanding) to the destination, I take issue.

Some hidden talents should remain hidden.