Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Chewing chat with you

Is even more fun than going to Addis Ababa Lion Zoo
Or being jet lagged on our way to Bale National Park, or to Gondar to see the beautiful ancient castles
Partly because chewing chat is less harmful than smoking alcohol or drinking cigarettes!
Partly because chat is a cheaper habit than doing all other drugs, at least in Eastern Africa
Partly because you chew chat like a lady, with dignity, you know - slowly and with fewer peanuts than I do
Partly because you don't ask for a Coke every time we chew, which is costly.

I look at you chewing and I would rather look at you thus than watch all movies in the universe
Except possibly for "Flight"; you know how much I love Denzel Washington
And all the movies he does, and how he speaks, and laughs!
Remember how his character struggles with doing drugs in the said movie
But he does an incredible job saving the plane, doesn't he?

Watching all other movies is like being cheated of this marvelous experience of us chewing together
And I would rather chew chat with you forever
And this is why I am telling you about it
(RIP O'Hara and Grandpa wa Mumbi.)

- Kimani wa Mumbi


Warning: The following article has been rated "ANNOYING". Ethiopians are strongly advised not to read it. But should you accidentally open it, if you are Ethiopian that is, do not forget to close both eyes till you are done reading it. By the way I do not in any way hate this country - these are just the crazy observations I have made. I also observe crazy stuff wherever I go, including my native Kenya. No comments allowed.

We always write or wish to see or write good stuff about our countries. We are usually left with goosebumps when we read electrifying facts about our beloved nations. But we often overlook reality sometimes. That is why I want to give you reality about a country with the most beautiful girls I have seen with my own eyes, and not from some live TV program.
Ethiopians are an amazing people. There are many reasons I can give to justify my statement. And just because you hear they are hospitable is not a reason to believe it. There is usually some reason behind their hospitality, not always. A sinister one, sometimes.
What makes them curious is for instance when they are on the bus. They hate it when you open the windows. Basically every Ethiopian is usually half baked from traveling inside buses with all the windows closed tight. They will usually get so angry with you if you open a window on a bus, or van, or whatever. This, plus the fact that they rarely shower - at least twice a week - and that Ethiopia is a tropical country with the hottest spot on earth, is a reason to make them a most peculiar species. Before you think of marketing convertibles here, do think twice. They hate the cold from the wind; probably from water too! They are beautiful but ... I was shocked when my landlady complained that I was taking a shower every day. I thought she probably wanted me to take them more often, like twice a day. Then it dawned on me and I shouted Eureka! Ethiopians in general do not see the need to take showers daily. Twice a week is showing off!!!
Another peculiarity is that though it has been said that they have been making clothes with cotton for many centuries, even before the arrival of the White Man in the "Dark Continent", they have never appreciated the handkerchief. Don't be shocked if you see a real professor, with several PhDs hovering above his educated head, blowing his nose on the pavement as he heads to class and waits until he gets to the threshold to wipe his soiled fingers on the deaf doorpost. I was annoyed with disbelief, if that is even possible, when I went to a baker's to get myself some warm loaf of bread. The girl at the counter was so beautiful that for a moment I was dazed. I couldn't say a word! Then she touched me on my shoulder and said, "Dena derk" which I think means "good morning" or something of the sort. When I came back to my senses I noticed that she had a runny nose. Instead of reaching for some hanky or tissues, she just wiped her nose just like a baby would: you know, with her fingers and then to her dress, and proceeded to fetch me a warm loaf of bread. Did I forget to say they they don't use tongs and that bread here is rarely wrapped??!! I headed home after paying and gave that loaf to my landlady's dog Jack. I heard he died after some time when I left but definitely it wouldn't have been the bread. It was some bees that attacked him. Poor Jack.
One other thing is that they assume that all foreign whites speak English, and that all Africans who somehow resemble them speak Amharic. Sometimes I have been forced to tell my whole life story, even my deepest of secrets, to justify why I don't speak Amharic. (By the way I am learning it 'vigorously'). "I think one of your parents must have been Ethiopian. You can't be Kenyan." That's what they tell me. (When I think about that statement I think it might be true. After all my family says I am bastard and no one knows my father.) To go back to our story, Ethiopians think if you are dark skinned and huge (and sometimes ugly) you are African; if you are of a fair complexion (and always beautiful) you are Ethiopian. I fall in the second category, although what makes them doubt my Ethiopianity is my kinky hair. As for the whites, no matter where they are from, they always speak English to them no matter from which country they may be from. Should they respond that they don't speak English, the average Ethiopian is left filled with awe!
You might have noticed from the above paragraph that I seem to mean that Ethiopia is not in Africa but this is what they think. The kids innocently ask me, "You say you don't speak Amharic. But you look like an Ethiopian. If you are not Ethiopian, what are you? African?" I think Social Studies teachers here don't work hard enough to tell these kids that Ethiopia is in the heart, not exactly but near the dexter shoulder of Africa! I am not usually amazed when I go to some place and they whisper that I am African and some even have the audacity to call me "Africa" and all the countries they know in Africa. Sometimes I'm "Nigeria" all the way to "Uganda"! I just smile at their ignorance and also because I love Africa.
Although there are so many peculiarities, I would like to end with the one about disrespect for traffic rules on both the drivers' and the pedestrian's sides. Drivers comfortably cut you out even when they know that they are going to pull over a few meters ahead. They lack just the patience and courtesy to wait. Other vans that are used as PSVs just stop in the road to collect or drop passengers even when there is ample space on the side of the road. It's not until you honk that they will think of pulling over to the side of the road. If driving it's always safer to keep like a hundred and forty meters behind any vehicle, double the accepted average. On the pedestrian side, they care for no traffic lights, zebra crossings and all. It shouldn't amaze you to see an Ethiopian crossing right in the middle of an intersection, totally disregarding FOUR square zebra crossings! And they will be mad at a driver who honks at them!!
A thing I should not forget to say, lest I seem biased, is that most of these observations were made in a city called Nazareth, and other cities, except Addis Ababa. There seems to be different people there, not the ordinary Ethiopians. So this article is not in any way meant reflect all Ethiopians in general but the few I have been lucky enough to encounter.
I still love you, my Ethiopia!!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Your Majesty, Queen May

I know what you're thinking –
May these thoughts forever remain.
You know what I'm feeling –
And let us from deviating refrain.

My Love, My Lady, Your Majesty
The queen of that kingdom in my heart,
Your love I will never look at with jest
And my pauper hands you they'll never hurt.

Your subject I will forever remain
Your sweet being I will forever adore.
Serve you forever no matter the pain,
But I won't, on your orders, hit the door!

Your majesty, Queen May - allow me, if I may
Remind you of how long a wait it is.
Be that as it may, I'll have you every day
In my thoughts and in my dreams.

Do Africans Keep Pets?

They say that Africans have no pets
'An uncivilised lot, they are, the Africans –
Pets are adorable!'
But I beg to raise
The question about pets.
Africans really do have them
And they know how to treat them best.
Think of lice, fleas, jiggers – good ol' jiggers
They've been with us since …
Since time immemorial.
The White Man – he came, he went
But jiggers and kin in Africa he still left.
How would anyone with a sane mind
Assert that Africans have no animals of the kind?
Every kid in Africa has had two or three,
And they never will let them free.
Ask Kenyans, Ugandans, Ethiopians –
We've all had our share and care
Of these adorable pests!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Don't know where I am headed yet. Will definitely keep you updated. Will keep u on my mind, 4eva. Do tha same, please.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Kenya issues travel advisories against UK, US

In what many may call a daring diplomatic move, Nairobi has warned its citizens against travel to the West, most particularly the UK, excluding Scotland, and the United States. Germany too was not left out when the newly elect tough-sounding president said he could not allow [Kenyan] citizens to experience what happened in the Munich Olympics. In an unprecedented move he referred to Kenyan citizens as modern day Jews, who everyone was wishing evil – but which he warned was not going to happen. Kenya has disappointed many a Western countries after violence failed to break out after the 2013 elections.

This move leaves many wondering just how they are going to work with the president-elect, who has been indicted for crimes against humanity in the Hague. When asked by the press what led to his decision to issue the advisories against the US, which is currently run by a fellow Kenyan, he cited the fall of the Twin towers and the pentagon, claiming that shows that the country (US) is not able to protect itself against terrorists and therefore left Kenyan citizens in danger. Answering the question on the UK, he said that it was forbidden for Kenyans to eat horse meat and as such they were not only advised not to visit the UK but will also be fined if investigations show that they travelled to that country some time after the warning. The stoned president-elect also cautioned high-profile Kenyans against visiting the UK seeing what happened to “our beautiful adored Princess Diana”. Apparently, he had the hots for her. He also claimed that the UK was not a safe place for Kenyan citizens due to the fact that Harry Potter was killed in cold blood and the Dark Lord will still rise.

It will be, or rather has already begun, a big turn of events, as the president-elect's eyes are aimed to the East. “As the sun rises in the East, so shall we look upon China to solve our problems.” China has already invested massively in Africa, and in Kenya in particular – building a world class highway called Thika Road. This is much unlike what Africa has been receiving from the West – nothing but conferences and money given to corrupt government officials who later spend it in vacations in the same countries. It should be noted that China does not give Africans money to build anything but comes and builds itself.

Additional reporting by Kimani wa Mumbi
Xinhua African correspondent

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Midnight Call and a Death Threat

On 23-01-13 at 0023, GMT+3
In Adama aka Nazret, Ethiopia

It was just midnight when I got this call
Said that I had three more days to live
Why? I asked
What you do, he answered.
Thought my drinking habit
Had finally taken its toll.

But how did this caller know?
Surely he sounded not like Angel Michael
And he didn't sound like Lucifer either.
I don't understand, I said.
Who you call every day, he said.

I tried to figure in my wino mind
Who it is a man would give
So much love as to give daily calls.
Mind too busy. Try again later.
Who do I call? I asked.
You know who you call, he said.
I don't understand, I said.
Ask your friends, goodbye. BEEP!

“Death threats given by clowns, I guess . . .”
My favourite music track by Nas thus goes.
I fall back deeeeeep into slumber
Daytime I'll deal with this number.