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#ExpressYourself

I belong to the streets…. I think.

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In Nairobi, it goes without saying that the streets are not safe. Ukiingia mjini ivi, kwanza, usijifanye mjuaji, pia usijifanye danda sana; maintain tu hapo katikati or else the streets will show you.So somewhere last year, me and my bro were still pitching the chicken business, si unajua mluya na kuku. We hatch day old chicks kule western then we transport them overnight zifike Nairobi by asubui, then from Nairobi zitumwe to other parts of Kenya, say, central and Eastern Kenya.

To do this kunafaa kuwa na cordination, so my bro will post them in Nairobi bus zinak ivi hadi stage country bus, then I, stationed in Nairobi, would hire a mkoko/trolley and distribute them to respective matatus that will take them to our esteemed customers.Except from kusumbuliwa na masanze hapa na pale wakitaka money hand outs of course, business was generally good.

At first Walikua wananinyanyasa but ever since I saved my brother number as Mkubwa, and told them he was ‘not a good person’ they atarted being lenient with me, and would even help escort my mkoko out of the stage to the streets.

“Nyi mkisema sijui niko na makosa gani gani, nyi mjue mi nafanyia mtu kazi, na huyu mtu ni mtu anaeza watoa kazi kesho incase kuwe na irregularities na vifaranga zikufe, yafaa mjue hizi boxes ni karibu fity,” I would tell them once they cornered me, to which they would say,“Kijana wewe hii maneno yako itabidi utoe kitu au tumalizie kwa station,”

Back in the days, kumalizia kwa station used to cost me alot, so I’d tell them,”Fanya ivi, we chukua hii mia, au mi nipigie mkubwa,” and mostly they would refuse this deal, then I’d call my brother,alias Mkubwa. Now what most of these cops don’t know is my brother has that tongue that can cut a soul to two, and he could heat up their ears with his angry pronunciations, which used to give the cops the impression that uyu jamaa si wa kuchezewa, that he might, as I have warned them before, be a cartel, someone whose phone call could either land them back to the streets, or earn them an untimely transfer.

From then, my respect there was earned, and I didn’t have to pay them a dime ever again. In this streets, its either the ‘kitu kidogo’ cops fear you or you fear them.

So there is this one time vifaranga zilichelewa kutoka ingo, and by the time they reached Nairobi, ilikua around mid morning. Mimi huyoo, nikadandia mat from Ruaka nikaingia tao, it’s mid morning so, basically no jam. Out of hurry, I just slipped on some sandals, a faded jeans na shati haijaona pasi. Nikishuka apo odeon, I take a lane called Tsavo, nimeshika kalamu kwa mkono, natembea tu mi sina kelele na mtu, ni jua tu inaninyanyasa.

What I don’t know is, the way I am dressed, nakaa mshamba tu fulani ndio ameingia Nairobi hio asubui, na natembea na ujuaji mingi.So a guy comes from the front, stops me, and having been taught manners, nikasimama. He greets me, and goes ahead to ask me kama najua mahali ofisi flani ziko. Now in these streets, this question usually has two right answers. One, you can just point in what ever direction you want and tell them, “piga tu hio kona ziko hapo mbele,” or you can tell the person hujui mahali ziko aulize mtu kaa soja amdirect, and be on your way.

Mi nikampointia tu huko odeon, and want to leave, but the guy is not done.”Bro aki thanks, maze ungejua vile umeniokolea, naonelea uchukue namba yangu juu nafanya ofisi flani NGO hapa ya mzungu na wao husaidia vijana sana, wanapeana hadi loans kwa yuts wa your age, na vile umenisaidia naeza kurefer.” ding ding ding* red light! Red light! That’s what starts reeling in my mind. Saa nishajua intentions za uyu jamaa si fity, but mi ni nani, I reach into my pocket and slip out the kalittle note book I usually carry nikienda kupost vifaranga niandike how many boxes to what place ndio kuskue na mix up.

He expects me to take out my phone, instead I slip out the paper, and confidently ask him, “so namba ni?” but before I get my answer, he stops another man. Now this man he has stopped is nicely clad, has that official man look, shati safi, ametuck in, toja maridadi, na viatu nyeusi anakaa mtu wa ofisi. He asks the man kama ashawai skia about the NGO and the man agrees, and even feigns surprise, mbo he knew the man from somewhere, aty sijui alimwona kwa TV. I know what they are up to; it’s all about trust.

By now I could just call it quits and walk away, but man, ile ujinga iko ndani yangu inanichocha ni relax tu. So the new guy claims he needs some money too, swipes out a nice Samsung android and for a moment I wish I was the con, juu mfukoni niko na infinix, simu ikikasirika ikue moto uneza pasi nayo nguo. The man gives us the number, the guy takes it, asks me where my phone is and I confidently tell him mi ata sinanga simu, natumianga tu ya jirani.So we part ways but mi najua hizi streets, these people could tail you for some minutes before they just let you go ivo ivo.

Unlike normally when I would just teremka ivo na river road, niende ivo niponyokee pale OTC then proceed to River road, I decide to do I little remix for my route.Immediately nilitokea Tearoom, nilipanda ivo hadi Tom mboya, followed it nikatokea Haile Sellasie, then proceeded down the lane hadi county bus. Sikua nataka kurisk, na to win against such people, stay on the open routes penye kuna watu wengi, and some traffic police here and there. If you ask me, I was just about to be conned, lakini pwagu hupagawa pwaguzi, or whatever it is the wahenga said.

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