Let me introduce you to my little world. It doesn’t have waterfalls and theme-parks as you would it want it to. I know wherever you are; you have been told tall tales of how you will see wildebeests all the way from the airport, and how you will have a chance to take a couple of selfies with a live `lion. I am afraid that is not the same little world I am talking about. This one is different, it has `mercurated sugar`, adulterated petroleum,` dirtified` politics and `normalized` embezzlement of public funds. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the lunatic train called Kenya.
You see, we were doing a Tort law exam when one Matiangi made that `mercury sugar` declaration. And somehow the most useful and important of government announcements, like the ` successful` arrest of ` a most` wanted criminal who had successfully eluded the country`s retinue of policemen, who are always more interested in `tuongee vizuri hii story kidogo isifike station` than seeking for criminal elements, are always made on Friday evenings, when your brains are a mess of weekend fantasies and the lethargy of a whole week of studying and eating standardized meals from the meal. The exam was hard, as hard as an African team winning the world cup. Mudala, the guy behind me was sweating his way through it after skiving all the lectures. But then, even in the silence excommunication of an enclosed exam room, with all the tension that a bunch of overzealous exam invigilators brings to any student, we all somehow knew, that we need not blame ourselves for our lack of absolute understanding with things like `res ipsa loquitur` and `ex turpi casa`. Mercury corrupts the brain after all.
We didn’t go out into the streets to hang someone about it. No, we don’t demonstrate over such things here. No, this is Africa. Just the other week someone in the government walked away with a cool 9 billion shillings. Such people you don’t demonstrate about. You see, if the 9 billion gets into the pockets of a cousin to the friend of the distant cousin of my aunt, who incidentally happens to belong to my tribe, it is not at all evil. In fact, I think I will be that person`s chief campaigner if at all they decide to run for office. In your country you might probably be carrying placards professing how `integrity is important in leadership. We are not that stupid, ours is the typical ` eat and let eat`, ` steal and let`s steal country. I will hear no evil, see no evil if the same gets to me, be it through church fundraisers or tithe offerings if so be it I am a pastor.
Look, I intended to write this letter to tell you about the good things of my world. But you probably have your Disney, or the world cup is happening in your country, or you are experiencing a malady called `Brexit` which to most Kenyans, is something arcane and contagious, almost tantamount to Ebola. I wouldn’t expect you to know anything about this world; we are not at the world cup to be showcased on a world stage after all. It`s not that we don’t have a soccer team, it`s just that sometimes we choose to pray instead of training, and it works wonders all the time, God has obviously blessed us with the inability to play anywhere past our muddy Kasarani and win! Last I heard about our motley assortment of footballing talent, they had been turned into curry and pepperoni by the Indians in some competition no one has ever even heard about.
I once visited some village in Britain, in my dreams and the movies. Just in case you think you are heavily developed, I’d have you thinking otherwise in a moment. We, Africans, have overtaken you in a lot of things. Like religion, instance. My honorable government officials who steal billions on our behalf hold fundraisers every weekend. Money they give in millions, after all Jesus commanded that what is given to us free, we should give absolutely free! No, we don’t build schools, or new hospitals, or help underprivileged children with this cash. Somehow our `development agenda` and the most recent `big four` agendas do not conform to this fixation you people have with the ` physical good` of the public. We build churches, as many churches as we can. We have `mabati` churches, ` stone churches`,` open air churches` , all seeking to feed us ` spiritually.` I guess if we can’t have our stomachs full with some real food, we can always depend on this ` spiritual nourishment` that we have to tithe for to sustain our life. Quite the genius we are, aren`t we?
Yes, just like you we are also watching the world cup. I know you probably are fascinated by how we probably are watching it somewhere in the wilderness that is our whole country, with a bunch of emaciated children and lions roaming our very doorsteps. I really wish it were so too. Anything to warrant a sniff of tears and sympathy in foreign eyes is worth good money in Africa. In fact, we have actively invested in this `sector` of our economies by classifying some areas as `marginalized` and praying for them to be more `marginalized` in future. We want rains, so that the floods come with the free donor food. We are always asking God to send the sun with vengeance, on one side it will scorch our earth to dust, on the other donors will start crying about `poor Africa` , and when they finish the normal ` Romeo and Juliet acts` of hugging the nearest person for ` emotional support` on how African children will go `extinct` from the hunger, we will smile, money will come, and we will all go back to the business of trying to make more emaciated children for the retinue of `donation inducing` photo-shoots.
Just yesterday our hardworking policemen, who even with the enormous amounts of work they have can still keep enviable tummies, arrested a man who was selling us cat meat. If you live in China this is so mundane we shouldn’t even be talking about it. But then we are all strict Christians here! We can all have pre-marital sex, fornicate as much as we want, drink liquor laced with the potent power of underwear and used condoms, but the Bible says that we should not eat cat-meat! According to my pastor, such is a sin that even Jesus himself won`t have the patience to forgive. I think the cat-butcher will be thrown into jail for ` cruelty to animals` or some other such obscure crime, and we will heave in unison. Even those of us, who had had the meat in `samosa mwitu` and `mutura` are out here cursing him, and stating how “we will only eat nyama ya paka over our dead bodies!”
I don’t really know what really ails European countries, and Trump`s asphyxiating America. I always thought everything in the world was ` quid pro quo` and ` scratch my back I scratch your back.` You people take us African for a bunch of absolute bimbos, our lack or disregard of white civilization notwithstanding. Last week, our Rugby body fired a black coach who had harvested us the largest haul of points we have ever seen in the IRB sevens, to give space to a white man as usual. We give you all we have, our jobs, the best houses, our best girls sometimes, but your `whitocentric` friends don’t want Africans to even get into Europe. What is that now? Some like Trump are fixated with building walls to keep us out; some have invested in large ships that patrol the seas to arrest the dream chasers from Africa. Isn`t that some form of racism we should all be fighting, all of us?
In case you think of visiting this side of the world, don’t worry about the people. They are the friendliest of organisms on all earth. They will even give you their daughters as long as you pay ` a little` something for them. Hold, on, it`s not that we have fixation with little things. Sometimes it`s the economy that forces us to depend on the littlest of opportunities. I t`s a tough economy this one. Unlike in your countries where people hit it big by having credible inventions, in my world it takes a little more ingenuity. You need to be a politician to be a billionaire. As long as you can’t keep your mouth shut in defense of the tiny demigods who own everything, you and your family will be rich forever and ever Amen. Yes, you need to know people and to have the guts to confidently say `Ni mungu tu, `When you are asked about the source of your wealth.
I think I will wind up just about here. If I don`t, our power company will send me a bill that speaks of ` five star electricity service` if at all there is such. Then they will unceremoniously `kata stima` when I can’t afford to foot it. And just so you know, romantic, candle lit meals are not an option in mind when the closest thing you have to a girlfriend is the landlady, or the vegetable vendor who sells you ` original sewage grown sukuma wiki and cabbages`.
Lamaba Lolo and watch the world cup in peace.
With all sarcasm intended,
An African Idler.