A few weeks ago, in this new decade, I never thought I’d find myself in the northern hemisphere part of Kenya. It is too early to say that I was looking forward to going for the said so trip. It was a family affair. Which meant I would be exchanging pleasantries with long lost relatives and other people I had not seen for eons. There are certain generalizations that Kenyans have which I find rather odd. This is usually segmented on every holiday or long weekend. Whereby the weekends are characterized by taking down a trip to the coastal areas. If not they would direct their jalopies or hired cars towards Vasha or Naksvegas. I called a pal and told them that I was going to the Northern part of Kenya. He asked what was so interesting there that I decided to hitch plans and go to the dusty parts where no one gives two hoots about it. I told him that I would be going to Nanyuki for a family event.
“What’s there in Nanyuki apart from johnnies wondering around and it being a military base for Brits?”
“I got no idea, but it’s a worthy trip and a way to kill time and catch up with old folks.”
“Alright, let me know how it goes.”
“Sure, next week pal. Do not drown in endless pools of whiskey.”
Friday last week found me in an easy mood. I had just finished some annotation review tasks which seemed daunting and the only reasonable thing to do was rest my mind with some whiskey and animes. That is how the evening was spent. I lied to myself that I would sleep early but nothing tangible came along those lines.
0500 hours last Saturday found me alive and kicking, surely if I could not garner enough sleep, then I would probably sleep the entire way. The hustles of preparations were hectic but we all managed to beat the one-hour time frame. Big man Kev was the photographer covering the whole trip and event. The rest of us was a chance to visit a new town and to have fun. We did not drive all the way but instead decided to pool resources and go as one. Saves fuel and manpower right?
I have got to that age where my friends and close cousins are starting to get married. The male ones. The lady ones had started getting tied down when we were in campus. It usually happens. I never had that pressure back then. But now Arnold, one of my first cousins told us that we needed to take him for an important trip. This was not about whether I wanted to accompany him or not. They are just simply accepted even before the query is asked.
Last Saturday was the day of the important walk to his future in-laws. We showed up for our boy, dressed up well because we all wanted to make a good impression. At twenty minutes past six, we boarded the tour bus which snaked its way along Mombasa road as it headed towards town. We were to pick other members opposite the International House, next to Transnational Bank. It was a few minutes before the hour hand hit 7 in the morning when we arrived at the designated pick up spot. There were many tour vans and hired cars filling full to the brim with people. Our bus driver told us that all buses were headed towards Nanyuki.
The CBD looked amazing from its skyline. The new building next to Parliament building left us in awe. Its design structure was something had most guys adjusting their camera lens to take its picture. Quarter past seven had us sneaking out of town headed towards the Thika superhighway. There was nothing much to see as we cruised along the superhighway past Juja and Thika.
0850 hours found us in Sagana going into Maguna supermarket’s parking lot. We stopped by for breakfast, stretch our legs, and relieve ourselves. Arnold’s team was ahead of us by then. We did not stay for long in Sagana. By quarter past nine, we had checked out of Sagana. Sleep had totally deserted me at this juncture.
One thing that captured my mind was the change of scenery. There was green lush vegetation as we passed along the surrounding areas. In between, we passed Karatina and Nyeri towns. Well, Nyeri town had a lot of shacks and my mind traveled back to Kibera. I have not yet explored the town so my comments are rather from what I saw at that time. There were a lot of matatus. Something interesting happened in between Nyeri and Nanyuki. The spectacular scenery opened to us like a flower. Unfolding each of its petals one by one. The sky had a crispy blue color and clouds were scattered towards the hills. There clouds on the right-hand side of my direction nearing the horizon. They concentrated on some peaks. But you see guys, this is not just any ordinary peak. It is the highest above sea level in Kenya. Mt. Kenya stood majestically as clouds covered its peaks; Lenana, Nelion, and Batian. Windows were opened, cameras and mobile phones came out to life.
Clicking and shuttering of the lens could be heard among the wows that emanated from people. It was a sight to behold. Its summit reminded me of White Cap. A lot of things went through my head as marveled at how it stood majestically. The mountain became clearer as we approached Nanyuki town. Nanyuki town is on the leeward side of Mount Kenya. The scenery had changed to short vegetation, shrubs, and bushy areas. One thing that makes the town popular is that the equator passes right through its heart. It took me back to my geography and social studies days when one was forced to cram and know all those imaginary lines crisscrossing the earth. We did not stop by the equator to take pictures standing on the monument indicating it. But that did not bother me. After all, we were in the Northern part of the hemisphere.
We made a stop at Nanyuki Mall and we waited for all the group to converge. There was lots of excitement. Guys taking selfies, others exchanging contacts, and others decided to explore the town. Few local men were hell-bent on selling us belts, watches, and teasers. Nanyuki is not relatively a big town but it held the feeling of a small Nairobi away from Nairobi. I am a child from the great Igho Ja Mbololo from the coastal regions, you see. My blood is used to the warmness there. My skin has been used to sunburns for the longest time possible. I have only seen snow in movies, and the day it rained hailstones in Kinangop. That also I saw through a screen. But seeing it for the first time even if from a far off glimpse was truly satisfying.
The group broke off in search of a hotel for late breakfast and the likes. A few of us decided to hold the mountain in our hands, the feel of the snow-capped tips prickling our palms was a sure way of telling us, “Karibuni Nanyuki.”
At 1300 hours we left the town towards the girl’s house. It was in a place called Kiambiriria which is just before Nanyuki town. Aunties sang at the gate, and we were ushered in and welcomed with drinks and stuffed our bellies with food. That is when the realities of this event dawned on me. How much time had passed and how fast I was nearing on the third floor. One moment we are all digging in huge chunks of meat and making jokes about a certain governor handing over power to the national senate and the next an elderly man stands up and says, “we are grateful that you have come from far and that you reached safely. But what exactly has brought you here? And who are you?”
It was kind of absurd because they knew what exactly brought us to their home. They welcomed us to their house, wined and dined with us and then asked us who we were. Then the whole bafflegab began. We were in a kuyo household and ceremony. In such settings, kuyos will always speak in their national language without any subtitles. God had other plans, we spoke in Swahili that day to ensure an easy flow of communication and understanding. During introductions, we only said our names and where we were from, and that was it. We had gone for an introduction, “dedeenda kuwona mzi ghwa Mwai ufumire.” (Simply put we had gone to see where the lady comes from). After the introductions, the old folks gathered into a room and had negotiations or whichever of what was being talked. I wandered back to the tour bus, and in my head, I was like, why don’t they send some of these things via WhatsApp eh? It dawned on me that I was also slowly nearing that day when I will have to gather up the courage to go to visit someone’s father. To sit through that tragedy which is known as wedding negotiations. I know this is one reggae that mama Amwadeghu will not allow it to stop.
We left at around circa 1730 hours, and a few minutes from joining the tarmac our bus developed mechanical problems. We had to change the left frontal tire brake pads. Manpower was needed. Once again Mt. Kenya stood proud and we could see it clearly. Another chance to take numerous photos and videos. When it dawned on us that it would take longer, the tour companies organized two matatus to take us back to the city. I slept most of the way back home. I was too buzzed and fatigued to have my eyes fixated on the road.
It was nice knowing that a brother had decided to settle down walk down the trodden path that most fear while tying the note. A rude shock to those who were singing the song, “now that valentine is coming, where is your boyfriend? You are here on your own lonely?” Well, the query is where is your girlfriend now that third floor is fast approaching? Does one settling down and tying down the note makes one more responsible? Are there benefits? One thing I know for sure this is one thing I will not avoid this for long before I go and state my case to someone’s father in a few years to time.