Where Am From


Everyone wants a good life. A life where you don’t worry about rent. A life where you worry which car marches the shoes you wear on what day. A life where you don’t worry about the next meal but worry about your weight and which restaurant is best. I want this life so does many of you reading this.

I have had the pleasure to spent two to three days with people from this life that we long for (on invitation) on different occasions. It’s a different world from where I come from. Its different like the two sides of a cooking pot. I mean a pot that cooks on firewood and not cooking gas.

Yes, they do get sick, but they don’t go to the same hospitals. Here a family doctor is summoned and when things are a little more complicated that’s when they go to a private hospital with a private room bigger than the spaces occupied by me and my four neighbors.

They do get hungry like us from where I come from, but, here they eat what they like. The fridge has enough food more than the three kiosks owned by the mama mbogas in the mtaa.  The table at dinner, breakfast or lunch will be littered with a menu of foods.  A little bit of everything. Though they will nibble and exclaim “Am so full” and throw away anything left. Where I come from, the Ugali has to be bigger than the mbogas and we eat till we get tired. That’s when you tell you can’t eat any more. And the diet is the same from Monday to Monday, save for the little supplements of nyama and omena on a payday.

In the lives of the people living the life we long for, shopping is done at the mall. Everything is bought here. From clothes to food to drinking water. They move around the shelves with large carts and pull anything from the shelves (They empty the shelves).  They don’t check the price, they check the quality. If in the company of a child and the child wants something, they don’t ask. They will just pick it and drop it in the cart. Where I come from, we plan for the shopping three months to pay day. We go through the list every night before we go to bed just to check if there is anything on the list that shouldn’t be there or is deemed unnecessary. My learned friend calls them, the things that are not basic. On shopping day, we don’t carry along our kids. If you happen to see them with us, they have been instilled with fiscal discipline and ‘supermarket manners’. During shopping, we walk with a pen and the list, every time ticking and making calculations just in case we exceed the pocket.

The surrounding in the other life is quite, serene and leafy. The gates are guarded and you are not welcome. Only the sounds of hounds will be heard from a distance warning you that kuna mbwa kali. I can’t count to three the people who walk on foot here unless they are cutting down on calories of the nibbling they just did by jogging down the street. Everyone here drives. You can’t even see the occupant of the motorcar. Where I come from, everyone is everywhere. Either in your way or on your doorstep.  The narrow lanes and streets are filled to the brim with sellers, buyers, tourists, idlers and thieves. Here we can’t afford the pleasure to look back and admire unless you want to bang into the oncoming person. You watch your pocket and bag all the time not with your hand or eyes but with your mind. If you touch your pocket to confirm if your valuables are still there, you will just have advertised that to the specialist in complicated acquisitions.

Where I come from, fights can start any time. But we don’t call the police, we let it go on with moderation and only intervene when we are satisfied with the entertainment. After this, we don’t hold grudges we laugh in the market the following day.

Though we don’t have enough for ourselves, we rarely go hungry. We walk into the neighbors and borrow. They will not hesitate to share for where I come from nothing lasts forever.





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