I moved into my neighborhood sometime last year and I never ever regret doing that. So, before that I lived in Ngara in a hostel. Not that I liked staying there but my mama been this old fashioned and insecure lady thought that it was a great idea to stay in the hostel. She is the kind of parents who think that if their daughter comes to Nairobi, she will get into bad company or she will just get pregnant from the blues. You guys get what I mean. What she did not know is that hostel is a total mess. OK, not really a whole lot of mess but it’s not what she would want. I remember even as she took me to ‘mawingu hostels’, she advised me to always go to church and to take care of myself. All I told her was not to worry and assured her that her only daughter was going to be fine in Nairobi. Right now as I write this, I don’t know the last time I went to church this year. God have mercy. She hoped to see me soon and I hugged her as she left back home to Kirinyaga.
Maybe I should write this to my mama and tell her that hostel is not the holier than thou place that she thinks it is. Ma’am, you should know that I started going for ladies night out while staying in hostel. Who doesn’t love ladies night? The dancing? The drinking? But here is the good thing about staying in the hostel everything is prepared for you. Warm water, food. After all, you have paid for that. Here is the worst thing about been in hostel, let me say my part. I disliked staying in the hostel because of many reasons. One, having to put up with the noisy bed mates talking about their boyfriends and how they were jilted. Others talking about how they went to Galileo on Friday night and danced with random guys in the club and had them drop at the hostel later in the night. Some gossip is good to listen to until you listen and you are left wondering what the parent of this girl thinks she is doing back here in the hostel.
Hostel just didn’t work for me. I wanted a place of my own. I wanted to have a sense of…….I don’t know. I just wanted to start a life on my own. I remember one day telling a friend of mine that I don’t mind sleeping down on the floor as long as I get a place knowing it’s mine. We planned that my girlfriend, her name is Nelly will take some utensils and pack some rice from their home and bring me in the hostel so that when I get to get out of there I will have at least something to eat. Now I look back and I can’t be grateful enough to her. Sema life ya kuhustle.
There was only one thing remaining: My mama had to be told I was going to move out.
One day I went back home to Kirinyaga and told Mama of what I had thought of doing and how soon I wanted to get out of the hostel and start my own life.
“Ma’am, am thinking of moving out of the hostel”. I started the conversation.
“Why do you want to move out”? She asked.
“Because I cannot live in the hostel forever and I now feel I want a place of my own.“
She was hesitant to respond. This is the kind of moment I usually wish I didn’t even start the conversation with her but then, this one, I was not going to escape.
“Do you have enough money to cater for yourself ?”
“Hmm..I will be fine Ma. And if I ever need anything, am sure you will be of help”.
Yeah, that is what I told her. All I needed was to budget enough money to cook food fifteen nights a month or ten nights and the other nights three pieces of bread and milk or black tea will do. So mama, I was gonna be fine. Trust me.
“Aiii na uko sure si mtu amekwambia mhamie pamoja?” She continued to ask.
(Aii and are you sure it’s not someone who has told you to move in together?)
That moment I was speechless. I looked at her and wondered whatever she meant by someone telling me to move in together with. Did she think I had got someone to take care of me? Did she think I was going to a certain boyfriend who had promised me heaven that I agreed to move in with him? I don’t know what she thought but my answer was a simple No.
“Haaaya! Sasawa, vile unataka. Tutakuja kutembea na babako ukihama” – Ok, fine, whatever you want. We will come see your place with your dad when you move out.
Having her permission meant I was free to start living my life. I felt like dancing. I was so eager to experience this life of living alone. It just seemed so promising.
To cut the long story short, that’s how I got myself here. Allow me to call this place upper Westlands for lack of a better name to call it.
I came here and found great neighbors. I found a home. I have been to various places and never found such good neighborhood. I tell to myself that I will not get out of this place unless circumstances force me. This is just the best place to be. So yesterday as I was getting out of town, I met some guys in a car heading to Waiyaki way. Next thing I knew, I was in the car and you guys guess where we went to? To eat African sausage!! ‘<Mutura>’ Not just the normal one. This one was special. This one was sooo huge and sweet. Let’s not even talk about the pepper. It made it taste more delicious. This are the kind of memories to live on forever.
Not forgetting that on Sunday there was a birthday party held in one of the houses and all were invited. I had just come out from town and found guys standing outside and one of them shouted. ‘Salimia neiba funguo hupotea’. Hahaa..I laughed and went in to see what was happening. I found all my neighbors there. They were celebrating and talking and eating together. I just looked in and felt right at home. Everyone saying hi to you and seeing how jovial everyone looks. Mind you it’s a Sunday evening and tomorrow everyone is required to be at work but that did not matter. What mattered was the togetherness and celebrating someones’ birthday.
I just don’t know how I will ever get out of such a great neighborhood. Making one feel right at home and the truth is, in this life, we are all going to need one another one day one time. Tell me this is not the best place to be and I will give you a thousand and one reasons why this is the best place to be…
Maybe I should say thanks to my mama for giving me permission to live a life of my own.