As a young kid growing up, you go about doing the things growing up kids…
Any moment now the light would start to fade completely. We would begin to hear distant prayers from a mosque just outside the estate. Another day as the father of this lovely angel would be over. Audrey Imani Lawi. I smile. Tomorrow, I will wake up and do this again. Get her ready for school, bless her, tickle her, answer her million questions, be her friend.
Babu dresses people for a living. The first time he told me that, I remember laughing it off, because who does not know how to dress surely? It is the first thing that you are taught by your mother, even before you learn how to bathe yourself. Yet, when you think of any celebrity you know in this country – most likely, s/he had been dressed by Babu.
Not that there are a lot of passports to go around. A lot of the time, refugees become so because they do not have the documentation needed to prove that they belong to something, to a government somewhere. It’s funny how little pieces of paper – money, IDs, passports – become so important when you don’t have them. But who is thinking of carrying a passport when you’re running away to save your life?
I get a lot of inspiration from the current Liverpool Coach, Jürgen Klopp. I love that he is constantly learning and constantly winning. You can see his team is getting better by the minute. Every game is more exciting than the one before. The game evolves. I wish for that same evolution and growth, that verve, that same joy, for my Kaya Stars. I only hope and pray that I am an adequate guide to show them the way.
So what is this nonsense about you going to where you grew up for Christmas and catching malaria, eh? Your entire life, you have never caught malaria. Then you spend a week in Nyanza and all of a sudden the whole medical profession cannot have peace? There is no way your home could have given you malaria, not after 28 years. Kwani which mosquitoes have been biting you your whole life? Ai. Chokeee! What kind of upside-down science are they teaching in universities these days? Or is your name no longer Magunga?
We get to the field and watch the boys a little. Because we like games, we quickly pick up the rules. We start shouting tips from the side of the field. We have favourites. Scola’s brother, of course, and others. After a few weeks, someone gets tired of us stealing the ball and shouting so much and asks us if we want to play, since we know so much about it. We’re in!
He had moved in before I knew it. I had a small bedsitter. He had problems with his landlord. I liked him well enough. It wasn’t rocket science. Once again, I didn’t think it was a big deal for him to move in. I mean, this was Nairobi, right? I knew my mother wouldn’t approve, so I didn’t tell her, because I am a big girl. I send her money, after all, don’t I? That was enough.
So here’s the hardest thing about living in Nairobi. And I know I said it…