The one thing I hate more than a Maranda High School pit latrine is shitty internet. That is, assuming they still are the same way I left them in 2008. But let me explain to you how this shit worked back then.
On a kawaida day, when you had to go drop a few Hiroshimas, there was an art to it. A method to the madness, so to speak. Maranda toilets were pit latrines, and most of them were almost full. Therefore people would know if you visited the bog because the smell stuck on you for like 20 minutes. We got used to it. But then there were those days when Lwak Girls would come for bench marking and for sure, smelling like shit was not the way to win a fair red skirt.
So this is what we would do.
If you need to pielo, you removed your sweater. Maranda is a tinderbox – most of the year the sun is unforgiving. This meant that the chieth in the toilets was heated sawa sawa. If you got in with your sweater, the smell would never leave.
You hung your sweater on the toilet’s roof and hope that somebody would not steal it when you were baking your brownies. If you were lucky, the toilets were clean. God knows many students (the ones from Nairobi mostly) were not sharp shooters. They were used to toilet with thrones. When they came to a school in shagz like Maranda where you have to direct chieth through a hole, their aim was shit. Aki these silver spoon children gave us trouble omera!
You know, sometimes I used to wonder how exactly it came to be that some ondiek would just spray the walls brown. As if Maranda Board of Governors had requested him to give the walls a fresh coat of paint.
It was worse after visiting days. The thing is, we were a bunch of underfed kids, and on visiting day, our mothers spoiled us with all kinds of foods. The result was a week of bloated kids with no stoppers for their alimentary canals.
But this post is not about Maranda High School pit latrines. It is about Langata bachelors and internet.
I hate bad internet. I am too impatient. I cannot sit and look at a website load without the underlying desire to set my laptop on fire. Watching a tab load, watching it spin round and round like the wheels of some pimped car makes my senses drowsy. This happened mostly when I used to work with bundles. I was told it is because network disappears, therefore I had to walk around the house with my computer, lifting it up like an antenna, looking for connection to make a Google search. It would get so slow that at some point it seemed like a better idea to just fly to Google headquarters to ask them in person.
Then all of a sudden, I’d get an inbox saying that my bundles are over. Mayie! I would rather be in a Maranda pit latrine.
For someone whose work revolves around social media, I really need to be online almost every single day. Do not even roll your eyes at me. It is work. That is how I earn my keep, by being online. And the most difficult thing I have ever had to explain to the oldies in my family: How on earth a person can be sitting with a computer on his lap, and earning a living from it. To them, it is an abomination. Mugabe did not trip and fall for this. They want me to get one of those jobs that only become relevant on the twenty eighth day. You know, the proper, practical careers where you walk into an office, put your coat behind a chair and push papers for at least eight hours.
But for me, life is more than just paying bills and dying. I want to live. I want to really live. The Internet has done that for me, and a fast Zuku fiber connection has elevated it. So I work on my own terms.
Most people say the Internet has destroyed human to human relationships. But to me, the Internet is just a good thing that we humans do not know how to consume. It is just like alcohol and religion. Alcohol is good when taken in moderation, but then when you drink until your lips turn pink like a Strawberry Daiquiri, it becomes harmful. Likewise, the concept behind religion is good. But when you take scripture out of context and let it poison your feelings about how other people simply because of shape of their nose, or the colour of their skin, or their ethnic identity, or the way they make love or worship their God, then you have known the loss of reason that leads beasts of men to their madness.
Also, there is no need to be embarrassed by the fact that our lives revolve around what happens on our social media pages. We keep refreshing our Facebook and Instagram accounts every two minutes, looking for those likes that will stroke our vanities. Vanity is good. It is healthy. If there are not enough likes, you like your own photo. I mean, if you are too lazy to blow your own trumpet, who will blow it for you?
For the longest time my fellow bachelors have been visitors to my pad. At first I used to imagine that they just can’t help but miss me, which is very flattering. Until I realized that these visits were not inspired by a longing to come chill at my digs and hang out. It was because of my fast internet.
You see I am a bachelor of Langata (I recently moved though) and that places my keja a short jaunt from Kenya School of Law where my boys go to school.
One minute I am online and then I see a salty tweet about how that institution makes people cough buckets of money for tuition, but cannot afford to at the very least, install a decent internet connection. The next minute my phone buzzes;
“Niaje Jakom (they always call me Jakom when they need something). Uko LA?”
“Sawa basi, I am coming.”
There is no for asking for permission, or finding out whether there is a jaber in my house, or whether it is a good time. Nothing. It is an unwritten ordinance in the Bachelors Code that when a friend asks to visit, you do not refuse him. You only ask him to bring something to pass time. Something golden and smooth. Something brewed especially for a moment of celebration.
Twenty minutes later, you have guests. One person called and yet three show up. With laptops. After the kawaida pleasantries that can be managed between bachelors, I am completely ignored. One will switch to my 48” Smart TV and start browsing YouTube, all the while updating the apps on his phone. Another will be downloading the lastest episode of Game of Thrones and the other will be sijui downloading some assignment from KSL.
The one thing that sucks about your jamaas coming over to visit is that something will always break. I swear. Sometimes it is your glass plates, or your drinking glasses, or a window pane, or a virginity (don’t ask). Again, you do not raise a finger or your voice, because the truth is boys will always be boys.
But then one day they came over and when they left, they left me a broken toilet handle. You know that thing that you pull and water flushes out whatever you left in the loo? Yes. That one. It was baffling, really. I mean, what would you possibly be fighting over with my toilet for it to break while flushing? Did someone drop a nuke that simply would not go – those hard headed ones that remain behind while are its other companions have been sent on their way? So I presume it stayed behind, taunting him, adamant about staying afloat like my buddy owed him money.
“Go, damn it. Go away, you little piece of shit! Go!”
He must have flushed several times before frustration got the better of him and pulled the flushing thing with so much force that it broke.
This broken toilet handle is going to cost me a lot. I am moving from LA to another neighbourhood where university kids walk in clusters and talk loudly. The nights in my new hood are bright; the sky is supposed to be dark blue, dotted with white sparkly twinkles like normal skies. Only that it isn’t. It has a reddish hue, as if its eyes have been weeping for a while.
Checking out of Langata means I have to clear with my landlord. Which means he has to send his agent to come inspect the house. The odiero came the other day, walking round the house, writing something in a little notebook. Apparently in the contract we signed, we are to do repairs when moving out.
I looked at the list. That broken toilet handle is going to cost me ati 1500 shillings. I looked at the agent, Mureithi, and laughed at him. A toilet handle goes for 500 bob, kwanza the kind that can break when a drunken bachelor is have a tiff with a toilet that can’t take a little heat.
I am sure he is washing me. That extra 1000 bob is for him to keep. But then I do not want to bring wahalla in this our relationship. So I just chuckle and ask him to deduct the cost of repairs from the deposit.
As for my boys, if you are reading this, just know that I will not be allowing you to use my internet until you send me MPESA for repairing the Langata toilet. Sawa? That should be 500 per head. After that I will send you directions to my new place. This Zuku fiber is too much for me to use alone.
There it is. I am no longer just a bachelor of Langata. Let’s just say I am Nairobi bachelor. No need for specificities. This city is my oyster.