Shagsmudu

I love my shags. Not only because the roasted maize is to die for or the milk is dirt cheap. Or that the meat is so fresh you can almost hear the cow mooing as you chew. Or the fact that you can pick an avocado right of the tree next to your bedroom window. I love that you can make a full meal out of the things growing in your backyard. That spices are things Nairobians put in their food. You don’t cook your food with spices in shags, everything is just au naturale! The countryside is beautiful, there are large acres of tea farms and when it rains and the tea is blooming, the whole place looks green and luscious. Life is easy in shags. You work, you eat. You don’t work, you don’t eat. It’s just that simple. What amuses me most about shags is the general nosiness though. Most people in Nairobi don’t give two hoots about their neighbours. As long as you don’t wink at his wife, men really don’t care what you get up to. Women are slightly different..ok who are we kidding, they are vastly different! But that’s a story for another day. People greet each other on the stairs very formally and drive off without even thinking about the environment and carpooling. But not in shags, there everyone knows everybody’s business. You have a chama meeting and your neighbours will show up immediately it’s done to munch on leftovers and give you advice on what to buy with that 7,500 you just got. Some will even shamelessly borrow that money there and there. Everyone will know when you buy a new cow or your layers start laying. And if by any chance a new man is spotted lurking around your house, he will be investigated better than Waiguru. You will be pointed in the direction of his home where you will meet his first wife and six kids. This kind of nosiness is good, it has saved many hearts from being broken and saved many a home. But the best part about my shags is the people…….

Have you ever been to Kiambu county? Don’t let the governor stop you from visiting, we are all upright and upstanding citizens with no dark forces whatsoever. Save for our neighbour, Njoro. Njoro is a known thief. He will steal your own grandmother if you leave her unattended. From plastic buckets to pangas and even gumboots, leave them outside the house and they will find a new owner. He will strut around town in his new boots, which you had scratched your name on with a pin, and he will claim Wanjiru is his great uncle’s mother’s name. Njoro is one of those chaps who will harvest your shamba of all its cabbages and leave you one because he knows you have a baby. Suffice it to say, no one knows what to do with him because no one has ever been able to pin anything on him. The guy can weasel himself out of a needle’s hole. He is our very own version of Escobar…minus the drugs(that we know of!). His wife however defends him to death. She claims her husband is a good man and doesn’t understand why everyone keeps making these accusations. He works hard and always comes home with new things he has bought at the market……

Then there’s Karis, the singer. The guy is a Casanova walking in shiny pants and a reggae hat. He loves the fact that advertising his music is so cheap. He can put speakers on his neighbour’s probox and boom his newest vcd while cruising around town. He gets out of the car and dances sometimes and what he lacks in rhythm he makes up for in enthusiasm and laughter. The women love him and are his biggest promoters. He’s the local celeb and he acts like he knows it. Women passing by his boom box will sometimes stop and give him things like carrots and tomatoes they have harvested from their shambas as a token of appreciation. He promptly sells them and buys more reggae hats. Food is for those who lack talent……

Kim the photographer is the town’s resident camera man. He adores his job. And the ladies love him too. Especially since he bought that new selfie stick and now charges people 10 shillings for a selfie. The guy is making a killing off of new technology. He has three wives and two side chics and still says he doesn’t know why the ladies love him. Maybe its because he chases away the guys who come to take photos. He says only women’s beauty should be captured in photographs. Men should just stick to looking at themselves in the mirror…..

Maina is the town shopkeeper. His shop sells everything from toothpaste to car batteries. If you need it, he’s got it. He loves that he can close his shop and pop back home for lunch. It however means that people always follow him home pretending that they’re out of matches only to politely accept Mrs. Maina’s lunch offer. He sees right through these shenanigans but he lets its slide because his wife enjoys the company. She also cooks way too much food and puts potatoes everywhere so he’s happy to share with the neighbours. I think he wouldn’t be surprised to find some potatoes in his porridge one morning……

Then there’s Shiru, the town’s hottie. She’s a brown girl with long hair and the brownest teeth you’ll ever see. All the men in the village have been trying to marry her since she turned 16, but to no avail. She has refused all their offers but has given birth to six children all with different fathers. You would think this would deter the men, but alas no! They still keep coming after her. The village women have run out of new ways to gossip about her and have just accepted the situation. Everyone wonders what kind of hold she has on these guys, but no one can find an answer. Last time i checked, she was heading to Tanzania with a chicken to see her aunt…..

There is a simplicity to life in shags that i like. The cool fresh air, fresh meat and milk, basically everything is just fresh. And the people keep it even more fresh. Sometimes Nairobi can get to be too much. The traffic, the noise, the people, forward travelers, the meat your butcher is trying to pass off as fresh..sigh. It’s good to take a break, step into nature, walk barefoot in the grass and breathe in the sweet country air, feed the chickens and make fire with some wood. There is a beauty to this simplicity that I love. There is beauty in my shags.

13 thoughts on “Shagsmudu

  1. “find potatoes in.porriage”..hehehe.
    Nice piece..makes me want to go unwind in that cool,fresh air environment of the countryside..but leave out the feeding of chickens and making fire with firewood stuff thank you 🙂

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