10 months ago, 15 Dec 02:16
Headlights appear in the dark and we edge closer to the tarmac. She is the first one to lift her arm, and then I do as well. From that far, you cannot really tell whether it is a matatu, a bus, or one of the RPF trailers chugging to Eldoret. But at this point it really does not matter who is coming, all we need is a ride to town, and it is not that easy getting one of those from the Ukweli stage at that time of the night. It is well past nightfall. Crickets are disturbing the silence of a night with their angsty melodies. We should have left the house earlier but Mother Karua insisted that there was no way I was going to leave her house without eating first. And now here we are, standing in the cold Kajulu Hills dusk, the scent of supper escaping in tufts of white air against the light of an oncoming vehicle, hoping that this is the one that will get me town. Otherwise I will miss that 9pm Easy Coach bus, and I really cannot afford to. It is not as if I even want to leave. But if you were brought up by a mother like this one, to whom education means so much, you cannot just be sitting at home after completing high school. You need to be doing something. Deo is at Strathmore doing CPA, so why not you? Here in Kisumu, you are just wasting daylight, building a workshop for the devil. That is why as soon as the letter came in that I my application for a scholarship had been accepted, I knew there was no way I was staying in Kisumu any longer. That is how I ended up here, with a mother so eager to send me away so far away from home. The pair of lights slow down, drop an inch to the left and then a door that sounds like it is nursing a beastly hangover struggles open. The metals complain, but nobody gives a damn. “Nyon uru ka wadhi madhe,” the conductor says to Mother Karua. There is nowhere to step, leave alone sit, but a full matatu is a strange concept in these neck of the woods. Soon, we are bent over, clutching onto the steel of the matatu seats, chills of wind flapping the hems of our coats outside. On that day, I left Kisumu, promising her (Kisumu, that is, not Mother Karua) that I would be back. That I would always be back. That this thing…this education thing…would not keep me away for longer than was necessary. I do not know many people from Kisumu who came to Nairobi and fell in love with it at first sight. Actually, I know none. I mean, sure, the tall buildings that occupied too much real estate in the sky made us wonder. We gawped at how so many buildings could be made of glass and stand. Those were ...
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