Help Needed

Caroline Ngina was somewhere last week and was touched by what she saw. I quote her from now henceforth:

“I was at The ‘Nyumba ya wazee’, the one run by the Municipal Council of Mombasa in makande (not the one at Tudor). The 50 or so old men and women desperately need your help as all their needs cannot be catered for by the inadequate council funds….
I am urging and begging each of you to please please help out these old people.

The home needs

  • *Underwear for both men and women
  • *A Dressing tray with instruments
  • * Bed Linen and Pillows
  • * Socks
  • *Bathroom Slippers
  • *Other essentials such as foodstuffs, soap, toothpaste, milk, clothing etc

This looks like much but it is not, if we all pledge something small. Everything there is very essential but cannot be procured by the authorities. Most of these things can be found from your own homes (linen, pillows. slippers, socks)
the rest, has to be bought. I kindly ask that you help these Old Men and Women in whatever way. If you also know any organisation that can assist, kindly let them know so that they can help.”

Please contact CAROLINE NGINA on 0721785260 for more details on how you can assist.

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The Unspoken Rules Of The ‘Kalocal’

Lately I have become a local fanatic and am starting to think I have outgrown the idea of organized rave…. if there is anything like it.  I totally love the idea that everyone knows each other at the kalocal and those that don’t can get introduced because they came with someone that knows the other person…… and the way the men show their love by the ever so fascinating shoulder bump. (The idea never seems to rub off on the ladies)

An old friend of mine once showed up at my local in the company of one of the usual ladies. We exchanged niceties and to save him the hustle of introducing the lady, I volunteered that I had met her before. She retorted in near disbelief vehemently denying that she had ever seen me and demanding to know how I knew her. At this juncture I almost mentioned that I had seen her on numerous occasions exchanging hands among the men owing to her seductive dance moves. Instead I chose to withdraw my previous comment and apologized saying I must have confused her for someone else. There really is no moral to that story but I realize that when you sit at the counter you observe a lot of things. My observations have led me to add five more rules to my unpublished rule book.

1. There is nothing wrong with the guy in bathroom sandals.

Indeed the word local is pretty relative. Picture this…The guy in sandals had probably decided that he won’t be going out and was indoors watching movies with his girlfriend until around 10pm when he runs out of smoke and needs to rush to the shop to restock. Unfortunately it is closed and he has to go to the shopping center. We all know that the music is usually hypnotizing and he decides to pass by and check if any of the boys is around. There are plenty of them and he is convinced to stay for a pint. Of course it does not end with a pint and so that is how he ends up in shorts and sandals in the pub with no track of time. Such species have become pretty common…. they haven’t made their way to Westy yet though. Makes me think dressing up for the rave is completely over rated.

2. Do not pick fights if you are not in your neighborhood.

The word local (once again) is pretty relative. If everyone would make rule number two their thumb rule then the era of bar brawls would be shadowed into oblivion. Some weirdo once made a derogative move towards me at my local and I wasn’t too happy so I told him off. I guess he was one of those people that make it a point to pass on their discontent after two beers because he did it again. I was boiling with rage but before I could act on my anger the guy had been thrown out and banned…..need I say more? Usually you cannot tell whether the person you are picking on buys the each of the bouncers a GK in turns and has therefore earned their unconditional favor. Tihihihihihi :D

3. Let the guests do the entertaining.

There is really no point of drawing attention to yourself if you frequent the local. If the barman and three other people know you then please keep off the microphone on karaoke night unless of course you can sing better then the karaoke host and the dance floor if you have taken more than five beers. They see enough of you when you are heading to the shops in sandals and that old coca cola t shirt so do not draw more attention to yourself….. and trust me no matter how suited up you are on Monday morning the guy that is staring at you awkwardly at the bus stop is doing so because he can still picture your sweaty self dancing to ‘’get down’’, toppling over and showing the crack of your butt to everyone who cares to look.

4. No intimacy.

Ladies please refer to the unspoken rule ‘’ Men are all the same” You both visit the local so chances are he might want to slap some arse. Keep them gawking…….it guarantees that your head will stay on top of your neck. The conversation at the local is as local as the customers. It will dwell on the new flat that is coming up, the hot lady that just moved in next door, the new barmaid, so and so’s new car and other local news. Trust me the fact that so and so chips fungad so and so may inevitably come up and am not sure anyone likes to be associated with such a topic except for the ever so malicious men that see it as an achievement. The moment you give it away you will no longer have a face at the local and this takes away the privilege of having a good time without worrying about where to get a cab home or drinking and driving.

P.S. Relationships are out of questions.

5. No hard feeling…..company is company.

Refer to rule no 4. If one time you have the privilege of sharing a table and I don’t do tables with the cute guy that sits next to the DJ do not lose your cool. He will, like any other man be trying to flirt with you (refer to the unspoken thumb rule)You will soon see him in the company of some beautiful young thing clinking glasses and staring into each other’s eyes. The green eyed monster will begin to show up and the only way to banish it will be to remind yourself that it was just company. So smile, wave and mind your business.

The list is still open so i may be adding more rules as i visit more locals…..that is why you should subscribe…………… Trust me you need my advice.

Copy and pass “The unspoken rules of the ‘kalocal’ ” around to your heart’s content, but always post my Copyright notice above, correctly, both as  courtesy and as a legal necessity to protect any writer. Thank you.

Find More Writings by Dyiembo here

KiKenya

Today is Thursday, the day we have decided will be used to appreciate our cultures as Kenyans. We call it KiKenya. And on that note, Alffie who gave us this Luo Cheering Song

Tero buru
I don’t know exactly what this means but my sketchy Luo tells me that “buru” is dust. This is actually the same word used in “Buruburu” estate. Not sure how that came about either. And “tero” (NOTE: it’s not Teroo the presenter with a lovely smile ) means “to take” so I would directly translate this to mean “Take dust” which I would imagine implies something to the tune of “Eat my dust”. But as I said, my Luo is sketchy at best so if you can or know someone who can interpret this, please ask them to!

koriko gi koni kendo koriko gi kochaa.. tero buru x2

(I have no idea what this means!! Someone please translate)

river nyando is not navigable……. tero buru x2

but lake victoria has got hyacinthiii….. tero buru x2

(This should be straight forward I should think.River Nyando is a river found in Luo Nyanza. Hyacinthii is just hyacinth)

nyoyo mang’ich oknyal melt BB….. tero buru x2

(nyoyo is githeri, mang’ch is cold, oknyal is cant, BB is Blueband. If you were in a Kenyan High school you understand how we add margarine to githeri)
Translation: “Cold githeri can’t melt Blueband”

agwata motuch oknyal twomo nyuka…. tero buru x2

(Agwata is a calabash cut for use as drinking container. motuch-that has a hole. Oknyal-can’t. twomo-serve,carry nyuka-porridge.

Translation: “Agwata that has a hole cannot serve porridge.)

akala motuch can make kutho chwoyi….tero buru x2

(Akala-local open shoes/sandals made of used car tyres. motuch-that has a hole. kutho/kudho-thorns. Chwoyi-prick or pierce you.

Translation: “An akala that has a hole can make thorns prick/pierce you)

long moyiech can make nyako weyi… tero buru x2

(Long-adaptation from ‘long trouser meaning just that.Moyiech-that is torn. Nyako-lady/girl. Weyi-leave you.
Translation: A torn trouser can make a lady leave you.)

small tp oknyal yweyo sianda….. tero buru x2

(tp-Tissue paper. oknyal-cannot. Yweyo-wipe. Sianda-*behind.

Translation: Small tissue paper cannot wipe your behind.)

but steel woolu is very pain fullutero buru x2

(This a little direct.Translation: but steel wool is very painful!)

*’behind’ is a friendly translation

 

If you do not agree with the translation by Alffie, educate everyone with the correct translation in the comments section.

If you have a song, skit, chant or anything in any mother tongue, you can send it to the.alt.focus@gmail.com and let us appreciate our culture. Moreover, you can win a price.

 

Matatu Etiquete by Alffie

Most Kenyans have or have had many encounters with this iconic Kenyan means of transport. But like many things, they are prone to abuse & disturbing trends. The matatu operators-some not all-are incorrigible so I won’t talk of them. My focus is the passengers. This is addressed to most of us I suppose.. If you see yourself here…let me put it this way; someone is watching & not liking the view.

Do not play music on your phone (China or otherwise) on loudspeaker! We board matatus with no music for just that reason: no music = quiet! It’s not rocket science. Take the hint!

Receiving phone calls is inevitable but you can control what conversations to have where. CCK categorizes phone calls as private conversation, so please don’t torture others with your endless & LOUD calls! No one wants to know how many chicken you have at home or that you take hot showers in the evenings!!

A prelude to an annoying call is, more often than not, a just as annoying ring-tone! Worse still you let it ring for so long like you want everyone to hear it! The vibrate feature on your phone is a feature to be used.. it wasn’t just a marketing pitch!! On the off-chance that your phone doesn’t vibrate or may have valid reasons not to use it, please don’t let it ring more than 3 times or beyond the count of 10! As a side note: An “I’m a Barbie girl” ring-tone?! You are a grown man, what do you want us to think? That you are a … or a … A ring-tone says a lot about u! So choose your ring tone wisely!

Someone else’s phone is their own property and by extension, their own business so DO NOT SNOOP to find out what they are browsing or texting or posting or tweeting! I never say this but GET A LIFE!!

Worse than playing loud music from your phone is singing! Why would we want you to sing? Unless you are Mary J Blige, Cece Winans, Chrisette Michelle, Lauryn Hill, Dela, Atemi, Nanjira or the like.. PLEASE DO NOT SING…ANYTHING in a matatu!! We don’t want to hear you KILL music. Men…don’t even think about trying to sing!

When you sneeze in a matatu, please cover your mouth and open the window. After H1N1 and the likes of TB, we’d like to still be healthy when we get home. Always carry a handkerchief – a dozen costs only 200!!

You know those seat belts you see inside? They are not for aesthetic value. They are actually for your safety so use them! (Plus it’s the law to use them!) Don’t go shouting at the driver every time he hits a bump and you don’t have your seatbelt on!! *This depends on how well fitted they are so choose your matatus wisely too!

The matatu driver is doing his job.. he didn’t come to your office to tell you how to do your job so stop giving him directions as to the best & presumably shorter short cuts you think he should use!!

Do not disturb..*now in caps* DO NOT DISTURB a passenger with earphones (or headphones) with your uncanny ability to talk about the mundane details of politics, weather & of course..the road construction. They are listening to music or maybe even audio books so that they don’t chit-chat with you or people like you! So please, get your own music box or just fall back!!

You don’t have to see everything along the road you are using so stop craning your head every time the matatu stops like you want to save the day. Newsflash! That pilsner Ad on TV is just an Ad! You can’t help clear a jam like that! Plus, you use that route almost daily, what new thing can crop up along the road in 8-10hrs (time within which you are at work)..in Kenya?!!

Ask the fare cost before you board. Causing drama and throwing tantrums when the *kange gets to you when everyone else has paid the default amount doesn’t make you Rosa Parks-you are not fighting anyone’s right other than your own right…to look stupid!

The *kange is not in the least bit psychic or telepathic to know where you are to alight so inform him when you are about to reach your destination instead of sitting back and going into fits of vain rage when you are clearly to blame when the matatu doesn’t stop at your stop. Your outbursts just make you look psychotic & telepathic*

Removing your shoes, picking your nose, teeth plus all the other “Ushenzi” behavior should be a common sense thing not to be done in a matatu (among many other places).

If you like to sleep in a matatu and you can’t keep from leaning on your neighbour & even drool, get yourself a neck-brace! That should keep your head upright! Or just don’t sleep!!

Your cologne or perfume should be just enough! The point is to make sure your natural odor (read ‘sweat’) is kept at bay not to suffocate people so that they don’t get to smell your odor! Subtlety is the key in choosing the cologne/perfume for you. The other extreme is just as bad if not worse!

Learn to keep your cool, understand what a quarrel between a passenger & kange is about before you publicly display your ignorance because contrary to popular belief the customer can be wrong & often times is irrational!

So you know you are supposed to pay fare so why do you wait to be asked & give the kange a puzzled look like he’s bothering u? You didn’t think it was free did you?!!

So you board a matatu with a friend or 2.. your escapades are your own so keep your chatting A.L.A.P – As Low As Possible! Other passengers are not really interested to know!

*kange – Derived from ‘Makanga’ a variation of ‘Manamba’ which is equal to ‘conductor’ or ‘tout’ which points to the person in the matatu responsible for collecting fare from passengers, signaling the driver to stop the bus for passengers to alight & sometimes act as a co-driver.

Disclaimer: These are just what I’ve seen & experienced. I’m sure there are many many more.

 

Find More Writings by Alffie here

Day dreaming

I think you are sweeping me off my feet. Stop at that! Coz am too heavy to lift. You call me sweetness. I don’t know why. I call you weakness. Because I’m getting addicted – high. Am blushing. cheeks flushing. Am smiling, even at nothing……and am wishing more and more in your arms to be nestling. I’m not sure i like this feeling. Usually for addictions, there is no healing. Damn! i hate to write about you. I swear this is the last line, the last time.Because the more i do, my head wanders into the clouds – further.

© Ado Yiembo

Copy and pass “Day dreaming” around to your heart’s content,
but always post my Copyright notice above, correctly, both as  courtesy and as a legal necessity to protect any writer. Thank you.

 

Find More Writings by Dyiembo here

Luo Cheering Song by Alffie

Alffie starts us off on Keeping it Kenyan with this Luo Cheering Song.

Koriko gi koni kendo koriko gi kochaa.. tero buru x2

river nyando is not navigable…….  tero buru x2
but lake victoria has got hyacinthiii….. tero buru x2

nyoyo mang’ich oknyal melt BB….. tero buru x2
agwata motuch oknyal twomo nyuka…. tero buru x2

akala motuch can make kutho chwoyi….tero buru x2
long moyiech can make nyako weyi…  tero buru x2

small tp oknyal yweyo sianda…..  tero buru x2
but steel woolu is very pain fullu… tero buru x2

 

Rate this Cheering Song on a scale of 1 to 10 in the comments section

 

Find More Writings by Alffie here

Appreciating our Cultures

The Alternative Focus is all about YOU, yes, YOU who is reading this. This is why we are giving you a chance to be a part of it. If you have anything you would like to share, all you have to do is write an email to the.alt.focus@gmail.com and we will publish it. We are even taking things to a different level.

Most literature in Kenyan blogs is in English, a little in French and very little in Swahili. I am yet to see a post entirely in Kikuyu, Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai or any vernacular language. Our ancestors were known to pass valuable lessons to their children in the form of songs, riddles, proverbs, poems, short stories etc. These were letter passed on from generation to generation. However, there is a risk that our generation will not be able to pass these to the next generation. Instead, we will pass foreign literature. Something has to be done about it.

In that light, here is a forum to document and at least help pass that chant, song, riddle, proverb or poem to generations and generations to come. In the process, we will be able to appreciate our different cultures. As Patrick Lumumba once said, “Culture is the celebration of diversity. Let us therefore not deny our origin; but instead celebrate ours as a cultural mosaic not a tower of Babel, but a power of Babel!”

I kindly ask you to send any literature available/existing in your (or any) mother tongue (and hopefully with a translation). If you can compose, then that is great, if you do not know your mother tongue, you can get your folks, uncles, aunts or any relative to write you one. The idea is to interact with fun literary works of our various cultures, nothing too serious. If you are wrong on the translations, I am sure someone will be happy to correct you in the comments section and we will all learn something. As if that was not enough, gifts will be given to the best piece every month, how cool is that?

Well, get that old chant, poem or story, write it on a Microsoft word document and send it as an attachment to the.alt.focus@gmail.com and lets appreciate our unique Kenyan culture. In (again) Patrick Lumumba’s words, “I refuse to believe that this country must run on the wheels of negative ethnicity where ones ethnic extraction is the touchstone of ability; that is a veritable tower of Babel . But worry the least – I have a perfect recipe for national cohesion. Let us combine the energy of the Luhya with the entrepreneurship of the Kikuyu, with a little dose of the Wakamba and Miji Kenda humility, the Maasai’s zeal and zest and the Luo’s quest for perfection and the beautiful qualities of all Kenyan nations and what looks like the tower of Babel will become the power of Babel!”