By Joseph Maina
On Friday evening, I arrived home after a particularly frenetic day and came across a notice pinned on the gate that read: "To our esteemed clients: Kuansia mwesi injayo, rent itaongeswa na elfu biri. Maji na sitima hasitapadishwa. Poreni," it stated in bold lettering.
As you might have guessed, I was shocked beyond words, and so was Mama Jimmy.
"Baba Jim, letâs move," she announced when I entered the hacienda. "Ni kuhama!" she pontificated. Well, that sounded quite reasonable, but where did she want us to go?
"Tuhamie Pangani," she urged. She has always insisted that âPangoâ is great, and I suspect this has to do with the million hair salons in that estate, but what shall Baba Jimmy be doing over the weekends in a place that lacks leisure and recreational facilities? For me, Pango is out of question.
"Na Ruiru?" she piped. Now, is Ruiru in Nairobi really? Do they even catch some TV channels in Ruiru? Okay, I donât mind my water being delivered by a donkey and having my milk from a cow whose name I know, but life in the "outskirts" has never been Baba Jimmyâs thing.
"Basi twende Kinoo," she soldiered on. Once again, I wouldnât mind having my milk from a cow whose parents I know, but the areaâs security situation is way below sea level. Kinoo really is where our Kiganjo recruits should go for internship. My friend Odhiambo calls it "an active war zone."
"Na Uthiru?" she asked. Now thatâs another death wish. Like Kinoo, the place has too many gangsters per square kilometre. See, Nairobi is full of places youâre better off avoiding, unless youâre willing to risk the danger for a good horror story to tell your grandchildren. Kariobangi? The mere mention of this 24-hour danger zone gives me the creeps and no, this has nothing to do with the last five letters in the neighbourhood name. Of course, Kariobangi pales in comparison to well-established danger zones such as Kayole, Dandora and Kinoo, but this doesnât mean Iâll resettle in that landmine. Next?
"How about Embakasi?" she proposed. "Housing is pretty cheap there," she proffered. Well, itâs true that housing is relatively cheap in Embakasi, and the place is relatively safe (save for those few occasions when Waititu gets angry and throws a missile or two). However, the problem is water. Again, sources close to Baba Jimmy (my friend Odhiambo) relay that âEmbaâ has too many kindergartens and very few good secondary schools, if any. So, where will my mboys go to school in Emba?
"How about Eastleigh?" she pushed on. Okay, so weâre tired of bankrolling our landlord, but this suggestion was simply ridiculous. Life in âEasichâ may mean living close to the shoe market and living close to the great Starehe Boys Centre, and Iâll learn to spit great distances and the air is always rich with "nice" perfumes, but thatâs just about all the starehe that Eastleigh can offer. Pass!
"Na Umoja je?" She proposed, almost making me laugh. Now, âUmoâ may be a âclean and secureâ estate, but the perennial Outering Road jams are something else. Look, I donât want to be caught snoring in matatus at 6am like some folks from Umoja do on the way to work. The same applies to Githurai, âZimmerâ, Kahawa and Kasarani. Baba Jimmy wonât be caught in the kisirani of the unfinished Thika Road, no senor!
"Ah, daddy tuhamie Buru," Jimmy enthused. "Wasee wa Buru wako na swag kali sana," he praised. Well, Buruburu may boast tonnes of the so-called swag, but something tells me that they also have some of the most cowardly cops Kiganjo has ever produced, and the GSU can happily confirm this.