It is not uncommon for a lorry to rumble past your gate at some devil’s hour when you’re trying to gather elusive sleep. The destination is the neighbouring flat where Wafula and Wanyonyi are urged to “harakisha mikono” and unload the lorry.
Curiosity will see you slowly padding over and prying the curtains to chungulia heavily built men unloading household stuff. Sigh! It’s another Kenyan ana hama usiku!
Here are 10 reasons Kenyans move houses under the cover of cold darkness when everyone is under the cover of warm blankets:
1. Godoro chafu sana
The sitting room looks great in most houses because it’s the first section visitors see. Enter the bedrooms and into 18th century of old spring safari beds with paper thin dirty naked mattresses staring back at you.
2. Madeni mingi
When you owe everyone, from your jirani, mechanic, shylocks, Mama Mboga, Mama Pima, barman to the exasperated owner of the estate corner duka where you have kitabu ya deni, then its wisdom to ham in the dead of night. Your new crib will give your children a break from lying to visitors that daddy hayuko!
3. Makauzi mtaani
It’s advisable to move houses with the faint moonlight illuminating the start of your new life, seeing as it is, moving during the day exposes your Sony Bravia and fancy household items to people who can make them change ownership via ‘makauzi’ (estate burglars and thieves).
4. Leaching relatives
When your house sometimes resembles a refugee camp, and Mke Nyumbani has headaches whenever you want to get freaky, then it’s time to escape from the clutches of leachy relatives...at night!
5. Deadly enemies
Just ask slain businessman Jacob Juma although he can’t divulge much from his current position. It’s therefore advisable that you scatter from your enemies-real and imagined- and they should not know where you stay especially when you hama at night.
6. Skiving on rent
The landlord who has been friendly as you religiously paid rent for 20 years and helped build his two apartment blocks, but when you lose your job he will suffocate you with menacing deadlines or threats of unleashing hostile auctioneers. By the way, do auctioneers have friends?
7. Kuwekana ‘ball’
Some men have lethal sexual potency that sees them ‘page’ two sisters, the M-Pesa attendant, three house helps and a police man’s wife all at the same time and in the same hood. The only way to get out of such a ‘bulging’ situation is to flee under the cover of good old darkness.
8. Shadowy charlatans
When you engage in shady business, like those West African pharmacists then it’s advisable your new neighbours have no clue how you look like let alone the kind of household stuff that makes your new pad...
9. I am a celeb
Famous musicians, actors and other people in the news like politicians, TV anchors and socialites tend to move at night. They don’t want their image to be tainted as the only image they want in public domain is the flashy Beamer whose loan they are struggling to finish paying.
10. Mushene Reloaded
Kenyans are curiously snoopy. They love mushene. To avoid unnecessary estate udaku centred on your worldly possessions that fitted atop a Pick Up (or mkokoteni), then kuhama usiku comes in handy. After all, there is less traffic and you can bargain with the guy of ‘Ask for Transport’.