A Saturday. A Sister. A Stir.


I wake up fully at 10:00. It is a Saturday and it is not my wedding day, so I do not see why I should have woken up earlier. Mum dropped by the room and left instructions before this. Someone had tried to wake me up with a text at 08:43 and I told him to try harder. Someone else tried waking me up with a call at 08:47. She laughed hard when she realized I was in bed. Do not call me before 10:00 on any Saturday from now on. Thanks. The only reason I get out of bed is because mum calls at 10:02 and asks if we are up (and that I am to water the cabbages in the garden since she has noticed they were dying lol). Also, Claire finally stirs in the other bed. I cannot let the eight-year-old roam the house alone.

When I say wake up fully, it is because I was half-awake all along after mum left. I could hear Gathoni wa Muchomba wrapping up on Muigwithania on Kameme FM. Then suddenly, the subtle bass in the sitting room went silent, signalling interruption of electricity. Since I was half-awake, I forgot about it for the next one hour in bed. Only when I wake up do I remember and feel distraught. Oh well, I think, I will have to find a way to keep myself busy with no power. At least my phone is fully charged. The morning is slow as expected. I water the cabbages in that slight morning sun, thinking to myself how I should be more proactive rather than waiting for mum to tell me when to water dying greens.

Inside the house, Claire is already done with her breakfast so I get on with mine. Lo and behold! No one noticed the sugar was running out, so I have to kinda swirl my tea in the now almost-empty sugar dish to get that sticky sweetness out. 😀 Yeah, I know you have done that before too. I take my two cups of tea with one of them huge muffins from Uchumi. (I know, I know. I went to Uchumi and didn’t buy sugar. Shut up. Refer to previous sentences.) I am trying them out for the first time and needless to say, they are awesome. I send Claire to get Thursday’s paper so I can check if we are in that “Interruption of Electricity Supply” schedule. Big sister perks. You get to send kids around the house. Gitaru does not feature in the page. That’s strange. Moving on.

I do the dishes, amidst entertaining myself with the 2014 DJ Dolls Kigooco Mix, remembering every single tune and how they nicely blend into each other. No, I am not playing the mix. I am singing it. I do that a lot when I am doing the dishes. I hate doing the dishes. Music takes is how I escape the reality that is slimy dishes. Normally, when there is power, I let the radio do that. But today, I shout the tunes, complete with BGVs from Claire. She is sweeping. We are singing the Kikuyu songs in English. Lol. We can be cartoons, Claire and I. For instance, we sing a song like Betty Bayo’s Busy Busy which is in the middle of this particular mix, as “Busy busy, when your enemies are busy plotting against you, make sure you are busy talking to God” but the actual words to the song are “Busy busy, riria thu ciaku cie busy igikwarira make sure nawe wi busy kwaria na Ngai”. Never mind the translation is not particularly right. This is a trait we picked up from dad, the bigger cartoon. One day we will record these shenanigans on YouTube. Stay tuned.

Speaking of dad. He turned 51 yesterday. Mum turns 49 in December. Then I’ll turn 25 a few days later. I will have finally got to be half their age on average! Happy dance! Remember those annoying math problems? If Shiku is 10 years old and her dad is 36 years old, how long will it take for Shiku to be half her dad’s age? Ain’t nobody got time for that! We sang happy birthday for him, his three girls. The boys are away in school. He was tired so we literally had to yank him out of his sleep to cut the cake. No matter how tired everyone is or how old, the song has to be sang, the ceremony conducted and “speeches” made.

Anywho, I am done with the dishes. What to do next? Bask. I grab Half of a Yellow Sun and my leso (I’d say wrapper like Chimamanda does but I won’t because I have never heard it said around me.) and walk into the sunshine. I am very indifferent about the book by the way, that’s why it has taken me ages to complete it but that is a story for another day. I only read a few of the pages out there, lifting the book up against the sun to shield my face. I have weird reading habits. I spend most of the next minutes just basking. Some mamas issuing the polio vaccine walk up the driveway. I know that’s what they are when they call out to me over the kei-apple fence. My plan initially was to lie still and hope they could not make out a body through the fence. Well, they clearly do and ask if there’s a five-year-old in the house. I say no, but there might be one in the next home. Claire is on the other side of the compound, chatting up the neighbour’s kids over the fence. I call out to her and ask how old the youngest of the two boys is. Seven. I am wrong. So they ask if they could leave a chalk mark on the gate to indicate they passed through here. By all means, women-I-cannot-see-through-the-fence.

Before my skin has even gathered enough Vitamin D whatnots, I make out some two other mamas trudging up the driveway again. For crying out loud! Isn’t today supposed to be a quiet Saturday? This time, I am not going to let anyone talk to me. I am 100% sure they are the Jehovah Witness mamas because I can make out their tiny hats. So as they walk up away from my view, I quietly get up and get into the house. I ignore the knock on the gate and I hear them move to the neighbours’ gate. The kids hear it and proceed to bother whoever is with them to open their gate. Good luck with that neighbours, I am out.

Back in the house, the power is back. Yay! How do I know? Because I left the lights on specifically to know. Now I can revive my laptop. It’s lunchtime. Claire comes back in and we do lunch over Matilda. Did you watch that movie in the 90s? If you did not, you missed a great movie, my friend. I can still recite the lines. After this, it’s time to fold the laundry. It’s been lying there for days. Claire desperately wants to go play with her friends (remember she was chatting them up over the fence) so I make her fold her clothes first. And make her bed. Don’t I just love being big sister? *Insert maniacal laughter* I let her go and I resume re-watching The Shawshank Redemption. I re-watch classics a lot. Sue me. After a while, I nap.

Before I am even 20 winks into the nap, the dogs are causing a racket outside. Someone is walking up that driveway obviously. Damn. I wake up and rush to the door. Two strange dudes. Damn. I pull the hair thingy I have on my head and open the door. But I do not open the front door, just in case these are robbers. You never know these days. The first guy comes to the grille and greets me.

Is Mwalimu in?


And mum?


Ndukimuhurire? (Call him.)

Ndimwire nu? (Who do I say is asking for him?)

He tells me. All the while I am wondering why in the world a drunk dude has woken me up to make me call my dad. I have better things to do other than attend to drunken men. No offence but I have a phobia of drunk folk. I dial dad’s number. He picks. Tells me to give the phone to the guy. The guy, complete with dark on dark lips, gets into some animated conversation and I can tell he wants money but dad is not going to give him. He sits down next to the flower bed and begins to rub his head in rapid motions with his nicotine-stained fingers. At this point I am starting to freak out. The other guy who has not approached comes close to the grille and extends his hand across it. I shake it. His bloodshot eyes make me want to close the door and disappear inside the house. But I can’t do that because the other guy is talking through my phone.

“This guy is wasting your credit,” drunk guy 2 says to me.

Duh, I think to myself.

The call is ended for some reason and drunk guy 1 hands the phone back to me. Apparently they work for dad in his constructions and he wants payment because drunk guy 2 has not been paid. Dad calls again and I hand him my phone. I can imagine him shouting in his signature way on the other end. Meanwhile, drunk guy 2 is trying to converse with me. Claire finally shows up, 15 minutes past the agreed time and I tell her she’s late.

“Is she your daughter?” Drunk guy 2 expresses his power of observation.

“She’s my sister.” I am very bored right now because by now, dad has ended the call and will not pick the phone any more. (Btw, drunk guy 1 concocted the whole thing to get me to call dad. Dad does not even know drunk guy 2, he later told me. Drunk guy 1 just wanted money and chose to lie about it.)

I ensure Claire is inside the house before I lock the first door and tell them I cannot help them any further. Drunk guy 1 does not want to leave. Drunk guy 2 wants to engage me in a conversation like we will go walk away into the sunset together. Smh. Eventually, drunk guy 1 drags drunk guy 2 away, claiming that he is embarrassing him. The guys are fluent in English and I cannot help but think that these are some of the many brilliant Kenyans who were screwed up by the system. Claire and I watch them walk out the gate through the window, just in case they don’t. Then I send Claire to close that gate with the padlock, just like it was before she went playing with her friends.

Let’s just say I have had an interesting Saturday. It’s 21:20 now. Dad and mum are back. I am tired after a session of cooking and dancing to the usual DJ Dolls mix with Claire which we played on her insistence. The power of influence, people. She copies every move I make as I multi-task. That’s the beauty of having a small sister. She looks up to you in ways that rattle you a little. She is seated next to me right now because she wants to do something as close as possible to what I am doing. She even tries to fill the newspaper crosswords nowadays. Reasons I cannot afford to be a lousy big sister.

Shiku and Claire

How was your Saturday?

12 thoughts on “A Saturday. A Sister. A Stir.

  1. I wake, eat, do laundry, watch and sleep on Saturdays. If I was to write about it, it won’t be as good as you wrote about yours. That’s because it won’t be more than a paragraph hehe I enjoyed reading this article.

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