Friday, May 05, 2006

Drinking culture

I saw this story on the BBC website and it brought some very interesting points to mind. First things first, we all know that Kenyans love to drink.Drinking has always been a part of Kenyan culture with the traditional brews and all.But the way people used alcohol then and now have really changed.
Way back when drinking was not partaken in daily and was a thing the men did after a long day or during celebrations. I am sure many of us had those batiks and paintings of a gathering of old men all sipping from a large pot with long straws.
Anyway let me leave history to the professionals because I know someone may come and set me straight in a rush.
I remember when I was a kid whenever there was a bash the older folks once in a while would give me like half a glass of beer or a tot of liqour to taste. Of course as a kid I was more attuned to sugar so I would drink it and go running off to find me some fanta (as Nick is still doing) or some sweets. Of course coming into teenage experimentation was a must. Me and my pals worked our fledling lock picking skills on many different liqour cabinets.I can remember the countless packs of Orbit used to obscure the smell of alcohol on our breath. Then of course we discovered mini packs!So once in a while when we had some cash we would buy some and share. All the flashbacks aside is that we never overdid the drinking thing but with the way the drinking culture has changed things are so different.
Even when we used to hold bashes in high school and uni we did not have the "black out culture."I have met younger folk who feel they have not had a night out on the town until they have drank till they blacked out.And the sad thing is that this nowadays applies to both gals and guys!The worst thing is that this culture contributes to irresponsible sexual behaviour,loutish acts,drunk driving and people becoming alcoholics.It also doesnt help that at the moment life seems so hopeless for young folk in Kenya.
I had pals back home whom the highlight of their week was catching pints with the boys over the weekend.I know people in my old neighbourhood who were those guys of "jobless corner," those peeps who bum, have mingi storo and look forward to catching pints over the weekend and would also drink cheap liqour during the week as they chewed veve (khat).They were doing this when I started going to uni and four years when I graduated they were still at it and as I am doing my Master's they are still in service.
I think it is a sad state of affairs but in the case of youth in Kenya I think it is more of a symptom as oppossed to a sickness.If they youth have little to aspire to, it will only follow that they will find a way to forget the hopeless life they are living.As for Kenyans out here I don't know what to say as I have met Kenyans out here who drink like we are in the prohibition!Anyway that is my feeble attempt at public awareness.Now to finish of this heiniken!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bila Trains!

It seems that the parts of the KBW blogosphere I go to has been blowing up with tales of Kenyanmusings woes.
Then it is only fitting that I put up this post related to that issue.The Bila train.Now there are two kinds of bila trains.
Bila Train 1

Bila Train 1 is for those who don't mind the ride and are in no rush to get to their destination.They have become accustomed to the fact that they are on this train and are now enjoying it.As you can see the train is small as not many want to be in it.The passengers here are by choice, it may be due to religion, faith, principle or getting accustomed to circumstances.These people don't mind the ride and often get chances to get off for good but do not take them.Good example....yours truly!

Bila Train 2

Bila Train 2 is for those who are in a rush to get where they are going and get off as soon as possible.The passengers on this train outnumber the passengers in the first several times over as they are not on this train by choice but by circumstance, personal mistakes, geographic location, lack of skills and the list goes on and on.This train moves hardly gives time for one who wishes to escape a chance and if one does get off, they must run away from the platform as fast as possible before they are reeled back in by the conductors who are always on the lookout for runaways!
Now ask yourself which train are you on?
Also for those of you who are on train number 1 with me, I have some questions.Am I allowed to get off while the train gets more coal at the next platform?Am I allowed to jump out and run alongside the train if I see something interesting outside?As long as my feet dont stop moving
I 'm still on the train, right?I was just curious that's all.....

Monday, May 01, 2006

Interesting similarities

Have you ever been in one of those situations which make you learn something new about yourself. I came from a study session for one of my classes where we were covering materials for the final. As I was outside in the warm sun I saw someone I hadn't seen for sometime coming from the library and I decided to wait for her.
Anyway she caught up and I asked her how things were going ie her weekend, preparations for finals, etc. This is one chic that I like but she is one of those chics whom we used to talk about in uni in Kenya saying, "Huyo dame budget sem mbili ama tatu kabla hujapata vitu!"Seeing as I am on this chastity thing and she is in the 2-3 sem class I havent thrown my hat in the ring.I instead catch up with her and talk once in a while.
Anyhow as we were catching up, I get hugged from behind and it's my other chic pal who works in the building where I had my class.I hadn't seen her in a while and I find out what was happening with her. She is also a good pal of mine but I had never considered stating my case as she had a boyfriend, she also has what I like to call "it"."It" is something about a girl, it could be the way she smells, walks, talks, smiles or all the above that I find incredibly attractive and irresistable (more on that some other time). As I was saying, I tend to be closer to her then the first chic.Anyway she tells me of the usual end of sem stress all undergrads face. I was going to introduce the two chics to each other but that was uneccesary as they knew each other. It was when they were next to each other that I noticed some striking similarities.
1.They both have the same hair color
2.They are both almost the same height around 5'2 - 5'4.
3.They are both languages students. One of them spanish, the other spanish and french.
4.Both of them were dressed almost the same.
5.They have both done some travel outside the states.
6.Their figures are very similar, one tends to have more booty then the other.
7.Both have the same color eyes.
7.They are both quite laid back.
They also do have differences but I am not going to go into that.For me it was suprising as I have always thought of myself as having a large variety when it came to looks that I found attractive in women; only to find myself looking at two chics whom I find attractive and see how alike they are.
Seems there are somethings about ourselves that are more deeply ingrained then previously thought?Anyhow back to the books!
postscript: As Kenyanmusings has been rudely thrown back into the bilas train, Aco is currently like one of those makangas who hang on mats and then achilia to run on the road then get back on the mat before it gathers speed.Let's just say at one point last week I was being dragged by the mat/train.But luckily I managed to get a foot-hold and I am back in my seat in the train!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

When Mum was in town

I passed by Kelitu's blog where she was recounting her mother visiting.The post was so tight that it reminded me of the days when my mum came to visit.
First of all I have this thing of when I am on holiday of drinking 1 - 2 beers daily, on day 3 of this; my mum asked me if I had become a drunk as in Nai I used to only drink when I went out to the locals or clubbing and never ever in the digs.
Plus came the storos of being harakishwad juu ya usafi in the digs.You know how mathees have some microscopic eyes that can see dust. While the rest of my family have the philosophy of "if you can't write your name on the surface then it doesn't have to be cleaned!"
Then my mum discovered life time channel and the one for housekeeping and cooking ( I never watch it so I don't know what it's called!).She would watch those channels and the church ones daily.She once switched to the E! which had Girls next door (the show for the playboy bunnies) she was shocked that such stuff can be on TV.Good thing is that she did not throw a fit!
Then there was the bitching over the food. The bread here is not the same, the meat has too much water, this chicken is too fatty, this yoghurt isn't nice, they call these sausages? The first day I went to the supermarket shopping and she tagged along I almost cried (not for joy).To save cash the peeps at my sisters use tomato paste, canned veggies etc. We checked into Kroger and I saw her veering into the fresh produce section, I tried to derail her by pointing out some special offers......wapi!She went on to load the trolley with fresh tomatoes all sorts of veggies and some nice juicy ribs (which I did enjoy eating) but the cutting into the beer budget was not much appreciated!
In my family there are light sleepers and heavy sleepers. My mum, big sister and I fall among the former group.So it was not surprising when my mum began to complain that the air-con was too loud and she couldn't sleep but the bad thing is that it was winter so turning it off wouldn't have been the best choice, so she lost on that one!But where I gnashed is that in the morning I used to like watching tv in the sitting room while I did the usual press-ups and sit-ups.Only on day one to hear a shooooshing sound coming from upstairs, seems even 1/4 volume was too loud.The sound apparently could be heard from upstairs through the paper thin screens in American houses that masquerade as walls.
Let me not forget the fact that back home more then 15 mins on the phone would result in a msomo."Remember that phones aren't free!"Is what we would be told!So my mum wasn't too pleased when my small sis would have her cell phone glued to her ear 24-7.
Another bone of contention with us was the fact that ugali was no longer the staple food in the digs.When I was growing up we used to eat ugali almost everyday, bar days when guests were coming (and even on some days that didnt make a difference ), and on 2 days of the week when chapatis,rice, pilau or fries would make an appearance!By the time I was in std 6 I could koroga Ugali with the best of them.As the years passed I could tell you the different brands and posho mill flour by taste alone.Wait till the rest of the family got here, the Jogoo was put into deep storage till the days when some nyam chom was being made.My mum wasnt too pleases to have to find that Jogoo did not have the position of crowning glory in the kitchen cupboard but was instead in the shadows in back of the pantry.To add insult to injury when she asked if anyone would eat ugali with her, all she heard was the pattering of feet, gentle closing of doors and the sight of The Acolyte fading into the shadows.But don't get me wrong, ugali still rocks!