The ‘Nganya’ Jav Experience

So I have been walking tall still considering myself youth and being really proud of it. Yesterday however, the bitter realization that it might no longer be true hit me hard. It was late evening and here I was rushing through the busy Nairobi streets, to get to my bus stop and get a jav real quick. As I walked through, my youthful side wanted to get into that nganya / bumtwaf jav (I bet there is a cooler name for that now). Anyway, I get to the stop and there are a couple of guys waiting, so someone suggests a queue. So queue moves swiftly and in a few minutes I am closer to getting into a jav. The current one is old. I cross my fingers hoping that the guys before me would fill it up. True to my wish they actually do, I stand smiling sheepishly at the next one, it was new and I could hear the music from outside. As I get in, I realize it already has a couple of young guys sitting on the window seats, bobbing their heads to the music. I have to go all the way to the back seat, no worries, I could totally sit on top of the base speaker (if that’s what it’s called). The jav quickly fills up and as I enjoy the music, though a bit loud. I can still hear some dudes chatting (screaming over the really loud music).

We quickly maneuver through the city traffic, go through parklands and soon we are onto another random route I have no idea of. I figure it’s a short cut, but as the number of trees continue to increase, I get a little worried but everyone else seems pretty calm, so I take a chill pill. We get to a place where curiosity creeps in as we realizing we haven’t moved in about five minutes. There is no traffic ahead just some negotiations between the three kanges and some watchies. Yes three kanges. The area is residential and javs are not allowed to pass through. The watchies prove to be hard nuts to crack and the jav has to turn around. A couple of insults are hurled as we go back where we came from. At this point I look keenly at the interior of the jav, it has proper speakers at least six. As if the driver was waiting to catch my attention, he suddenly turns on the lights. In a few seconds, there were so many flashing lights I thought I would get dizzy, or worse still they would short circuit. Oh wait maybe not, let’s assume it’s the disco lights effect. Well, at this point, my ears, eyes and dangling legs, seeing how short I am, were pressing to hold an urgent meeting to figure out how much longer they would have to go through this. A few deep breaths and turning on my youth element, I found a way to cope.

One of the six speakers

One of the six speakers

Soon we finally join Waiyaki way at Brookside drive and the traffic is really bad. The honks the driver pressed on were good enough to scare the small car drivers into letting him pass. However, where he found bigger trucks, there was no one to bully so he chose to overlap. This is where I called on Jesus, as the driver maneuvered so close to the drainages, I knew the old age had kicked in as I wanted to scream STOP! Again, the younglings were calm and on their phones, while others were discussing the way they would go back for what we called squadi in my days. I wonder what they call it now. Listening to them was a good distraction, I mean my ears could actually filter the music and pick their voices. A couple of maneuvers here and there and we were onto another escape route. This one was quite good as we passed a couple of posh houses, the Muthangari residence was quite catchy. This was plus to my trip.

Finally we got to what was causing the major snarl up, the transformer that had fallen near Kianda School. I thanked Kenya Power for the time taken to move it as it got me to rethink a couple of things. I began to understand that the youth part was slowly letting go and I was getting to the part where soon one of the kanges, assuming it’s a norm these days, would say “harakisha mathe.” In less than ten minutes, I was alighting. The youth part of me was still arguing that I could probably blame the village for my lack of proper exposure. Wait for it, the younglings who wanted to go for the squadi, found out they had to alight too, as it was not going back to town. As they sadly alighted, it hit me, it’s not where I lived, I had moved to the next phase. Through the thought of short circuiting lights, feeling like my ear drums would burst, I stared at the KBZ jav as it quickly drove off and realized then that truly age had caught up with me. There is nothing wrong with the cool lights, the loud music and the three kanges, probably there is a lot of support required in that job. I walked home slowly, smiling and appreciating the point in my life where I was at that level. My peers from Kikuyu must surely remember Alicia & Ng’ombe. That’s as far as my memory goes.

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The 28th year

So my birthday month June went by fast and it was quite cool. Those who know me well, know I never let my birthday pass without some noise, I love attention, I mean come on its once a year. This one however, was a bit more chilled out. I spoke more on phone and received messages, hang out with my boys, Munchkin and Papa, and enjoyed dinner with the Mutaratara group (believe it or not I am in a group bearing this name, and no it’s not a procedural group!)

The birthday celebration

So I sat reviewing how my year was and I realized, amazingly, how fast a year goes by. Since June last year, I have moved out, seen my son walk, run and tantrum. Better yet I have seen him grow tall, repeat a couple of words, communicate with gestures, move shoes to three sizes bigger and learn how to eat our food. I couldn’t help but wonder what I used to do with my life before him. I am hooked to my little ninja. And it got me thinking, as I am raising this absolutely active young boy with a very strong opinion that I need to let go of some stuff if I will teach by example.

Allow me to get you into context, when I was pregnant, it was a bitter sweet feeling. I had close friends and family who couldn’t put it past themselves that I wasn’t married. They did not necessarily say it directly but I could tell there was a certain stigma. Goodness me, I kept thinking, this is a blessing not a disease! And it got me so mad, their reaction that is, that I totally took it personally and wanted to forget about them and ditch them completely. And for the last one and half years, I have kept my distance and my family away from them. Recently though, it hit me that for sure you can’t choose family. I began to realize that some of my family members would sit in ‘my goat negotiations’, we would meet in family functions, both good and bad. I probably would survive putting on a fake smile and getting past the small talk, but that’s not what I want to teach my munchkin. And I want to be real and honest with him all the way. So I guess this is the part I bury the hatchet (my English teacher would be proud). I still struggle with forgiveness especially when there has been no apologies, but I am learning to figure it out.

On the other hand I have grown to respect my parents on a whole new front. My little young man could literally make my heart stop and he is turning two this week. He is so awesome and fun but he also has potential to drive me crazy. I wonder how my mum was able to blow dry and plait my hair herself, as I yelled my lungs out. Or how my dad survived with me as a teenager. How he felt when I forcefully moved to campus or when he knew that I partake of drinks with a certain alcoholic percentage. Parenthood is an experience like no other with major highs and lows. God’s guidance is what enables parents to survive.

On a friendship level, I am so grateful for my real friends. The ones who have stayed with me through all the fun and craze to listening to me talk about munchkin 9 out of 10 of the times in our conversations. Considering I was the first in my group (s) to get a baby, I hope I wasn’t overbearing. I am so excited that now. Munchkin has friends to play with and others are already in the womb, you know yourself. I am lucky to have the ones who understand when I return calls two days later. The ones whom even though we stay a couple of months without talking, when we do talk it’s so seamless, the ones who know they can call anytime and vice versa. On the other hand, it has hurt to lose some close friends, some in heartbreaking situations and others slowly slipping away but I have learnt that some people are in your life for a season and so I am at peace with it.

I miss staying with my grandma and I need to make it a habit to take munchkin more often coz I can see they both really miss each other’s company and shared time. Three of my nieces were born within that year, I have a bigger extended family with siblings who are so genuine, a man that I continue to be so grateful to God for. I always remember my paternal grandma’s words, “God is the one who gives a good husband” and even as we get there, I have seen major truth in it. My work life has become better, one way or another. I still have major business ideas that I need to execute, I need some help with being able to build them and be accountable.

I miss my Mummy and can’t even begin to imagine how impressed she would be by munchkin, being a grandma, how my life continues to turn out, the endless conversations we would have, the great times we would share but I know God has a reason.

Oh well, let me not get you all emotional. That was a fabulous year for me, all things considered. I have seen changes in me that I am liking. I hope to become better with age, just like fine wine. I am slowly but surely letting go and letting God. The journey continues as I count down my second birthday this year, 4 days to my munchkin’s birthday, that day in 2013 that my life changed forever, I absolutely love it.