ELDORET

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Me and My Crayziee World

I wish I had Amnesia. Because the events I am about to recount are not pleasant. I am writing this post while under the influence of a particularly toxic brand of alcohol. The type that usually have an image of a weeping tiger on the cover. This weekend, I learnt why that tiger cries.

It all began last Friday. I was in the company of some 60 students in a bus headed for Eldoret for a sports tournament in Moi University. Incase you are wondering, I do not play any sports. The only reason I was in that bus was because it was a free opportunity to visit Eldoret which I had never been to before and also because they were giving us allowances. Life has taught me to always be wary of free things and I am cursing myself for not having sensed that something was amiss from the word go.

On the way, I saw the grizzly aftershocks of 2007. I had never really gotten a clear picture of the impact of the post election violence until then. In my hometown, the violence was minimal. People were more interested in looting bars to get free booze than hunting down certain tribesmen. The scenes that litter the stretch between Nakuru and Eldoret are however far more disturbing.

I happened to be seated next to the driver of our bus who incidentally resides in the region. When you want information, there are three groups of people who will never disappoint; bus/matatu drivers, prostitutes and shopkeepers. These guys always know everything about everyone and in this case, my driver proved to be highly resourceful. He pointed out to me the homes of every Kikuyu along the highway and explained that it was not by coincidence that all that remained of them were mere shells. He showed me the spot where he came to collect the charred remains of Ndung’u, his workmate, who was torched by incensed youths while transporting the corpse of another workmate from Kitale to Nairobi. He showed me the deserted homesteads and the scorched farms that had once been the sources of livelihood for their occupants. He showed me the blood in the earth. He showed me the tears of the womenfolk and the scars on the children. And I cried. I’m still not sure if it was my emotions or the alcohol I had been swallowing mercilessly but beads of tears just rolled down my cheeks (the last time I used that phrase was when I was writing compositions in high school. As it turns out, 8-4-4 isn’t just a load of crap after all!).

But I also saw hope. Thanks to Red Cross, some families are being resettled though three years down the line, there still seems to be no urgency in addressing the injustices that were witnessed in December 2007.

So we traversed the hilly regions of Timboroa and Burnt Forest in the darkness of the night until the virgin rays of the morning sun caressed our foreheads. By 8am, we were in Eldoret. The first thing I could think about was mursik. I had only ever heard of it from my Kalenjin friends and it sounded to me that it was probably the most common thing in Kalenjin-land. But Lo and behold. I could not instantly find a place that sold the god dammed drink! And when I did, it was a dingy little joint in the outskirts of the town centre run by (no prizes for guessing) one Kamau! I find it particularly amusing that someone had to come from another province to sell a product that is supposed to be the symbol of the regions culture. I am no tribalist but either Kalenjins need to get serious or Kiuks have just outsmarted their asses hands down!

Anyway, we proceed to Moi University. In English, we usually compare things in the comparative or superlative forms (i.e good, better, best). However, to give you a perspective of Moi Uni, I will need to invoke another basis of comparison. There is bad, there is worse, there is worst, then there is Moi Uni. Maybe I am biased because I identify with the best University North of the Limpopo and South of the Sahara. When you think about it that way, you might be inclined to be a bit more lenient (seeing as there are only two Univeristy’s in Kenya: UoN and the rest) but since I’m a stickler for standards, that argument just wont hold.

Pray tell, why would anyone in their right senses want to be associated with a university that doesn’t have a bar? I know…it’s just baffling! In case you are wondering, a bar is one of the most essential amenities in any institution of higher learning. The greatest ideas are conceived in university bars. I bet Isaac Newton was sitting next to a window in his campus local when he saw that apple fall from the tree. Heck, I’m pretty sure Barrack Obama begun planning of becoming President of the United States in Harvard’s local. Google it! I’m sure you will find a trail of evidence to support my theory.

The closest thing they have to a bar in Moi Uni is a makeshift pub called Fracas…and yet again, you’re right, the name suggests everything the place is about. It is located about 100metres outside the University grounds in a small market that resembles a chang’aa brewery in Kibera. Sad, I tell you! Needless to say, we had little choice but to venture within the muddy and murky drinking den because come what may, we had to get some.

The biggest regret I have had in all my twenty something years was to call a soldier’s girlfriend a whore while still inside the barracks, but that is a story for another day. The second will be revealed further below as you read this post. Entering that pub comes a close third.

A close friend of mine has always posited that certain drinks should be the reserve of men and women should not even touch the bottles in which they are sold. I have severally rebuked him for such chauvinism but that night I saw another perspective of his argument. He was afraid. Afraid for his ego and the image of manhood. And my word, if what I witnessed that night is anything to go by, I am afraid too. At this rate, we men might as well put on some skirts and start spotting sanitary pads and leave the trouser-wearing to the women. She was about 21.

Indeed, she was beautiful by any standards. It was her birthday and by God and the devil she was out to celebrate! While my friends and I watched in hushed amazement, she downed two bottles of Smirnoff Red-label whisky…then ordered a third. Not the dwarfy 250ml bottles. She was drinking the gigantically towering 750ml ones. I can feel my ego shrink just by recounting the story. And that is why I will leave it there.

Everything went on smoothly from there onwards. Until it was time to head back to Nairobi. I guess it was the excitement in the atmosphere or the incident with the birthday girl that nudged me to voyage beyond my limits. No, in fact I’m sure it was that hell sent guzzler that stirred me to challenge my abilities. And on that note, I bought myself a 750ml bottle of brandy. That was the second worst thing I have had to live with in my adult life. There are two classes of brandy. There is good brandy and bad brandy. Good brandy is smooth and mild but expensive. Bad brandy is coarse and tastes somewhat acidic, but it is also cheap. I will let you figure out which one I bought for myself. To hint a little, it is christened after a Belgian monarch who conquered half of Europe and made thousands of white people kiss the ground he walked on. Yep, he was one hell of a bad-ass. So you can imagine what kind of drink would be named after such a man.

Two hours into our trip, I was lecturing the occupants of our bus on the procedure to follow when taking a dump. At some point, I remember giving them free unsolicited advice on what to do with the allowances they had received. If my memory serves me well, it had something to do with my cell phone, M-Pesa and a trip to the coast. Not that there are any forthcoming trips to the coast that I know of. A few minutes later, I was sprawled on the floor of the bus swimming in a pool of my own vomit while clutching the empty bottle of brandy as if my life depended on it. Or so I’m told. To be honest, I have no recollection of any of the events that took place between Timboroa and Uthiru, although the photos my friends took tell a lengthy story that would make a good Anti-drugs script for a documentary sponsored by NACADA.

If by some miraculous stroke of metaphysical intervention I ever do quit alcohol, EABL should sue that birthday girl for making them lose one of their most precious customers. I don’t immediately intend to quit anything but there are some events in our lives that define the paths we follow. For me, that was one of the most demeaning points of my life so far, but if it’s any consolation, there will be many more such points in future. That, after all, is one of the reasons I started this blog. To strangle you with stories of my dramatic existence. But I did learn something from that incident. And while I choose to keep the lesson to myself, I will tell you its outcome; I will keep away from brandy and stick to beer from now on…at least until another trip comes along.

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Comments
  1. Graudia says:

    AWESOME!!!Could read this over and over again,not only because of the story line,but also because of the interesting writing skills observed!Bravo!Go….go..go get ’em.

  2. GRAUDIA says:

    AWESOME!Could read this over n over not only because of the story line,but also because of the interesting writing skills observed.Bravo….go go…go get ’em!

  3. bonybambino says:

    thanks dear…mad lurrrv!

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