Whenever I visit Kenya, its not that difficult to bump into someone who’s myopic stated ambition is to “fly out”…and of course, they want to pick your brain and talk to you about the important things like how “out” feels like and whether its true that you can work washing dishes in a restaurant for 3 weeks and buy a car, what its like to occasionally bump into Wil Smith and Beyonce like you do Kenyan celebs down town, whether having sex with a “mzungu” is different from Nyokabi or Wekesa down the road, …yada yada yada….
I paraphrase of course, but the content of such a conversation is not beyond the realms of reality. Its times like these when I ask myself – Why oh why oh why do we want to leave our beloved country in such a misguided state of destructive ignorance, so that we can subject ourselves to what is clearly a punishment from the gods?…an entire season of several months of winter.
You might be noticing a pattern here – about my indifference and bitching to this madness that is the cold of sub zero temperatures, freezing everything, and wet and windy conditions that make you want to pack your bags and get a one way ticket to somewhere that you don’t have to wear a ski jacket when taking the trash out.
Honestly, I sometimes think folks don’t realize how depressing it is to wake up and its still dark – leave for work at 8.00 am and its still dark, spend all day cramped up in a shady joint in the name of work, and leave work when its dark – yeah, its dark by 3.00 pm anyway.
Many have tried to rationalize this madness by adopting a defeatist mentality that “we came here to work and so it shall be – Wira ni wira”.
Frankly speaking, that’s a whole load of nonsensical bollocks that needs to be filed right between shit and syphilis. I’m one of those people who believes that ambition is an over-rated concept that’s abused as a poor excuse for those without the sense or guts to be lazy and once in a while – declare “fuck it!”.
The problem with us humans as a species is that we’re so conditioned to conforming to warped notions of societal norms nobody hardly stops to think and ask “Why on earth do I have to do things this way?”
We spend most of our lives planning and preparing for the “future”, we forget to simply live for the present and enjoy life with its simplicity (or not).
I was speaking to a friend recently and he told me he’s doing two jobs at the moment – one during weekdays, one during weekends, and he’s also studying during weeknights.
I posed the question as to Why he was operating with one foot in the grave and busting a gut on a heavy work and study schedule that doesn’t even afford him the luxury or the time to sit quietly on the toilet with his favorite magazine while having a good ol’ dump without any need for urgency.
His answer somewhat baffled me – “To pay for my masters and finish school by such and such a date.”
My next question was unsurprisingly, “Why?”, and as regular as clockwork, the answer followed – “Because my parents want me to do a masters degree and the masters programme is until this particular date…”
I then ask again – “Why?”….and then the wall of silence and reflective thought.
This guy didn’t even think about why he was doing this and was comfortable in accepting that mummy and daddy want me to do a masters degree, and moreover, everyone around them who seemed to be getting anywhere in life has done a masters degree in something.
It was more or less a milestone or fashion statement that defined social status in the community, and a justification for competence in whatever field or trade. I think what was more disturbing is that this guy probably didn’t even like what he was studying and was just doing it to appease his parents….
Now if there’s one thing that really pisses me off, its parents who insist on living their failed dreams through their children….
Everyone wants their kid to be a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker, or some big shot that will buy their way out of poverty in their twilight years. It’s very rare you’ll come across kids who say – When I grow up, I want to be a taxi driver, or carpenter, or police officer, or a P.E teacher, or a mortuary attendant. God forbid you mention that you want to spend night shifts with the stiffs on Mbagathi Road…..I digress here….
My point is that we’re so conditioned to doing things in a certain way very few people, if any, ever stop to ask the question “Why?”
Why do you have to do things in a certain order if at all?
Why do you have to worry and traumatize about what others think about you – they’re just nosy conceited bastards anyway who’ll probably just attend your funeral to make sure you’re dead, and feast along with other professional funeral attendees?
Why do you have to be seen to be doing well and being successful – by supposedly clocking up mileage in school and missing out on life?
And more importantly – Why do we have to freeze our nuts off in this godforsaken miserable madness that is the winter in the name of making a living! (that was the gist of the post in the first place)
Surely, there has to be an alternative that can make me opt out of this place for the lovely surroundings and warmth of my beloved country and still be able to make a living?
I remember years back sitting down with a friend at the steps of one of the blocks at Hammersmith and City College in West London. I forget why exactly we sat there, suffice to say that we were probably reflecting on the hard times then, and wondering what we’d got ourselves into by moving out here instead of sticking it out, rolling up our sleeves and getting in with the rough and tumble that is life in Kenya.
I distinctly remember us joking about this madness of “flying out.”
See, West London is on the flight path to Heathrow and you can see many planes approaching the runway or taking off, and we burst out laughing at the thought of whether the poor bastards on those planes knew what they were letting themselves into by landing and achieving that “flying out” dream….
Maybe I just miss home, and this industrial freezer of a country that we’re living in right now doesn’t make it any better – so I’ll start by asking myself Why???
And just to clarify some points earlier for those who continue in misguided wonderment about what it feels like to fly out and live out here:
- No. You can’t buy a car after working for 3 weeks in a restaurant washing dishes. You’ll be lucky if you can pay for your transport, rent, food and buy deodorant.
- No. You won’t meet will smith or Beyonce down town like you meet Kenyan celebs hadharani on the streets. You’ve probably got more chance of seeing photos of the so called Kenyan celebs naked on the internet.
- I wouldn’t know if having sex with a mzungu is different from having sex with Nyokabi or Wekesa. I haven’t had sex with Nyokabi, or Wekesa himself for that matter to make a credible comparison.
Until next time…