“Don’t act a punk with a gun to your head.” – Wise saying by Shiraku Tess ☺

This is a saying from a book of wise sayings I’m working on called ‘Tess’ Wise Sayings’. The book will probably never see the light of day because it is all in my head. I have about a hundred sayings in there, all of them pertaining to my life and the various situations I’ve been in.

This particular one stuck in my brain, unlike the others that disappeared (but what do you expect when you write a book in your head?). It’s one many Kenyans can relate to. If you live in a town, you can relate. If you live in Nairobi, it’s part of your silent life philosophy.

So the other day I was rushing in town. I was in quite a hurry and my anxiety levels were high so I was a little absent minded. I was heading to an interview you see. I wanted to be there an hour before it started. To prep myself. By prep I mean to fix my hair, polish my shoes coz of the dust they collected since I stepped out of the matatu and go over the FAQs and answers.

I was so out of it that when I got off from OTC in town, I went all the way toward Kamkunji police station and crossed towards bus station. I usually don’t pass that way. So in my state of mind, I passed a beggar.A man with a cup jingling with coins. One bobs most probably. By the time I realised that I should have left him ten shillings at least, I was way past him.

Then guilt set in. How selfish and self absorbed can we get? Just 2minutes from my busy life would have helped him out. I hadn’t even gone 5minutes self loathing when this chokora was by my side. Wazungus call them bums or hobos.

*direct translation*

“Siste spare me some change for breakfast.”

“Maze I don’t have money.”(classic excuse)

“Siste don’t smell like shit on a nice day like this. Kwanza vile uko Smart.” That was when I saw the pile of shit in the hand that was not  begging for change. Actual shit. Feaces. In a pile. Like he just went into a dark alley and did it on his hand. I kid you not. Now I was terrified.

“Relax dude! Let me see what I have.” I rummage through my bag and pull out my wallet. I have two 50s and a hundred.

“Siste hurry up. Give me that 100. Don’t smell like shit!”

“Dude I still need fare to get home. Take this 50 and go, nkt!”

He takes it and walks away, yells a thank you as he goes. Probably to get his next victim. I keep walking thinking of how  I just got robbed at ‘shit point’ ,literally. People walked right past me and did nothing. Not that there is a damn thing you can do to fight off shit being lunged at you. This is Nairobi, a hungry city. Don’t act a punk with a gun to your head. Cooperate and go on your way.

I’m just lucky I got to my interview still smelling like Nivea cocoa butter. Kumbe karma is a hungry bum in the streets of Nairobi.


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