The drama of moving houses in Nairobi


Moving house

I have a new neighbour. She moved in last evening in the bedsitter squeezed at the far end of my neighbour’s main house, and immediately attempted to make history.

She is of medium height, dark-skinned and appeared to be in her late 20s. Her seemingly ridiculous weave was imperfectly perched on her dry skull, like a nest built in a hurry by an emotional and heartbroken bird.

She kept ordering around the two chaps who were helping her move. One of them looked like the kind who made a living by breaking into middle-class houses to steal pressure-cookers, iron box and bread toasters. While the other chap looked confused, as if his sidekick had just confessed carrying the prostitutes’ disease.

She was dressed in a suggestive little black dress and a lavender-coloured bra that seemed helpless to hold her boobs, which were threatening to literally spill out. However, what caught my attention the most, besides her borrowed accent, was her earthy possession.

First, the stuff she owned was obviously more than what her bedsitter could accommodate. Her stuff was so much, I bet it could fit into three jumbo cargo planes smuggling ivory to Ouagodougou in Burkina Faso. And yet she was trying to stash all that into a bedsitter that could hardly accommodate three pregnant goats.

She had a pair of sofa sets – you know those big humongous ones they sell along Outering Road for the price of a one-night stand with a hooker. Those sofas were so huge they could win an Olympic medal. She also had this ridiculous bed that was sadly accompanied by two unfriendly mattresses. Unfriendly, in the sense that one was badly torn, while the other one had this obnoxious stain, like she has been peeing in bed. No wonder Nairobians like moving houses in the dead of the night.

Noticeably, she had like eighteen jerricans, which contained some form of liquid. Ngaifafa! I honestly hope it was water. She also had a medium sized refrigerator that looked as if it had been buried since the discovery of Africa, and was only recently un-earthen because she obtained a court order. And if I thought I had seen it all, clearly I was in for a shocker.

A second pickup that was literally held together by rust and paint, and probably kept alive by a litre of fuel and a promise of being turned into scrap metal in its next life, had pulled up. It was carrying among other things a huge dinning table, four plastic chairs, a wall unit (like the ones uncles from the village give to Nairobi lads as a wedding gift) and wait for it – another unfriendly mattress. With all these mattresses, kwani she plans to run a hostel or brothel in that bedsitter? I wonder.

An hour later, almost all her earthly possession had been piled outside and around her bedsitter. I suspect her landlord is already planning to revoke her tenancy. Though I know beyond any reasonable doubt that Ms Waiyaki is already drafting a memo to the estate welfare committee to communicate her reservations about the new estate neighbour. Of course, she will also copy that memo to the Governor, all media houses, her pastor, and will also post it on her Facebook page.

Ms Waiyaki, now in her early 60s, is one of those estate ladies who can start World war III when provoked. To find out how nasty she actually is – sweetheart try to park your jalopy next to her gate. You will either find it clamped, defaced or toyed to hell.

Rumour has it that she stealthily sent her husband to the afterlife even before he could enjoy the joy of impregnating her so that she could inherit his wealth. After the death of her husband, she has never re-married or popped out little rascals. Instead, and if Sammy’s word could be believed, apparently Ms Waiyaki has a soft spot for young blood. Of course I believe Sammy. Who wouldn’t?

Sammy is that guy who can write a memoir of all estate ‘badder than most’. If you ever sneaked a one-night stand into your crib at ungodly hours, thinking even the devil himself doesn’t know. Trust me, Sammy already knows. Or if you locked yourself in your house pretending to read the Good Book, yet you are watching porn. Be sure, the indefatigable Sammy knows.

My bad. Sammy is our estate cabinet secretary in charge of internal welfare coordination. In other estates, you would simply call him ‘soldier’, and for those without a flattering and mastery of language would settle for ‘watchman’. In our part of the world, we have slapped him with a fancy title, to make him feel important, thereby motivate him better and pay him less.

Ok, back to our new tenant. It immediately got interesting once she settled into her new crib. She blasted loud music from one of these raunchy FM stations. It was so loud, I am sure the whole estate observed a moment of silence to whisper their last prayers.

I don’t know what her landlord told her immediately afterwards. What I know though is that the lecture – lasted for 38 minutes. I will also tell you this: that lady the next time she wants to sneeze or experiences a heart stopping, mind boggling, hair-pulling and eyes-rolling orgasm that would make her want to shout out her grandmother’s middle exotic African name – trust me, she would first ask for permission from her landlord.

As the whole estate is struggling to come to terms with our new neighbour, one thing is however for sure. I honestly don’t know which part of Nairobi or the known universe she migrated from – but from the look of things, this one wouldn’t survive for long in her new environment.



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