Celebrating East African Writing!

Female pirates on MV Nyumbani by Clifford Oluoch

Whoever came up with the idea of supermarkets, hypermarkets, megamarkets and all those ‘matt’ – Nakumatt, Naivamatt, Tuskermatt, Karizmatt, Onyimatt etc, just has no clue what injustice she (it definitely must be a she) did to Mwanaume’s 23 year old battered, bruised and bondekad wallet – a survivor of 4 General Elections, 2 National census, 4 US Presidents amongst many more.

Closer home, within the four walls called Mv Nyumbani, fully loaded with female pirates, I find myself outnumbered in the ratio 5: 1, that is excluding the 2 family pets: the combative goggle eyed cat named Martha and the ancient, laid back mongrel of a dog called Kivuitu.
It gets worse at end month.

“Daddy, today we are shopping at Nakumatt Westgate, ya?”  asks Angel, my 5 year old whose tantrums and conniving nature bears nothing close to the heavenly name she was given.  Angel is also the official spokesperson of the All Girl Crew in my house and which, by powers not conferred to me by the Senate, I refer to as Women Of Mass Destruction (WMD) – of course against their knowledge otherwise I would be hysteria. 

I freeze and before I can mouth a logical answer, Angel bounds off with a , “Thank you daddy. You are the best daddy in the whole world” (Aiye! Are there other daddies other than me?)  Nakumatt Westgate?  That is a place where shs.1000 is change and the parking space is BIG!

Off Angel goes to announce that MIA – Mission Accomplished – the enemy has been vanquished and will not be able to mount any further attacks!
A resounding and well choreographed ‘Yes!” resounds from the other room and I immediately know that there is no retreat in this.  Within seconds the whole WMD troupe in to hug me for willingly conceding defeat and for agreeing to form a coalition between my battered wallet and their non –existent one!  This to me is not sharing of power – this is domestic ngeta Mugabe style: what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is also mine.

“Please apply some oil on your legs,” comments 13 year old Seraphine – another misguided heavenly body who seems to find the Obama’s American accent more suitable to our local Kangemishire one! 

Before I can reply, 15 year old Cherubim, an aspiring fashion mogul add in, “Don’t embarrass us in Westlands with those quodroy trousers!”

“Are we using Njoroge’s taxi or Mwangi’s?”  chips in my neighbour in bed, aka Otero, captain of Mv Nyumbani who is known to be as brutal as those starring actors ‘fellows’ I watched on walk – in movies.  Otero, a relentless and progressive minded WMD has overseen some of the worst crisis in the house – the most epic one being The Ngothagate Scandal which took place one morning when I woke up to find all my briefs missing – no underwear, no vest, no socks.  I immediately thought of the renovations going on at the museum and that the curator must have been looking for something more authentic than Tarzan’s one piece wonder – the G-string!

“Mungu One, Wapi ngotha zangu?” I had asked immediately switching to the lingua that the tongue slides into when trouble is brewing and all manner of reason deserts you.

“Those were not briefs but distant relatives of clothing that are only suitable as fishing nets in Lake Victoria,” Otero had answered as a matter of fact.  What vile!

“How will I go to work?”

Arguing with WMDs is one battle that you are guaranteed to lose.  Some of the missiles fired by WMDs are worth making it to ‘Who’s Smarter Now’ and give the Swahili guru Wala bin Wala a new ngeli ya Ku-Handwa!

“Kwani ni ngotha ina do job?”  Pass.

 “Who will know you are bilaz?”  Pass.

 “Were you born wearing them?”  Pass.

 “So you mean I don’t ever need them?”  I mumbled, though I knew I had lost miserably.  This is gender inequality – how can she go to work wearing them and I go bilaz?

And I was about to lose the taxi one as well if I did not come up with a smart answer. 

“Let me call the drivers,” I said as I whipped out my ten year old, heavily bandaged original toothless (blue tooth kitu gani) and colourless (infra red) Nokia 3310. If these guys knew that when that phone surfaced, Safaricom lines were going for shs.5 000 and the phones for Kshs.12 000.  I had to take an emergency loan to afford a phone and a line in the days that one US dollar used to trade at shs.40 and shs.100 could buy several litres of petrol, numerous rounds of beer etc etc.

“Dad, not again,” cried Angel referring to my phone’s loud and jarring ring tone which still has heads turning but more in pity than admiration.

“Even if I am paid I cannot take that phone,” joined in Seraphine cockily.

“Hall of Shame!” cried Cherubim confidently stroking her Nokia N-Series that she bought from savings.

These are girls who were named after angels in heaven but the only time they are angelic is when they are asleep – of course minus the snoring bit.

“We shall use Njoroge’s taxi today,” I replied as I stood. “I am going to get him from the pub!” 

And with that I walked out of Girl Zone. 

It was not until midnight that I came back to the house with all the shopping in the same ‘matt’ paper bags found in Westgate (Si it is what is inside that counts).  The angels were asleep and snoring but Captain Otero of Mv Nyumbani was not. 

From a distant I heard the incessant barking of Kivuitu, that mongrel who has a penchant of sensing trouble.  Tell them that we are not quitters Kivuitu. Tell them!  Another bark.

The next time those Somali pirates are recruiting please let me know.  But that is a story for another day.


3 comments on “Female pirates on MV Nyumbani by Clifford Oluoch

  1. Chiira
    July 6, 2009

    One word…funny.


  2. Stella
    July 6, 2009

    This has brought such a smile to my face-very funny! Great piece Clifford, love your use of local language.


  3. Mercy Ojwang'
    August 20, 2009

    Lol as usual you crack me up!


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