Mweni’s To do List on Being a typical Kenyan No. 1: Don’t follow your dreams

Don’t follow your dreams because they are paths straight to suffering and despicable poverty. And you will pay lots of cash and take crazy loans (This is to say that you will sign your death warrant) before your song is just aired on radio or your book is even considered for publication.

The drops of water, as clear as newly bought glass and as perfect as newborns, reflect the deep yellow Sulphur touch of the overhead street light as they fall onto the puddle of water in the sink. Mweni listens. They drop in rhythm. Much like an orchestrated masterpiece. Drip drop. Drippity drop. Drip, drip, drippity drop. Mweni starts to bounce her head as she listens to the rhythm. Maybe it is only her who can listen to the water drop in such an organized grace. She takes care to listen to the frequencies underneath all the noise that the city has to offer. It is never quiet in the city. Even at night (I mean in the darkest times of the night, when no one would be sane enough to roam the streets) when you would think that it would be sullen, silent and calm; underneath all that she could hear them. She could hear them shouting. She could hear the muffled voices crying out to something. Dreams. Hopes. Ambitions. Loves.

Mweni leans on the City Council sink, with her back facing the tap. There wasn’t anything that she could do to quell her thirst. Even if she tried opening the tap further, the thing was always broken. What was the point of it all then? She looks at the night sky. A usual one. Like always. She loves looking at the bodies move. Bodies of people and bodies of things in people. These people are moving away from the city. Because they do not belong to the city at night. Because they are not welcomed at night. The city belongs to the bodies of things in people at night. Things that have happened to people that they are no longer people. Things that have sucked the life out of people.

Mweni sees such things in people. You can see them on their faces. Laughing. Crying. Indifferent to the lives that the people wanted to live. Some hold papers in their hands sometimes. Staggering off into the darkness. Papers of promise. Rather, more specifically, papers of job application. But even more specifically, papers of promise of a better future if they would do away with their ‘ridiculous’ urge to play some music. Or draw. Or dance, and take the 20 billion-price tag, four-lane super highway to success Mweni usually sees them. Mostly tattered pieces of paper folded up nicely into a ten-shilling envelope but ending up as fatal dreams. Most of them do dream. Or rather, most of them have their dreams dreamt for them. As if they do not have brains of their own to get out of the random, useless eye movements that other people have preconceived for them.

Mweni had never known what she wanted to become. She had never known how to dream for herself because life had become her. She feels goose bumps forming on her uncovered arm. She has a sweater, but it isn’t really a sweater- with all the holes on it. She cuddles herself.

 

Follow me through the next 10 weeks as we explore Mweni’s thoughts on Kenyan being, Kenyan living, Kenyan breathing

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