October 2006


As usual, I thought I should be the first to break the news. I'm sad
that my 2nd favourite (ex) Chelsea player Gudjohnsen scored against
us. Just when I was starting to (finally!) like Drogba, he decides to
dive all over the pitch. But Lampard proved why he's my number one
Chelsea player. That goal was fantabulous! Goal of the tournament
bana!

I’m moving out solo this weekend! Yaaaaaaay! I can’t wait! And this move is so long overdue and I’m glad that it has finally worked out coz there’s only one building that I wanted to move into and a flat finally became vacant. I’m tired of having people all up in my business, of being disrespected, of not being listened to. I’m tired of having to tolerate other people’s unhygienic habits. I’m tired of my lazy ass landlord making false promises to renovate my flat. That’s the same song he came singing last week, “if you guys renew your leases for next year, I’ll make sure that everything will be in order by the time you get back in February” Yeah right! That’s what you said last year and we were foolish enough to take you up on your promise.

I’m tired of not having any privacy to live my life the way that I want to. I’m tired of leaving my takeaway in the fridge only to find that it has been devoured the next morning. I’m tired of having to share a toilet with 3 other people. I’m tired of not being able to have a peaceful siesta without idiots banging at my door every five minutes to borrow this that or the other. And I’m especially tired of KENYANS poking their noses where they ought not to, just to have something to gossip about at the next baraza at the “Kenya High Commission” (a fountain outside the library where Kenyans congregate). Last year I was having a clande with a chic (sikujua alikuwa ni bibi ya wenyewe! Really, I didn’t!) and some time later it went public and I got into a lot of shit! The dude’s the size of Batista! Lakini niliponea chupuchupu after a lot of diplomacy.

Any time there’s drama in this city, best believe that there’s a Kenyan or two involved to “tia chumvi” into the mix. I’m sure you know what I mean. I love my country and my people, but I hate some of our habits.

But the main reason why I’m moving out is coz of one of my housemates. We had a serious altercation earlier in the year, sometime in April. Even though that’s behind us now, a lot of stuff has happened since then and the beef has been hanging over us like a dark cloud. But that’s a story for another day. The only reason why I didn’t move out then is coz I couldn’t find a bachelor flat then, and I was tied down by my lease.

The flat is so run down, it’s even been nicknamed Prison Break! Complete with Scofield, Tancredi, John Abruzzi & C-Note. (A free autograph to whoever can guess correctly which inmate I was!) It has been dissed so much that no one wants to move here next year. Probably that’s why the landlord wants us to renew our leases. Coz he can’t find anyone desperate enough to want to have themselves incarcerated here.

So what am I going to miss most? I’m definitely going to miss my housemate Q, a dude I’ve lived with for two and a half years. Q has changed the way I think. He always has a solution to any one of my myriad of problems. Everything is either black or white. He taught me to simplify issues to their simplest form then deal with them. And he’s one of the funniest dudes that I’ve ever met, plus he has this ability to inspire guys to pull off some random plans like walking to the hanye at 2am.

I am definitely going to miss my room. It’s huge! It has lots of storage space and the best part is that it has a balcony facing the beach and the sun rises right into my eyes every morning! I usually don’t draw my curtains coz the sun is my alarm clock. Sometimes I stand at the balcony with a mug of coffee just to watch the sunrise. It.is.beautiful yaani words can’t even begin to describe it. You just have to see this for yourself.

sunrise with little fishing boats at the shore

I have enjoyed the better part of the last two years and the interesting relationships that we formed as housemates and the late night madness sessions. But I’m a big boy now, I’m entering a new phase of self discovery and this can only be achieved if I move out solo.

My new digz is a bachelor flat just a stone’s throw away from my current place but it’s on the side facing away from the beach. No more sunrises for me. My new bedroom isn’t as big as my current one, but I’ll finally have my own kitchen and fridge, my own toilet where I can stack all my magazines to read as I drop bombs over Baghdad every morning. I’ll have my own bathroom and bathtub (I hate bathtubs-I’d rather have a shower instead. But I can’t have everything!) It’s a secure building with surveillance cameras on every floor, a laundry room in the basement, underground parking which I can rent out since I don’t have a car. It comes with DSTV, tena that fancy one where you can pause stuff and resume from where you left off (I’ll have to buy a TV though-how do you supply DSTV bila a TV?) I have the option of DSTV or wireless internet. I can’t afford both, but right now I’m leaning more towards wireless internet.

But the best part of it is that…THERE ARE NO OTHER KENYANS IN THE WHOLE BUILDING!!! Thank the lord.

Just three more days and I’ll be outta here!

A.O.B

I’m trying to upload a new template onto my blog. So what I did is this. I saved my curremt template just in case, then I went to Edit template and deleted the HTML for the old template and copy pasted the HTML for the new one. But that didn’t work and I got this warning message instead:

“We were unable to preview your template. Please correct the error below, and submit your template again. Your template could not be parsed as it is not well-formed. Please make sure all XML elements are closed properly. XML error message: The content of elements must consist of well-formed character data or markup.”

All this maneno of HTML and XML is not clicking so if anyone knows how I can go about it, please email me on archer.quest@gmail.com and help me out!

Really, we don’t. We are a bunch of lazy ignorant young people. Am I wrong?Most of us read only what we are required to (text books) but how often do we read other books to expand our knowledge? How often do we utilize the resources at our disposal to further our knowledge of what is going on in the world around us? We have libraries with thousands of books. We have the internet where tons of vital information can be found at the click of a button. But how often do we use the internet productively? What are the chances that you’ll find a 21 year old soaking up an intelligent publication on a Saturday afternoon? More often than not, we the young generation would at that time, be in a pub somewhere watching premier league (I know I would!), or simply lazing around doing nothing of significance. And when we do read something, it would most probably be a trashy tabloid, crap magazines like Men’s Health or Cosmopolitan, OPRAH (!!!) or fairytale romance novels. How often do we engage each other in intelligent debate?

We are an IGNORANT generation. We fill our minds with such useless information as which rapper feuded with who (I watched “Beef 3” the other day, ati Nelly & Chingy feuded over who was the originator of the word “Dirrty”! Seriously, what the fuck is this? See why I don’t listen to hip hop?), what brand of ngotha David Beckham wears, and lots of useless celebrity gossip. If someone can tell you, in detail, the history of the East Coast vs West Coast beef in the ‘90s, but doesn’t know that Chad is a country in Africa… All that space could have been used to store more useful information.

You can imagine my embarrassment when a media student asked me to recommend a few good books by acclaimed Kenyan writers. Er….. Name three books by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Ok I knew a few. But that’s when it hit me that I do need to read more. A lot more. A whole library more! It’s embarrassing when guys from other countries know more about Kenyan authors than you do. Coz what’s your excuse? It was more embarrassing when I did a search on the library database and found that they have copies of all of Ngugi’s books. (as well as Moi’s The Making of an African Statesman, which I’m currently reading…you could almost think Uncle Dan is a living saint!) I’ve made it my mission to read them all, as well as other books by top African writers.

So what I want to do right now is this. There are a lot of people out there who’ve read quite a lot. I want you guys to recommend to me books, especially by African writers, and other intelligent publications that I should get my hands on. I feel like I’m wasting away coz I know far much less than I should at my age.

(It would be interesting to know what kind of books the likes of M and Potash dig into in their free time.)

Listening to:

1. Mattafix: Everyone around you
2. Matisyahu: Jerusalem

I read all the hype about Matisyahu on some KBW blogs about 2 months ago, got the bootleg album on my PC and threw in Mattafix as well. Now I can’t stop playing both! Too deadly!

Happy Kenyatta day people! Kesho it’s the full Harambee Stars kit plus kikoi na akala! (for me that is!)

I thought I should be the first to break the news!

Exams are coming up in a few weeks time, and now suddenly everyone’s become focussed with their studies. Unlike earlier in the semester, nowadays the library gets packed throughout the day that it’s almost impossible to find an empty space to study.

I was in the library yesterday afternoon, and they decided to carry out a fire drill to test the preparedness of students in case a fire was to break out. The silence was abruptly interrupted by the ear piercing shrieks of the fire alarm, but what happened after that is what surprised me. While I was hurrying to get my stuff and sprint out of the library, most of the other students just sat there with “WTF?!” expressions on their faces! Someone even yelled “turn that damn thing off! I’ve got a test in two hours!” The fire alarm was on for about ten minutes, but still, very few guys moved from their seats.

Ok this is a library i.e. BOOKS. Fuel! Tonnes of fuel just waiting for a spark to ignite it. I figured that if a fire was to break out in the library, we’d see or smell something burning, right? Only then would we hurry to get out of the building. That’s why no one budged, coz there was no smoke, no fire and no smell of anything burning. But this is a three storey building with only one entrance and exit, and I was on the top floor. What if a fire had broken out in the basement? We would definitely not know about it until it was too late.

Anyway, sometimes it’s best not to apply too much logic to such situations coz you and your logic will burn to death, and then you’ll look very stupid coz there was absolutely no reason for you to still be in a burning building if you heard the fire alarm! Get it?

I got an email from a former high school classmate that I haven’t seen or heard from in ages. We were dorm-mates for four years, but after high school, we lost touch (as everyone else did) but what got me thinking is that we have absolutely nothing to talk about. We never really did connect while in school despite the fact that we were dorm mates and classmates as well. How do you live with someone for four years, share the same bench in the dining hall, stand in the same queue during morning parade, share the same bench in the chapel, and not know who they really are? How is this possible? If we were to meet a few years later, where would the conversation start from?

However, there are a few funny incidents that I remember about this fellow. Cheruiyot is from the heart of Keiyo and has the perfect Kale accent to match. During the very first weekend in form one, when we were still a bunch of confused rabbles, Cheruiyot had dressed up in his best attire and the rest of us were curious as to where he was going. Did he have a date with a girl from the neighbouring girls’ school so soon? So we asked him, and the conversation went a little like this:

Us: Kwani unaenda wapi?
Cheruiyot: I’m going to the town.
Us: Do you even know where it is? We’ve only been here for a week.
Cheruiyot: Don’t worry, I cannot get lost.
Us: What are you going to do in town?
Cheruiyot: I’m going to buy a paget for my sister.
Us: A what?
Cheruiyot: A paget.
Us: Oh…ok. A packet of what?
Cheruiyot: Not a paget, A paget!
Us: Yes, we know, but you’re going to buy a packet of what?
Cheruiyot: Not a paget! A PAGET! Yaani ndoo!
Us: Oh…a bucket! *hysterical laughter* Yaani you’ve come all the way from Keiyo and the first thing you can think about buying for your sister is a bucket? Kwani there are no buckets in Keiyo? Kuwa serious!

Yes we were form ones, we were allowed to make fun at such silly stuff.

Ok back to the topic. Is it possible to know someone but not really know them? What does that say about you as a person?

I live in a mid sized city where there are not many part-time job opportunities available for students. The only jobs that pay well are waiters’ jobs at restaurants. Getting one isn’t easy especially if you have no previous work experience. So when I was lucky to land myself a job at a classy restaurant (the type where the average meal costs somewhere close to my monthly groceries budget) I took it! I didn’t really need the job, but such opportunities don’t come around very often.

Even before I started working at the joint, I’d heard quite a few negative stories from students who used to work there but quit. “The manager’s an arrogant asshole with PMS 24/7, he doesn’t protect employees from rude/abusive customers, and the place is just too strict.” I ignored these stories coz I was driven by greed to apply for a job there. Seriously, the ad said between R300-R500 a night (roughly Ksh 3000-Ksh 5000) tell me, who would say no to that? That is a lot of money to a student! In my head I’d already seen how I’m going to pay off my substantial gym debt in one week (I haven’t been there in almost a year [to flex what? These ribs?] but I’m tied down by a contract. Yes I know I’m stupid, no need to remind me!) upgrade my wardrobe the next week, buy an iPod the next, then save up for a holiday in Cape Town and a PlayStation 3 after that.

During the summer holiday (November to February) lots of tourists flock into the city and everyone knows that they SPEND a lot of money, so waiters can make up to R800 a night! I even decided to stay here instead of going home to bum all week at jobless corner waiting for the weekend to hustle the folks for cash to hanye.

The one week of training isn’t easy. Basically a trainee starts off in the kitchen where you’re at the disposal of the head cook. If she decides that utasugua vyombo, peel potatoes, sweep and mop the floor, make salads and garnishes, you’ll do just that. And I did! Then you proceed to the grill section where you peel more potatoes, learn about all the steaks and how they’re prepared, what they’re served with etc. After that you’re assigned to shadow the waiters, serving customers, lighting candles, emptying ashtrays, setting up tables, carrying away plates after the customers are through. Then you proceed to shadow one waiter and learn everything about taking orders, placing orders in the kitchen and the grill section, serving the meals and using the computer to place orders and prepare the bill. After you’re done with all that, you sit a test on everything you’ve learnt during training.

I went through the whole training period wondering when I’d start making money! I only worked for a day coz for the last two and a half weeks all the shifts were full, I didn’t even make the stand-by list.

But there was lots of drama behind the scenes. We had two managers (and, of course, the token black junior manager) Manager A is a straight up category 1 asshole. He never has anything good to say to anyone. Manager B is an easy chap. He’ll crack jokes and have a smoke with you before work and catch a pint at the end of the night. But if a waiter screws up during the night, he’ll throw a bitch-fit, and apologize for it at the end of the night. It’s no secret that Manager A and B don’t get along, mainly coz Manager A has some connection with the owners of the restaurant so he feels that there’s nothing that anyone can do to him. That’s why he treats everyone like shit.

Eventually, Manager B quit and left for Cape Town, and then we were stuck with the asshole. Most of the waiters said there’s no way they’d work for him so they quit and applied for jobs elsewhere.

A classmate of mine who also works at the restaurant told me on Friday that there was a severe shortage of waiters at the restaurant and that I should go over and put my name down for as many shifts as I can. Huku my mind is thinking Ka-ching!! Jackpot! $$$$$$$! So I did just that.

When I got there, there were only four or so waiters for 40+ tables and guys really looked like they could do with some help. I asked the head waiter if he could put my name down for the evening shift and for more shifts through the weekend as well, but he said that I had to speak to the manager. I asked where he was and he told me that he was in the kitchen. But I was in casual wear and I asked if it was ok for me to go into the kitchen dressed like that and he was like “yeah bru, it’s cool. Just go in and speak to him.”

At the kitchen the head cook greeted me and asked me to wait for a sec while she calls the manager. I asked her if I should wait outside coz I was in casual wear but her reply was “oh don’t be silly, Archer. Wait right there and I’ll call him for you.”

A few minutes later the manager came out and the expression on his face indicated that things were not going to be good. “What the f*** are you doing in my kitchen? Get the f*** out!” I tried to speak to him but he ordered me out, so I decided to wait for him by the front desk. I thought he was being his “normal” shit-faced self so I didn’t take his language too seriously.

He showed up almost half an hour later, clearly disgusted at my presence. “You’re still here? What the f*** do you want?” Before I could speak he blasted me for being rude and disrespectful by walking into his kitchen as if it was my own, and for talking back to him.

“You think that you can just walk into my kitchen to ask for a job? Who do you think you are?” I tried to explain to him that I DID work there but he shut me up with “that’s the problem with you foolish Zimbabweans and your lousy manners. Your sub-standard education clearly doesn’t equip you with common sense and courtesy.”

I didn’t bother t tell him that I’m a Kenyan and not a Zimbabwean, coz it wouldn’t have made a difference to him. We’re all silly half educated immigrants anyway, right?

I apologized if my actions came out as being disrespectful to him as that was not my intention. I would not have gone into the kitchen in casual wear if I hadn’t been given the green light by the head waiter and the head cook, coz it’s rather obvious that that’s a no no. But he wouldn’t listen.

“Get the hell out of my restaurant and only come back after you’ve learnt some manners. Get out!” Huku he’s pointing to the wide open door.

I stood there and gave him a couple of minutes to calm down before attempting to speak to him again. Actually I was like “breathe in, breathe out. Wuuuusaaaa. Tulia daddy.”

“Didn’t you hear what I said? GET the f*** out of my restaurant! Get out! I have no business to discuss with idiots like you!”

Haiiiiya, he’s serious? Kwani who the hell does this mbuzi think he’s talking to?

“Actually, you know what, you arrogant bastard? Go fuck yourself! I quit!” and I walked out.

Seriously, what the hell was that about? Yes I know it was wrong for me to enter the kitchen in casual wear, but it’s not as if I sauntered in to have a chat with the coffee girl. (well, she’s pretty, she’s got one hell of a diab and she’s quite flirtatious…!) It’s amazing how petty some people can be! So you can imagine what kind of bitch-fit he’d throw if a waiter accidentally messed up an order or forgot to change an ashtray by the third cigarette butt. He’d give you a thorough dressing down right in front of your colleagues. It’s not hard to see why more than three quarters of my colleagues decided to quit once Manager B left. Even for that kind of money, no one should take this kind of bullshit from anyone coz you’re still selling yourself cheap! What differenciates you from a prostitute?

If you’re running a restaurant with over 40 tables with only four or five waiters since all the rest have quit, then you should realize that something is wrong. Hiring new guys isn’t a solution coz they’ll have to train first which takes time, and the place already has a nasty reputation among students, so no-one is willing to apply for a job there for whatever amount of money. If the kitchen staff are so demoralized but only continue to work for you coz they really need the peanuts that you pay them, then you should realize that something is wrong. (you should see how they prepare customers’ food. It’s shocking! I’ve seen tomato slices fall to the floor and somehow find themselves back onto the plate!!) If another manager quits coz of your arrogance, surely, can’t you see that there’s something terribly wrong?

Someone ought to put this guy in his place. Beat his ass up a bit. (comrade Bomseh si you make a plan?) But why should I care? It’s not my restaurant.

As for me, a friend of mine is hooking me up with another job at a restaurant that’s equally as popular among tourists, and if I get it, then I might decide to stay here and work during the holidays instead of going to Nairobi.

But tolerating these Afrikaners isn’t going to be easy.

I've just quit my job of three weeks. No amount of money on earth can
justify the amount of bullshit and disrespect that one gets from a
bunch of stupid racist Afrikaners. They can all fucking go to hell.

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