Regina Gichunge

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Tom Mboya Street.

A fortnight ago I had a meet up planned with a friend, thanks to the amazing ability of our roads to expand or contract depending on the cloud cover above, they were running late.  I thus had to keep busy. Having outgrown window shopping and  running up and down the supermarket aisles, I took

to the average city dwellers preferred past time activity. I hang out with Tom Mboya, the statue. This probably the most trodden part of the city for here thousands upon thousands hurry by daily to their respective duties. I introduced my behind to the cold pavement as I began to absorb the surrounding.

Sir Mboya is cast in a poker face,one hand raised up and the other folded along the waist, like a man of the cloth on a pulpit.  On his head rests a taqiyah, his body draped in a robe beneath which is a neat pair of slacks. Must have been a fashion icon of his days I conclude.  This statue almost exemplifies what the Preacher calls the vanity of life, that in his hey days Sir Mboya lived a life envied by many, kept the company of the high and mighty, did the noble air- lift, and many such great deeds. Still in the present all we have in place of all he was is a stone carving that is supposed to tell his great story to posterity. Really “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

As I sat on the side walk I couldn’t help but wonder what Sir Mboya’s reaction would be if he were to stir from his frozen state;  to the masses who daily trod past him without much of a hello, and the fellows who made a living by taking photos and overpricing them for those that desired to capture the memory of the visit. Or to the ongoing condom campaign a few steps from where he stands. This am sure would have him cringe at the thought that we have moved the sex discussions from its designated area i.e.. homes/houses to the streets to which some enthusiastic crusader would marvel at and probably reply ‘tumetoka analogue tumeenda digital mzae’. I wonder what his reaction would be for Gor football fanatics who go over to his statue to pledge their allegiance after thrashing their opponents. Probably he would ask that they convert their energies to nation building, no? It’s just a thought.

On my right sat a soon to be couple, judging by the giggles by the lady and the relentless effort to impress via the word of mouth by the Romeo wannabe. For walls do have ears I managed to pick the gentleman’s salary growth curve, the things people do to impress! Something/someone  let him believe that this was the key that would unlock the gateway to a world of endless fantasies, his teacher must have been correct for the damsel was giggling her way to where he wanted her, his heart.

Among the passers-by were some little girls aged between six and twelve, by casual observation one would think that they are with their parents only lagging behind. On closer observation i notice they are begging for handouts. The kids were cleaned up nice and i wondered what on earth they are doing on the street, but around the corner lay the answer. There was a group of women watching them like hawks, when the kids have made a collection they would rush and hand the money to the mothers. The mother to the most industrious kid  quickly became the envy of the bunch. Every time the kid made a kill the women burst into a boisterous laughter as I recoiled thinking they should  know better. A thing I noted is that the kids do not ask for handouts from ladies they only stuck to men, interesting I thought. Some gave the handouts others brushed the kids aside, when the kids showed signs of slowing down or were momentarily distracted the mothers would call out their names and scold them, how cruel! The ladies in their brilliance thought they somehow were teaching their kids to survive in the harsh economic times, but they really were doing it wrong. For the kids shall grow up knowing that they can rely on handouts and thus there is no need for any effort, even when in school when the going gets rough they will pick the easy way out which is begging. By asking the kids to beg they were also exposing them to untold dangers and still were tickled as they saw their kids slowly evolve into street urchins. Sir Mboya probably looks at the kids and their mothers feels the urge to uplift these mothers to a maximum prison for punishment for the atrocities against their kids and the kids to a better place where they would be looked after well and most importantly taught better.

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