waruguru wa kiai

Because my mother is just the one!

Swag does not belong to my mother!

In her house, she has hanged on the wall, her children’s graduation day pictures. These pictures are her source of joy. As a guest in her house,the first stop will be the pictures on the wall. I once attempted to re-decorate the house,pulling down some of the pictures in the process,It was a bad decision.

Anyway back to why swag ‘sio ya mama yangu’ If ever you visit mama’s house, be prepared for the following conversation,


She will welcome you(her guest) proceeds to sit down with you, then she starts

“waruguru wapi chai ya mgeni”

“Joy anua nguo”

“waruguru naskia harufu ya kitunguu”

“Joy kunanyesha”

“carol maziwa inamwagika”

“gas inaisha”

“ruguru,njoo njoo ( I go,she points at the curtain resting on her shoulder and says)

“tengeneza curtains”

“weka TV citizen”

“toa citizen,hizo nguo zao ni tight sana”

“salimia mgeni” I say hi,then she starts

“this is my second born,the one on that picture(smiles proudly)”

“as you can see she was very skinny back then lakini sasa amekula chakula yangu yote”

from nowhere she remembers

“akiwa mtoto alikua anakojoa kwa piggy bank yake alafu anasema ni piggy bank imesusu”

“ata kuna siku alichapwa na ngombe”

“akiwa nursery alikua anaweka pantie kwa bag”

“as you can see from the small picture attached she had a very big forehead since childhood,even now ako nayo tu”

while I am still standing there, trying to save face she deviates

“Joy, ulianua nguo”

“ulienda soko”

“ulisema hostel ni how much”

“that skin is very dull”

note, Joy is not in the room. Back to the visitor,

“Joy is my last born”

“ni mweupe sana na hapendi chakula”

“lakini anapenda githeri na avocado,she can do two plates”

I laugh on the inside. yes,I am still standing there,

“Joy ni lazima akunywe scotts emulsion”

“na anapenda kuamka saa sita,imagine”

“alafu unajua she still fits into clothes she used to wear while in lower primary”

“ata sijui alitoboa maskio lini niliona akiwa na red ears tu”

“when she was in class five there was a waria who wanted to marry her”

suddenly a ‪#‎nduthi‬ passes on the road,

“Jesus, did I pay my bills”

“when is today”

“when will uhuru bring free electricity”

“did I pay”

kabla ajibu,a light craft fly’s above her roof,she turns to the visitor,

“ni saa ngapi”

“ni saa nane”

oh okay that is Kibaki going to Nyaribo airstrip”

I am still standing there, manners dictate that I have to stay put until I am officially dismissed,

“you see how she is black,when she was a child she would scrub her face with stones so that she could turn white”

“she was so foolish”

“otherwise I love her very much”

“she loves staying in the house”

“infact you are lucky you have found her when she has showered,she loves staying in the house with uncombed hair and some baggy faded pants,I hate those pants,I am planning on burning them”

Joy laughs out loud from the kitchen

“Joy,is the food ready”

” kunanyesha?”

back to the visitor

“you know when joy was a baby she crawled on reverse, she loved eating raw ugali, and she had a boyfriend at the age of four”

back to me,

“this one used to suckle cows in the village when they were grazing alikua na minyoo yingi sana”

“yes,karibu sana”

otherwise God is good.


It does not end there, my mother will remember something in the middle of the night and proceed to riot as such,

“Joy, Joy, Joy” baby sister pretends to be dead asleep

“Waruguru, Waruguru, Waruguru” yours truly stirs

“Carol, Carol, Carol” First born child remains mum like a boss

Her calls invite all sort of thoughts to run through our mind, are we under attack? is mama not well? is she dreaming?

For about two minutes – at one in the night – she stops calling us, ehe! have I mentioned that she is calling us from the comfort of her bed, tucked in nicely like a toddler,

we fall asleep, suddenly

“Waruguru, Joy, Carol, ni kuigua mutaraigua” (Do you not hear me calling for you)

I rise and rush to her side half awake, then my loving mother whispers

“Nimuhigire murango” (did you close the door)

I roll my eyes and think ‘kimoyomoyo’ WOMAN!

grudgingly I respond ” yes mama the door is closed”

I go back to bed and curl to invite sleep, thirty minutes later, still tucked in bed she says

“so if the door is closed, who closed it”


Her children lie in bed like predators, nobody wants to wake up

” Joy, who closed the door”

Joy plays dead

“Joy stop pretending that you are asleep”

Dear mum, I do not think that being asleep in the middle of the night can be termed as pretending…

“after several minutes of issuing threats, Joy wakes up to check the door and just as we suspected THE DOOR IS CLOSED, PADLOCKS, CHAINS AND ALL.

We go back to sleep. Twenty minutes past two in the night

Mrs Kiai starts from her room

“Carol did you check the windows”

“Waruguru did you leave any sharp objects outside”

“Joy, wake up and open the kitchen window so that (our promiscuous) cat can jump in

“Waruguru, boil the milk”

“Joy, check whether the fridge guard is working”

“Carol,pack the githeri and store it in the fridge”

“let me hope that there is no phone charging at this hour”

“and please remember to pray, don’t just fall in your beds like banana stalks”

There are sentences that do not register in her mind quite well, sentences like

‘I will go it tomorrow’

‘I am tired’

‘do I have to do it now…’

and so we wake up, to verify her checklist

Meanwhile she falls asleep, but not before warning us

“Let me hope the television is not on”




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