Boniface Mwangi Unbounded and Other Short Stories

By Eric

If you haven’t watched that video of Boniface Mwangi forcing an MPig who was driving on the wrong side of the road to reverse, then you are doing internet the wrong way. Something is wrong with you.

We, as a country, are going through hard times that we have almost lost hope. Corruption have become a part of us that we even advertise corruption cartels on national newspapers. Hapo ndio ushenzi imetufikisha. So it wasn’t surprising when the MPig thought that he was untouchable and chose to drive on the wrong side of the road. Going by the distance he had covered, other road users looked to have accepted the notion that the driver was above the law and moved on. It was beautiful seeing someone stand up to him and refuse to be shaken by the big-fish mentality.
If the driver had been a common mwananchi, he wouldn’t have even needed Boniface to force him to reverse. Traffic cops would have been all over him in no time, with the media in tow (depending on how hungry the cops would have been for attention). We are comfortable with our members of parliament, majority having not introduced a single bill or even contributed to debates, earning almost a million but are up in arms when doctors demand a pay rise. What’s wrong with us? So we still have a long way to go, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And guys like Boniface Mwangi are our first step. Tumenyanyaswo siku mingi, and it is time to put a stop to that.
***
Speaking on kunyanyaswo, I am a victim of historical injustices and I think I deserve compensation from Kenya Association of Househelps (I hope it exists, we have an association for everything including night running). You see, as a kid, I was bullied and harassed by househelps who were supposed to be looking after me. No, bullied and harassed are an understatement. I suffered crimes against humanity in the hands of our househelps.
I never cried as a kid. Not because I manned up early in life. I never cried because the househelp would stuff sand and chicken shit into my mouth when she suspected that I was about to cry. On the few days that I felt that I had to let it out, I would either hide off in the school playground (we lived in a school compound then) and let it all out or wait till mum came home from work in the evening. Crying in the playground always had me looking like a hungry homeless kid while waiting till evening was such a daunting task. I was left with little choice except not to cry. On the positive side though, being fed chicken shit helped me not become choosy when it comes to food. Up to now, I haven’t found any food that I am allergic to. My brother doesn’t eat matumbo, my mum is allergic to mutton, and my elder sister doesn’t eat pork. I eat them all.
Before her, I had another one who felt that a baby having a different diet from other family members amounted to marginalization of the others. If the family had taken black tea and she was sent for milk for the baby (me), she would hide behind a mango tree next to our house and come back after a while that there was no milk in the shops. Anything that she would be sent for the baby would go missing on the shelves but magically reappear if someone else was sent.
But I survived them all, and I grew up into a fine (debatable) young man. We moved to a new residence when dad got a transfer. Some small compound with five houses minus the landlady’s. We made a small happy ‘homestead’, we never had those vituko za plot ten. That is until one day a neighbor lost some money which he had left in some shorts’ pockets on his bed, and he had padlocked his bedroom and left with the key. He came back to find both the shorts and his money missing, but the padlock on his bedroom still intact. That ruled out his househelp as the suspect. Instead, we the kids who had been playing on his verandah were rounded up into a police vehicle where they spent about an hour giving us very serious threats if we did not produce the money. When the shorts were found dumped in an almost full toilet, the threats intensified. A nyaunyo was found and we were made to lie on the floor of the police vehicle. We were never whipped, because the maid owned up and confessed that she had used a wire to pick the padlock, but the experience can be emotionally shattering for any Class Two kid.
If those three incidences don’t warrant a compensation, then the level of injustice in this country is unrivalled.
***
I know the society has expectations of me. The society expects me to behave in a certain way, be a certain type of person, and do and not do certain things. It is called Social Contract Theory. That’s why I am not a social media bimbo. That’s why I don’t upload pictures on social media and hashtag them #BlindToHaters or #IfMyShineIsTooBrightForYouThenMoveAway. Am not saying that you should bow to societal pressure and limit your potential. I am saying that you should expect criticism of your actions and not dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as a hater or a jealous loser. Accept criticism, use it to grow.
I have already told you I know the society has expectations of me. I am expected to marry and have kids (laughable), to not be a nuisance to the society (I’ll try), and many others. The level of expectation varies depending on which social class the society has placed you. I have a friend who could walk around stark naked and no one would bother with him. If I did the same, I would be the talk of town for ten years. However, today, I learned of a new expectation of me.
I received a call. On answering it, the first thing she said was “We hujawai enda matanga yoyote. Kwani ni wewe huua hawa watu?” There are about four funerals in our area, and according to an anonymous record keeper of the register of people who attend funerals, I have not been seen in any of them (despite that I spent the evening with a friend who lost her grandma, also from the same locality). The records also show that I never attended previous funerals too. Apart from an aunt, a grandmother and a former classmate who have all passed away, God has granted the people close to me good health and I have never lost anyone who is dear to me. Funerals are solemn ceremonies that require no invitations.
***
Finally, we all had childhood fantasies. Any normal kid had those ‘when I grow up’ moments. Some grew up to live their fantasies, others went different paths. Growing up, I always wanted to be Undertaker and walk around in a vest and an overcoat and make everyone gasp with just a stare; but life decided to give me puppy eyes (there are only two people in this world who can openly say I have puppy eyes, be warned) that draw more sympathy than fear out of people.
Since the society expects me to give back to it and I am expected to live up to that expectation, I went out of my way to help out those who could not live up their fantasies. If you always wanted to be a nurse, but could not pursue that career because you got discouraged by bad science grades, or sadist relatives, or anything else for that matter, you could still get to experience what nursing is all about. You can do that by checking out http://www.jackysodyssey.com/. It has all things nursing related, written in layman’s language for everyone to understand. If it were a guide book, it would have ‘for dummies’ added to the title.

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