“Hapa panitwa Maweni bro”

The only means of transport available is a TukTuk. Mombasa town by extension is swallowed up with their buzzing noise. His coastal accent made everything seem like Sunday morning. He finished all his sentences with the ‘bro’.

He had a bright white t-shirt inscribed ‘Moscow where all dreams die’. It was a macabre imprint given that we were in Mombasa raha. I wondered if he was gifted by a foreigner or bought it from the market.

He paired his T-shirt with a pair of denim shorts- a small part of his dried crack hang out of them whenever he stood up or sat down. I looked away whenever he got ready to shift. His oval like face would make you tell him your Mpesa pin- he was like a coastal Obama.

His hairline had fallen all the way back, probably had people in Asia. His polite eyes would steal a glimpse whenever my mother walked ahead. Something was burning in him; he rubbed his chin every other time.

Maweni is an atlantis exposed. It’s situated next to the main road filled with people doing different things. One woman has wrapped herself with a leso written ‘walioenda waende’.

She towered another woman who had sat provocatively with her leg on a raised bench. They looked at us with a grin. Nairobians are an easy lot to point out. We took pictures, made noise and greeted in a feigned Kiswahili accent.

It was one of those places where you will find a mama pima, a peddler of all sorts, a fugitive and a mganga. You need it, they got it. No need to go to a supermarket, all you need is 100 shillings and you will get free consultation with a witchdoctor (the ones advertised on trees), a cup of muratina and a blunt or two. The affordable prices of illicit have made Maweni famous.

“Nyasooooreeee” my brother in law echoed the driver’s response.

I laughed meekly pretending not to know what he meant. The houses were in a cluster and one could easily step into their neighbor’s house by mistake. The outside definitely didn’t reflect the inside; it was well furnished and cemented.

The walls were decorated with nets over their walls like dwellers from Eastern. The owners were friendly and often spoke in longevity about their life and their troubles. We were not white enough to believe all of them.

We saw brewed liquor and rolled cannabis, I would have taken one if in a different company. As a test product for the Nairobi market, times are about to change. We wandered deep into the homesteads with Suleiman (driver) narrating to us how Maweni got to be. He mentioned that in every town there is a Maweni and people must not ignore the importance. We all laughed excluding my mother.

Usicheke bana nakuambia ni muhimu watu wakijivinjari na amani, maeneo kama hii ni bugdha kwa polisi lakini hata hivyo hakuna kibaya kinaweza kutendekea’

I didn’t understand what prompted his serious tone but I didn’t dwell on it. A woman came and handed me a leso, I was at first surprised and then reluctant because I had plenty at home and it looked pretty new.

The guilt that I would carry back home would never leave. My mother also thought that maybe it had passed through the wrong hands. It carried spells that would bind me for life. I shrugged the fear and thanked the woman. (I keep checking if it has changed into an animal at night).

The mangoes are to die for at Maweni but the brew, that, you die from…… I wonder if Maimuna passed these streets

Merry Christmas dear ones



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