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Pain And Sweat

Have you ever found yourself at a road junction, sitting in traffic that isn’t moving, and there is a car on your left that wants to come onto the road and you have an opportunity to let them in because it’s not like you are in a mighty hurry? It’s not like you are rushing to KNH to donate a kidney to a child having his last gasp. You are not in a hurry. You are just going to the office to reply to another dull email that you won’t even dare use a smiley in. Another lackluster email that ends with ‘Kind Regards’.

Yet you refuse to let the car to your left join your lane. You inch forward and block them, then the traffic refuses to move. So you sit there, in your car – which, by the way, doesn’t have tint – stewing in your selfishness and you can feel them stare at you. Of course you refuse to turn and look at your nemesis – obstinately, you stare ahead. But the same way serial killers always go back to the scene of their crime in Crime and Investigation, you soon succumb to your ill manners and turn to look at your handiwork.

The motorist turns out to be this ageing woman in thick spectacles driving some sad, old Datsun. I mean, who even drives a Datsun anymore? Datsuns are like the polio of cars. Yet you blocked her. Maybe she works at a mission in Kijabe running an orphanage and she came to the city to beg for funds to build a new kitchen. Funds she didn’t even get. So on top of not getting funds she doesn’t get to join the road because you with your perm hair refused to allow a poor old woman with no kitchen to join a road.

This is not even how you were raised by your mother. You were raised to do better, to say please and thank you, to clear the table after meals and to stand up and let older people sit in matatus. Today you failed your mother and you failed the children of Kijabe. It’s a sad day.

Has that ever happened to you, though? When you do something you absolutely didn’t have to do?

Now that is the exact feeling I got on Saturday, 8kms into the Ndakaini Marathon. I thought to myself; I didn’t have to sign up for the 21kms marathon. I could easily have signed up for the 10kms like most people who go down with their selfie sticks, but my ambition got the better of me and now I was there on this wretched hill, feeling like my hips were about to separate from my body in protest. I felt like those people, normal people, who go to driving school and opt for a category C drivers’ licence to be able to drive lorries and things yet they know they will never have to drive a tractor in their lives.

You probably know this: Ndakaini Half-Marathon is bruising and vindictive. It’s meant to break your soul (and your lower back). It’s the marathon you do before you do the Stanchart marathon. If you are going to be bruised and battered, it is always better to do so in a group. So I went down with a bunch of chaps; Joy – 10kms, Wendy – 21kms, Flora -10kms, Paul – 21kms, (Thanks for lunch in your EABL tent, boss) and Paul’s brother (he got lost, Paul, did you guys find him?).

Right from the start line Paul took off and we never saw him. Paul runs like a ‘racist’. So I found myself with Wendy throughout the run. Wendy is a 6’0’’ former basketball player who played at club level. Seasoned runner too. Fit, yes, but you couldn’t tell from how she breathes while running. She’s one of those people who breathe loudly while running. Like really loudly. This guttural wounded sound that comes from her appendix. I thought she would die. You can’t even think when you run next to her.

The saving grace with Ndakaini Marathon is that it’s makes up for its brutality by being scenically astonishing. It’s green rolling hills constantly rising into the sky and then plunging down into the valleys. It’s the heady smell of freshness in the air. The high, reaching, anorexic eucalyptus trees. The sound of banana leaves flapping in the breeze like elephant ears. It’s the bluest of sky and the clearest of stream water gurgling at the bottom of the hill. It’s the quaint, smoking, stone chimneys in humble homesteads. It’s the colours. My goodness, the green colours of Ndakaini come alive. I think all the shades of green you can ever imagine can be found in Ndakaini. Greens that make you green with envy. It’s the green that remind you of your biology lesson. You remember chlorophyll.

Kikuyu-land is so picturesque it almost shows the unfair hand of God.

“My shags is so ugly compared to this,” Wendy said as we trotted down a weathered road. She’s from a small place called Nyakach in Nyanza. You might not know it: population 375 (24 who are in Nairobi, 5 in Boston) consists of mainly stones. It’s claim to fame? Omieri, the famous python?

At the 10kms mark you are in such pain but thankfully all you have to do is to focus on the beauty around you. And there is lots to see. There will be the boda boda guys trumpeting down the path in their bikes written ‘Sisqo’ but playing Ben Githae’s ‘Maya nimo mabataro makwa’. You will hear someone cutting a tree with a chainsaw. There will be a goat bleating. A tractor trumpeting. You will run past a small cluster of kiosks playing ‘Free Up’ by Busy Signal from a busted stereo. On the top of a hill you will find a group of women standing together carrying kiondos, and as you pass by them you will catch a “….mwana…” and you know they are probably saying, “With that forehead, that boy isn’t from here.” You will run past those unimpressive village dogs – mongrels, to be precise – and you will discover that they all look the same; a mongrel in Kitui is the same as a mongrel in Turkana, same as a mongrel in Kutus.

You will pass a drunk man who raises his thumb up in encouragement and says, “Don’t give up!” (he should give up alcohol though) and when you raise your thumb up he flashes you an almost beatific smile that reveals the only three blackish teeth left in his mouth, teeth that probably won’t see Christmas. People cheer you on. A very old cucu at a watering point hands you a sponge soaked in water and says something in Kikuyu as you run past. You say “Dhankyoo mono!” And giggle like a girl.

You will notice that there are a hell of a lot of men wearing hats in Kikuyu-land. Kuyus should tell us what this fascination with hats is. I think they know something we don’t. You would imagine that people with scathing sun would wear more hats than people from fairly even-weathered areas like Ndakaini. But no. Do Kaos wear lots of hats, say, more than Kikuyus?

You will also notice that most kids in Kikuyu-land – even in the impoverished areas – have shoes. If you wander to the bowels of Nyanza you will notice two things; that, one, kids there are barefoot and, two, their clothes are brown or a variation of brown. I mean it could be a green shirt, but it will look greenish brown because brown is the official colour of poverty.

Then you will see children of Ndakaini in sweaters, handwoven sweaters in all the luminous colours. Children in orange, pink, yellow, green, some with matching wool woven head gear. I’m convinced it’s a Kikuyu thing, this sweater maneno. Tamms and Kim have those kikuyu sweaters woven by Cucu. You can live in the city but you won’t escape the Kikuyu sweater. I think Kuyu mothers look at their kids and just want to dress their children in all the warmest clothes they can lay their hands on. I think Kuyu kids are forced to wear those gaudy sweaters for so long that when they grow up they revolt and wear leather jackets. Yeah, mom, how do you like me in leather now?

I have a theory around those sweaters.

I think they arose as a way of spotting your child, like how in planes they have those luminous inflatable jackets that we  hope to never have to use. If say your child wandered out of the boma and you looked everywhere and couldn’t find them; you went to kina Nduta’s where he usually went to play and he wasn’t there. Kumbe this child wandered into that labyrinth of a tea plantation. What do you do? You stand on top of the opposite hill and look out into the tea plantation, and since he’s wearing a bright sweater that contrasts with the green tea you will spot him immediately and shout, “Maina reke ngwire ngibucia maitho uguo ngukore mucie kana ngutandike uiguwe wega!” That translates to something loose like, “Maina, if I blink and your ratchet ass is not home, I will beat you like a dog.” Haha. OK not exactly, but you get the point.

Back to the marathon. At some point I get so bushed and my thighs are in flames and I realise that I have become extremely bitter about my 21kms decision but then I passed around a hump and heard a small voice say, “Sasaaaa!” and I turned and there were these two adorable kids seated on a hump. A small boy of 5 with his sister of maybe 4, both wearing those sweaters and hats to match. They sat close to each other, with their legs spread before them, a tableau of sibling love. I raised my hand and waved, and they raised and furiously waved these small hands and smiled excitedly. Beautiful honest smiles, their innocence rising above my pain. Those small beautiful moments made the marathon worthwhile. I marveled at the purity of those kids, untouched by politics. If you told them “That guy who passed is a Luo,” they will just give me a blank look. Like, what is a Luo? And you wish they all grow up and stay like that, with that blank innocent stare. But they won’t, a politician or a parent will whisper in their ears and say, “Chege, always remember that you are different from that guy: he doesn’t cut his foreskin, so you can never marry his sister. Now wear your orange sweater and go play.”

Be warned though; Ndakaini has these hills that are not real. Long steep, windy hills that even a mountain goat would struggle with. You happen upon one of those hills, look up and you want to cry. At one of these hills I finally turned to Wendy and asked her, “Wendy, do you normally breathe this hard during migwatos?” I forgot to mention that Wendy is a dyed-in-the-wool feminist. She’s one of those severe women who I suspect finds a lot of pleasure in intimidating men intellectually. (She has three master’s degrees, one of them in Gender Studies.) Plus she’s a head taller than most men. Two heads when she wears high heels. So she turns and gives me this steady but withering look, hoping perhaps that I will balk and whimper. Unlucky for her, I earn a living asking personal questions, so intimidating looks are dead snakes to me. I never blink. I can hold your stare a whole day if it comes down to it.

“Seriously, Biko?” she said eventually, “You want to ask me about my sex life right here, on this hill in Ndakaini?”  I said “Yes.” She laughed and lengad that story.

We passed behind a string of classrooms, student chatter spilling out the window. Two girls who were also doing the 21kms whom we had passed down the road zoomed past us, sitting on a motorbike. “Cheaters!” I shouted after them. Wendy laughed. They waved. Outside a boma we were accosted by the sweet smell of burning wood, that lovely smell of shags. Our shags might be different but they all smell the same. Shags in Elteret (Eldoret) smell like shags in Maua. Actually Wendy noted how our lives are so alike, yet, we go out of our way to find such small useless things that differentiate us.

Light in Ndakaini is soft and pale. It streams through long pine-like trees, coming down already filtered and soft like powder. Wonder light. There is a point where you run alongside Ndakaini dam, picturesque and surreal in its beauty, but at this time you are in such anguish and so resentful at the goddamn dam and all the Nairobians who are back at home getting their hair done in salons, or at garages with WiFi or having inane conversations on Whatsapp while you are here killing yourselves conserving the goddamn dam so that the people in Nairobi can continue having water to wash their bloody cars.

As we walked up a steep hill Wendy told me about the insane loneliness of living in Geneva and London, in blistering winter, pursuing another lofty education (she attended London School of Economics) while feeling the stone hard guilt inside her that she “abandoned” her kids back in Nairobi for another academic feather in her hat. She talked about all these decisions that women juggle with, these tough decisions that men will never have to make as fathers pursuing their career dreams. Successful women, I concluded, truly, have to work thrice as hard as men, especially if they are mothers and wives. And Wendy didn’t have to harass me with bullish feminist behavior for me to see her point.

As we started running down the hill, a bunch of small giggly village girls, Tamm’s age, ran alongside us. I stuck my left hand behind and one of them grabbed it and held it and her hands felt peculiarly boyish and cold, like touching the tail of a Snow Leopard, and I had to turn and confirm if she was indeed a girl. We ran like this, holding hands together, her friends giggling, for a few meters before we let go.

The organisers of Ndakaini marathon should have more watering points. We ran into stops that had those blue sponge thingies that had run out of water. Guys, we are trying to save the Aberdares here, and we can’t save it if we die of dehydration. Work with us.

We turned a corner where a hill full of tea rose to our right. I noticed this boy standing on a slight break in the tea plants, on raised ridge. He must have been 10 years old, rocking this tattered old t-shirt and red trousers tucked into his gumboots and hands thrust in his pockets. I was immediately struck by him, standing there against the backdrop of the green of tea. A sexy boy. I told Wendy, “Look at that boy, that’s a fantastic picture!” She stared up at him and noticed what I had noticed immediately. She said, “That boy has style.” He did.

There was something extremely charismatic about that boy. It’s the way he stood with the ease of someone who had found himself. He had an effortless gait about him, like he already knew who he was. And although he had these dirty clothes on, these unremarkable clothes, you failed to notice them because his personality made them irrelevant. “Style isn’t what you wear, it’s how you wear what you wear.” Wendy said. I nodded like a madman.

I saw a lot of things at Ndakaini. I saw goats and postcard scenery and sparkling natural streams with water that you could bottle and sell at a supermarket without adding a thing to it. I saw people with little to no teeth in their mouths and children with great beautiful souls and mothers who looked like they were born to work hard and I saw such splendid beauty at Ndakaini.

But the only thing that stuck in my mind was that self-assured boy in his tattered clothes. How he stood, one leg on that stump, hands in pockets, chin high. You could wear the best clothes to mask the greatest insecurity but people will always see through you. That boy dressed well from the inside first and so it didn’t matter what he wore on the outside.

As we passed him, him with a proud stare, he looked at us pass down the road, his mouth slightly agape, his hair dirty and matted, and I had half a mind to raise my hand and wave at him, but then I didn’t want him to un-pocket his hand to wave back at me because that would have ruined his beautiful profile. That boy was already a man but he didn’t know it yet.

Stanchart Marathon. You are next – 21kms again. Why? You ask. Because running a marathon must be like giving birth, you always forget how painful it was and so you keep going back.

 

Image Credit: Wikimedia

231 Responses
  • Jeremy
    13.09.2016

    nice read

    • Lucile
      28.07.2017

      Good read indeed

  • Renee
    13.09.2016

    Asking random questions at the randomest of moments and places is my forte as well.. Good read Biko!

  • Mimi
    13.09.2016

    9.47…

  • Simba
    13.09.2016

    A good read as always

  • ben mac
    13.09.2016

    nice

  • Lydia
    13.09.2016

    Saved the image. Beautiful.

  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    13.09.2016

    I wanted to hear how you would brag that you crossed the finishing line. Like did they have to take you to hospital afterwards? You passed out didn’t you? Thats why you haven’t described the finish line manenos! You were all dazed and shaky while the rest did the Kemboi dance. Right Biko? I kinda know that’s true. Bloggers can’t run much. And the way you describe Ndakaini I will have to go for the next marathon. With a canon camera and a nduthi guy to drive behind me just in case I am left behind and I am awfully in need of a glorious finish in order to come up with a story. I will sell the pictures to Matheka Mutua and Safaricom people and then use the money to pay for spa treatment for a whole month. Then write about that too! Good read as usual.

    1
    • Ali
      13.09.2016

      Good plan just hope somebody gets to your Boda guy and pays him double to stand you up. That will make a good story.

      • chebet nelima
        13.09.2016

        oh yes

    • Mrs. Oduor
      13.09.2016

      there should be a like button ……i would have double tapped your comment

    • Mysh
      13.09.2016

      haha…

    • anonymous
      13.09.2016

      Haha wesh, that brilliant mind of yours

    • nyar_boma
      14.09.2016

      Haha… I always look forward to your comments.

    • Jo
      14.09.2016

      Follow him on Instagram. The ending is all there

    • Cecilia
      14.09.2016

      Hahahah! I also find it weird why he didn’t give us the finishing line story. I think he called a nduthi guy.

    • Karwitha
      14.09.2016

      This is almost as good as the article…

    • alekylefty
      07.09.2017

      next marathon coming up in a few weeks time …. see i see you there ??? hopefully not taking selfies

  • Annie
    13.09.2016

    hhahahhahaah niice..this statement though population 375 (24 who are in Nairobi, 5 in Boston) consists of mainly stones. It’s claim to fame? Omieri, the famous python? rib cracking!!!

    1
    • @clif_the_tall
      13.09.2016

      Hehehe… IKR? he needs to apologize to people from Nyakach lol…

  • Phanis Obwaya
    13.09.2016

    Beautiful read,don’t you think next time you should run with a camera?

  • Denniece Black
    13.09.2016

    Incredible writ Biko. I am enthused by complexity of your mind’s attention to detail and clarity of description. Keep writing Chocolate Man.

    • james
      13.09.2016

      its very interesting how he is able to capture the tiny details that some of us will never get to see.

  • Ginger
    13.09.2016

    Anyone know where I can buy “Questions for Ada” by Ijeoma Umebinyuo?

    • Renee
      14.09.2016

      check out The Magunga bookstore online..

      • Ginger
        16.09.2016

        Thank you. I’m on it. Cheers

  • Merci
    13.09.2016

    Well, from your words I have been to Ndakaini and that boy, yes got style.

    • Wangari
      14.09.2016

      Now I seriously want to visit Ndakaini. “The boy dressed well from the inside …” I loved that line.

  • ann
    13.09.2016

    Only biko has touched the tail of a snow leopard

  • Kimutai
    13.09.2016

    Well done on the 21K!

  • its jcee
    13.09.2016

    Biko i always go to ndakaini for the crowds and the scenery! i have never actualy ran…hahaha….every year i promise my self i will walk for the 5km or 10km…..next year i will definitely look for you!!

  • GG
    13.09.2016

    Nice job capturing the feeling around that marathon. Few disappointments such as very far off parking spaces. had to walk 5km before starting 21kms, no mileage markers (how did you know you are at 10km), few water points and no medals.That terrain needs a champion. Tukutane next year.
    Stanchart here we come.

  • @clif_the_tall
    13.09.2016

    “Chege, always remember that you are different from that guy: he doesn’t cut his foreskin, so you can never marry his sister. Now wear your orange sweater and go play.” Hahahahaha. Mimi Kwisha. This is soooo funny. *FAINTS WITH LAUGHTER*
    This piece is spot on. The humor is on another level all together. Too lit. I hope to participate in one of these marathons soon.

  • Lumbzy
    13.09.2016

    Got my dose of Biko, Tuesday morning made.

  • CK
    13.09.2016

    Enjoyed reading this. I could actually picture those hills, and the panting…keep it up

  • Mwangi
    13.09.2016

    Beautiful piece Biko,We grew up with those sweaters(How comes you didnt notice children with a woven kofia we used to call munyeni),
    Maybe its because of the cold that is characteristic of the highlands…and Yes,i have a leather jacket..
    Hilarious piece.

    • Kada Nene
      13.09.2016

      it was mbocori

      • Carol
        14.09.2016

        Yes! @ Kada Nene mbocoris are a must for every Kuyo child my one year old son included.

  • Terry
    13.09.2016

    When I go up, I’ll tell my children to be ‘racists’ meanwhile I’ll watch you guys on telly! HTP (horr ye pest…luhya for all the best)

  • carolyn
    13.09.2016

    Nice read always

  • Ken
    13.09.2016

    This got me cracking up in a queue somewhere and everyone looked at me as if I had gone mad

  • ojijo
    13.09.2016

    hahahaha…..tho Omera…you nodded like a madman…ayaye!!!

  • Mercy
    13.09.2016

    Nice read

  • Dan
    13.09.2016

    Nice read biko….how I wish I would meet Wendy, London School of Economics is a dream school for me…

  • tweety
    13.09.2016

    jambo people, @ Biko good read as always.

  • Paul
    13.09.2016

    Hehehehe…eti racist… That was a very tough run though. I found my bro. Thanks.

  • Ndutar
    13.09.2016

    Those knitted sweaters though, especially the ones with mushainos (glittering thread). Major nostalgia!

    • Liz
      24.10.2016

      I still remember mine ilikuwa ya kinyau red in color…. .☺☺☺☺

  • Karemahiti
    13.09.2016

    “Maina reke ngwire ngibucia maitho uguo ngukore mucie kana ngutandike uiguwe wega !” That translates to something loose like, “Maina, if I blink and your ratchet ass is not home, I will beat you like a dog.” lmaoestestestest!!!

    • Wambui
      13.09.2016

      That cracked me up too 😀

      • Karemahiti
        13.09.2016

        Kwanza io bit ya ‘ratchet ass’ …am still laughing when I remember it!!!

    • Kada Nene
      13.09.2016

      reminds me of the days when crying was a sin….. even after receiving a proper beating.
      crying after a beating was bad, not crying was equally bad ahhhh Good times

  • Pauline
    13.09.2016

    That translates to something loose like, “Maina, if I blink and your ratchet ass is not home, I will beat you like a dog.”

  • Abdullah omar
    13.09.2016

    Brown the color of poverty

  • Eugene
    13.09.2016

    Kuyu lands are beautiful, you walk through them, you run through them, you fly above them and that is when you realize that even God is unfair. How He put too much artistic work to bring out splendor in some areas while places like Pap_Onditi He never took His time, He just threw stones at the place.
    We should all run marathons, it changes your life and it changes other people’s lives.

    1
  • Sylvia
    13.09.2016

    Nice piece of work

  • Ngatia
    13.09.2016

    Boy, what a write up! Like that boy with one foot on a stump, you’re confident in what you write. Bravo!

  • gathoni
    13.09.2016

    you are very observant and your description now makes me want to go to Ndakaini especially to see all shades of green.
    Nice read.

  • Sophia
    13.09.2016

    Challenged me to do a marathon!

  • Rael
    13.09.2016

    Congratulations chocolate man .

  • karurumwamwa
    13.09.2016

    The very old cucu offering the sponge soaked in water was telling runners or rather she told me,
    “ndamurathima murikie wega” – “I bless you to complete the race well”.
    And her sponge worked wonders.
    A funny guy sped past everyone encouraging them that there was a beer point ahead so we should rush before it was closed for the day.

    • Kigaligal
      13.09.2016

      Hehehe…this sounds like a rumor a hasher would spread.

      • Cathy
        15.09.2016

        That’s a badger, you got that right

        • Cathy
          16.09.2016

          Sorry a hasher

  • Sophia
    13.09.2016

    And who is your Kikuyu Coach? Good one by the way.. Ngiminjia na ngiminjukia… Moms always used hat on us.

    • jill
      13.09.2016

      He’s married to a kuyu

  • DM
    13.09.2016

    Nice read..The sweater part is sooo true.I have many, hand woven!

  • Evans ogeto
    13.09.2016

    You guys had fun. Looking forward to the next one.
    On the car manenos, the only people I don’t feel good allowing in are matatu. Those guys have attitude that they have actually repricated on those Mats. You actually see a Mat and you see a kichwa ngumu guy.
    http://www.ogetoevans.com

  • Dan
    13.09.2016

    Nice one biko, i would love to meet Wendy because she’s an LSE alumni, if you are in a position to make it happen i would be very grateful

  • kamau kiboro
    13.09.2016

    Awesome read, very catchy as always, thanks Biko

  • Purity
    13.09.2016

    I love your sense of humor. I wonder if I went to the marathon I’d notice all those things that you describe ama it’s the imagination that counts. Maybe I’ll find out when /if I enlist for the next marathon. Is it true that nyakach has a population of 375 people?

    • Ireneann
      14.09.2016

      Believe me, Ndakaini is beautiful…you should go next year

  • Alphee
    13.09.2016

    You’re kinda hit Luos and their pride.

  • Daisy Dyshaun
    13.09.2016

    Good caption of event, Good read…. Stan-chart we forget the pain and go unto it until we become the racist from Eltret.

  • Julius
    13.09.2016

    Your mind must be a flurry of giggles, strange thoughts and smiles with every encounter… I should bug it and take a listen… It must be the most interesting channel…

  • Jules
    13.09.2016

    Kazi mzuri hurudisha mteja and that’s why i check this blog every Tuesday.
    Always a good read

  • Karimi
    13.09.2016

    Always awestuck by the beauty of central Kenya. I totally feel you Biko, especially as i come from Isiolo, a land of no rivers or swamps and dams! Great description.

  • Njambi
    13.09.2016

    Migwato’s. Il never be able to read this word once-and i always read it aloud.

  • RW
    13.09.2016

    Funny

  • The goose
    13.09.2016

    I don’t mind liars and pretentious individuals as long there are interesting and funny lakini huyu Biko is real and observant vinoma. Big up boss.

  • Marie Becca
    13.09.2016

    That’s it after a whole weekend of cord and jubilee campaigns am convinced. My vote goes to chocolate man. Biko for president.
    But seriously, how do you ask about someone’s sex life just like that in the middle of a marathon hahaha

  • Simuliki
    13.09.2016

    I like the narration! It is so real and of course the finish line . I am going for the Stanchart Marathon too!

  • regina mwengi
    13.09.2016

    Nice read, well aren’t all your write ups.. I need to find a new statement to appreciate
    your writing. ‘Nice read’, doesn’t cut it. Reading this story almost felt like
    I ran the Marathon and could nearly smell the fresh air as you described it.
    My soul has ran many marathons.. I will put this in my bucket list to physically run one, when my l
    legs can still stand it.
    Well done Biko, I can rightfully take my car for washing knowing you saved water for it.

  • jane
    13.09.2016

    WOW

  • Mushie
    13.09.2016

    That Nyakach population,375 (24 who are in Nairobi, 5 in Boston)Hahaha…
    Your detailed observation is on point..nice read

  • Lynn
    13.09.2016

    Lovely piece, hilarious as well!

  • ray
    13.09.2016

    CHIEF I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THIS-She’s from a small place called Nyakach in Nyanza.
    You might not know it: population 375 (24 who are in Nairobi, 5 in Boston) consists of mainly stones.
    It’s claim to fame? Omieri, the famous python?

  • Not- Bullish Feminist
    13.09.2016

    Honestly Biko, I don’t understand what you have against women, and against feminists. You keep referring to Wendy’s body (which is strong) and her feminism (which does not necessarily have to be associated with her body or sex for that matter. At one point, you state, “Wendy didn’t have to harass me with bullish feminist behavior for me to see her point.” The only think I can think of (from your description of her) which alludes to your statement is perhaps that she gave you a look when you questioned her about her bedroom activities, the question in itself was inappropriate and would be uncomfortable for anyone. The ‘look’ she gave you (with her eyes) does not equal ‘bullish feminist behavior. I’m always sadly surprised that you never treat women like simple human beings- in the overwhelming majority of your blogs, women and girls are eaither sexualized (even your own damn daughter, unless she reads, she will not become a respectable lady) or they are bullish feminists. I challenge you to write about women in a normal way. Then I might fully enjoy your wonderful and brilliant prose

    • Miss Koki
      13.09.2016

      Not.Bullish.Feminist. Interesting View. Biko should respond to this in kind

    • jetoloXD
      13.09.2016

      here we go, someone needs to calm her tits- oh crap, someone hand me a non -feminist idiom that is more of -calm down-

      • Not- Bullish Feminist
        13.09.2016

        Hey Jetolo,

        Before you get your manly-feelings hurt- please do tell me- at what point what Wendy being a bullish feminist?
        Why did Biko have to use such negative imagery to convey her?

        • prime error
          13.09.2016

          Biko was referring to “bullish feminist behaviour that most self proclaimed feminists subscribe to,Of which Wendy did not.. Feminism should not be this militant bravado that is portrayed by this 21st century woman. Like Wendy you can get your point across without being bullish.

          • Not- Bullish Feminist
            14.09.2016

            What bullish behavior? This is my question? Why is poinitng out Biko’s own bullying to a woman who seems like she was being too nice to his inappropriate comments- how is that bullish? And look at how all these men came out with their forks and torches bullying me for my perfectly valid criticism? Y’all just proved my point: a woman can do nothing right unless they are suffering under a man’s arm, unless we are somehow subservient or ‘humble’ even when we deserve to be angry.

        • jetoloXD
          13.09.2016

          some ladies just have that aura about them, they wear it like perfume. like that sexy boy Biko describes, he was in tatters but still had that macho spark about him. don’t you ever have a predisposed opinion about something? my thoughts are Biko inadvertently sound feminist… or maybe the three masters degree must have sold it! I know I would.

      • Kadonye
        13.09.2016

        There’s alternatives to ‘calm your tits’ that I saw on buzz feed; like, ‘hakuna your tatas’ and ‘de-stress your breasts’ ‘adjust your bust before it combusts’. As a feminist, I approve these

        • bena
          24.09.2016

          he he he get serious…de stress your breasts is insane.

    • General Zod
      14.09.2016

      Look what the cat dragged in.

    • Dee
      14.09.2016

      Notice she has a masters degree in Gender Studies.

    • Moon Pie
      14.09.2016

      Thank you for pointing this out. It’s almost as if a woman can only be just a woman if she conforms to certain ideals. The women that are different are portrayed in a manner that either excludes them as women or demeans them in comparison to other women.

    • benji
      15.09.2016

      Ha ha ha. Feminists will bring down the economy, will be the start of WW3, and of course will insult me after this comment. Calm down primadonna, get out of your feminist trailer sometime and have fun

  • ray
    13.09.2016

    CHIEF I STRONGLY DISAGREE—–if you wander to the bowels of Nyanza you will notice two things;
    that, one, kids there are barefoot and, two,
    their clothes are brown or a variation of brown.
    I mean it could be a green shirt, but it will look greenish brown because brown is the official colour of poverty.

  • Kenyan Lawyer
    13.09.2016

    belle pièce

  • Wambui
    13.09.2016

    Haha hard to believe you’re not Kikuyu with all the descriptions… But that’s Kikuyu Land for you

  • black parrot
    13.09.2016

    Biko, is there anything you can’t humourise?

  • NANCY MUTEKWA
    13.09.2016

    am not a marathon person but l feel like trying out Stanchart. who is with me?
    https://zuruafrika.wordpress.com/

  • Patrick
    13.09.2016

    Lol… You’re way of describing some things is funny. N soo innate for you. I liked it.
    First time I’ve heard of someone from your random groups having done a Masters in Gender. I thought I was alone out here

    • Patrick
      13.09.2016

      My bad. Your* not you’re

  • Nava
    13.09.2016

    Beautiful piece as always.
    You thought Wendy would die yet one can’t even think when running next to her.
    “You could wear the best clothes to mask the greatest insecurity but people will
    always see through you”…this rings so true.

  • Njeri
    13.09.2016

    Ndakaini is for sure a sight to behold!!!Nice Read

  • sharl
    13.09.2016

    Let Nyakach prosper in peace Biko!!

  • Murugi
    13.09.2016

    “Style isn’t what you wear, it’s how you wear what you wear.” Wendy said.I love this woman already feminist and all. Awesome piece

  • wabushes
    13.09.2016

    Please provide more demographic stats of Nyakach like how many mongrels,pubs etc

  • Kenyanna
    13.09.2016

    I always enjoy reading your articles, they remind me of home and just how no matter where one goes, home is best.

  • vickie
    13.09.2016

    good read Mr chocolate man. made my Tuesday

  • Ndwiga J
    13.09.2016

    Good read..

  • Dee
    13.09.2016

    This piece reminds me of Rangwe in Gem. I bet you need to go there for the sunrises and sunsets.You might have already but any of us needs that beauty every now and then, just to remind themselves how beautiful Kenya is .

  • Kip
    13.09.2016

    Tell them how you felt after conquering the last hill. before the shopping center. That felling of euphoria was overwhelming

  • Miss Koki
    13.09.2016

    My greatest take-away: “But the only thing that stuck in my mind was that self-assured boy in his tattered clothes. How he stood, one leg on that stump, hands in pockets, chin high. You could wear the best clothes to mask the greatest insecurity but people will always see through you. That boy dressed well from the inside first and so it didn’t matter what he wore on the outside.” That right there is powerful

  • adonga william
    13.09.2016

    I want to visit Ndakkaini now

  • Angie
    13.09.2016

    “Maina reke ngwire ngibucia maitho uguo ngukore mucie kana ngutandike uiguwe wega!”
    Hilarious. Beautiful writing. All the best at the stanchart marathon..

  • Mercy iguta
    13.09.2016

    Because running a marathon must be like giving birth, you always forget how painful it was and so you keep going back.
    haha Biko I’ll try running a marathon before I give birth.

  • jamesruigu
    13.09.2016

    So I have been stuck in Esiopia for a while and you know how they switch off he network plus their internet like we are 1703 BC. This was a good way to bounce back I am just wondering whether Mr. Chocolate Man has written about the Kale Chaggets?

  • Cathy Akinyi
    13.09.2016

    Truly beautiful. Always appreciate your writing. So refreshing.

  • wanjiru
    13.09.2016

    “You could wear the best clothes to mask the greatest insecurity but people will always see through you.” As always beautiful read am now looking forward to the Stanchart 21 Km run.

  • Princess Wakesho
    13.09.2016

    enjoyed it.

  • Elsie Birech
    13.09.2016

    “Stanchart Marathon. You are next – 21kms again. Why? You ask. Because running a marathon must be like giving birth, you always forget how painful it was and so you keep going back.” I should Join you Biko…..

  • I should run a 21km marathon, even though I’m sure I would half-walk, half ride at the back of the motorbike. Tis the thought that counts, the “At least you tried.”
    My shags is just as cute as Kutus, Kerugoya..na siringi.
    Another road trip through Kenya is long overdue, our country is a beaute!
    https://www.instagram.com/travelogues_africangirl/

  • Karemahiti
    13.09.2016

    Ruigu hujatoka Assosa?? Kam tujisort CAP buana

  • Antony
    13.09.2016

    Biko, youbknowbus Kuyus better than we know ourselves. That thing about outgrowing our shiny, patterned, bright sweaters into leather jackets? Spot on. The thing about hats, too? Spot on. It ain’t nuthin, really, its just a thing. A kyuk man has property and hats. And daughters to buy him hats and khakis and leather jackets.

  • rukwaro
    13.09.2016

    Shades of green at Ndakaini. And a forehead too. I saw.

    Ndeka was the place to be. So that people can have more water to clean their cars.

    Good writing, Biko.

  • Githogori
    13.09.2016

    Try that 21kms again in combat gear and fatigues in kipipiri
    Utatema roho kwa helmet

    • bena
      24.09.2016

      kipipiri route gani?

  • Wanjiku
    13.09.2016

    Biko I was at the Ndakaini marathon too and man those hills are a killer! I wouldn’t have described the scenic run any better. But i’m a 10km girl. See you at Stanchart!

  • Rita Mbae
    13.09.2016

    True Mr Black

  • Rita Mbae
    13.09.2016

    Good read Mr Biko

  • That guy Sam
    13.09.2016

    I was at Ndakaini ,
    but this read has given me a totally different experience to that race.

  • Tim
    13.09.2016

    That’s my experience in words. You didn’t see the old wakorino men whom I could not keep up with

  • Angel
    13.09.2016

    I think he writes very beautifully about women of all ages and tells it as it is. Its feminists with their chip on the shoulder I fail to understand.

    Funny how women want equally – an impossibility if you ask me. let’s aim for equity, yet ask for affirmative action when it suits them.

  • Esterina
    13.09.2016

    True Ndakaini scenery is out of this world. The parking for non VIPs was very far though.
    Looking forward to Stanchart 21KM

  • Keem
    13.09.2016

    Wonderful read.
    But how do you call a boy sexy…

    Anyway, still got the touch.

    • Kyengo "CK
      15.09.2016

      The way you call a book sexy.

  • Sandra Nagawa
    13.09.2016

    The fact that you know KUTUS….. oh my waaarrddd!!! “Mommy, we are on Biko Zulu’s blog!!!!” The number of times I have had to tell people where Kutus is… Thank you Biko. *why am I excited though.*

    • James
      26.09.2016

      I also know Kutus and that name doesnt sound anything Kikuyu; it is hard convincing people that it is in Kikuyuland

  • Colin
    13.09.2016

    Biko: had the same feeling as you, kept questioning myself why I had to do 21k. I saw that cucu with the sponge, and the two siblings. Let’s me
    et at Stanchart

  • Dawood
    13.09.2016

    we have to consciously see beyond the ordinary.All around us are extraordinary events and sights beyond the routine.Biko choose to soak in the sights and sounds of Ndakaini
    i remember a girl that seemed mentally challenged sitting on a mat next to the off road branching at namonye on bondo-usenge road.she seemed so at peace,not in pain or disturbed but definitely in want.i wonder if she is still there.that was back in 2011.

  • Njeri
    13.09.2016

    That wool woven head gear is called a boshori. our mothers ensured that we wore one at some point in life. All of us. Even ehen it was hot and I still see kids wearing them even in the blazing sun. And is it just me or does Biko have a special place for Kuyus in his heart. Maybe he is permamnenetly amused by our behaviour which is always the source of many jokes and he just can’t get enough.

    • Njeri
      13.09.2016

      And those woven sweaters stick with some of us. I wore one today and colleague asks me kwani I visited my grandma and she gave me as a presnt hehe!

    • wairimu
      14.09.2016

      remember he’s married to one. He’s shemeji probably the reason why.

  • Terry
    13.09.2016

    The read left me with a visual of the entire Ndakaini event. The kids in bright sweaters,the hills, the self-assured boy….Always looking forward to reading your posts.

  • Monicah
    13.09.2016

    Great read as always,…with these i’ve ‘ran’ the ndakaini marathon this year

  • Denno
    13.09.2016

    good read as usual Chocolate man. I want to be there next year. But of course I
    wont sign up for 21km.

  • Ciru
    13.09.2016

    A nod to my ‘hometown’.
    Good read as always Biko.

  • Wahito
    13.09.2016

    ‘migwatos’ really Biko? really ?!

  • Kelly
    13.09.2016

    Greetings from Kampala. looks like your tribal rift is as real as the rift valley. take care please

    • Max
      26.09.2016

      You see this Biko? People have noticed. Your tribal bigotry shit.Really,I might be a little bit bitter but you reckon there’s something to my bitterness.

  • Wairimu Maina
    13.09.2016

    Your kuyu is improving. Greetings from the other side.

  • alice
    13.09.2016

    Now Biko, a good frienddoes not disappear after a marathon and leave his buddy (Paul) hunting for his bro. 🙂
    And yes kuyu mothers love multi-coloured sweaters (was the 1st present my kids got from my late mum when I presented them to my family. And oh…..Maina must watch out not to ‘potea’ in the plantations again!

  • Muthoni
    13.09.2016

    Such a great read! I had like 10 of those handwoven sweaters when I was growing up. One in almost every colour and in our shags we would rather have eaten githeri all weak instead of making chapos and buy shoes instead.

    http://www.treatsonabudget.co.ke/

  • Sue
    13.09.2016

    Biko.. I registered for the Stanchart Marathon- 10km. I won’t go with a selfie stick but well, I just might. Quick question, do I get to feel my back break at the 5km-point as well? Because am dying to go die of fatigue and then give such a story, of maybe the Kidero grass that never grew. Or the “crowded” streets with people cheering on, or laughing at people like me who will crawl to the finish line with weak feet.

  • Peter
    13.09.2016

    Mom,how do you like me in leather now? Hilarious

  • Malaika
    13.09.2016

    Because running a marathon must be like giving birth, you always
    forget how painful it was and so you keep going back…yeah you
    would know 🙂

  • Jenny
    13.09.2016

    A great read. Perfect description of my home area

  • Wa kitheka
    13.09.2016

    I cracked up on that part where you called the two ladies cheaters… Hahahaha

  • Juliet
    13.09.2016

    Beautiful writing.Good to know I have an accomplice when it comes to guttural breathing.Ndakaini was something else.

  • Chela
    13.09.2016

    ‘I never blink’. Biko, try a stare competition with an infant.

  • Bonnke
    13.09.2016

    Nice read. Though Biko Nyakach is my home area too & i can assure you its a beautiful place!!Not the way you describe it my friend..We have beautiful hills,dams & the likes..maybe the last time you were there you didn’t take your time to connect.

    • Max
      26.09.2016

      Exactly my sentiments. This guy has a self loathing tendency. He comes from nyanza but follow all posts he’s done about Nyanza it’s poverty and HIV.

  • Winnie Nguku
    13.09.2016

    Datsun is like the polio of cars…
    LMAO
    For a moment I felt like I was in Ndakaina, right behind Wendy… Biko you should author a set book for our famous 844. You brought Marjorie Oludhe to life. Nice piece

  • (.) (.)
    13.09.2016

    Kiondos..that’s funny. Plural for kiondo is ciondo. Bullish feminist behavior is funny too…

  • Vosdiary
    14.09.2016

    You wrote well.Great read.

  • Samzuka Gatinu Muhoro
    14.09.2016

    nice work. this time I read and comment for something special. Ndakaini is my shags and am thrilled that you were not just there, but you also wrote about the experience. I was that boy 14-18 years ago.

  • Wambo
    14.09.2016

    Biko, Biko, good read! keep writing!

  • hazel
    14.09.2016

    a good read, you never disappoint Mr. I could see how you were struggling to keep up with wendy’s pace…..your three strides equals to one of hers..

  • Wambui Ngugi
    14.09.2016

    Biko!
    Your writing is my therapy.

  • cabdixassan@gmail.com
    14.09.2016

    Interesting blog you have… Worth some read. Good read actually

  • Anonymous
    14.09.2016

    you should have used an image from the beautiful scenery described above

  • Wajikooh
    14.09.2016

    “Maina reke ngwire ngibucia maitho uguo ngukore mucie kana ngutandike uiguwe wega !”haha read this how my mum would say it. this one induced nostalgia though i’m not even from Central

  • HILLARY MORO
    14.09.2016

    That boy had style, one great thing fashion houses don’t sell. Excellent piece

  • Njooro
    14.09.2016

    Yeah, Kyuk kids have some crazy colourful outfits. But its a rite of passage.

  • Immaculate Salaon
    14.09.2016

    Wow! What a great piece Biko!

  • Ciiku
    14.09.2016

    Am such an addict of chocolate man’s blogs. Just can’t get enough of them…especially when I come across such as “Maina reke ngwire ngibucia maitho uguo ngukore mucie kana ngutandike uiguwe wega !” That translates to something loose like, “Maina, if I blink and your ratchet ass is not home, I will beat you like a dog.” Haha.

  • Wanjiku
    14.09.2016

    Reading this and the memory of how i ran 10km as an amateur keeps coming back and the price i had to pay for it by staying in bed Sunday and Monday.It was my first time and the place is beautiful looking forward to next year. Kudos man good piece

  • Redempta Bisangwa
    14.09.2016

    good read Biko , as always !

  • Dorcas
    14.09.2016

    I’d love to learn to run. I can’t run to save my life!!!

  • ThisIsSam
    14.09.2016

    Biko, kindly write about how you touched the tail of a snow leopard in your next piece. I am a snow leopard researcher and the data would form an important part of my journal paper. I’ll even credit you as a co-author.

  • Shem Macharia
    14.09.2016

    That boy dressed well from the inside first and so it didn’t matter what he wore on the outside.Total inspiration right there

  • Liz
    14.09.2016

    good read

  • Muguima
    14.09.2016

    Have always wanted to learn to run. Cant run to save my life!!!

  • Eve
    14.09.2016

    We are alot more than 24 in Nairobi Biko.

  • Barno
    14.09.2016

    What does breathing have to do with sex life? I don’t see the logic.

  • Joseph
    14.09.2016

    Dope article

  • Kui Ngugi
    14.09.2016

    That boy ‘man’, I see him…how did you move from the ‘bad driving at junction to the marathon’a great read as always

  • Godfrey Odhiambo
    15.09.2016

    The high, reaching, anorexic eucalyptus trees…. It is writing stuff like this that keep me coming back for more.

  • caroline Oundo
    15.09.2016

    carol oundo The story is very interesting how Kuyu kids are forced to wear those guady sweaters for so long that when they grow up they revolt and wear leather jackets

  • Catherine
    15.09.2016

    The threat in kiuk had me in tears. That is a legit kiuk mathe. Ha ha ha.

  • Sir Qim
    15.09.2016

    ” and you know they are probably saying, “With that
    forehead, that boy isn’t from here.” hahaha

  • Nyabuti Valentine
    16.09.2016

    Now who describes trees as anorexic,good piece

  • Bildad
    16.09.2016

    you read that and you automatically want to do the 21 km race.
    but no, you read that and you want to go visit Nyakach and apologise on Biko’s behalf

  • DiDi
    19.09.2016

    Interesting Read,I find your honesty descriptive method so refreshing. You just won yourself a new reader.

  • DiDi
    19.09.2016

    Interesting Read,I find your honesty & descriptive method so refreshing. You just won yourself a new reader.

  • kALUKI KYALO
    19.09.2016

    ‘Stanchart Marathon. You are next – 21kms again. Why? You ask. Because running a marathon must be like giving birth, you always forget how painful it was and so you keep going back.’

    Will be there as a first timer! 10Kms for start ups!

  • Noureen
    19.09.2016

    Really made my Monday… “didn’t know we had ratchet ass in Kuyo” Lol
    I love your writing… Beautifully done n with lotsa humour! cool

  • Martha Nderitu
    19.09.2016

    Glad you had a great time…that ratchet ass part though 😀

  • NyîrîMûciî
    19.09.2016

    “Maina if I blink and your ratchet ass is not home I’ll beat you like a dog”
    .. Hell of a translation there

  • dennis
    20.09.2016

    …….because brown is the official colour of poverty…..Funny

  • Vivian
    20.09.2016

    “Because running a marathon must be like giving birth, you always forget how painful it was and so you keep going back.”

    Hahahahaa Biko you never disappoint!

  • Wangui
    20.09.2016

    You could wear the best clothes to mask the greatest insecurity but people will always see through you.
    great read as always…

  • Obura
    23.09.2016

    I, drive a Datsun. I take offence…

  • ciru
    23.09.2016

    After reading this i want to visit Ndakaini

  • Jojo
    23.09.2016

    You should have an option to star a post, to refer to any time I want to re-read a brilliant post with such diction.
    Love this.

  • Max
    26.09.2016

    But why are you always hell bentto give Nyanza a poor review as opposed to the magical Central?I understand that’s where you got your wife but really, Nyanza is not that bad. People have shoes. Of course there’s poverty but that’s everywhere(visit Nyeri)
    It’s just annoying that you have to play poverty porn on Nyanza every time.

    • julie
      08.01.2017

      chillax max,read more of his work and you’ll realise he has written great pieces about
      Nyanza.Read his travel blogs and you’ll get his love of his home and his background. Nobody
      is force feeding you this blog – try and write one about Nyanza in your view and let us comment.
      Low blow bringing his wife into it. I know it’s childish but ‘meza wembe’ comes to mind…..

  • Murugi
    29.09.2016

    nemesis came out so well, “kibucia maitho”killed it hahahahahahow do i write this well??

  • Ken
    30.09.2016

    I like ypur way of writing… this is the kind of writing that can impact.

  • Hilda
    01.10.2016

    Funniest blog I’ve read so far…u r really good at this.. Humour is at the top notch

  • Hilda
    01.10.2016

    Funniest blog that I’ve ever read…homour is at its top notch…

  • Lucy
    04.10.2016

    Haha wow that was a nice read Biko

  • Victor
    08.10.2016

    That part about nyakach though! You’ve killed my shags… I will hunt you down and make you write something about those rocks and the 24 of us in Nairobi. Good read though.

  • Msele Wan
    21.10.2016

    Hahahahha…..brown is the new official colour of poverty…..nailed it!!!

  • Kevin Murgori
    30.10.2016

    It always is

  • sin_cera-ly
    11.11.2016

    10k here I come.I’m game for next year

  • Kaz
    15.12.2016

    Biko just marry me and we will laugh till death. I have read 5 and people are looking at me like a mad woman. Thanks for the humor.

  • Ed
    06.03.2017

    Just read this today. Man you are good at what you do. And just wondering how you capture the wrath of our mums so perfectly..? Chege ngibucia ritho
    . ….

  • Ed wax
    06.03.2017

    Just read this today. Man you are good at what you do. And just wondering how you capture the wrath of our mums so perfectly..? Chege ngibucia ritho
    . ….

  • Cherotich Bor
    23.10.2017

    i love the end.. always on point Biko

  • Jess
    14.11.2017

    The comments are lengthier than your sorry

  • Carol
    17.11.2017

    2017….10 km..it was fun…. nice piece

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