Skydiving

   312    

Maina Kageni is a tortoise. That’s the analogy he chose to chicken out of a sky dive last weekend. He said he’s a tortoise because tortoises live for hundred-plus years. They live for hundred-plus years because they don’t go jumping off planes. Or from cliffs.

He was telling me about tortoises during his Road Trip tour courtesy of Tembea Kenya and Chevrolet’s Trailblazers. We were checking into Turtle Bay Beach Resort  in Watamu. Talking of which, Turtle Bay should seriously consider having WiFi in their rooms, only for the sole reason that it’s 2016. Given a choice between a bathtub or Wifi I think I would go for Wifi. Why? Well, because there is no chance you can slip and break your hip bones in a WiFi but you can in a bathtub. In fact, half the things we get in hotel rooms we don’t really need. All we need is the internet.

Let’s see: given the choice between Wifi and a water kettle? Wifi wins. Wifi versus the one extra bed on the side? Wifi wins. Wifi vs the mirror? Wifi. Wifi versus the safe? Of course Wifi wins hands down. Wifi versus the shower curtain? Wifi wins. I’ve always wondered why anyone would need a shower curtain in the hotel bathroom when there is already a door. Who could you be possibly hiding your nakedness from? Who is this who will stick their heads around the door to look at you showering? Your spouse? Your partner? And what’s wrong if they do? What’s wrong with that if it turns them on to see you lathering your scalp? If you can draw the shower curtains on the person you are sharing a room with then perhaps it’s not Wifi you need but an honest/ safe zone conversation about your relationship. I think people who use shower curtains are telling their partners something about the relationship. In fact, I think if your partner got into a hotel bathroom and locked the door with a key or latch, that says something about your relationship.

Wifi vs the landline? Wifi. I’d rather walk 2kms to the reception to order my chicken sandwich than not have Wifi. Wifi versus the blowdryer? Wifi wins, and anyway half the chicks nowadays have weaves and I doubt they wash and blow dry those animals.  Wifi versus the door. Wifi. Wifi versus curtain box? Wifi. In fact the only thing more important than wifi in a hotel room is a shower head, the bed and the AC. So, Turtle Bay, how about it?

Next day I’m strapped in by a skydiving instructor called Yanick. I will be jumping with him strapped onto my back; tandem. Yanick has had over 1000 jumps – been jumping for 15 years now. He’s a pilot by profession and a member of Kenya Sky Divers Association. Oh, he’s the guy who also dove with Najib Balala.  Yanick is a lean strong guy.

I sign a form that says that should something go awfully wrong and I die, nobody can sue. Then we get into the van with Gregg, the pilot, and two ladies, Richelle and Zaihab. I sit at the very back with Richelle.

If you ask Yanick why he skyjumps he will say “for shits and giggles.”  He has a charming boyish grin that is also a bit psycho, like those characters in movies who sit in park benches wearing a fedora watching doves forage. We are driving towards Malindi airport where we will get onto a small plane.  Loud House music is playing from the car stereo. Gregg, the mild-mannered pilot with movie-star looks, turns and asks me, “Are you good?” I say I’m not. He laughs and says, “But at least you are seated next to a beautiful blonde, that should help,” and Yanick turns in his seat and says with a wink, “But you will soon be sitting on me when we jump and you will feel something extra.” We all laugh. Yanick is a bit mad. I’m scared of course, a sense of trepidation grips me but I’m trying to control my breathing. All this while they are discussing what pizza they are going to have for lunch! Oh, how sensitive. Ignore the guy shitting his pants back here.

At Malindi Airport we walk through the metal detectors and right out the back. I’m barefoot. Yanick preps me. He talks about the the exit position; hold strap, elbows out, head to his shoulder, knees bent all the way. Jump. He tells me only what I need to know to avoid what he calls “sensory overload.” He talks about “the exit” being the most important and crucial part of the jump. He talks about how the human nature confronted with a situation such as the one I am about to face will either flee or fight. I’m about to fight – my fears. Shit, I’m nerves. “This is the time to go to the bathroom if you want,” he tells me and I walk into the departure lounge bathrooms and although I feel like peeing I stand at the urinal but not a drop comes out. So I give up, splash water on my face at the sink and avoid to look myself in the eye.

Outside, we walk towards the hot tarmac. Yanick holds my harness as if I might run back. He’s saying, “Here we go, Jackson, where is that little bird, oh there she is, isn’t she beautiful? She will take us up in the sky, ah, Gregg is already in and good to go, this is going to be fun, how are you doing there, are we good?”

“I’m doing bad.” I mumble.

The “bird”  is a very small Cessna 206. It has no door. It’s white. Together with the two ladies  we pile at the back, in a very small space barely enough to swing a cat in. There are no seats. We seat on this soft bench. I sit between Yanick’s legs and he hooks things on me. Gregg kicks the engine and it roars into life, the thunderous sound filling our heads, down the runway we run before leaping into the sky. I look down as Malindi slowly recedes. Malindi from up there looks like a shanty town with its rusted corrugated rooftops. The shoreline curves with whites and blues and greens as Gregg’s little bird punctures the sky. The engine is loud and a wind blows through. We are going to get to 10,000 ft, then we will jump.

At 3,000 ft Yanick leans in my ear and shouts “Do you feel that?” and laughs. Indeed I feel a small prodding in my lower back, and I desperately want to believe it is one of his hooks or something, not his body part. I shout back, “Yeah, but barely, it must be something quite small.” He laughs and says, “ But it’s hard and nice isn’t it?” The ladies smile, obviously used to his brand of madness.  We continue to gain altitude. It’s a lovely sun-washed day, the perfect day for your parachute to fail. As we ascend I get more and more tense and perhaps Yanick picks it because he says,

“You are a journalist, you should be fine, I’m sure you have been in trickier situations -” .

“Actually, I haven’t. I’m a lifestyle writer, I write about massage oils -”

“Oh well, then this is definitely a good career move -”

I realise what he’s doing. He’s not giving me room to think about what is about to happen, so he’s talking to me, asking questions, saying silly things. He knows that silence means thought, and thought invites fear. Curiously I’m not as scared as I thought I would be. I can even dare to look down, as the houses become smaller and smaller and we climb over clouds and the roar of the engine gets louder and the wind gets furious.

“So,” he shouts in my ear, “girlfriend or wife?”

“Why can’t I have both?!” I elbow him playfully.

They all laugh. He playfully rubs my head as if to say, “atta boy!”

“Wife..!” I tell him.

“What did she say when you told her you are going to jump?”

“She doesn’t know I’m jumping.”

Hahaha. The ladies cackle and Richelle fist-bumps me with a wide smile. (See? Women are their own worst enemy).

We have now climbed to 6,000ft. The sky is bright. The air smells of wet peach.

“Where’ you from?” I ask Yanick.

“Belgium, but I have been in Kenya for 16 years!”

“So met and married a nice local girl?”

“No, an American!”

“Oh God, no!”

He laughs.

“She’s in Rwanda now, she figured a long distance relationship will make this exciting!”

“Does she jump off planes too?”

“Oh yes, I sometimes jump with her mom as well, she’s over 60.”

“Do you also poke her with your little friend back there?”

“Of course! Nobody gets special treatment here, buddy!”

We all laugh.

At 9,000 ft, planet earth looks like an abstract painting done by a kindergarten kid. The sea dominates to the left, and to the right land spreads out defiantly. A silver necklace of white beach separates the two, looking like an accessory. Yanick pulls and tugs and tightens and secures our suit as the our little bird starts doing a small curve against the azure sky.

“Girls are the best people to jump with!” he shouts as he double checks our suits.

“Why? Because they scream your name?”

“No, they never scream my name. They are always screaming some other guy’s name! You might know this guy, he’s called God.”

I laugh. “Yes, I think I might have heard of him.”

He than imitates a screaming girl, “Ooooh my GOOOOOOOD!” Nooo, it’s “Yaaaaaniiick!”

We laugh.

At 10,000 ft I close my eyes. He holds my shoulder reassuringly and says, “You will be just fine, just take deep breaths.!” Then he runs me through the gamut again, this time more gravely. The Exit is key, he says. Hold strap, elbows out, neck stretched back on his shoulder and knees always bent between my legs. “When we jump, I want you to relax, don’t fight it, just relax your body. When you feel me tap your shoulder, I want you to let go of your harness and raise your hands to your side like this as if in surrender, always fold your legs behind me and your chin thrust behind. Got it?”

I swallow and nod.

As he is speaking one of the girls fist bumps us and casually jumps off the plane without warning, like she’s stepping out to go to the loo and I’m like “WHOA!” The wind quickly sweeps her behind the plane, like a flood. And she’s gone. As I’m trying to mumble, “what the f—”, Zaihab follows her out and I’m like “Oh shit.”

We are next.

Yanick asks me to lift myself up and sit on him. “Put on your goggles, buddy,  it’s show time!” And then we move towards the door.

This is when I.really.freak.out.

Yanick then says, “You are not my first, and you will not be my last.” How charming! How freaking charming.

Adrenaline immediately kicks in shaking my body,  my breath falls short and I feel my bladder filling up and as I hold my hardness close to my shoulder, elbows out, I start to tremble and my knees get weak and my mind turns to a block of ice. We are now at 10,500ft, and we are hanging from the doorway and the cold wind is whipping at me ferociously and my heart, oh my God, my heart is beating faster than it ever has.

At this moment I realise rather sardonically how we misuse certain adjectives as writers. We write sentences like “…I was terrified at the thought of going to see the dentist,” or “I was horrified at how wide she could open her mouth to take a bite of her burger.” We continue to misuse these adjectives that illustrate shock or surprise and I realise it’s all hyperbolic. When you are 10,000 ft high, half hanging from the doorway of plane, wind lapping your body and the engine screaming in your ear like a banshee, and below awaits a yawning earth, that is terror. You haven’t been terrified until you are in that position.

I thought of telling Yanick that I couldn’t go through with it, that my church doesn’t allow this. He would probably have looked at me cynically and asked,”and what church is that?” and I would say, “SDA. I’m SDA and I’m pretty sure the church doesn’t allow us to jump off planes on Sabbath.” He would probably have rolled his eyes and told me to stop being a precious old lady.

As my feet dangled I realised that I couldn’t just pull out, not when General Motors/ Chevrolet Trailblazers had paid 30K for me to jump. This was about trailblazing. The Trailblazers are about burning the trail. Torching it. Being the chaps who clear the treacherous paths for the lesser and weaker ones to follow.  Isn’t that the spirit of the car? Isn’t that what this trip was about?  So I’m sure Chevrolet guys would be disappointed and maybe their comms guy, Duncan Muhindi, would sulk at me and refuse to pick my calls.

Most importantly, I didn’t want to be a tortoise. Oh, no. But flying all the way up and refusing to jump would make me an even worse tortoise than Maina. I would be the tortoise that wore breeches that were too big for him. An overly ambitious tortoise. A tortoise who dreamt too big and flew too high. And maybe Maina would probably talk about it in his morning show and some Maasai listening in and chuckling  from under a tree would call in from Oloitoktok and say, “Mimi nakubalia sana na huyo mjamaa  Sulu alikataa kuruka, unaweza ruka halafu uanguke juu ya ngombe ya mtu…”

Suddenly we are off the plane.

No preamble.

Like, one moment I’m trying to take deep breaths, the next we are off the goddamn plane!

And I’m tumbling down. I’m twisting in the wind like a kite in a storm. You know when they say ‘you had a sinking feeling’, falling into nothingness is a sinking feeling. I feel like my heart is dropping out of my body. Like somehow my heart left me and it’s falling on its own without a chute. I feel the damning emptiness of it all. I feel like I’m falling in this deep abyss of emptiness. I feel the forces of gravity, cruel and hungry, sucking at me as if through a straw. I have no control of what happens to me and it feels me with dread.

I don’t know why they call it “mother nature”, but when you are tumbling down through the sky at over 190km/hr, the wind slapping your face and ears, a scream choked in your throat and you are helpless and scared, you realise that “mother” nature is a cruel cold female dog. That’s no mother, that’s a witch.

Yanick told me some people pass out at this stage. Some start fighting and kicking, trying to clutch at something and since there is nothing but fear to clutch, they start groping at him and he has to control them and control their fall. People scream different things as they fall. Strange things. They scream God’s name. They scream someone’s name. They scream stuff in their mother tongue. (I can just imagine a Kissii screaming here). Everybody screams something at this moment of unclothed fear.

You know what I screamt? There is a scene in Pulp Fiction, towards the end, where a couple with guns is holding up a coffee shop and they ask Samuel L Jackson to hand over his wallet and he removes this battered looking wallet from his pocket. Do you remember what was written on that wallet? I can’t say it here because my 19 year old niece, Candy, reads this blog, but that’s what I kept screaming. Over and over again. I won’t say I screamt like a girl, because I’m told the girl who jumped after – Christine, from Shell/ Vivo – didn’t scream. She might as well have applied her eyeliner while falling if she could.

The best part of the jump for me is when we stabilized. I think we must have dropped for a minute or so, heady adrenaline and then finally we seemed to be floating like you see in movies, the wind, now a song, and there was Richelle, floating towards us and coming so close to me I high-fived her, and she blew a kiss and floated away like an angel in the wind.

Then I hear a whoop sound and I know Yanick has activated the chute. Then I started falling sick, motion sickness. I couldn’t breathe, and I look down and the ground is so so far away, houses are literally little dots, and all that motion and height is making me nauseous, looking at my feet dangling like that, and Yanick is shouting in my ear, “You did excellent!” But I don’t want a plaque, I wanted to land. My hands have lost all sensation and I stare at them like they don’t belong to me. The view is stunning but it’s clouded with adrenaline. And I feel sleepy. Gosh, I could use a pillow. Yanick, do you have a pillow up here?

I have gone scuba diving in the deep seas, I have bungee jumped twice – at Sagana and off the Nile in Jinja, Kampala – but skydiving is like nothing I have ever experienced in terms of fear and thrill.

Suddenly we hit the beach. Bum first, for me. I’m nauseous and my head is swimming. I lie on my back and the sand feels warm. The sky is as blue as I have ever seen it.  I close my eyes and focus on not throwing up. I hear children gathering around me, asking each other if I’m alive. Some are giggling. I lie there.  I don’t even want that pillow anymore, I just want some cold juice. Someone is pulling me to my feet. Yanick is nowhere to be seen, he has folded his chute and gone to fetch the next client. I remember thinking, Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye? But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last.

People say they want to go sky diving to feel alive. I went up because I’m alive. And because it was there. I didn’t jump to feel something outwardly after. I’m not a changed man because I jumped. I don’t look at life differently. I’m just happy to learn that the things that look impossible, the things that look so fearful, can actually be done. I have learnt to show fear the middle finger.

Here is the weird thing that happened. When I lay there on the sand feeling nauseous, I realised I was sort of aroused. Sort of. I found it rather strange.  I asked Sebastian from BT Concept who jumped after me if he felt aroused after but he just looked at me like I was mad.

I know how this might look but I assure you it’s nothing like that. I suspect free falling at 190kms per hour is what must have aroused me. Or maybe it was the wind, or the fear, I don’t know. But I will tell you what it wasn’t for certain; it wasn’t Yanick. Or his small nudge. But wouldn’t it be hysterical if I lived my life for 38 years only to realise I was gay after jumping off a plane? I think it would be stupefying, the suddenness of it all. Discovering myself on a jump. Goodness. You jump into the plane straight, you jump off gay. It would change the meaning of the phrase “coming out.” It would be more like, “jumping off.”

I know I’m still straight. I’m cock sure. I know because back at the hotel, I used not the hair drier or shower curtain but  my data, to Google Toni Braxton and I looked at one picture where she is seated on a stage in a her white dress, half her thigh out and I was happy that I felt slightly dizzy. But I remembered to “breath again.”

 

Cover Image Credit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

312 Comments
    1. Na hii shida ilianzia wapi? From my psychology knowledge i think those people want to be mentioned in a tribute article by biko incase he does one.

  1. I know I’m still straight. I’m cock sure. I know because back at the hotel, I used not the hair drier or shower curtain but my data, to Google Toni Braxton and I looked at one picture where she is seated on a stage in a her white dress, half her thigh out and I was happy that I felt slightly dizzy. But I remembered to “breath again.”

  2. Hahahahaha.What an experience! I have laughed until tears came to myeyes. I have been planning to go since 2014 but I always chicken out when my holiday time comes. Maybe this is the year I will finally do it. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. I have laughed so hard,
    Am not sure I want to sky dive anymore…..
    #LifeGoalsRuined

    Great article Biko I hope Turtle Bay have read this

  4. Biko, thank you for putting a smile on my face. I just found out on FB that my pal passed away so am feeling very sad….and then I saw your posting and I knew if I read it I would feel better…and sure enough, am laughing away at my desk. Poor Yanick and his teeny weeny goods! LOL! Anyway, you should visit Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi and take the Formula Rossa… I will looove to read about your experience then 🙂

      1. You went twice??? Why??? Once was enough for me…. Never again! What! I don’t think I was breathing that entire 1 minute (which felt like forever by the way!!!) Chocolate man, take that ride… I dare you 🙂

      1. Yeap…. He has this way of cracking me up and it does not help that am reading his posts in the office. How to keep a straight face when he is describing the teeny weeny goods??? LOL

  5. hehehehehehe, I wanted to do this for a story as well… And no, I am not going to it yet.I a going to remain a chicken, or is it tortoise, hehehe. however Biko, you are an idiot, hahahahaha, leave weaves alone.

  6. Biko am sure you didn’t intend to hold onto your “hardness” but your harness. Unless of course this is your “jumping off” speech.

  7. I must say skydiving just found it’s way on my to do list( I have virtually done it as I read this)…but the getting aroused and suspecting you could be gay?! I didn’t see that coming.

  8. I have never commented but this one I had to…..waaaaah Biko you are one hell ofa silly guy…. 190km/hr ain’t a goodamn joke….

  9. Wow Biko,Reading this felt like I was there only difference is I don’t have the balls to get poked by Yannick and to get off the bird.I’m more inclined to the tortoise side.
    Nice read as usual

  10. “SDA. I’m SDA and I’m pretty sure the church doesn’t allow us to jump off planes on Sabbath.” Hahaha. Mimi kwisha. That one killed me.
    Sky diving is for the brave i think. Thank you for painting the experience boss. What i see in the movies is enough experience for me.

  11. That’s on my bucket list… Then backpack to Zanzibar. Some ideas and dreams are transient but that of skydiving will always remain with me… Time to exorcise that dream once and for all…

  12. You have surely encouraged me to sky-dive…and by the way how did you walk barefooted at Malindi airport with that hot sand/tarmac?

  13. Oh Lord! Biko you sat between Yanick’s legs! Hahaha I had to muffle my laugh at the office the entire time I was reading this. This article is The one…now back to finishing it

  14. Hahaha this was “Gay” from the word go….This was a hilarious piece as well,you never disappoint.It would be weird though to skydive straight and land gay!…well done biko

  15. Nice one. Misusing of adjectives, it’s a revelation. Haha, of “jumping off” and not “coming out”. Always informational and funny.

  16. The sexual innuendo’s in this article really cracked me up…….not sure whether this was intentional or not but the article starting with Maina Kageni then ending with a gay skit…..On a subconscious Sigmund Freud level it seems you’re telling the Maina to “Jump Off”

    1. I do not think he meant it to come out this way. I think it is more of the R. Kelly – Celine Dion collabo’. One with the voice and a listening audience, the other with the power of the pen and a reading audience. The bottom line is the reach – that is what the Shell/Chevrolet/Brand Kenya trio wants and they are paying to get it done.

  17. Hahaha jumping off speech chocolate man..
    I’d love to sky dive some time.. And Yanick my guy I’ll look for you and the “lil nudge”

  18. Well, I love Turtle Bay for one thing; their pancakes! The guy who cooks pancakes is so good at his stuff that I tipped him as we left…I still can’t sky dive for now but doesn’t lock me out when I am 38 lol. However, I confronted one of my fears in Turtle Bay as well. I did scuba diving. I was so scared, thought of sharks, mermaids..just any sea creature that scared us all as kids. But then I chose think about finding Nimo and off we went…Its like I was training myself to breath for the first time but we made it back. It was so magical but worth it. Thanks for sharing this Biko

  19. Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye?” Almost how it feels.

  20. The preamble is a killer……”Given a choice between a bathtub or Wifi I think I would go for Wifi. Why? Well, because there is no chance you can slip and break your hip bones in a WiFi but you can in a bathtub “

  21. Am a tortoiseso tthere is no way am sky diving but will definitely try bungee jumping. Am glad you didn’t change just from sky diving. Awesome read like always. Say hi to Yanick

  22. Here is the weird thing that happened. When I lay there on the sand feeling nauseous, I realised I was sort of aroused. Sort of. I found it rather strange. I asked Sebastian from BT Concept who jumped after me if he felt aroused after but he just looked at me like I was mad.
    That had me in stitches. Aki wewe Biko, thank God hukuangukia ngombe ya mtu in that state.
    Fantastic article, hilarious read.

  23. Im reading this during the burial service of my late great grandma may she rest in peace. This has kept the sombre mood abay…ahem my goal for this year is bungee jumping..down at Sagana..n sky diving 5 years later…spirits high

  24. been one of ur silent readers guess your insanity got me to comment, will just admit u are a bigger man than me coz there is no way am ever skydiving, call me a tortoise or chicken am all gud…gud work Biko

  25. Waaaaah. I feel like i dived with you. That was sexy that was sweet that was breathtaking… The humor, tiga tu! But i wouldn’t do that shit because i am agoraphobic. Do you remember the kiss that was blown to you? That was what aroused you.

  26. This right here —>> I thought of telling Yanick that I couldn’t go through with it, that my church doesn’t allow this. He would probably have looked at me cynically and asked,”and what church is that?” and I would say, “SDA. I’m SDA and I’m pretty sure the church doesn’t allow us to jump off planes on Sabbath.”

    I have laughed and laughed and laughed and then I remembered to breathe. I felt emotions like I was the one making the jump. Still, thank you for holding me spell bound Mr. Biko.

  27. I think that the jump gets your creative juices on overdrive haha. Absolutely great article.
    Your are a creative Bad Mofo (In SLJs voice)

  28. Amazing piece Biko. Is this how women feel? Yes. Definitely sky diving, bungee jumping and scuba diving is on my bucket list. You are cock sure you are straight, ha ha ha hilarious! The part about jumping off gay was crazy. I love your writing so much

  29. i have never been one to comment on any article/blog, but I assure you, my colleagues think I may be sipping on whiskey from my water bottle – I am in tears from this article!!!

  30. Jumping into the plane straight and jumping off gay changes the phrase from coming out to jumping out..hahahaha you are hillarious

  31. Great read Biko, though I don’t think I’ll be doing it any time soon. And your timing is just perfect, I opened up today’s newspaper and say a picture of Balala and Yannick 🙂

  32. To be honest long post are not my thing…. i suck at reading articles i get half way and i jst quit for no reason but atleast today i tried 1 article down yeiyyyyy…. can’t wait for the next one thumbs up Biko.

  33. I weigh 120kgs. Should I add bungee jumping and skydiving on my bucket list? Can people that weigh anything above 80kgs do such things? I’ve done scuba diving and would love to do a sky dive some time. Would I have to lose 40 kgs to do it? Asking very seriously.

  34. One thing is for sure, Turtle Bay are on the phone with internet provider companies right now! Nice piece. Nice Pulp Fiction reference

  35. “Yanick is nowhere to be seen, he has folded his chute and gone to fetch the next client. I remember thinking, Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye? But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last.” Brilliant. I hope women are seeing this.

  36. hahaha…so you are cock sure it wasn’t yanick’s small nudge?? He would be quite a catch..guy got a wicked sense of humor!!! I like him

  37. Biko…Biko…Biko…You made me laugh loud in the office!
    Now skydiving is on my bucket list. Last month I tried the water slide at Kunduchi Beach hotel in Dar. Yes, a coward like me had to start somewhere. Mind you I don’t know how to swim well! I should learn it soon!

  38. “Yanick is nowhere to be seen, he has folded his chute and gone to fetch the next client. I remember thinking, Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye? But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last.”

    Now you know!

  39. Biko, you googled Toni Braxton and her half her thigh? Thought you’d turn to that photo of your wife you have stashed away somewhere in your phone’s?
    now you know how us women feel women feel when a man pokes you and when he’s done leaves without goodbye

  40. walikuwa wakikutafuta sasa watakupata.end of bikoism!Ati sky diving?what next scuba diving?anyway you had me laughing which is ok

  41. First day in school
    Fatherhood.
    18/1/2016

    My son, today you have joined formal school for the first time in your life. Formal because once you were born you joined me in informal school of life. I want to tell you what you will go or what I went through, in the next 18 years or so. Yes, in the next 18 years or so I wish.

    You are lucky to begin school when you are barely 3years old. I joined school when I was 6 years old.
    On that first day as I can remember vividly, your grandfather took me on his Avon bicycle. I had only half an exercise book. Like those ones we used as clinic cards. And despite the fact that I took you to school as you dangled your tiny feet from my shoulders, you had two books, a pencil and a packet of crayons. But I did not pack for you bread soaked in tea for breakfast and lunch as I was.

    In your new school you wore a pair of trousers and leather shoes and a new sweater. I, on the contrary, wore a pair of damn too short pair of shorts. Too short. I wore a pair of shorts for almost the rest of my schooling days that half my thighs and my entire legs were sunburnt. A pair of black rubber shoes called ‘Ngoma’ and an overflowing sweater that wore me. I looked scarier that a scare crow.

    In your new school you were given a place to sit. I was given a mat to sit on. And my buttocks, which were not worthy to be called so, ached.

    Later in the day after that Avon bicycle had disappeared from the school, I walked home. I walked myself. It was damn too far that I often took some rests and naps by the roadside. Some passersby would be struck by sympathy and ferry me home. I doubt you will undergo such. At the end of it all and being in such a poor school, I aced and joined the best school around that area at that time even to date and that’s why I’m taking you to that school after this one.

    I met kids from all corners of the world. There were those who were dropped to school in cars numbered KHS, KZG and KPA’s while I together with your uncle smelt of child sweat and breast milk from the distance we thawed every damn single day for seven years through hell until we chose to board. But we walked with a smile and silence.

    Despite all that I worked hard. I really loved school while your uncle loathed every thought of waking up to go to school. Do i have to tell you that? Or you can see for yourself?

    I hated weekends because they denied me time to read and do mathematics. I became position one out of a thousand kids once because the genius of our class during that exam was absent for the exam. She never again missed an exam after that. As years wasted away and kids from better school joined ours, they kicked me backwards and I refused to move away from position four like Arsenal for the rest of the schooling days.

    During those years I learnt things you will not learn. I learnt woodwork, metal work, pottery, masonry, homescience and a hell lot of skills. I aced unbelievably in homescience. The way I cut, sewed, embroidered, hemmed and ironed the class projects made the thought of becoming a tailor so real that when we were asked what we would like to be in future, I hesitated making me to be skipped for not knowing what I would like to be. I couldn’t just muster up the courage to say a tailor not after a boy who joked the he would like to be a waiter was nicknamed so. Waiter!

    When puberty struck as it will, I was cornered by my shyness and skin color. Girls made fun of me for not having the wits to talk them off. I could hear them talk of funny vocabulary like love, kiss, breasts, meet me after midnight and sex and I would jump at my dictionary and take the whole day looking for those words from page one to the last page as I had not yet learnt how to use it. But still I couldn’t understand them. I wish I understood.

    Finally, I think I fell in love in class six or something like that. There sat a chubby chick in my class. She had a great smile and she talked softly. I liked the way she called me by my name without adding an ‘i’ at the end of it like rascals back in the village. Problem was, she was a boarder and I dayschooled and that made me feel beleaguered whether she did the ‘meet me after midnight jig’ or she somebody touched her breasts while walking to the dorms after preps.

    One school term opening as I wiped sweat from my forehead while throwing my head round obviously looking for her, her seat was unoccupied. Word went round that she had flown abroad. That her family had relocated to America. I was dismayed and disgruntled beyond reasonable doubt. I did not concentrate in class that day. Infact I wronged all the time readings exercises of that day. I never again fell attracted to any girl for I feared to be left without saying a word. Or a kiss. Or touching a breast. Or even failing to read a clock.

    Then lastly I became a boarder. Life changed. My friends changed. And my way of life too. I learnt sheng’ as compared to the village vernacular albeit with difficulties. There’s one word I learnt that landed me and my friends in hot soup. Quite hot soup. I don’t know how it came but we used it endlessly to mock our ever drunk dorm patron. A short studious slightly old chap with bulging muscles and boiling testesteron. We called him ‘Mbaya’ a kiswahili word for bad. He was bad. He hit and kicked us around and threw us out of beds at the break of dawn earning his name. He roughed us up while doing the morning cleaning lazily. He had small rough palms that if he slapped you, you would bleed or loose a tooth. When he was drunk he was so noisy with a scratched voice and a stench smell. I think he drunk the local brew. Chang’aa. He would call the whole dorm out and sit us on the cold floor and show off his poor biceps at night. No one dared disobey him. Then a voice from the darkness shouted, ‘Mbaya umenyoji.’ He replied feeling cocky, ‘Ndio ndio.’ Again the voice called out and he answered the same. So as days passed by it became a chorus when he was drunk.
    If only he knew what that meant. And since what is done in the darkness comes to light eventually, some ‘know it all’ boy and the dorm prefect leaked to him what it meant. In class they say, hell has no fury like a scorned woman but on this day hell had no fury like Mbaya! It was a Saturday night. Names were called and I did not miss in the list. How could I?

    The following day a Sunday we were called to the staff room while the rest left for church. We worked on our buttocks so many strokes. So many that we lost count. We cried and yelled until our eyed, mouths, throats became dry. Our buttocks pained for weeks. We could hardly sit down. We borrowed sweaters and dusters to add on our chairs for us to sit. We applied ointment and they took forever to heal. Bad influence. Avoid it son.

    During my final year in basic school, though I encountered problems with ‘n’ and ‘m’ in kiswahili, I had become so good in English, Maths, Homescience and Art and Craft. So good that the whole class looked upon me for help during the final exam. I was promised bribes in form of chips and Maandazis. I happily took them in and I generously helped most of my classmates in their exam such that I forgot to do mine well. Well as it was expected of me but I managed 507 marks in KCPE 1998. The best mark in the village during that generation and for decades. From this long story I hope you have learnt some lessons. I will tell you my high school story when I take you there on the first day in February 2027. Happy Schooling days Jabez.

    1. D.B cooper, Are you new here? We do not want to read your blog on Biko’s post. This is a comment section, for his post up there if you did not notice. Please save us from this.

  42. Biko Biko..the shower curtain is used to prevent splashing water all over the floors as you shower…..Enjoyed that piece definitely adding sky diving to my bucket list.

  43. ha ha great article. I jumped in Diani in 2014, it was an awesome experience and I would encourage all to do it. You will never look at the skies the same way after that. Though Biko if you thought this was frightening, let me challenge you to take the roller coaster ride called “anaconda” in jo’burgs Golden Reef Theme park. Now that is fright in 7D, but after the ride waooohhhh it will be all worth it.

  44. “The best part of the jump for me is when we stabilized. I think we must have dropped for a minute or so, heady adrenaline and then finally we seemed to be floating like you see in movies, the wind, now a song, and there was Richelle, floating towards us and coming so close to me I high-fived her, and she blew a kiss and floated away like an angel in the wind.”

    And THAT …. is called Trailblazing!

  45. I don’t know about the 30K…but it doesn’t hurt to have that in my bucket-list, but probably I will do a stop-over on my way to the Slopes head for the bungee….been putting this off for the longest 🙂 … Hilarious 🙂

  46. WiFi wins. I am with you there Biko. (and a hot water kettle) Hope the hotels are reading this. As for skydiving, I am out. Let me remain a tortoise. Can’t stand a plane taking off or landing!

  47. Good read but sky diving not on the bucket list Like why jump out of a perfectly good plane?? Living vicariously through you Biko…next adventure paragliding maybe??

  48. Been reading but never commented. I walked to the plane with you, jumped off with you and read very fast to see if you landed ok. In the end I was lightheaded, either from the jump or the laughter!! Thank you.

  49. And I feel sleepy.Gosh ,I could use a pillow.Yanick do you have a pillow up here? wow you did it for me.Showing fear the middle finger.Awesome post Biko.And pass my regards to Maina the Tortoise

  50. I’ve read this blog for years. I’ve never left a comment. But today, I must. Biko, this is the best piece you’ve written hands down!

  51. Great piece. Recently, I agreed to accompany my son on that silly ‘boat’ that is popular in many amusement parks,where this guy operates a gadget that swings this ‘boat’ that you are strapped in from side to side till it is fully vertical. Gosh, the nausea, the diarrhea, insanity…I felt all these,while my son laughed all the way. So, with that in mind, I’ll not be jumping off any plane in the foreseeable future, thank you very much.

  52. Weird how some people here want to bungee jump and not skydive. Bungee jumping is a one man fete; you have nothing to cling onto but your fears.

  53. Nice read Biko. I love the way the story twists from Maina being a tortoise to wifi and bathroom curtains to Yanick, the jump and finally with you reassuring yourself that you are not gay. My day is made as usual.

  54. Hahaha biko am also scared of heights cz they shw me the reality of death. Bt kudos u did it. Nw thts one thing I’d never do. Ever. Abt being straight? uum I gez u still r cz smtyms adrenaline n fear cn make u aroused

  55. Ati ‘..i hold my hardness close to my shoulder’ Gremlins sure choose the wwrong place to appear! Or are you really that endowed?

  56. Hehe you Biko, how do we Kissii’s scream? Anyways congratulations!! You can now walk around with your big forehead bragging that you have skydived. Cant stop imagine those kids gathering around you, asking each other if you were alive… heheheee. Thank you for jumping off! Heheheheeee made my evening and I just had to listen to Breathe Again.

  57. I haven’t laughed so hard all year (yeah, I know the year is young, I’ll give you more time) It has actually prompted a reply and convinced me that not only do my people not go jumping out of planes at 10,000ft but I’d happily join SDA before I attempt to tempt fate. Next time I’m in Watamu, I’ll stay away from Yanick since he sounds like just the sort of chap to convince me to overcome height and weight. Again, thumbsup on this.

  58. I have never left a comment here, but I’ve not been happy so far this week, nothing and noone has made me smile, but Biko, you’ve made me laugh. I love your articles. one day I’ll look for Yanick

  59. I Like how you emphasized the need for Wifi at Hotels. Jumping out of a plane is brave but definitely not for everyone.
    This is a good piece but I did not laugh as I usually do after reading your posts.

  60. I think being cautious is also a good thing,so i’m not losing my head anytime soon over skydiving or bungee jumping or any other scary stuff; a banana boat ride was enough scare for a lifetime

  61. Cheers to showing fear the middle finger!!Meanwhile yes they ,make you sign a waiver – break a leg, crack a tooth you are on your own my friend..I remember signing it going like oh em gee what am I doing…the scariest part is actually when the door opens and the wenyejis start jumping out one by one and then the one in front of you jumps and it hits you oh snap its me next…

  62. I’ve done it and I agree with you the best part is the free fall when you stabilize and you get to float in nothingness- Amazing!! I was a lot calmer than you though really not as scary as it looks. You’re a brave man Biko.

  63. I am not sure what will happen to me up there because i am so afraid of heights. Especially where i can clearly see that there is nothing to hold or break my fall. I understand the part that you are aroused. Its the thrill of achieving!

  64. Guy had an angel come to him for a hi5 (as in literally) , blew him a kiss and flew away to await him somewhere down in malindi… and wonders why ‘was aroused? Huh what else is bliss!

  65. I remember thinking, Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye? But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last… tsst! that how they feel Biko

  66. “…But then I realize that I’m the one with a problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last…” sending a message to ladies, they clearly state it, expressly or implied! hahahaha good one Biko!

  67. weh!!!! my heart feels like I was up there with y’all.And that pillow..Hahaha! I doubt you’d have used it Jackson.

    Nice piece. 🙂

  68. I literally boarded that plane…and there was adrenaline rushing through me and my core was tight the whole time!!!! Screw Yanick….how could he just push us off the plane before we had finished breathing……that for sure was a sky diving experience for me!!!! I feel like saying gimme more!!!

  69. I have felt the wind slap my face as i jumped off the plane and landed on the beach with you…chocolate man you’ve done it again. Fantastic read.

  70. But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last.Dont we all wish they atleast pretended to understand this,Tired of being a ghost reader.

  71. 3 times I’ve registered for sky diving, 3 times I’ve pulled out.Now an even sure I don’t wanna do it.Thanks for the insight Biko

  72. all i can say is this…. “hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha”

  73. always wanted to skydive, still do but imma first finish school and get my own money. no way I see mzee kohoaring 30k ati for what??thrill of life

  74. Nice write up. I always dreamt of skydiving…. I guess this is the closest I will ever get to it. Thank you for the experience…..

  75. “Mimi nakubalia sana na huyo mjamaa Sulu alikataa kuruka, unaweza ruka halafu uanguke juu ya ngombe ya mtu…”

    This Biko Zulu substance is addictive. Never getting enough of it. Halfway through this skydiving piece I felt myself flying until I realised I was lying on my cosy mattress!

  76. Congratulations on making the jump. Yanick has a great style, like a surgeon relaxing a patient. When you said the plane was tiny, I had no concept of that what that meant, until I saw the video of Minister Balala’s jump!

  77. hahahaha.. I have laughed so hard my boss is looking at me weird. Ohh Biko, you will kill me one day. Epic epic read. Ati people scream in all kinds of languages.lol

  78. Adrenaline immediately kicks in shaking my body, my breath falls short and I feel my bladder filling up and as I hold my hardness* close to my shoulder…..#dead

  79. 1st comment by someone who’ve been there done that, and makes the T-shirts for the rest of em. Should I aim for the last to comment position tho haha. Nice read Biko

  80. har har!! For the record, shower curtains keep the water from flooding the floor..
    I’m yet to sky dive, scuba dive, bungee jump, white water raft or any of those adrenaline pumping activities travel writers participate in..sigh..at least I’ve sat with tigers (they were asleep) and kissed giraffes (some were unwilling..they just wanted the pellets!!)

  81. I read this and it was like I was jumping all over again! I could feel the moment. I would definitely do it again, just for the thrill.

  82. WiFi versus Mirror? Mirror wins. President declares national holiday to celebrate Mirror’s victory. Mirror becomes a huge deal. WiFi aspires to be Mirror when he grows up.

  83. I wanted to be last to comment, just for kicks.

    I loved sky diving. What I remember most was falling at 200kpm/h and I couldn’t breathe. Then the chute got released and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was the most exhilarating feeling. Everyone should do it.

  84. Well I love your brilliance. I have read some of your previous posts and laughed but this one just made me laugh harder and it also made me comment for the first time lol from start to finish I was either laughing or smiling with a vivid image of your experience … God bless you man

  85. Excellent work Biko.Ieading it i felt as though I was the one strapped with yanick.Quite thrilling I may say…and funny too.

  86. You were aroused? Would hate to be Candy and read that.haha

    ION, i don’t get all the fuss about commenting first. I wait for people to comment then go through the comments after reading.
    First commentors are missing a lot!

  87. I only got to read this today!!!! How did I miss it. I think my matatu sit mate is positive I was high on something my ribs hurt from laughing. Biko you will kill me some day.Now I know being SDA can actually get u off some hooks. Hilarious.

  88. Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye? But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last.HAHAHAHAHAH HILLARIOUS damn you
    Biko

  89. This got me thinking that i could easily be a tortoise. It scares me to just think about skydiving and yet i always regard myself as outdoorsy and extroverted. But really Biko you felt aroused after? Is that a figure of speech? Tihihihi. Topic for a thesis paper. “Is there a Relationship between Skydiving and getting aroused” Lol.

  90. Gosh, is his how women feel? I mean a man will poke you and when he’s done he will leave you without goodbye? But then I realise that I’m the one with the problem because he specifically said that I wasn’t his first neither was I going to be his last. . . . . . hahahahaha This phrase here was a killer .. .. .its kinda how we feel

  91. I went skydiving last year too and I agree the most horrifying moment is when that door opens and you are 10,000 feet in the sky! Yikes!Crazy insane!

  92. I went skydiving yesterday from 14000ft in Houston Tx!
    Rachel is right! When that door opens , you feel like your
    life is over ! There were about 7 of us jumping ( you could see the terror in everyone’s face .. People forcing fake smiles and legs literally shaking with fear !)The moment the first person jumped off , the planes tail kinda jolted up because she weighed over 250lbs . My heart stopped … I think ! And my dive instructor kept pushing me down the
    bench! We jumped off at 120miles /hr … It was cold , like
    38F, you try to scream and the wind dries all the saliva in
    your mouth , freezes your teeth like you’re biting ice! The guy taking pics and videos of the jump did a good job
    diving next to me and tryna make me laugh and we had
    full conversations up there once I got used to it . When the parachute opens , you feel like you will never reach be
    ground . Biko is right , everything looks small and all you wonna do is
    land! You guys have to try it !

  93. Heeheheheheheheh…….you felt what after landing ? Crazy biko…..nice read . Never dreamt of sky diving but after reading this ,am now contemplating on doing it

  94. Nice read. I’m reading this for the second time. It’s 2.52 am. Insomniac. Thought of reading something and guess what I search on Google? “Bikozulu skydiving”