The Girl Is The Flower

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Where do you find the best pork in East Africa? Well, there is a small quaint kibanda in Wandegeya, Uganda, just near Makerere University. It is run by a Ugandan lady and her (then) teenage daughter with the loveliest of legs. The place is a shack. You balance on a bench, wedged between a Ugandan and another Ugandan. The light is feeble. The chatter is blue collar. You are served on a fake silver plate. Outside, Wandegeya sprawls with hawkers and boda bodas and Makerere students wandering about their business. I can’t remember its name but it’s got the best pork you will ever eat. Hands down. And this is not an exaggeration. We used to go there between 2002 and 2005. Unforgettable.

The other place with the second best pork in East Africa? 1824 Bar in Langata.

Call a guy called Anthony and order yours.  Tell him, “I will be there in an hour,” so that you don’t have to wait. They fry it with onions. It’s not wet, and neither is it dry. It’s just right. You will feel the pepper at the tip of your tongue and the spices tickling the back of your nose. It comes with fresh veggies and ugali. Once in awhile when I want to feed the body what the it craves, I go there on a Saturday at 1pm, have lunch and leave by 2.30 pm before the young-uns start trooping in to take their rightful places.

Something very beautiful happened last Saturday when I left 1824 at 2.15pm after lunch.

So I was stuck in the infamous Langata traffic jam heading to the T-Mall/ Mbagathi roundabout. It was not moving. I was listening to Kidum’s cracker that I had only just discovered and was currently obsessed with, “Mungu Anaweza,” because it’s sabbath and all.

Now, across the road, on the walkway, was a man in his late 40’s or early 50s. He was overweight, short and had on a checkered shirt (might or might not be a Kikuyu) and was clutching at a black polythene bag (might or might not contain land title deeds). He was with this small, lovely girl about 3 years old, dressed in those wonderful flowered frocks that kids love and these pink shoes with what looked like bells on them. I bet those shoes made sounds when she walked. I bet when she was left the house she was walking while looking at her shoes. Hell, I was looking at her shoes. She had chubby cheeks and was clutching at a plastic doll that perhaps the man might or might not have bought for her from those hawkers near Nyayo stadium. She seemed so happy that little girl, happy and innocent and beautiful. Perhaps they were from an outing that she had been looking forward to the whole week, and she had slid and swung and built plastic castles and had eaten ice cream and chips and ridden on her father’s shoulders, and if you would have told that guy that she could possibly get any happier than she already was, she would have stomped on your big toe with her gorgeous pink belled shoes and told you that you were a big bad bushy liar. And God doesn’t like you. Hehe. You know the expression “cute as a button”? That expression fit that little girl.

So the two were standing there looking up at this big tree right after Sunshine Academy. It had these white fern-like flowers. The man was staring up and the little girl was staring up, and from my car I could see her neck, ringed and folded with baby fat. She clutched at her doll with her pudgy little hands. Then the man started jumping up, trying to grab at the white fern-like flowers but he couldn’t reach them because he was short and overweight. He kept jumping and missing. The flower was too far. Everytime he jumped and missed the little girl giggled because his big belly jiggled. Every time he jumped the little girl giggled. And his belly jiggled. Then I started giggling too.

Now we are all sitting in this traffic that isn’t moving so really what is there to look at? And sure enough most motorists are looking at this man jump for his daughter, a herculean task. (Always wanted to use that word). He put down his black paper bag and then kept jumping and missing and at some point I thought, ‘Hey what would happen if I went and helped him get that flower?’ But then again it would not have been the same for the little girl because all she wanted was a flower from her daddy, not some intrusive guy with an odd forehead. Plus the daddy might take offence at trying to outshine him before his girl and punch me in the throat, and that would make the motorists giggle and the ruin this little girl’s day. And who wants to spoil a little girl’s day? Not Chocolate Man.

I wondered why he couldn’t just  lift the girl on his shoulder and have her pluck that flower. But again, that’s not the same is it, because he wanted to GET it for her, not have her get it. So he jumped. And missed. Jumped and missed. Poor daddy. The little girl giggled and giggled. I bet motorists silently rooted for Short Fat Daddy. We all rooted for him, willed him to jump higher. Daddy kept jumping. And missing. Then he started laughing. Daddy jumped and laughed and missed and jiggled and little pretty thing giggled. At some point I wanted to roll down my passenger window and shout, “YOU CAN DO IT PAPA SMURFS! YOU CAN DO IT!” but that was a private daddy-daughter moment, right there on the walkway of Langata road at 2.30pm, the moment fathers jump for their daughters.

You will not believe this, but that man eventually exerted himself and plucked the flower. I swear I was so happy I wanted to clap. Imagine if all the motorists had started clapping for Smurf, like people do when a pilot lands a plane after mad turbulence, or in the movie when the good guys save the nation after a tense moment?

Daddy bent and handed the flower to the little cute thing in those shoes I wanted to steal and hang in my car. She beamed and giggled and put the flower to her nose and smelled the unrelenting love of her father and daddy picked his black paper bag that might or might not have contained land title deeds, grabbed the little angel’s hand and together they walked away, oblivious at how they had changed the onlookers with this momentous expression of love.  

I swear that was the purest thing I had seen in weeks, especially now that everything has become so rabid and putrid, and shit is burning and people are torching stuff and frothing at the mouth. And this morning I was thinking about them; that man and his daughter and it just bloody makes you mushy, to see that compassion and dedication and love.

Hang on, is someone not going to play a violin here already? Come on guys, I’m bleeding my heart here and no violins? Nkt.

Anyway. I wrote this post this morning. The post I wanted to run today is on ice because the chap who sells space here, Ben, and the client couldn’t agree. We wanted to kick-start a campaign today but the client wants to pay less and Ben won’t take less. So everybody has dug their oars in and there is a meeting that is going to happen right about now, and there is a chance the client will stick with the amount they had suggested and Ben will walk away from that money. So he told me to hold it and I thought I might as well plug this space with the story of that little girl and her heroic father. Because we look for heroes all over; men who climb mountains and take over cities, but the heroes are the little men and women who do things that nobody will ever know.

I think right now the little girl is probably at school, in her baby class adorned with paintings of cartoons and big numbers on walls, and she’s sitting at her small desk doodling with crayons and giggling with her best friend Cindy while turning her nose at Jerome because he’s a boy and boys are stupid. And that man, that fat daddy with the heart of a lion, is probably at his workstation and nobody knows what he did over the weekend. When his mates ask him how the weekend was do you think he will say he plucked a flower for his daughter? He will say, “Ah, the weekend was quiet, boss. Nothing much happened.” Nobody will ever find out that when his daughter wanted a high hanging flower and he was too heavy to reach it, he kept at it until he got it.

If you went to that little girl today in school and you asked her who she thinks is a hero she won’t say Dora. She will probably say, “my daddy.” Because daddy jumps and daddy jiggles and daddy gets the flower.

Isn’t life beautiful, guys? Isn’t that the purest form of beauty?

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241 Comments
    1. Oh noo… Kumbe I wasn’t the only one waiting on the blog minutes before this coming up? Lol! Issorait! Can we read now? Haha…

  1. Awesome, I could picture the man jumping up and down and the joy of his daughter giggling. The beauty in life’s little moments

  2. Such a cute story and thanks Biko for not failing your readers despite the disagreement between Ben and the Client. You give us something to look forward to. That makes you a hero too.

  3. I will look out for this kibanda place with the best pork when I get to Uganda.

    Somehow this post reminded me of a quote:
    ““Earth’s crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God,
    But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
    The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
    ― Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    You can bet a couple of motorists saw this daddy girl moment…most may have been looking down at their phones and iPads, liking comments and pictures on facebook, chatting away on whatsapp. It’s amazing what we can see when we are not distracted.

    2
    1. Profound quote right there. Sound much like people that’d chuck 2k for a gig only to go and film the artists (from within a sweaty crowd maybe a couple of rows from the front) with their iPad instead of shaking thier bums to the music and savoring the moments as they unfold.

  4. i am the fourth…i am a father of four, from three mothers, and all of the mothers know i love my daughter most…i read this, and pictured my daughter, and i cried with love…such simple, pure love… spiritual work Biko..spiritual…

  5. I wish I were there to watch you,The father and the little girl It must have been a spectacle, a breath taking moment. I feel all mushy too.

  6. It is indeed the purest form of beauty…in life the simplest things are the most beautiful, we need to remember that!!

    Thank you for the insight, Mr. Chocolate… 🙂

  7. Ati might or might not be Kikuyu – is the checked shirt a thing now Biko? Damn, you know I have checked shirts bana! Now everytime I wear that kafavourite one I’ll be tempted to justify myself before the throne of that lightskin goddess that I am chasing. Anywho, herculean sacrifices for the people we love are what makes it worthwhile – I mean the love. Imagine if that guy with a jiggly stomach never made an attempt at the flower! The bell-shoed daughter would probably thing he’s a douche for not jumping and jiggling trying to get it. And the flower might or might not matter but the attempt does.
    Nice read as usual.
    Good week Gang!

    1
    1. If u hadn’t mentioned the checked shirt kikuyu relation i wudnt hv looked at ur profile pic next to ur name. Biko u called it. Ha ha.

    2. He’s right you know. I made an observation of my supervisor all through last week in a field assignment and he donned….drumroll….checked shirts! Six days of the week..and yeah he’s a Kuyo
      mais vivre et laisser vivre

  8. I’m crying at my desk and guys must be thinking the pregnant one has gone bananas. Thanks Biko. I wish I had such a Dad n Daughter Memory to look back on. Was rooting for daddy to get that flower so hard!

    1. Biko was too emotional to mind his spellings.
      Very true. Heroes dont just save planets only, they save your souls too. One day I want to be my kid’s hero.

    2. What about you enjoy this beautiful read without minding the typos. Sad if you can read such an article and all that catches your attention are the typos

    3. you missed heaven while looking at typos. Caroline Achieng thanks for the quote
      ““Earth’s crammed with heaven,
      And every common bush afire with God,
      But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
      The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
      ― Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  9. Awwww! sounds so adorable, I love the way daughters make their daddies mushy n bring out the tender child within a short fat man with a jiggling belly……. ” he jumped, he jiggled and she giggled…”

    1. Daddies and their princesses….amazing what a child can turn even
      the most composed and rectangle person into.
      That little girl knows daddy will stop at nothing to give her what
      her heart desires.

  10. I was mad at the late post…now I am all mush!
    “I bet motorists silently rooted for Short Fat Daddy. We all rooted for him, willed him to jump higher. Daddy kept jumping. And missing. Then he started laughing. Daddy jumped and laughed and missed and jiggled and little pretty thing giggled.”
    Cuteness overload!

  11. I had a feeling this was a last minute-r, but its good all the same.
    The one time a belly is not frowned upon.. seems like there might just be hope for them after all

  12. I don’t know how many times I had to stop and pluck flowers by the roadside for my then one and half year old daughter as we went to church or as I dropped her to day care. It was actually routine. That was 6-7 months ago. But then we moved to the city and no flowers grow in the city. I can relate with Smurf here. Only that I am not short and big bellied and would not jiggle if I jumped. This post made me miss those moments.

  13. Aaaaaw! We also shouldn’t give up when the tide is high and rough because it shall calm down someday. ION I also secretly clap for the pilot when he/she lands the plane safely after a turbulent situation.

  14. I love the imagery of that Dad just spending time with his daughter doing something so normal and yet so extraordinary at the same time!
    None of them will remember why but that afternoon’s shenanigans will make their bond so much tighter! She’ll grow up to only settle for a man who makes her feel as special as her dad made her feel that day!

  15. Is it just me or has biko developed a love for shoes…ladies shoes… your birthday’s coming up chocolate man, yes?

  16. the last 3 profile pics have being of beautiful young ladies with minimal glorification of ‘yellow yellow’ skin. its subtle and highly welcomed.

    1. I had an awesome Dad. Best man on the planet. I thank God for every minute we had with him.
      Memories galore 🙂

  17. Hey Gang
    Have you noticed that this Ben guy will one day starve us here, somebody needs to talk to Ben, if he disagrees witj his clients that should be his business,no,ok,never say i didnt warn you, This Ben need to be watched,camerad on him 24hrs,just incase he disagrees with anathor client

  18. Smiled all way as i did the reading.Nice,very nice.But Biko the pork served at Soiree Gardens on Ngong road is worth trying too,they can give wakina Anthony some compe

  19. You know at the beginning of the post I was like 18 has the best pork ever! It’s the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Now we have to find this Wandegeya place.

  20. Beautiful moment there you captured. Trust a story teller to see beyond the ordinary and share that moment with all. Lovely piece.

  21. Beautiful piece, I felt the love. Also there a joint in Chaka, and not Chaka Ranch that has some awesome pork. My colleagues and I would hepa job for it. All the way from Nyeri.

  22. …the amount of times I refreshed my email for THE new post notification,
    anyway it is the little things that make the greatest of differences

  23. Anyone here who has by any chance come across one of those mganga poster with one that can make ‘first to comment’ commentors go AWAY?or who can make them seek total and complete absolution from this terrible transgression? Anyone?

    That aside, beautiful piece as usual Biko. Am glad it’s the kikuyus’ turn to be roasted up in here, these days. Acha wakisii tupumue hahaha hah…

  24. I’m reading this in a mathree on waiyaki way, holding my phone against my belly. These bellies have value. They can make daughters giggle..

  25. Come to think of it… I just read, digest it and never comment. Ghost fan but the three or so years I’ve been reading;are worth the reading. Thanks chocolate mam.

  26. The best pork I’ve had is in Thika. Pork Center.
    But so many fake ‘Pork center’ and ‘Pork City’ cropped up.
    It’s hard to remember which was the original one.

  27. Dads like that make me look forward to having my own kids in future. More of these “mushy” posts please. Awesome post.

  28. aaaawww!! I think life is made memorable by those moments…you have just re-inforced the point that money does not buy happiness.
    I have realised that only when you are in a peaceful state of mind, will you notice such kind of things in their fullness..i’m sure there were other motorist who saw the jumping man but did not fully comprehend what he was doing

  29. I remember eating pork at Kamocha…and also this post also is like fresh baked cookies, butterflies, hot air balloon ride and the smell of rain!so good…

  30. reading this while listening to “In my daughter’s eyes by Martina McBride.. Beautiful article Chocolate man.

  31. I was craving my Tuesday dose from Dr. Biko. I’m glad I got it. This piece has made me call my dad. We used to share such father-daughter moments (without the flowers) when I was younger but time, life and work got in the way. *sigh*
    Thank you Bill for the reminder.

      1. Who is bill? This is not an auto correct,if it was I would expect to see a bin,bible,bing instead of Biko not bill;Why are you cheating on me with Bill G? 🙂 🙂

  32. reminds of a photo of my dad holding little me and a flower…. the things our dads do for us.. awesome as always

  33. For a moment I thought you were hyping 1824. Phew! Pure love right there. Heart warming piece especially after Tear Gas Monday.

  34. especially now that everything has become so rabid and putrid, and shit is burning and people are torching stuff and frothing at the mouth.

  35. “Every time he jumped the
    little girl giggled. And his belly
    jiggled. Then I started giggling
    too.”and I started giggling too;-)

  36. You should have seen me laughing as I read the part where the dad kept jumping & missing. Biko. We need more fathers like that. He’s also my hero

  37. Such small things done with the purest intent of love are breathtaking even to passersby. And I second Njooro the joint at Chaka is on point.

  38. bucomet for the sizzling sensibilities of a muslim the piece is full of love and
    who said there was not enough to go around as we welcome the holi month of
    ranadhan with fast and reflections?a beautiful piece

  39. Beautiful and quite detailed – Your description of that girl. I bet Tamm’s would be jealous to hear all the nice things you have said about this little girl. Young ones can get jealous and possessive, you know. That’s how much they love their parents. I smiled all the way through!

  40. Good to know people still do things out of genuine affection and not for show otherwise this would be another day filled with selfies on instagram, twitter Facebook along with commentary like #my daughter tings #i love her so much, #walk along langata…and such putrid things hehe

  41. Such beautiful moments we find in passing. I love it when I experience such moments. One that comes to my mind is when I saw a matatu conductor hold a little baby for a lady alighting. Him all shabby and rough and the kid, so small and tender, bundled in a clean shawl. That contrast was so breathtaking.

    Such moments are to be held at heart. I always feel so lucky when I encounter such.

  42. Life indeed is beautiful when we take the time to smell the roses and notice acts of genuine love and not fixating on grandiose gestures.Love is not what you say, its what you do.

  43. Now youve made me want to have a daughter as a first born. So I can dress her like a doll and buy her nice shoes. I could almost hear her giggling as i read the post…but I sure won’t be overweight. Nice read Biko.

    1. as you plan to become a parent,do make the mistake made by many middle class parents of living their missed life through their children.

  44. Going to stop by as the violin music plays in my head to say…Happy forthcoming Father’s day to all Daddies(not the other kind tho’)…
    The world would be a little bit gloomier without you…
    And oohhh…see you at the kafunda in Wandegeya when you come by..
    Might be good plot for Daddy on Sunday

  45. About Wandegeya…Very true! Like the way how you jump from pork to jiggling jumping guy hugging his black ‘kavera’.. You have arrived OB! KIU ( 01-05)

  46. Awww…that was a rare a sight indeed…there is hope yet for our daughters. There are daddies out there who can be heroes and don’t just sit around beers with the boys.

  47. Happy ending. I kept hoping Daddy gets the flower as I was reading through. And you still wonder why girls love their Daddies? They will always be the lion in our eyes.

  48. When you mentioned the ‘violin’, I remembered the beautiful piece you did on Valentines,titled ‘A letter’. And then the repeated rooting for the girl’s dad, reminded me of Alley Cats and how you rooted for Mark to score.
    I loved it.

    http://www.lusekacafe.com

  49. nothing more beautiful than innocence and purity…….if you have a dad appreciate them…..they make as much efforts as mummy

  50. Beautifully narrated. Makes you reflect on all the scenes that have ever aligned themselves to your vision; you looked but did you really see? Thanks Biko for not just looking but actually “seeing” the moment for what it really was.

  51. Incredible story…fatherhood has become sort of a lost art,kama tu the delicious pork,and this brought a little faith to me. I wish that little child joy beyond what that flower could give her

  52. a herculean task! Pauses….opens dictionary and bingo! I knew it had something to do with Hercules!

    Nice read Biko….hadi unatumia sound patterns! Jiggled and giggled!

  53. Did he have a bunch of keys hanging from the belt loop on the side….did he Biko?…its all i can think of after you mentioned checked shirt and title deeds…

  54. I swear I can see the short fat daddy and the little thing. And the way he jumped, and missed. And his belly jiggled. And I’m giggling with his daughter.

  55. the best pork I always at some dingy place somewhere.My friend once dragged me all the way to gachie to some kibanda to eat the best pork ever. I cant even kumbuka the name of the place now,or if it even still exists, but it was worth the trip.So im skeptical over 1824.imforever a kibanda for pork convert.

  56. Absolutely beautiful…..i want to cry….not because I’m sad…may be Biko you should dedicate this to all the fathers on father’s Day.

  57. Great article Biko. Loved the dad/daughter moment. I can identify with that. Talking about best pork in East Africa, there is a place in Kunduchi, Dar es Salaam called Rudy’s Farm. Now that is pork heaven my guy…

  58. aaaaawwwww, how sweet. All dads need to make memories with their kids, especially girl child. I still have the best childhood memories of my daddy. How he would drop me to school every morning on his bicyle. And the most embarassing fall we had (yes me and him) on his bike, infront of the other kids.

  59. Special moments are made of the simplest of gestures. You have no excuse of failing to be there for your loved ones. At all.

  60. Wow . . . . Biko u have a way of making little things look/sound spectacular. I got no Words to explain how u normally make my days with ur witful writing . .. . . . . What would the gang do without you Chocolate Man?

  61. “I bet when she was left the house she was walking while looking at her shoes.” I know there was an error here.

  62. There you go daddies…you have no excuse to spend time with your little flowers…it’s the small funky little things you do. Thanks chocolate man. You made my afternoon’

  63. Aaaw,am probably too old to say this but my daddy is my hero too..*hehe n Jeromes r stupid* thanks “Chocolate man with an odd foregead”

  64. Magical moments!Witnessed something similar in a mat the other day.Some tall guy standing in a mat carrying his daughter’s backpack.when they got to the school he alighted,put the backpack on his daughter’s back,removed 2 white hankys put one in her pocket and tied some coins to the other hanky,hugged her and gave her a kiss then whispered some words in her ear and a pat on the back!You should have seen the smile on the little gal as she dashed towards school like ‘bring it on Mr math,my daddy’s got me!’

  65. Biko please delete this FIRST! posters.Aki I get so annoyed by them.It is the most infantile thing after tribalism!NKT!!

  66. Eti you wanted to steal her shoes to hang in your car… Biko yawa! Whatever goes on in that forehead lol

  67. At some point I wanted to roll down my passenger window and shout, “YOU CAN DO IT PAPA SMURFS! YOU CAN DO IT!”
    Despite reading this almost a year later in a banking hall, I just couldn’t contain myself. How do you call a grown up Papa Smurf