What does the word intrusion mean to you?
Did scooping Githeri with your dirty hands from your grandma’s black pot ever cross you anything like an act of intrusion?
For girls raised by men who married their mothers later in life; did you ever lock eyes with your stepdad? Did it cut you the wrong way? Did you go to bed thinking that the mere chance of eye contact amounts to a violation of privacy?
Nanyuki is worse. It’s a town where the locals feel like tourists and the tourists feel like locals. The racism you feel inside the beer chamber at Cedar Mall is eerie. Before we get distracted, Cedar Mall in Nanyuki has the best beer chamber in the country; a wide variety of brands collected around the world and placed in a cold room for random travelers to devour. And this beer room is a silent segregation; it reminds you that you are not the targeted customer.
When looking for a place for “bed and rest” in Nanyuki on your smartphone, it is advisable that you change location settings to a place like London or Ottawa.
The guards, it doesn’t matter whether they are guarding Lewa, Ol Pajeta or any other place whose one-night-stand price is higher than an accountant’s salary, are the metaphors of subcontracted racism, still.
Because, damn, if you browse from Nairobi the first pop up will be the old tired Kirimara, situated three inches off the main road. If you are alone, the receptionist at Kirimara will be surprised because they are not used to lone rangers.
If we were to settle the old sugarless debate about men and “inches”, then a random survey at Kirimara would provide adequate statistics to confirm that 99% of men have room for improvement.
If you are thinking that setting the location at Ottawa or Manchester will give you better results, dude, you are wrong. The thing will slide with headlines like “Nanyuki Apartment Evacuated”, “150 dummy Bombs found in Nanyuki”, “Cedar Mall under Terror Threat” and other stories meant to tell you to stay your ass in Manchester.
It did not take me long to learn that Nanyuki is a classic class ass contradiction, think Scott Fitzgerald’s East and West egg where the East represents black rich and West is White rich. Only that, in the case of Nanyuki, the in-betweeners are many and the ashes that they plant in their non-existent shambas do not grow. In their misery, they are pushed to find home in Nyakio, a place that is a bar, but much less so, as it is a group of bars where the fringe ordinaires of Nanyuki come to nurse alcohol addiction, some with plaster on their broken legs and others lacking basic manners, so much, that they negotiate sex price, loudly.
Of course, some of you will think that this analysis is unfair, that the mzungus in Nanyuki are friendly and easy. But remember I used the word eerie because the racism here is subcontracted to stupid black Kenyan nationals who wear badges of home guards. Chance is that the cashier at Dormans coffee will be impersonal and cold to you and the assistant at Cedar Mall will throw you a twisted glance when you buy Bulleit Bourbon, like to tell you that, that shit is not for Africans. At Moran or Mohegan, the mzungus will assume that Black males are not human and they will make moves at the girls as if they are on their own. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary.
Nanyuki is an intrusion.
And much worse.
It took me long wondering how the town tastes like. And you have to agree with me that there are things we know how they taste like even if we have never seen them, much less imagined them.
I concluded that Nanyuki tastes like a dog's semen.
I counted 139 regular revelers in Nanyuki. They move from one club to the next such that, if Moran is full, every other place will be empty.
But I needed perspective. I holla’d Mark*, a walking Nanyuki Repository of knowledge, who lives in the milking shed of the system, allowing him to survey the layers of subtle violence and romantic discrimination. The gaslighting, he says, was designed in colonial dinner rooms and poured atop Mt Kenya such that it seeps into water aquifers in the low lands. The guards, it doesn’t matter whether they are guarding Lewa, Ol Pajeta or any other place whose one-night-stand price is higher than an accountant’s salary, are the metaphors of subcontracted racism, still.
The assumption is that the economy of Nanyuki is supported by the British Army that trains from some (I guess) encroached land in the quiet side of the town.
True to some extent, when the trainees are released they splash out their money, just the same way you blew up your pocket money in the tuck shop the minute your parents left you off after you reported to Form 1 (this is for guys like me who didn’t attend academy, our first pocket money came when we reported to high school). It would suffice to say that they are seasonal and a town cannot depend on that for survival.
And the conservancies. The conservancies take more than they give and to say that they support the economy of Nanyuki would be an abuse to the locals.
A matter of fact is that Nanyuki is poor. The fast food places are slow and you should not be surprised if food from Choppies Supermarket takes your stomach on a run. I counted 139 regular revelers in Nanyuki. They move from one club to the next such that, if Moran is full, every other place will be empty. The situation in night clubs gets better on Fridays when Nairobians descend into the Laikipia County headquarters every weekend.
If the DJs in Nanyuki would stop talking when music is playing, then they would bag the award of the best entertainment town in Kenya. Yes, we will forgive them for repeating that “takataka” jam because they also play Blinky Bill. The crowds are good and less flamboyant and every big bar serves five beers for 1000 bob, either due to competition for the 139 revelers or as a result of a bad economy.
Is Nanyuki a good town for a home? It’s hard to tell, but Laikipia County is moving houses from their lackadaisical dusty offices six inches off the main road to Rumuruti, a town we will need a lot of reason to think of visiting. So, your guess is as good as mine.