I think every Kenyan (including my youngest baby shark) has been exposed to construction, especially for those who live in Nairobi. The rate of development in housing and roads has grown rapidly over the last few years. Its the view we are forced to take in when seated in our endless traffic jams. Contradiction there kidogo eh… roads being built yet there is more traffic. There is always a mjengo everywhere we turn. Like those tall apartment and office blocks under construction with that long, yellow, metallic contraption that goes round the sky like the hands of a huge clock. The view from the small operator’s cockpit must be spectacular but I’m already dizzy imagining I would be there.

Anyway, this is not a mjengo article and I am not an expert in that area. To me 40 is like a reconstruction phase where old plans are made away with and new ones need to be adopted so as to deal with the current life changes. I have seen photos of what Nairobi looked like more than 40 years back. The CBD then looked like a tidier version of Nyanyuki town today minus the bodabodas. Nice and orderly with a few people. I remember losing my kid bro once in Buru where we grew up. He wandered away as I played one touch soccer with my pals in the estate (only 40s folks can remember one touch ball). Then jioni as I got home my mum asked me, ”Where is your brother?” Like the silly boy I was I answered, ”I dont know.”

She internalized her rage and we set out to look for him. To cut the long story short, we found him in another house. The lady there told us she met him seating at the bus stop alone and decided to go home with him after reporting to the cops. You can all imagine what happened when we got home. My mum assaulted (not disciplined) me for days. It was like those private torture sessions we see in movies. Maybe I am even traumatised and not aware. I should see a shrink perhaps eh… but looking back, I realise mum needed to drive foolishness out of me for me to stand a good chance at making it in this life. I love you mother.

That’s how safe Nairobi was those days. It was like urban shags. I wonder if that is why a lot of our folks went back shags after retirement, because they missed the Nairobi that was back then. Maybe folks would even shop on credit like how we used to pick milk and gazeti from mama Edu’s kiosk in our hood then pay later. Imagine today going into Woolworths at Yaya centre and picking some clothes then you say nitalipa kesho as you walk out.. That’s a sure way of becoming a guest of the state pap.

When I look back at my 20s and 30s life was faster, more contractual and project centred. I always worked on projects, be it to buy an asset or build a business. There was always something I was working towards and that seemed to be the norm with my peers too. In fact one of my fears was falling sick. The thought of being immobile terrorised me. I had to always be on the move. Going on leave was a foreign phenomenon. I was on a high.

Then once the lift opened and spit me out on fourth floor, it’s like I had forgotten my operating manual at the reception on ground floor. The high was gone and I was now nursing a hangie. I am finding that everything I do now requires a new approach. Clearly my first half master plan can now be used to wrap nyama at the butchery, especially now that jualas have been banned. I need a new plan for my second half that is not so project centred. Now my tasks seem more people oriented. I am having more conversations with people and fewer projects to accomplish. Maybe people are my new projects. I know that sounds wrong and not very well meaning. But I’m finding that the terms of engagement I used on my projects or tasks back then do not fit too well when dealing with people now. For instance I recently had a catch up drink with a pal and after a few hours of stories we ended up leaving because it got dark, not because we were done. We left it at to be continued whereas a project’s success is in how well you finish and close it.

One thing I like about these new drawings that I am now making for my second half is that I am both the architect and the drawings fit much more with who I am becoming. I am now the biggest stakeholder in these plans compared to my earlier pre 40 drawings that took other players interests much more into account. However, please note I am not complaining about my earlier life. It was a good life having gone off the beaten track of employment from my teens. I loved it. Maybe both this plans are similar only that I now feel less guilty doing what I want. And the need to seek approval is much less. In fact I am now the kanjo of my life so drawings are approved much faster.

I hope to construct some nice bypasses and interchanges that will ensure less traffic jam (and pollution of course) and my jungle will be less concrete and greener. The green represents life giving activities and restorations in people. That’s what I feel my future entails. Infact sometimes I feel like I could just get up and go into the day to have conversations with people then go back home jioni. So its okay to have good, constructive chats with folks that represent your future. These conversations act as fuel and a compass into the life you want for yourself. That is my view.

Just like the bypasses that we are all familiar with, these conversations are helping me and a few folks get where we want to be faster and the ride is more enjoyable. They have some bumps and rumble strips on them to ensure I slow down and appreciate my surroundings plus also to ensure that I do not fall asleep on the wheel. I have given a few people some meddling rights to act as bumps and strips so that I remain in check. You cannot afford to fall off 4th floor, it can be fatal.

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8 thoughts on “Reconstruction.”

  1. Levi Marang'a says:

    Very nice bro. Reconstruction is critical especially if you are the contractor

  2. Franklin says:

    I feel you on the people-oriented part…to be continued…

  3. Njeri says:

    Now my tasks seem more people oriented
    And the need to seek approval is much less.
    The green represents life giving activities and restorations in people. That’s what I feel my future entails.

    Those three lines …that is what life is about. Purpose revolves around people. It is Others’ centered. I guess that’s why they say life begins at 40.

  4. Muthoni says:

    Lovely read. Just some trauma in the memory of our warlord mothers. Thank God though for that I turned out well.

  5. Dr.B says:

    I like that…helping others reconstruct their lives as yours is also being reconstructed.. ..

  6. Lucas says:

    yes Daktari, kusaidiana

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