Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40

Small Town.

I have watched movies that have those nasty looking bikers wearing stunners, bandanas on their heads and tattoos on their huge arms. They ride huge, black and loud motorbikes into the sunset with their hands raised high up to reach the bike handles. They look like they are worshipping. I’ve always wondered, don’t they get tired of that posture? Ama its swag before comfort? These guys wear black, leather jackets with a message at the back – mostly under an image of an angry looking human skull. If I was to be initiated into that club I’d need to grow (more like plant) a beard and become twice or three times my size. The message on my jacket would read, Born and Die in the City. Or something close to that.

I am a certified Nairobian, born and bred. My entire life has unfolded in Nairobi, of course with frequent half term breaks along the way. Last week I took one of those breaks (but kazi) and travelled to Kericho via Kisumu. I always get fascinated by life in smaller towns. I wonder how I would do life in a small town. I take small town life in deep but short intervals.

One distinct advantage of travelling out of the big city is, you move from the concrete jungle to real, green earth jungle. My lungs felt like they had gone for a detox because of the fresh air. All this aromatherapy we pay for here seemed to be just floating in the air free for one to inhale it. I also did something simple but which I found to be a big deal because I can’t remember ever doing this in Nairobi. I drank water straight from the tap. It looked clearer than bottled water and even the taste had a sweet, tea flavour (maybe that’s in my mind hehehe). Speaking of tea, I couldn’t have enough of their brewed mixed tea. It tasted so rich in flavour that I’m now finding our Nairobi tea tasteless. Mpaka I have to add more sugar. Boring.

Kericho is so beautiful and scenic. I can describe it as a jungle, yes, but with very well done makeup. I was behaving like those photo crazed Chinese tourists who photograph everything from sheep to gates and fences. I took photos as I moved around and posted on social media. I was tempted to qualify that they are real and not Photo shopped. I couldn’t believe how nice they appeared on my half smart phone. Imagine how nicer they would have appeared if I had those expensive notebook phones with a biro attached to them.

The trees planted in straight lines between the tea plantations appeared like a fresh and neat Mohawk haircut. I felt like I could roll on the tea bushes down the hill. They looked like one endless mattress.

These are the moments I swear to move out of the big city in the sun and live a simple, slow and fresh life. I think I’d be bored after some time of being upcountry though. I’m addicted to the fast life – chaos, traffic jam and the multi-coloured lights that are Nairobi. I actually miss the Nairobi madness when I’m away from it for too long. Rehab candidate right there.

However, I appreciate this out-of-town sights and sounds more, especially now with the view from the fourth floor. I get to hear my mind more clearly. I talked to my friends who hosted me in Kericho last weekend. As we spoke I looked out for any sign of discomfort with them living life in a small town (well, small compared to Nairobi). I realised I am like a mirror image of some of the guys I spoke to. I found out that my Kericho-based pals frequent Nairobi as much as I frequent upcountry from Nairobi. It’s like they need to get a dose of the big city mayhem for them to thrive in the small city. That’s exactly the same for me, only opposite in that I need to leave Nairobi often to thrive in it.

I concluded that the moral of the story here is home is where the heart is, as the saying goes. We all have cities where our hearts have settled. To some the heart is in a big city, to some in a small one. Either way we all need to leave the heart city and visit the other cities, whether big or small. Most of us seem to get a good life balance when we do that. I believe that is why we were all happy humans last weekend in those tea fields. And what’s better in life than being a happy human in a happy environment with happy people drinking happy tap water. Cheers…

Friday, October 19, 2018 | Reflections, Travels |

2 thoughts on “Small Town.”

  1. Joe Wainaina says:

    I never knew that i’d appreciate small town Kenya until I moved to Nanyuki a few years back. Nanyuki is a microcosm of Nairobi and home to as varied a community as there are tribes in Kenya and races globally and and the confluence of 3 counties, Laikipia, Nyeri and Meru. The whole world is represented here and consequently many of the creature comforts associated with Nairobi from fine dining restaurants, expensive hotels, malls, clubs etc are in abundance. I now need to find me a piece of land to build a retirement home!

    1. mlucas says:

      Joe you know i will be your neighbor facing the mountain from the balcony of my log cabin.

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