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Being a girl in the city


If you use MWI SACCO, you must have seen a cockroach jump out of a lady’s handbag as she dipped her hand to remove fare – if that lady wasn’t you. Perhaps  the roaches were not inside your or her handbag, but were strolling leisurely from one seat to another, up and down and you were so nervous that when you finally alighted, you had to screen your handbag, pockets and hair to ensure you did not import this little embarrassing intruder! I once saw a roach jump out of a decently dressed lady’s handbag in town. Problem is, people will always think that you ferried it from your house, and friends will avoid you lest they import them from you!

If you stay in Pipeline or Mwihoko, chances are high that you’ve wrapped your feet with a plastic bag to keep your shoes clean during the rainy season. If there are people who literally hate rain, people living in these estates can tell you better. Reason is, they cannot handle the mud that accompanies the rains. You have to walk long distances in a funny gait because you want to come out of the mess clean. This is why ladies started carrying an extra pair of shoes. Knowing that your high heels can let go in the middle of the road, you have to be smart. Wear rubbers, wrap them nicely with a black paper bag so that when you come out, you can wrap them well with another clean paper bag and store them inside the handbag as you change to your high heels in order to look presentable. This way, people won’t ask where you live.

Madness is not just about mud on rainy mornings. Rain in the evening is just as dreaded as in the morning. It is during those evenings that matatus become scarce at stage because they are jammed on the road. Fare shoots up and the best you can do is wrestle for the only available vehicle so as to get home when you still can see the potholes in your estate. As you grapple with men to secure space, pickpockets find their way into your handbag and it is when the conductor asks for fare that you realize that both your ragged wallet and well worn ‘mulika mwizi’ phone are gone.

Woe unto you if you stay in Githurai and have to wait until 10pm when fares have come down. you have to spread a shawl on the pavement outside Nakumatt Ronald Ngala and just wait. And when people get angry, they will throw stones at the buses and you will have to call a friend in another estate to host you for the night because no more matatus are plying your route.

Then comes Friday evening when you have to go out on a date. You don in your favourite mini-skirt because you won’t have time to go back home to change, and then you meet a rowdy group of frustrated touts who decide to strip you and share your nude video on YouTube.

Yes, it is hard being a girl in the city. You have to work hard enough to earn your daily bread and after all the hard work, people will still want to take advantage of you. Your employer might ask for a piece of your meat in exchange for a piece of paper. The landlord might want to sleep with you and still evict you if you don’t pay rent in time. Young boys who think you are successful might want to make you their cougar…and the list goes on.

Life is very fast in the city, but it can still be favourable. Wisdom is all a girl needs to thrive and make the best out of the mess. You need to be versatile as well, and surround yourself with friends you can count on. And if you discover the treasure I discovered while in the city, peace and prosperity will be yours.

Check out my next post on the treasure I am referring to.


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Linguistics graduate and seasoned online journalist, researcher, content manager and SEO analyst.