These are the chronicles of Thanda Maria
These are the tribulations of my friend, Garba.
He has had so many trials and tribulations in his sixty or so years on this blue rocky that it was hard to decide where to start. I had to start somewhere, so I started here.
Unfortunately, as you will come to learn in time, the vast majority of his trials are self inflicted. His trials are usually occasioned by over-hydration of his perennially arid larynx with fluids of the intoxicating variety. He loves alcohol more than a fat kid loves cake.
This over-hydration is not always Garba’s fault though. Sometimes it is caused by the consistently inconsistent alcohol concentration by volume of his preferred beverages.
Two standard volumes today and he walks home just fine, with the peculiar tendency of taking 5 hours instead of the standard 15 minutes.
Two standard drinks the next week, amd he falls into a temporary vegetative state. The black-outs associated with his favourite drink meet the threshold required to be considered as comas.
Suspect production standards are to blame for this. If we ever get money, we the people of Thanda Maria that have endured these hardships will file a class action suit against these rogue enterprises.
This is the story of my very good friend Njaù, or as he is more popularly known in these streets of Thanda Maria, Garba.
He says that he has it very on good authority that Garba means calf in Hindi. Or is it Gujarati? Sometimes I am not sure. Garba is not above telling blatant lies. I am usually inclined to believe it because he went to parklands primary and secondary school at a time Indians formed a sizable majority there. His father at the time was a civil servant in Nairobi. Njaù is calf in our native Gíkùyù.
Garba is a revered authority on matters concerning the irrigation of throats with fluids of the highly intoxicating variety. He could publish a book about it. He knows how to drink alcohol.
He was once an expert brewer of the very popular illicit brew in Thanda Maria that we used to call Matinga. I have stories to tell you about Matinga that will give you thoracic aches.
Garba knew how to turn ‘Sukari nguru’, using yeast, into a beverage that could get you intoxicated to within an inch of those pearly gates. He swears he knows those pearly gates by heart. He has nearly passed through those gates himself many times after one drink too many. They have a medical term for it; alcohol poisoning.
You could call him some sort of scientist. Breaking bad stuff. His Scientific career was cut short though by vigilant Law enforcement and judicial officers who used to organise regular all inclusive vacations at the infamous Murang’s GK prison. The charge of possession of ilicit alcohol has seen him offer plenty of free and unregulated labour for the prison industries.
Due to the fact that he has a very arid throat that requires constant wetting, you can usually find him at my bar, “THE KOMMITTEE OF EXPERTS; the local experts on throat irrigation”. Ask anyone, it’s what it says on the signpost outside. He has a specific spot that is within staggering distance of the door. When I can, I like to sit next to him as I sip my white-cap. He is usually the last person to leave, or to be carried outside rather, at closing time.
You will often find Garba there soothing his throat with some suspicious but therapeutic fluids brewed with love in the rolling plains of Naivasha. He is our Chief expert, a connoisseur of connoisseurs.
If you think alcohol has shown you things, think again, it has shown you nothing. Alcohol has shown Garba things in his 60 years on this rock you could write stories about, like the one I am about to tell you now. He enjoys a very abusive relationship with alcohol that often ends up in pain and premium tears for him.
So Garba got lit one day at the village watering hole like he always did. Nothing new, everything went as it always went. A drink, the very potent santa king; then another one he really shouldn’t have had.
Then a slight error in judgement and a third one he definitely shouldn’t have had.
Then alchohol poisoning with a little bit of incontinence set in.
He was then carried outside into the open air ‘casualty’ next to a heap of sawdust. We call this area Kímura-iní. The sawdust acts as a matress. It reeks of urine. It is the official designated alchohol poisoning recuperation centre. This was done by paid porters at the expense of the house.
No one touches a person drenched in Santa king Urine for free. It’s at a fee. The urine is like enriched uranium; hazardiously radioactive. The fee is usually half a bottle of Santa King for each porter. Many times, these porters also require other porters a while later to carry them out to the same recuperation facility.
Garba regained motor functions in the dead of night long after closing hours. He started making his way home although with serious difficulty. He had on his person a plastic paper bag filled with gítheri which he had procured earlier with intentions to consume, but santa king happened.
As he was walking home along the main road , somewhere near our gate, he heard something no one likes to hear around here.
He had the misfortune of hearing the unmistakable roar of the 4.2 litre, naturally aspirated, straight six, diesel engine that belongs to the dreaded GKB 218T Police landcruiser.
Everyone who drinks a little too late out here is well acquainted with that roar and it’s attendant hazards. It sounds like ‘Múrúrú’ and spirit breaking shifts on the rice fields of GoK Gathigiriri prison in the searing hot plains of Mwea Tebere.
‘Múrúrú’ is prison lingo for food. It is a barely palatable standard Prison food ration, or as they call, it ‘reseni’. It’s carefully calculated to be just enough to sustain one’s basic body processes and not a calorie more. This is done by government experts who know many things.
When the landcruiser pulled up to him, the ever industrious boys in blue jumped out and asked him, “Mzee, unaenda wapi usiku?!”
Garba has a tendency of calling everyone ‘mtu yangu’, which usually comes out like ‘mutyangu’.
“Mutyangu, nimetoka kununua githeri ya kukula”, while pointing to his Gítheri.
Not exactly a contender for reply of the year at 1am by a person with nearly no control of his motor functions.
The cops retorted, “Ni sawa mzee, huku kuna wakora sana, kuja tukupeleke mahali utakulia githeri kama umepewa security ya kutosha na maafisa wa serikali”.
There must be a mandatory course on humor and jokes at Kiganjo police training college because the Kenya Police are regular stand up comics.
So they took him to the Murang’a police station.
The next morning he was taken to court and charged with that funny charge that is usually quite difficult to substantiate; “kuwa mlevi kupindukia”.
He was slapped with a 500 shilling fine or 14 days in the slammer in lieu of the fine. He had nothing on him. This is because as you are being carried from the bar to the casualty, the Ninjas carrying you usually charge you money for the logistics. The standard fee is basically any monies you have on your person at the time of ferrying.
You of course do not object to getting robbed because you are more or less comatose.
So Garba boarded Moody Awori airways and off to jail he went.
When Garba goes to Murang’a GoK prison, he is usually immediately assigned to prison industries because he has been there many times. The authorities there know that he is a painter by trade.
He is usually at home at Muranga GK prison and the irony is, he can actually see his neighbor’s house from the prison yard. The prison is less than 500 metres from his own house.
Because Garba was known to many of the wardens who were also lovers of alcohol; he had the privilege of sending a message home. He told them to go tell his brother Amos, to come bail him out. Most of these wardens also frequented the same hydration centers as Garba and Amu.
Amos is a tier 1 lover of alcohol and is always broke. His tonsils require constant irrigation with alcohol beverages to function. He is not choosy, he drinks anything that isn’t outrightly fatal.
The next day after Garba’s incarceration, Amu received word and he came. Garba told him that some people he had rendered painting services for owed him a total of 2000 bob. He instructed him to go to any of them and get atleast 500 shillings. Then after getting the money, he was to come bail him out.
Garba also told him that incase that didn’t materialize, he could find someone to loan it to him and Garba would pay immediately he was released. He told Amu that he had 1000 shillings hidden in his house, which incidentally was next to Amu’s house.
When Amu left that Prison, he had no intention of bailing out Garba. Garba’s freedom was nowhere near a core priority for him.
He proceeded straight to Garba’s house, broke the door and ransacked the house but didn’t find the 1000 shillings. He was thorough in his ransacking. He was very keen on using that small fortune to address the thirst in his tonsils.
He then went to each one of Garba’s clients and obtained the entire sum owed to Garba. Armed with considerable purchasing power from the 2000 bob, he lived his best life for a week or so.
Complete with daily alcohol poisoning, nights at the casualty and incontinence.
Garba did the time.
Garba was finally released from prison after serving the full two weeks. He came to the watering hole straight from lockup. As is tradition out here, he was offered copius quantities of alcohol to wash away the prison lice.
Garba didn’t even get a chance to get home.
So it happened again. A drink; then another one he really shouldn’t have had.
Then a slight error in judgement and a third one he definitely shouldn’t have had.
Then alcohol poisoning introduced itself to him for 7,564th time.
He was then carried out to the casualty by paid porters where he slept well into night.
When he sobered up very late in the night, he started making his way home drenched in urine.
About 100 or so metres from his home, he heard that unmistakable roar of GKB 218T.
When the good gentlemen stepped out, Garba asked, “Mutyangu, unataka kunishika tena na nimetoka ndani leo?’’
The kind and understanding officers of the law took him and offered him accommodation at the police cells.
The next day, he appeared before the same magistrate from his last visit to the corridors of justice.
The magistrate recognized him from the last time. He asked him, “mzee, si wewe ulikuwa hapa juzi?”
Garba replied in the affirmative.
The judge went extra on him. He hit him with a month without the option of a fine. He added the customary, “ili her funzo kwa wengine wenye tabia kama hiyo.”
Garba did the time
Garba is just about the funniest person I know. The stories I’ll tell you about this man will kill you.