Team Mafisi’s Dilemma Of Shifting House.
Today can be crazy! The reality is, more than ever am finding myself fighting with precious memories that were almost dead especially due to the very nature of spending the whole day outdoor and not seeing these artifacts for so long. I want to carry everything with me but the cart driver is shouting that we must move before it too late else he will charge waiting charges. He laments “I told you call me when you’re done packing” hopping around the kitchen on three legs, is an old stove that has for uncountable time run out of fuel when dinner is half way done, though the new destinations is not offering a furnished apartment with appliances I bet it better to leave it behind. “We can wash it and stuff in this,” she insisted. “You don’t need a full pick-up truck. I can pack your stuff in a cart with three other families,” said the moving company owner, looking at the ancient stuff we planned to haul across the town.
It seemed strange that our belongings we had amassed while living in a slum in Nairobi for 5 years are just objects that must snugly fit into a truck. I looked around the single room that had been converted to a full one bedroom house over the years thanks to the hanging bed sheets hanging from a string across the room, to see what could be salvaged or sold, even an old mattress can fetch you a dinner in a place where most of the people live with less than a dollar a day, and my wife pointed to my favourite red-coloured armchair to which I had retreated many a night with a book and a mug of steaming black tea.
We could not leave behind the huge Kenyan face masks and wood carvings that my wife had collected during her visits to the Massai market; it’s all that we have as a result of a business which never saw the light of the day. I have tried many things in life, a sure that the statement: you will kiss a thousand frogs before you get to the prince was wrongly interpreted, to mean otherwise. The old guitar had to come with us, though the pegs were stiff now and strings getting lose. I gardened for a white man in my early days of starting life in Nairobi and when the chapter closed the white man had to travel he wanted to leave back something that would make me remember him, he said in deeply sought voice “am sure you will take care of it and one day play a song or two”. Our son had spent hours banging on the strings with the help of a church soloist who didn’t know much of it, but got him to develop a liking in music; I hope one day he will enjoy doing what he loves. “This is old but very sturdy. They don’t make such pianos today,” she said and wanted me to affirm in unison so that we will find a place for it tin our future home.
The mover later chatted and said he started his career in the city as a packer (the guy who paper-wraps, bubble-wraps and then boxes your precious things) and is now an entrepreneur in the business of relocation. He barely makes it but he will still move you no matter the locations. Consumer confidence in business like this is very hard to build especially if you hire new guys now and then. He promised our stuff would be moved wardrobe-to-wardrobe, meaning his staff would take our clothes out of the closet and pack them, and his men in the other part of town would unpack and place them in the cabinet in our new home. These is only a selling language practically it doesn’t exist in his world.
“How is business?” I asked him. He said very few people were moving out of town this year. Still, he makes enough to pay his staff and maintain his stomach. “There is a lot of movement locally,” he said. (Apparently, people moving within the blocks for cheaper housing). No one is willing to pay good amount for that. It seemed strange we would be going back to Kiambu, our county of origin. Over the years, we had become Nairobi residents. I was freaking out over pesticides and fruits and vegetables and about the quality of drinking water and decided to pose a few questions to my Facebook friends. Luckily, they did not think I was acting snooty and pretending to be a ‘foreigner’, and gave some helpful tips. Wash the veggies and fruits thoroughly to get rid of any pesticides. I Hope to cope well with my new neighbours.