Of all the things that traumatized me in my youth, nothing tops the list like going to shaggz. Oh, there was something about being packed like sardines and being whisked away to gishagi for the 3 hellish weeks that just made me get sick to my stomach.
You see shaggz was always our vacation destination and I don’t mean going down at coast-o where at least I would spend my days swimming endlessly. Nope. I mean going to visit some nondescript grandma who lives on some slopes somewhere where the KTN signal did not reach coz, there were too many damn hills.
Yes, you can say it. I am a traitor to my roots and I am damn proud of it! Some people are turned on about going to the country side, but not me. I am a city gal thru and thru.
After years of suffering, I rounded up my siblings and told them that I was going to start a revolt concerning those trips and they had to back me up when the face-off happened. I gathered up courage and tell my parents that we will no longer be joining them on their trips to ‘visit’ grandma for 3 weeks. If she wants to see us, she can come to the city. Let’s ust say a kamkunji was called pronto and elections were called. It was unanimous,the kids won by a landslide:no more going shaggz during the holidays. Ha! And they say being a rebel doesn’t pay.
You see when we used to go to shaggz when we were younger, it was fun coz other cousins would show up and we would have tons and tons of fun. But when we hit the teenage phase (truth be told when I finally landed me a ka-boifi) going to shaagz especially after being in boarding school for like 3 months was putting a damper on my plans of some holiday loving.
Yaani the minute I checked into the diggz with my school box, I was handed my holiday itineary at the gate courtesy of our mboch. “Ati nini?” I would ask her. “Eeehh munaenda ushago Monday.” she would reply grinning. Crap, so you know what that means. I have to only 3 days of being kunjwad before my exile kicks in.
Monday comes faster than I thot. Before long we are packing the car. As we are getting in, I am having an out of body experience: I imagine myself jumping out of the car onto my mom’s flower bed and climbing the wall, oblivious to the cuts I am receiving from the rose bushes and the broken glass on top of the wall. I run to the front door and grab the the buglar-proof and scream out “You are not taking me alive!!!” and while I pass out “Blaze of Glory” by G’n’R is blaring in the air.
Back to reality,I meekly submit to higher authority and know it is going to be a long trip. Mom has carried her Don Moen tapes (yap we were not operating a CD player car back then). Before we even pull out she has put one in and there are 3 more tapes to go and I am having this feeling of wanting to pull out my hair one by one so that by the time we fika cucu’s I am partially bald and bleeding.
I am sitting next to the window so that I can watch my life pass me by and watch the city disappear in the distance while I slowly die inside.
Halfway thru the journey, the issue of masomo pops up. Crap!
Mara we are not studying seriously, mara it’s the fact that school fees is high and money is not going on trees. Then the old tale of how they would rise up everyday at 4 am, collect firewood, fetch water,milk the cows, feed the livestock and walk 100 miles to school bare-foot and still were able to be number one.
Okay so am I suppose to feel like some priviledged kid coz I am not walking bare foot to school or milking cows?
Then the convo turns to my phone habits (cell phone were only for the wealthy then)and the way I am always on the phone everytime I am home for the holidays. “You can tell everytime ‘kelitu’ is in town,” says my dad. “The phone never stops ringing. Ile simu iko hapo ni yangu. Hata hao naokupigia simu, they are using their parents phone and running up their phone bills.” My dad believe that even receiving a phone call ran up your phone bill.
This vibe will go on for about 2 hours…I am this close to opening the car door and jumping out in protest. Don Moen is still singing.
We get to a pit-stop and we are bought for lunch and all the while being told how lucky and grateful we should be coz not everyone is bought for samosaz and sodaz by their parents. It’s a priviledge and that should be enough incentive to make us when we go back to school and read har and become number 1.
Back on the road again and now the topic changes to how we should not have boyfriends/ girlfriends because we might get AIDS and die like mtoto was so and so and die before reaching our potential. Haya shortly it about using drugs and how we should say no to drugs and smoking coz if we dared become addicts, we would be deserted by the side of the road and should never try to find our way back to their house.
Surely by the time we got to the village, we were sooo beaten down spiritually and morally that we were happy just to get out of the car. Grandma as usual is happy to see us and so are we. We ask if our cousins- any of them at this point- are coming down as well.
Nope they ain’t.
Crap! Someone kill me now.
I pick my bag and shown my room. WTH?!
Is that a bat hanging on the corner of the room looking very comfy in the room than I would?
I want to scream out by I can’t.
Here’s to happy vacation.