I know it has been long, but let us say that I deserve a holiday too. Now… I am back, and probably the question that is going through the mind of most of the visa na mikasa readers is: What is he going to talk about this time? The topic of this week is…   “ A place called Guraya!!!”

            I think I am within my right when I say that Guraya is the most unique and interesting place in the island of Mombasa. So my lesson begins, before I give any kisa or mikasa.

            Guraya is in Mombasa central. It borders Sargoi Kipande in the south, Mwembe Tanganyika in the west, Sidiriya in the north and Bibi ya Shafi in east. As for those who come from Old Town, Kuze, Kibokoni and the rest of the miji ya kale, Guraya is an island surrounded by Majengo from all the four corners. Please do not ask me for the measurements, because I lost my measuring tape; but I can tell you it can take you half an hour to tour the whole Guraya, or a day if people know you and stop to chat with you. If a structure is stand as a landmark of an area, then Guraya has one. It is the mosque- Al Azhar. Guraya is the only place in the island that emits the smell of goats regardless whether siku kuu is in the proximity or not.

Among the famous names are Marehemu Sheikh Alwy, Marehemu Sheikh Said Gunda, Islam Khiyar, Ustadh Twahiru, Marehemu Mzee Faraj- who was the trustee of Az-har Mosque, and last but not least, marehemu Karama Al-Abid, the man who owned all the goats in the area. For Mishakiki it is the famous Selemani. Guraya will not be Guraya without Nyundo football club. Nyundo is the heart of Guraya. No other team has the most sincere supporters male and female like Nyundo; and because of this it will be wrong not to mention Shakir, one of the greatest stars Nyundo has ever produced among the who’s who of Guraya. The archrivals of Nyundo are Black Panther from Mwembe Tanganyika, and Bantu Warriors from Sidiriya.

 Majority of the Gurayans claim ancestory to Hadhramout in Yemen, thus they are referred as washihiri even though they don’t like the name. If you ask anyone from Guraya s/he will probably say that s/he is an Arab. Now here is where the uniqueness of Guraya comes in- the language. Gurayans speak Swahili, but they have a native language called kiarabu cha Guraya (Kichagu) by outsiders or Kiarabu ya Guraya ( Kiyagu) by the natives. This language was basically manufactured and nurtured here, and now it is spoken all over East Africa and parts of Yemen and Oman. I am a full supporter of this language, and I demand that it be accepted among the dialects of Arabic. Before I start on the visa, I need to mention something about houses of Guraya. The houses are well aligned that if all the houses open the milango ya mbele na milango ya nyuma you can see through. Now to the visa na mikasa!

I have two visas from Guraya. One was narrated to me, and the second one I witnessed myself. I will start with the one that was narrated to me. Like any other neighborhood in Mombasa, Guraya has its shares of Maskanis. In one of these Maskanis some guys were selling Bangi. One of the bangi sellers saw some guys coming that he suspected they must be policemen. This is how the conversation went about:

“ Yakhe hadholak ana nashuku innohum maaskari”

 Translation: My brother I am suspecting those guys are policemen.

The other guy responded, “ Aaah hebu khal wasiwasi haggak inte, jamma khaaf customers jao ishturuun wainte bgheyt kukoroga mambo dhalhin.”

Translation: Aaah stop your worries man, these maybe customers who are coming to buy and you want to stir things up.

“Wallahi sijui, lakin ana galbi hainipi abadan. Ala agal bas la tihmil shi, khal hajaat kullihin fil hisye, baaden ghattaha bil mabamba.”

Translation:  By God I don’t know, but my heart is not agreeing at all. At least then, don’t carry anything, leave everything under the stone and then cover it with the corrugated iron sheet.

This they both agreed. When the two guys arrived where the bangi sellers were, it turned out that they were policemen in plain clothes. They went after the two bangi sellers, as they looked suspicious:

Na nyinyi fichana munafanya nini hapa?” asked one of the plain clothed policemen.

“ Aaa wazee sisi twapoa tu hapa, hatufanyi kitu.” Responded the first guy who suspected the men in the first place.

“Apana uza bangi hapa.” Asked the policeman

“ Aaah wazee, sisi na bangi n’wapi na wapi.” Said the second guy

“ Apana leta kiswahili nzito nzito hapa. Iko na bangi ama pana iko na bangi?” asked the policeman angrily.

“ Toa kila kitu kwa mufuko!” asked the second policeman.

So the bangi sellers started to remove everything from their pockets. The first guy had nothing except some coins. The policemen told him to move aside. The second guy pulled out coins and few fivers and probably two ten shilling bills. Wrapped in one of the bills was a kitaalifa cha bangi ready to sell.

“ Aaahaa kwa hivyo wewe unauza bangi hapa.”  One of the policemen quarried.

Ehe ana magutlak, inte tsawwi nifsak mjuwaji, haya dhalhin esh nigul ummak? Gulli!” the first guy started talking to his friend.

            Translation: Ehe didn’t I tell you, but you think you are too much know, what should I tell your mother now? Tell me!!

            “ Banishrid, lakan kul waahid iruuh twarigoh. Sibbir inte, baaden ana batba’ak.”

            Translation: We’ll run, but everyone should run his own way, you start, then I will follow.

            While the two policemen were concentrating on the guy with the kitaalifa the first guy turned and ran in one direction so fast, all was heard was one of the policemen jumping and shouting, “ Eeh musenzi amekimbiya!”  The other guy took the advantage of the surprise and shoved the two policemen aside and started sprinting. The two policemen decided to go after him, but he was quite ahead of the policemen. Once he made a turn, he faced the aligned houses. He started shouting at the top of his voice, as he entered the first one,

“ Giffilu ilbuwaab, mapolisi itib’una!!!”

 Translation: Close the door the police are after me!!!

He saw the lady in the second house peeping to see what is going on, while still in the first house. He shouted,

“ Khale sofiyya giffili ilbaab daad ma nudkhul”

Translation: Aunt Soffiya close the door once I am in.

The old lady did exactly that, and the guy was saved. The police could not get any of the two guys.

As for the kisa that I witnessed it had something to do with soccer. In all sports, there is a secret language that players use, either sign language or even verbal, if they know that the players of the opposite team will not know what they are talking about. Nyundo was playing Ramogi. The teams were tied scoreless, and the game was on its last five minutes. A winner was vital for the game. Nyundo gets a corner kick on the last two minutes. Their star is shouting to the guy who was taking the corner:

“ Inte shufna. Dhurub il impira foog. Ana ntaruka ubadhurubha kichwa.”

Translation: See me. Kick the ball up. I will jump and head it.

Ramogi’s defence understood everything that was said and made sure that the player had no chance to head the ball. It was cleared from the danger zone, and one of the Ramogi players got the ball and went to score the winning goal. What followed after the game from the stadium to Guraya was Kiyagu or Kichagu for the outsiders.

by Said