VISA NA MIKASA
..AT NKWAMBIYE 3!
I know it has been a long time since I sent you my narration, but hey Im
Most of those who lived in North America have gone through some kind of
fire drills, either in their apartments or place of work. One is also
aware of how efficient the fire department is in responding to the fire
alarm. I went through one few days ago. Thanks God I was on the main
floor when the alarm went on. Why I say this is because I live on the
twenty second floor, and I don't think any person who goes through this
will take it lightly once one arrives on the main floor only then be
told that it was a drill. Anyway, this incident took me back, again, to
The salt of my soup today will still come from the Mombasa Polytechnic.
In case you are wondering who are the characters in todays narration,
it is no one else but Albaity and Fayadh. I will relate the story as
narrated to me by Fayadh. In this case you all have to trust my memory;
which is scary, as sometimes I don't trust it either, due to some
documented records of my forgetfulness. Anyway this is how the story
It is very common that on weekends, no one stays in the school compound.
We look for every reason to leave the school compound and look for
other errands to do. Somehow, on this particular Sunday in question,
Fayadh and Albaity decided to stay behind, hence todays visa na mikasa
that I am going to relate to you.
It all started in the airport in Mombasa. I am sure most of you are
aware of the evolutionary naming that the airport had to go through. It
started as Port Reitz, then some wise men thought it better to be
changed to Mombasa International airport, and when tawala Kenya came to
power, it changed to Moi International airport. What an ego. So the
officials wanted to see whether the airport could stand as the name
suggests- namely:- International airport. They wanted to test the
emergency facilities in the Island whether they can handle one in case
it happens. The two departments they had in mind were the fire
department, and the health department. These two departments were under
the tutelage of the Municipality of Mombasa. This same municipality
could not put flashlights, in the Mombasa Municipal stadium, since 1974.
The same municipality made akina yakhe, like me, to pay a license fee
for riding a bicycle on the road. You may say that but Bandari and
Bamburi had an emergency department too. It is true but these were
private ones, and they have a right to refuse to assist if they don't
feel like, technically speaking that is. The decision made by the
Airport officials was that they had to test the Municipality of Mombasa
whether it was ready for an emergency. They wanted the drill to look as
real as possible. They wanted it to be done immediately, so that the
wasabasi in the airport may not be able leak any news out. They wanted
people who would look like normal passengers. Yaani some guys with
vitambis equivalent to a three months pregnant woman, people who can
produce a suitcase and a briefcase in a short notice. Some fat and thin
people, tall and short, men and women, people who can wear suits in the
hottest whether of Mombasa, and people who can present themselves in
kaundas and shirts. Their best choice was Mombasa Polytechnic. Sasa,
vituko ndiyo vikaanza.
When they came to the M/Poly compound, they got their guys with ease.
All they had to do was promise them a meal after the act, which is a
little bit higher in nutrition than the one offered at Poly. By then the
only available thing in the Poly was Yellow Maize. Kina Ali Albaity and
Fayadh were picked with ease. One was told to act as an Indian
businessman, and the other as a black American tourist. Fayadh became
the latter, while Albaity the former. They were then taken to the
airport, whereby the whole scene for the action had been prepared. Some
tents were sprouted closer to the entry. An airplane was placed at the
far end of the airport, and some tires placed to be lit to give the real
effect of a disaster. Kina Fayadh were taken into a room and some make-ups
were put in them so that they look like they were really injured. Some
red stain was spread in their faces and clothes to imitate real blood
and give the effect of a seriously injured person. Others were told they
would act dead. Then they were made to rehearse the agony with cries
and wails. When everything was satisfactory to the officials, they
decided to call 999, and announce that there was an accident. A plane
had crushed, and the casualties were tremendous. Please dear reader
- Mtaa wa Kidogobasi
- The firemen
..Mungu atusitiri. Well this is what I think happened.
The Municipal of Mombasa fire department is situated at Kidogobasi.
Exactly at the corner of Mwembe Kuku road and Kikowani road- if my
memory is faithful to me. One very narrow one-way road and the other a
two lane to be precise. Any day that I pass there, I always see the
firemen outside on the opposite side of the fire department building;
seated, or taking a nap on the shade of that two-storey building. You
will never miss someone snoring, in deep sleep, lying on his back, with
his tortured small shirt pulled up exposing the heaving hill that he
prefers us to call stomach. The only way to make him wake up is when you
Unaona tinga tinga lilee!!? which really doesn't mean a real tractor
is passing by, but it is a way of drawing attention to someone to look
in the direction where a mashaallah well-built Mama is passing. This
was a real VOK (Voice of Kenya) radio commercial for the margarine Blue
Band, but the people in Mombasa turned the meaning to a fat woman rather
than a real tractor. These words easily made the fireman arise, get up
and shouts looking in all direction,
His colleagues will either respond, Lileeeeeee rangi ya manjano
meaning the colour of the dress the big Mama was wearing, or they will
just shut him up and go like this,
Aaah hebu lala nawe. Unkaa kama tumbiri, usioneshwe ndizi au kusikiya
harufu yake. Hebu tokomeya kwenye ndoto zako huko.
This is the lax environment that existed. I would not even go to tell
you how many of them I have found bare chest, or appear so thin and weak
that you wonder whether they could hold the hose when water shoots out
at a high pressure. So many times I have heard them say things like,
Ooye nisaidiye bwana, mimi siwezi beba hii ngazi peke yangu. Mwataka
nivundike kiuno? Somehow complains were always in the kiuno. I don't
want you to lose the story; therefore I will take you back to the events
that were happening on that Sunday afternoon.
The commissioner of the fire department got the call that there was an
emergency at the airport. He therefore alerted both, the Fire department
and the Ambulatory one. Sasa kazi ni kuamshana.
Eeee aamka yakhe kuna moto uwanja wa ndege.
I am sure there must have been answers to the effect of,
Jamaa ateni dhihaka bwana, niateni mimi nlale ala.
Anyway, the fire brigade (as they preferred to be called) and the
Ambulatory team were able to get their acts together and rush towards
the airport. While this was going on, all hospitals had been alerted to
expect some patients from the airport crash.
At the airport, whereby akina Fayadh and Albaity had already been
graduated with honors in acting, were doing a great job, groaning and
crying. Fayadh pretended he did not know Kiswahili; he only spoke
English- American English to be precise. Albaity naye slanted his
English with an Indian accent. If the firemen were smart enough they
could have easily picked that Albaity was faking, because I know him he
has a terrible Indian Accent. Somehow they all passed through. Now the
firemen were busy putting off the fire. They could not even see the
airplane from the thick smoke that was emitted from the burning tires.
Wacha huyo! shouted one of the ambulance men,
Amekufa huyo. Hapana poteza wakati. Angaliya hiyo mwanamke huko, iko
na tamu nyingi natoka. Pepa yeye kwenye gari. he continued shouting.
While all this was going on, Albaity and Fayadh were lying down
helplessly, far from each other. Albaity, who seemed to be badly injured
was picked up and taken into the ambulance,
Eee bana fanza taratibu mili ote iko uma. said Albaity in his broken
Swahili. He then looked concerned and pretended like talking Gujarati,
Eeh patre patre nehiye tike tike. Jaldi karo!" and some other words
which I am sure neither he nor I could recall.
Eeeh nyamaza baniyani wewe, tutakuchukuwa hospitali usijali.
responded one of the aids with frustration.
As for Fayadh, it was all a different story,
Unahisi vipi? asked one concerned medic,
Wha? responded Fayadh, he then continued,
I wanna go back home to the U.S. men! Whats goin on ma brother.
One of the firemen who could not understand a letter that Fayadh said,
responded, Ebwe, kuna
mzungu hapa, simwelewi kichwa wala
He then looked at Fayadh, and continued,
Mr. Follow me ok? Come see me go. Go kama mimi, ok?
At this time Fayadh wants to burst out laughing but he had to control
himself otherwise he could mess the whole operation. Somehow he decided
to follow the struggling fireman.
Aiwaaa like that. Come with me to the hema, ok? Nanihinoni eeh, hebu
mtwae huyu kwenye hema. Hazungumzi Kiswahili, na kizungu chake piya
sikipandishi. Azungumza kicowboy mwenyewe heheheheeeee.
Once in the tent you are Ok, because the airport officials were the ones
who were running the tent as medical doctors. By now Fayadh was
informed that he does not need to act anymore, therefore he can relax.
As for Albaity, a whole new chapter was opened. He was rushed to Coast
When they arrived at the hospital, Albaity was somewhere in the middle.
There were other beds ahead of him who were to be taken care of. While
they were waiting for their turn, they kept on groaning and crying in
pain. At this very moment, two Swahili women in buibui, noticed Albaity.
They rushed to where he was, and one of them went on,
"Yoooomiiiii, unfanya nini mwanangu? Lailaha illa llahu, niambiye watu
wako waishi wapi..Muna simu? Zungumza mwanangu.Sema kitu. Watusikiya?
Watuelewa..?" and the barrage of questions went on. The other woman came
close and uttered,"Namjuwa huyu. Huyu si mtoto wa yule mwarabu mwenye
duka la mafuta ya taa Magongo?
Mwarabu yuu? Warabu wote wan maduka ha nnyupi usemaye wewe?" asked the
lady who first saw Albaity. Somehow they forgot about Albaity as they
Aaah nawe, yule Sharifu Albaity pale Magongo."
Aaaaaa, kuuuumbe, ndiyoo nshamjuwa aaaah na hawa masharifu nawo
wanfanana kama pojo. responded the lady after now figuring out the
relatives of Albaity. By now Albaity wants to roll on the flow laughing
but he can't. He therefore decided to groan, something that drew the
attention of the two ladies.
Yoooo maskini mwana wa watu aumwa.. pole mwanangu. Twambiye jina lako
ngaa tuwajulishe watu wako." said one of the ladies with signs of tears
in her eyes. Albaity could not take it anymore. He therefore signaled
to the lady to come close so that he could talk to her. The lady
responded with eager, then Albaity whispered,
Mama sina kitu. Mimi ni mzima twafanya hivi kuwajaribu hawa watu wa
spitali kama wako tayari pakitokeya jambo kama hili. This did not make
the lady happy, she just turned and pulled her friend and said,
Hebu twende zetu, hawana adabu hawa watoto wa siku hizi. Vihoja vyote
hivyo kumbe hawana lolote ni urongo mtupu.
The airport official then announced that the operation was over, and
they thanked the students. I don't know what was given to them as a
thank you token, but this much I remember as was narrated to me by