I walked in at 5:10 pm, head held up high and smiling like a millionaire (it’s a running joke among my friends).The meeting was supposed to start at 4:00 pm, in my defense I am very tired of the hurry up and wait syndrome, I am chronically early so to be at par with everyone I must be late. Almost everyone was already there and a few were eating chicken, I found some very clean chicken bones on the table I am willing to bet someone has some Luhya blood in them, Kevo, nakushuku.
This meeting was to disband the committee for Mike’s funeral preparations. Don’t get tired of me talking about Mike indulge me a little. He is worth every accolade he receives and we are not just praising him because he is gone, no, he was amazing, everyone knew that and he was appreciated even while he walked among us on earth. I sat somewhere in the group and everyone was reminiscing about Mike’s life. The road trips Mike took (has everyone been on a road trip with Mike?) were so memorable he once drove with a friend from Meru to Nairobi in 8 hours. Eight hours, one,two,three… eight hours in a Subaru Forester. No one can top that, or as he would put it womba ou? Oh and in his circles the Subaru Forester is known as “mbiti” (animal). Such a scary word for such a sexy machine if you meet a Meru ask them to pronounce for you “mbiti” you think we speak as if we are arguing this word will scare the crap out of you. You might even jump out of your seat when they say it. The waiter comes around and everyone has a brown bottle Tusker and/or Stoney. To blend in I order Stoney but I’m wondering are people here forbidden to take something like hot coffee, milk, hot chocolate? It’s raining in Nairobi. Mercy calls it “sokolate” it’s so adorable and I love how she kept repeating it. Wenye mlienda mapema mlimiss socolate (Those of you who left early missed chocolate) this is in reference to the day we lay Mike to rest. I took my hot coffee later, it’s a free world we live in.
After Mutai, Rosie and Kaanse’s dramatic entrances the meeting commences. Mutai flew in today not with wings he was abroad , Rosie decided to go upstairs and stare at us from above like how I imagine God does before walking down and Kaanse was rained on so he just stumbled in and applied emergency brakes. Ken of Havana East Africa (Google that) is our chairman. He sits there studying everyone like they are suspects in a crime, smart people do that, after asking all the important questions and making sure every bill has been catered for, in regards to Mikes funeral, he once again allows everyone to reminisce about Mike or the funeral.
One wet month, Mike and a friend (he was never alone this guy) wanted to repair the feeder road to their home and fill it up with murram to ensure vehicles don’t get stuck. They hired, fuelled and loaded up a lorry with murram, come repair day something went wrong so it didn’t happen. But the enthusiasm they had taken up the job with made the neighbors think they worked for the government. During his undergraduate studies Mike had an exam in the morning but he chewed Miraa till the morning of the exam and his classmates looked for him everywhere to help them solve hard sums. When you finish chewing Miraa and walk to class to sit a paper you know you are very book smart. He graduated with a first class honors by the way. During Mike’s graduation, Nick greeted so many people who gave him “kagina” in congratulations to Mike and he stuffed it in a coffer next to him. When a Meru refers to any money as “kagina” you know it was a tidy sum. I wonder what they did with “kagina”.Mike was so generous such that if you were with him and it’s time to eat he would make sure everyone feeds and he fed last, that was very Jesusy of him or so I thought.
He was a hard worker he had done very many businesses planting and selling cabbage, selling cars, investing in plots of land. He didn’t believe in a 9-5 schedule. You didn’t have to be seen at your desk to ensure productivity; your output should be used to gauge how productive you are not how many hours you sit behind your screen. He was a very high performer at his place of work.
Mike had promised to help complete a project at his local church, the committee is amazing because they took that up and will help finish it up.
Mercy and Kevo said their family was very overwhelmed by all the support and love they received during and after that period and they are very thankful. Their parents knew Mike had many friends but the number that showed up was so much more and they loved all of you guys. A thank you cannot really describe how appreciative they are but it’s the only universal word they can use. So from Mike’s family, THANK YOU.
Eric Kinoti for the tents Asante, ViseOne Sounds for the Public Address system Shukrani, Nkubu boys Alumni bless you, KEBS thank you, friends and family for showing up and the support mbarikiwe. I cannot mention everyone but all of you are highly appreciated.
A certain civil servant amongst us said, “Live and enjoy each day, but remember to invest for yourself and your future generations.” There was an agreement that we didn’t meet to disband the committee but to strengthen the bond Mike created in us and keep his torch burning. If Mike gave you a nickname keep it like Kirori and use it and don’t remind people your real name.
You thought I would leave Miraa out of this one eh? You thought wrong; the Meru Gold was an unspoken necessity in the meeting. As we went home everyone was left bonding over Miraa I guess wakingoja handas zipande (waiting for handas to rise up) then they go home. I can’t translate or explain the last sentence correctly, I have tried but I just can’t. It’s unexplainable either because I find it too hilarious or because it’s Miraa language (yeah there is a language and it’s not Kimeru).