Happy Endings


Some folk think it’s gotten too dark in here. They say that lately I write only stories of death and suffering and gnashing of teeth. (Okay, that I added. It has been awhile since I used it). They say they don’t want to have to come here and read things that make them have a bad day. They ask, why can’t you just write “happy things” with “good endings?” Which made me seriously consider writing about gardening. Or recipes for smoothies. I even got an email from a pastor. A pastor for chrissake! A first for me.

I was convinced that he was one because he started the email by saying, “Greetings, Brother Jackson.” Brother Jackson! Well, I have been called worse, I have been called Bwana Biko. This pastor wrote to invite me to church. He said – “We are all serving the Lord in different ways. I think you are doing God’s work in a different way than I am. However, I feel that because you write about suffering you also need to cleanse your spirit once in a while to lighten the burden.” (To be honest, I don’t feel burned, just a little stung by being called Brother Jackson). He invited me for a prayer session “for just a few hours and then lunch.” I wrote back and said, “Thanks, pastor, you are kind but where is your church, tell me a little about your ministry.” He wrote back and said it was in Embu, 12km from the town, and it’s a small church that they like to call a “family of faithfuls” not a church. He also said that he studied literature in Uni before starting this church and so perhaps I can also help him reach out to many through his ministry.

I was wary. I didn’t go. Not that I don’t like a good prayer from a man of God, I do as much as the next guy. I wasn’t adequately seduced by the words “small” and “family of faithfuls” because it conjured up an image of a small church of about 27 people, perched atop a hill in Embu with a pastor who always wears a colourful wide tie and walks around with a blade of glass sticking from the corner of his mouth. I was enticed by the lunch though, which I was sure would have warus in it. Also there was the element of time.

There has also been the occasional email or comment about the misery that lately abounds on this blog. Stories of people losing loved ones, of people eating human flesh, of children – children! – dying leaving bereft and hollow-eyed parents. It’s not exactly a groundswell, but the concerns have been expressed in some quarters. “Biko, why so dark? Are you sure you can’t find happy stories that we can enjoy reading?” a reader emailed.


Happy stories? Like of what? Should I interview red-nosed clowns who entertain children in restaurants with bouncy castles? What was your ambition growing up and are you surprised that you are here making children laugh? Or rather, children laughing at you? / What have you learnt about modern parenting through your interaction with these children? / Do you do this job because it’s there or does it appeal to a little child in you? What kind of childhood did you have and when you entertain these fat spoilt rich kids, do you feel sorry about your childhood or are you glad of your own childhood? Do you have children?…I disagree, being 26 years is not an excuse not to have children…I think you are scared of children, Mr Clown…no, let me finish…you hide behind that red nose and make children laugh but in essence you are just repairing your own broken childho…oh come back, the interview is not over…come on….I’m sorry….I was only joki…oh, stop kicking that kid what has he done apart from eat everything?…James, come back….

No, seriously. Should I interview a construction worker? Or a guy who comes around from Kenya Power to disconnect the meter and flirt with house helps while at it? One reader said, “Interview people who have a passion for something.” Who are these people with passion? Auditors? Fashion bloggers? Foodies? Gym instructors? Choir masters? Some say, interview “normal people!”

Well, you might not believe this but “normal people” are boring!

Here is an example of the life of a normal person.

The story will start with how he was born in South C. (That in itself will drive me mad because he will feel compelled to bring up E-Sir at some point. RIP.) He would have grown up in a well adjusted environment. His father would either be a engineer or worked in an Insurance company like Kenindia back in the day and his mother – a “very solid” mother – who, in the 80s, worked in a bank when few mothers were working in banks but as teachers and secretaries. There will be a very happy childhood marked by sausages at breakfast every weekend, being dropped in school by Dad or (gulp) Mom. (Anybody whose mom drove in the 80s led a fairly privileged life). He would be like the same kids we saw in high school; kids who came with two suitcases instead of metallic boxes, never ran out of BlueBand, always had big jars of peanut butter, had seven school shirts and half a dozen pants, and when they got a flu, there was a driver always waiting at the headmaster’s office to pick them up to get a better medical attention that the school dispensary couldn’t provide.

This chap will pass his KCSE exams and then he will fly to the States or join USIU or UoN and then he will graduate and get a job after two months of “tarmacking” which in his case means sitting around the house watching TV as Dad talks to his mates over at the country club about his employment prospects. He will get a job and then move up the ladder because – fortunately – he is smart or because he is lucky or because, I don’t know, but he just moves up.

He will meet a girl who didn’t grow up in South C, but in Kitui or Narok or Machakos or Banana. (By the way, I’ve never met anyone who grew up in Banana, where do they hang out? What kind of people are they? Do you know?) He will meet this girl during a work cocktail function at the ballroom of a hotel. They will date. He will take this Banana chick to Dubai for the first time in her life. They will break up briefly when one of his exes (who grew up in South C) comes back briefly and they have a dalliance of sorts and she will be so mad because he had said there was nothing there but a “childhood hangover.” But once this South C chick goes back she will cool off and they will get together and get married in a garden wedding where all the groomsmen will don Ray Bans and hangovers.

They will have three children who we will all know about because they post it – and everything about their charmed lives – online. He will have his job, his mom and dad will have retired but will still be living in the city, maybe in a gated community along Kiambu road. His mom will be active in church, his father will be consulting whenever he feels like it, driving a Discovery 4 and playing golf whenever. They will have barbeques “over at the folks’” every so often. (You will know this if you are on social media.)

This is the guy who will sit before me as my voice recorder runs and he will tell me with some unmasked pride that his “mother-tongue is not good at all” because “we really didn’t speak it at home.” He will think that’s a cool thing; to be unable to speak your mother tongue.

Now that’s a normal interview I don’t want to do. Because what will we talk about; which restaurant serves the best crepes in town? When I ask him – as I stab wildly in the dark for a yelp from a story – when in his life he felt most insecure and out of his comfort zone he will say “When I broke my leg in two places in a horse-riding accident. My wife and I were celebrating our fourth anniversary and we went to this lodge in Laikipia and this mad horse, which the hotel swore was their best, simply tossed me in the air and at that point – mid-air – I really thought I was going to die. Anyway, when I was in hosi, recuperating, I wondered what would have happened to my kids had this accident been worse.”
I’d ask disappointedly, “Oh, so you only broke your leg?”

I don’t want to interview this guy. Or his Banana wife. Why? Because I don’t think I would want to read his story. It’s too “normal.”

But consider this twist in the tale above.

If one Saturday morning when he was in form 3, he opened their gate to find three gentlemen waiting, a humming lorry behind them. One of the men, a slim guy in a Hawaii shirt asked, “Is your dad home?” And he said, “Uhm yeah,” and the men had walked into the house and his father came out of the bedroom tying his bathrobe, confusion and fear in his eyes, and these auctioneers reversed the lorry and took away everything they owned because of a defaulted loan or whatever, and they had to move from that house to a small house in Makadara from where they eked life until his father sunk into alcoholism and did nothing the whole day but read old newspapers, talked constantly about his big job as an engineer, drunk copiously and quarrelled with anyone with a pulse. And his mother stepped up and fed, clothed, schooled the family and when he graduated from uni and joined a big-ass auditing firm, he bought his mom a house in Lavington. Imagine what this guy will tell you about moving from South C to Makadara and what he will tell you about his father and how his character and the family environment shaped the man he has become. This guy never married a chick from Banana because they are too alike, instead they meet girls who hail from Bomet or Nyamasaria but somehow made their way abroad for education and later came back with one accent and two degrees and now work as an HR officer for a non-profit organisation.

Now that is a story I would want to write about. Because it’s not “normal.”

You know who else would be nice to interview?

A girl who, while growing up, would help her mother brew muratina in Nyeri by night and then go to school by day. A girl whose mother would ask her to go look for her father at sunset and she would set off along the darkening narrow paths of the village trails, looking out for her father’s foot sticking out from the hedges and she would later find him seated on his ass, his pants wet from urine, and she would walk him home with his hands draped around her small shoulder as he sang unintelligible mugithi songs. A girl who later went to Starehe Girls, buried her father just before she sat her 4th form and when she scored A- instead of an A in KCSE she cried for two days and felt like she had failed herself and her mother. Now she and her pal have their own law firm with 27 employees.

I won’t ask her about success because that’s boring. I will take her down that rabbit hole and ask her if she remembers the recipe for muratina, ask her if she sometimes now wakes up to the smell of burning wood used to boil that stuff and how losing her father to alcoholism informed her relationship with alcohol and if that experience also dictated her choice of partner, who it turns out, she married after breaking up with the first South C guy who can’t speak his mother tongue. She won’t tell me that she wasn’t keen to date the kind of man whose drinking almost reminded her of her father’s drinking in some ways. Especially the happy songs after a night at the bar. I will ask her what she remembers fondly about her father and what character trait she inherited from him, apart from his nose. She will be a strong woman but with a ragged past and that’s where the story is, not in her law firm. People prefer not to look at their pasts but we are all built from the bricks of our past.

Now that’s a story with legs.

I love underdogs that triumph. In movies I love the bad guys because they always have more character than the good guys. In The Lone Survivor Mark Wahlberg and his band of American marines are trapped behind Taliban lines up in the unforgiving hills of Afghanistan and they are being butchered and plummeted and shot and they plunge down cliffs and break their skulls and ribs and the Taliban keep coming with bullets, phantoms of the mountains. I rooted for those Talibans. They had character! In Inglourious Basterds, I loved Brad Pitt as a Nazi hunter because he was ruthless with his knife, yes, but I also loved the Nazi general, Hans Landa, especially in the opening scene dialogue where he drinks milk with the Frenchman hiding Jews under his wooden house. His face is Lucifer’s face but he’s a poetic lucifer, measured and wrathful. He says things I want to frame.

In the series Tyrant, I loved Jamal with his bald head, getting blowjobs in roaring Ferraris, married to a manipulative (but very sexy) woman with a fat son who hates him, evil to a fault, erratic like a cornered cat, wild and free and eventually dies like a dog in the high prison of his egoistic excesses. And when he died, I saw no point of watching it further because all that was left was his brother Barry, a character who was handsome and American (obviously) and safe and very virtuous and married to a dutiful blonde who bruised easy, and with two (fairly) all-American childre, and all Barry wanted to do was save the world and be a great guy while doing it. Plus he was a doctor who could shoot an AK 47 with great precision like only an American doctor can. Completely exciting. In Mad Men I loved Don Draper because he had no humour but in its place he had a closet full of ghosts from his past and he struggled as a father and as a man and he was always a complicated lover, ruined and beautiful and cast on a dark doom of creativity.

I love such stories and characters that bleed on the page. I love stories where the protagonists let go of their own fate. Stories of pain and heartbreak and of loss, deep loss, and of how the human spirit fights to gain traction again amidst that emotional carousel. I love when men lose. Then they stand at a window and they wonder if they will ever rise again. Well, we will never know, but what we know is that at least they are standing. I love when shit doesn’t work out for characters even when they try. I particularly love characters who don’t hesitate to walk away from things, from people, from ideas and they walk alone. I’m attracted to characters who are vulnerable; men who cry, women who clutch their strength in their fists as they get knocked about by a barrage of life.

Grit is a boner.

I seek stories that leave me feeling a little scared. That make me think or make me anxious and uncomfortable, stories that challenge me and challenge dogma. I want to learn something new when I hear someone’s story. If I can’t project a story on the storyboard of my own life then it doesn’t pique my interest. I want to see the revelation of a human spirit show me it’s hand, show me how long the shadow it casts is. It’s selfish of me and so you will forgive me if I dislike normal stories of normal men who marry girls from Banana.

I’m bored of smart people who are successful and are married to smart women and have great studious children who always say please and thank you, ma’am, and have pastors over frequently for brunch in their garden and are so normal they look like an ad for a toothpaste. I would like to be in the company of broken people who are fighting to stay up. Daily. People who have been around the block. Or are struggling with going around this block. To be clear, I don’t want to hear just stories of death and suffering, no. I want to see the true heart of man, not the heart they put up on social media.

But what do I know? I’d like to hear what you think, what you like to read about. In fact, for shits and giggles, how about we first interview someone who grew up in Banana? I think that might be revelatory.

If you grew up in Banana could you kindly step forward and drop me a line – [email protected]. The world would like to hear how you turned out and what it was growing up in a place named after a fruit.

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  1. There is a certain comfort in pain, sad stories and sad music….Maybe we are weird. Though with teary eyes and ever tired soul…I would still choose a sad story, the darkest because that is where life really happens.

      1. True.
        Plus those dark stories can bring healing. I once read a few painful stories here while experiencing my own turmoil, and in crying for them, I found (accidentally) that it eased my own hurt.

    1. Sad, painful stories of characters who embrace the pain, the shame and their tragic fate are life-giving! They pinch you and in feeling the pain caused by the pinch, you are reminded that you are (still) alive..

  2. Brother Biko, please don’t write anything normal, you can write about Jamal in Tyrant that’s close to normal. The yawning is too much

  3. Good morning Biko,
    I think that normal stories of normal people who can create a toothpaste ad are indeed boring. There is substance in your stories however “dark” as they email you to say… those are the ones that are interesting. This was a good piece and I agree with you 110%
    P.S. I’ll ask my friends who among them hails from Banana.

  4. Normal is boring and I also find villains more interesting than heroes.
    I like stories that leave marveling at the resilience of the human spirit and how far it can stretch.

  5. I dozed while reading this one. But because am loyal to reading I was patient to the end. In short, I hate normal too

      1. 2 days later……Normal is boring Biko especially when it’s written by you..I wonder how long it took you how finish this

  6. I enjoy reading about guys who made after they had been written off. Addicts who recovered, sacked employees who start their businesses and lessons from civil servants who were too afraid to move out and start their thing coz of job security

  7. Banana is a cool place…some fine ladies and gentlemen who know how to get by life. Yes grit drives the world. Holding on when battered, being sure of only one thing; your inequities, and knowing with complete certainty that you are going to commit that sin. Listen to the opening lines of Limp Bizkit’s Behind Blue Eyes.

  8. Growing up, I had this rosy idea of life. I expected life to be great and good given I was a good kid. Did it?…Unfortunately, life is not always good. Once in a while (or always), it will blow shit and stuff along your way and when that happens, you be better equipped to handle it otherwise you will sink.

    Reading about the shitty freaking crazy things life gives people gives an idea of what happens out there so that when it happens to you, you draw inspiration from it. It lets one know that they are not alone.

    Speaking of underdogs, I root for them as well. Reminds me of a conversation I was having the other day with some chick friend. A chick who doesn’t think nor speak highly of Kaligraph & Octopizzo unlike me. Other than the fact of great rhymes & macho feeling, the duo & Diamond are musicians are people who have come along way to where they are. Worked their ass up there. King kaka as well.

    So, don’t give us normal Biko. That may the closest we will get to living. As Paul Coelho says in his book “The Zahir” a brush with death changes your life. It helps you appreciate the simple things in life.

  9. Biko, there is this quote by Nikita Gill that summarizes your piece perfectly. It says ” I have always liked my people a bit damaged. A bit rough around the edges. A bit difficult to stereotype. A bit stranger than the normal crowd. I like people whose eyes tell stories and whose smiles have fought through wars. If you’re perfect, chances are you wont like me. You see, what i want is authentic. What i want to see is your purity. I want to see how you wear your scars. I want to see how brave you are with your vulnerability , how emotionally naked you let the world see you. Your damage may not be beautiful, but it has made you exquisite. It makes you original, different- and one of my kind of people because people like you’re the most incredible thing about this world.”

    I live next to Bano let us be Hehe.

    1. The letters in there are well placed, well written….. It’s the kind of written I tag as beautiful or ‘the way I like my chicken’ hahaha

  10. I love the stories you put out, they are true, honest and about a vast majority of people who live on this earth. I am left with deep thoughts about my own life, I question my path and always strive to give a better shot at it because I do have certain privileges.

    I enjoyed the 40s series, it gave me an insight on what life holds on the other side of 30 (I have a few years left). I don’t have another informative, honest review of being 40, people just tell you life gets better. But better from what? How exactly is it better? It taught me to slug through what hardships I might have now, they build my character.

    The lady who survived the cannibalism/rape hell just gave me shivers, I held my children closer… I look at a boiling pot with a new perspective. The title of that piece has never left me – There were birds, but they didn’t sing. I was somewhere where I heard birds sing and I thought… at least they are singing.

    Am I dark? Do I like reading about suffering? Your article today answers it, no. I just love reading true stories of real human beings. I happen to get that here and nowhere else.

    However, yes for the sake of it, bring on that Banana story…I actually know someone who grew up there and shall send them the post.

  11. Truth is everybody has their own story of grit. Don’t be fooled by the double fracture, his true story is one of a struggle with drug addiction. Everybody at a point in their lives has the odds stuck against them in a big or life changing way. The only normal people are the ones you don’t know well.

  12. For some reason, I have enjoyed this week’s piece, compared to last week’s. Having gone through the same expirience, I didn’t finish reading it.
    Today’s has left me thinking….

  13. “I don’t think I would want to read his story. It’s too “normal.”..yeah me too.Normal is very boring.The “sad” stories give me hope and faith that there will be better days and we always rise from the ashes.

    I would like to be in the company of broken people who are fighting to stay up. Daily. People who have been around the block. Or are struggling with going around this block. To be clear, I don’t want to hear just stories of death and suffering, no. I want to see the true heart of man, not the heart they put up on social media….Wooow

  14. This is good illustration that normal life is boring.biko always write things that arent normal they are insightful and makes us appreciate our lives

  15. When time comes for us who grew up in Namalasire (have you even heard of that name) I will drop a line.

    Normal is boring. You read a story and you already know how it will end, thats a bad story.

  16. Hey Biko, I think you should interview retired Army General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, the man who successfully mediated the Sudan conflict and ended a two decade war, where all foreign diplomats had failed to do so. it would be Interesting.

  17. Normal is boring…About the movies; you forgot to mention T-Bag of Prison Break! I have watched that series a thousand and one times because of him.

  18. Biko, i do agree with you. Normal is boring……yawn

    Your stories really make one see things in a different way and count our blessings.

    “He will tell me with some unmasked pride that his “mother-tongue is not good at all” because “we really didn’t speak it at home.” Some born taos just found themselves not speaking mother tongue and you have their parents to blame.

  19. My favourite stories are the dark ones. Normal is normal. Dark is life. Real life. We might not be living it but some of us might be going through something close. It helps us to cope. Or at least appreciate life more. Kindly do what you do best, Biko. Thank you for always enriching my Tuesdays with REAL stories.

  20. I also love underdogs who triumph. the 40s series and the one off 20s story have been the best ever. Real people with Real stories. I think you would enjoy reading the book by Malcolm Gladwell called The Advantages of Disadvantages: David and Goliath. Its not a christian book. its a very good book

    1. I just bought this book 6 days ago! I was at textbook centre getting my niece a class 8 book and since I have been reading on kindle lately, I saw the book and thought..why not? Am here, the book is here, I have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers 4 years ago and it was good, why not try this one! I haven’t started reading it though because on that day I bought Trevor Noah’s born a crime too, which i should be finishing in 2 days!

  21. Seriously though, How is a place named banana? I think I should visit this place sometime soon..But only after reading a story from banana..We don’t want normal..I am perfectly fine with non-normal (I know that word doesn’t exist) stories1

  22. Well, my story is a bit boring, because I found love, HERE on the comment section. You won’t believe it, but we had the same view/opinion on a story Brother Biko had posted and we thought, if we can agree on this, probably we can agree on many more things. And Whoop, we jumped on the marriage wagon. It’s 4 years now and a 3yr old baby girl to crown it. Very boring normal story.

    1. What? Biko should interview you for us. I’d like to hear your story. I guess it would fall in the family or relationship category.

    2. I love your normal. Life is about how you wrap your mind around things. Whether normal whether gritting. It’s life and how you celebrate them is what matters. Yes, sad stories give us hope but at the same time, different themes (sad, mind-blowing, adventurous, that street kid hustling, babu owino’s stream of thoughts and actions, finding love, and much more inspire us on different angles. Just mix it up Biko. Variety is interesting.

    3. True.
      Plus those dark stories can bring healing. I once read a few painful stories here while experiencing my own turmoil, and in crying for them, I found (accidentally) that it eased my own hurt.

  23. If you wrote a story with no pain before success, I bet most people will find it boring. Pain, joy, laughter are all parts of life . When I hear certain stories am encouraged to keep going.When I hear certain stories I appreciate where I am in life. I like the stories you write,plus I have come to the conclusion through observation and experience that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a human being.

  24. thihihihi…..Brother Biko jameni! i would give anything to see your face when you were venting this piece out…..but i agree, we are made up of bricks from our past. Picture this…… A young girl looses her mother to depression at fifteen years and three months later looses her dad to sadness. Her mom’s death destroys her but she doesn’t even cry at her dad’s funeral because she blames him for her mothers death. She, now at sixteen years is the soul guardian to a five year old boy and a seven year old girl. Two months later, she is raped by her brother’s best friend and she gets pregnant… she just turned thirty….This is a story i would love to see you write

  25. The stories from someone who grew up in Banana while burn you out and make your brain go bananas. Probably they grew up foodies. The same applies to kids from Kahawa, Kimbo, Matunda, Mnazi and so on

  26. I also like such stories. stories of resilience, of perseverance,, of pain but eventually triumph. Stories that project how life can turn to be a monster, and how people are dealing with it. How the tough get going even during the harshest time. That is why I always find myself here, to drink on this, as it gives me hope. If that lady from the “there were birds, but couldn’t sing” can still find a reason to smile and listen to music, then there is hope. If Ba didn’t give up, but moved on with his life, then all is not lost.
    I also get bored with stories of normal people who went to harvard and became millionaires. So boring…

  27. I’m here for the folk that grew up in Banana. Back when we used to whisper in fear lest the shadows hear you, when parents had to take turns picking us from school when things took a turn for the worst and when you’d rather meet thugs on your way home than the infamous “Chief Rambo”. But we somehow managed to shoulder shrug all these things enjoyed our childhood; Duff Mpararo, stealing Bananas and just being carefree.
    I guess we turned out fine 😉

  28. ” I want to see the true heart of man, not the heart they put up on social media.” This is what I want too!! stories of people who were broken yet they came out whole!stories that make me realise my troubles are nothing compared to what they have gone through…such stories give me the courage to face this life.

  29. I have being high since i started reading your articles jana,,now am just bored, normal takes me from 1000 to 0 real quick #yawn

    Incase you missd it:) I love your blog and i think i have just the story for you

  30. Arh, Biko, please, no normal boring stories. We’ve hard happy stories here. Remember the guy who left his life and joined his wife’s dreams and aspirations and birthed his own dreams and big money there? That was a good out of the norm happy ending. And of Tamms and Kim. have they started fighting over who is loved more yet?

    1. Funny thing is that beneath some “normal” lives, like in the movies, lies imperfections, struggles, pain, uncertainties, fear and ruggedness. These are the definition of perfect. We are built on bricks. Even the bricks we don’t like.

  31. The world: Who’s your favourite character?
    Me: That one
    The world: But they’re the villain
    Me: Yep
    The world: Are you going to argue that they’re misunderstood?
    Me: No, they’re actually quite evil and psychopathic
    Me: And murderous
    Me: They remind me of myself

    I saw this conversation somewhere and loved it.
    I like your sad stories Bwana Biko…sorry, ndugu katika yesu- Brother Jackson. They resonate with me. Perhaps I like pain.
    Also, clowns are scary af. Who had the idea that they can entertain children?

    1. At last someone points out the fact that clowns are scary!! Lol

      Also this part of his “conversation” with the clown was hilarious…
      “Do you have children?…I disagree, being 26 years is not an excuse not to have children…I think you are scared of children, Mr Clown…no, let me finish…you hide behind that red nose and make children laugh but in essence you are just repairing your own broken childho…oh come back, the interview is not over…come on….I’m sorry….I was only joki…oh, stop kicking that kid what has he done apart from eat everything?…James, come back….” Hahahaha

  32. Normal is boring! I think you have some really selfish readers who think that because they can’t relate to a story, other people don’t or shouldn’t.

    For starters thank you for sharing the Ba story or do i say Kyle Mitch, i identified with it because I lost my pregnancy at 35weeks late last year. When you go through tough times, there nothing as good as knowing that you are not alone.
    What’s even better is knowing that a silver lining lies ahead of every dark cloud.

    Your stories are edifying, ….inspiring…they speak to thousands of people. For those who haven’t gone through crazy times(lucky you) but majority of us who’ve found ourselves in such situations, find hope in people who tell such stories.

  33. For the first time, i scrolled down the page to see how long the story is: because normal is boring, lets stick to our type of stories. There is always a lesson to learn.

  34. I feel you Biko. In Thor, I love Loki… But I totally get it and that’s why I love your Business Daily interviews. Coz I usually wonder sometimes like Khai! Did you really ask that?

    Love it!

  35. I have being high since i started reading your articles jana,,now am just bored, normal takes me from 1000 to 0 real quick #yawn

    Incase you missed it:) I love your blog and i think i have just the story for you

  36. Normal is boring. Waiting for the next story. I’m ok with the real stuff though it makes me sad sometimes. But there’s always triumph in the end.

  37. Bravo!! Well done.
    I like how you turned this round and made us see that normal is indeed boring. Lol.
    Anyway, keep writing and I’ll read

  38. I love the stories you write. They are not dark as all they shed a light to our experiences and others.

    Normal stories never got in the Bible as well, because for some reason sweat, tears and blood make us better.
    We are never created for normal, extra is where everything thrives.

  39. “Too dark”…if you think about it, that’s actually a rather obnoxious phrase. “Biko, why so dark?” sounds like something a guys raised in South C by an engineer and a banker would write. But therein lies the problem: The typical middle income Nairobi adult has become a bit too fragile. I throw a fit when my acrylic nail breaks; he throws a fit when a cop catches him using his phone in traffic. We both throw a fit when some dignitary flies in an our usually hectic traffic goes sideways.

    But these “dark” stories remind us that life has peaks and valleys. Life is not a buffet; we don’t get to pick and choose what our pallet can accommodate. Plus whatever we think is “a living hell” for us could have actually been infinitely worse. Sometimes it takes someone else’s “dark” story to make us grateful for the little that’s going right in our lives. Keep writing those dark stories Biko! Keep making us feel uncomfortable-discomfort always makes people think and become reflective. When we became so uncomfortable with discomfort that we found actual life experiences shared by over comers unpalatable, I don’t know.

  40. Here i was waiting for today’s story, then i saw the title and the image of brown boots turned black( i presumed by the murk of life) and i prepared my mellow heart not to shed a tear, not again this Tuesday, well i did not but sure thing Normal Is Boring and “To be clear, I don’t want to hear just stories of death and suffering, no. I want to see the true heart of man, not the heart they put up on social media.”

  41. So, I have a friend who is from Banana. She got married to a guy who grew up in South C. His parents now stay along Kiambu road. Guess what the father is, an Architect. Oh, she works in an NGO as part HR. I kid you not.

  42. I’m not done reading this piece, I just had to dash here quickly to tell you that you should go back to watching the Tyrant…people change Biko…You’d be in for a good surprise.

  43. “normal people” are boring!
    Biko you have a unique voice and way of speaking to us. What you have is pure mastery! Normal stories are always boring to be honest , as a reader I will always ask my self what have I gained from this read…can I read twice thrice or even share ?
    So far I have learnt that each writer has a voice, the best voice of capturing lessons and speaking to our inner selves uniquely. You do what you do best Biko. Your stories ain’t dark ,they always have light at the end with a heavy message.

  44. I do not read your stories necessarily for what they are. A lot of the times is how you tell these stories. You have a salvage spirit that slices with words. As for stories to tell, however you tell the story, it remains captivating. I will always return for some.

  45. Real stories don’t necessarily have to be sad stories. Stories of Tamms & Kim & other 40’s series (Alex the gas man) are real but aren’t sad. They are not plastic because they aren’t sad.

  46. “..But once this South C chick goes back she will cool off and they will get together and get married in a garden wedding where all the groomsmen will don Ray Bans and hangovers…”.—–Just glad that you and me share the same sentiments. I used to write and people always questioned my stories. I shall write once more after a hiatus.

  47. Keep doing you Biko. The stories are not sad, anyone who’s read you for a while knows you love the word “stoic”. The stories motivate us who can see through the sad screen to the strength and resilience, it helps us appreciate our lives and inspires us to work harder, but most importantly we get to ask ourselves? What if that was me? Would I make it? Keep STOIC alive. I hope you get a thief from Banana, someone who knows how to chops up cars at night and sells spares in Kirinyaga road.

  48. Biko, if we would want normal, we would just sit back and reflect on our lives. We here for these stories that have a thing to it. People who go through a lot of emotions and events in their lives, that leave them shaken to the core but still are holding the fort. Its such stories that give one the sheer willpower to move forward knowing that life is not a bed of roses. Great read Biko, as usual, you light up my Tuesdays.

  49. Ha! Ndugu Jackson.
    Your sad stories are actually what separates you from the chaff. It brings the best out of that talent. The descriptions vividly tell this guy has written millions of words.

    And to interviewing someone from Kiambaa. Didn’t you interview Jeff Koinange sometimes back? And his gelled hair too? Negro grew up over there, methinks.

  50. I like how you describe the hurt,pain,loss,suffering,love and triumph. Normal is overrated and that’s why I camp here for the grit.

  51. This just made my day! The 40 series is one of the best things that has happened in my life. It’s like watching This is Us but with much more depth because this is real . I have gained so much perspective over the past months. Do you Biko!

  52. While the stories have been dark,I have looked forward to them; I have learnt, I have cried, I have cheered the protagonists on, I have related with some, I have “seen” God…..these stories are life….keep them coming Biko

  53. I don’t think you write dark stories. You write stories about real things that people go through. There is nothing dark about death,suffering and loss. Apart from the very lucky ones most of us will experience the ‘dark’ at some point in life. Keep writing the not so normal/dark stories. Some of us draw lessons and strength from them. Though we don’t write it in the comments section we silently appreciate the stories and lessons from them.

  54. Yaaaawn…..i could not even finish reading…infact I kept on skipping the lines looking or the interesting bit but….nothing. Normal is so boring.

  55. Biko, among all Banana people I have met, I only remember one I schooled with whise parebts came to visit after dropping pigs for slaughter,picked the sibkings from Catgolic Parochial(so dressed in uniform) with a pick up load of animal feeds to head back home with.Found that family very real.

  56. Awesome piece Biko. The world, as we know it, is black and white, and in a polarized world, what better way to convey the message to people. Real experiences relate to people more than mere stories ever will.

  57. When I was growing up (not in Banana) my parents would always administer corrective measures preceded by these words, “Why can’t you be normal?” Does that make be un-normal or was I whipped into normalcy.
    The stories are not dark they help us realise that life has so much going on and to count our blessings every morning and before bedtime.

  58. I totally agree with you Biko. Deep stories bring out deeper lessons and helps us appreciate the small things that we otherwise think are kind of normal…

  59. Biko, I have read your blog since the beginning and I love that there is nothing normal about those who you write about. Normal is boring. I agree. But there are some stories that you write that break hearts. E.g the story about the child who was boiled (I think the title is ‘where birds don’t sing’) I loved the story because it let me know that some people go through things that my young mind cannot even fathom. Yes I cried, yes it still haunts me and I still gasp and close my eyes and whisper a prayer everytime the story crosses my mind, which is alot of times . The worst is knowing that maybe the same inhumane acts are still going on in the Congo and there is basically nothing I can do about it. The woman who went through it never got her happy endings but just got a managable means of survival. Inshort Biko, when you write something as haunting as that story, it would be nice if you already have a way for your audience to help.

    There was a sad story that you wrote about the extremely poor orphan boy from kisumu and we the audience helped him alot through mpesa or atleast I did. The story haunts me no more because I did what I could and with a followup once in a while, I can still help.

    Try not to leave me with a broken heart, spending my entire life wondering how I can help. Am so empathetic that I can’t eat for days after reading some heartbreaking pieces. It just doesn’t feel right going on like I never read that somewhere someone is suffering and something like just my lunch money can mean so much to them. But if you have to, put a trigger on the first sentence. Sometimes its best living in oblivion.

  60. I do not agree that non melancholic stories are necessarily normal and boring. The story last week and few others were too dark, we need a month or so of a break from the dark stories. Stories of death, after death are real yes, but too deep for comfort. May be because we are Africans and have these beliefs about death. You have given great stories of triumph after struggle, but reduce on the very dark narratives. Well I am using your word, dark. I am not sure what word came to mind when I read your post last week but I was not sure I am ready to open another post. But you lured me with “happy ending”. What I would love to read more about is humor (but ‘priss’ enough of our warus and cabbages. I can give you a new one to vent on, I was served Pilau nduma last week, and I was NOT in Central), stories of persons who from the face of it seem to have it all together because of where they are, but in real sense every success has a side of the story that puts the human nature into perspective, then you can add on the dark stories once in a while. Just not too often.

  61. I live for the sad stories. I love them, i think about Ba, and the rest when i am traveling or lazing in bed. They make me feel privileged. I give examples to my pals using these stories. We can’t do normal. And all of them have happy endings..right? What more do people want?

  62. Pain is beautiful, those sad stories bear so much intensity and truth. Personally, I need more of those sob stories because I am drawn to sad things and people.

  63. “…we are all built from the bricks of our past.”
    If you cast away the bricks, the building crumbles; we will find no character, just a frame.

    Write on, Biko.

  64. Normal is boring.
    40’s people changed my idea of what to expect in life.
    A RICH LIFE WILL FOR ME. (not about the money)

  65. All decent writers know that a good story should have a conflict, climax and resolution. The conflict could be existential (internal), against nature or another human being. Resolutions (solutions to the conflict) can be tragic, as yours often are. Biko, your stories are extraordinary because they tick all these boxes, so why change a winning formula? PS: Not knowing your mother tongue is not synonymous to being entitled. I only speak English and Kiswahili, yet I grew up poor.

  66. Normal is boring and evokes almost no feelings, ambitions and definitely no room for self-reflection. The not normal stories that you tell is just what i love. Keep on that line.

  67. Normal is boring. For a ninja like me who marvels in dramatic escapades, I wouldn’t like to be around normal people.

  68. I can concur that normal is boring,, am sure the repetition of the statement is boring too,, anyway I also love my life,, the crisis that I have won through, the hardships persevered and here I am… Biko, could interview a 20year old from Karatina uni,, a higher learning inside thickets of Mt Kenya, I believe we have stories to tell.
    From people down here Kagochi- “Chikago”

  69. I thought I was alone in feeling the grit. Happy endings are great, knowing how they got there is also great. But the sob details….sigh! It’s a lot for one reading. I read the last one and cried so much I wasn’t sure I was going to open this one unless I wanted my day to go dark and gloomy, but then I read the first few lines…

  70. Continue writing what brings out the best in you, what makes you who you are, not simple but complicated material, not normal but out of this world kind of narrations. i read your articles with so much appreciation always reminding me of the good old days that i loved and enjoyed literature as my best subject…Keep going Biko..even the era we are living in right now is not normal so why do normal?

  71. The stories you share depict something deep and under appreciated about the tenacity of the human spirit. I know of several days when I have felt at the end of mine. Then I read of the many out there facing far worse days than mine (the air hostess at Wilson) but going on all the same, I surely will keep going on too.

  72. Normal is boring.. True… But normal is also reality. My story doesn’t have to be sad and full of grief to be interesting, neither does it have to be all roses and butterflies and rainbows.
    We all have different variations of normal. And my version may be boring to you and interesting to someone else.
    Try it Biko. If anything, you can make normal sound super interesting.

  73. Please look for those young chaps that dug a tunnel and robbed a bank in Thika-I’d love to read their story.
    Don’t be surprised if they were brought up in banana and the chic that led to their capture from SouthC .

  74. I agree. Normal people are boring. We all tend to hide our pasts because we have not dealt with our pasts gracefully.

  75. I actually know a girl from banana lol!
    It’s your blog write what inspires you.
    If we don’t feel it we are always free to unsubscribe ama?

  76. Haha toothpaste ad got me,…

    Biko, I agree that bricks are what make us. Keep curving those stories that inspire hope, especially from brokenness. They sound a little like some detergent ad that runs on TV” Dirt is good”. And yes so is pain.

  77. I’ve read all the stories here and if you’re keen, there’s always some light somewhere, a revelation.. The characters are always standing. I can’t remember one which ended in eternal darkness. And that’s the human spirit.

    Bwana Biko, how about I interviewed you, you don’t seem normal.

  78. Normal is boring, I love adrenaline, enjoy pressure and agree with you sad stories touch me deeply. They make me walk in those characters shoes and appreciate my situation. Keep them coming Biko….there’s never a dull day here

  79. Greetings Brother Biko, Normal is very boring! It wouldn’t be nice of us to dictate what you should/shouldn’t be posting.

  80. First I wish to protest mosr vehemently on the character assassination of my Embu people.
    You must remember yiu once visited the magnificent land of Wambora and met a guy with a hoe.
    Surely thats not boring….

  81. Personally, I tend to gravitate towards sad stories. Normal is boring. Sad stuff leaves me with stuff to think about when sleep eludes me in the night whereas, fun stuff makes me laugh and say, ‘ha, the world is cracked somewhere!’ And then I move on with life.

  82. in death we find peace and pain is the cost of living.we just have to learn how to absorb our surroundings.P.S darkness is always around,just waiting to pounce.

  83. Awesome as always mtumishi Biko. I actually dated a lady from banana (she was wonderful by the way and hated Warus)am also not normal and not from South C.

  84. The comments here are longer than the story itself, sigh. Let me make it even longer anyway.

    I disagree that normal is boring, just because all the above “normal” comments agree so

  85. What is normal by the way,how do you come up with a standard gauge of what is normal and what is not, to some who have gone through the worst experiences in their lives some of the stories in the blog may seem quite normal to them,we all perceive things differently I believe.

  86. Sad stories remind me of a 21 pilot song…..touches the very core of my life, makes me thank heavens for life…gives me strength. Those sad stories by the way, give me the amount of strength that is immeasurable

  87. I like to read a story with a twist(s). Normal people have flat twists that are just kiasi… No room for ‘Haiya! Ulitokaje kwa io?’ because the twist in form of tushida is too flat to be considered an actual bend. So yeah, bring us these people who came, saw and conquered big big issues. Tutasoma.. Tutalearn

  88. Damage may not be so beautiful but it sure does make one so exquisite-so different and original
    Who likes people who are easy to stereotype and afraid of emotional nakedness anyway?

  89. Biko, I know where you can find a fellow from Banoo, a handful. On Tom Mboya street beside Choppies supermarket, there usually are buses(Bahima), the ‘stage managers’ there are nice people, you can strike a Convo and they are most likely to get you a story worthy banana resident(s). Ends around 7pm, ukiskia wakiitana ‘Kiambu na Nyumbani’ know you are at the right place. That is if no one drops you a note…


  90. I like your writing as it is. It speaks of life.real life.people going through situation that are beyond normal and their perseverance, endurance, long-suffering and the immense pain that comes with it. How there desire and willingness to live drives them with great passion to raise again. I remember the story, tales from mater. The guy you spoke to when you were visiting your ailing mother,how he was driving from western to Nairobi to get his mom to a doctor.she died in his car near Narok.after enjoying ice cream that she had been asking for.he had to drive with her dead body to central police station.that experience broke him and we can imagine how much it has affected his life to date.his words were so raw,you couldn’t ask him questions. Which meansit spoke to you.(to quote you) though you wrote it like 7yrs ago,it still has an impact to everyone I send it to.it’s a story with legs (and hands). Therefore, everything having been said, normal is not interesting. How can it be!

  91. Deep! If you are 40+ and all the below haven’t happened to you, you are the boring Biko is talking about or brace for it it’s coming…..(:

    I love such stories and characters that bleed on the page. I love stories where the protagonists let go of their own fate. Stories of pain and heartbreak and of loss, deep loss, and of how the human spirit fights to gain traction again amidst that emotional carousel. I love when men lose. Then they stand at a window and they wonder if they will ever rise again. Well, we will never know, but what we know is that at least they are standing. I love when shit doesn’t work out for characters even when they try. I particularly love characters who don’t hesitate to walk away from things, from people, from ideas and they walk alone.

  92. I am from banana locality.. We are actually normally a little confused…I come from a little village called Waguthu.. Right in the middle of Kiambu town and Banana… Are we under Karuri or Kiambu area? Anyway I now live in Muchatha, aka gangster’s paradise due to insecurity… I can give stories or two about that….

  93. Biko, there is a small village somewhere in the heart if Kikuyuland, deep in the redsoil and green valleys of Murang’a. The place goes by the name “mbarî ya hiti”, that loosely translates to “the clan of hyenas”. Find someone from there instead, Banana is too normal

  94. Err…I grew up in Banana(80’s -’96), in the years when Ruaka was more coffee farms than a concrete jungle. Before Ruaka became “Lower Runda” … (eyeroll).
    Near our house was an orchard that we used to liberate of macadamia, rhubarb, peaches, mangoes…Our backyard had a “mbotha” (Loquat fruit) tree & we all had a branch and could sit up there all day and gorge ourselves. It also made for a good sentry point to see down the hill (of course there’s a hill!) to spot mathe and scatter to wash those dishes before she made it up!
    Still on the hills, in the wet season, we’d find a slope & glide down on a karai #funtimes.
    For some reason, I never tasted a watermelon until I was in high school (tihi) I don’t remember seeing them before then.
    Banana Hill instilled in me a love for open spaces and greenery….I don’t know how that would work with a south c fella 😀
    And oh, pain is normal.

  95. I usually dose while reading normal stories, i just do not like them. Your stories have helped me to reflect on the surrounding and my own life as a whole. It has actually changed me as a Human being.

  96. “It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”

  97. Perhaps because we can relate to the sad times than the happy ones.


  98. Well.. Most interesting read so far.
    You can be dramatic..

    Fyi,i grew up next to Banana.. We are not as normal. Probably more broken than pastor’s kids.

  99. Dear Bwana Jackson,
    Just write, whether dark or ‘normal’ stories, its about how you write, and I believe that’s what we (the gang) look forward to.

  100. What made you stood out is the ability to write normal stories in a thrilling way, which is a quite a gift. We( I ) would wish to have a balance of that back.

  101. This was deliberate Bro Jackson. Rambling about this that and the other so that we can urge you back to your dark stories! Well, i’m not buying it. Happy stories are not boring stories. I might have to resist

  102. Normal is not a story its just normal but someone with a story has something to tell that is out of the ordinary so even happy endings start sad or very low, or so I think. So the sad stories bring lessons to us so they are the best. People go through stuff..

  103. Bwana Biko’s definition of ‘normal’ is a guy who went to a nice school and lived in South C with a mother who drove and they all ate sausages for breakfast and the school probably had washing machines to wash their underwear. Hmm. Okay. But that’s not the normal, average Kenyan experience, is it? I wouldn’t know because where I come from, and I’m a ‘millennial’, my ‘normal’ is guys who went to a common public primary school, did well enough to get a spot in a provincial school in another county. The school hardly had any water, they went on strike every few months over things ranging from the weevils in their beans to the roof leak in all the dormitories. They have tasted jail because of university strikes, or come very close to tasting it. They tarmacked for quite sometime because their fathers were teachers or bodaboda guys and had zero connections. They have jobs now and are trying to put up a structure both in town and in their shags and maybe they’ll buy a car this year while paying fees for their kids who are charting the same paths in life as their parents, only they probably won’t tarmack as much. They’ve loved and lost and gained and lost some more but when you talk to them, it feels like you’re talking to one of the two boys you shared a desk with back in the public primary school, mostly because you didn’t grow up eating sausages for breakfast, and only know bacon from the hotels you go for work seminars at. That’s my ‘normal’. These stories of loss are Kenya normal. The South C guys are just Nairobi middle class normal.

  104. I love the stories..yes they are sad(they made me shed tears) but the happy endings were there, the lessons too, so continue….and
    ‘I want to see the true heart of man, not the heart they put up on social media’ so do i

  105. Hey Biko do your thing who wants boring normal stories anyway, I was born brought up in Kisumu (can speak luo better than you) then Kitale (A place called Endebess, with neighbours called Mama Wanjala and Trufena, People I meet actually don’t believe there is such a place yet the Kenya seed company headquarters is there, not that my home is anywhere near it. I went to high school in Nakuru and only came to Nairobi when I went to KU. I did not help my mum brew any illegal stuff but for the longest period I sold mandazi in those buzaa dens in peoples homes ,taking cash, maize or beans in exchange once I toll spoons. There are many of me and I am over forty.

  106. Normal is not boring. Normal is just that. Normal.
    Your stories, on the other hand Biko, are what normal writers will not venture out and piece together. You put your heart out there and let us travel with you through lives of people, who become part of us. We cry together, sometimes laugh, shake our heads and most times hold on on the edge of our seats because they are that captivating.
    You will be suprised the kind of stories behind peoples’ everyday smiles, let alone their fake social media lives.

  107. Normal is truly boring, waah,,, banana city, the only town I went to do sales, you know that stupid sales job you take, after leaving 4th form, and during induction you are made to see how you will get rich quick, I don’t know what I was smoking, can you imagine walking around in Banana with toys and alboze in January? The women there are thinking about school fees not stupid toys and even if their kids want toys, they make them, from tins and mafefe for a plane. Naivety is the mother of misuse.

  108. A girl from bomet or nyamasaria………..good read Biko……you should write my abnormal living, get in touch but you must keep it so anonymous

  109. Biko, what I am going to say next is up for debate and if war erupts out of it the better. Well I actually crave for my life to be normal. Like the normal 90’s I had. The birthday parties, the thought of having 2 parents at home. My father coming home with meat wrapped up with an old newspaper. My mother’s beatings as well as her tenderness when she would lick her fingers then wipe something out of my face. The siblings scuffles and fights, not forgetting the betrayals where one would be ‘sold’ in the evening when mother came back. During the fights I felt like it was world war Z.

    Then came cancer knocking. It flirted with father, drawing him closer then further from mother. Only mother saw this but us young bloods knew father was a fighter and would go unscathed. I used to fear him as well as love him. Both came naturally. After the burial family fights ensued on the background. I later came to find out when I grew up this is normal in most households when a patriarch is fallen. On our way to the city we went.

    Leaving hometown was like starting afresh, being reborn. Then after years of relatively trying to get back to normal (they were not that many though) s#*t happens. The mother gets sick. I prayer for 90 days without stopping. I do everything in the 10 commandments. I even came close to being a saint. There comes a time when you know for sure what is to come is inevitable. Her last night and few hours before she is gone were spent with me. the cycle replays all over again. Life is blank, far from normal.

    Show me the path to normal. I chase normal. I love normal. Normal wherever you are come to me. In me you will find the best lover. to cherish you till I perish.

    By now I think and know I will never go back to normal. It is like black Americans who don’t know what part of Africa they came from. Normal sold me to whatever state am in. May be January was hard for him.

  110. I don’t know what is up with your recently found obsession;Banana and its people. You are making it sound like a primitive village at the corner of timbuktu (I can read the sarcasm between the lines) but you would be surprised. Until recently it used to be just that, but thanks to the so called middle class driven by loans and mortgages the place has transformed. I miss the days when it rained and the petrichor hit you like a dose of cocaine. My eyes would roll back pretty much like Bran Stark from GoT. Now that is one show with characters that would melt your heart away. The place has red volcanic soils so when you got to town the whole world would know a citizen of banana has arrived. I recall one embarrassing encounter when I was in Campus. The rains had poured night through and so it got pretty slimy, On alighting the mat, one of those strategically positioned shoe vendors shouted, ‘We! kuja tukupanguzie viatu hio matope ni mingi.’ Everyone insecure in their own way paused to look at their shoes, then at the vendor. I was shocked to find him pointing at me, I glared at him with contempt for causing such a a scene. I mean didn’t he get a campus was all about swag and trying to look good in front of people. That’s a taste of Banana for you

  111. You misunderstood us Biko… Dark stories and stories of triumph after struggling are very intriguing because they paint a picture of life that is sometimes too real too vivid it’s scary.
    I however think there is more to life than doom and gloom.
    I’m not saying write “normal” but I’m sure from time to time you can write “happy” if only because life is too dark already.

  112. Ati normal..
    Kwa normalcy huwezi learn kitu!!!
    Ubaki ukijua lazima story iwe na blood, sweat na tears ndio ipate ku make sense na mtu apate ku learn lesson!!!!
    Na wazazi mfunze watoto lugha ya mama..
    Watu wa Normal kaendi ile side huko mbali.

  113. Dead people receive more flowers than the living because regret is greater than gratitude. Sad stories about life makes you appreciate the little things in life and live life the best way you know how. Normal is boring.

  114. “Ngai!” That is how we Banana chics express ourselves when shocked or amazed? Are we really normal? Can people who grew up in a village-like environment, yet just a short drive from the country’s capital and a city as big as Nairobi (by Africa’s standards) be normal? Mmmmmmhhh…

  115. I grew up in banana, in the 80s/90s. Went to school in the CBD, change of culture everyday between school and home was a bit confusing in my early years but I adjusted.

  116. I once dated a guy from Banana…he was quite different from what you might think. Smart, cultured, couldn’t even speak Kikuyu…his sisters too. Love this article Biko.

  117. I find the crazy characters also quite interesting. Like in prison break, I had a liking for T Bag especially when i heard him say, My my my pretty boy you are as good as advertised!! I definitely appreciate all of your articles. They each bring something new and as usual are great reads. Keep it up Chocolate Man.

  118. People from places named after food, plants or condiments should be great together.
    “Hi there Mary from Banana, I’m Jack from Kahawa and this is my colleague Fred from Kimbo” is a sure conversation starter with enough strands to last you a lifetime.

  119. I think the argument regarding the normal and not-normal lives that people lead will always be debatable. If your life is normal, like you have two loving parents, go to a good school, have loving siblings that you can be open with, you have breakfast and dinner as a family, etc. Basically, the only problems you have to deal with is what you want for your birthday and what trips to take this year. It’s like everything has already been decided and preset for you. Go to school, marry, join the family business and live a good privileged life. At some point it gets boring. And you find yourself desiring more, wanting to encounter a challenge so you can solve it and learn from it and at the same time grow your spirit.
    On the other hand, people who have undergone so many challenges, one after the other..they can’t seem to catch a break, they wish somehow their life was normal. You know, have a normal life for once. Even for just a day where they don’t have to be on edge.
    But it’s okay. It’s human nature to want more, to want what we don’t have. And that makes up life.

    Also, Biko, I agree with that part about Lone Survivor. I thought it was dumb of them to think their plan of releasing the herders and calling for extraction would go as smoothly as they planned, even if noble. Especially when Danny says “I care about you, and you, and you, and you. I don’t want your mothers back at home seeing your heads on a stick on fucking Al Jazeera”. Epic!

    But I don’t agree with Don Draper. Dude is messed up. Fine, maybe being raised in a whorehouse can mess you up. But come on! He jeopardizes every relationship, even when he doesn’t have to. People, however, admire him. His creative mind, his advertising..not knowing all the ghosts he keeps locked up, which will sneak up on him every once in a while. Anyway, I digress.
    Next Tuesday surprise us. Maybe with a story of the couple who met here. How did that happen? Did Muriithi see a comment with all the words spelled right and all necessary punctuation present and he thought, “Wow she must be a keeper”? What story was that and what was it that they agreed on?
    You were not even invited to the wedding? Ah, they should have. Hahaha

  120. Nice read, I agree that normal is boring….that thing about auditors…
    I am one and grew up in those funny named places like aorajope, nyamasaria, Ulanda etc

  121. Happy endings are requisite of every person. Majorly the bad and building from that that are great. I love sad or sorrowful stories. they build up character.
    I love the dark humor in this piece.

  122. I particularly love Raymond Reddington, RED, in The Blacklist. Man after my own heart.

    Biko, your dark stories shed light on lives we feel better ignoring because we feel we might not be strong enough to live such. These are stories we need to hear, gruesome as they may be, so we appreciate what we have and sympathize with those who live them. Plus they have character.

    You are an inspiration to many of us out here.

  123. You get a pass, you turned forty. You got a new perspective and a new outlook and I love this new deep version of yourself. Normal is just that… normal.

  124. Normal my be boring to most people…. but I would certainly choose normal (not entitled) over suffering for my kids even if it means they will be considered boring in the future.

  125. Biko, keep on inspiring us. my first post to read was of the guy from subukia who used to dig pit latrines if i remember well. and he went on to become a conservationist. He of the phrase” life happens at the pace of life”.
    after which i went to the archives and read all the posts from when the blog started. the mjengo post…oh my it made me look at the mjengo people differently. Needless to say i got hooked. The 40s series has been awesome….having had an unspoken for more than a quarter of a century. Wearing a mask while everyone around me ( including my family) thinks that i am very successful while i was broken inside. Thanks for your stories am at a better place and am learning to love me and that the past shall not define my today and tomorrow. there are still some triggers that take me back the tears’ lane but am much stronger and i thamk God.
    So keep doing what you do best. God bless

  126. A girl who grew up in Nyeri…brewing muratina at night, schooling by day……that would be one hell of a story…let’s find her…

  127. there was one about babies dying, one after the other. .. i struggled to read through.
    I would enjoy a suspense story, unpredictable or with a twist in the end.
    You seem to be good in fictional stories too.

    Banana people rise up.

  128. this is NOT the happy endings i thought i would read about.
    Also explore why you love the dark so much.dark people are attracted to the dark.Misery loves company

  129. Normal people are boring! Myself included. Those dark and painful stories that make me sob in the office remind me that I still have a heart.

  130. Biko, biko, biko, I am actually from Banana town and we’re very normal grounded people…lol. We would make any boring person look good because Banana is just an interesting place (and no we don’t do the reed dance). You should visit the place once; i assure you you’d find enough literature to last you a whole year of blogs.

  131. “In movies I love the bad guys because they always have more character than the good guys.” This statement caught my attention because that’s why i love movies… I loved Jamal to a fault and i stopped watching tyrant when he died, the series just became bland.

  132. No. No. No. No.
    Most of us here are normal.
    Yes, including you too Biko. (the only brick – the one you talk about most at least- is your mum’s death-may she rest in peace)

    Embrace normal. Embrace your lives. Yes, learn from the dark and sad stories but don’t look down on your lives.
    Tsk! Choke!

  133. Matoke told Makadara Court that he never received any such requests from your office. Your representative at Makadara Courts told me the police file could not be forwarded on “a request from a woman junior to her”.

  134. Was also wondering what is it with biko at 40 and genesis of sad tales? Made it a dark number unknowingly. Or ni vile “ametoka age yetu”

  135. You completely understand and using your words speak directly to my heart.. But like you took the words I wanted to say and was afraid to, the perspective I always have but trying so hard to underplay.. Thank you Biko

  136. The title though. I was thinking about a happy ending to something totally different if you know what I mean *wink*. No? Okay. Why then talk about Banana? I’d say we have been misled on purpose. I demand my 45 mins back. Spent all that time looking for ulterior meanings, but no. Just got duped. Just another case of #Nairobbery. And then Biko will argue that he is only responsible for what he writes, not for what we interpret. Eti grit is a what? Aiyaya … Isorait. I give up.

  137. I’m in Banana come and see this great city, it’s a good place but funny the fruit is very expensive here, we need prayers coz our young men are dying of alcohol

  138. This has come at a time when I was thinking of our family tree and how little I know if my great-great-grandparents , for some I only know their names. But i’m left wondering, “what’s their story?”
    And that’s what I would like to know. People’s stories. I agree some can be pretty normal, but I think for most people, their past shapes their lives more than they care to admit. Plus to find someone willing to bare their soul is not easy…people are into this moving-on vibe too seriously.
    But for me I would want to read a story about a rich politicians child. You know those politicians that participated in massacres, silencing of people and grabbing of public land etc…what kind of a family did they have? And how do they feel about inheriting property that was gotten by stealing from Kenyans? Does it matter to them? Do they ever think about the poor impoverished Kenyan?

    Or children born by men with other families. How does that influence their growing up? Knowing your father plays with other kids but not you yet you are equally his?

    I think when you set your mind to it..you’ll find many interesting stories that aren’t necessarily gut wrenching.

  139. I lOVE your sad stories…….I like how they make me feel ……I read your stories only in a matatu home 🙂 I stay in Ngong hand our matatus are dramatic moving mini nightclubs with incredible sound systems that I swear could resuscitate those people who die briefly in movies and need to be resuscitated. Soon Special Tuesday evenings i read a post from your blog..and the stories are so moving that I cannot hear the migos music..nor the way the matatu rocks being driven off-road to avoid traffic… I am overcome by such empathy it changes my whole perception of life each time. Really I can only feel like this watching Game of Thrones and shameless and orange is the new black……….DO NOT listen to these happy go lucky sugar spice and everything nice drama queens…..It is more realistic this way….

  140. If I hadn’t been born years later,we’d probably have been good friends..Always nice to see my similar darkened, Rick-like (Rick & Morty) humour in this world.
    And Tyrant does get better…thirst for power,innocent blood spilt etc.You know the usual.
    You should adopt me btw..juust putting it out there.

  141. the stories you do are perfect, Biko. The gut wrenching ones are the best, in fact. More stories, as long as they’re REAL, is what as a reader, i’d like to have. And (started a sentence with and! You got to me!) with your siick interview skills, i don’t question that i’ll have great reads! 🙂

  142. I intend to agree with Alex Tizon, Pulitzer Prize winner? The guy whose filipino family living in the U.S owned a slave for several decades?
    It was said of him, he had a theory of journalism, which is “that everyone has within them an epic story. The most normal person, average person, on the street has something within him or her that truly is epic.”
    Kenyans for the most part like most Africans, are unlikely to open up to what is really going on in their lives. Covering up ills or things that would make them seem abnormal in society is quite common. People get up each morning, put a brave face and go to work. If they turn up for interviews, they bring their masked selves; the persona that potrays all is well with their lives, appearing so boring…but the person they’ve left at home, their real selves behind closed doors are the ones with an epic story. If journalists are as patient as Alex Tizon, there are stories sprouting everywhere. EPIC stories.