Chia Seeds and Moving Out


I’ve been listening to a lot of Michael Buble lately. We all know that anybody who listens to Buble is either heartbroken or planning to commit themselves in an institution. I’m neither. I’m in the blues, a writer’s blues. I’m sorry, a writer’s blues is when you find yourself unable to tap into your writer Qi. When words have fled your heart. When you struggle with the basic concept of subject and verbs and how they eventually marry to form a sentence. That’s how simple writing a sentence is. For example; Biko eats quickly. Now you need many of these sentences to form some sort of a story. And therein lies the problem; my sentences fail to launch. They have turned into dust in a pantry. 

I don’t know what brings it, but I know it. I know it very well. It comes often. Like a common cold. And like a cold, a virus, you reality can’t treat you. You just have to have some bedrest and drink lots of water and wait it out. 

The only person who understands this moment is Buble even though he only sings about love. But love, like writing, is pain and loss and beauty. It’s not often compensated. Other times it’s so toxic it eats your bones. I have seen someone start limping because they are having love problems. Love eats your bones. I think Coldplay talks about it igniting your bones in Fix You. I think. Writing does the same. 

Anyway, I play Buble a lot lately.  Mostly in the car. Sometimes I just drive around the neighborhood, going nowhere, stopping at lights and looking out at nothing until someone honks behind because the lights have changed. Sometimes I think of my mother. Sometimes I think of my children. Sometimes I think of old lovers who stopped talking to me. Sometimes I feel the sadness of writing pull me into the ground. Strange place this. Place of little windows and doors that open from the inside. Place of listlessness. Place of no discovery.  Of little intuition. Or curiosity. Sometimes I realise that I look for danger, pain, something to jolt me out of this zone. I’m reading stories of people getting lost in forests and never finding their way out. Boys who spent months on a boat out in the sea, almost eating each other. I’m watching Top Boy, where friends fetch friends who are snitches from their houses and then shoot them over 20 times on top of a rooftop with a beautiful London skyline. 

The other day I called a woman whose baby was mauled by a leopard. She’s all the way out there in Mitabooni, Machakos. I didn’t even know leopards are in Machakos. She was in bed, recuperating. She was hurt in the attack, I gathered. She was wounded but her worst wounds were in her voice. She said she wasn’t ready to speak to me yet. She wanted a month. I was disappointed, selfishly. 

I’m currently trying to write a story about a guy who almost died of TB. He came this close to dying. I’m taking him as close to death as I can to find horror in his story, to find the face of fear. If it’s done you will read it this Thursday.

For now, I asked Eddie to fill in. Bless him. He has written a story that made me chuckle. A story that isn’t about his father.  


To tell you the truth, I was planning on writing about something else. Had a whole other article mapped out, about KCSE and university and whatnot — but stay on the lookout for that. Coming soon.

But not right now.

Right now, I have some news. I moved out. Okay, this is not a big deal, unless you consider the fact that I am a place hoarder. I used no house agent(s), which sounds badass until you realize you have to pay them. I went the old school way, the old-fashioned way, for old times’ sake: that is to mean I searched. I didn’t want no agent like some gauche simpletons. 

I was looking for a place to live and one breezy Sunday afternoon I walked  into an apartment off Ngong Rd and my heart stood still. Love. At first sight. This? This is it. Eureka. I was at the table, I didn’t need a second invitation to eat. I said, “Nalipa deposit wapi?” We got on like a house on fire. The apartment was huge. It was on the third floor, shackled in between trees with an eager caretaker who I discovered has a penchant for rosemary (the herb, not the girl). The rent is manageable, which, by ‘larger Kilimani’ standards, was practically a bargain. Trust me, it was. 

Hold on. I am getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go to where it started, where only the OGs can relate: bedsitters.

I loved my bedsitter. It was my first real responsibility. I was paying KSh 8,5000 rent, 8700 if you add water and electricity; we were two peas in a pod. Even as I went through my career rungs, I refused to move out, staying in that place for one election cycle. Bedsitters, for those of you who can’t relate, are a class above Single Rooms in the social stratosphere. We are the upper class of the lower class. I don’t know if you’ve ever lived in a bedsitter, it is a sobering reality.

But every zig has its zag; for the bedsitters ying, its yang was the ability to access everything from the comfort of your bed; heck, you can even bathe while watching Young, Rich and African. Everything is a convertible … the microwave is the coffee table, the sufuria is the plate, the TV doubles up as a mirror. Even when you have a fight with your prayer partner, you have to sort it out, because she cannot slam the door on you ati oh she is going to the next room, ati oh you will sleep on the sofa. What sofa?! 

You can’t be a plant daddy in a bedsitter, true story: I tried growing a plant in my bedsitter – I almost died at night competing for oxygen. As we used to say back in campus, ‘chwarni makae tindo tindo.’ (The bed bugs were also very small – for fear of killing you, they ration your blood.)

But this is not a story about bedsitters.

I had called up my friend to buy him lunch – à la American Gangster. It was all a ruse. I wanted intel on houses along where he lives.

I wanted somewhere that was rather private. A place with little to no kids, because I have that famous impatience that childless people have for people with children. Look, it’s not that I hate kids, but, you know. It’s kids. And who am I kidding (hehe)? I’m a man on the move, I’m a bird, I can’t have a four-year-old start calling me ‘uncle’ and asking why I am always in biker shorts.

I wanted somewhere along Ngong Rd because I have a career trajectory I am aiming for. Ngong Rd, Kilimani, Lavington then I am out of Nairobi and leave it for the youngins. I started with Highrise Estate, drawn in by the ‘estate’ part of its name.  I am sorry if you are reading this from Highrise Estate, but this is what, verbatim, the agent told me:

“Tutakupea mitungi mbili ya 1000 litres. Maji inakuja Friday na Saturday.”


Hehehe! You had to be there.

Let me have a glass of water. As I said, I am a man on the move. What will I be doing in the house on a Friday? And a Saturday? What am I, 36 years old with a bad back and chia seeds?

I left my bedsitter estate WhatsApp group because the admin was rather loquacious. I’d wake up to 400 messages, combing through looking for relevant information on whether rent had been reduced (ha!) or who is the new girl on the 2nd floor who comes in at 10pm daily and never talks in the group? I didn’t want to move because I never paid for Wi-Fi or Netflix. I’m not ashamed. You can’t Wi-Fi-shame me. I was doing what girls my age have been doing for millions of centuries: using what you have to get what you want—in this case, free logins. My immediate neighbor, who was a lady, was a man-magnet (mangnet?). Can I tell you this short story? I am going to tell you this short story.  

Men fell over themselves trying to curry favor. I was too busy trying to stay alive in my bedsitter to particularly take a liking to her. Well, not in that way anyway. And because we all want what we can’t have, she always wondered why. The guys gave her Netflix and Wi-Fi passwords. And guess what? She gave me the Netflix and Wi-Fi passwords. So, you see, my reasons to stay were justified. And let me tell you, I am a heavy streamer. Oh. Heavy. I put the ‘I’ in internet. Do you know what the best part of this story is? I am not ashamed at all. I am Wi-Fi positive. In fact, if you continue reading, I may just give out the Netflix account password because I am my own man. For now.

I moved out of that bedsitter without notice, not because I did not want to hurt her feelings, but because I am terrible at goodbyes. She was not impressed. You’d think we were Wi-Fi and Netflix parents or something. Now, we live in that ghost town of silent viewers of each other WhatsApp statuses, a physical manifestation of being close without being intrusive. I will miss that free Wi-Fi, though.

When I got my new house, I felt something shift in me. I had touched the hem of the garment. It is one of those things, one of those you’ll know when you see it. I knew it, when I saw it.

I’ve already made friends. My neighbour, the one on top – I realise how that sounds – is a cool guy. He has invited me for dinner but I just don’t understand how you can have anything other than ugali for dinner. Also, where I come from it’s called supper.

Like any new homeowner, I wanted to show off my nest. You know, the oddest thing about what’s happening right now is that we’ve stopped living our lives and we’re just recording them. It is the idiom of the city and one of its many voices, for where else in the world will strangers bear their intimate secrets to one another with such urgency and such speed?

And not that I am planning to live here until I am 36 with a bad back and on a diet of chia seeds. I want to live here forever. or at least until I am 36 with a bad back and a diet of chia seeds. 

Look, I’m living in Nairobi – the international capital for the untethered. Nairobi is a very livable city. But try moving away and coming back and you will notice the city turning hostile against you. It’s much more expensive. It doesn’t help that Nairobi is always under construction, giving the impression that it is getting ready to go somewhere important, to go chill with the big boys. When you leave Nairobi and come back, you find it has moved on. Moved on without you. 

Here’s what you discover when you move to a bigger house: you think you have stuff until you move out.

Everything that fit in my bedsitter looked so small in my new house. Confession: I used to enter the sitting room, ahem, excuse my manners, the living room and I would be met with a damning echo so loud I swear I could have conversations with myself. I’d waltz back into my house in the evening and head straight to the bedroom, and sit on the bed because that is what I am used to. What I know. It was Stockholm Syndrome, but for houses. You can take the boy out of the bedsitter but you cannot take the bedsitter out of the boy.

What I know is that I had to first lock down a key cog in my bachelor wheeling lifestyle: mama mboga. Here’s the thing, there are three important women in a man’s life: Mama Mzazi, Mama Fua and Mama Mboga. If you have all these three women working in tandem and you take care of them, monetarily, I assure you your days will be blessed on earth.

Speaking of, for the heathens in the room, there is no church around. Okay, I’m lying. There is an SDA makeshift in the horizon but they only meet on Saturdays. And guess who’s never in the house on Saturdays? This big boy, that’s who.

So you can see how I fell. I was in love. 

The point I want to make is that love may or may not be homesickness, but homesickness is definitely love. I’ve morphed into one of those slogs that embraces the comforts of depravity: I can spend a whole day in bed watching Young, African and Dumb on mute while mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, getting enraged and muting Manchester United and Ronaldo fans, those old bastions who prefer to live in the past. Manchester United is just a big bedsitter. You can tweet that.

I don’t want to overshare but: The windows are big: if you like art, the windows are expansively lit, trapping the morning due like Venus flytraps subduing a hapless fly. If you like science, as a plant daddy my succulents wouldn’t die out of neglect. If you are into religion, this window represents the big opportunities coming into your life.

Which reminds me, can we talk about curtains? Let’s talk about curtains.

Nobody told me this, or maybe I wasn’t listening but the price of curtains in this country is unsustainable for a developing nation. Jesus did not die for this. May the god of curtains or whoever is in charge of material in heaven cut us some slack. Surely. I had to acquaint myself with Eastleigh, the curtain capital of the world. I was told my dad jokes would greatly factor the discount prices so I carried enough material. No? no?


The thing with Eastleigh is that it looks like a Mercedes on a Probox chassis. The skyline, in the dusty haze, looks like the cover of a dystopian science-fiction novella. Clusters of skyscrapers lurch out at the gray desert accompanied by their moribund cranes, propped up with scaffolding, swagged in plastic sheeting. Eastleigh wants to grow up to be Dubai.

I dropped a cool kidney on the curtains in Eastleigh. The kind of luxury you’d sell your wife to buy. For me, I was comfortable with mooning my neighbors and putting up bed sheets to cover the windows because this is my house and I pay the rent. I will put bloody bed sheets if that is what I want.  

When they run me the curtain Math I was there like? What? Just to close the windows?

The value of one pair of curtains rivaled my sense of self-worth. And she told me, “You need curtains to gather.” Gather? Tf is gather? Gather where? Gather what? Gather who?

This is the apogee of bachelor life; the circus in town and you are the clown regent. If curtains don’t fuel your desire to get rich, then nothing will. In fact, I am voting for the leader who will address the economic disparity in curtains. It will be a cool day in hell if you ever see me buying curtains again. It’s easier for the Catholic Church to embrace John Calvin than to find me in a curtain shop. Bloody curtains! 

“A totally empty home, with only an echo inside, feels like closure.”

That gorgeous line, with its waltzing dactyls, pops into my head time and over again.

Because finding the right place to live is often like finding the right spouse. Just like you can date or marry a place, you can divorce one. You find yourself on a new journey when you’re still not out of love with where you were. But we are always grappling with the past, trying to plant it in the present, trying to go back to ‘the way things used to be.’ Wake up and draw the *expensively acquired* curtains: it’s gone.

It’s not love. It’s just where you live. Chia up. 


We are leaving town for the creative writing masterclass. Going to frolic in words at Enashipai Resort for two nights and three days. And have Singleton cocktails in the evenings as we stare into a bonfire under a starless sky. Maybe someone will sing. Maybe not. Silence is also good. Register for the class HERE

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  1. you should have written before you bought curtains… we’d have done a mchango of our extra curtains and you’d have a rainbow of curtains in your house.

  2. Aki Eddy (Eddie) or Eddee now that you’re living in Ngong Rd with curtains from Eastleigh :). Thanks for the heads up on the curtains we can’t be chomaing precious fuel to go buy overpriced pieces of cloth. I will just Pinterest and check in to my local fundi for the hook up. I’ve laughed you’re too funny WiFi thief. Enjoy your new house not 36 yr old.

  3. Talking of top boy, Sully didn’t have to do Dris like that but again loyalty among the mandem is a code.
    Eddy Ashioya is such a vibe and daamn the curtains!
    Great read.

  4. Wait…wait…si I thought plant use carbon monoxide while excreting oxygen that’s why we plant them all around ama my science is off…. we cant be competing with oxygen with plants…nice piece!

    1. Plants take in carbon DIOXIDE and expel oxygen during the day. It’s the opposite at night. They take in oxygen and expel CO2.

    2. Yes, but that happens during the day through photosynthesis. At night, most plants are like us. They take in oxygen and release Carbon dioxide..That’s where the competing for oxygen comes in.

    3. I’m Legal Counsel for Flora, and my clients herein feel vilified by your use of ‘excretion’ with regards to their giving-off CO2. Please.

  5. “Eastleigh wants to grow up to be Dubai.”
    Don’t sweat too much about the cost of the curtains.
    I’m always of the school of thought that for something really worth it, one has to funga roho and buy.
    Especially if it’s an item that you won’t have to purchase again within the next decade.
    Great writing Eddy. Have tweeted the part about Man U. Nema vaa helmet incase I’m clobbered by fans.

  6. I’m with Eddy on the curtains thing. Eastleigh curtains are pretender curtains. I got my quotation and I knew the panic showed in my eyes, since I managed, somehow, to keep the shock off my face.

    1. I totally relate with the curtains part, I once went to buy some curtains at Eastleigh and I was shocked by every word from those guys.

  7. I also recently moved and I can relate to every bit. The windows, going straight to bed after work, and the expensively acquired curtains.
    Great read.

  8. The value of one pair of curtains rivaled my sense of self-worth. And she told me, “You need curtains to gather.” Gather? Tf is gather? Gather where? Gather what? Gather who?

    I have laughed my all. Thanks Eddie.

  9. Checking in neither too late nor too early. I know I’m in for a treat if the comment’s section is something to by…. weird isnt it, starting from the bottom I make time on down time, we have The Sous Chef serving it today. Excited for this one

  10. Funny,had me laughing.Hopely the singleton will clear out the writers’ block and serve as your muse.Got any beef with Catholics?Hehehe…its all good.Enjoyed reading every word.Shukran.

  11. Well, I am now listening to Michael Bubble on Sound cloud , let’s see how the rest of the afternoon pans out .

  12. I want to meet Eddie, we share the suffer similar hardships from housing and not mention curtain prices. Just to cover the window? We need to start a WhatsApp group. “Bachelors, Bedsitters and Curtains”

  13. Nice piece, Biko getting stuck in a closed room so relatable! Eddie, curtains are like guacamole. I got curtains from my aunt and just repairs to put those “holes” cost me 10k (I was like what!) came to realize the curtains were like over 200k & that was cheap

  14. I can relate to this curtains story. Its not long ago when I paid a visit to a curtains store in Eastleigh along Moyale Mall armed with a budget of about 6 to 8K. Shock on me, I almost gave up because the bill was way beyond what I had imagined. The math done by that Somali sales boy gave me mini heart attacks and we had to redo the computation and measurements afresh. This time, slowly for the fifth time. How could curtains cost 30K? I wondered. Certain things are not meant for the men. But then again, would you believe if your wife told you that she bought curtains worth 45K using the money you gave her to household stuff? I bet many men would not and that’s why in my culture, they say wuoth eka ine! (travel for exposure)

  15. I need to get in touch with Eddie, we share similar hardships. “Bachelors, Bedsitters and Curtains”. We need to start a WhatsApp group.

  16. Eddie this was going well until I saw you talk about Manchester United…hio baaaad
    That is where I ended my read. I don’t know what you said about curtains and Eastleigh

  17. Living through my own blues. What is one plus one again?

    Thanks for addressing the curtain issue on behalf of the nations.

    All I need is to chia up.

  18. Great piece , relate about curtains……… waiting for someone from Runda or an expensive big house to do re – modelling to allow me buy some decent curtains for our house .

    A simple quote made me contemplate buying a small car instead.

  19. R-E-A-L-I-T-Y
    “There are three important women in a man’s life: Mama Mzazi, Mama Fua and Mama Mboga. If you have all these three women working in tandem and you take care of them, monetarily, I assure you your days will be blessed on earth.”

    My days on earth are blessed……

  20. For a person with writer’s blues, that was a good intro. Eddy I am falling in love with your writing everytime I read your articles. This was hilarious. Keep up

  21. I just started my first job. Well, it’s more of a paid internship and I’m thinking of moving out. I want the freedom that comes with living on your own. But I’m not ready to part with curtain money.

  22. Love it! Love it sana Eddie! Sooo hilarious!!! You’re getting better and better! Like good wine. What a treat!

    Chia up!!

  23. I feel you Biko. I’m going through the work pits too. Humanitarian compassion fatigue. I just took some days off, we could wander together one of these afternoons.

  24. That was one cool and smooth piece of writing Eddie, devoid of complexity. How does the TV double as a mirror? Kudos for sat mag articles too, let it flow smoothly like this one..

  25. Now this bloody Curtains might make me not to move from my bedsitter too. Any who ,all the best in your new stay at upper kilimani

  26. Dear Eddy.
    I volunteer to archive this piece till your 36th birthday.
    Kindly don’t forget to remember to invite me.
    Looking forward. chia-s to long life.

  27. It’s been a while since I read here, I feel ashamed at how I swipe notifications on new reads.
    However today I showed up because I saw chia seeds(I’m on chia seeds currently and was curious haha, ps I’m in my twenties)
    And I can’t believe how much I relate to this article.. reminds me of this surbub area with free WiFi and Netflix passwords I used to live in , where the window was twice the size of my door and I had to buy those fancy curtains with shears where “cool” people bought and the
    price made me choke.

    Too much love for this one.

  28. When you started sharing about curtain grievances I just felt I belonged. Let me tell you, after the addition and multiplication, I parted with a cool 8000 . Mark you am a bedsitter battalion

  29. Tbh I was very sleepy ‘fore reading this. Michael Bublé cought my attention and I was like huh! But who is the sleep in me?
    I scrolled down my phone to see the length of the piece and heh! My eyes started folding. But wait! did those same eyes spot a comment reading “hillarious”? Wow! Now I’ve garra choose between sleep and laughter. I chose laughter and enjoying a well written piece, because with the current prices of chapati, laughter is not something one is easily coming by. Anywho, ati Manchester united is a big bedsitter and the god of curtains is yet to heed to our outcry. The way I’m laughing I doubt I’ll even go to sleep… Whomst am I kidding, with the right amount of sleep, I think a pool is just but another bed. Only till the water kills me.

  30. Yes Ed, curtains ‘gather’! May your new location be kind to you. Great read.

    Biko, may the cloud lift.

  31. Eddy what are your socials please, (IG and Twitter to be specific), asking for a friend.

    Also, you’re very funny!

  32. Really dude!! 36 years old with a bad back and chia seeds.. I don’t have a bad back. I do have the chia seeds though.
    Minimalist is the way to go.

    Anyway, good for you for moving to a place you like.

  33. Anyway—do Kenyan’s also move out at night?
    Here in TZ it’s almost a taboo to move out when the sun is staring!
    Mama mboga will definitely see your rugs and flat screen and charge you extra every time—your fellow tenants will see that 2000 watt water heater of yours and decide that you’ll pay the whole month LUKU.
    PRetty much the same here with Dalali’s—ours will demand a full 10%—ati it’s tithe!

  34. What is wrong with being 36 and having an affinity just for chia seeds, that’s where we are all heading. Good read made me laugh quite a bit