A Place of Drums

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There is no Women & Marriage story this week because I had to go down to shags last week to take care of urgent business. Okay, it wasn’t “urgent business” per se, it just feels grown up to say such things. The truth really is I was down for some nasty business; I went down to fire my farmhand – the third one I was going to fire in the past year. The first one was plain lazy, couldn’t be bothered to lift a hoe. The second one was a thief. This current one just sat on his laurels.  

There is no joy in firing anyone, which means there is no joy in making such a trip. It takes cojones of stone to fire someone, cojones and a little bit of heart.  If you Google “How to fire someone” you get 600 million search results. Now, if you Google “How to love Jesus” you get 481 million search results, which means more people want to learn how to fire someone than want to learn how to love Jesus. Or maybe most people already know how to love Jesus so they see no need to Google it. Anyway, the first time I struggled with it because that guy was a relative and that was bound to send seismic ripples through the family tree. It never gets easier because when you are firing someone you are telling them, in essence, that they don’t make the cut. That they are not enough for you. It’s something you don’t do over the phone like you would order fried chicken with a side of guacamole. So you just have to take a deep breath and do it in person. And because it’s not easy you have to give yourself a pep-talk. You stand before a mirror and tell yourself, “Look, you are not a bad person. It’s not personal, it’s business. There must be many people in heaven who fired someone.” 

I land in the small airstrip in Homa Bay with the 7:30am flight from Wilson. (There are daily flights now). Just don’t call it airstrip if there are guys from Homa Bay within earshot because they will froth at the mouth. They want you to call it an airport, so just call it that. When you disembark at the airstr-port called Kabunde (place of guns or drums) you will see, peering through the perimeter fence, village children ogling at the big bird. Wave at them. Those are God’s children. They have major dreams, standing there. A few of them are making promises to themselves that one day they will get on that plane and see the world. Some are dreaming of owning a plane. They look at the bag-bearing passengers with childhood innocence. The crowd consists of weathered NGO folk, people going to funerals, others visiting their retired parents, the elderly coming back from treatment – MRI scans, hip replacements – or from babysitting their newborn grandchildren. There are people who live and work in the county, who are back from sucking on tropical mints at seminars in Nairobi. And then there are those who disembark already looking haggard in the morning; those are the ones who are here to fire their farmhand, carrying a change of clothes and a rigid mask of righteousness to face the daunting task ahead because the guy has a wife and children and he doesn’t know what’s coming his way. 

It’s 8:20am and the weather is wonderful in Homa-Bay; green hills roll into more green hills. The  deep blue sky is broken by the massive cotton of white clouds, some shaped like double-chins, others like half eaten croissants. I can smell the rain on the grass. Outside at the grassy parking lot, taxi men with untucked shirts hanker for business. My aunt, who’s picking me up, drives to where I’m standing, walks around from the driver’s side leaving the door open and says by way of salutation, “You are driving.” Well, you are driving to you too! 

Talking of trees and nature. I recently had tea with a friend who had recently had a miscarriage. She’d been trying for a child with no success and then when she finally conceived she lost the baby. She was devastated, understandably. She sat slouched in her seat, suddenly looking older than I remembered her. I felt like she was ageing from the inside out. I could feel her breathe out the advanced years. She had on the kind of flowered blouse that my mom would have worn. She was from work and she had a newspaper with her. “Who leaves work with a newspaper like a civil servant?” I asked her. “You look like you work for Nairobi Water.” A chuckle rolled out of her like a bad wet cough. 

“We’ve stopped trying for a baby,” she declared. “I feel drained.” I told her that perhaps she can look at what’s working in her life; her career is blossoming, she has a fantastic husband (from what she says of him), a healthy child and she’s not balding in the middle of her head. “If God meant you to have only one, then let His will be,” I said, sounding like a deacon in our shags church. She nodded and grunted, I bet she hears that all the time and it must irritate her, this glass-half full jazz, because unless you have a miscarriage you can’t start imagining what it feels like. 

“I also hope God finds it in Him to heal you from carrying newspapers from the office.” I continued. Ho-ho-ho, we chortled. “I carry this for my husband,” she said. 

“Oh,” I said. “So he likes propping his legs up on the coffee table each evening while he reads the newspaper and you serve him tea?” 

“Yeah, and he reads it back to back.” 

Anyway, she told me that since the miscarriage she had stumbled upon something that fills her sorrow; plants. She has many in her house now. She loves to water them and care for them. If she isn’t going to get another life from her womb, then she will get it from the soil. It gives her a sense of purpose, to nurture, to be responsible for another life. I bet she talks to them when she waters them, tells them how much they are loved. She thanks her orchids for all the sweet oxygen at night. She whispers to the potted cactus that it’s her special plant regardless of what she tells the Peace Lily over there in the corner. I’m told plants respond to soothing words. There is a lady in my masterclass – Imathiu- who told us how constant talking (and motivation) to her plants usually saves the most desperate ones from dying. 

I don’t know. 

I’m not a tree-hugger. I don’t get people who talk to plants. But lately I appreciate trees and greenery, and the serenity they bring. And I planted some in shags; fruit trees and ‘shade trees’ and palm trees and when I hired the farmhand I told him that his one job, his only job, was to make sure that the damn place is well tended and green and my trees thrive. He could water them or play for them the guitar or sing for them, whatever it takes to make them thrive. He confidently told me that he grew up around trees and that trees and plants love him, that he has the Midas touch with plants and that that my trees were in good hands. And since he’s from Chavakali, I figured he knew his shit. I slept easy back in Nairobi until reports started getting to me that my ka-shamba was not looking as good as I wanted. That he was just hanging around with locals, shooting the breeze as my trees choked with weed. He’s called Boyi. He was named after Reinhard Bonnke, the evangelist of the 80s but since chaps from Funyula were struggling to pronounce his name they just shortened it to Boyi. I called him one time and said, “Boyi, sasa wewe nimeskia kazi imekushinda.” And since he’s a smooth talking devil he would say, “Hapana boss – “

Nimekuambia mara mingi usiniite boss, mimi sio muhindi!” I told him. 

Sawa, lakini mbuzi zinanisumbua sana huku, boss.” 

Mimi sijakupigia kuongea mambo ya mbuzi” I said. “Sasa unataka nitoke Nairobi nifukuze mbuzi kwa shamba, Boyi? 

Meanwhile I’m in the bank’s waiting lounge upstairs at Yaya Center, whispering this inane goat conversation into my phone because I don’t want to step out lest someone takes my spot. And you know how nosy Nairobians are, the customers were all pretending to be seriously reading magazines or on their phones but were actually listening keenly to this goat tale and trying not to smile. “Boyi,” I continued, “ukitaka, mimi ntaacha kazi yangu huku Nairobi nije ushago nikusaidie kufukuza hizo mbuzi.” A guy in a checked-coat looked up and smiled. He was definitely a Kikuyu with a shamba in Gatundu and so he knew my frustrations by heart which now made us the same tribe. The tribe of goat-chasers. 

Anyway, it wasn’t working between me and Boyi. It hadn’t been working for a while and we needed to go our separate ways so that we try other people. 

When we arrive at the shamba 40 minutes later  and park under a small lemon tree, something happens. His two children – whom I haven’t met before – come running to the car. They are excited to see a vehicle in the compound. I had bought them a big box of biscuits, the one that contains like 1,000 pieces. Yeah. I figured if they are going to remember the day their father was fired, I also want them to remember that this was also the day they had so many biscuits that they couldn’t finish. 

I built a modest house for the farm-hand and I’m surprised how you can turn anything into a home. He, or most likely his wife, had planted flowers around this structure, giving it dignity and pride. There is a three-stone stove behind that house on which a pot now boils. Whatever food is cooking there, nobody is going to enjoy it once the fat lady sings, I think sadly to myself. In front of this house omena (sardines) have been laid out to dry on a nylon carpet. They belong to his wife. He had asked for a loan to start an omena business to keep her busy. The Bank Of Zulu, supporting small-scale fishmongers since 2019. 

His children follow me as I inspect the big water tank lying on its side on the side of his house. My aunt stands squinting under the awning of another house I was building for them, a more permanent structure, but then I ran out of money and now it stands there like a carcass, a stark reminder of my dwindled finances. If you are my client and you haven’t paid me, kindly pay up so that I get those people’s house up, please? You want children sleeping in rickety structures, Mbugua Macharia? *Cough*

The shamba is a mess. Weeds grow along the footpaths and along the fence, choking my sweet souled kayaba. The whole place looks neglected. I’m furious. His children happily follow me in this inspection, eating their biscuits. I see a lady I don’t know raking some dead weeds at a different corner. My aunt is speaking to Boyi’s wife, Evelyn. Boyi is slashing some long grass at the end of the shamba, suddenly very busy, pretending that he hasn’t heard a car drive in, or new voices, or the excited voices of his children. He seeks not to be interrupted from his daily task because he hates interruptions, after all, he’s a hardworking man. 

I bend down and touch the leaves of a frail-looking Eucalyptus seedling. It’s two months old, this poor Eucalyptus but it looks like it’s two weeks old. Anybody can tell it is not happy to be here. It would rather be somewhere else. I can see that it isn’t living its best life in this shamba. That it wishes it was spending its life somewhere where folks actually care about its welfare. I move to another shade seedling, it looks healthy but weed has gathered around its stem like a marauding army. Weeds don’t believe in personal space. “It’s not you, it’s Boyi.” I whisper at the seedling. “He isn’t treating you well, I know, but I’m fixing that shit today, before sundown. Hang tight my lovely, nameless seedling. Daddy’s home. All will be peachy.” 

Meanwhile, Boyi hasn’t lifted his head from his very dedicated task of clearing growth from the shamba. I walk towards my aunt and Evelyn. My aunt is telling her, “Hata wewe huwezi furahia hii kazi, sindio?” She agrees, “Eh, nimemwambia mara mingi na Boyi haskii!” She’s in gumboots. We exchange greetings. I stand there shaking my head gravely and – to be honest – a little too dramatically. I mean come on, it’s plants, it’s not like somebody died. But Boyi is shitting on my dream to have a small wooden house in the middle of a heavily wooded farm, a place with green lawns and geese. I love geese. A place I can disappear to for months when Nairobi is choking me. 

I walk to where Boyi is hacking away. He looks up, of course, mightily surprised. Oh my, he has been so busy he didn’t realise that he had guests! He comes carrying his panga. He’s built like a gladiator. He’s bare chested, his chest is so ripped you can hide coins in it. Veins run down his arms like tributaries. His neck is a cinder block. He’s wearing a pair of very old trousers, torn around the crotch area, thankfully he has shorts in there. A thin leather belt holds this couture together. He comes smiling, because generally he’s a really happy guy, easy laugh, clean heart, great charisma. Unfortunately, charisma is not manure; it doesn’t make trees grow. 

Sasa boss. Umefika?” Big toothy smile that reaches his eyes. 

I want to tell him, “Bado Boyi, bado niko njiani,” but I can’t be petty before midday, so instead I mutter sourly. “Achana na hiyo mambo ya boss, Boyi.”  

I’m wary of the panga he’s carrying. Never a fire a farmhand carrying a panga, that’s the 12th rule of farming. I have to play this very smartly until that panga is out of his hands. 

Hii ni kazi gani unafanya hapa, Boyi?” I ask him as calmly as I can. I ask him if this was his property, would be happy with how it looks now? He looks around, his panga hanging limply in his hand.  

Wewe unaone hii shamba iko sawa?” I ask him. He avoids my eyes. 

Hapana, boss.” 

I ask him what I told him when he started working here, two months ago. Does he remember? He nods. I ask him to repeat it. 

Ulisema huna mahitaji mingi, ila miti zako zikuwe.” 

Then I ask him if he has fulfilled that objective. He says no. I ask him if we didn’t have this conversation three weeks ago. [I’m now beginning to sound like my late mother; she would ask you these annoying leading questions which she already had answers to.] He says we did have this conversation three weeks ago. I sigh. You have to sigh. To show that you’ve reached the end of your rope. You have to sigh to build the momentum for the actual firing.  I ask him what the f*k he does the whole day, as I kick a mound of dried weeds that were raked days ago but just left there to grow into a tree. “Tell me, what the hell do you do when you wake up?”

From the corner of my eye I see his wife and my aunt approaching, so I pause the diatribe. I can’t give him a tongue-lashing before his wife because after all he’s a man first and my employee second. No man should dress down another man before his woman. It’s there, number 3 in the Rule Book for men.  

We gather there and look around as if we are at a wake. My aunt is venting, she’s a bit like her elder sister, my late mother, so she can go on and on and on and on. She’s saying how wrong this is. How unacceptable all this is. She’s basically stealing my thunder. I’m getting tired of listening to her so I tell Boyi, “Acha hiyo panga hapo, tutembee.” He drops the panga and we walk away to a spot where he had planted vegetables. 

“Boyi, si nilikuambia ntakuonyesha pahali ya kulima mboga niki kuja?” He looks defeated, looking at his young vegetables. “Sasa umeamua hii boma ni yako, unapanda tu mboga sindio? Kazi yangu haufanyi, wewe sasa ndio mwenye boma, unafanya tu chenye unataka, wewe na hizo mbuzi.” By the way, this is not verbatim, it is not how I was speaking Kiswahili. I’m just trying to look good here, the truth is my Kiswahili is shit.  I have this thing where I construct a whole sentence in Dholuo in my head and then translate it into Kiswahili by twirling it at the waist. What this means is that some of it is lost in translation and often the Dholuo words find themselves sprinkled into my Kiswahili. 

It was things like: “Boyi, wewe koro ndio mwenye boma, sindio? Hii boma ni yako, donge? Unafanya tu chenye unachotaka. Una mea tu mboga, kama kabich na osuga, ndio ukule balanced diet kama wingi, kama Govenor wa hapa, ndio ngozi yako iwe nyororo. Hii jua yetu ni kali sana inaharibu ngozi yako, unataka kumea mboga utengeneze mwili, sindio? Ero, kare now ufanye chenye untachotaka. Puodho ni yako sasa.” 

You know, mixing my ngelis and shit. Kiswahili is tough when you are pissed off. Actually, Kiswahili is tough, period. I was surprised he was keeping a straight face. 

I tell him I can’t spend money buying trees when he’s interested in planting vegetables and watching weed overrun my shamba. I’d rather leave this place unattended. I tell him we can’t work together. That our relationship ends now. That he – at 29-years of age – can’t take pride in his job. That he has no sense of ownership, no discipline. That at his age, he should be more responsible because he has children and a wife. Now he has to put them in a bus and head to Chavakali, because he couldn’t do his bloody job. He’s now apologising like a madman. I say I can’t give him a second chance when he has shown no initiative or passion. I walk away and leave him standing there like a deflated balloon-man. Juxtapose this with his children who are now on a sugar rush after eating the biscuits, running around, oblivious to the fact that they will be in a bus to Western shortly. A part of me feels bad. Another part needs a drink. 

I remember when we were all fired from our magazine jobs in 2009, at the midriff of the recession. How bewildering it was. How I went back to my desk and thought, so is this what it feels like to be jobless? It felt normal. That’s because the shock comes in the next morning under the grimness of your hangover from the bingeing the previous night. When I look back, I always say that that moment of losing my job made me even though at the time it was hard to see the open window when all you did daily was stare at the closed door. So perhaps Boyi would now be free to pursue his love for planting vegetables instead of trees. 

I walk out of the shamba and further down to a spot where some local boys are bathing by the lake. Now this is a common thing in shags, men just bathing by the shores of the lake, their bits dangling in the sun as they chatter with each other, trying to reach the hard-to-reach spots on their backs.  I stand there and say hello to the three naked men. “Amosou?!” I wave. A Boxer motorbike with a red thorax, now washed clean, gleams in the bright sunlight. I introduce myself and they introduce themselves. They are dark and lean and tall and they all trap the sun with their complexion. We set off with the usual village niceties and make small talk as the waves lap against their legs. I avoid looking at their penises as much as I can, but it’s hard. I have never had a conversation with three naked men before, so I don’t have the muscle memory on how to navigate this male nudist landscape. In fact to distract myself, I try to think of the collective nouns of penises; is it a flock of penis? A plethora, perhaps? Or maybe it’s a congress of penises. 

One of them – his face all covered with soap suds – speaks to me about ways in which I can curb the goat menace. As I stand there, Boyi comes to plead his case. He says he wants time to fix it.  I tell him he had three months to fix it and now we are at the end of our tether. I have lost faith. The fat lady has sung. We walk back. His wife tells me that she will personally make sure that what I wanted done will be done. 

“Please just give him another chance,” she pleads. She promises to personally make sure things change. Her children gather around her, perhaps sensing that the mood isn’t what they thought it was with the biscuits. She and the children have now changed the conversation. It’s easier to fire and leave immediately before your conscience intervenes. I look at my aunt who tells me in Dholuo that perhaps I should give him one last chance, he has a family. 

I tell him that he has one last crack at it. He smiles hard. He’s got a child’s smile on an adult’s mug. He says, “Hii kazi nitafanya sana mpaka ushangae, boss.” I tell him, “Nimeshangaa ya kutosha leo, sitaki kushangaa tena, Boyi.” He laughs. I smile in spite of everything. Later, before I leave, I call him aside and tell him that he can’t have his wife save his job for him. Because you look bad and irresponsible. “Is that how you Chavakali men operate, let your women do your jobs for you?” I ask him. He chuckles and says no. 

“Well then, get your shit together, because next time I come and find a weed here we are done.”

So yeah, we might not have had a Women & Marriage piece, but at least someone kept his job.

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234 Comments
  1. I agree with you. Kiswahili is hard. We mix them gather them.

    Like when someone asks if you are free tomorrow? You respond “luore gi depend”

    And I agree, it is those moments when you think you are at your ends that a new beginning shines your way.

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  2. I don’t think there is an endearing way to fire someone. Even when it is inevitable, I’d think no right combination of words can sound good to a man losing his bread.

    I was afraid for Boyi for a minute there because what would happen to those children or their mother if he lost his very busy job?

    Can we also say that while this is not a Women and Marriage article Boyi’s wife deserves an honorable mention as a woman saving her marriage? I mean she did plead for her husband’s job.

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  3. Every day I am becoming like my moms with the leading questions and all, I used to not want to be like her but now if I can be half the badass woman she is, then I am all set.

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  4. I try to think of the collective nouns of penises; is it a flock of penis? A plethora, perhaps? Or maybe it’s a congress of penises…Biko get your drink. In fact, get a double of your aged liquid gold. You need it and perhaps I do too as I’ll somehow look at a group of men and think of a flock of penis.

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  5. Am glad you didn’t fire him Biko, I hope he keeps his word though…. The way you described it, am tense, like am the one who got fired hehehe

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  6. The plural of penis is peni (Pee-Nai).
    Well, it’s not but it sounds better that penises. At least to me. If it had a collective noun it would be a bunch of penises. You know, like a bunch of bananas?
    No?
    Okay.

    Though there’s no women and marriage piece today, I enjoyed this one. Glad Boyi kept his job although I’m not so sure about the eucalyptus plant. Those roots are destructive… But shamba ni yako. Do what you want.

    Have a nice day, Biko and anyone else who reads this comment.

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  7. it a flock of penis? A plethora, perhaps? Or maybe it’s a congress of penises.

    This had me laughing so hard. A congress of penises really?

    I was a little sad at the beginning because I was really looking forward to a women and marriage story but reading this story has been refreshing. Made me laugh really hard.

    Your friend who turned into caring for plants reminds me of Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale. Fred’s wife.

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  8. Well… We actually have a woman willing to go great lengths for her man… so its still a women and marriage story..

    Small thought, Sometimes we find ourselves being Boyis in our work.. Many times its laziness but Sometimes it may not be laziness as such… Sometimes its just luck of drive and fulfillment .. And we painfully have to work through it until we get our drive back..

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  9. That Dholuo – Kiswahili translation going on in you head.. Just explained to me that it wasn’t Mr. Ogwang’s fault. Now I understand!

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  10. Funny i love, … this had me on the floor i like giving such answers when am pissed……..I want to tell him, “Bado Boyi, bado niko njiani,” hahaha , Boyi better handle his shit.

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  11. This is so mee and my care taker I have fired the chap four times ,but he always wiggles himself back into the cuckles of my heart

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  12. Unfortunately, charisma is not manure; it doesn’t make trees grow….;..
    Is it a flock of penis? A plethora, perhaps? Or maybe it’s a congress of penises…Haha
    “Nimeshangaa ya kutosha leo, sitaki kushangaa tena, Boyi.”…
    This article had me laughing so hard

    Being fired suddenly leaves you having your whole life flash before you and in a state of grim despair/hopelessness.Thank God his wife was there kumtetea ☺️

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    1. In my opinion, we need to think of it often.. Makes quitting your job actually an option. Some jobs are dead ends others just keep you busy doing nothing while your potential wastes away. I think of it every once in a while. Am building a business plan in preparation for employment exit. I feel that someone out there ‘a Boyi’ needs me to man up and help
      him provide for his family. So help me God..!

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  13. I have never had a conversation with three naked men before, so I don’t have the muscle memory on how to navigate this male nudist landscape. In fact to distract myself, I try to think of the collective nouns of penises; is it a flock of penis? A plethora, perhaps? Or maybe it’s a congress of penises.

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  14. Was scared for boyi glad he did not loose his job . Keep us posted if he ups his game . I employ a few people and when it’s time to fire one for non performing I get into knots in my stomach

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  15. “…………If she’s not going to get another life from her womb she will get it from the soil.”. Thats it,thats the d***n post!

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  16. Whenever someone hits me with that ‘it’s not personal, it’s business’ shit, I take whatever they’re about to say or do very personal. Just saying. I’m happy Boyi gets to keep his job.

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  17. Give that job to a lady. I know a Njeri who would kill it. Btw, in reference to last week’s post…the non-suicidal urge to jump off a height is known as “call of the void” (translated from French) and is very normal. I have it.

  18. I have really laughed today. First, ‘nimeshangaa ya kutosha leo, sitaki kushangaa tena” hahaha

    Then that dress-down Boyi was given in swahili cum dholuo..hahaha it sounds like something a frustrated mom would be saying, like mama Plezdent Kingston.

    It is a wondeful piece. I love it.

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      1. Eucalyptus trees absorb too much water and require gallons of water to grow. They also do not do well in very hot areas because of high evaporation and do not recover well once they wilt.

        Biko, with all that Boyi has to do, I don’t see him keeping that Eucalyptus alive.

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  19. Wow! Boyi’s Wife is the hero.. I bet she’s the one who is planting the veggies not boyi.. so it is a women and marriage piece after all!

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  20. Always i learn some things about this miserable life and how to approach and tackle them from every article of yours. Thanks BZ

  21. One thing I know is that Boyi will never forget that day – when he lost his job and his wife got it back for him. The things that women do for us men. Ni Mungu anaweza tulipishia sisi wanaume. Hehe!

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    1. Kinaga unfortunately,Boyi will go back to his old lazy winsome ways. Human beings have very short memories.
      Watch this space.
      When the time comes, Biko will not bother boarding a flight to fire him. I’m sure his aunty will do that job for him. But this will be after he’s been given like 5more chances to redeem himself. At that point even Evelyn atakuwa amesha pack and sent the children back because she’ll have seen the writing on the wall.

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  22. Oh goodness! cant stop laughing, so hilarious. kwanza your aunts salutation……ati, You are driving……well, you are driving to you too! woi haki this is funny. Anyway at least the woman saved the day.

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  23. I started reading this a very sad person as I was really looking forward to today’s Women & Marriage post.

    Suffice to say, you rarely disappoint Biko.

    The Bank Of Zulu, supporting small-scale fishmongers since 2019.

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  24. “Boyi, wewe koro ndio mwenye boma, sindio? Hii boma ni yako, donge? Unafanya tu chenye unachotaka. Una mea tu mboga, kama kabich na osuga, ndio ukule balanced diet kama wingi, kama Govenor wa hapa, ndio ngozi yako iwe nyororo. Hii jua yetu ni kali sana inaharibu ngozi yako, unataka kumea mboga utengeneze mwili, sindio? Ero, kare now ufanye chenye untachotaka. Puodho ni yako sasa.”

    Literally if you don’t do this , are you really a jango?

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  25. his chest is so ripped you can hide coins in it………
    loved this

    The men bathing naked reminded me of a hotel in Juba by the Nile. So here you are enjoying your beer and on the other side, men are just hanging their bits to dry. Its kinda like watching a boring porn movie and you don’t want people to realize you are watching. But hehehe i Know the feeling.
    Anyway to each their own…
    But Oh what I would do to have to bathe and dry myself like a chameleon, on a rock!!
    Amazing read!!
    Just today btw I was discussing in a WhatsApp group how this media company sacked me in the middle of my shopping in a supermarket on a phone call! this blue-chip company that everyone sings of. Ha, the shock? But as someone told me, “This could be the best or the worst thing that has ever happened to you.”
    Losing my job helped me find myself.
    And yes, I pushed the doors harder, climbed the stairs instead of the elevator and now, I am at the prime of my career.

    It is a painful process but well, I wanted to say something about clay being turned to porcelain but ive forgotten the quote. So here is an easier one, Persistence breaks resistance.
    Keep moving, keep fighting
    Keep believing in the power of your dream
    What doesnt kill you definitely makes you stronger!

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    1. @Joyce Kimani, I literally stayed in that hotel for a year and could watch what you were sight seeing on the Nile every day…!

  26. I have ever fired one of my employees. I felt bad, a little but it all boiled down to him not giving his best and he was also dishonest, a kind word for thief. He never saw it coming.

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  27. Interesting read as ever. Am still stuck at the collective noun for penises…hahahaha. I would go go with a plethora of …… crazy Biko. Ati The Bank Of Zulu, supporting small-scale fishmongers since 2019… wii rach!

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  28. What a refreshing, humorous story with vivid descriptions of the area. I can actually visualize the place and all the people in the narration. No chance Boyi would have been fire with vegetables growing, sun-drying omena, a boiling pot, sugar-high children and his wife being present. The entire setting was not conducive for a firing session. The trick is to fire them very early in the morning before they start the day’s activities. Let us know if Boyi will fanya kazi mpaka ushangae! All the best to your trees!

    9
  29. Not right that he was tending his veggies but letting weeds choke up your trees. Poor workmanship, that’s what it is.
    Good workers are few and far in between.
    I really hope he can do better now you’ve given him another chance.
    A plethora of penises indeed…pwahahaha.

    4
  30. Heri nusu ya shari kama shari kamili!the dressing down in front of others was humbling and devoid of the slings of a sack!,but those are the occupational hazards of nepotism

    1
  31. A dream to not only live but also own a wooden house in the middle of a heavily wooded farm, a place with green lawns and geese is worthy this effort. Abandoning work and boarding a plane to fire a farmhand. I love it.

    2
  32. Why do I feel like I might just know your friend because I read her religiously…Or perhaps its not her. Anyways I thought that your conscience may not intervene and Boyi lost his one shot to make this right…well luckily no. At least if he fucks this one up we will all know he was lazy.
    Its good to know that am not the only one whose Kiswahili is shit.. I cant even speak Kiswahili when am nervous…all the words come out sounding sooo strange and compound to more anxiety….add that to being nervous and i look like a chicken that has been rained on speaking some strange language…

    That debt part..haha Mbugua Macharia? *cough…
    That was fresh…haha

    4
  33. I actually think this story would have been a Women and Marriage story if it was told from the perspective of the woman saving her mans job.
    Otherwise I relate to the story 100% only that in my case there was no woman to save ‘Boyis’ job

    1
  34. This has to be a week of second chances i gave my nanny the second chance ,i believe everyone deserves a second chance. Even God gives second chances we just need to stop abusing those chances. That was a good laugh though.

  35. I think women are firing experts, thanks to housegirls. Even as late as 12am you release her and let her sleep in readiness for the earliest bus back home.

    2
  36. How Biko can belt out an article from nowhere just baffles me. You actually sat us down to read about your farmhand and his mbuzi struggles – and I actually loved it!

    5
  37. I had been eagerly waiting for the Women and Marriage story but Boyi’s tale of having his job saved really lightened up my Tuesday. Am sipping my warm cup of coffee and trying to think of how the conversation with you and the three named men furthered on…..hahaha! Boyi’s wife is the heroine of the story. Kudos to her!

    I need me a pack of biscuits*

  38. And just like that my innocence is tainted. I won’t be looking at a group of ‘bros’ the same way . I won’t be thinking of them as bros i’ll somehow be seeing them as a flock of penises/ a Congress of penises better still plethora

    2
  39. Boyi will be fired. He won’t change. I am betting on this. One shower in the river as we find out the collective noun of penises. A head of heads?

    1
  40. I’d rather read this story of someone keeping his job, than the women and marriage series. I honestly can’t wait for it to end it does not ignite a fire in me like the men and marriage did.

    1
  41. This was a women and marriage piece. Boyi’s wife.
    Mschw but she saved hi ass for him. Her and your aunt. Ai. (child’s smile is because he thinks like one too)
    Also, omena is not sardines.

  42. Boyi’s wife should be celebrated.
    Just got home tired but this has made me alive again, the humor is awesome!
    I’m dying with laughter

  43. No single lie or exaggeration in the whole story..my uncle in Rongai goes through this,very time he goes home-Kendu Bay..and he has to have the equivalent of this conversation with the farm hand each time..thanks boss **. for this tales..

  44. The o-Swahili in this…Una mea tu mboga, kama kabich na osuga, ndio ukule balanced diet kama wingi, kama Govenor wa hapa……Well written.

    2
  45. ‘No man should dress down another man before his woman. It’s there’, number 3 in the Rule Book for men. …damn truth

    3
  46. Talking of firing, companies are closing shops in Kenya at an alarming rates. The recent casualties being Mediamax and Sportpesa employees. It feels bad to fire or be fired however much the circumstances dictate. But, life made up of double or more chances, it has a way of rewarding the fired one by opening up new opportunities that they (fired) employees never thought of. I call this the bondage of employment. It blocks your creative nerves that the only thing you think about is end month, deadlines and demanding bosses that you fail to exploit your other talents and potential. The good thing about the piece is the HAPPY ENDING, thanks to Mrs. Boyi.

    1
  47. Well, I come from Funyula and at least I have no problems pronouncing that name. Thank you for giving our boy a 5th chance. Hope he won’t blow it.

    1
  48. Kiswahili ni ngumu kweli.,.
    I am bad at ngeli lakini hii yako Biko is on another level “Ati boyi anatakakumea mboga????
    Reminded me of my Insha days when I will have more red ink on my paper and I wonder if I had written using a red ink.

    2
  49. Sasa boss. Umefika?” Big toothy smile that reaches his eyes.

    I want to tell him, “Bado Boyi, bado niko njiani,”
    Hahaha this’ how my mama would answer.

  50. I hope the trees grow,some brothers can really be lazy!Boyi saw a business opportunity in farming vegetables for sale.I was just crossing my fingures thinking of what will happen to the Mboga in case he’s fired!
    Those goats!

    1
  51. “Sasa umeamua hii boma ni yako, unapanda tu mboga sindio? Kazi yangu haufanyi, wewe sasa ndio mwenye boma, unafanya tu chenye unataka, wewe na hizo mbuzi.” I don’t know why I read this na ilesauti ya mama ya Plezident Kingston.

    2
  52. Boyi, wewe koro ndio mwenye boma, sindio? Hii boma ni yako, donge? Unafanya tu chenye unachotaka. Una mea tu mboga, kama kabich na osuga, ndio ukule balanced diet kama wingi, kama Govenor wa hapa, ndio ngozi yako iwe nyororo. Hii jua yetu ni kali sana inaharibu ngozi yako, unataka kumea mboga utengeneze mwili, sindio? Ero, kare now ufanye chenye untachotaka. Puodho ni yako sasa.”………

    HAHAHAHAHAHA………………Tho yawa!

  53. It’s funny how i hear your voice in my head every time i read your piece, Its that base, very male and initiated. One with a command, one that would fail my synovial fluid and one that is easy and shit.
    Thanks for the afternoon laugh, Boyi is lucky.

    Aki this shags men don’t even realize the good bodies they have, iyo description ya Boyi, wacha tu. Please let him plant his vegetables.

    2
    1. Actually its not that much a big deal..you should listen to his video on you tube ,”they were birds but they didn’t sing” his writing is everything though..

  54. This Boyi boy should shape up. I feel for the trees while he is busy mearing mboga ndiyo ngozi yake iwe nyororo. As for the naked men…. I have found myself having to talk about a project activity to a bunch of seven naked women bathing in that same lake. It only hit me later that it was funny!

    1
  55. This was so hilarious. Thank you Biko.
    This talent is out of this world. I could figure out everything in that shamba, homestead and the sunbathing men like literally. Big up.

  56. You fired a relative and then wrote about it on a blog in which you described him as ‘plain lazy’. Zile seismic ripples umeanzisha through your family tree… Acha tu!! Utarudi hapa tu kutuambia story ingine! We are waiting.

    1
  57. The Bank Of Zulu, supporting small-scale fishmongers since 2019.

    Had me smiling through out. Btw, you never once used Swahili while lecturing us hahaha!
    Loved this!

    2
  58. You fired Wafula? That post made me laugh so hard since i could totally relate. I have a side hustle and i have to keep stepping out of meetings to sort out issues. I fired my delivery guy and told our receptionist never to allow him to my office. I was maaaad!!!

    And firing never gets easy. I’ve fired so many househelps but i still get rather apprehensive whenever i’m about to fire. I never backtrack though no matter the begging. By the time i’m firing, i have another one on the way…………..Learnt this from my Dad. He would quietly recruit a replacement (i don’t know how he did this especially since there were no mobile phones) and on the reporting day he would fire the non-performing one. Within an hour or so, there would be a replacement to continue with the work.

  59. Brilliant writing Biko, just brilliant. Your descriptions leave me amazed and laughing at the same time.

    Update us next month on Boyi’s situation with your shamba. Thanks

    1
  60. Here’s an idea…If Boyi does not deliver, how about you try hiring his wife this time? You might get surprised at how much positive-change she will bring.

    2
  61. I just laughed throughout this read, thank God office was empty. This has got to be my favorite blog! Otherwise email notifications are the bomb.

    1
  62. “No man should dress down another man before his woman”. It’s there, number 3 in the Rule Book for men.. Sad how we, women have been distanced from reading this book.

    2
  63. Why don’t you allow me work on your trees, seedlings; the dream, while Boyi work on the farm?
    Bet you, Kazi yangu; utafurahia.

  64. Men from Chava are not lazy.. Boyi is failing them!
    Lakini Biko.. A ‘congress’ of penises?!
    Thanks for the laugh, and for giving this man from my land another chance..

  65. ‘The first one was plain lazy, couldn’t be bothered to lift a hoe. ‘
    I swear this line translated differently in my head…

    Also I cannot unsee the congress/plethora of penises

    Today my mind is playing tricks on me..

    All in all I have thoroughly enjoyed this read!!!I am glad Boyi got another chance,I hope he doesn’t disappoint..

  66. And the woman helped him keep the job. So at the end of the day, it is a woman piece.

    Lakini hapo kwa plethora of those things.

  67. It was things like: “Boyi, wewe koro ndio mwenye boma, sindio? Hii boma ni yako, donge? Unafanya tu chenye unachotaka. Una mea tu mboga, kama kabich na osuga, ndio ukule balanced diet kama wingi, kama Govenor wa hapa, ndio ngozi yako iwe nyororo. Hii jua yetu ni kali sana inaharibu ngozi yako, unataka kumea mboga utengeneze mwili, sindio? Ero, kare now ufanye chenye untachotaka. Puodho ni yako sasa.”
    Hilarious!

  68. Let’s say Boyi’s wife emails you that he wants you to do a story on marriage and women on how he saved his hubby’s job…this is still women and marriage story. I had thought of not reading it in the beginning though because it is not what o was expecting

  69. Oh my God
    I have laughed so hard
    I always look forward to reading your articles. So did you get the collective noun you were looking for????
    I’ll be waiting for the update on Boyi and the goats.

    1
  70. I’m glad Boyi got to keep his job albeit having just a thin leather belt holding his couture together ……… #another day #another dollar.

  71. Hahaha can a ‘General Assembly of Penises’ qualify as a collective noun……a bit catchy…..Yes???……. No???…….Hahaha…. A good read Biko keep up the consistency. May God continue giving you the grace.

    1
  72. Firing someone needs guts, regrdless of their level of performance. Boyi’s children were all bubbly fueled by biscuit sugar, his wife starting up her omen business. Firing Boys in this instant would be like pulling a burning piece of wood from fire and dipping it in a dry full of water! Thhhsshhhhhh…. gone. Out!

  73. Firing someone needs guts, regardless of their level of performance. Boyi’s children were all bubbly fueled by biscuit sugar, his wife starting up her omena business. Firing Boyi in this instant would be like pulling a burning piece of wood from fire and dipping it in a drum full of water! Thhhsshhhhhh…. gone. Out!

  74. Too funny. Thanks for clarifying that your swahili isn’t good. As I was reading I asked myself, ‘eh and kumbe this guy is good in Swahili’ until you clarified and I was in stitches.

  75. Man! Story of my life right there.. So hard to find good help in shags. I’m told it’s the construction boom, kazi za mjengo trump kazi za shamba any day.

  76. Congress of penises! funny the way Biko puts this.Firing someone regardless of their age it ain’t easy..at 29 i had to fire a young boy i took as my little brother .This was because he thought he could open job at anytime he wants.It took me several weeks to construct sentences,reciting them on and on not to make a mistake…Nice article.

  77. Three Lessons.
    1. When humans are desperately in need of a job, they are the personification of humility. However, give them freedom and they forget how they felt about the job before they got it.
    2. Humanity is so fluid and lucid. Despite the evidence of Boyi’s failure to do his job, Biko and the aunt “see through” Boyi’s family situation and there he has a 2nd chance.
    3. Family remains family and the power of a woman is true in Marriage. Evelyn saved her man! Women almost always save their men!

    It is an instructive piece as always. Humanity won!

    1
  78. Aki this got me really hard.
    “YOU ARE DRIVING!”, “YOU ARE DRIVING TO YOU TO”.

    Thank you Biko,
    Love from Rwanda.

    2
  79. You are too kind Biko , he will not change , I am on my 5th chavakali shamba man in Busia they are scammers and charmers and all of them seem to have been fired in Homabay and they dont see any value in nurturing trees , one even cut down my trees to build a chicken house , any way I feel you telephone farming is for the strong minded and hard core . I tried relatives disaster , shambamen disaste, r now I have a woman farm manager who is more effective , my tree plot is thriving my lawn evergreen even in the dry season , so perhaps you should hire Boyi’s wife and get her to manage the place she can pay the naked men to do the work

    1
  80. Chief…even at your best…your swahili is still crappy….you write in a unique way men…keeps one glued to whatever s**t you spinning. Salute!!

  81. Biko and his Plathora of Penises Landscape, lol *dead, I am one of your South African avid readers, on my Tuesday mornings I look forward to your posts, now the issue of Kiswahili, how does one go about it, I felt like I missed a whole quarter of the story…I just know Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho and Tswana. If it wont throw you off can we translate those parts in the future.

  82. I have not reported to work since last payday-on 4th I guess……Ehhh coupled with the fact hat I come from Chavakali makes me feel soo Boyi-sh

  83. I hope Boyi keeps his word and does his work well… It’s unfortunate how their wives always cry for them to save their jobs, yet they end up treating their wives as slaves n uneducated people(been there with my former Shamba handler)…
    Good piece

  84. ….his chest is so ripped you can hide coins in it…veins run down his arms like tributaries…..and am still trying to figure out “a congress of penises”…nice read

  85. If Kenyans were at all appreciative of some form of dark humour mixed with bits of sarcasm, I would walk up to a group of men with the greeting, “I see a plethora of penises have gathered here today.”

  86. I know I,m late reading this today but its never too late. Great humor indeed. I was sad some minutes ago but now I’m happy. Thanks Biko. Hope your shamba will be well maintained. I love nature too. Waiting for tomorrow’s post!

    1
  87. Hahahahah i knew from the get go Boyi was not about to leave Lol!!!
    When i am upset i do a lot of ‘kizungu mingi’ on my nanny and i think it goes past her swish swish coz she ends up doing the same exact thing i was yelling ..i mean correcting her about..

  88. You’ve left me in stiches.Of all the farm tools it just so happens he couldn’t use a hoe cmon Ik i have problems but you aren’t helping.Also I hate those people who ask obvious questions I wouldn’t have cared about the time of day btw.And your Swahili …so many questions.lasty hio part ya kushangaa am still laughing as I type.i hope that seedling calls child protective services cause it’s suffered to much

    1
  89. Wow. This piece is all humorous. I didn’t even have a minute of getting serious. Because this boyi guy did not even put the sad face in me. I am happy Biko. Thank you. I laughed all the way. Your humor here is on another level

  90. So we’ll written. The story has captured my emotions, I hope Boyi learnt his lesson and mended his ways. Thank you for giving him another chance.

  91. Biko, when looking at the plethora of penises, , I know you were making mental notes of how you fair in that department, compared to them.

  92. Of boyi and the s.
    Draw him a timetable and a workplan of things to do while you survive the noxious fumes of the bustly city

  93. This is like Instagram Live, except its so well written down and interesting.
    When i read that part about you giving children the biscuits, i sensed there wasn’t going to be any firing. Good for Boyi to keep his job.

  94. Since Biko gave money to a woman with child along Mombasa road, I knew this farm hand, and his family by extension, was not going to lose the job.

  95. You never disappoint Biko, your pieces are always a stress burster in the office. Lakini huyo Boyi with all that muscle and a panga, why can’t he just get down to cutting weed every day? Why? With a body like that he could cut you the future of trees if he wanted. You should write about Chavakali women. He has a strong wife, I like her. You should have made her in charge since she seems to have mastered negotiation skills and how to handle Boyi.

  96. “No man should dress down another man before his woman. It’s there, number 3 in the Rule Book for men.” Damn! I love this….Ongeza Volume kabisa

  97. Haha i don’t know why that long dholuo/kiswahili rant sound like something mother to plesident Kingston would say.

  98. this is more than comedy,i have laughed moreso in that place of donge? kiswahili is hard for real moreso when you are mad.and then we continue ati what of pennis??? i need to meet 3men and ask then about their plurals