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Kenyans in the Diaspora: When does talking cross the line?

Posted by Administrator on January 5, 2010

By Tony Karanja


Being a new year, I must say “hongera” to my fellow Kenyans as we have been blessed with many talents. Kenyans continue to beat the lights out of other athletes in long distance races as well as some middle races. We have not been left behind when it comes to being productive in our trades making sure that the mighty dollar remains a permanent feature in our pockets. For some of us though, there is just no sufficient way to block the leak in our pockets and this green paper always finds a way to sneak out and take a walk. We work hard and this is also evident in classes that we attend here in the diaspora. We have produced a Nobel Prize Winner, a CNN Person of the year (2007), doctors, lawyers and we even have a Kenyan in the race for California Governor in 2010. Who can forget our dear “son of Kogelo”, President Obama. See we are doing well at least on the face of it.

Some “talents” however are not to be celebrated and do not deserve accolades whatsoever and so for your information I am not going to engage in any form of deforestation (mathigi-rization)  to celebrate them Kenyan style. Even the people who met in Copenhagen wouldn’t like it. They say it has something to do with making the climate sick and making the earth hotter than they would like or something like that.

One of these talents that some of us have even transferred from home is the “long arm a.k.a mkono mrefu” talent. Some just can’t shed the “I will keep your stuff safe forever and ever for you” syndrome. I understand however that the brother to my father or mother whom we fondly refer to as Uncle Sammy, doesn’t like it and he always has a way to sniff you out. Uncle Sammy can be tough on all his nephews and nieces. Most of the time this uncle of ours seems to be taking money from us though and never brings us gifts. He enjoys my money every two weeks and he has even divided them into categories namely federal income tax, Medicare and social security tax. He never forgets that you owe him money however long you default on it. However, I am fully aware that he has the power to make your wallet a little bit heavier or even shrink it on or around April 15th. So let’s talk about the talents that the brother to my father or mother a.k.a Sammy does not bother with much. Let us just call these talents as “flapping gums” syndrome. These are the talents where even uncle Sammy sometimes gets interested in talking to you when you get into the territory of “slander” or “defamation” which in his huge books fall under the chapter “torts”. In Kenya we simply just call it “kuropokwa ovyo ovyo” and it falls under the chapter “porojo” or for those who are learned, they call it,”verbal diarrhoea”

In all seriousness, while most people go about their daily lives doing what they need to do to live their lives as normal as they would want to, a select group of people always find a way to insert themselves in their otherwise quiet lives. They come in all age groups; in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and yes 50s and 60s. You will find them everywhere. In our workplaces, social gatherings and even in churches. See, when the pastor gives his flock the good word, these gum flappers are there at the end of the service to balance it out by spreading the not-so-good word. The invade your home in the name of socialization and kukujulia hali. The statement they withhold from and which I find very important reads “This conversation is being recorded for later modification before transmission. It shall be repeated in my own words and not yours and in whichever flavor I desire.” These people become a cancer that live within us and can easily cause a breach of peace. In my quest to understand them, I will assign them the label “hackers”.

These people “hack” into other people’s lives and prey upon them and any underlying vulnerabilities. They collect information which may be clean but when it comes to disseminating the same, they twist and insert malicious bits usually with the intention of causing harm to the same folks they call “friends” and even “understudies”. I equate them at this stage of their operations to “computer viruses

The organ than exists somewhere inside your chest which you and I call the heart simply does not reside in them. These “hackers” can at will descend on a peaceful household and cause confusion and chaos usually for their entertainment and other malicious intent probably in search of what they cannot own. I choose to equate this part of their actions as “arson” and the perpetrators as “arsonists

I assume we live in the same world when I mention these things and so I am therefore proceeding with the belief that you have met these so called humans. These are people whom  those with kids might have thought that they were people they could look up to. They exist upon us and no….they do not don horns on their heads or a fiery tong-shaped tongue that rivals the scary omieri (may he rest in peace) that would warn you what you are about to get into. In contrast they come in gentlemanly ways as well as very lady like manners until they strike. I choose to label them “ma hungry tigers”

Pray dear Kenyans. What pleases others so much when they willfully and maliciously spread rumors and gossip in manners likely to make Shakespeare envy their imagination?  What incentive is there for people to poke into people’s lives as they have an EZ-Pass? How can some of us rejoice in someone else’s misery? To these people, this is the juiciest part of their undertakings yet they are never there to offer a solution. Oh…and they don’t have any mind you. They actually believe they are in some sort of self employment. They believe that if everybody was wrinkleless, then they would be no business for them. They are like a coffin maker who complains of low business because they are not getting orders for more coffins. I choose to label them as “sadists

See, if everything was fine with everyone, then they would be out of their much sought yet ill advised limelight. It is very disheartening for people who when standing in front of the larger masses, feign sainthood and then turn around and stab the very people in the back as soon as they are out of ear shot.

It is unfortunate to note that these same people will be seen on Sundays carrying large bibles which are probably the newest versions and will be full of markers highlighting which pages they were supposedly “reading”. I can guarantee you that there is no verse marked by those stickers that tells them it’s ok to be an unsolicited and UNPAID gossip columnist. They even sing the loudest in church with a unique tune and probably finish the hymn before the rest of us ati nikuwa ahead of the game. I choose to label these people “njaro-lites

Talking of idle talk, you will have a ready source for that. Somehow…just somehow, they have a price list for every outfit you wear or they will always let you know they have one just like  that. They will critique  anyone’s mode of dressing. I call these people “quack fashionistas.” They sadly will not acknowledge that they missed the short bus to the new millennium fashion but they will gladly be yapping at the bus stop. These “hackers” somehow “know” everything that goes on in people’s homes. They even know what the neighbors packed for their kids for lunch and which of the neighbor’s kids did not finish lunch. They somehow “know” something about someone’s wife or husband a sign that they may not be happy with their own. They even claim to know who is the jogoo that crows in their friends’ house or even in houses of those who are not their friends but have been unfortunate to cross their paths.

These gossip columnists wonnabes will be the first ones to  list other people’s “sexual exploits”, strings of partners and all the useless stuff they have been compiling. Our question to them should be which side of the bed they were when they witnessed this. They “happen” to know of a wife or a husband that you have never had. You probably don’t know how a marriage certificate looks like but yet these wajuajis somehow had an epiphany and decided to bless you with one. They “know” that the couple who did a pre-wedding recently bought their house using the pre-wedding money. These Aunt Cleos “know” that a marriage won’t last and even have a timeline for it. They might even claim to have been midwives in the event you have created some  new life somewhere and actually conducted DNA tests on that particular imaginary birth date or they were recording the time of conception. You would even think they were invited to this event which is only a figment of their imagination. They will claim to know a certain woman who is not getting babies , yet these debes do not volunteer to be surrogate mothers. If I was any of these women I would not even accept at the risk of the baby coming out like them. If these people honestly had a meter on their mouths, they would have been written off by their life insurance companies a long time ago. In fact if they went to seek insurance right now and they show their mouth-o-meters, the insurance companies would rule them as having pre-existing conditions hence very high premiums. You might actually think these guys will come up with some application that we can all download to our mobairos and we can get their mucenes right there. They work so hard at disseminating useless information which would make you think they get paid per word. I have some free advice. Seek employment with a gossip tabloid or something. At least the gossip editors get paid. Why waste your words when you can get paid somewhere else. Oh….by the way, they usually have some form of proof so your stories might never make it to the front page.

These people even laugh at the sick. I have no problem acknowledging that my car is in serious need of some crutches and can be seen limping from one light to the other. I also realize that I might sometimes be in a serious green paper shortfall that I don’t have enough to feed my car it’s kanywaji but don’t go broadcasting it to my peeps. Yes, sometimes I will feed my car just the little I have. Please don’t go to your friends and say “uliona aliweka gari yake mafuta ya dollar tano? Kwani where was he going? To the next gas station?” Come on folks. Why laugh at it? It gets me where I want to go. Please stay off the subject of my car. If you really care, offer to pick me up every morning in your sleek bimmer…you know the one that moves so fast that even when it is at a stop light the wheels are still moving. My wheels stop even before I get to the stop light so I may be in need of that TLC.

I must say that these people have their benefits though. These folks can talk their way out of a speeding ticket. I tell you by the time they finish pleading their case to the corporal, this true servant of the people is tired. When mheshimiwa asks for a driver’s license, our talker-in-chief has a few stories to tell on how his or her life has been a living hell for the past week. They even describe the cane they were rushing to get their grandmother whom they last saw in 1971. Mheshimiwa is in no mood to listen to the next phase of their lives and gets an excuse to get away from the torture of standing through the monologue by “suddenly” going after another offender. Now if you were the driver, they have just managed to help you escape that ticket which we all know we don’t use it to catch a bus. Here is the catch though. By the time you get to your destination, they have called all their contacts on their mobairos telling them how they have just saved your life. The conversation usually starts with something like this..”haki ya nani kama si mimi, hmmm, haka kamtu kangekuwa ndani kakikula sima na maji. Huyo polisi alikuwa amemshika mashati hata alikuwa akimtia pingu. Kulikuwa kunoma. Leo mimi nimeokoa na anafaa akiniona anatoa kofia kwa heshima. Unataka kuongea na yeye usikie?” This my friends will follow you for the rest of what is left of your life.

When I was young, folks used a common phrase “nikii andu me muhahi muingi uu” (why do people have so much idle talk)

Where do they get all this time? What do they lack in their lives that make them this spooky? I have my theories.

First, I believe they lack something within themselves that make them unhappy about other people’s seemingly settled lives. When you think lowly about yourself, then you are bound to look for something that will make you feel superior or an illusion of the same.

Second, I think they believe they have tried the best they can with their lives and their stagnation causes them to look for ways to vent. They acknowledge (unknowingly) their messed up choices and since they have to live with them, they feel it is imperative that they try to condemn others to their fate

Third, I believe they are just idle and wicked in nature.

Why can’t people take care of their homes and leave other to take care of theirs? In all honesty, if these people who gossip so much and spread malicious rumors would let us have a minor glimpse into their lives, we would actually see the reason why they spend so much time on “studying” others. There is nothing you can be proud of in their lives. The mess in their lives cannot allow them to see anyone else happy. They believe that the only reasons they would want to see your teeth is not when you are laughing, but if you are crying or your lips are short.

For those who have been on the short end of these self styled pro-bono nannies, keep your head up and keep going on and doing your thing. You will lap them while they are still trying to figure out how to tie their shoes. Just keep doing your thing for there is nothing that irks them as much as seeing you unfazed. There is a common phrase  used to describe the three types of people in this world. First, those who make things happen. The second group is those who watch things happen while the third group is those who ask “what just happened”. This last group is where these hackers, computer viruses and arsonists belong. They typically want you to join them. Give them an astounding “no thank you.”

As for those who belong to this group a.k.a porojo troupe, there is time to reform (or pretend you have reformed). Get something to keep you busy. Honestly speaking, there has to be something. If there is absolutely nothing you can think of, try watching some cartoons. Oh, they are good and there are some funny ones too. You can also make great use of your talent by maybe becoming a teacher or even helping others spread the good word. This way you will be fully engaged and having some constructive talk. Like baba would say “hata ukienda kule kule, ufanye vile vile, wewe ni ile ile tuu na utatupatata hapa hapa tuu tukifanya yale yale tuu kwa hivyo tulia hapo hapo na uwache upuuzi.” In the mean time, menyai cianyu, tutigithiei mucene.(Take care of your own stuff, stop running your mouth).

Happy new year to all of you. I am on my way to buy an asbestos or a teflon suit.

The writer is the editor of jambonmewspot.com. You can contact him at tgkaranja@jambonewspot.com


22 Responses to “Kenyans in the Diaspora: When does talking cross the line?”

  1. Rosie said

    Well written. Amen.

  2. Sheila said

    Ha ha ha. This is so nice done. I hope some of those people can identify themselves in this article. lol…”flapping gums”..that is a new one. Very nice article and to the point.

  3. Kevin Momanyi said

    I am loving this site more and more. I have laughed so hard while I still got the point. This is what we need here in the diaspora. These are the kind of articles we need ili iwe funzo kwa wengine wanao tabia kama yao. These people need to be told to their faces. You have made my day and this so reminds me of Wahome Mutahi (may he rest in peace. Very well done Mr. Jambo. Very funy too. I love this line ati” In fact if they went to seek insurance right now and they show their mouth-o-meters, the insurance companies would rule them as having pre-existing conditions hence very high premiums.” Too funny dude.

  4. Janet said

    Greetings from London, UK. You seem to have visited a town here called Oxford. Kenyans here are like paparazzi. They monitor your every move and call you out of jelousy. This is a very interesting piece of writing and i recommend these people to read this.Very nice humor. Made my evening.

  5. Shiku said

    I just can’t stop laughing. This is hilarious but so true.This was just another one
    “I might sometimes be in a serious green paper shortfall that I don’t have enough to feed my car it’s kanywaji but don’t go broadcasting it to my peeps. Yes, sometimes I will feed my car just the little I have. Please don’t go to your friends and say “uliona aliweka gari yake mafuta ya dollar tano? Kwani where was he going? To the next gas station?” Come on folks.”
    Now that was classic. Good job!

  6. Kim said

    Yaani walitoka hapa Kenya na hiyo tabia? Wacha waambiwe midomo kubwa. These people are so idle and have nothing better to do than keep a reecord of people’s lives. They have pathetic lives and they want to drag everybody else in with them. Kaeni kando tujenge nchi. Wasirudi Kenya na maneneo yao.

  7. Njeri Jane said

    ha ha ha. This is a classic. Hawa watu watatuonyesha maneno. Pretty good man!

  8. Nyambura said

    He he he! Asante kaka Karanja kwa mtandao huu bora. Wahenga walisema “Mbiu ya mgambo ikilia ujuwe kuna jambo” na kweli hili swala limewatesa wengi. Wakenya na waafrika wenzangu tafadhali tuepukane na umbeya na udaku. Tabia mbaya sana na huu si ungwana kamwe!!!!
    Yakuuma nini gari yangu ni aina gani ama muundo upi? Eti mavazi yangu ni yepi na nyumbani mwangu naishije? pilipili usio ila ya kuashiani?

    Tafadhali tuzirekebishe tabia zote duni mwaka mpya!
    Asante sana kwa mjadala huu!

    • Msibilah said

      Hongera kwa wosia wako huu haswa kwa walio na tabia hii ya kusinya. Naona ajabu kwamba mtu anajipa makuu, jukumu la kuwa kachero kwa maisha ya mwingine. Waama kwa nafsi yake mwenyewe hana ari yeyote, ama ya kujiendeleza au ya kufaidi mwingine.

      Kwa wao wote, langu ni moja, mgomba changaraweni haupandwi ukamea. Heri mtu akajifunza kunyamaa na kujali yanayomhusu. Dua langu ni kwamba, majaaliwa wote tupate haiba ya kuwa waungwana. Inshallah.

  9. Kinyanjui said

    Weee….sasa ni Wahome Mutahi Karanja? Yaani this brought back tumemories. Just like him. lol@pro-bon nannies. That’s cold bwana Karanja. I don’t think we want them teaching our kids “the yap train” even if it’s for free. Matige Musheneneko.

  10. Mimo said

    Wah..he has spoken, lol. This is one of the best pieces i have read on jambo. Maybe you can make this a weekly feature. I definitely enjoyed reading it. My old man just read it too and cannot stop laughing. True true brother. Umenena kweli. Just need to see how a mouth-o-meter looks like:)

  11. Kendi said

    Let them hear if they have ears. Too much fumes in this era of global warming. I equate them to the birthers. They are distasteful and some are so old they could pass for grandmothers but backbite people 30 yrs their junior. Shame on them.

  12. Tito said

    This is what those menye menyes need to hear. Why not mind your own business. Next time am trying to conceive, i will call you so you can witness. Mathy if you have nothing to do over here, go back to Kenya at least huko kuna shamba za kulima and you can enjoy spreading your gossips to the worms in the dirt. Job well done dude.

    • International said

      I wish but if they just Knew how to Read!
      On a Positive Note we are In America, the Mighty America and Instead of wishing yourself Bad Luck by Limiting yourself to juakali-noknownothing-typelost souls, who eventually contribute $20 (if they ever do), and then they will kesha and sing how they contributed so much you will never have to work again!! or you gained some Kilos after the Event!,
      God knows it happened to me, Alas it costed me more to prepare for the so called Prayers to feed a whole church when I lost a Parent back home than the contributions!!
      please get yourself Life Insurance for only /about $2.00 per day and if something Happens then your Insurance will take of care everything! on the other hand we are running short of Land back Home.
      I am kind of a very Realistic Guy and Donating a Body for medical Research is another option in contributing to Humankind. For I swear afdhali mchawi kuliko mwenye fitina, na siasa sa peza nane ilinitosha.
      GOD bless you all, we will survive and he is our protector and no harm will come unto us.
      We need God not the Idolaters.

  13. Andrea said

    The sad truth is that the majority of Kenyans are like this.

    The best way to deal with people like this is to cut yourself off entirely.
    The fact that you share some DNA is not reason to tether yourself to misery for life either.

  14. Kimunya said

    You forgot one theory Mr Karanja. Most of these who count whom other people have slept with are people who really wish you had tapped that a$$ of there but you did not find it attractive. We are not living in the 60’s or 70’s anymor. We change partners when they are not the ideal and most of us are not that desperate to just stick to someone just because we only want to get married. Look at most of these people.Nothing you would want in them, nothing! Sheji type people. Some people are too old for this sh1t!!!

  15. anonymous, Irving said

    Pongezi nyingi Bwana Tony. Hawa watu ni wauanji.Ukilala wanajua,ukulacho wanajua, mavaazi wanajua. sasa hata si Radio ya RiverRoad ni Radio ya Dallas na America yote. Ngai macerere na Ndugatumane ni megutunina na mucene.

  16. International said

    Tony could you please make this page printable/ e-mailable— I need to have a copy at my office.
    We also need to be able e-mail it to all Kenyans as this is the best piece I have read in a Long Time, it took me back to the time of Whispers son of the soil….what a writer!
    Tony, I totally agree with you, NO ONE could have put it together better than you did, it is comforting to know I am not all alone out here. I got tired of she said/he said nonsense and made a decision that just because we share the same roots by Accident doesn’t mean we share the same Destiny; I made a smart choice “Better alone than being in company of “Demons”.
    These “baloney-type-empty=debes” are of such limited intelligence. I guarantee you they never owned a mobile or a car or ever dreamt to own one, so when we “collide” here and we get the same “$12 or so per HR, they cannot Get It; why some of us ever went/ wasted time in college/ funny that when you meet them their first question is always “what you used to do back home ?”. Woe unto you if you were somebody!
    These Idiots Just need to get some Education to heal their ignorant-pupu-like-self-esteem.

    • Tito said

      You know what international, these debes have nothing else to do but drag their trashy lifes into other people’s lifes. When you seperate yourself from them, then they start saying that you are proud, ” we’ll see who will help her if something happens to her” If associating myself with these menye menyes is what assures me of assistance in the future PLEASE KEEP IT. Mr.Karanja needs to come to the city of Lowell, Mass and tell these debes right on their faces but remember to wear your asbestos or teflon suit. Mucene ni waki. Shape up your life and leave other people alone.

  17. Nyambura said

    Andrea and International, I totally agree with your solutions. We do not share a destiny even if we my share a heritage or lineage. We are all born unique individuals with our own legacies.
    One thing that definitely works is to ignore these people and do your own thing as usual. Someone once told me that every ninenteen seconds, such humans will look for something else to yap about. They are a passing cloud, just brace yourself and true to the word I have never been bothered again with the likes of these porojo types. Thats why their wheels are always spinning as Karanja put it.
    Very nice piece of work, keep it up!

  18. Mwangi said

    congrants, Good job

  19. Mark G said

    Oh yeah…this is so true it just rings like my life just got printed. I have gone through all this in the hand of these mongrels. I have tried to stay to myself, they come to get me. My wife is always questioning me of stuff that happened a twilight years ago. Don’t we all have our histories. Don’t most of us reform? Now why would these people keep running their mouths like they are our nannies? F##king idiots!!!

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