Setting : At a shoeshine on Dubois lane. Off River Road. In the line of sight of Kampala Coach.
Man 1 : Shoe shiner who looked in his mid-30s. Well-put together, well-fed.
Man 2 : His skinny looking pal who looked 25.
Music playing on the background – Umenikalia chapati by Sauti Sol.
Conversation was in Kiswahili and Kikuyu.
Man I (starting to shine my shoe): Say hi to the neighbors. And this story of living alone is not good.
Man 2 (walking away from shoe shine stand): Have I told you I am gonna marry this year?
Man 1 : You should! You are what 25? Time is running out. Me I did it at 25. Best decision. When you do your life will be sorted out.
Man 2 : Really?
Man 1 : Look at you. Your trouser is falling. You don’t eat do you? With a wife at home you will be well-fed. You will have to eat her food. If you don’t you’ll tell her where you ate. Look at me (Pats round belly), I tie my belt up here (pats top of belly).
Me : Laughs.
Man 2 : I have heard you. I’ll put effort.
Man 1 : Good. See you kesho.
Man 1 : (talking to me) He’s a nice boy. I try push him onto the nice path. You know its hard to find a nice boy what aint wasting his life with alcohol/drugs. So that’s why I am on his case. Someone who is deep in the drugs you can’t tell him to marry, you tell him to quit drugs. Our men are getting lost and a woman can help ground a man, direct him in the right path.
Me : Aha! (Nodding with freshly shined shoes)
Alcohol is wiping away a generation of men in Nairobi and across the country.
Men have lost hope and are drinking for a living. Or more importantly drinking themselves to death. Wines and spirits are the biggest business in every hood selling cheap kill-me-quick liquor.
As we focus on the girl-child the boy-child is falling through the cracks.
Quite a huge chunk of men are getting left behind by women in the cycle of life. A woman is working, getting her ish together while a man who grew up with said woman or is even 5years older is neck deep in drink with no plan for today let alone tomorrow.
Little wonder that women are resorting to single-motherhood and the cry around Nairobi is ‘where are the good men’?
It may seem an individual dilemma but methinks its a societal one. The imbalance of men and women is a threat to the societal fibre, an affront to the natural order and just at the basic level two are better than one, no?
Food for thought.
GOD BLESS KENYA!