He happens to be the proprietor of The Bar on the Hill but he owns several outfits around town. He took over the establishment about two years ago from another old man who insisted on selling white cap lager only. As soon as he put up an “under new management” sign he began stocking different brands of the waters from where good old Kiereini used to brew down at Ruaraka. I don’t know who took over from Jeremiah but it does not matter to me now.
I received a call from Mwanake that he decided to cut short his trip to the other side of the mountain and come back to Nairobi. Mwanake comes from the Southern side of the mountain, but some friends wanted him to grace a meeting across many ridges and rivers. As his main spiritual overseer, I oversaw his departure from Tea Room Airport. I was to accompany him but I got caught up in the thick of thin things around Tea Room and decided take the long walk back to Ambassador Hotel to meet new converts to our sect.
This change was a big surprise, how could Mwanake change his mind midway on such an important trip? The people on the other side of the mountain are the cream of the elite. These people eat meat without bones. When my friend Kiplain who will never be caught eating vegetables cleans up goat ribs in Rongai, these people prefer it in steak. They gave us names like T-bone, lamb and chops yet I can bet most of us know beef as either mixed or steak. They eat it with a fork and a knife and they will never be caught surgically dissecting the head of a goat or a cow. Yet this is what Mwanake and his team like to chew with a mug of soup.
So here Mwanake calls me that he is in town and he needs some counseling. I get worried, but decide to go into prayer and fasting session for a few hours before our appointment. As much as we are pals, he wields power, and men know these simple rules, a pair of his shoes and one belt can buy my whole wardrobe so I have to be at my best when meeting him.
I had to go and get the story behind this romour that he could not cross River Sagana. There have been banditry activities around that area so the new romour mill that my son Janaya Junior and his sister Porsche are always busy on called facebook has been churning out reasons for this Sagana River fiasco. When I was done with my fast and prayers in line with the formula of the sect of many waters, I set out to meet Mwanake.
On the way I remember to call my friend Iketone, who claims to have a ranch at a place near Msanda. For those who may not be aware of Musanda, it is one of several places in Western Kenya where the inhabitants are confused whether they are Luos or Luhyas. I pick Iketone up in town because he is an adherent of Mwanake’s sect of frothy liquids, I ask him not to swallow too much. He will help to lighten the atmosphere as Mwanake likes to keep me waiting for long under the company of a big flask of tea.
We drive in my scrap of a car up several streets into the leafy suburbs. Iketone is a good guide, as many of his relatives reside in this side of Uhuru Highway as domestic and security technicians. Today, I pick him up as a Luo, so I keep these cooks and watchmen jokes to myself for inner meditation. The humble shall inherit the kingdom of God and the violent shall take the kingdom of God by force.
We are let into The Bar on the Hill, and Iketone goes ahead to order his favourite Keg beer. I pinch his hand and tell him to order something corresponding to the status of the venue. After a long short time, Mwanake comes over and I leave Iketone to imbibe on his bottle and glass. He has briefed me on the current affairs so I am good to go.
After the warm greetings, you know this man has a big warm heart, Mwanake asks me if I have listened to Nerea- the new song on the chats. I remain calm to hide my shock as I don’t want to appear dumb or as foolish as a Mogotio goat as I think of how to go around his question. He lets it pass as he jumps to explain, that the reason why he cut short his trip is because the driver was playing a list of songs and Nerea kept playing over and over. He got worried, he thought that God was speaking to him but I had become a customer- mteja which is what everybody who cannot be reached on his mobile phone become so he decided to come back home and sort this matter quickly.
Apparently the band that recorded the song happens to be his friends. I wanted to go and ask Iketone if he knew Nerea, as the name sounds more of a Musanda lady but you don’t just leave the proprietor of The Bar on the Hill on street lights. “I was worried about it but when I asked her about the pregnancy, she told me it is just a romour.” He went on to say that anyway, if God would have brought the child he was not going to forget to accompany it with a plate.
I am happy he mentioned God, I said amen in the tone of the sect of many waters. I ask him to feel free to order his drink. He orders a cold Tusker, my mind wonders to another friend of mine whose main goal in life was to buy a truck trailer, so his friends called him ZB. I know he will read this but he has told me many times that I will one day go back to the frothing waters sect. I looked at how Mwanake poured his Tusker into a tilted glass keenly and reassured myself that I consumed my quota.
He lifts his head and asks me who I would like to see seated in his bar. Some people must be removed from sina tabu stools at the counter to the butchery while others will be promoted from roasting mutura to serving wine. This will shift focus of people from this Sagana River fiasco. My mind goes blank, now even ZB and Iketone disappear from my mind. I tell him I will pray for him to make wise decision on his choices. I ask Iketone to come over and I introduce him, he shakes Mwanake’s hand for a whole minute with his head bowed.
After a sumptuous lunch served in the green lush grounds of The Bar on the Hill, we jump into my scrappy metal of a car and drive back to town. No sooner had we crossed Uhuru Highway than Iketone blurts out that the Mwanake has reshuffled his pubs sitting arrangement. I smile and tell him that it is a small matter. So Iketone is also a member of that socialite media that has taken my household by storm, this is getting interesting. I ask him if he knows Nerea, and he responds that he has never heard of such a lady in this city may be back around his ranch. So I am not the only stranger in Jerusalem.
This blog is in honour of Wahome Mutahi, aka Whispers. I have always thought of honouring him with one blog for inspiring a loud mouthed restless man like me to write.