By Margaret Nyambura

The phone had rang so many times but I chose to ignore because I had a lot of customers who were waiting to be served in my small food kiosk which was located near a matatu terminus. Serving these matatu crews was not a walk in the park; they were always in a hurry thus any delay was met with nasty and vulgar words. I had become accustomed to their language Why? I needed them more than they needed me.Without them I would not have been able to pay my bills and fees for my girls who were still in school.

After I was done with the customers I took my phone to check who was calling me a while back only to get 5 missed calls from the father of my girls. I looked at it with so much bitterness not sure whether to ignore or call back. This is a man I had loved so dearly but he had messed life completely. Long story though.

I’ll take you a few years back-I was born and bred in Nairobi’s Huruma estate, went to a Primary school in the hood, did my KCPE and passed well. But since we had sat the exam same year with my big brother who didn’t  perform  well and my single mum couldn’t  raise school fees for the two of us, I was asked to repeat  class 8 to give a chance for my brother to proceed. That is how I sat my exam for the second time, performed well and got an admission at Ngara Girls High school in Nairobi. Back then it was a day school meaning I would commute to and fro daily. Luckily, bus fare was so cheap because with one bob I would get one trip.

Away from the city life ,my mum had bought a piece of land in lower Murang’a,meaning that during school holidays if we were not visiting our cucu in upper Murang’a  then we would be at our Ithanga home. Our mom didn’t accompany us during most of these holidays and we would be hosted by our immediate neighbour.

Our neighbor was blessed with a big family.I think that mzee had read his bible well and decided to fill the world. He had a full football team and 2 reserves, meaning that he had 13 kids. A number of them were grownups who had gone out there way to hustle and so only the young one’s had been left behind. Among them there was a girl who was slightly older than me called Nyambura who had dropped out of school in class 7 for reasons best known to her.

Nyambura was a good friend and most of the times I would accompany her to the market. We also shared a bedroom.Nyambura had a boyfriend who was a tout in those Toyota Hilux matatu that we used to call face me. Sometimes she sneaked out to see her boyfriend and she would at times ask me to escort her. That’s how I met my Prince charming.

The guy was very handsome, tall, light skin and if you thought that sideburns came with Jowie wa Maribe then you are wrong. The guy had them, very well trimmed and neat, not to mention the moustache that got married women swooning.Ooh, he such was a catch!

He dressed well too. He was among the only guys who would afford those stylish Freezer or Pepe jeans, not forgetting the Tokyo trousers and those shiny viscose shirts that boys would leave the top buttons open to show of their hairy chests.

I was in Form 3 by then and it was during the April holidays   when I met him first and fell in love with him. When he was not at work we would go down to the stream and in the fields in the pretense of searching firewood and in all these times Nyambura would accompany us. The April holidays passed so fast and we had to come back in Nairobi for school. I left him in the village knowing too well that most likely I won’t be able to see him again until the August holidays. I was sad but then I had no option.

When August came I was crossing my fingers hoping that mum wouldn’t ask us to go to cucu’s place. Somehow I was keenly watching my elder brother closely  because I knew he had a girlfriend back in shags and since  he was the mum’s  eye on us, I  knew that mama would  agree with him. The best part of it was that mama was having a project back in Ithanga and so definitely we were to go there during that holiday. I was so much happy and couldn’t wait to see my crush again; it seemed like a million years when I saw him last.

We went on with our usual sneaking and river outings with my guy and my friend Nyambura.But during that holiday she looked so gloomy and withdrawn; her boyfriend was not around and word going round the village was that he had eloped with another girl and left my friend who was now apparently pregnant for him.

Happened that during that holiday,Nyambura wasn’t feeling well and after visiting the local health center she was  referred to Thika General Hospital where she was admitted. To cut the long story short it was during my frequent visits to the hospital that I went to my boyfriend’s house in Thika town and rest, as they say is history.

Days went on fast and as the norm the holidays were over and it was time to come back to Nairobi. As usual I bid my guy goodbye hoping to see him again in December holidays.

I missed my red moon that month and the next month. I did a test and alas! I was expecting a baby. Saying I was shocked was an understatement because I knew that my mama would skin me alive. But again, was I really expecting a Great Wall TV after the escapades in Thika?

On the other hand I was very confident that this would be the best news my boyfriend would receive and I was eagerly waiting to break the news to him.

November 1989,was the month I got the  rude shock of my life, I had to figure out how I’ll  cheat my mama and get a day to go and visit my boyfriend on a Sunday and break the news.

After answering a full questionnaire from mama and a warning of how I should be back early, I was given the permission to visit a friend (little did she know that her perceived innocent girl had already messed her life) I reached Thika town around 10am and went straight to the dude’s house.

I knocked the door almost 3 times and behold a heavily pregnant girl opened the door. To say that I was shocked is understatement-tears dropped freely from my eyes and I could feel drops of sweat running through my body. I tried to move my feet but they were numb. I could feel my heart beating like I had just finished a marathon race. Everything  seemed dark, the world had crumbled  on me  and before I could  recollect myself back here comes  my  dude carrying a paper bag meaning  he had stepped  out to buy breakfast.

Upon seeing him I literally screamed. I felt like I would tear him into pieces. He tried to come near me but I pushed him aside. What was he going to tell me when everything was here in black and white?

I regained a little strength and started walking away. He tried to follow me but the more he came near me the more I screamed. Afraid of  the drama that was  now ensuing  he stepped  back and I started  running  as fast as my kanono body would  carry me. My destination was Christina Wangare gardens it had a well-kept grass back then. There I cried myself out and a lot of things crossed my mind. Committing suicide seemed like the best option for me whereas procuring an abortion was a way out too.

But now the problem was when, where and how.

To be continued….

About Margaret Nyambura(Guest Writer No.8)

Margaret Nyambura aka Maggy Mamushka is a business person and a mother who loves writing and music. She is a based in Nairobi. Maggy believes that nothing is more beautiful than a smile that has struggled through tears.

Part Two of her story will come be posted here on a later date.


By Berina Ogega

Beautiful Zipporah, stood on the doorway of her grass thatched house, pushed her head forward, short of the falling rain and….

“Zachariah!” she whispered harshly. “Zachariah!”

I heard her, woke up from my afternoon nap and tiptoed to the door. I had to see and hear this. I wanted something to talk about with my loving husband Sospeter. We gossiped. Yes, you are asking if a man gossips, yes, most couples gossip. A man and a woman may not be loving each other as they should, but when it comes to gossip, you should see them bending, their heads almost touching, gossiping.


Many times, I have reminded Sospeter to repair our heavy wooden door, but he says, “I know, you do not have to keep reminding me. If you go on, I will leave one morning before you wake up and you will be very poor and lonely.”

“I will sell tomatoes,” I tell him. “Or even onions,” I sneer.

“That cannot pay rent and fees,” he retorts.

“Seriously,” I say, “You should listen to yourself while speaking,” he stands with hands akimbo. “We live in a mud house. We built it, we do not pay rent, but every time you talk about the expenses, you mention rent.”

“One would think you took part in building it,” he sneers. “If you are not careful, I might start asking you to pay rent.”

“I thought you said you were leaving,” I smile. “Seems like you have forgotten that my cow produced the dung that built this hut. You also seem to have forgotten how I sat from morning to evening with my iron pail waiting for the dung to drop.”

“Ever heard anybody on earth boasting of being the world’s biggest producer of cow dung?” Sospeter asks. Suddenly, I have the urge to take that dowry cow and go back to my parents. I don’t though, because I know… after a few days, Sospeter will come with a short story of ‘man and loneliness’…. ‘man and cold’…. then ‘man and polygamy’. The story of ‘man and polygamy’ will always get me and my cow to run a marathon back to our mud hut.

. “I forgive you, but where will you get the school fees and food?” he makes sure to drag the word food.Fooooood.


If Sospeter had repaired the door, it would not have made this loud sound… ‘kekekekeke… keeeeee…’ then a soft thud, as it hit the ground, and another duh… causing Zipporah to turn, with her tongue out, the worst face she could make, shaking her head vigorously. I wanted to show her my tongue too, but I remembered my age…. and thought, the neighbors might be watching. They will see me and go tell about the old woman who showed her tongue. I folded my hands across my chest and pointed threateningly at her from under my left elbow.


As if she did not notice, she turned and whispered, “Zachariah! Za…”

Zachariah was already standing at his door, with an angry “What?” look in his eyes.

“Please bring that clay pot of water, please, please…” she bent forward and stretched her arms.

His hands in his pockets, Zachariah leaned against the door post. “Hey,” Zipporah continued whispering, “That one, please,” she pointed at the clay pot.

““I told you the other day not to bring your clay pot here,” Zachariah did not move.

“Look at how useless the girl is,” both turned to look at me, I closed my eyes, hands akimbo, chest forward and shouted, “that is why…. we,” I thumped my chest, “the village people always wish these proud girls would remain in the city.” I had not realized that the rain had stopped. My voice echoed throughout the village. Wooden windows opened one by one, faces stared at me, and I knew, I had made new enemies. The girls from the city.

Zachariah ignored me. “What are you protecting from the rain?” He asked Zipporah. She stepped out of the hut onto the mud and walked carefully towards her clay pot. “You trimmed your long hair the other day,” Zachariah looked her up and down. “It is natural,” he squinted at her face. “and I cannot see any make up on your face and hands.”

Zipporah tried to lift the large clay pot of water and slipped. She let go and looked at Zachariah with a pleading face.

“No,” Zachariah said shaking his head. “I will not. You asked me to help you yesterday, that you would marry me if I did. I kept peeping through the window to check if you were packing your belongings to come and stay with me, but you sat next to the fireplace with no sign of wanting to get married.”

Zipporah suppressed laughter. “How do people look like when they are about to get married?” She asked facing the opposite direction, grinning.

“I waited for you in the morning to hang your wet clothes on my line,” tears of laughter ran down Zipporah’s cheeks like two streams. She placed her hands over her eyes until the urge to laugh went away, then turned to face Zachariah. He stepped back into the house.

The rain dropped lightly. Zipporah rushed to where I was.

“Please Mama Nyakundi,” I quickly stepped back into the hut and shut the heavy door.

I startled Sospeter who had been snoring on the bed. “What is it?” he asked angrily.

“If you had repaired the door…” I began before he cut me short…

“Don’t you start!” he shouted as he sat. “Mention that door again and you will go back to where I got you from, with it… take your stinky cow dung too.”

“Are you are sending me away?” Sospeter did not answer. He clicked his tongue and poured porridge from a flask that was on the table into a large mug.

“Mama Nyakundi! Mama Nyakundi” Zipporah knocked on the door.

I opened. “You are whispering too much,” I said, “You are overworking your throat; are you not afraid you might get a sore throat?”

“If people got sore throats out of whispering,” she replied, “you would not be having a throat at all. You are always all over the village,” she bent forward and moved from left to right. “Bisi bisi bisi here, bisi bisi bisi there.” She straightened and looked over my shoulder.

“Baba Nyakundi,” the rain poured, she pushed me aside and entered the hut. “Can you help….”

“Help what?” Sospeter asked, “You have been very disrespectful to my wife! Get out before you find yourself covered in this porridge!”

I rushed towards Sospeter and took the porridge from his hands. “There is nothing else to eat in this house.” I reminded him. Zipporah was afraid. She left quickly.




About three weeks earlier, Sospeter had gone to the market to buy an avocado.

“I want a ripe avocado!” he ordered. The shopkeeper brought him a ripe avocado.

Sospeter shook his head and shouted, “Are you deaf? Didn’t you hear I want a ripe one?”

“It is ripe. Here, press it.” The shopkeeper said politely.

“It is not yellow!” Sospeter took it and threw it over the roof.

“You think I am foolish!” he shouted at the shopkeeper, looked around furiously and left.

This is a small village. Word went round that Sospeter was a destroyer of peoples’ goods. Rumours spread that he was a very dangerous man, who lost his temper like sparks from a fire. Shopkeepers closed their shops every time they saw him. They closed their shops to all members of our family. We could not buy anything. We tried sending our neighbors for food. They never brought anything back. They did not find what we wanted, they asked, could they try again the next day? And the next? And next? We had no food. We were starving.


A few days ago, the aroma of chapatti attracted me to Zipporah’s house.

‘Please give us some.” I asked Zipporah as I stood at her doorway.

“Today is not a good day for handouts Mama Nyakundi,” Zipporah replied pretending to be concerned. “If you had come yesterday, I would have given you ugali and sukuma.”

“Please,” I begged.

“No!” Zipporah shook her head. “Not chapatti and chicken. Come the day after tomorrow, I will be cooking maize and beans.” She gently pushed Mama Nyakundi out of the hut. “You should be doing better than me. You have a husband.” She closed the door.

I walked home crying. Sospeter was very angry after I narrated my story.


“Zachariah!” the whisper jogged me back to the present. I rushed to the door.

“My woman,” Sospeter chuckled. “One day you are going to break a leg.” I almost choked with laughter.

Zachariah appeared on the doorway, looked at me, raised his eyebrows, shook his head in wonder and turned to Zipporah, who was looking at me.

Zipporah was drenching wet. “Do you mean I will not have good sleep now?” Zachariah was irritated.

“I am sorry,” she whispered. “I am sorry; I will marry you! Please bring me the water.”

“Sore throoooat!” I shouted, tapping my throat lightly.

Zipporah turned and threw her hands in the air. “Can’t you see we are having a serious conversation here?”

The many wooden windows that were closed when the rain started pouring opened again. Eager eyes watched from behind them.

“You tricked me into giving you that hut.” Zachariah was fed up. “Now I cannot throw you out because every time I try, you shout, ‘ Help! Thief! Thief! Murderer! Killer! Attacker!’ The same insults everyday… speaking of which, don’t you have a dictionary from which you can find new names to call me?” Zachariah disappeared into the house.


Zipporah turned to me. I walked up to the clay pot and asked her to help me push it to her hut. We pushed and pulled and managed to reach her door.

“Wait!” she turned and whispered. “Zachariah!”


She took two steps towards his house. “Zachariah!”

“Can we get this clay pot into the house first?” I was impatient and hungry.

“I wanted him to come and help us.” Zipporah explained.

“You cannot have men doing everything for you Zipporah.” I whispered.

She lifted one side and I the other. I lifted with all my might and banged it against the door frame. The clay pot broke. “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!” I whispered as Zipporah sat on the floor and sobbed. I walked to the fireplace, then left.

“Sospeter!” I laughed as I entered our hut. “I had my revenge. I broke her clay pot.”

Sospeter grinned. “I knew when you rushed to help her, things were not going to end well.

“Look.” I showed Sospeter what I was holding. “I stole this from her.”

“We will need a hammer to break that,” Sospeter touched the hard chapatti and laughed loudly.

I showed him the dark brown chicken. “My goodness,” he said, “I wonder how many times she reheated it. Preserving food for four days is not easy.”

“Another advantage of rain.” I sat next to Sospeter. “Free food from lazy people. I hope she gets another clay pot so that I can help her carry it to her house, the day she cooks chapatti and chicken.

“Zachariah!” She whispered, “Do you have an extra clay pot?”

I knew we were going to get free food soon.


About Berina

Berina Ogega is a writer of fictional short stories. She also loves hiking, knitting, reading and cooking.She is based in Nairobi, Kenya.Berina is also working on her first book which will come out soon.

Berina’s greatest passion is trying to bring back hope and humour to people who have already lost it.This comes out clearly in the above story which intersperses folksy humour with witty outlook on life.

For further reading of such witty anecdotes,visit her blog at