Kenyans are best Africa has to offer-Roadside Maize Roast


Kenyan Master Piece: Roadside Maize Roast.

No matter what anybody says about Kenyans, we are best Africa has to offer. It is true we give chai here and there, and of course we keep throwing stones now and then, but we are good. Take for example the nyama choma thing, who does it better? I went to a joint in Westlands. They call it Wambugus. It is not ideal for the Christian but hey, my buddy “lied” to me that it was cool. Actually the word he used is cozy!


I am a philosopher and I like to check meaning of words before I use them. You see “cozy” is not the word for this place. It is a kikuyu ‘stinker’ whose welcome is not the smell of beef and kienyenji kuku, rather, what draws you in is the smell of the toilet. I don’t understand how the ministry of health allows Restaurants to serve food without proper toilets! This joint has a urinal and a toilet, modern day toilet utilities but no water. They have a bucket of water for one to chota and pour in. Then after leaking, you look for a sink to no avail. Yaks’! It is packed though with thirsty throats preparing themselves for confrontation with the wives in the evening.


That however is small stuff. Who cares about toilets, water and soap. A friend of mine suggested that I rub salt on my hands. Does that kill germs really? Ibora virus, AIDS, TB! I don’t know. Any way toilets or no toilet, what impresses me about Kenyans is their belief in business. I drove to Kitale, specifically a place known as Makongi. On the way, are these women with buckets of potatoes, carrots, vitunguu, and miji. They line the road from Soko Mjinga near Kinangop to Eldoret.  I stopped at Timboroa needing to “help” myself: I mean leak. I was shown a shady shade standing alone on the roadside. I went there and my, my, my! An outhouse with all kinds of, ahhhh. It reminded me of the guys who sell roasted maize on the upper Naivasha -Nakuru road at the village of Gichiengo. These guys are hard working. They run to any car that stops holding six or seven roasted maize. They all stick the maize through the window almost touching one’s nose! 20Kshs a piece. I figured they have to sell 25 of them to earn 500kshs. That is unga, and sugar, plus credo ya so! The other day, I decided to check where they go to the toilet. They showed me a bush near the road well hidden for any kind of action! Water? Soap? Who needs these western amenities? Yet people talk about how tasty the roasted maize in Gichiengo is. They say it is salty! Ah! I know now where the tasty salty feeling comes from. Perfectly and originally Kenyan!


As for me, my choice of roasted maize is only from a mukorino mamaa in Timboroa. I travel to Eldoret often when in Kenya and I can say the Nakuru – Eldoret road is now beautiful! She always has a bucket of water nearby and she not only sells me this Kenyan delicacy, but she also says a blessing, “Utungorio ni Jehovah”. Hey, He leadeth me, and all those who have to travel on Kenyan roads.


By Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD).

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