A friend of mine has always insisted that my curiosity sparks a good deal in life. This, I have no objection. But unlike the famous cat, I still live. I however will not be quick to fully allow myself drown into his argument. Curiosity sometimes has no tangible value and if it has, insignificant. Mull over a situation where you have ever missed on basic needs in life only to realize you were so stupid to have missed once the theory behind the situation is revealed to you. But you are not alone. Appreciate now that you know.
I recently joined my African friend for dinner at the K College cafeteria. Then came a time to grab some drink after our meals, guess what? Sometimes you don’t take what you are comfortable with but fate will direct you to what it conspires to offer you. I helped myself with my obvious evening drink, Ethiopian coffee, while my friend joined in with his passion juice.” How did you draw that drink from that stupid machine?” He asked. It seemed more of a joke and we therefore rolled into laughter. “How on earth do you call a machine stupid?” I inquired after a moment. “I have always desired to take coffee for the last one month but I don’t know how to operate that stupid machine. You know this is America with all this complicated technology”, he argued out.
Apparently it was complicated. Remember we are Africans where everything is served from a pot or a bowl and if you happen to share similar characteristics, you end up helping yourself right from the cooking pot.
The theory behind the “stupid machine” was as easy as ABC as he came to know later. Lifting and turning the plunger had made him miss on his favorite drink (for a month or so). But the machines here may also be stupid to us from “country” Africa.
MISSING OUT ON DINNER
This reminded me of the very first day of my arrival at Kalamazoo College. I was jet lagged; confused and certainly shocked by the vicinity I couldn’t help beholding. Am not even sure from which direction I came from to date. All I know is that I landed from above. But that was not my point. After a warm welcome, we were all sown the dormitories. Then the welcome team left to give us time to unpack our baggage.
For obvious reason, African men have nothing to unpack. I therefore decided to take a walk round the zoo to see the hive where the new hornet would be for the next nine months. This was actually a good reason to pass time after which I would have my dinner. I missed the walk, I missed dinner too. But it’s also common to miss dinner or skip whichever the case was. My case was very different.
I couldn’t lock the door behind me. A door is a door even here folks. With hinges and lock gadget. But I simply couldn’t lock it. I hated myself, blamed everything I had. “Why did they have to allocate me a room with a spoil t door?” I had no one to respond. I went back inside and decided to sleep. I could simply not call anyone. I had no Sim card in the first place. I had Facebook and Twitter accounts. But who did I know here apart from my Kenyan colleague who I did not even know where she was? Knowing where she could be was not to be a solution either. I wouldn’t just leave the door open. For how long I slept I don’t know.
I woke up after some knock at the door. I decided not to open. I wondered why the guy behind the door would not just pop in as it has always happened. The knock persisted and became louder. I realized I was not in my usual room 18 (Mboya Hall) at the University of Nairobi which operated as an office, a social hall and a bedroom in shifts. This is DEWATERS, whatever the name meant.
It was already late for dinner but the sun was still shining. It was 2037Hrs. I opened the door and a group of welcome team got in. We exchanged some greetings though I missed out on some words and would read from their eyes that they had also missed on some too (these languages are foreign anyway). Later on, they helped me check in my room. I did it with ease though I hated the whole idea of filling out forms. After the short exercise, one of the chaps was left behind. He wished me a cool night and I escorted him to the door. Not because I had to exercise my integrity, but because I needed some orientation. At the door remember.
I carried my key with me and requested him to show me how to lock the door. Oh no! He pitied the poor nigga from beyond the oceans. It’s easy, just pull the door behind you and leave it to lock by itself. He smiled. I also smiled back. I was not to be a fool anymore the magic worked. The door was already locked. He had not used my key.” Poor me! Its working”, I believed. But it was too late to go for dinner and I could not get the tuck shops I was used to. I would have bought some “mandazis” for my dinner. Even if I came across one, how much do they cost? Are there “mandazis” here? NO IDEA. Evening came and morning came, that was the first day.
I will soon tell you why there are no “mandazis” in USA. Better are the days to come when I will no longer be a slave of technology.