Dear Kenyans, there are other ways to pass time


Most Kenyans generally drink alcohol and eat nyama choma during their leisure time

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The pubs in residential areas were really inconveniencing residents who just wanted to go home to some peace and quiet after long, hard days

Last week on Wednesday, I had just got into bed and was dozing off when I was suddenly jarred awake by loud music. Puzzled, I wondered which neighbour had decided to throw a wild party at 10.30 pm on a weekday.

The noisy music sounded pretty close, a fact that confused me even further because, for the life of me, I could not picture any of my neighbours playing mugithi, and, even worse, playing it loud. I got up, exasperated, and peeped out of the window, but all I saw was darkness all around me. Everyone, apart from me (and that inconsiderate person playing that ear-grating music) was asleep.

I went back to bed and tried to sleep, but ended up tossing and turning until exhaustion mercifully overcame me about two hours later.

I am the kind of person who needs total silence to fall asleep and tend to snap awake at the slightest noise, so you can imagine how torturous that blaring music was. To make matters worse, it wasn’t the kind of music that can trigger positive thoughts or make you forget your problems for a while.

Sleep hours

The next day in the evening, after spending most of the day trying to keep my eyes open, I learnt that I hadn’t been the only one in the neighbourhood who had been robbed of precious sleep hours. Turns out someone had decided to open a bar in the next lane, smack in the middle of residential houses.

In fact, the bar shared a fence with one of the homeowners, and the fence being a hedge, he could actually see the activities taking place in this pub, even hear some of the conversations the inebriated patrons were having at the top of their voices.

As you can imagine, there was uproar, with talk of taking the matter up with NEMA. This week has been quiet, so I guess the owner of the pub had been breaking the law. This incident made me realise that the one business that will never fail as long as you manage it prudently (and perhaps be the cashier), and don’t drink on the job, is a pub.

Whenever a friend visits me for the first time, especially the “born taos”, those who were born and raised in Nairobi and its environs, their first observation is that my neighbourhood has no life. The first comment is usually “This place is quiet …” which is polite for “This place is boring …”

Alcoholic drinks

This statement is said with trepidation as if living here is the worst thing that could happen to anyone.

The fact that the illegal pub in the middle of a boring neighbourhood attracted customers in the first place is therefore telling – as long as what you are selling is beer, you will never be short of partakers, wherever you decide to set up your start-up.

If you asked the Kenyan next to you right now what he does for leisure, he will probably say, “socialising with friends.”

In Kenya-speak, socialising with friends mostly means having a drink with your buddies, a drink in this case always refers to beer and other alcoholic drinks, not tea or soda.

If someone tells you that he enjoys hiking, mountain climbing, playing tennis and swimming for leisure, he might be speaking the truth, after all, more and more Kenyans are becoming conscious of their health, but most probably, this person is lying – majority of Kenyans generally drink alcohol and eat nyama choma during their leisure time. That is their idea of a well-spent past time.

The writer is editor, Society and Magazines, Daily Nation. Email: [email protected]


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