Some time back the Managing Director of AIG (the investment group) stated that were the drought situation in Kenya to persist, then Kenyans should expect a significantly lower growth rate than the 5% optimistically forecasted by experts. On the evidence of Friday evening’s cloudburst, I am quite confident that our growth rate will rival and perhaps surpass that of China.
In short, to say that “It rained last Friday” would be an understatement. I myself was dashing to a place of revelry (I don’t generally visit them, but the firm was hosting a farewell to one of our former employees) and it was just as I arrived at the bus-stop that the deluge began. In seconds I realised that to get to Westlands from town was going to be as possible as getting to West Pokot from the same starting point. (I later heard that matatus were charging KShs. 100 for the town-Westlands trip.) Thoughts of revelry and merry-making banished, I crossed the road and took hasty refuge under the hospitable eaves of a petrol-station (beggars cannot be choosers, and umbrellas were proving woefully inadequate in terms of providing a haven from the elements). I decided to wait until the downpour had abated.
It was to be a long wait, but it was far from boring. The chief source of entertainment was a large puddle of water that formed at the entrance to the petrol station. In fact, in calling it a puddle I embarrass it. It was a veritable pool that extended right out into the midst of the road itself.
It may be wondered how watching a pool can provide entertainment to even the most lively observer. Perhaps I have not been accurate in my description of the entertainment I was enjoying. It was in watching Nairobians cross this Bosphorus that cause for jollity was found. My fellow shelterers (chiefly two young ladies) and I spent many a merry moment enjoying the wile and guile that many Nairobians employed getting across the said pool. Most showed a marked preference and proficiency in the Long and Triple Jump techniques.
However there are two fellows who deserve special mention for their ability and genius. Pride of place goes to a certain thin fellow who, had I not been alert, I would never have caught his nimble movements. This man tended to flit, rather than move, across one’s field of vision. I once read that lightning flashes for a much briefer time than we perceive it; what happens is that the brain retains the image for long enough for us to “see” it or something of the sort. It was much the same with this bloke. To arrive at the pool and assess what needed to be done was with him the work of but a moment. In an even briefer moment, he skimmed over the surface of the water, raising barely visible splashes, in three quick steps and was gone. Water skating insects would have been proud to have been associated with this nymph of the night. Indeed, any self-respecting Commonwealth selector for the steeplechase would have been after him in a flash, rain notwithstanding.
The other interesting chap, an ingenuous bloke whose face bespoke a more than average dose of street-wisdom, had his shoes in paper bags. Perhaps some clarification is needed, if this does not seem surprising. You see, this Einstein of the elements was still wearing the shoes at the time! His right shoe was snugly encased in an Uchumi paper bag and his left was similarly ensconced in a blue one of indeterminate corporate origin. Congruence and symmetry did not seem to be high up on his list of priorities as he slogged determinedly through the torrents, oblivious to such minor hindrances as pools and puddles…
Let’s all thank God for the rain.