8am Tuesday morning, I’m walking to work. That’s right, I walk to work. This physique of mine can’t just tone itself, you know!
So I’m walking. Rather briskly, I might add.
At Naivas Supermaket, I meet a guy. Normally, I wouldn’t pay him any attention. Matter of fact, I don’t remember what he looked like or what he wore. Only that he had a noticeable swagger…like he’d just won the lottery or something. In his hand, I saw the reason for the spring in his step – he was carrying maize flour! I was like whoa! Naivas has Unga!
Second guy, also carrying the stuff. Steady on Martha…past the supermarket I went. Five paces out, my footsteps falter. My inner voice is yelling at me –
“WTF Martha? Go get Ugali!”
So I do a 360, grit my teeth while the female guard pokes around in my bag. That (un)pleasantry out of the way, I make a bee line for the flour aisle. The whole thing feels WEIRD! I don’t think I’ve ever been to this part of the supermarket this early. Seriously, I should be buying breakfast, not dinner! But I soon feel right at home. Everyone and their brother has 2 packs – at least! I meet a woman with 6 packs . “Gosh! She’s taking everything!” My inner voice hisses.
At the farthest corner of the crowded aisle, I find the stash. It isn’t my favorite brand. I hesitate for a second…
“Is there no other brand?” a woman asks an attendant.
“Madam,” the attendant responds “Take the flour you can see right now.”
I take heed. Scoring 2 whole packs!
The mood in my mind changes. It sounds like a standing ovation in there…I can just see scores of mini people doing the Mexican wave “Olé, Olé, Olé,Olé… ”
Speaking of all things Mexican…is this flour one of them? Do I even want to touch that live wire?
On to more immediate issues –Ugali gold paid for…now what? Should I leave it at the luggage section and pick it later? Can I really trust those guys with my gold? Nope! Sigh. My lovely walk just became a tad less enjoyable. What with having to lug 2 packs of unga!
Lost in this surreal excitement over unga, it suddenly occurs to me that I’m now the focus of attention. I begin to wonder if I’ve just compromised my safety. Thoughts I reserve only for days when I carry a backpack. In Nairobi, backpack equals laptop equals target on your back! Just yesterday, this little old lady was walking too close to my backpack…I gave her one look and a wide berth. Yap! In Nairobi, you trust no one. Not even if they look like your loving grandma. Never know what laser sharp weapons they might be concealing under those harmless facades!
And to find that the reason for the latest red dot on my forehead is ugali? Now, I’ve really seen it all!
I get to the office safely. My colleagues eye me. But in the place of judgement, I see only awe.
“Is that unga?”
“How did you get unga?”
I feel like a savvy consultant.
“Naivas, -” I announce dramatically “- but I don’t know how much is left!”
And so, the narrative continues;
“Are you going to town? Please check if there’s unga.”
“The queue is too long at Tusky’s.”
“This is madness!”
“I sure hope our stash outlasts this craziness!” Ms. Inner voice quips.
I agree with her.
When next I need to restock, I hope that ugali will once again be just ugali – National dish, not National treasure!