Some Moments. Some Questions


By the tap
The water tank sat right next to a steaming sufuria. The path was rough and narrow. Three men queued up on the tank – taking turns to wash their hands by the tiny tap. The smell of nyama choma was alive, and the butcher-men were plenty. It seemed everyone had a toothpick.

The sign at the gate said Kenyatta Market. But it looked just like Jericho Market, with its alley stalls and badly paved walkways.

And then a short boisterous fellow appeared. He took off sufuria’s lid, revealing a lake of soup with chunks of meat bone sticking above the surface. He shouted something in Kikuyu then stirred the broth.

Meanwhile, by the tap, a plastic bottle of soap was being passed around. A young lady joined the queue. And out of some gallantry I was forced to let her go first.

And then another butcher walked up to me and said that, if I was looking for good nyama, I should go to his stall. “Nyama poa ni hapa B2, bro,” he said.

His skin was the colour of teak, and he had a cocky, bantering look that I liked. His eyes were bloodshot and for a moment I thought he was drunk. His voice ran easily into comic grotesque. I didn’t want to break his heart by telling him I had already settled on a stall.

He looked at me in the eye and said, “Niko na njaa ya pesa.”

“Ata mimi,” I said.

“Sawa,” he said.

Then he walked away, loose limbed, his head bouncing like a spring. On second thought, maybe he really was drunk. Did he cut meat in this inebriated state?

It was my turn at the tap now. And I didn’t think about the drunken butcher again until a few minutes later, when I was fingering a mound of ugali to marry the juicy piece of nyama choma in my mouth.

Anybody got a toothpick?

By the grave
Mom had already stepped out of the car. Ol’ Man was walking ahead of me. I had fallen back because I was fumbling with my belt. We left home in a hurry and I didn’t have time to tie it properly.

Lang’ata cemetery was just as I remembered it – dusty and hot and packed with dead people. Names and dates engraved on chipped rocks. I stopped for a bit to clasp the ends of my belt. Then I noticed I was stepping on a tombstone.

There were some folk seated on a nearby bench. I could feel them staring at me, searing with reproach. They probably thought I was being disrespectful, a sloppy son of a gun who held his belt in higher regard than the divine memories of the departed.

I quickly got off the tombstone. But it made me think: Am I stepping on someone? Or is it just a slab of stone?

And when I looked at other graves I saw that some were bigger than others. Some were reserved for a later date, so they were probably empty. Some were simple and some were elegant as hell, fenced with metal bars and colourful bricks. It seemed even in death there were the haves and the have-nots.

And I was left with one all-consuming thought: that death had a way of balancing the scales, so that we all went to dust.

It’s tragic, really. What of the ones who remain behind? Who puts them back together again after such a loss, and how long does it take?

Anybody got some answers?

By the way
The memories came rushing back when we hit Mlolongo. The sun was going down, glaring on the driver’s side. Ol’ Man had lowered the visor just so. The radio was tuned in to Sundowner. Some old country song was playing: Kiss an angel good morning.

It had been ages since we had driven home listening to Sundowner.

There’s a different host now, a lady whose voice seemed to melt into the sun set. The last host had a deep soothing voice and he talked as though he had the flu. He was the voice of Sunday evenings, when we’d make our way back home after a day out. Chips and chicken on our breaths.

Now time had passed, 23 years old and counting. Hair was growing out of my chin and I could at least drive a car. As always, I was riding shotgun.

I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ll get to have a family of my own one day, with a lovely wife and two kids, and if we’d get to drive home listening to Sundowner. How will the host sound like?

Will old country songs still be playing on our radios? I certainly hope my kids won’t take to that drab dubbed Trap music.

Tell me the truth, Victoria. Are these children mine?

By my count
I’m riding a tidal wave of uncertainty. In a few hours I’ll be making a class presentation on the relationship between economic development and the physical environment (I know). I feel like my stomach has tied up from all the anxiety. My notes are jumbled up. My thoughts are scrambled. I’m wondering whether it would be easier to just skip the class all together.

I’m in a blue shuttle, inching slowly towards Mombasa Road. The cabin of the mat is Maasai themed, filled with posters and pictures of the Maasai – shields and spears and kilts, wrinkled women with beads around their necks.

Right above me there’s a picture of the Moipei Quartet, all smiles and red lipped. Their faces are pressed close together and you can hardly tell one from the other.

The tout starts to collect the fare.

I’m sitting on the right side, which, at this hour of the day happens to be the wrong side. The sun is in my face. The sparkle bounces off my phone screen and it’s impossible to see anything unless I turn the brightness all the way up. I can’t think of a quicker way to kill my battery.

So I take out my earphones. They’re terribly tangled up. Getting them loose is going to knock off a good five minutes. And just when I’m almost done the tout appears on the gangway. He can’t be much older than I am, really.

He doesn’t have the uniform. The official tout is standing by the door. And I fancy this young fellow is an apprentice.

He moves with a brittle dignity – a face that’s ready and pleasant with everybody. There was something off in the way he held the fare. And he was a bit slow on the draw when giving back the change.

I wondered if this was a universal mark of quality between touts. How would the young man fair in a tout duel? Was there any recognition for touts who were quick with their hands? Fast on the draw? Who held that record, and which route did he ply?

Maybe this young man dreamed of becoming the fastest tout in the land.

Anybody got some boots for this here cowboy?

By the end of it all
I found myself seated around a table of cousins. An army of 12, waiting to have a late lunch: ugali and nyama choma. And kachumbari. The meat – all warm and toasty fresh – was cut up right in front of us. The ugali was soft and pure. And the kachumbari had more tomatoes than everything else. We asked for some chilli.

Then we dug in.

I went to town with that ugali. The entire meal was spice heaven and by the end of it all my forehead was sweaty. There was much banter and our guttural laughs floated around the butchery stall.

My tummy felt wholesome. I kept dabbing at my forehead with my hand but the sweat just wouldn’t cease. The butcher had gone off to get some serviettes. The table was messy. My area had a bunch of spilled tomatoes. Some of it had fallen to my jeans.

Anybody got a wipe? And where the hell is that toothpick?

Follow Mike on Instagram: Mike Muthaka

An angel in spandex

Comments (3)

  1. Ian

    we okay i personally need to know how that presentation went. Are you this vocabulary-equipped verbally?

    • Mike

      I’m afraid not. Can I even say vocaburaly-equipped verbally without shrubbing?
      All my class presentations have lots of ‘aahs’ and ‘uhms’ and ‘the report was poorly researched and failed to meet the pass mark’

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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