Some bird watching


Turn, by the Wombats. I can’t get this song out of my head. I first heard it on X FM, and I thought, Heavens! I must have this song. I simply must. I couldn’t trust the presenter to say the title afterwards. The song might end then they go to news or something, and then I’d never hear the song again.

So what I did, I fished out my Notepad and wrote down some of the lyrics

Maybe it’s the crazy that I’ve missed / watering plastic plants in the hope that they’ll grow / seeing a message flash and then smashing up my phone / Maybe it’s the crazy I’ve missed

I have it on repeat. I’m listening to it as I write this, in fact. I listened to it before going to bed last night. And I listened to it again this morning. It gets me all giddy inside. When it comes on all I want is to do is get off my ass and play some air drums.

And it’s the song that, critically, saved me a lot of grief this past Tuesday. I sat my second exam. Helen’s exam. And it was horrid. It was nothing like the CAT. There were no multiple-choice questions. I left out a 20-mark gap. I knew nothing. I was completely clueless in Section B. I had a bad taste in my mouth. This was my favorite unit this semester and I was going to bite the dust.

So, after much tinkering, I finally handed in my paper – confident that I’d made a complete mess of it, and that Helen will surely be disappointed. The invigilator took my booklet and said, “Good luck.”

“Thank you,” I mumbled, then I walked out as fast as I could, shoulders slumped, smelling a rotten grade.

Then I remembered I had a precious gift in my playlist. The Wombats. They would make everything better.

The song kept me afloat as I headed home. I was heading to Railways through tao, earphones plugged in. Spring in my step. Exam long forgotten.

I like the way your brain works / I like the way you try / to run with the wolf pack when your legs are tied 

Now, when I’m in tao, there are a few rules that I adhere to. Come hell or high water.

Avoid crowds. Don’t make too much eye contact. Look like you know where you’re going, even if you don’t. Best not to turn and look at that girl’s rear. Keep away from Archives at all costs.

So this one time I passed through Archives, some fellow appeared on my elbow. He said I should ‘leave him something’. He walked along with me, so close I could smell his skin. As it went, I had some coins in my pocket. That would get rid of him, I thought.

So I gave him a coin, he said, “Sasa ona huyo kando yako.”

Suddenly there was another one at my side. He didn’t say anything. He just stretched out an arm. He didn’t even look at me. The other one was still holding my arm, saying, “Ama aje rasta.”

I was sandwiched. I yanked my arm off and stormed away. They stopped, slowly sinking back into the foot-traffic. Then I heard him say, “Tumekujua wewe.” I turned back briefly, and saw that the bugger was knocking a fist against his palm.

I know enough to know what that means. He has me on ‘wanted’.

I haven’t been to Archives ever since.

Anyway, I was certain the commute home would be pleasant. And because I was in no particular hurry I even alighted at GPO, so I could roam town listening to the bloody song. The sun was absent. Shoulders shivered. Hands froze. Scarves were tied. I paid attention to none of it.

As I got to Kencom, however, I saw, a few meters in front of me, a girl I follow on Twitter. I could have sworn we had met before – through mutual friends – but I’d said no more than five words to her. I couldn’t remember her name, but I could never forget a face like hers.

When she crossed the road from Hilton she half-turned in my direction. The color of her skin was a welcome break from the city’s grey dullness. She wore a bright silk jacket and buried her hands in her pockets.

I don’t think she saw me. She was following the same route I usually take, so I thought I’d follow her, just for shits and giggles. And then I started to enjoy this little game. I felt like some spy or something. Or a bird watcher, hehe.

Maybe it’s the crazy I’ve missed

I walked a few paces behind her, in one file. She had one of those bags with long handles. It was a brown bag, and it went all the way down to her bum. The bag matched the color of her shoes, and her silk jacket gleamed in the afternoon gloom.

At what point did she wear that bag and think, “Hm, I like this bag. It’s quite comfy”? How on earth did she bear to walk with that bag, constantly bouncing on her bum with every step? If I had to walk all day with a bag slapping against my backside I’d be terribly uncomfortable.

She had long braids, and some of them had gathered up at the back, clamped with a rubber band.

I followed her as she went past Kencom, past the seating area and the city Maps, past the concession stands and pre-occupied townsfolk – waiting for a No. 46 to Kawangware, purchasing tropical mints, feet throbbing on the concrete.

I kept a safe distance, watching the rubber band on her head holding up those braids, wondering when it would finally get home and stretch its legs.

She crossed the road again and I walked along the opposite side, keeping her in my periphery gaze, a silent vigil, feeling grateful for the vastness of the town, taking comfort in being swallowed by the constant din. I followed her like she was the lantern of my life.

I didn’t want to get too close, though. I didn’t want her to notice me. She’d think I’m a creep or something. Then she’d be forced to increase her stride. And that would mean her bag would swing harder against her bum. No, I wanted to watch her in a natural, graceful state.

I wondered what she was thinking about. She didn’t have earphones. Was she just listening to the cityscape? How come she walked in such perfect rhythm?

I followed her all the way to Kenya Cinema, trying to guess where she might be taking a mat from. We went past Equity, and the Safaricom Shop that’s always playing some dreadful music.

And all this time I kept thinking, Should I say something? How would I start the conversation, exactly?

“Excuse me, but I think I’ve seen you on Twitter.”

Or, “Hi. I think I know you from somewhere.”

Or, “Heavens! You look even prettier in person.”

And then she’d say, “Excuse me?”

“The pictures lied.”

“Who even says ‘heavens’? Who are you? What do you want?”

“I only want to know if it hurts.”

“When I fell from heaven? I know that one.”

“No. I mean, does it hurt, when your bag knocks against your rear like that?”

She’d bolt, I’m sure she would. She wouldn’t laugh with me. She’d bolt and she’d avoid using this street again. A street full of creeps.

And tweeps pretending to watch birds.
Mike blogs at www.mikemuthaka.com

The Croatian Affair
Kitengela is like sex

Comments (3)

  1. Kelly

    Writer to writer,

  2. Kelly

    & maybe next time, say hello to the birds. 👐😋

    • Mike

      I sure will😅
      Or I might even slide into the DMs if I get too shy

Leave a Reply

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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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