Kitengela is like sex


She never told me her last name, she just told me she was Kate.

Kate was my first. It happened on Christmas Eve. I was 18, she was 23. We were neighbors but the idea that I could sleep with her had never occurred to me.

Around the estate she’d stare at me until I’d look away. She was short and plump, busty, and she liked to wear shorts. Her eyes were daring as hell, like shiny lanterns of lust. I never really worked up the guts to talk to her. The school holidays were about to end and I hadn’t said a word to her, so she made the move – she gave me her number. I texted her immediately I got back into the house, we talked well into the night.

The next morning she texted and said, “Wakey wakey.”

“Hey you,” I said.

“I’m home alone. Come over.”

It was around 7 a.m. My eyes were still heavy with sleep. I quickly rolled out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and went over. I texted when I was at her place, “I’m here.”

“The door isn’t locked,” she replied.

Man oh man. I had all sorts of fantasies winding in my head. Would I find her in her room? Would she be clothed? Did she expect me to have a condom? I felt a chill in my bones and a sweet beating in my heart.

The house was deathly quiet. The floor was cold and I felt like I was staking my body into an alternate universe.

“In here.”

Her husky voice came from the bend on the corridor, the living room. The first thing I saw was the TV, showing an episode of ‘Friends’. Joey was talking to Chandler.

Kate was on the couch behind the door, feet up, in shorts and a blue t-shirt. The curtains were drawn. I felt light headed as I sat down.

“Are you shy?” she asked, a sly smile reaching her dimpled cheeks.

I chuckled. We talked about ‘Friends’ for a while.

“Who’s your favorite character?”

“Yeah, Chandler is hilarious.”

“Eh, you like Rachel more than Monica?”

I moved in for a kiss, and she swallowed up my lips. It was a bad kiss, really. Her lips were too wide, but I figured she was the one to decide how the kiss would go. I helped her out of her clothes, she was still wearing that fearless smile. She lay on her back, pulled down my pants, and reached into my underwear. Her grip was so tight I almost cried out.

I thought: Was a hand job supposed to this painful?

What if she was one of those sexual predators who lure young boys then use them to carry out dubious experiments?

What if she tries to stick a finger back there?

Does she want me to give her a baby?

As I was taking off my shirt she held my hand and said, “Leave it on.”

Gosh! What had I walked myself into? She guided me through the entire process, especially after I’d fumbled around for a bit, wondering, where the hell do I put this thing? After a while her smile disappeared and settled into a mild nonchalance. She was getting disappointed. I wasn’t making any headway. So she finally gave in and said, “I have to go.”

None of us liked it.

It was over before it began. Nothing gave. Nothing came.

She stood up and walked out of the living room. A wave of fat rippled along her bare thighs. She left me in the silence of my own self-awareness, the gushing of a dented ego and the voice of Chandler Bing. I was half naked, half disappointed. Fully stunned.

She came back wrapped in a white towel, and stood by the door, politely asking me to leave. I pulled on my pants and did as instructed.

But on my way home I kept thinking, Is that what all the noise was about?

I never heard from her again.


Kitengela is like sex – it’s terrible the first time.

You’ll get lost. You’ll lose your footing over the rough terrain. You’ll argue with tuktuk drivers. Dust will blow into your eyes, and when you stop to itch you’ll get run over by a speedy bodaboda.

Don’t worry. Trust the process.

For all its faults, though, you’ll find fresh pineapples, and fish, and vodka, and every damn thing you’ll ever need to survive in Kitengela. You’ll also see some loafers laid out at the roadside, where the trader will bend the shoes a few times to assure you of the quality.“1,800 bei ya kuongea,” he’ll tell you.

Oh, and don’t look at the shoe too long, lest you get hit by another bodaboda.

Kitengala also has Acacia, the shopping jewel.

Acacia knows Kitengela. It sits in the middle of the town, a few meters away from the movie shop. It’s not really a supermarket. It’s more like a one-storey hall with shelves in it. Acacia looks like it’s on its death bed.

Customer numbers have fallen. People leave their cars at Acacia when they want to avoid parking fees. The fruit vendor outside Acacia sells more of his wares than ever before. Acacia is an oasis of hopelessness.

But that’s just Acacia. Something else is stirring in Kitengela.

You can feel it in the steady afternoon foot traffic. You can see it in the narrow dusty paths, you can hear it in the rhythmic drumming of hammer and nail, coming from the hardware shops. And in the melee of shoe-shiners and newspaper vendors.

You can feel it in the hot wind, and the road-side drilling, and the hooting bodabodas.

Everyone has a spring on their step. Everyone’s smiling; even the bouncer at Club 411 who refuses to be bribed has a chummy grin. The Sunday crusades are on full blast, “Nimeona mabadiliko. Halleluiah watu wa Kitengela.”

Apparently the County government says plans are underway to decongest the town. A 500m stretch of road will be built to act as a bypass. They will also create 200 more parking spots. They say all these projects will cost about 200 million.


Remember when they created a new refurbished bus stage? When they moved all the attention away from Kobil? They say that stage cost 100 million. That’s the price of some brick flooring and mabati shades with metal bars for seats.

I’ve been to the stage lots of times. It’s loud and confusing. PSVs huddle together. Touts haggle, and shout, and fist fight. A visitor might think Kitengela is a bloody zoo. And if you told them what the stage cost they’ll laugh and be on the next bus out of town.

Anyway, the buzz everyone is feeling isn’t coming from the government’s plan or a politician’s promise. The buzz is from the upcoming mall at the centre of town.

Yup. Kitengela will soon have a mall.

A mall with menacing glass walls that climb into the sky. A mall that will dwarf every other building in town. Once complete the mall will be the central attraction. Forget Kobil.

Evenings, the sun will splash twilight on the mall’s face. The neon lights will come on, and the night shoppers will crawl in, and the tiled walkways will be spotless as always. The parking space will be one vast stretch of cobbles. Middle-class heaven.

But there’s one person who isn’t too particular about the mall. And that’s the owner of Acacia Supermarket.

The mall will occupy the space right next to Acacia, casting a dark economic shadow on the tiny building. And perhaps it’s good riddance. Because I’ve also been to Acacia a few times, and I don’t think they’d be the first to boast of variety.

You only go to Acacia when you need a bottle of soda, or a padlock, or some spicy chevda. Things like detergent or condoms or Elastoplasts; basically anything you’d need in an emergency – they probably don’t stock it. They don’t even have a liquor section, for chrissakes. Acacia’s policy is: You need it, we don’t got it.

The staff is always gloomy. The girl at the POS would rather stare into the Bar Code light than return a hello. Acacia is like the hub of boredom. But I wouldn’t blame them, though. I’d be bored too if I had to work with the madness of Kitengela on my back.

I feel sorry for Acacia. I really do. Because it’s there, just four years ago, that I had my first taste of Monster Energy.

I was a newcomer to the town. I wanted to see what Kitengela had to offer, my first time touring on foot. And I couldn’t breathe.

Everything had dust in it. The air tasted like dry earth. The beauty of nice open skies was smudged with floating specks of dust. My sweat-soaked shirt clung onto my skin. Everyone was on fast forward. Twice I almost got knocked down by a bodaboda. The pavements were crowded, and I had a foreboding sense of contracting a lung disease. Boy was it dusty.

I hoped I’d see some girls – you know, sampling the cuisine – but I quickly realized I wouldn’t, because there was so much dust in my eyes I couldn’t see a thing. The dust blotted out the town’s glory, if there ever was one.

Then I chanced upon Acacia Supermarket. Its lights burned brighter in those days. The counters had their backs to me, and a cool breeze was blowing under its awning. The store was a nice respite from the weather-beaten town.

I walked in looking for some refreshment. And there I found a tall black can of Monster Energy. My first time in Kitengela has since been synonymous to Monster Energy.

Just like how ‘Friends’ – the sitcom from the 90s – has always been synonymous with Kate.

So next time you drive down to Kitengela for nyama choma, pay Acacia Supermarket a visit. Buy a padlock. Ask for condoms. Say hello to the staff. Grab a can of Monster Energy.

Savor that little piece of Kitengela, before the big bad mall comes and wipes it away.
Mike blogs at www.mikemuthaka.com

Some bird watching
Sankale’s minivan

Comments (3)

  1. Kelly

    Lovely piece. Let’s save acacia while it still can be saved.

    • Mike

      Thanks, Kelly. Let’s hold a requiem mass when the mall opens, ey?

  2. Raygak

    They have a Liquor section Nowadays,And Lovely Staff.

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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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