Gate pass


Once in a while my school does a round of maintenance; door handles are fixed, walls are repainted, bulbs replaced, wonky desks are bolted tighter, the cafeteria menu gets a new font. The people who do these jobs are mostly unseen.

During graduation they’re mentioned at the Vote of Thanks, aptly termed as “Support Staff”, the people who work tirelessly in the “smooth running” of the institution.

This semester there are new faces at the gates, which is a bummer because there was one particular lady who always said hello to me with a smile like the sun. I often went to class with a spring in my step just because of her smile. I’ll miss her terribly.

The guards stand sentry at the front and back entrance, five a piece. These ones are thorough. They have unsmiling eyes. They dip a hand inside your bag and rummage around for the bomb you’ve brought to class. They reek of power. This sem we get checked even when leaving school, just in case someone tries to steal a mouse from the comp lab.

Usually, though, I have no problem with security checks. The world is full of burglars and terrorists. But the trouble is that, school, naturally, makes me anxious.

School has always made me anxious. If it wasn’t the intense canings, it was the fear of juvenile offences, like not having your diary signed, or kissing a girl, or missing the pass mark by two points, which would lead to even more caning.

I thought by campus my inhibitions about school would have dissipated. But all they’ve done is trickle down to some nail-biting uneasiness. I still get a tight knot in my tummy each time I enter school. The kind of knot that would make a sailor proud. And the only way to loosen the knot is to take a dump.

I don’t even need laxatives when I’m constipated. I just go to school. My bowels move like greased lightning when I’m in school.

I take a dump every Monday morning, needless to say. My stomach starts rambling immediately the gate comes into view. I bet people see me rushing to school and think I’m the most scholarly chap in Daystar. But the truth is that I have a war raging in my belly, and a cold chest, and a clenched prostate –fingers crossed, hoping the frisky watchman hasn’t arrived yet.

When we re-opened school in August I almost shit my pants because the wochi kept running the metal detector all over my crotch. He had big imploring eyes and meaty hands.

“Hiyo ni nini?” he asked, after detecting the coins in my pocket.

“Coins,” I said.

He didn’t believe me. The bugger kept at it; looking inside my bag, patting my sides, peering under my arm pits for the gun holster. Meanwhile a tremor is tearing through my gut. I’m screaming bloody murder. I have a whole hurricane in my tummy. Hurricane Michael. Hehe.

Finally, getting impatient, I said, “Sina bunduki, boss. Nimekuja kusoma.”

He chuckled under his breath and let me through. It was only the first day. I thought the guards would ease up after a few weeks on the job. Heck, I could even make a new friend. But it’s been two months, and the guards are still rigid. A girl with a short dress will get turned away faster than you can say the school motto. (I don’t know it, either). A bottle of vodka will get you a swift suspension. And a bunch of coins will take so long to verify that you’ll be happy to poop on yourself.

Anyway, after the security check I go up to the fifth floor. The washroom at the end of the hall is rarely occupied. It’s airy and high ceilinged. You could smoke some pot in there. But don’t let Support Staff catch you, else you’ll be brought to the authorities, and a framed photo will be posted at each gate, captioned: NOT ADMISSIBLE.

I don’t know how everybody else shits at school, but mine has ritualistic undertones, a step by step process that’s served me since the first day of campo. Each step serves a greater meaning, without breaking the order.

It starts by hanging my bag on the door hook.

I take off my sweater, lest the smell of toilet clings on to the fabric. Or I get too sweaty.

I cut a piece of tissue and wipe the ceramic bowl, because germs. (Are there people who just sit?)

I take off my phone before lowering my pants. Because reading while shitting is simply orgasmic.  Sometimes I toy with the idea of bringing a scented candle.

Then I proceed as nature ordered. Answer the call. Open the gates. Let her rip. Byelo. Denki. OK, you get the point.

Wipe from front to back. Check tissue for any anomalies. Flush.

By the time I’m done my legs have turned into feathers. My air vents have cleared up, and the tightness around my waist has dimmed. I feel fresh as a breeze. I get post-poop clarity. My muscles relax, and my thoughts can move to other pressing matters like the class assignment, or how to get my hands on a pair of Tarrus Riley concert tickets.

Last week my morning shit didn’t work. I was still queasy while lathering my hands at the sink.

In less than an hour the lec would call out my name, and I would give a presentation on ‘The Role of Technology and Money in Contemporary Media Industries’.

The hand wash smelled like Calpol syrup, and it made me nauseas.  It’s like I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs.

Hadn’t I shat everything? (Hehe, such a horrid word, that. Shat. See that?)

Truth is, though, I struggle to keep calm during class presentations. I walk to the front too casually, doing my best to mask my racked nerves. The instant I open my mouth my leg starts twitching, and everything I planned to say gets muddled up in a pool of ‘Aahs’ and ‘Ohms’, only made worse by my comrades’ stares.


My class is on second floor. I figured I’d take the stairs up, to walk off the jitters. I dried my hands with my jeans as I walked out.

My footfalls echoed around the stairwell. I hoped I wouldn’t run into someone I know, lest I be forced to stop and make chitchat. I took deep breaths, giving myself a pep talk.

“Kwani how bad could it be?”

“They won’t eat me.”

“You got this, man. You’re Hurricane Michael.”

I stopped atop the last set of stairs. I could see my class from there. I could see the girl I don’t like going inside (vain as hell). My feet were still cold. There was a window behind me overlooking Ngong’ Road and Nairobi Baptist. I slid open the window and leaned my elbows on the frame. Crisp morning air filled my lungs.

Directly below this window is an iron-roofed structure where students shoot pool. I don’t take much stock in pool. But today the room is packed with desks and chairs, an alloy of wood and metal, some upside down, leg chairs jutting out like lances in the Battle of Black Water Bay.

Then I see it. A green Black Mamba bicycle, half-canopied by the iron roof. I imagined the bicycle belonged to one of the watchmen.

The thing looks like an antique, like it belongs at National Archives, stored in a glass cage devoid of any oxygen. The handlebars have smooth curves, but its metal carrier looks hard and uncomfortable. The type that can take the edge off.

Probably better than taking a poop.
Follow Mike on Instagram: mikemuthaka

A Man and his Hat
Love is a genre

Comments (2)

  1. Joy Ruguru

    I don’t even need laxatives when I’m constipated. I just go to school.
    Haha Mike

    • Mike

      Hey Joy,

      Laxatives are a scam, sindio?
      School works better than eating more fibre, for chrissake.

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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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