How I Joined The Military Part V – Introduction to College

Army, Conflict, Weapon, War, Gun, Battle, Soldier.
In my entire life (up to that point that is) I had never seen such chaos within order. As much as there was order, chaos was everywhere… Complex, I know. Here is the thing. Over 3000 Kenyans of different origin, some tagging heavy suitcases, others with metallic boxes, others with just a paper bag and others all fancy with their blings and all. Then the uniformed soldiers moving from one end to another shouting various clean and unclean words to the confused recruits. I was lucky I had done my research and all I had was a simple bag. Strapped to my shoulders. I did not need to remove it since it was comfortable enough no matter what position I was in. Unlike during the recruitment day where I had a bottle of water with glucose, this time I was alone. The situation was worse. I was to sit on the hard tarmac till I don’t know when.
In my bag, I had a green towel (I have it to this day. It should tell you it’s story from bushes to jails), I had a tub of Vaseline, and Nivea For Men. I also had a new toothbrush, Toothpaste, 3 bars of Fa soap, a bar soap, three extra pairs of boxers, a face towel, the track trouser I had been training with before the recruitment and what else… an envelope containing my birth certificate, my Form four certificate and my calling letter. I also had a pen and a notebook. I used the lotion for like two or three days then realized I am using it at the wrong time… I needed this after the training on the final days so that I would make sure my skin looked smooth like someone who was in a fattening camp and not a torture chamber. I know you are wondering where my shaving kit was? I did not have a beard back then. It is the best thing that can happen to a recruit – No beard. I will explain later.
The military gives you everything. It starts from the point where they take your National ID. You are the property of the government. A very important person. So, I had this in mind when I was packing. However, some unaware fellows (Sorry comrades) had packed up for a 9-month stay. You can imagine the lot of clothes, the toiletries and etc… Others even had blankets and a metallic box. You can imagine them dragging the items all over the field. The only advantage the one who had a metallic box had over the rest is that for a moment they had sat on them before being told they were not kings to sit on boxes when others were sitting on the tarmac.
Meanwhile, I could feel the perfect tarmac road that had been made on my ass by the roughness on the ground. I used all styles possible. Sat on one cheek, exchanged after ten minutes to the other cheek, sat on the whole thigh, tried squatting, which ended up being another point of attack since you appeared taller than the rest. For an entire morning, we did not know what we were waiting for. We were just sitted there waiting. But there was quite some activity going on at one corner where it was swarming with red berets clad with reflective jackets. That is where the headquarters of the colored paper holders was. They were being rounded up as they came in.
Meanwhile, the story telling was at its peak, by now nobody gave a toot about the sun and the heat that was scorching us left right and center. Here is one conversation that was taking place in various locations on that field. A soldier or any police officer has had such in his life at one point or another… To this day, some still ask me such questions.
“Ati umetoka wapi nchi hii?” (You said you come from which part of this country?)
“Kirinyaga ni kubwa wewe, wapi?!” (Kirinyaga is big, where specifically?)
“Ohhh, Kerugoya, Kerugoya Pande Gani?” (Where specifically in Kerugoya?)
I was already getting bored by this conversation, and I started curling up to my silent mode.
“Si uongee nani!” (Talk) “Hapa hakuna kubembelezana” (We don’t sooth people here)
“Kerugoya, town.”
“Kwa hivyo nyinyi ndio vijana wa town wenye wanakuja kutusumbua hapa” (So you are the born towns who come to nag us here?)
“Apana. Mimi kwanza ni wa gichagi” (Actually I am from the village)
“Pande gani? Ukitoka na Kutus ama Ukitoka na Karatina?” (Coming from Kutus side or coming from the Karatina Side?)
I go again “Kerugoya Town”
“Ukipita Panaitwa aje,, Gaa, ga, Kasomething, panaitwa aje sasa? Hiyo jina inapotea, Kima…, Kimiu… hai nimesahau. Kagio? Apana Kagio ni town, Kagumo? Apana! Kaisomething. Hii ukitoka Na Kutus?) At this point, he is trying to guess random names of random towns he could recall along that route towards Kerugoya. Or other places in Kirinyaga which was by then a District.
So I try help him… I need him out of here quick so that I can listen to the hilarious Kikuyu accents around me telling of seriously hilarious escapades of the last two weeks before the college.
“Apana, lakini ukipita na hapo mbele?” (What about when you pass that center?)
He seemed to feel quite smart answering no to my randomized guesses. I know he wanted Gakoigo.
“Baaasssss!!!! Hapo!!” “Huko ndiko umetoka?” (There! there! is that where you are from?)
Mimi sio wa Gakoigo, mimi ni wa “Kerugoya town”
“Gakoigo unafika Karia kwanza, Sio?, alafu unapiga corner kama mbili hivi ndio ufike kwa hiyo kashule. Ni secondary ama ni primary kwanza? Hapo, alafu sasa ndio kuna kibarabara kimeteremka na kingine kimepanda na hivo.” (Gakoigo? You pass Karia First, right then you negotiate two corners or so, before getting to that school. Is it a secondary school or a primary school by the way? Then you get to that road one going downwards* and another going upwards*)
“Ati wewe unasema ni wa town? Town wapi?” (You are saying you are from town? Town where?) and then the conversation would start again…
I would not get why people want you to come from the places that they know, because I could hear this conversation from various other locations. One naming the entire towns along the Nyahururu Highway, another mentioning random centers and even shop names along the road to Wundanyi and another telling of North Eastern camel corridors. I was thinking to myself “Hawa ndio wanatuita wajuaji lakini hii ndio ujuaji sasa!!!” (They are calling us know it alls but these are the know it alls themselves) Along the course of my life, I came to realize there are two reasons for this. The next set of questions would probably be what your parents do and etc. One is for the security of your stay. If you said like me you were the son of a Passion fruit farmer, your life would be hell. But if you said you were the son of say, an Mp from Maragua, or a nephew, or son of a certain Major blah blah… This was also attached with the “Who brought you here? question” same case applies. If you mention a major bigwig in the government or military bigwig you were safe. If you are the son of some ordinary Citizens… hmmm God help you.
The other reason why the “where are you from” question is so common is as an attempt of identity or something of the sort. A sense of belonging and relation. Ie. I want to feel secure around Ben coz I know where he comes from and vice varca. Also I would also want Ben to feel he likes me because I know where he comes from. Add intellect to that as well. One wants to feel intelligent. This reminds me of my early adolescent days when I had this major crush* on a Meru classmate of mine. That was class six. I could never defeat her in class, so I figured the only way to get things to talk about was to learn of all the towns between Kerugoya and Meru. I went to the extent of memorizing all the rivers on that route. And could tell their exact locations in between the towns. (Macmillan Atlas… Thank you very much) I think I only asked one question and cannot remember what it turned into because we never discussed those rivers, and it never worked. For these soldiers it was different. After establishing where you are from and extracting vital background information, we would then pay audience to what they were doing when discovering the Gakoigos of the country and related…

These were nice stories.
Believe me.

They never ended.


How I Joined The Military Part V – Introduction to College

7 thoughts on “How I Joined The Military Part V – Introduction to College

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top