Chapati, Kumanyoko,

Recently (like two months or so ago), after a day of usual’s, I figured I was too hungry to attend class in my state. I leave the house with a stomach loaded with Ugali or something heavier – like Githeri. On ordinary days, this serves me well but sips of glucose-laced water support this act. Then I can handle the rest of the day until I am back at home. On those other days (gooood days), I live the life most live. Breakfast, lunch, supper.

I could not handle the hunger and distraction. The morning meal days’ work because the day is spent either seated or doing less strenuous work. That day I was too tired and I was sure I would not concentrate in class because of the hunger. Now, here is what goes on in the mind of my kind at this point. With the money in hand, I was debating between buying apples just outside Tuskys Beba Beba and share these with my friends. Sharing something even as small the kdf and Stoney can be quite satisfying even when it serves two. Kdf is slang for that giant ndazidonut. Kikaimati – Bonge la jikaimati as my coastal friends would call it. At some point, I thought it meant Ki-Donut-Fangi It is not hard enough to be called a “Ngumu” and it is not decent enough to be called a donut. It does not even look like a donut. It is almost cuboid shaped.  By the time I made the apple decision, I was already crossing Moi Avenue. I eliminated this idea because something categorized it under the greed category. I got to the movie shop and here I contemplated the idea of ordering from a nearby hotel like the one we usually did on good days. For 120/- you can have Chicken, Ugali & Managu & a bowl of soup. Yes! Nairobi’s CBD. Real chicken. This can be shared by 3 and you still manage to doze off – Like someone who ate it all by himself. By this time, the ladies who deliver homemade food had already depleted their day’s supply. Their meals cost 100/- They deliver. Then when I got there, that drive just flowed away. I moved on and then I remembered that chipo za 30/- area on Odeon. I don’t even know for sure if it exists, but I know there is a place that sells very pocket friendly fries – I only hear of it, but I never tried it out. Dry French Fries are very good for a dry January day by the way. This is because before you are done with half the ‘wrap’ you are already bored and this is enough to play tricks on your mind that you are full – No salad, No tomato sauce. However, I still needed a healthy snack.

These parameters were hard to process on a hungry, distracted, and dehydrated brain. There is a very thin line between hunger and greed. Add sanity to that equation and you will buy a bottle of water and wonder a few minutes later, “What did I just do!!!” I had water with me but never had the opportunity to drink it. I am still walking to class now with my bag getting heavier every moment and I see another very fine restaurant to my right as I cross another street. At this point, depending on the sanity level remaining, you either see expensive restaurants, or restaurants that seem expensive, or you don’t see any at all. When you get those you can afford, you realize what you can afford is not on the menu because… Exactly!!! Others got to it before you! The thought of Pizza comes to mind. I was now wondering if I could finish two medium pizzas alone. Before that thought could cross the street, a bell rang in my mind and it clicked pizza is for special occasions & special people – I should write why Pizza is special. I can count the times I have had pizza my whole life. They are not 10. The One treated me to a Pizza date the other day and it has not left my mind to this day. This is possibly the reason why there was a lingering memory of pizza that would not just leave my mind. We had two, it was another of those days where the last meal was taken at 6.45 am. The speed at which we drowned those two pizzas was just amazing. Back to my present. I cannot tell if I can finish two pizzas. If only I can afford one at this time. I am not even near where these pizzas are available on offer. This is lust now! Intestinal Lust. So where do I go for my lunch? I decided I would do tea and sweet potatoes. It came as a thought when it hit me that one day as I was leaving my night watch, I passed by some restaurant whose ngwaci (Sweet Potatoes) were to live for. I decided this would be the place that I would have my snack.

By this time, I am so absent-minded; cars, & bikes are almost hitting me. In my state, I never noticed crossing to the sides of town that cost a fortune to settle for a simple snack. Pardon my poverty mentality, irrationality was streaming live. I settled into the restaurant. It is a common place for me. So it was not the lack of choice entirely that got me to that location. They have the best traditional foods. I was already tuned to having a snack. The usual buzz of the restaurant brings back a part of me. I walked calmly like someone who did not need to eat anything – like I was there to drop a parcel. I was still waiting for my brain’s rpm to get back to cruising level. This was the worst part of the experience. It is very easy to make a stupid decision. At times like this, I avoid picking the menu because it would blur my thought process even more trying to play consultant with my pocket. I was torn between Mandazi & Ngwaci. I almost picked the Mandazi because somehow wheat products work well for me as a comforter. So I ordered what was on my mind. The Ngwaci & Tea. They made for a great meal until the receipt came… Which was also good punishment for not acting like I should – how I was taught. Like enter a restaurant believing you can pay for what you want – obvious. Two it is bad manners to peep at the receipt until you are ready to leave.

That is beneficial in two ways. Somehow the mind will play games on you and will try to make you think in the negative. Like you wasted that amount of money. Should have eaten a better meal… Seriously, I should have ordered a calabash of uji. Then the old man opposite started complaining. I had not even noticed him. He was confident with his order. Too confident. Chai and Mandazi. I am too judgmental for this life I think. And to an extent I think this time I was right. I think as a restaurant, you are in malpractice in the CDB if your Mandazi is solid <> heavy. You know, it must have a perfect bulge where it matters… full of – air. Yes. Or else the hotel association will sue you for tarnishing their good name. See, my ngwaci and tea had not been as satisfactory as I had anticipated and now I was internally complaining. But this man had given me an easy transition. I moved on swiftly. He argued that he had been cheated and that the mandazi was “Full of air”. Which was true. It was also the perfect sign that he was from the village. Village mandazis are flat and do not have air gaps as deceptive as the Nairobi ones. So when a village person sees the display in these hotels… Their hearts jump with joy. It is a simple equation really… “If mandazi back at home are as solid as they come when that flat, how about these ones slightly brighter and very big as well?” I mean even Kumanyoko (800 Gms bread) was the capital bread of Kenya – before it got devolved as well. Why not this Kimandazi on the display?  = “Niletee kile kimandazi na chai” – (Bring me that big one and a cup of tea.) I thought the drama would get more severe when he lifted the mandazi, ‘Air pocket’ well exposed after he bit off the end and started rotating it for everyone in the hotel to see. Asking “Nini hii sasa?” At this point, I am acting like an innocent bystander because; this was the perfect, mistaken son – daddy moment. I was not hungry any more. I quickly paid my bill and walked out in the direction of school before someone was irritated enough to shout “Ambia mzee anyamaze,mandazi ya tao hukuwa hivo!”.

I was still tormented though. I was wondering to myself, if I was real, or I was genuinely dissatisfied. Was I developing that poverty mentality that I have been trying to fight? Because that habit of checking the receipt and trying to get satisfied by thinking ‘this meal was worth it!’ Maybe, I should just work harder to afford ‘more food that is satisfying’ or ‘food that is more satisfying’. Maybe it was my unwise decision to grab something where I should not have grabbed it. Appreciating seasons is also good. Seasons for vibandas, and seasons for hot towels and fountains. Frankly though, I should just have bought biscuits (sustained biting until home time) and waited to get home and cook a solid meal. – The kind you eat, burp and black out on the spot.

Is there something that has not been discovered or created in this world really!😨 NKT! For some 20 or so minutes, I am thinking of that catchy title to give this article😏 (My writing skills & creativity have probably dropped to class 6 levels while I was busy doing other things with my fingers)… I start with “H.anger Games” something tell me this will sway people to aviation because… well pilot! So I decide to make that “H~anger Games” still wont confuse people enough… I wanted the assassins to wonder how a simple word like Hunger can be so mispelt eh… Then they can crucify me after they get back to office Wifi on Tue. There are better typos to troll in there… Then I get that light bulb moment!!! AHA!!!! 💪Hangry!!! But I write it as “Hangry*” so that the assassins may keep off. But then I decide to google* that term, and BAM! It is on Merriam-Webster… Sijui nini nini “…clever portmanteau… of hungry and angry…” = Irritability due to hunger. Okay!!!… Let me go find out what Portmanteau is then. But Hangry remains the title!

I wanted to end it there 👆. Then I decided to do some more research…

So can Merriam-Webster add this? It would look great on that page and eliminate those other ugly definitions of this word that made my childhood days.

The word ‘Kumanyoko‘ is a concise term that described a very large bread. Kumanyoko is a clever portmanteau of Kuma (Kikuyu word meaning ‘from’) and New York, a noun that describes a weird and strange bread they believed probably came from New York (very far) rarely seen in parts of the countryside. 

What’s ‘Kumanyoko’? | Merriam-Webster



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