The rotting dhania, coriander, sat gloomily on top of the small fridge. It had been a sweet green color just days back in Mombasa when we bought it at Nakumatt. But that was then. Now, thanks to a dead fridge when I arrived back in Lamu from Mombasa, it was way past its prime and I reluctantly tossed it into the improvised polythene waste bin that was next to the sink.
The dishes gazed back at me, dirty and weary. I had just taken a shower, so unlike the dirty dishes, I was clean. But like them, I was weary after a phone interview with the best radio station in Europe. I was their Kenyan correspondent and from time to time, I fielded phone interviews from them about the latest significant news in Kenya.
On this particular day, I had been rather lengthy in my answers about the MPs pay dispute and had to be cut mid-sentence. Ouch!
Another ouch was awaiting me at the kitchen sink as my dish-washing venture came face to face with utensils that stubbornly resisted my attempts to wash them. One of them, a small saucer, bore the remnants of candle. They clung with determination on the saucer. Another one, a sufuria, cooking pan, bore the remnants of ugali. I had forgotten to soak it in water so that the ugali coating could be softened.
Fifteen minutes later, the kitchen was spanking clean, thanks to my concerted efforts. I gazed at the clean sink, clean utensils, clean floor and smiled triumphantly. Got ya! I said loudly as if it had been the third world war. What is it about men that makes us treat almost every venture as a war or competition?
Though the kitchen was clean, the living room and five bedrooms of the house were something else. I have names for all the bedrooms, but that’s a story for another day. For today, let’s just say that these bedrooms have lives and personalities of their own. Let me just give you a peek into these oh-la-la bedrooms.
There are two bedrooms downstairs and one of them was converted into our office. It has seen a lot of banter over the last year as computer keyboards clicked over the latest office gossip and strategy sessions. As leader, I was probably the focus of most of the office gossip and not a participant. But I did partake in the strategy sessions that saw us laying down ambitious strategies to transform Lamu SMEs into the next big companies of Africa.
Once during a strategy session, I put on my sober face, looked at my four lady colleagues directly in the eye and said without blinking, 'this small team here is going to change Lamu!' I paused, and in the silence, sighed deeply as I folded my hands in front of me as if in prayer.
'This small team,' I repeated in a voice so low that they instinctively leaned forward, 'is going to change Lamu!'