MAN IN THE HOOD: Neighbour’s child could be a matchmaker



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My neighbour’s child likes me. His name is Jayden. These names though.

What’s with Kenyan parents and fancy names nowadays? What happened to names like Kevin, David and Peter? Personally I’ll just name my kid Sylvester Wepukhulu Omusakhulu.

Are you kidding me? My son will have a name like Downey Dillinger Cumberbatch Etemesi.

A brilliant name will help him in future with girls even if he ends up having a not-so-appealing face like mine.

You can imagine him meeting a potential teenage love interest during those high school funkies when he’s 16.

My son: Hi! What’s your name?

My son: The name’s Cumberbatch, Downey Cumberbatch

Girl:Awww! Aki si uko na jina supuu. Here is our P.O Box number. Utanitumia letter when?

My son: Soon my darling….soon.

Then he’ll go back to school to write flowery letters to Flo instead of learning how to balance chemical equations. Eventually, he’ll get a C in Chemistry but who cares? He’ll become a writer too and make daddy proud. Perfect!

Back to Jayden! He really likes me.

Ever since I moved into this new place, he spends most of his time at my house. During the recent school holidays, his mother had to drag him out whenever he overstayed and he wouldn’t go without a fight. He would yell and kick. He would grab the edges of the walls as mama pulled him by the legs. And even when he was on his two feet, he would still resist walking and had to be pushed like a Probox stuck in Ruai mud.

Most of us have had an encounter with a neighbours child who loves us too much. It’s not always a problem if the child is just the type to sit there and watch your TV or play video games. But Jayden is the type that asks a million questions. I feel like his parents should be paying school fees to me instead of his school. The amount of education I have given him equates to a complete syllabus.

Jayden also has plenty of demands. “Philip nipatie juice,” he says this minute. “Philip si uniwekee movie ya animation,” he says the next minute.

All this time, I feel like lecturing him and telling him “Mimi sio wenu!” or “Look here kid, we all want various things in life. But we don’t always get what we want. Okay?”

But I don’t do that because I am too nice, especially to children.

This week, most learning institutions opened their doors to take back the stubborn children that had been causing havoc during the holidays. It was a moment of relief for adults. However, Jayden decided he was too cool for school. He refused to go.

In our days, and the days prior to that, you couldn’t pull such a stunt. Your mum would brutalise you and at the end of it all, you would look like you had been in the ring with Lennox Lewis in his heyday.

Nowadays, children are unruly and their parents just ‘talk to them.’ So Jayden’s mum tried to talk to him but he was talk-resistant. According to the mum, he just sat there chewing sausage and watching TV as the school bus picked other children. She gave up and decided to call the person that Jayden likes the most – me.

I was unceremoniously given the unpaid job of talking to Jayden and convincing him to go to school. I had no idea how to do that. If I could sing, I could just do a karaoke version of Sauti Sol’s “Soma soma vijana, masiku yazidi badilika.” Sadly, I am as poor at singing as Bahati.

I just did my best and talked to him like ‘boyz.’ I told him how sitting at home doing nothing makes you a loser bla bla bla. After ten minutes, he was wearing his uniform, ready to go to school.

Hs mum was very impressed.

“Aki wewe Philip! Si unajua hii mambo ya kuongelesha mtoto.”

“Inafaa hata tuishi na wewe tu hapa kwa hii nyumba yangu ndio Jayden atulie.”

Ahem! Are you thinking what I am thinking? They say ‘Aki Wewe’ are some of the most powerful words to come out of a Kenyan lady’s mouth. All guys in the hood know that when a lady says these words, she is falling for you.

Now, let’s do some math.  If you take “aki wewe” and add “tuishi na wewe”, what is the probability that I could be Baba Jayden in future?

And then in the near future, we can bring Cumberbatch into the mix.

The way I see it, Mama Jayden is young (only two or three years older than me), single, beautiful and beaming with a tapestry of positive emotions.

She is a joy to look at. Staring at her is like staring at an 18th century painting at the Louvre or at a million dollar auction in Copenhagen.

Mama Jayden has always been a beauty, but checking her out up close as she packed the briefly reformed Jayden’s lunch only reinforced this sweet truth. Her complexion was characterised by endless wisps of rich umber and emphasised by splashes of fine ginger.

 Her skin appeared to gleam when it captured the window’s light perfectly. She had a kind pair of snow white eyes that were trimmed by long horse-hair lashes. Her cheeks were florid and her lips were flawlessly curved, as if designed by Yahweh himself when he was in no rush, when he had no multiple tasks to complete.

Oh dear! I have become poetic. I think I am really in love.

Should I do this? Should I hook up with Mama Jayden? The real question should be….. why not? The next time you open a ‘Man In The Hood” column and see the name of the author as ‘Baba Jayden’, don’t be surprised. Don’t start saying “Who is this new guy? Bring back Etemesi.” It will still be me.

Anyway, we will see!                                                                                          


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