Kenyan Madness Abroad

Will this turn out to be the elusive outlet for me to unleash my creative genius on an unsuspecting world? Or is it destined to be nothing more than a hi-tech pen and pad chronicling the ramblings of a delusional mind? You be the judge ... Just so ya know there's a disclaimer: This blog contains strong language and some adult situations. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Cultural, expressive, thoughtful dude. It's not all good though coz I am also an internet addict, and a sometime stalker too. But I am happy to say I am in therapy for the internet thing :)

Wednesday, February 14

International Swiping

There is a job hundreds if not thousands of Kenyans fall into when they come to the States. It is a job that you will rarely find Americans themselves doing. It is physical, tedious, back-breaking, and has long hours. And thats just for starters. Its called home health aide or CNA. Basically it consists of taking care of the elderly, sick, or mentally challenged. You feed them, make their beds, take them shopping, and even clean them up. For this reason some call it International Swiping. The 'International' comes from the fact that only foreigners do it and the 'Swiping' comes from the act of cleaning their rear ends; it is similar to the motion made when swiping a credit card.

Unbeknownst to me, my uncle and his wife worked in one of these homes. When I first landed here, he told me not to worry about employment and that he has a job for me. I assumed he worked a regular 9-5 job at an office and I tried to inquire what exactly I would be doing there. His response was curt; "Stop asking me a lot of questions! You just come - when you get here you will know". Hmmm. Anyway, the weekend before I was to start, I went shopping at Men's Warehouse for a suit for the interview. I wanted to look my best and make a good impression at my uncle's place of work. Would I be balancing the books? Or perhaps doing data entry? Boy, was I in for a surprise.

I arrived at the place wearing my brand new suit and carrying a briefcase with my resume and a sandwich inside, and my aunt met me at the door. "BK, kwanini umevaa suti, toa haraka na uvae hizi scrubs!". She ushered me into the linen closet and waited as I took the suit off and put on what appeared to be a two-piece mechanics uniform but without sleeves. The pants were a tad bit too short and looked like the 'don't-touch-my-ankles' traos of tene. My mind was spinning as I tried to imagine what type of job this was. Maybe I would work in physical therapy?

As soon as I stepped out of the closet, a name plate was pinned to my scrubs and it said "BlackKnutz - Orderly" and I was handed a chart of rooms with "patients" that needed taking care of. "But ... but ... auntie I am not a doctor!" I protested as I was led away by my trainer for the day, another Kenyan who's name tag said "Mogaka - Orderly".

"Hurry, we have to take them out for a smoke break!" Mogaka said as we rushed into the main ward. Lo and behold, we got there to find what appeared to be a small riot going on. The room was filled with mentally challenged people fighting over 6 wheelchairs. Some were physically handicapped and missing legs while others were able-bodied. Usually the handicapped smokers were wheeled outside first for their smoke, then the rest went afterwards. The non-handicapped ones had noticed this and were now grabbing the wheelchairs and mwagaring the occupants onto the floor, then sitting in them hoping that no one would notice they had legs and that there were people with no legs squirming all over. In the pandemonium, I saw a familiar figure wrestling with one of the wheelchair snatchers - it was my uncle! In scrubs too! No wonder he did not want to tell me what type of job he did.

Mogaka shrieked "Aiya, Keitata! Inki kegendererete aiga?" and jumped into the fray leaving me standing there dumbfounded. Should I subdue one of the grabbers? Or grab one of the subdued? In my rush to put on my scrubs I had forgotten to tie my laces. I bent down to tie them but before I was done, I felt a blow to the side of my face - Twaaaaaaa! I hit the deck face forward from the impact. A pair of hands spun me around and I was now on my back looking up dazed expecting to see my attacker standing over me. There was no one there! He was on the floor next to me. It was one of the amputees that had been mwagiliwad from his wheelchair! He had seen me bend down closeby and took advantage by swinging as hard as he could and caught me with a lucky shot. Now that I was down to his level, he was attempting to give me a half nelson wrestling move. He looked very angry and was saying "I aint giving up my wheels and am finna go smoke first! That's how I roll, shawty!"

We were still tussling on the floor like this when he haribud kabisa and gave me a headbutt. Right on the nose. Wawawa, meeen it was on! I bit my lower lip (why do Kenyans do that when fighting?) and still on my back, I kicked him in his most defenceless point; the groin. Kwani? I had to defend myself. As far as I was concerned this was a street fight. Besides, I wasn't on the payroll yet. He yelped in pain "Yowwwwwwwwww! My balls! My balls!". My uncle now emerged from the mêlée, lifted the dude with flailing arms and leg stumps and placed him on a chair. "Ahh, BK umefika? Karibu kazi!" and offered me his hand. I got up and straightened out my now-wrinkled scrubs. I was ready to say to hell with this job and leave but only after I had landed a final flying kick to the chest of the handicapped beshte as he sat on the chair massaging his wounded loins. Before I could tell Mogaka to hold my watch so that I could size up my opponent one more time, my uncle said the magic words; "Utafanya double leo, sindiyo?" A quick calculation made me realize that after working the double shift of 16 hours, with the money earned I would be able to pay off the suit. Salala! I did those doubles for four years six months.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROTFLOL!!!!!!! jama ur too funny. am still pushing those doubles

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Read the whole blog in one sitting at the office while holding in the laughter. I can especially relate since I epuka'ed CNA by the skin on my meenos - even went in for the Red Cross training and all but was not willing to part with the $110 that it cost.

Thank God for small mercies.

1:52 PM  
Blogger 3N said...

another funny storo. but 4 years is too long for a CNA jobo.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Started with latest post 'Dubai Debacles' and working my way through the archives. TOOOO FUNNNY!!!

3:43 AM  
Blogger Mwangi said...

From one member of the nursing fam to the other....pole bwana. I have been doing the job two years na sijaona maajabu kama hizo.

10:11 AM  
OpenID qilma said...

wa wa, I actually have tears in my eyes, iv laughed so hard!! Great post, great post..

9:51 PM  
OpenID qilma said...

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! On the floor rolling with laughter. Seriously. Haiya. I work in a hospital. And Iv seen some crazy things. Lakin eyyyyy nt wat uv described hia. LOL!!!!

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bwahahaahahaha...help

4:00 AM  

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