Only At Corner

I’ve written about my Kenyan family, but rarely about my Kenyan neighborhood: Dagoretti Corner. I currently reside in Cu Cu’s house (pronounced Sho Sho and Kikuyu for grandmother) with Bridget, her cousin Mercy and any other female volunteers who stop on through. George and male volunteers (there are none now, how I miss the 2006 days of Real World Third World!) live in a different house on the same property. Several other small homes are in the compound and are rented out to various families with complete “how are you, how are you” choruses. Whenever I tell Kenyans that I live at “Corner” I get a shocked look in return. The area, especially after dark, is not safe. Mom, relax, George’s property is very safe at all times of day what with two Maasai warriors protecting each gate and George’s trusty guard dogs, Skippy and Jack (may Jimmy rest in peace). During my two stays at George’s house, several suspect things have taken place in the area: shootings, car jackings, fires, scary men with machetes standing on the corner… but, until yesterday, I was never a victim of Corner.

SCENE

Dagoretti Corner, morning, Kenyans busy walking to work. Jenn and Tami walk amongst them down Wanyee Road. As the wazungu walk, they notice a crazy lady yelling at everyone who walks by.

CRAZY LADY
(points to her head)
It’s empty! Empty! Nothing inside!
(slaps the legs of a small boy walking to school)
Empty! Stupid!
(spots the wazungu)

JENN
(under her breath to Tami)
Just keep walking…

CRAZY LADY
Wewe! Mzungu!
(walks backwards, facing Jenn, arms outstreatched)
Mzungu! Mzungu! I march with you.
(steps aside, allowing Jenn to pass)
Ya!
(delivers a harsh, calculated blow to the back of Jenn’s head)

Jenn gasps, clutches the back of her head and looks back to make sure Tami is safe. Kenyans stop in their tracks and gasp, not knowing whether to laugh at the mzungu beating or ignore it. Jenn and Tami keep walking.

DAGORETTI MAN
Tsk, tsk, tsk. That woman is CRAZY!

JENN
Yeah, I noticed.

SCENE

Once the headache and shock subsided, this story became a source of amusement for anyone who would listen. Irene, especially got a real kick out of it. Knowing what I know about Corner, I’m just glad that’s all she did – it could have been so much worse!

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