When Being Millennial Gets Tough

I recently watched a reality show about a female musician whose life seemed perfect – she’s a star on the Gram, she’s beautiful, her body is banging and most of all, she’s been trending on the ‘black girl power’ train.

But a sneak peek into a tough conversation she had with her mother over pouring tears and flying Gucci handbags made me stop and think a little more about my own life, and life generally as a millennial.

Amara La Negra, black Latina superstar was telling her mother that she’s tired of faking a life that she doesn’t have to the public eye.

From an outsider’s perspective, she’s got it all goooooing. I mean heck, she even had her millionaire friend fighting for her. Everybody wants to jump on the ALN (Amara La Negra) bandwagon. But she’s unfortunately not looking for passengers.

That’s cos she can only handle one passenger at a time, and the only one she can bear to carry is herself.

“Your cup runneth over. What comes out of the cup is for others… What’s in the cup is for you… Just don’t confuse the two.” – Iyanla Vanzant.

Watching ALN cry lit a bulb in my mind. I literally experienced an ‘Aha!’ moment,  that last year was a peer-pressure loaded one for me.  I was so hell bent on flowing with the wave and FOMO and looking cool, that I failed to realize that I was spending too much money doing what all millennials do: hang out with the same people and burn otherwise savable-money on the same things.

It’s no lie that we’re a microwave generation.

We covet things instantly and are unwilling to take time to work on what we really want. We want the money. And some more. And more of that.

It doesn’t help that the craze is everywhere; skinny girls desire to be thick and thick girls fancy cellulite free skinny-girl-skin. Young boys want big money and cars and older men crave the youthfulness that young guys detest.

Going through your quarter-life crisis makes you realize that shit has hit the fan.

Oh! You guys are going for pizza? Oh yeah, lemme tag along!

Or Oh, I just happened to be in your hood, si you chomoka I derail you a bit we go for one-two rounds?

The madness of going-with-the-flow needs to be halted. Until after you get your life in order: finances, goals, achievements, the whole lot. Thinking past immediate desires isn’t just wise, it’s vision.

Now you have bills that you MUST pay; dreams that you MUST achieve, people that you MUST leave in the past; relationships that MUST be dealt with; plans that MUST be cancelled; work that MUST be delivered.

There are no more excuses to being sloppy.

You’ll also realize that friendships are more glamorized than they should, and instead of feeling guilty that you’ve been accused of being SELFISH with your time, you realize that you become SELF-FULL. You prefer spending that same time helping your mum do her grocery shopping than turn up with your friends; or become strong enough to end that relationship you had hoped was the one, but the red flags were waving too high up.

You’ll also never get it right. And that’s perfectly fine. What you need to do, is to just get started.

Kuteseka ni kwa muda tu.

For now;  keep your head high and focus on keeping the MAIN THING; the MAIN THING.

Why ‘Muthoni Drummer Queen’ is Kenya’s Very Own ‘Mona Scott Young’

If you’ve never heard of ‘Mona Scott Young’, I assure you that you’ve probably come across some of the personalities she’s made famous globally in the reality TV and music world.

Mona Scott Young

Renowned musicians like Remy Ma, Joseline Hernandez, Ray J, and even break-out star Cardi-B are who they are today because of Mona Scott Young. Well not to say ‘she made them’ per say, but they accredit a major chunk of their fame to lady Mona, Creator and Executive Director of the hit TV Reality franchise, ‘Love & Hip Hop’. So successful have her shows been, with 4 franchises in Atlanta, New York, Hollywood and recently in Miami, that reality TV has forever been changed.

We’ve had similar reality spin-off shows trying to imitate what ‘Love & Hip Hop’ (#LHH) has done, but we all know there can only be one OG in the game.

Ask Khalighraph. He’s bound to let you know.

Back to Kenya.

Muthoni Drummer Queen, also known as MDQ has created a similar force in our music scene. She’s the founder of ‘Blankets & Wine’, a live concert that showcases all the new and hype artists in Kenya and has evolved over the years, to host shows in Uganda and Rwanda as well.

MDQ with artists like Blinky Bill & Mayonde

In similarity to #LHH, Blankets & Wine is a platform for musicians, both upcoming and seasoned. Muthoni has provided a plinth where artists such as Dela, Fena and Mayonde rose to fame while inviting international musicians to grace her event.

Nigerian artist Niniola headlines B&W 2017

Both women are an important factor to the music scene and might have even made history, by creating something that no-one had ever thought of, and yet manage to stand still even in the era of imitation. So powerful is the B&W Brand that it should be made a part of Kenya’s historic heritage. If we celebrate music and culture from our past; then we should celebrate the music and culture of our present in similar fashion.

B&W stands as a safe haven for creatives and lovers of music alike to network, express themselves, purchase creative merchandize as well as enjoy entertainment from a line-up of great artists and Djs, all the while grabbing treats to a variety of food and drink.

They don’t call Muthoni a Queen for nothing.

Heck, she envisioned her greatness when no-one else believed in it. Or even saw it coming. Maybe she should now think of producing a reality TV show for musicians and go the Mona-way?

It could be a great food for thought!

Check out her latest track, ‘Suzie Noma’, off the album, ‘SHE’.


(Images c/o: https://www.blanketsandwine.com/ )


Roadtrips to Naivasha

You’ll get a text from your friend asking you to send her Kshs 3,500 as your contribution to her birthday trip to Naivasha.

Then you’ll ponder on whether you really want to go, only because just a few months ago, 2 to be exact, you had travelled to the same house with the same crew to do the same thing.

But FOMO is for losers, so you’ll alter your weekend plans to head to Naivasha with the crew. You’re happy that contribution money is less than last time. Which could only mean one thing: more guys have been invited.

As usual, departure time is postponed by 6 hours and you end up leaving Nairobi at 4pm.

Designated drivers aren’t allowed to drink, so your driver will have to suck it up and listen to all your stupor conversations en-route.

Because of that, you won’t even remember the actual trip. Neither will you recall dancing at Delamere at 6pm with your BFF cos ya’ll were too turnt. It doesn’t matter. You’re young, wild and free, you reckon.

The gang gets to the Great Rift Valley Lodge. You came in 5 separate cars. Your boy was driving his Vits and had caught mad feelings cos no chick wanted to get into his car, allegedly. He-he. Another chick came with her new mzunye boyfriend. No one rode with them either, only cos they would have literally been third-wheeling. The rest of you packed yourselves like salty sardines into the other 3 cars, and a Naiva night it was.

As with previous road trips, the chicks strutted to the kitchen to cook and the guys well, you’re not sure where they were since you were also in the kitchen making nyama, despite your PC feminist antennas quipping high.

But that’s a storo for another day.

The food was delish, to say the least; pasta, both fried and baked chicken, your BEER nyama (yes, you cooked with someone’s beer), pilau, mash potatoes and even greens.

Then came the speeches. But you got so hammered on your way to Naivasha, that you end up either blacking out, or simply having no recollection whatsoever of what happened that night. The car you came in ferried the liquor, and you had an entire Southern Comfort to yourself. Kwanza the big one. Ok, not aaallll of it, but quite a bit. A lot.

The next morning is welcomed by extra bottles that had been deliberately and secretly stashed away in someone’s boot. Some Jamie and some Flirt Vodo. The KC coconut crave didn’t pass your Naivasha organizers’ shopping list either. Someone whips up a 1L Delmonte Gold Pineapple Juice tetra-pack and you marvel at the fact that there’s actually a Delmonte Gold brand. Out of curiosity, you taste it, but not before your best friend yells, “Don’t you dare open that pack of juice!” But since you’re nursing a hangover from hell, you shrug and reflect – what the heck. You’d rather sip your portion of juice, since you won’t be drinking anymore anyway.

The juice tastes the same as the kawaida Delmontes at Tuskys. Maybe with some added pineapple pulp. You wonder why people pay more for the pulp when they could just blend a pineapple for 10bob.

You’re all seated at the front garden of the villa. The Great Rift Valley Lodge houses are gorg, and there’s a front garden for bougie-ass things like breakfast picnic and ish.

Birthday girl approaches you all from the kitchen back-door with a cooking pot in hand to make the KC Coconut punch. Apparently, all the dishes were used the previous night during family dinner, and the rest were reserved for making breakfast. You guys pay Helen, the housekeeper to clean the dishes. So no one wants to touch even a spoon. Also, the other plausible excuse is that there is no soap to clean dishes.

They – the KC Coconut punch committee – use a mwiko to mix their concoction: KC Coconut, Delmonte Gold Pineapple Juice & Lime Juice. Turns out it’s like, really good. But you can’t drink cos your body has fikad its drinking limit. So you only taste a little and spit it out.

Then come the silly jokes, the gang making fun of each other and bets laid on the table.

One bet in particular, was that the word ‘Exhaustipated’ actually exists. It’s when you’re too tired to give a shit. Literally.

Guys place bets on the word; 720 bob and a 1000Ushs note, which is equivalent to 33bob. The 20bob was your contribution to the bet. Turns out the word actually exists on Wikipedia!

Then the ‘Who would you rather: Kill, Date, Marry ’ game.

You got 2 dates, 1 marry. You’re glad that no one wants to kill you.

Fast forward to the gang leaving the place at 6pm, and converging at Delmonte for a JD on the rocks for the road; After all the previous night’s and day’s drinking. Then a successful trip back to Nairobi, before heading to Charlie’s Bistro for a final nightcap to end the trip in style.

All things considered, the gang’s conclusion is that it was great trip with forever memories.

“We should do this again!” Someone yells, and you all scream, “Yeah!” in agreement.

Oh, & a shout out to KC Coconut. You heard that bartenders in clubs use KC to make cocktails anyway; so when you see a chick twitch her eyebrow in disgust at KC, and she loves to take cocktails, you conclude that she’s probably been on that KC a couple times.

Speaking of eyebrows, what’s with Nairobi women and their obsession with YouTube eyebrow tutorials? Someone should host an intervention on behalf of women with abstract paintings on their foreheads, you smirk.


The Bestfriend Break-Up

I’ve been struggling to approach this topic for a while now.

Who’d want to outrightly admit that they had broken up with their best friend?

I mean, you already look and sound mean enough complaining about the fact that you needed a time out from the person who checked in on you the most.

Worse still, from the person you spent innumerable hours with discussing best-maid outfits and how you’d have to coordinate your wedding and ruracio dates perfectly to avoid burnout, all the while discussing what cheap wine brands taste less like chang’aa because adulting is synonymous to budgeting.

And wine is indubitably bae.

It’s 4pm on a Friday at work and I’m done with all my tasks (I intentionally come in an hour earlier on Fridays only because I tend to lose focus by lunch time), and I  know by now we’d have already made plans to hang out at Brew Bistro.

Out of habit, she’d have told me that she was broke, or that she needed to send some mchango to one of her chamas, so Brew was only to be a 2-drink plan. Unless she called up Jamo from Finance at her audit firm to hook us up. And boy did Jamo hook us up. Then I’d meet someone else I knew who’d chafua the table and before we knew it, a 2-drink plan would’ve turned out to us leaving the raev at 5 in the morn.

But I didn’t mind.

“I’ll get you a jug, you just come,” I’d urge her and she’d reply with a, “Sawa.30 minutes.”

When I learned of the news that my maternal grandma had passed away, she was right there next to me. Literally, beside me. She wasn’t the ‘mother-bear-hug-lemme-rub-your -back’ type. That was more of my role. But she was the ‘I’m-here-I-got-you-what-you-need’ type. Plus my sister was so busy hugging me that she never had the chance to.

A year later, when my paternal grandma passed away, she was a no-show.

No text, no call, nothing.

By then we weren’t really talking. I’d have thought that she would get in touch, but it didn’t happen. Maybe she didn’t know. Or if she did, she decided to keep her distance.

My birthday came and passed. Again, still a no show.

Got a new job, the one I’d been animating about for months-on-end and yet, I couldn’t tell her the good news.

It felt like a death in the family.

Ours was a relationship that had all the symptoms of a disease, but with patients who chose to turn a blind eye to the diagnosis.

The tipping point was the guy she’d been dating. Long-distance.

He was a bum, I told her. He was a gem, she believed.

“I was the only one against their blossoming relationship, out of all her friends,” she quipped.

I chuckled.

Back to the topic in mind; my point of this post was to what, escape?


I just realized that I have been going through best friend withdrawals. So I called a close friend of ours and vented to her. God bless mediators.

Her counsel? To ‘sit in that feeling’. And I wondered, huh? That had got to be the worst friendship advice ever given on the face of the earth.

‘Sit in my feelings’?

Like was I to make a jumbo mug of hot cocoa, plop on the sofa, wrap myself in a fluffy purple cuddle blanket, look out the window and ‘sit in my withdrawal feelings’?

“Exactly,” she exclaimed and before hanging up yelled, “lemme know how it goes!”

I guess that’s what I’m doing. Sitting in my feelings. Or rather, writing them out.

Are we still back to being friends? I think we’ve always been friends, and we always will be.

Are we ‘talking at the moment’? No.

I think we need to figure out our W.A.I.T, ‘Why Am I Talking’, period before we actually meet to talk and discuss. If we ever get to do that.

In the meantime, she remains to be the type of friend who’s family. The type you’re cheesy with without necessarily feeling cheesy and the type to be brutally honest with, despite the repercussions, such as a broken friendship.

If we do survive this fissure, then there’s nothing our friendship won’t overcome. If not, then we were lucky to have made happy memoirs that we’ll cherish for years to come.

To sleepovers, Snapchat takeovers, cheap wine, rants about boys who break our hearts and back-&-forth nail polish selfies with my Best friend.

Zen Garden: An Oriental Pan-Asian Piece Of Heaven

The scent of fresh bamboo wafts in the air as you enter this exotic, oriental pan-Asian restaurant. Located along Lower Kabete Road, Zen Garden has been many a times the talk of town, and if you haven’t been yet, then I hope this should be encouragement enough to get you going.

Eyeball Galore

The first thing you’ll notice when you get to Zen Garden is perhaps the nounification of the word ‘Zen’. The place is full of lash vegetation and tall green trees. A stroll down the driveway then welcomes you to a panorama of an exotic café and the renowned Bamboo Restaurant. True to its name, Bamboo Restaurant gives you the Bambooic waft of a tropical rainforest, fused with dining elegance and gourmet specialty.

First meal on the table

A starter assortment of fresh crisp prawns, some colorful tuna and of course, the ever-organic papaya salad served with 3 different sauces to cleanse you out as you dig in to the yummy daintiness.

The main dish was quite the spectacle straight from foodie heaven, specially made and served by Chef Den herself – head chef at Zen Garden. She laid out an entire platter of grilled fish served in a wooden salver, herbal-infused chicken curry, Japanese noodles freshly made at Zen Garden and lastly but definitely not least, the ever delectable Chinese rice. I love me some Chinese rice.

The fish was crisp and yum and the chicken curry? Fit to peacefully lull you to an afternoon siesta with a big fat smile plastered on your face. The noodles were thick and long, just how I like my noodles, with a dash and spruce of a spicy sauce.

Japanese dining and culinary prowess

When it comes to the Japanese dining and culinary prowess, one thing stands out: the culturally-rich flavors infused in the food. That, mixed with the classy and elegant ambience that is the Bamboo Restaurant at the Zen Gardens is the perfect combination to the perfect lunch!

And just when we thought we were done, full and completely stuffed, Chef Den then surprised us with some freshly baked dessert: Black Forest Cake coupled with the ‘Zen Garden Desert Special’ – which tasted somewhat like vanilla-wrapped waffles coated in pistachio ice cream! Absolute heaven to the taste buds.

Gastro-tourism in Nairobi

Without a doubt, our quest as Team #TwendeMara to bring out gastro-tourism in Nairobi was accomplished, by having Zen Garden host us and allow us to have a delectable experience of food and new places – right at the bull’s eye of their own garden!

All thanks to EatOut Kenya, for allowing and encouraging us to eat out more often. I hope you go out and find a new place to bring out the vibrant gastro-tourism in our beautiful country.

We look forward to the tales you’ll tell about it.

All Images Courtesy: Brian Gatimu Bwathanga

Of Breathtaking Views From Angama Mara

Imagine seated by a fireplace sipping on some hot masala tea, overlooking the vast view of the Maasai Mara Triangle. Seems spectacular, right? Just when I thought I had come across and seen all that luxury hotels have to offer, in comes Angama Mara – creating a whole different experience that leaves you feeling as though you were left suspended in mid-air.

Because that’s the meaning of Angama, in Swahili that is; To Suspend.

Angama is a pure experience, one that leaves you feeling as though you were floating somewhere right in the middle of heaven and earth; Angama is a spectacular place, because the hotel is literally perched at the very top of an escarpment, specifically to offer awe-inspiring views of the Maasai Mara; Angama is also a way of life, because the service at Angama is notably high end, one whose status has been placed high and beyond.

Game Drive

Our game drive begun at about 9am, and we were an eager bunch of six, ready and prepped to sight some cats and most of all, the Great Wildebeest Migration. Our first animals were a fleet of giraffes lazily having their morning snack, followed by a herd of zebras and wildebeests.

Soon enough, we got to sight a female cheetah seated under a tree observing her prey and later on, a lioness actually catching her prey.

Peace signs with Douglas, Angama Mara guide

As though by chance, our guide Douglas got wind that the Wildebeest Migration was about to happen, and so we dashed to the Mara River to witness this rare spectacular that few have the privilege to catch the Seventh Wonder of the World. Here we were, perched right by the river bank, patiently seated for about 30 minutes waiting for the great cross. And just when we were beginning to get weary thinking that the animals were cowardly and weren’t actually going to go through with it, then it happened!

The much anticipated Wildebeest Migration

Thousands upon thousands of herds of wildebeests and zebras fled through the wild scary coffee-waters to cross towards the other side, placing their fear of the fat crocodiles lazing around aside to save their lives.  A baby wildebeest was not as lucky as the others unfortunately, as it got caught by a crocodile!

An excited lot at the Maasai Manyatta

The Mara adventure then proceeded to a Maasai Manyatta, where we got to see the day-to-day activities of the Maasai Community who were keen on showing us their lifestyle.

Sundowners and Maasai Ambush

Our trip ended on a high note with sundowner moments at Angama and a Maasai dance ambush, the hospitality that is the Angama staff, a warm hug from Nikki Fitzgerald, owner and co-founder of Angama, a ginger toffee from their daughter Kate Fitzgerald to help my clogged nose and watery eyes that were probably as a result of the change in weather, and a great wave of goodbyes from Azei, Douglas and Terry from Angama!

Soaring High

As they say back at Angama, Keep Soaring High!

I would definitely recommend this place to you, your boss, your entire extended family and most specially, your lover. You’ll need some warmth to chase the Mara cold away. And if you just happen to be alone, then the Angama bed warmers will suit just fine.

(All Images Courtesy: Martin Muraguri)



My African Mother

My African Mother is a warrior. She is a she-god. A magician in her craft that is embellished ‘Motherhood’.

She is a sacrifice; for the good of her children, for the love of her offspring.

My African Mother lightens my world.

Whenever she’s at home, it feels like a Saturday, calm and serenity

My mother loves. She’s caring. She’s pristine. She’s clean.

Nothing she can ever do can be wrong.

She might not know all the answers to life, but she creates solutions to problems, issues that then transform into non issues.

My African Mother is ride-or-die. She’s a child of God; who’s borne fruit to children of God.

She protects her lineage. Ensures they are anointed, blesses them.

My African Mother is a pillow for comfort; she is the light at the end of the tunnel, the illumination from a tower overlooking darkness, the glow of direction.

My African Mother bears it all for her young ones; she takes in all the spears headed towards her and shields her loved ones.

My African Mother never tires. Even with crease linings forming on her forehead, she finds the time and opportunity to smile. To be grateful. To be thankful.

Mother forgives. She has an energy running smoothly though her veins, beyond explanation.

She is the place of comfort and solace. A student of peace and unity.

My African Mother has the body of a goddess. She prepares her skin with smooth ore and paints her lips in confident crimson.

Mother learned how to be an African Mother from her African Mother, who learned it from her African Mother.

My African Mother loves me.

Me, a typical African child.

She loves me.

With all her heart. With all her being.

And that’s why I am who I am, how I am. And I am grateful for that.

My African Mother is the lioness of the wilderness, a strength and fortress, a place of okay.

My African Mother lets me be me; with my moods and my anger and my stress.

She takes care of me, even when I don’t take much notice of her.

She is great, a fortress, a steel of strength.

Oh Mama Africa.

May you bring forth women worth the title, African Mother.

Of Kenya’s Rich Historical Culture, As Laid Out At The Nairobi National Museum

Quite the Intro…

A rich historical culture lives within these walls. Walls that hold carvings centuries of centuries old; Carvings that tell of a lifetime of a people, for their generations and the next; Carvings that are now the cultural heritage of the Kenyan people; Carvings whose children of the present awe upon in wonder, pondering how their great ancestors lived such strong lives – without all the modern age complexities that technology has come to bring.

They shrug and shake their heads in defeat, this present generation. Because deep down they realize that they have never been as great as their predecessors. Nor as strong. Their eyes well up in tears. Tears of wonder, of joy and of hope. Because this new generation of a people now understand that if their ancestors were that great; then they should have such greatness somewhere deep in them too. After all, blood is surely thicker than water.

Getting into the Museum

This is the feeling that one gets upon arrival at the Nairobi National Museum – situated along road Museum Hill Road. It’s the largest museum in Kenya and holds volumes of information about the 42 tribes that make the Kenyan heritage.

The first salutation upon arrival at the museum is a stone sculpture of what could be believed to be a dinosaur – representing the ages of years passed of evolution. A trip into the interior of the museum then greets you with a tree of African calabashes – ones that signify the foundation and continuity of African life.

The Cradle of Humankind & the King’s African Rifles

Without a doubt, the most interesting part of the museum itself is the ‘Cradle of Mankind’, with sculptures of human beings showcasing just how much we as the Homo sapiens have developed over centuries. A quick detour to the top right hand side of the museum then shows an in depth journey dedicated to the Kenyan History – of slavery, World War II, brave African soldiers serving the British army, and statues full of praise of the African community elders.

African jewelry and decor

The museum is full of delicately crafted African décor and traditional art craft, traditionally made by women as per the African culture, as well as boasts a rich legacy of the bush game that Kenya has to offer – especially when it comes to the big five animals: Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and the Rhino.

Of crawling creatures

Situated towards the lower bend of the Museum is the all-famous Snake Park, hosting about 15 different types of snakes. They are safely tucked behind strong compact glass holdings, meaning that they can cause no harm to people. It’s interesting to note that for some snakes such as the Puff Adder (pictured above) notoriously known as Africa’s most dangerous snake, can spit saliva up to a distance of 5 meters, and once they spit on your eyes, then you’re instantly blinded. Also be on the look out for lazying crocodiles and ever-mating tortoises.

Not forgetting the ever-green botanical garden

For the picnic lovers is the beautiful botanical garden, hosting at least 20 of the most exotic of plants. The botanical garden compliments the entire experience almost perfectly, as it creates a well-balanced ecosystem to the museum surroundings. It is also situated in the middle of a circular delicately-carved marble ground, which glitters under the sun and illuminates the green from the plants.

And Vogue Café

The Museum also hosts a small cozy café called ‘Vogue Café’, a perfect little spot to have a quick hot cup of coffee and a light snack, overlooking lash vegetation and offers a serene aura to your dining. It has an in-door sitting area for those that would want some peace and quiet while offering the option of dining by the patio with the scenic view while feeling the cool outdoor breeze.

The wind up

All in all, the Nairobi National Museum does a fantastic job at aiming to interpret Kenya’s rich heritage, offering a one-stop shop for domestic and international visitors alike to sample Kenya’s rich cultural roots. As a fortress that is at least 23 years old, the National Museum of Kenya celebrates great collections of a people’s true history – binding them in true blood, unity, peace and liberty.

Random Things You Didn’t Know About Lupita Nyong’o

The only time Lupita came back home was in the accompaniment of Vogue Magazine, just after she’d won her Oscar. She was welcomed in warm African celebrations, by choirs and choirs of well-rehearsed praise songs from young school girls.

She was lucky enough to get a shout out from Jay-Z in his song ‘We Made It’, where he mentioned the phrase, ‘I’m on my Lupita Nyong’o!’ Lupita only heard about it from her younger brother (remember the one in the memorable and most retweeted selfie?), who then sent her numerous voice notes on WhatsApp yelling, “Yow! Yow! Jay-Z!”

Lupita also met Beyoncé at a hotel where she and her sister Solange walked up to Lupita and introduced themselves to her! Can you imagine that? Beyoncé walking up and introducing herself to you, as though you didn’t know her! Lupita is also girls with Rihanna and Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett.

But many don’t know that Lupita started out her acting career right here in Nairobi, Kenya. She officially debut her acting in season one of Shuga; an African series depicting the myths and stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS.

She’s since then been on the cover of Vogue three times and won an Oscar after her first Hollywood launch, and is the face of Lancôme Paris, among other magazine covers and awards.

But that’s not why we simply adore Lupita.

The reason we’re enamoured by her is because of the little things that most people know not of her.

She’s honored to fly our Kenyan flag high up. She premiered Kisumu County, and initiated the appearance of her grandmother as well as her mother in Vogue and that to us, to her fellow countrymen, is as good as gold.

Lupita is considered Hollywood royalty, a treasured muse, an African goddess.

The girl proudly walks around in her rich dark Luo skin and adorns African Kanga fabrics when she heads on to interviews to celebrated TV shows such as The Ellen Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and even got a personal invitation to Oprah’s house for lunch.

Lupita’s name is also mentioned as the benchmark for the acclaimed movement, #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackGirlsRock, where even other TV shows such as Being Mary Jane, Scandal and Wendy celebrate her for inspiring black women to gain confidence in their dark skin.

She hails from the origins of Ugali and Fish and Avocado. She would love to know how to make her staple food Ugali, and whenever is in town, spends time with her mother who shows her how to make it while using a jiko. She eats the delicacy in the company of her parents in an authentic Luo style; with fish and sukuma wiki while using her hands as cutlery.

She also likes to narrate to them silly stories, as a daughter would entertain her parents, of large hotel monkeys with blue balls stealing her mangoes as though they were a typical cocktail glass.

For breakfast, Lupita prefers to eat plantains, sweet potatoes and blueberries. She loves the occasional walk in the park in Brooklyn and wastes her weekends watching movies. She junks on a good margarita pizza and is particularly specific about her taste in fashion.

Her favorite drink is pineapple juice and fave workout song is ‘So Special’ by Jamaican artist, Mavado.

Lupita lionizes her mother as the most stylish woman in the world, moved to Mexico at the tender age of 16 all by herself, and if she had to make a choice, would prefer to sight giraffes other than zebras at a park.

She ascertains that growing up in Kenya was normal for her, nothing out of the norm as most white people imagine and would love a tattoo of an infinity sign in-between her fingers.

She winds off by listening to John Legend and Nina Simone, and her acting goal is to cameo in Game of Thrones.

Best rap lyric? ‘A lady in the streets, but a freak in the bed.’

Her advice to you reader, is to not sweat the small stuff and if she wasn’t an actress, she’d be a massage therapist.

See why we love Lupita?

Of Unusual Adventures: From Mombasa to Ukunda In A Tuk-Tuk

We paid Khalid and his colleague a total of four thousand shillings to take us (we were four excited tourists from Nairobi), from the Modern Coast bus terminal in Mombasa, to Leopard Beach Resort & Spa in Diani, Ukunda.

In retrospect, we might have been conned of our cash. An Uber would’ve cost us a thao less, but we wouldn’t have gained the tourist experience Khalid so freely offered.

So off we went, Khalid showing us the delectable sights and sound of Mombasa. I can’t remember the other Tuk Tuk driver’s name; he wasn’t as animated as Khalid. Khalid drove us past Mombasa town, through legendary shops and to Likoni. When we got to the ferry, he paid the guards 50 shillings to let the 2 tuk tuks through. I had a feeling it cost more than that, but Khalid looked like a man of the people. One wink from him was enough to make you agree to his conditions, whether they were in your favor or not.

On the ferry, he talked to one of the guards to let us out and enjoy the ocean breeze. Apparently this is illegal. The law maintains that passengers remain in their vehicles. But we weren’t in a car now, were we?  Khalid’s words, not mine. We also took selfies from the ferry, which was prohibited as well, allegedly.

So we head to Diani. By now we’re pretty tired. Imagine coming from an 8 hour drive overnight from Nairobi to Mombasa, only to go through a very treacherous and bumpy ride from Mombasa to Ukunda.

But Khalid was having none of it.

He’d stir us up and tell us of his escapades in the Coast; of how the rich and gorgeous Ukunda wives (whose husbands are too busy for them) call onto men like him to please them. We burst out laughing, Muthuri and I. We were the 2 lucky tourists who got to ride with Khalid. I asked him what he meant by the phrase ‘men like him’. Turns out he meant men in his profession, who, sometimes, ‘taking a break’ would imply ‘visiting’ the ladies. To each with his own money-making business, Au Sio? He disguised and laughed.

He had a deep and warm laugh, Khalid. Inviting and smile-inducing.

So we relaxed and enjoyed the breeze, felt the wind on our backs and inhaled the sea from a far. Aaah, we could feel our heavy and long overdue Nairobi stress ooze out from our bodies and get replaced by the silence of the Ukunda palm breeze.

About 10 meters from our residential hotel, we took a ciggie break. Well, Muthuri and Khalid took a ciggie break. I was left to man our belongings. Khalid swore that no one would steal our valuables, that I could have stretch if I needed one. He could tell I needed one. But I’m Nairobian by nature, so I opted to stay in the tuk tuk. We don’t trust anyone, us children of the big city.

So as everyone else took a break, I sat alone looking around, when a supposedly Coastarian Kanjo came with the intention to haul Khalid’s and his friend’s tuk tuks. But Khalid is a sharp man. He apologized quickly and instead blamed it on us, “Hawa wa bara walidai kuchukua break, officer.”

I laughed quietly to myself, all the while feigning an innocent look on my face. Muthuri had been busy looking for sunglasses as he’d forgotten to carry his. Khalid then excused himself from the kanjo guy to go get ‘my mzee’, alias Muthuri. He knew Muthuri was just my colleague, but he knew the Kanjo didn’t. The officer then gave me a sly smile and whispered that I was too beautiful a lady to be ferried around by my man in a tuk tuk. I smiled and thanked him.

On arrival to our destination, the guards stopped us at the gate. How dare we come into a 5 star in tuk tuks? Could we even afford the place? They inquired if we had plans to attend the day’s ongoing wedding. We informed them that we were indeed staying there for the weekend. You could easily tell from their looks of confusion, that they were busy judging our credibility; up until the actual car that was meant to take us to Ukunda showed up.

See, we had initially paid for an SUV to drop us off at the hotel, but the driver had been late, drunk and plain rude to us about his lateness. So we had instead opted to take tuk tuks, for the fun of it.  But that’s another story for another day.

For now, we have been left with Khalid’s Tuk Tuk experience; which I believe was the best welcome-in-disguise-gift to Ukunda.