Saturday, July 23, 2005

Kisaasi Condoms.

There are no condoms in Kisaasi! No seriously! Listen I’m getting ready for the week yeah, ironing my shirts, polishing my shoes, that kind of thing and I remember that I don’t have any. Condoms, silly. So I do the logical thing, I go out and buy some. Except that it’s not quite that easy.

For one thing the kiosk up the road at the stage, most people’s last stop before they arrive home is out of stock. The guy kindly points me up the road to the next stall where the guy there is out and he too points me further up the road. Thank God I didn’t step out in those masaai sandals that make my toes look good in the cold because it’s muddy out here, thanks to an afternoon downpour.

By now I’m at the third shop, beginning to crave a fag and mildly wondering to myself what I’d have done if there was a nubile young thing reposing on my bed at this very instant expecting my imminent return with the tools of the trade so to speak. Would I still be trudging through the mud towards Kisaasi Trading Centre? Umph, no.

So anyway by the time I make it to the sixth shop, I’ve noticed a few peculiarities; I’ve asked three male shopkeepers and they apologised for being unable to satisfy my need than they pointed me on to the next possible shop, with explicit instructions. And the women, well, they invariably mumbled a “no” with a mixture of bashfulness and “Kyokka you also-ness” which left me feeling like I’d asked to see their belly beads…speaking of which, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the second one’s beads.

Finally I hit pay dirt, in a man’s shop. I walk up to his crowded duka, slip him a copper kinusu and ask for a pack of Protector. He takes a step back to retrieve the pack and turns to hand it to me with his palm facing downwards, concealing the pack. I’m thinking, “Dude please!” I play along though, taking it equally stealthily and sliding it into my pocket before raising my eyebrows at him in expectation of my balance…the recommended retail price is Ushs. 200…and guess what? He goes like, “its 500 schillings Ssebo”. Since when!

I just walked 20 minutes through the mud to be ripped off because I wanted some protection? That’s not right, and neither is the fact that I let him get away with it, because I did, I turned round and went home. Would I have gone without if I hadn’t found the condoms? Dude, abstinence is for the Cranes. And I did have the fag.


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