People ride in Tuk-tuks and do not make a big fuss; they also get held up in traffic and do not even give a hoot. Everyone in the city has experienced an end month Friday. A Crazy Friday was not really, about how exciting my Friday was. I do not know… Maybe how it was to end up.
As I left the house in the morning, the objective was Wilson Airport. It was time I was to act directly on the dream whose ‘fantasy’ gave me a nickname among my circles even before I did it. I was to go there to do a final analysis and selection of a flight school. I had gone through this in 2009, and again in 2011. This time round I had taken all the time to organize myself… To the best of my ability. When I mentioned consulting my sister on my dress code, I meant really that. I consider myself clueless when it comes to dressing – for the occasion especially. I needed to look smart, like someone who would prove to be a good student, a good image for an institution, and eventually a good pilot. I already had it in mind, so I was just confirming it would be okay to step out of the house that way. I never imagined I would undergo through all that Kamukunji stuff and blah blah, and here we were now…
We discussed various issues with dad as I sipped my soda. Developments, life, future & how his day had been. Somehow, we have bonded more in the last 7 months than we had initially. Something at the back of my mind tells me it has something to do with all this Ex-Military stuff. The only theory I had. Maybe I had also dismounted from my mule & the ego I may have cultivated as a soldier. We talked much majority being how I was progressing with the school issue. I mentioned that I was on my way to get the final details. At some point, he aired his concerns about my physical outlook. Not that I was poorly dressed, but my form was getting smaller by the days as he put it & that I needed to stop worrying about ‘non-entities’. I mentioned that I was eating well and exercising as well. Swimming being the only outdoor physical activity, I undertake nowadays. It made the situation worse I know. We also mentioned matters dealing with company and the like. Every parent at some point is worried about how their children are doing in the city especially when they do not have a ‘conventional job’ as such. They get worried that their children may be involved in activities that would put their safety in jeopardy. I would imagine the situation my parents are in especially now that some people in some high places still imagine I am up to no good with some not so common skills in the public domain. I reassured him by telling him that I am okay, and they should not worry about me. In any case, my circle had shrunk a great deal since the uniform, and I had dropped each other. He looked convinced enough. He was okay with the day as it had turned out, and he was ready to leave. I, on the other hand, would be proceeding to Wilson for my main thing.
I had only managed to wash my hands. I could not tamper with my hair or my face since I did not have my backpack, which has various supplies to cater for such situations. So after we parted ways, I headed straight for Afya Center where I got into an almost full Matatu plying the Langata route. I was not lucky enough to choose a seat away from the sun since I was the last to enter. I had to sit one seat behind the driver on the sunny side. It just wasn’t my day. The only consolation was the beautiful-looking lady (You cannot tell with make-up nowadays. Beautiful-looking until proven beautiful minus the make-up) who moved to let me through to my seat.
Immediately the mat started moving, I fished out my phone and continued reading my novel/ ‘Wanted’ by Nick Stephenson. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation here, otherwise in a different set up, I would be talking about something with the lady next seat. The window couldn’t open all the way, making it safe for me to read but on the other hand making me sweat bottles since I just couldn’t get a breeze cool enough to cool me off. When we got to Uhuru highway, all hell broke loose. The sun was now onto me proper. Started sweating again but now worse than before. I was thinking of fanning myself with some papers in the diary, but the lady broke this thought.
“Si you open the window, it is hot.”
“Wee, jaribu tena…” (“Try again”)
“Trust me, I tried.”
Any sane human being would have that window at its widest. So it should have been clear that I had attempted to open the window. In any case, she had seen me try to open it earlier. From the corner of my eye, I could see she was uncomfortable. She removed an old edition of True Love from her magazine and tried fanning herself with it. It was new looking yes, but I could tell it wasn’t the recent edition since the last edition did not have Kavutha Asiyo as the feature story/ cover model. I continued reading. After the conductor was done collecting our fares, she was again on my case. It’s the way she started that I knew she was up to no good.
“Na kwani umetoka wapi?”(“Where are you from?) looking at my head.
“Si, town” “Mbona”? (“I am from town, why?)
“You are dirty,”
“I know,” “What do you want me to do about it?”
I bookmarked my novel and placed the phone on my diary that was on my lap. I had not even wiped the dust that it had collected when I threw it into the buckets earlier. I then faced her.
“You look really bad,” she said… & I did not know how to respond.
“I am fine,” I said.
“You live in L.A?”
“No. I am going to see someone.”
“I live on the other side of town, so I had no option & I am running late.”
“Which Nairobi is this?”
I went ahead to explain that I left home a very decent looking guy. But had to run an impromptu errand that got me this dirty. I wanted to ignore her from this point onwards, but she sounded like the kind of dramatic people who would shout “I am talking to you!!” at any moment. Worst case scenario he could mobilize the people in the mat, a few conductors and get me washed in a ditch somewhere like I have seen on the news sometimes.
“Ni jasho nanuka ama?” (“Is my sweat that smelly?”)
“Not really, but guy you look pathetic.” That itched a little…
“So… do I apologize to you, or something…?”
She never answered. She continued her fanning activity as I turned my head and looked outside. I couldn’t wait to alight. I could feel the eyes of everyone on me, and some part of me had started chanting “Aoshwe!!!” (“Wash him!”) This scared me. I did not even read again.
I alighted at Wilson, and as I walked towards my choice, (I had decided I would not check my alternatives) I was so anxious my stomach rumbled angrily. It was the third time I would be entering 99s Flying School’s reception. The other two times I never enrolled as I had promised. I was always putting a confident face when I knew deep inside I was not going to be enrolling immediately. Weirdly enough, it is when I was 100% sure I would be enrolling that I was the most anxious. Maybe it was the excitement.
The first time I had spoken to the director himself. When I mentioned at the reception that an officer from the Air Force had referred me, my status had changed. This was the Late Cpt. Miheso. Who was taking classes at the same place some years back. We had had the conversation in Laikipia Air Base when he was by then a UAV pilot. He had told me to start early, but I was not prepared back then. So his advice and confirmation from two of my friends helped me make the final choice having been left with two schools to choose from. The lady, at the reception, treated me well though I still noted how weirdly she looked at me. I was directed to another office, where I tabled all my concerns and in less than 20 minutes I was done. I had received most on the information via email, and all I needed were a few clarifications. The excitement that was building inside was almost uncontrollable. But I did not show it. Classes for the next intake would be starting on 7th April. As a sign, my current classes will be ending the week before Easter. I had enough time to prepare.
As I walked towards the road, among the mixture of sentiments was how this would turn out. Risking our resources for a Private Pilot’s License. This is just part of the journey, and it is not enough to secure one anything. So deep down I was wondering what next. I had promised myself that if I don’t get to the skies by the age of 25, I would be dropping the dream altogether. I am fond of using “If one dream dies, dream another dream” Many have translated it to mean that this died in me, but it did not. It was there all the time. The dreams that died were the time frames that I had set back then. Expecting too much from all sorts of avenues. For instance the Air Force. I would never have flown there, and that fate was sealed when Electrical Engineering was slapped in my face. In fact, it was my daily motivator, which made me pursue this. I didn’t struggle through life in primary, and then in high school to live a life of complaints in what to society is a glittering occupation, but to the individual is a drag to dreams. Not that I hate it, I will be completing it once I get hold of my PPL, because one way or another, I will need resources to fund the chain of Licenses that I need to get to where I see myself. I was also not sure how I will handle the journey, from my point of view, the challenges are endless. But we will see how it goes.
I was almost crossing the road when I noticed the NTSA officers with their reflective wear. I had to use the footbridge, several meters away, or a weekend at Langata Police station. I almost cursed, but it was for my own good. Besides, the exact scenario had played out in my life. I had tried crossing my life on the highway (Pigstory) attempting to get it easy to the skies and I fell – hard. Here I had waited 7 years like that longer walk over the footbridge and back to a spot only meters away earlier. It is only excitement that saw me through the rest of the afternoon.
Hoping for the best in this phase.