Of School Going Teenagers with Big Phones and Soft Hearts

The local kibanda has nowadays become my second home thanks to my poor cooking skills and busy schedule. The place is deserted, as few people around this area have a brunch at 11am. The usual suspects are here, Mathe and her coworker. I order tea and two toasts while waiting for the main dish to warm.

My eyes rove around to a high seat on one corner. A girl sits, her head bowed, her arms across her chest. She looks barely fifteen, and her eyes are covered in large shades. I guess that’s what they call stunners. She wears a grey pullover and a black trouser, making the hotel look like a funeral.

“Wewe leo umeamua haukuli.”

The statement tells me that she has not eaten anything today. And according to the way Mathe is talking to her, she is most likely her daughter.

She does not even open her mouth or nod her head. She answers in sobs, those ones that sound as if you are drinking some porridge and you want everyone to know that you are not willing to share. I pity her. I almost go to hug her but I choke on my tea.

Mathe goes out to call a bodaboda. I learn that the young girl has lost a phone, that is why she is crying. Not a Malkiat Singh, or S M Patel, or a calculator, or a P. E kit, but a damn freaking phone. I pity her even more.

Now she won’t be able to talk to talk to outsiders while at school, text or send pics. She is likely to become traumatized the whole semester and probably flop in her grades.  I almost ask to give her some counselling but I check myself. My motives will most likely be misinterpreted. The irony.

An older woman, likely to be her grandmother or aunt, comes in before the bodaboda does. She becomes very concerned with the state of the young girl whose eyes have become water liquid and her heart ice cold. The older woman pleads with Mathe to buy the phone. Mathe says the daughter has refused a Mulika Mwizi phone. The worker, who turns out to be a relative, advices the daughter to find a string and be tying the phone around her neck so that her friends can stop stealing it. The daughter cries out some more. Mathe eventually gives in to the pressure and dishes out money for a brand new smartphone. The daughter pockets the money and leaves, not yet happy till she sees the phone in her hands. She doesn’t even eat. All I can do is stare as my main meal arrives.

I hope to be a father and a daddy one day. I just don’t know how to bring up my children. I hope they open up a parenting school soon.