Chronicles of my jalopy: The story of my first car


Chronicles of my jalopy: The story of my first car

I have arrived. I have finally bought myself a car! This was my dream for the longest part of my teenage and adult years.

Ever since I saw how villagers treated Mr Kulei, the only man within a 15KM radius who had a car, I decided I would work, steal, beg, and basically do anything to buy myself a car.

I tried stealing, it started with a few coins from my mother’s house, but that demon was beaten and sometimes bitten out of me by my mother.

Huwezi jifundisha kuwa mwizi kwangu,” she said. (You can’t learn to be a thief while living in my house)

So that killed one of my ideas…

I tried looking for a job washing cars in the town centre, when my dad found out, it triggered World War III in our house.

He accused me of working with his enemies to embarrass him. How will he show his face in public after people see his golden boy scrubbing cars when he himself cannot afford one?

So that killed another one of my ideas…

The only options I had left me eating books late at night to make it to campus so I could get a good job and buy a car!

That took me 16 years. But like I said, I have finally arrived.

I bought a Peugeot 504 KYN 212 from Kyalo. He was so happy when I expressed interest he shook my arm out of its socket, it took two people to put it back.

“We can just finish with the paperwork in one hour and you can start right away being the proud owner of this piece of history,” he said. (Insert heavy Kamba accent)

“This car is powerful, not those plastic things you buy for an arm and a leg these days.”

“Let me tell you, it is illegal to park this car facing forward in front of a bank, it is so fast that if you robbed a bank and decided to use it to escape, police cars cannot catch up, true story,” he said with his usual enthusiasm.

Looking back I should have found it suspect that he was so happy to get rid of his ride, but no, I was blinded by ambition.

Needless to day, the car had seen better days, but Kyalo assured me that it was in perfect working condition.

“All it needs is a facelift, some interior decor and of course fuel and it will be good as new,” he said.

We painted the car orange and black, you know, so we look like we know what we’re doing.

We lined the inside with white faux leather, put in proper seat covers and covered up the dashboard with a fluffy velvety material.

It would not have been complete without a proper music system; we visited Oducha who fitted a gigantic speaker in the boot of the car, soon after we were good to go.

First order of business was to go to the village. I pretended I had gone to visit my folks, but the real reason was to advertise my change of status and to rub it in the faces of some villagers who laughed when they saw me washing cars at the local Jua Kali a few years ago.

That was by far my proudest moment, the engine of my car, now named Wandia, roaring like a lion, the exhaust coughing out smoke, disturbing the quiet silence of the village.

Children ran to the road to see who it was, my old enemies were swallowing big lumps (kiwaru), the girls who ignored my advances were gritting their teeth with regret. I was a superstar!

Any new car owner worth their salt in this town knows it is only wise to greet villagers when you tour the countryside lest word spreads to the neighbourhood witch, who will promptly show up at your house to look at your car with a bad eye and ruin everything.

So as tradition dictates, I stopped to greet each and every villager with glee, explaining that “I can’t talk for long, I have to go wash my car’s dashboard and polish my rims, you know I can’t be seen in a dirty car.” Of course this just makes no sense because the dashboard is covered with the velvety material I described earlier, and I have never heard anyone say they are polishing rims.

My mother was however less than impressed, she couldn’t understand why I bought a car to carry a speaker in the boot.

“A waste of money, a bicycle is better than this car, I can carry my potatoes on the back of a bicycle anytime,” she told me.

My joy was however short-lived, after I parked the car in the homestead that night, it refused to wake up in the morning!

Now all the neighbours have been passing by to witness the spectacle pretending they want to ‘say hello’ to my mum, others helped me push it to start it up… It refused. Within a short time I was the laughing stock in the village!

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Story By Steve Makaria
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