There is an old mzungu friend called Stratakos whom I met at the Animal Orphanage in Nairobi. The man, an American, was touring Kenya with his wife and two young boys.
I noticed them because while I was admiring a hyena, he was photographing and staring at a snail like it was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
I smiled, thinking how strange White people can be. And then the unthinkable happened.
One of his son’s held the dudu in his hands. A snail!
I expected his mum to slap him across the face and yell, “chafu! Tupa!”.
Instead, she moved closer and started explaining strange things about the snail to her son.
I later learned she has ‘chewed books’ up to masters degree level in matters pertaining to snails and other wild creatures.
It is the look of shock on my face that caught the bemused American’s attention. We started chatting and became good friends.
Three years later, I sort of became his guide when he came back to Kenya on a professional visit.
“I miss Tusker so much. I can’t wait to buy you beer!” he kept saying in emails before he landed.
The day he arrived, we met at a pub on Ngong Road in Nairobi.
He ordered for two beers. I found that weird because when you have missed beer and you have promised an African man that you will buy him beer, you don’t call the waiter and ask him to bring two.
You darken the table. But I said, haidhuru, the ways of White people are strange. Maybe he will keep ordering one after another until we stagger out singing circumcision songs in the wee hours of the morning. I was wrong.
After he was done with that one beer, he smirked with pleasure and said, “That was fantastic, Ted! We should do this again!”