Mr. Fix it – James R. Quest

When I first joined LightBox almost three years ago that was by then housed at Pawa254. We had a project which happened to be one of my first, to shoot a music video.  Sheria by Sarabi and Juliani.

At around 7am we arrived on location in Makongeni estate for the shoot. It had rained the previous night but despite the rain both cast and crew were determined to make sure that the shoot went on according to plan. Among the crew was James R. Quest who we ended up talking during the production.

James Quest as we popularly knew him is no more. He died today from a hit and run accident along Waiyaki way.

Yesterday, at around 5pm I said hi to him. We had not seen each other since the year started. He and my colleagues had come from a reconnaissance of a music video that we are to shoot over this weekend.

Before meeting yesterday the last time we saw each other was during our end year party that he joined us. He did not forget his shiny silver red bike that roared upper hill roads.

Quest was indeed full of life. Many times he called and said “baba mbona uko na stress nataka uenjoy life” this was a time when my mum had undergone surgery so I was abit stressed. He made sure everyone around him had a good time and uniquely enjoyed themselves.  I can’t forget when he led a team of almost a hundred people to Coast courtesy of Jambo jet. He was the “captain”.

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Captain’s selfie

We did many projects together some of those took us across Kenya and South Africa When in Kenya, he was never afraid of standing up against what he felt ailed the society. Regrettably, the last project he did was during 48 hour film project, “Dare or Die”. This year as you went home many of us knew we were to have met today in the morning for a shoot that you were to be the cinematographer. This meeting never took place.

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He did not miss the moment
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Director’s words

I remember last year he said that he is this world to make more people enjoy themselves and not worry so much about the future that they forget living presently.

You will be missed by your family, fellow bikers, friends and colleagues.

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While in South Africa
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Once a biker always a biker

Spectacular Samburu

By Kenneth Jura | Kenya

Les Wanyika’s song “ Safari ya Samburu” cannot fully exemplify how spectacular Samburu county is. This song a Zilizopendwa, it was a classic, explains how Les Wanyika’s journey to Maralal was. Maralal is Samburu County’s headquarters.

Samburu is scenic, spectacular with all the “S” superlatives and adjectives to describe how lovely the terrain and the people are. We stopped briefly at Naivasha then proceeded to Gilgil then Nyahururu. The road to Nyahururu is full of unseen and unmarked speed bumps, you risk running over them due to frequent rains that pound Nyandarua County. At Nyahururu we had our lunch then after an hour we hit the road again, at Rumuruti we bid bye to the tarmac and the red, dusty earth road gave us a long firm handshake welcoming us to the long drive to Samburu. From Rumuruti we played Ping-Pong on our seats passing the expansive Mugie Ranch. Along the way giraffes stood to crane for better leaves as well as look at the strangers who after a while would alight to take photos with these long, sticky animals. Just before the turn to Lake Baringo, we alighted again to ogle at the waterbucks that sat overlooking the sinking sun on the horizon.

At Suguta marmar a barrier was lifted by a young police recruit who asked us if we had that day’s newspaper. I must admit I was astonished that a cop wanted newspaper as opposed to “chai” (bribe) that his city counterparts are used to. My colleagues regretted why we did not buy at least a copy. We encountered another barrier on the stretch between Suguta Marmar and Maralal town.

We embarked on duty on our second day each time marveling at the Samburu culture and its people. We travelled to Mallaso on our second day. Mallasso has a picturesque terrain, in fact it is the same place  that Safaricom shot its “Niko Na” advert.

The following day we travelled to Losuk ward in Samburu county where we enjoyed the hospitality and uniqueness of the Samburu people as well as the various cultural and economic challenges that they faced. That would be best addressed in a different forum because this one is simply to appreciate Kenya’s beauty.

On our final day we traveled for two hours from Maralal-Kisima-Wamba road passed a small shopping center called Lorruk  then further onto the floor of the Rift Valley. Many times we forgot that a cellular network ever existed, from Lorruk river we snaked our way up to meet with Lodokejek trading center then onto Lodokejek primary school. From here we picked the school’s headmaster to take us to the remotest part of Samburu county a place called Loshoo. We were reliably told that Loshoo was the “end of the road” literally. Along the way elephants had felled several trees with their poop dotting the dusty,stony road.

Several days after our arrival in Nairobi I attended Samburu night at Bomas.

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They had to bow down for the mic

 

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How it was

Samburu is indeed a butterfly county.

A night with a twilight girl

By Kenneth Jura | Kenya

Mtito Anderi town in Makueni County is a must-stop for most people traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa. It is a transit town and a mid-point between the capital city of Kenya and the second city, Mombasa.

Mtito Andei according to the local people it means a forest of vultures. Some residents say it means marabou stork.

Nick had boarded a bus to Mombasa for vacation but decided to alight at this town. Most bus companies stop here to allow passengers either empty their bowels, fill them, stretch their bodies or quench thirst. Bus drivers and their crew are often treated to free food and beverages.

After the usual stop at this town he halted his journey to the coastal city so as to sample it. On the right side of the road on your way to Mombasa, there is an OilLibya petrol station from where Nick heard booming music coming from what seemed like a bar or a discotheque. He decided to go to where the music came from; as he walked he bought airtime so that he could inform his host of change of plans and that they should not expect him, more over to assure them not to worry just in case they did.

It was some few minutes past midnight. The town was literally getting up from the day’s slumber quite literally.

Choices…

            He went in and sat at a corner so as to “acquaint” himself with the restaurant. It had a raised area which acted as its dance floor, above the dance floor there was the DJ stand/ cubicle, on the left there was a sign leading one to the washrooms.

A waitress came and took his order of Tusker baridi (cold Tusker) he took two at amazing speed. A lady who looked like she was in her 40’s or late 30’s approached Nick. She asked whether she could take a seat after greeting him. “Do you want to be helped?” Nick did not understand what she meant but did not express shock; she asked him what type he wanted. Nick got curious on what was meant by “type”, the lady pointed to the direction of a girl seated alone on the bar stool at the counter. It was then that it dawned on him that he was being offered a girl of the night with the cliché “type”.

He requested the lady if he could sample them himself. The lady who we shall call boss agreed but after an exchange of Sh300 as “viewing fees”. He was taken towards the washroom then took a right turn just behind the DJ’s cubicle.

Voila! There they were, he looked around but chose a chocolate, medium-bosomed one who also had round medium derriere. She was a little bit younger as compared to the rest who had seen tougher days. She was still natural!

Pay more

This young lady was his pick who happened to cost an arm and a leg because she was younger. They settled for Sh2,500 for the girl for the night with the boss. The boss left as the girl occupied the boss’ seat. She was called Mueni once they exchanged pleasantries.  She was shy although better looking in a well-lit place than the dark areas they were being “kept”.

They continued drinking up to around 1:30am. They left the bar for the lodgings that punctuated the small dusty town, they chose one and in they went one after the other. She sat on the bed then removed her shoes which had a slant. The slant and the ground made an acute angle.

“Do you live here?” Nick asked. She became so wild and told him not to waste her time with such a question; he had no authority to ask her anything apart from what he had paid for. Nick tried asserting that he had “bought” her for the night amid her shouting interjections. After the confrontation she went straight for his belt saying “kama wewe ni mwanaume kamili mbona ulikuja hapa? Mbona ulinitaka?  hebu toa hiyo kitu yako?” (if you are man enough why did you come here? after all why did you choose me? Can you get out your organ out?) He stopped her then put her on the bed as she was on a kneeling position.

He opened up on who he was, where he had come from and why he was there. He then excused himself and went outside the room. Upon his return he had bought more drinks put in black polythene bag.

Mueni asked him what he wanted. “Who is that lady I paid?” she said that was “our mother” who acts like our broker. She goes from village to village looking for girls who were not attending school, she would then agree with parents to be remitting some amount of money on weekly basis depending on the work done. “In my case my mother is a widow; my father was run over by a trailer some kilometers from Mtito Andei in which police said it was a hit-and-run case”.

She dropped out of school the previous year in form two, 16years of age yet she had a national identity card indicating her age as 21. She has sold her body for the last six months; she narrated this as tears flowed freely from her tiny eyes that had seen the world’s cruelty at a tender age. She has six brothers and two sisters, one of his brothers was shot dead at Salama area along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway after he tried his hands in carjacking.

Money

Nick cajoled her tapping her back slowly as they talked. He gave her Sh 3,000 and asked her whether she would willingly quit the trade for school. She said she would quit but vehemently refused to go back to school. She wanted a job.

Nick removed his shirt and trousers as Mueni got her’s off too. He explained to her that he was not interested in sleeping with her so it was not important to get into bed in her birthday suit.

He was not a vulture who wanted to gnaw her innocence; the town is a vulture town just as the name, men and women are vultures too.

“I have never met a man like you” she said as she got herself in bed. Why do you do this for me? She asked as she got to a sitting position, “why?” she insisted looking straight into Nick’s eyes. He requested her to calm down, to get a rest as he would explain everything the following day.

Day break

“Nick, Nick..wewe (you) wake up” it is 6:24am. She had already taken a shower. Nick went in for a shower as well and asked her to give up her “job” as he would help her look for a job in the hotel industry.

After that Nick left for Mombasa after getting her phone number as well as her mother’s.

He knew some influential people in Mombasa who would probably help Mueni; during his stay he kept in touch with her.

Two weeks thereafter, Nick sent her some money for transport to Mombasa all this while Mueni had stopped being a night girl. On her arrival she went to the salon at least to look impressive because the following day she was scheduled to attend an interview for a waitress job in one of the hotels that Nick’s friend owned.

It was a small oral interview which led to her training the following week.

He left the city as his holiday was over, as he did, Mueni’s two brothers got jobs at the Kenya Ports Authority as a loader and technician which was through Nick’s influence.

Mueni on the other hand already had a one bed roomed house in Mikindani, she indeed had quit her previous “job” and earns a decent living.

The poor are cured by work, the rich by the doctor Polish proverb