Self Select: Nairobian in Loughborough 2012

This project was developed for an artist-in-residency program in Loughbarough, UK, based on the idea of Self Select, which Yoshinari Nishio previously conducted in Paris, 2007 and Nairobi, 2009, in which he exchanged his clothes with pedestrians passing by. Through exchange of clothes he explores the relationship between clothing, language and identity. For this new version, he invited David Omondi Wagude, a Nairobian who would make his first visit outside of Kenya, to Loughborough, and who would attempt to exchange his clothes with unknown British pedestrians. Omondi started writing a diary, reflecting upon his thoughts and feelings related to this invitation to visit the UK and leave his home country for the first time. All of the diary entries up until the final phase was published as a newsprint and distributed around the town.

Friday, March 30, 2012
Today I get news that I can accompany Saki and Yoshi to Loughborough, UK, as a production assistant for Yoshi’s works. This news comes at a time when I am seriously searching for meaning in my life and UK, man, that’s huge. I have never thought of that before, how could I?
Saki continued to read the details of my involvement as I continued the battle of thoughts in my head. I have read a couple of things about the UK; but most of my little knowledge of it is from such movies as Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings and my all time idiot’s best, Mr. Bean. Oh, M16 is also found in London and the crazy funny gags are made there too. I got excited, happy, thrilled, but most of all, humbled. My job in Loughborough may not be easy, but hey, am going to be in London. The only problem was that my university internship had been scheduled for May 1st and this trip of a lifetime comes clashing with it. The internship can wait for me, but not this; Dr. Gitahi will have to listen to me.
It’s been a long day today and I got angry because my mum made me wait for her for over an hour, Peter, landlord-to-be, wasn’t answering any of my calls, I had not yet figured out how to finance my Donholm project and my boss was being a bitch with me. But all of these faded off with the thought of a plane ticket and a free, FREE, pass to roam the streets of London.

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Loughborough; Talk not about…
I am not smiling or laughing or anything of the sort, in fact my face has no expression like a traditional Japanese Noh mask. But deep inside I am cracking my ribs up in laughter, of joy. I haven’t told anyone yet and am not sure whom to tell first. I asked my buddy Silas what he’d do if he were told right then he’s going to the UK and he said he’d go right away, without a second thought.
I spent most of the day feeling lazy, still do, but writing this journal is part of my responsibilities for this project. It’s amazing how much change can be necessary. I have never kept an account of anything in my life before, not that I have not tried. I once wrote stories of my experiences with a girl, honest stories, but when she found them, they were too honest to see another day, just as myself with her.
I’d intended to do some research about Loughborough and its environs but as I said, I was feeling too lazy to do anything so I spent the rest of the day, after aerobics and swimming, lounging in bed and wallowing in my own internal dialogue, or is it monologue? Oh, today I also started teaching my roommate Felix the basics of swimming properly. He’s doing pretty good.
I tried as much as possible not to think or talk about my trip. I wanted to do it on its own, in a sober state of mind, whatever that means.

Sunday, April 1, 2012
My laziness from Saturday carried over comfortably to today and again I spent the day gaggling swimming pool water and looking at pretty naked women. “There are more lovelier women in the UK,” I thought. Felix proved to be a good student; after just a day of exposure his fear for the deep-end seems to have vanished.
I told Stella I am going to the UK, during our night walk. The expression on her face and the intonation on her voice, still lingering in my head, creating a melee of thoughts, made me feel like the luckiest guy around. Stella is a stunning beauty, and she knows it; what’s worse than that? She was happy, and I was happiest, especially that she took it so well and we talked about tones of stuff before I got her to her hostel to sleep.
I had not thought of the fact that I had two exam papers to sit tomorrow, didn’t want to. I thought about the things I would do after the papers, and wrote them down in my head, as I always do. I feel bad that I have not accomplished anything tangible over the weekend, but I feel glad that I have told someone of my trip, after making a big fool of her for the April Fool’s Day.

Monday, April 2, 2012
Today was a 50-50 day for me; I had no trouble with my exams as much as I thought I would, but my going to town was a total waste of time. Don cancelled on me and I was unable to get through the passport issues. I have been trying to apply for a passport for the last eternity in vain; I hear that I need more money everyday to “talk” to an insider, but how much more can I afford? The thing is very simple, without a passport I am stuck here.
I decided to stop by some of the gyms in town and see if they needed an instructor and shock on me; there is no place for me in these gyms, or so I thought. Figure 8 Gym, to start with, no offence, have two terribly illiterate secretaries who will scare off any decent client. Plus the whole place is in dire need of serious management. The next stop was Great Body Gym in Heartz restaurant; excellent facilities, but somehow I still felt I would be lowly placed in it. I wouldn’t mind doing part time there though. My last gym was the one on Accra hotel, who by the way have a good offer on buffet meal. I think I should get a date there, and this was ridiculous. I was just in time for the 6 pm aerobics class, midway and I felt the music was too loud I wouldn’t be able to hear my own voice; but all the clients were having fun. Fun is important in any fitness class, but experience says that when a crowd gets used to such loud music with emphasis on speed rather than technique, and blocks repetition, change generates a negative response from them. I would have a hard time working here.
Tired, angry and hungry, I took the next bus back to school, planning to go back to town tomorrow for passport only, and maybe drop my CV to a couple of gyms, Great Body being a good start. I know what I need is a stable job, and then I wouldn’t be whining like a woman.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Still no Passport…
Today I had no exams, in fact, I only have one more paper left to sit; consultancy in sports and recreation. In as much as I try I find it hard to believe that I will do well in this paper, I don’t have a lot of content in it.
Peter called me to meet in Donholm today to check out a potential business premise for my gym/fitness centre. I left campus at about half past 11 am to meet him at 1 but when I got there his phone was off!!! I waited for about 30 minutes, all the time trying to get through but he still was off air so I hopped into one of the shades there and ordered some lunch. It was about 2pm. The plan had been to meet Peter and get back in town by 5pm to catch the passport office open. I thought for a while then called Silas who gave me directions to Peter’s house and I proceeded without caring whether he wanted to see me or not. Though with a little trouble, I finally found his house, him inside, and he told me how broken his phone is, and that I would have to wait for him to wind up something he was doing.
For guys like Peter, you do not procrastinate because you might catch him again the following year, or never. He got back shortly before 4pm, having made me endure long hours a boring Nigerian movie on TV. The premise was at a perfect location, and the size was also good, except for the pillar right in the middle of it, but I could make that work somehow. We also got a two-bedroom house on first floor; this would serve as my office, changing room for clients, reception and waiting and perhaps I could fit a bed in one corner so I wouldn’t have to rent another house for myself. I loved it and the price was just fair worth it; I would pay KSh 25000 (£187.5) monthly for all of this. The only fly in the milk was the water problem; small wonder the price was so good! I could figure something out though.
I left Donholm way past 4 pm, too late to find Nyayo House, Immigration Department, still open so I decided to head back home and drop some luggage I had brought from school. I have no money to start up the gym business, not a single brown in my account, in fact it reads KSh 340(£2.55). All the same I tried to keep my head straight, wrote down the initial basic requirements and expenses on traffic, not thinking how I would get the start up money. I wouldn’t commit suicide if I failed because I had no money.
I got home just in time to add my ration into their supper. I hadn’t had omena, a small fish, in a while. I told mum that I would go to the UK. Her reaction was, as I would never be surprised, skeptical as ever, she asked me what I was getting paid. Good question, I hadn’t thought of that as much as there hadn’t been any mention of that in the description given to me. We talked for a while and I went to see some friends then left right after the meal.
All the way back I was lost in thought as to how I would start that business. Getting into a partnership was not my best choice, but it was the only choice. Even still I want to be very discriminating in identifying partners, not get them just for the money. In fact I am not sure what criteria to even use. I got back to school shortly after 11pm.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Rice and Cabbage
I did my last exam paper between 2 pm and 4 pm and took a sigh of big relief. It’s been a long semester that somehow I wished were longer, but am glad it’s gone and I feel so worn out, as in burn out. The trip to UK will come in handy as a break, a holiday. I still have a couple of units, 5 to be exact, to finish in school before I call 8-4-4 history, but most of my classmates finished today. “I used to be in school with that guy,” Pesh says. It hurts but I already accepted the delay.
Stella and I made rice and cabbage and had a lot of fun eating, playing card tricks and chatting like crazy. We would have gone to café to drink and drown away the exam pressure but we hadn’t planned for it as such. My classmates planned a get together at the Student’s Annex but it flopped heavily. I saw Stella to her hostel then came back to mine.
Was the day fruitful? Well that’s my question every evening. What did I do? I don’t have a clear answer. I did not go to town, I did not write any part of my business plan and I did not submit my term paper. But I finished exams. I am not satisfied with this day; I had hoped to have done so much more. The swimming pool was closed so I did not even get a swim.

Thursday, April 5, 2012
It’s 2 am on 6th of April but I write it here because I just now concluded my 5th April. Today was an eventful day; I got to swim and I held a farewell party at my place for me, my classmates and buddies. I invited everyone from the class but only a few showed and for once I thought we’d get stuck with the food, but we did just fine. The climax of the party was when Moses showed up and cracked everyone up.
Stella, looking hot as ever to my satisfaction felt well at home with the crazy lot I have for classmates. Then Mo and Wesh arrived, just as Eddy had left. The food was prepared by Pesh, Robi and myself. Occasionally Stella and I leaped off for some private time, but Wesh didn’t like the idea. After the food I saw Stella off then we went to the campsite, via Annex for drinks, which I did not get to buy, to sit at the campfire organized by the other students.
Today was a nothing day; I did not go to town at all, I cancelled on my job and I did not have that much fun. I thought I’d go to Nyayo House today, then blast off the semester like crazy, but I end up exhausted, sober and alone. I broke the news to the guys that I was going to the UK. Everyone was excited but Eddy thought I shouldn’t come back home at all, he wouldn’t… Pesh thought it was an awesome idea as I struggled with her questions. Mo was busy on some guy’s lap to comment and Wesh was too mixed up in the crowd she did not get to hear the news. I want to wake up early, train, pack my stuff, sign out of school, go swim then head away. I say head away because am not sure where I’ll be going to. I would have left school way earlier if I knew exactly where to go, but I don’t, I am lost, I have no home, no house, no stuff, nothing… sad…
Though I believe faith is too weak a line to peg anything on, I guess this is where I hit the dead end, throw my hands up in the air and hope. Oh, before I forget, Saki and I agreed I’d be back in Kenya by 31st May, to leave for my internship the following day, 1st June.

Friday, April 6, 2012
Night out
I am back home from school and to start it off I went out with Jackie. I’d rather have slept but she blackmailed me into going out despite my resistance saying that I had a cold. We went out to Club Sound and tried as much as possible to have fun. We danced after a couple of beers and in a blink it was 4 am so we headed back.
I spent the day passed out on the couch, from the wear of moving from school with heavy luggage, a sleep free night and a heavy split weights program. I have not done a lot of thinking today, though as it appears I still think I have a problem regarding passport. I can’t seem to have raised enough money already and clubbing with Jackie was just a total waste of my time, energy and money. I do not think that she has the capacity to make me feel at home, at the very least.
I told Vera, my syster, of my trip today and just like my mum she asked how much I would be paid… I avoided commenting on that just as I had done before. I tell myself that I have more important stuff to worry about, but the truth is I want to give this a good thought. I would like to be clear, but no, I don’t want to think about it. There’s got to be more to life than just getting paid; does that even make sense?

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Bond and I…
This Saturday was a perfectly ideal day; I am super exhausted, doing nothing, no plans but full of regrets of the choices I have made throughout the week. Isn’t that what we do on Saturday, think about how things would have been if we picked an option different from the one we had? Can I even trust myself anymore to make my own decisions or should I get an advisor?
I spent the afternoon watching movies; Johnny English and the ridicule he makes of 007. Coming to think of it the James Bond movies were my dad’s favorite, and I grew up to like them too, though I was always forbidden from watching them, perhaps because Bond was always kissing or flirting with some woman, not necessarily his wife or girlfriend per say (that’s probably the one thing he and I share) even when he had the entire Russian army shooting at him. I also watched the Jaw dropping Sherlock Holmes, a few Jackie Chans and Chris Rock’s “I Think I love My Wife.”
Although I try to play it off, black it out, I am missing something that I have no idea of. This complainy, whiny trend is so unlike what I think of myself. Or have I been living in a deluded view of me? I doubt it. I want to feel good. I have a big opportunity now, shouldn’t I be happy, complete, satisfied? I don’t feel that way. I mean am happy that Saki and Yoshi have given me this opportunity to see the world; reminds me of an awesome movie I saw on Mnet, Mao’s Last Dance, that I am the frog that lived in the well all his life and the day he was convinced to leap, or is it jump, whatever, and was able to see the outside world, he wouldn’t settle for anything less, but somehow I still feel a void inside. But at least I trust that I will do just fine, always do…
Yoshi does not like to predict things, he told me, but rather keep an open mind and see what comes of anything. He sets the motion and the mood then stands aside, hand on the chin, to watch the outcome, like a scientist running a lab experiment. I often think in the other direction, predict, imagine, create a picture so am prepared with a response. It works better for me that way. But lately I feel like his method might just be more reliable, or maybe the most reliable method is a blend of the two. To me they are not really extreme lines of thought, just slightly different.

Sunday, April 8, 2012
Grand Plan…
Like I had said earlier, I wanted to start thinking on Tuesday. It’s very hard not to think, I am having trouble with that, really, but trying. I don’t want to remember, contemplate or figure something out, at least until Tuesday. So again today I drowned myself in movies and sleep, had lunch at a restaurant instead of home, then, in as much as I tried to avoid it, I started cleaning my shoes. I thought a little, but then put earphones and sang along to Vybz Cartel. Besides the fact that he’s all about cocky into pussy stuff, I like his music, Clarkes being a favorite. And the funny Jamaican accent, I am never doing that…
I went to the cyber café to check my e-mail and my facebook accounts to see if any jobs had come up. There was nothing, reminding me of how much I need one. My work with Don’s Gym will not go on for long, we do not have that good a bond, probably because of the way I feel about it. He talked me down to half the pay I asked for, and I didn’t say no, couldn’t. God only knows how I would feel if I were able to start off at Donholm. I can not delude myself that failure is not an option, because right now it feels like the largest percentage.
In the back of my mind I have been thinking about having a grand plan of my life, my day. I admire how Yoshi operates. He has a plan for everything, even ‘nothing’ is planned for. You ask him when he is free and he pulls out a whole book, showing a table of his days, all planned for. He’s always waiting to do something when it’s supposed to be done. Why don’t I have that?
Keeping this journal is a big change for me. I tried a diary once but only filled up two or three days then I kept procrastinating. It’s still empty from 2011. But this has to be kept. By the same token I will draw up a plan. Tomorrow we go to Korogocho and on Tuesday we will do some texts translation. I look forward to the experience.

Monday, April 9, 2012
Tiresome Easter Monday and Kenyans just never miss an opportunity to create a silly funny line out of just anything. My favorite today:
“no matter how much weed Satan smokes, he can never be the most high. Happy Easter.”
We went to Korogocho today for Yoshi’s workshop titled Kangaeru, nice place, tiresome work but really cool feel seeing how people interpret strange new ideas. I kind of liked what they had done at St. John Church/Informal School, especially the playing fields, really interactive.
I am spending the night at my friend Steve’s, playing chess and probably watch something. I beat him 3 games, always do because for some reason he is often distracted and fails to see the bigger picture. After the games we watched the first few episodes of the series, Homeland; very nice, I think I will watch more of it. Anyway, I told Steve that I was travelling to the UK.
It’s amazing the reactions I get when I break the news to people and the expressions on their faces when I mention London, being a few hours, actually one and a half from Loughborough, as I heard. My sister and my mum want to know how much I am getting paid, Steve wants me to give him money because he is broke and I am rich enough to go to the UK and Stella is amazed, wishes she were me. We had beef and sukuma, traditional Kenyan green vegetable, for supper and I had three quarter the meal because Steve had a stomach upset which kept him in the toilet a lot, making him use up his 200-page book, because he ran out of toilet papers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Exemplary in Bedbugs
I woke up at 9 am, jumpy and tired from late sleeping. Steve was still in the toilet when I woke up. Anyway we made a light breakfast then I rushed back home, showered then packed a few and left for the university because we had a scheduled field work for the research on childhood obesity, to which I am an assistant. I had had to reschedule the translation with Yoshi, because of this research, but when we got to Kilimani primary School, the head teacher turned us back with some excuse I did not even bother to remember. Very disappointing.
We got back to Kenyatta University past 4pm, too late for me to rush back to town, Nyayo House, to follow up my passport; I will probably do that tomorrow after the field trip to All Saints Cathedral Primary School- won’t even come all the way back to school. I am lucky tonight to get a bed at the hostels, Nyayo hostels, because my friends are here attending a leadership conference for exemplary students. How come I don’t make this exemplary list? Well, it’s probably because of the numerous Ds and Cs and the scarcity of As in my transcripts. But I feel exemplary, and I have always had trouble associating with these exemplaries, because I feel more exemplary and I think they argue and think too much.
I had been warned that Nyayo 2 has a lot of bed bugs and that I will have to be tough to last a night. Well, it’s not like I have any other choice. I have a job interview at 8 am in the morning so I will sleep before 10 pm. I can already see the bedbugs roaming the mattress and the wall, worse that I did not even carry any bedding and the only thing my friend can spare for me is a bed sheet, it will suffice, it’ll have to. I feel sad that I have to live like this, hopping from one place to another like wild animals, but it motivates me a lot.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Bribe me ASAP
I woke up early, having been stressed up and squeezed of life by the bedbugs I slept alongside; it’s even hard to believe I am back at Nyayo 2 for the night, again. Probably have to figure out a way with these bugs. Today was a non-training day for me but I did not get to rest; I went for the job interview at Bonali Gym- small place but with lots of opportunities I could really explore.
I passed the interview, but for some reason am seriously considering not showing up tomorrow at 6 am for my day 1. I was kind of surprised that the manager at Bonali could not understand my concept of compounded salary. He took a lot of time trying to figure out the math.
I did not get to Nysayo House because by the time I got back from Bonali we were headed out to All Saints Cathedral Primary School with the ISCOLE team for tests. This was the final day, and we did it perfectly, considering that the main researchers were absent, for the first time since the research began. It gave me a thought, maybe I can say hallo to the ISCOLE team in the UK, I’ll see about that.
After the study, which we finished earlier than usual, I rushed to Nyayo House and joined the long queue. My passport is scheduled to be out in the next 3 weeks, at least. That means that if I wait, I don’t get to go to the UK, not an option. Saki says that we have to book flights ASAP, by the beginning of next week, whatever the case, whatever I do, I must have that passport by next Wednesday. It’s amazing how much she is committed to help me. She agreed to pay me KSh 5000 (£37.5), which I’d use to bribe someone so my passport would come out early. I like transparent dealings, but take that option away and am left with bribery. I know a few people, charging from KSh 5000 to 12000 (£90), for quick passport, well, at least I know someone who knows someone, related to a friend of someone whose uncle’s wife’s friend works at immigration. You get the picture…

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Chess and Movies
Amid the bugs, I slept well, having found out that moving the bed slightly off the wall gave fewer bugs access to me. In fact, only the few that lived in the mattress and the bed could reach me, and I killed a considerable number of them. If I spend 2 more nights here, with the bed off the wall, and the numerous corpses of bugs I leave as a trail, the ‘survivors’ might actually consider moving to a less hostile environment. Anyway, tonight am at my friend Steve’s, taking the couch. There are no bugs. I also resumed training today.
I contacted someone about my passport and am still waiting for feedback; I hope it comes out soon. The Nishios and I went to city hall to get permission to do a street show on 20th and despite the struggle we got a good price. I got called today for a job I had applied at the University of Nairobi, as a fitness instructor. It’s amazing how long these things take to go through; over three months after my application, I’d even gotten over it. And again it’s funny because I turned down the Bonali job, my reasons being the uncertainty and distrust I convinced myself I could see clearly in the manager’s eyes as he spoke to me, in addition to the long hours he wanted me to do, from 6 am to 8 pm, that is like a double shift for half the pay. I want people to look at me straight, not with their eyes wandering all over, when they talk to me because it gives me a chance to gauge their honesty.
I told Sunday today that I was going to the UK; she was very excited, telling me to make as much contact/network as I could- good advice. I wouldn’t have told her if I did not want her to step on her friend to do my passport quickly, and then bad news, the guy we hoped would help was out on leave, but we can’t run out of people now can we? Mathew was my option 2 if Sunday did not come through. Oh, and then there is the guy at CLIP, he once told me he could help. In fact I’ll go see him on Monday. I frankly never thought I have such a nightmare in trying to get a passport.
I’m going to play a few chess games, probably watch a few episodes of the series Fringe season 4, just bought it today on my way from the class at Don’s Gym in Kileleshwa. It was a fast awesome class but I felt as though I was straining every bit, from the exhaustion of the day. Anyway, we are having noodles and meat, Steve’s favorite.

Friday, April 13, 2012
Body, Pocket, Heart…
I woke up early today, not that I had some particular pressing matter to attend to, but just because I wanted to. Steve left early and I was left reading a few pages and listening to Dido. I wanted to meet Yoshi at 10 am but I could not find Steve’s padlock so I had to wait, cursing the hours as they went by. Anyway, I used that time to complete the works that Yoshi gave me, especially the one with the writings from the Kangas, traditional cloth from East Africa, to be translated into English. Every time I looked at it I said to myself how easy it was, and how short a time it would take to get done, but I did not think I would forget it all the way to the very last minute. I got to Yoshi’s house at about 12 pm, just in time to catch their lunch; eggs done together with rice, minced meat and green peas; omerice was the name. This is the next thing I learn how to do; how to cook omerice. I like it because it’s balanced in nutritional content, it’s kind of simple and it’s got class; amazing how much class I care about lately. I once set out to learn how to cook Japanese, but whatever happened to that dream I can’t say, all I know is I still want to and I am going to start with omerice, then to fried rice, chahan.
As promised Saki gave me the KSh 5000 (£37.5) and I stashed it between my documents, as if it were a piece of paper, like a ticket; reminded me of my thoughts- what would it be like if there were a ticket to heaven? Well, I’d stash it between my documents, to begin with, at least. Because Yoshi cancelled the interview we were to do at Ciku’s house, probably because I was too late, and he and Saki had to leave, I got back to Steve’s house and we spent the afternoon watching the series Homeland; at least I was watching. Steve spent the better part of the afternoon solving issues with his girlfriend, Olive.
Steve and Olive amaze me. They’ve been together a really long time and all that time they are always trying to kick each other. Break up and make up and fight and kiss and stay together and move out and fight and make up and stuff like that I wonder how they keep that up. I mean I want a stable relationship, been chasing that all my life, but I want it minus all of these scuffles. They say it’s normal, I say I can’t sustain it for any length of time. That’s why Quinter and I never worked out; we kept doing these, hurting each other and saying how sorry we were and we did it so much I got bored.

Saturday, April 14, 2012
Destination Unknown…
After wasting the whole morning procrastinating a lot of stuff I met Yoshi at 2.30 pm and we had a good interview with Mama Ciku. We passed by my mum’s house and had porridge, then I saw off Yoshi and spent the rest of the afternoon at the cyber café downloading e-books from I had planned to look up destinations in England that I‘d visit but somehow I got carried away with the e-books. I liked especially the one with tricks with cards. I’d love to know more of these tricks. I once showed Stella a trick with cards and man did I love that fascinating OMG look in her eyes. I got back to Steve’s house and we made fish balls and ugali for supper. The University of Nairobi wants me to stamp my letter of appointment yet I don’t own any stamp let alone a company to use that stamp on. I’ll probable get them something, next week. I had a dull day and Sunday could not give me a good report regarding my passport so perhaps I should pursue a different avenue come Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012
Stella and the Turtles…
Today was my big day and to tell you guys anything else would be a big deception. I have this tingling down my spine, this desire to be, this feeling of helplessness that I cannot control however hard I try when am around Stella. To elaborate anything more than the fact that Stella is a pretty, composed, awesome and fascinating lady is not within the scope or jurisdiction of this journal.
We went to church at the Holy Family Minor Basilica in town. She wore a multi colored brown-major dress, a light brown scarf, heels to match her dress and carried a white handbag. How did I even know that all I needed to match her was a dark brown trouser, 1963 fashion, and a pink shirt? She looked awesome and I’d forgotten to comb my hair! After the mass, as planned, we headed out elegantly to the Nairobi Museum, passing by the supermarket for drinks and snacks. We walked slowly, and I enjoyed every moment, though sometimes I got lost ogling at her goose bumped skin.
She was fascinated by birds, animals, sculptures, history, pictures, even the design of the building, being different from how she remembers it from her last visit with her late dad, regrettably, and when we got to the snake park, it was difficult to keep to each other, and not touch. The most awesome thing we saw today was two turtles having sex. I didn’t even know how they do it, doggy style, and again the OMG look on Stella’s face assured me we would not forget this scene anytime soon. We saw all kinds of stuff, had max fun then I took her to take a matatu back home, having decided we would keep in touch over the next date and I can’t think of anyone else to the opening ceremony at Le Rustique Restaurant on 4thMay.

Monday, April 16, 2012
Today I woke up with thoughts of Stella lingering all over my head, that’s all that seems to be lately, like I am growing up from everybody else. I spent the day feeling so tired and washed up so much that I failed to go on with my split program. Neither did I go to town or to the passport office, I spent the day reading a seduction book by Ross Jeffries and then I went to University of Nairobi to do my first day at my new job.
They say the first impression is usually the most important because so many times the first meet is often the last chance; it gives an advantage with the halo effect. I was out to make a good impression with this group, and this was my last chance, and I rose up to the occasion like crazy, so much that I strained everyone including myself, said my semi injured knee and headache.
I will go to the passport office tomorrow, have to so that my visa application is done in time and again I think I have made Saki worry too much about me and my passport. I want her to have a peace of mind. We’ll also get flyers stamped of Yoshi’s Kangaeru street show tomorrow. My friend Felix and I found 2 vacant houses in Laini Saba, and I want to move into one of them ASAP, well, as soon as I get the money to pay up rent and deposit; for crying out loud I have not even a mattress..!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Tear my Passport…
I spent the whole morning moving up and down following my passport business. Is it always this fucked up to chase for important documents such as passport or birth certificate? As I stood in line I saw a lady sigh in relief as she got her passport. She turned the pages slowly, ogling and caressing each of them, licking her lips as the pages turn, like she had met a new lover. I will do the same, I will kiss my passport, caress it, cajole it and hold it in a hug close to my heart, but then again I want to punch it really hard, tear a page from it, as a punishment for being too elusive.
My matters are complicated by the fact that I lost the original receipt required during the issuance of the passport and I got a police abstract for it only to be told that the tracing number on my abstract does not match my name in their system; small hold up though, I will really smash that passport when I get it.
Saki and I had lunch at a Swahili restaurant, talking about tones of stuff, especially food and cooking. She will teach me how to make omerice and curry rice, two of my Japanese favorite rice recipes, not to say that I no longer like fried rice, chahan, it’s also a favorite. When we got to city hall they were ready for us and I saw off Saki to the bus station at Afya Centre then headed for Don’s Gym. I asked Don for two things, an advance payment of at least 6 classes totaling to KSh 3000 (£22.5) and disposed off furniture he no longer used, like the ones I see get rained on and beat up by the sun day in day out at his gym. Maybe I got brought up in a different society but I know that whenever someone asks you for something, you’d better do your best to give them. When Don hesitated, a softer way of saying no, I thought of my friend Victor, maybe he’d give me a loan, maybe I’d sell him something. In the end I did not get any money and I headed back to Steve’s house, sulking and worrying. My passport must come out soon, or am screwed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
My own House…
Scouting for models for the Friday street show with the Nishios. I was indifferent for expectations but as I had mentioned earlier, Yoshi’s no one to anticipate things, at least not the every meaning of that word, he’s like an experimenter, setting stimuli and standing aside to watch. I spent the whole morning making phone calls from one person to the next, man, haven’t I used enough credit already? Because it seems like the only thing I buy lately…
The scouting went well, better than I’d thought, cliché`, and we went back to the house to study English and Japanese. We talked about salaries in Kenya and Japan, studied a few more Kanji then I walked slowly to work. Don had promised to call me today over my requests to him, and even though he hadn’t told me upright, I was sure of his answer. He only confirmed it with tones of unnecessary excuses. I will not be able to move anytime soon, and it saddens me a lot.
Saki does not understand why I need to get my own house. I am so not comfortable at Steve’s house, he’s shifty, moody, like a woman, and am not sure I want to hang around when his girl shows up. For crying out loud I can’t even bring a girl home, and if I can’t do that then am not happy. Seriously though, I may not go to Mt. Kenya, meaning I may have my internship in Nairobi and will definitely be inconvenient staying at someone’s house. My work is stressful, especially when it is full-blown; it’s not the kind of a job you want to see wrinkled up foreheads hustling you for space after. This is why I must get a house now and even if I go to Mt. Kenya, I still will have time off, and will need to come to a place I can call home, bring someone over for a night or two.

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Internship Woes…
I spent practically the whole day today at immigrations for the sole reason that if I can not get my passport by the end of this week, then I can not travel at all, whether I get or not. I waited endless hours, had yoghurt and mandazi, Kenyan doughnuts, for lunch, met a really nice lady in yellow with a wide smile and talked to Stella a lot, from which I gather I have to see her sooner than later, lest I risk triggering her resistance alarms.
I feel sad that I have made the Nishios worry so much, after all the support and trust they have extended to me, and knowing that I could have done this passport affair way before this squeezed up time. I went to work at Don’s Gym shortly after 5 pm, having waited from 11 am; I did not even get to go to the university as planned. I have not been successful at striking a compromise with the university regarding my internship and the only option left for me, according to them, is to find another place ASAP within Nairobi, preferably in or around the town.
I am thinking of the Arena Gym, it was my second option after Mt. Kenya and followed closely by Alison Caroline Institute. I will apply to both, then make a choice if both come up, or take the one that comes up first. I also have the option of going to Mt. Kenya on 1st may as scheduled then take some time off for my trip then head back up when am done. The latter option is my greatest desire, but it is remotely possible, because am not sure that KESAL, the organization I am going to be attached to, or the university will freely consent to any of these. Maybe I am going to have to bribe someone because it seems like that is the only thing that works nowadays, or perhaps I could twist some joints. I will make the decision regarding my internship on Monday.
Kiki promised that my passport would be out by tomorrow morning, 8 am, and the only thing I have to go on is this thin line of trust and hope, not always reliable, according to me. Tomorrow is also the day we do the street show with the Nishios around Nyayo Stadium and I can’t help but look forward to what it is going to be like. I feel tired and washed up by the week I can’t wait for the weekend, but rest is nowhere in sight for me; I’ll probably rest when I have got my own house.

Friday, April 20, 2012
Kiss me through the phone
I got my passport today, man was I happy… I hugged it, kissed it, caressed it page by page, smelled it, smiled at it, grinned, shook my head, jumped, sat, walked and finally asked Stella to kiss me through the phone.
My morning was spent at immigration, waiting as usual, and when I had to leave I left my documents to Kiki to buzz me as soon as the passport was ready. By the time I arrived the Nishios were started already with the show; the models were set and everything was on track. I just stepped in to it, do a little directing then I took a few pictures and left shortly after 2pm, when traffic had subsided; to go check out Kiki. After a few tens of minutes on the line I got the passport, made me forget I’d spent the whole day out in the hot sun, peeling my skin off, piercing right into my system, and that I’d not had anything to eat since breakfast, very unlike me. I was so happy I thought of none of that, except that I was now thirsty.
When I got back, the show was all finished and we headed back to the Nishio’s house, drank juice and I had a lot of water, copied a page from my new passport then left. I wasn’t feeling hungry, but I knew I had to eat something, and to make it strategic for Stella, I bought roast maize, peanuts, deep fried cassava and some herb I don’t know what they call in English, or even proper Swahili, but we call ‘mgombero’. This stuff is good, especially when you have a woman around, just add a boiled egg or two and some black tea.
I remember how excited face was when I told her I had got my passport, finally!! Now I can think about UK in a more sober mind. I want go to the theatre of dreams, Wembley, to old Trafford, Manchester and possibly to Emirates (Arsenal). By my rule I’d visit all the stadium where they play the EPL then I also want to visit this crazy market I was told about by James the cameraman, but I already forgot the name of the place; I must have been too excited to keep new memories, plus again lately I tend to forget a lot of stuff.
As we looked at the pictures taken by Kichi and James, I can’t believe I am going to be taking pictures in the UK, comparing the ones I took today with the ones they did. I once saw an e-book on street photography on, maybe I want to get it, read it before get messy with camera.
Stella and I will meet tomorrow, somehow I feel we are gonna have so much fun, courtesy of this rain threatening to spill some cold weather into Saturday. I hope it does because then it predisposes me with a giant excuse.

Saturday, April 21, 2012
In Exile…
The day was all Stella. She showed up shortly after 12pm and she, Steve and I spent the day chatting, playing, listening to music and making omena and ugali for lunch. It was an awesome day, finalized when Steve left us to go to work after 4pm.
VCT freaks me out, and I do a lot to avoid it, not that I don’t trust me, but it’s just that it freaks me out. But it seems as though I have no choice in the matter, because Stella will have none of my excuses. I must go and I must show the results. I have no way of saying no to her. I will probably get tested tomorrow or Monday, maybe in the course of the week, or towards the end of it. If only I could pirate the result slip they give you after the test, in fact I will call the master pirate of all things, my friend Silas.
I lost my phone probably in a matatu, on our way to town. It saddens me I can not speak to her tonight, she’ll probably think I did not like the times we had so I got off-line to avoid her. I’ll renew my line first thing in the morning tomorrow, then, using the theft proof function/app on my phone. I will ask Safaricom if there is anyway they can help me find it.
Steve’s woman also came so today I am in exile, spending the night on my mum’s couch, because my sister who normally fakes it is shortly away, lucky me. I did not have a phone or a number to ask anyone I could spend at their place. I am sick and tired on being on the jump like this, moving from one place to another, worrying each time if the following day you’re gonna find a roof above your head. I want freedom, my house and I am getting that before Wednesday. This means I have to borrow money, at least KSh 6000 (£45) to suffice the entire process; then I’ll probably pay back, along with the KSh 8000 (£60) and KSh 3000 (£22.5) I owe other people. I don’t live above my means at all, and I don’t borrow too much, except when unavoidably necessary I asked Don for money and he said no, I owe Babel so it would be illogical to ask her for more and I don’t know any other people who trust me that much.
I don’t know what to expect in UK; I hear it is a rich land with all rich people, perhaps I will be rich when I get back, but for now I can’t seem to raise KSh 6000, and it really hurts. Stella believes that the good life is about having happiness, comfort and everything you need; I don’t refuse, in fact I saw all that into one word, ability.
The only thing I have to worry about after yesterday is whether I will be able to keep my passport safe till the travel date, only, at least. I hate sleeping on the couch because it forces me to sleep bent, and that is not good because I wake up with painful legs. I might probably consider asking the Nishios for a loan, but I think it is not so friendly in their culture to do that.

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Rainy Days
It’s been a while since I last wrote in this diary and I kind of feel terrible that I said I would do this daily, not fail a single day, let alone 20 days. I moved into a new house, courtesy of a soft loan from the Nishios and have spent the last so long renovating the place to make it me-friendly.
On 4th we went to the Le Rustique Restaurant for the opening ceremony of Kangaeru, Yoshi’s solo exhibition. I met a very touchy Frenchman, who happened to be the curator (a word I learnt from Yoshi, but find very strange). I ate a lot of shrimps, after I had tried eating some strange samosas that almost made me throw up.
The last number of days have been very very difficult to cut through. With the rain, my job at Don’s Gym slowly faded off because most clients cancelled a lot, rendering me jobless and helpless. I tried to look for jobs at other gyms, still am trying, but all seems to be stagnant, almost like I am under a spell. Good news is Yoshi gave me his old phone to use for the time being, taking a little weight off of my chest.
Also, in the last so long, the new nightmare of the UK visit has been acquiring a visa, in time. We had to reschedule our travel plans from 9th to 23rd because my passport delayed and the visa thing may also prove. It’s a funny affair, getting things when you really need them. I went through mountains getting a birth certificate so I could apply for a passport, for which I went through hell and now I wonder what I have left to go through to get a visa, which I only applied 2 days ago. Got told it will turnover on 31st, 8 days off of out schedule; I can only hope.
My mind has been shifty. I can’t help but wonder, what if I can’t go to UK for any reason? What will it be like? I have valued this opportunity way too much, gave up anything in its way, whatever importance level they had to me. The biggest being my internship, which I will have to take in the next academic year now, prolonging my graduation date by a full academic year. For this I have no fall back, and I can not blame anybody if it goes wrong because I made an unformed decision. The Nishio’s commitment to this is beyond question and in any case, all setbacks so far came by delays on my side. By all means, this trip has to happen, because there aint no other thing that ought to happen, that’s what my head says.
Stella and I have had a lot of fun times together, and all the times we had made me realize how shallow our relationship really is. We’ve disagreed, got angry, had fun and now we are at a point where neither of us know what is next. I can’t say for sure we are done, but from my experience it will take only a miracle to move us forth. I wanted to go with her to Le Rustique Restaurant, but the day before (3rd) we’d had a confrontation; God knows how much I dislike them, and when she asked if I’d gone, I lied and said I had a stomach upset. I never have stomach upsets, except when I want to put someone off.
Yoshi asked me to type this journal, and as I was looking for friends with computers, I remembered I am yet to get over my stolen laptop. If it’s in pieces now or intact, that I can’t say, but I took a police abstract so the CID can help me track it; I heard they do such things. I hope they do.

Friday, May 18, 2012
The Balance of Probabilities
I took a night job, helping my sister cook samosas and as we grueled through the endless hours and the quiet of the night, dogs barking in the background, the wind easily blowing sounds off the mabati roofs and walls of Kibera, drunks staggering in and out of ditches and thieves stealthily lurking around the numerous twists and turns, armed to the teeth, waiting to outnumber a loner, preferably a woman, or an old man, take a few coins off of them, and a mobile phone, I couldn’t wait to be done and go to get my pass into the UK.
I couldn’t understand why Saki was so worried that maybe my visa could be rejected, probably because I saw no grounds of rejection; we submitted all we had. When I got that huge grey polythene envelope, the assistant asking me to confirm if that was my name stuck somewhere in the corner, she asked me to open outside; probably knew…
My passport was there, and a letter, addressed to a Mr. David Omondi Wagude, that’s me. I looked at it, scanned through, saw nothing to overwhelm the urge to see a stamped passport and when I took it out, in my hands, my heart skipped a beat, made an expression I have no clue of in my face, cleaned my forehead, it wasn’t dirty, looked around, bit my lips and took the stairs down.
On the balance of probabilities, that’s the term they used, I wasn’t a genuine visitor to the UK, as an entertainer, and that I had not enough economic bond with Kenya to compel me back after the completion of my business. Only a few days to my journey, and now I have no visa! I remember how excited Saki was when she told me my results were out, reassuring my travel. I have no intention of giving up, I can appeal, if I can gather enough documents, with direct mentions, such as that I still have university education going on making it unwise to refuse to return after the completion of my business.
I met the Nishios shortly after and we put our heads together, scratched them but in the end we still needed a little more time to do some more scratching, so I left. I just need to produce something showing that I have economic ties to Kenya, that I have a reason to come back. I did not know it was this hectic getting a visa, neither did anybody I know.
I spent the last couple of days typing my journal, solving stuff with Stella, hallucinating about my trip, looking for someone to continue my classes while am away and now its all blacked out. The possibility of failure stands at 70%, complicated by the fix of time we have.

Sunday, May 20, 2012
On the balance of all possibilities it will be difficult to go to the UK, I presume. The chances are too thin. Yoshi and I scheduled a photo shoot around Highrise area, and we were also supposed to select the clothes I will be using in the Self Select project in Loughborough, both of which should have been done by today and the fact that we haven’t said a word about this reminds me of Stella and I; the little signs we show each other, without saying a word, yet the other party understands perfectly, or can at least be ready for the surprises, and when we finally speak it normally is only a confirmation, almost always.
I haven’t told anyone my visa got rejected, except as was necessary. My mind is sure that I can’t travel anymore and all the hype in me is now deed like I said, I have no fall back for this, it’s face flat, pants down. I asked my mum if she has any assets or properties for which I am listed as a next of kin, maybe we’d use these for the appeal, if at all we’ll do it, and my bank statement can not show any promise; I use my bank account only to withdraw money from Higher Education Loans Board, never deposit, about once or twice, maybe four times a year. All the work I do in money in my hands, for which I have no proof, as required by the border agency. It’s amazing that the only thing my mum has worth listing me in as a next of kin is her bank account, which I reckon has nothing, based on the fact that she’s broke now..
Tomorrow I’ll go to the university very early to get a supporting letter, saying that I still have time to do in school, then University of Nairobi confirming my hiring and the fact that they owe me money, a fact I strongly resent because it’s a freaking 20th and they haven’t paid me for the previous month, who does that? I’ll also get Don to write me a letter, confirming my work with him, and the money I get. Now I wish I’d done all of these before, if only I knew that much. Through the years I learnt to dust my shoulders and walk forth, I hope I can still do it. The loss is too much, and I don’t know what to tell anyone, after locking horns with the university over my internship and my interest; decisions decisions…

Monday, May 21, 2012
2 days to departure, I left the house early for the university, to beginning my kicks of a dying horse and then I got it, the message from Saki saying we have something to discuss. One plus one is two, so I was just going to hear it from the horse’s mouth; but I knew it. I went to my friend’s house to chat, eat and sleep so much by the time I woke up, I was late.
I’d been a little unwell lately, and the loss of Stella helped so much more with that. I took some antibiotics and painkillers, and my class at the University of Nairobi was fine, though my voice was a little terrible. I met the Nishios and we gathered around the table, Migen, their little son, struggling up the chair and all the three, sorry, four, plus Migen, tired so much as possible to keep our cool, smile and wipe the frowns off our faces. I have no problem dealing with disappointments, however heavy, I have seen enough of them. It’s amazing the amount of respect these people have. Many times you get cancelled on via SMS or a phone call. Today, Saki and Yoshi shared the burden of telling me the difficult stuff, and I understand, know the faults and can not blame anyone.
Yoshi stressed that we’d do a project in Tokyo, upping my psych because I always wanted to go to Japan. This would be a make up for this disappointment and I think I am content with all of this. One door closes and another opens. The series visitor was a captivating watch; I love watching movies because I always take away something from them; when asked how he felt about losing most of his fights despite going the distance, in all of them, one boxer said “…I may have got knocked down so many times, but also the fighter that got up the most…” There is also the other saying about plans and planning; Plans are useless in warfare, but planning is indispensible. I lost this time, but it’s fine, Tokyo awaits me.
I feel a great temptation to call Stella, tell how things fair, hear her voice, maybe get together; but that would scratch my face, at least the parts I still have untouched.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I quit working for my sister after the shift last night. Working over 16 hours everyday and having to make up for her mistakes that’s always a cliché isn’t a thing I can keep up so long.
When I first got news of this project, my excitement wouldn’t allow me to work up the details in my head. I only heard the part where I get to go to the UK on a fully catered for trip, visit places I want and the only catch being doing what Yoshi and I always do; deals like these don’t come up everyday. I started writing this journal, amid this excitement and tones of issues in my life so much I fear I might have not met the purpose of this journal in full; Maybe it’s too much me.
All along I knew this would be published but the truth of that caught up with me when Saki said it’d be done in both Japanese and English. Well, that’s all right, but am not sure how I feel, kind of “Ish Ish” in Swahili meaning so-so, maybe it’s too honest, like the one wrote in high school. But again this is art, a true reflection of the facts, as they are, and I want it published as it is.
The Nishio’s leave today and I wish them the very best. I feel sad that I can’t go, but am over that and I so much wanted to meet the supporting team at Loughborough. Amelia, to begin with, the name sounds sweet, creates a picture of someone worth meeting. Nick Slater, I read the name in the documents and e-mails to Yoshi, the ones they showed to me— am no hacker, must be a cool guy, I don’t know, but it would have been nice to.