08 AMINI: The Flower…

I open the door. It’s Professor Lach! I almost jump out of my skin. The president himself is here and I am in paint-stained pajamas. The lesso, quickly strewn across my chest at the knock of the door, is the only decent hope of ever being introduced to his heart-melting nephew, Theo.

Come in…” My confused self invites. I begin to unlatch the outer burglar-proof  door.

Not to worry my daughter, I’ll only be a moment.” He hands me a flier – the same pink flier that, a few days back, was slipped under my door. “I just thought to make a personal invitation. Too many people missed out last year…

A 60 year old man climbs 5 flights up to reach out to me. How can I possibly not be there? “I will be present…” I confirm. I know fully understand why Amini reveres this gentleman.

I apologize for my unkempt look. “Not to worry my daughter and anyway if you cannot be free in your house, no other place can ever liberate you.

2:30 p.m. Cheery strides of the women towards Amini Primary School can be heard from afar. I rush down the stairs to join them.

I see you neither carried a lesso nor an umbrella…” Mama Frosa explains that the Professor’s talks can get long and windy making it necessary to always carry the paraphernalia. “In any case the grass stains can be a royal pain but don’t worry…” Her strong left hand squeezes mine, “We will share…

Amini is shaped like a flower, with each phase representing 1 of the 8 petals of its well thought out design. At the heart of it is the vibrant Amini Shopping Centre complete with a supermarket, butchery, hair salon, pharmacy, restaurant, movie store and of course the very popular Amini Veranda Bar. An aerial view of this floret reveals 2 access roads; one leading cars in and out of the trading area, and the other allowing residents and their guests to directly access their homes. The school – shaped like a leaf – is built off-road and boasts of having the largest playing field in Nairobi. The only sad thing is that the silver faucets that once jetted clean drinking water for pupils are all a dusty dry. Nonetheless, Amini’s architecture remains undoubtedly ingenious.

We arrive at the school. The anticipation is at its climax. Hugs and high-fives make the mood all the more exciting. I never knew Amini had these many women. Mama Frosa quickly introduces me to her friends and the daughters to her friends. “She is the one who drives the old white Nissan.” “Ile inasimama simama?” another of her comrades seeks to ascertain. That is it! I have to get rid of the godforsaken vehicle. Frosa’s mum sets camp right at the front. I hand her the extra bottle of water purchased at the gate entrance. “Asante sana!” We quickly submit to our thirst.The Professor, newspaper in hand as always, arrives. The crowd ululates. An interesting afternoon awaits us.2

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