nilifikiri sitasoma. Lakini sasa, I'm one of the highest learned people in Kenya..."
I turn my head slightly to see how high learned people look like.
"Mimi maisha yangu imekuwa nzuri, mungu 'mesaidia.."
He walks past me and glances at my shopping bag.
I've been getting stares.
-What is the smart lady doing here, yaani amekuja all the way kunua mboga,,enyewe sida 'mekuwa nyingi- they seem to be thinking.
I'm carrying my shopping bag in-front of me. A bunch of kunde roots (cow pea plant) covered in earth are sticking out. I bought them from a pick up; they didn't have a knife to cut off the root and stems so now I'm carrying them like french bread.
"Hata kama sina mali, maisha yangu mzuri, na ni kanisa...." I hear him say.
He is carrying a black briefcase, weak at the handles, and a long umbrella. He wears a shabby coat . The stripped ones that go out of shape with pockets seeming to sink inward.
He is wearing white sneakers that have a brown discoloration between sole and body, sign of a leak.
"Hivyo kijana yangu, 'sijiharibie maisha na pombe, I can give an example of myself. I have never drank alcohol in my life..."
The proverb, pombe ni kejeli comes into my mind. Pombe; alcohol, laughs at you. Nice, I could explain that to someone.
We have come to a particularly wet part of the path, and both of us join three or four other people trying to balance on unsteady stones to get to the drier side across.
"Sasa umenielewa...mimi nimesoma....." he continues.
Though I'm not sure if he is still connected. He seems to be addressing me, and anyone else that overhead the conversation. A justification for his imperative statement.
Perhaps he meant, "I'm quite educated."
or, "I did get an education,"
but in a moment of desire to be convincing, the statement "among the highest learned" had escaped; and been overhead by audience who wouldn't care if he was Steve Jobs resurrected.
But all the same requiring an explanation for we humans sometimes say more than we need to, especially on a lone long walk home.
I would have liked to ask him, how many highly learned people are there in Kenya? What did you learn?
Do you have a club and meet every Monday for lunch?