The sky was a beautiful blue hue and cloudless. The sun was gentle and warm caressing every face that lifted to be serenaded by it. Kenyatta Avenue was filled with people from across the city. There were balloons everywhere, children with their faces painted, and some on their father’s shoulders. Women with children tied on their backs and eating peanuts, from the hawkers now pacing in the street, stood in hypnotic enthusiasm.

There was a wave of cheers as the floats moved closer. A dozen men clad in top hats and draped in flag colour inspired trench coats were now moving on high above the crowd in stilts. Women dressed as mermaids with coconut shells serving as brassieres were on an Indian Ocean inspired float. Confetti was flying in the air, vuvuzelas bellowing from a far and the Mexican wave moving from one side of the street to another.

Singing could be heard from all corners, women clad in sisal skirts and tank tops with metal shakers strapped to their shins chanted and ululated alternately. They sang medleys of traditional music from across the country. A team of 10 men sped past the floats twirled their carts full of sugar cane and skillfully peeled sugarcane and shared the whole stump to by standers. The crowd cheered and went wild.

The Mexican wave came past Tenia again. She wasn’t enjoying herself so much being 5’ was frustrating, she could barely see anything and she spent more time trying to get peanut peels and crumbs from people’s meals out of her hair and clothes. People didn’t seem to see her. One man literally stepped on both her feet at the same time, Tenia was shocked and confused, and she didn’t even know what to say. Some random man offered her an ice cream thinking that she was an abandoned child. Tenia could smell paeodophile all over that man. She pretended to cry and tugged on a man’s shirt who was next to her, and pointed at the ‘ice cream’ man. The man next to Tenia looked sternly at her and the man she pointed at, he had no clue what was going on. By the time he slapped off Tenia’s hand the mission had been accomplished. ‘Ice cream’ man had left the vicinity.

Tenia went to the carnival for one reason, to see her only living relative. Her twin brother, Prio, was an attraction on the jungle float. Prio was a sharp contrast; he was a staggering 6’ 9” burly man. He was a gorilla on the float. Tenia was waiting to see his chest pounding and gorilla cry then leave for home early.  The Mexican wave came by Tenia again and this time it was followed by a shower of tortilla chips from the teenager who was standing behind her. He apologized. Tenia rolled her eyes and as she lifted them she saw her brother pounding his chest and letting out a resounding gorilla cry. The crowd went wild cheering, confetti in the air. Then a sharp sound like a fire cracker was heard and then Prio fell. The crowd began to scream and disperse chaotically.


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