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Monday, December 30, 2013

My Encounter With Muthurwa Hawkers

It was sotime in 2008 when i first stepped foot in Muthurwa and the welcome was amazing. Every hawker was screaming to the top of his/her voice inviting to buy, or the least, have a look at their wares. I felt more like a tourist in my own country - everybody was interested in pleasing me.
I had always heard of Gikomba and Muthurwa as the hawkers paradises. Tales in the villages had it that in Muthurwa and Gikomba, nice suits that Nairobians came wearing during Christmas, cost no more than ksh. 100 per piece. Children clothings, basic Tshirts and blouses will trade for between ksh. 5 to 10.
I came to Nairobi much earlier (even before Muthurwa was constructed), but being a resident of the western side of Nairobi, it took me very long to undertake this expeditous venture. Children west of Uhuru highway are prohibited from waliking beyond Moi avenue, I was made to understand. During this particular day, though, I felt I had grown big enough to take good care of myself and with security rising in Nairobi, I had no reason to hold back my adventure spirit. 
Back to the hawkers, I was called, pulled closer and persuaded to buy absolutely everything. From women bras to children socks. Obviously I didn't have anything specific to buy but decided to try out a pair of trouser. The vendor had pulled me closer to him and was busy showing me all types, sizes and colours of trousers, even before I made my mind to buy one. To him, all the trousers he was holding would fit and look good on me irrespective colour and size. He had guesssed that I was wearing size 32, which was true.
Searching through the bundle of cloths, I managed to spot a grey 'official' trouser. It was neatly sewn. The measuring tape on the vendors neck confirmed it was size 32. I paid ksh. 900 for it , which was lower than what we pay at Westgate by some hundreds.
I was disappointed that I did not get the deal I used to hear in the villages, but consoled myself that the price could have been much lower had I burgained further. This was a disappointment but what followed left me laughing at my self.
On reaching home, I went straight to my bedroom to fit the new cloth. The grey trouser went up with an amazing ease and came down much easier. The waist was too big for the slender boy I was. How did the hawker trick me into buying something that big? Didn't he confirm it with his tape? I struggled with so many questions and thoughts. I even thought of returning the trouser to the vendor the next day but shelved the idea since I could not remember the location of the hawker in busy Muthirwa market. A tailor who was to reduce the waist discovered it was size 38 and could not fit me unless it was tailored afresh. I discarded the cloth at his stall.
Experience taught me that Muthurwa is not for people like me. People who cannot burgain to save their dear life. And from that day, I have never gone back to Muthurwa except on special occasions when Foward Travellers buses abondon me in Muthurwa bus station. (I have since moved to Eastlands). I have never alighted at Gikomba and do not plan to go there in the near future.

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