Just like a beautiful girl attracts a bevy of suitors, Kisii town is always abuzz with swarms of humanity. All the main and backstreets are dotted with merchandise either hoisted on some poles or spread on canvass along the ground.
There is one street that is undoubtedly the busiest and by extension the noisiest. This street boasts of the main police station, at least five banks, a taxi stage, an open-air market and a host of nightclubs. There are several boda boda riders perched on their motorcycles like hawks squaring out the chicks they will land on for a meal.
The stretch along this street would best be described as this town’s CBD. This stretch which is about 400 metres is split at the middle by, perhaps, the oldest round-about in this town. The round-about is named after an old building that has defied all odds to remain standing at the same spot for over two decades; the Capital. The Capital Round-about.
During the day, the area around the Capital Round-about is a parking for private cars and taxis on one hand with a bodaboda stage occupying one section.
However, the scene changes as soon as offices close at 5 p.m. Out of nowhere and as if summoned by the god of dusk, traders emerge with small wares wrapped in old canvass and gunny bags which they spread on the roadside along the street. Their wares range from vegetables, onions, tomatoes to bread; one man stands behind a stack of duvets whereas another one sits beside him with a digital weighing machine placed in front of him. This is no longer a parking zone but an open-air market that is soon illuminated by a security light outside a National Bank located just at the edge of the roundabout. Across the street are taxis lined up along a perimeter wall that secures a compound whose only occupants are Indians.
The night is fast approaching and so is the excitement here. The street is filling up with more young girls and middle-aged men as opposed to the fair mix of young and old that was evident during the day. Already a galaxy of disco lights dot the tarmacked street like the stars of the sky. There is a constellation of colours that project a blend of multicolored silhouettes of curvy and petite waistlines along the walls of surrounding buildings. All the nightclubs here have balconies that face the road and are like prison watchtowers from where revelers sit at tables facing each other. These are favorite spots for smokers too as smoking is not permitted in the dancing halls. The atmosphere in these sections is at times filled with cigarette smoke that would easily choke a toddler.
The downtown streets are littered with scantily dressed girls that peddle flesh for as cheap as fifty shillings a shot. Some are clearly underage and it is normal to spot a few pregnant ones.
The scenario is replicated in the rest of the streets in this town. At around midnight, activities on the streets are at their optimum. The clubs are filling as are the lodgings. There is no scarcity of flesh but of clothes covering exposed flesh. Just extending from the Capital roundabout to the left, is a dimly lit street that connects this upper part of town with the downtown section. At the edge of this street, one can make images of people standing in closed shop verandahs or leaning on concrete pillars outside the buildings. There is the smell of rawness in this region. There are cheap liquors and as expected many drunk people out here. There is a fair proportion of staggering men and women here; most of them are in their teens and middle age. Out of ten words uttered here, six are vulgar.
There are temporary kiosks selling most of the household goods one would find in a supermarket. The quantities here though are small. Each of them at least has several packets of cigarettes, matchboxes, and condoms. The dominant types are Dunhill and Sportsman and Trust and Sure for cigarettes and condoms respectively.
Outside one hotel sits a burly man of Somali origin chewing a mouthful of khat (miraa). His moustache twitches as he bites on a Big-G. He has before him a sack of miraa that would be enough to feed a flock of young goats.
The good thing about this town’s nightlife is that it has everything for everyone. There are Clubs that play just rhumba at a moderate volume and still, there are those that play ohangla. There are several spots where mutura is sold conveniently shielded from the bright glare of the many street lights and there are several places selling deliciously grilled nyama choma. One can get the cheapest liquour on the street or the most expensive in the Clubs. There are more guest rooms than there are hotels. The downtown streets are littered with scantily dressed girls that peddle flesh for as cheap as fifty shillings a shot. Some are clearly underage and it is normal to spot a few pregnant ones. “Be it as you may be, each one of us gets willing clients,” one of them shyly confesses. One of them complains that there is an influx of ‘new’ girls in town around this time who have come to ‘harvest’ from clients during the upcoming Inter-County sports taking place next month. Some have come in time to familiarize themselves with the town.
The best thing about Kisii is its safety be it day or night. There are a few cases of spiking drinks though but the residents are generally a friendly lot. There are more decent hotels than there are indecent ones. This is a 24-hour economy.