In Summary
  • I have never understood this business model that combines dirty cars and deceased animals as part of the menu.
  • It is after you have arrived home and elaborately instructed on how you want that steak made, medium rare with onions and tomatoes and a litre of soup, that you get a shock of your life.
  • That is when you will discover that you bought a kilo of thigh bone neatly wrapped with a thin foil of steak. You vow to return Njoro to his maker during the next visit.

Buying meat in Nairobi is like trying to negotiate a multi-billion syndicated loan or a tripartite tariffs and trade agreement between hostile nations in different continents.

Through an intensive competitive bidding process, I have maintained Man Njoro as my sole vendor of domestic meat supplies. He is the sole proprietor of Njoro Prime Cuts Butchery and Car Wash Services.

I have never understood this business model that combines dirty cars and deceased animals as part of the menu. I also fail to understand why all budding businessmen and oligarchs that I interact with tend to have the prefix ‘Man’ before their first names, but I let that one pass.

PARALLEL TALLYING CENTRES

On a good day when my bank account balance is healthy, I show up at Man Njoros butchery and my arrival is announced with a lot of noise and pomp.

I will chose the peak hours of between five and six in the evening when men are returning to their humble abodes where they dutifully pay rent but end up spending less than three hours every day. The rest of their hours are either spent in places of entertainment or in their parallel tallying centers.

I am well aware that a few of Njoros friends are cooling their heels in government sponsored correctional gated communities for selling meat that does not belong to domestic animals.

Before I make a purchase, I insist on him presenting me with the evidence that the meat he is selling comes from locally recognised domestic animals. I also take him through a short oral interview where I enquire whether the animal met its death under humane conditions.

When in doubt, I insist on seeing the material safety data sheets that came with the meat. Of course I don’t expect Njoro to have an idea what that is, but he always has a solution. He turns the hanging carcass around to show me the stamp from the health inspector.

MAGICAL POWERS

Although I am aware that he is capable of making his own parallel stamp, I always let that evidence suffice. Because I have known that Njoro is a dishonest businessman all along, I carry a specification sheet for the kind of meat that I want.

It will read something like ‘200grams from the thigh, to be extracted 15inches from the hip bone and no more than three centimetres deep. Include one bone with bone marrow inside, weight of bone not to exceed 5% of the overall meat weight. Meat to have no more than 2% of fat content’.

But either Njoro has a hearing problem or he is just on a noble mission to annoy me. Although I will physically walk with him to the inner cage where the former cows are hanging upside down and pinpoint the exact place where he needs to cut, he ends up playing games with me.

He has magical powers, I believe. Or he practices some form of black magic. Even when you are sure that he has cut a nice piece of steak for you, he has a way of magically reaching below the chopping desk and folding a large piece of bone with the steak.

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