#1 The flat

Mohamed Thiam
2 min readMay 5, 2022

Picture this. You’re in your flat. Except it’s not your flat. Your flat is back in Canada, where folks are freezing their balls and tits off, although we’re already in May. But I digress.

You’re in your friend’s flat in Nairobi, Kenya. And it’s a beautiful flat. Not so much in the aesthetic sense but more so in its simplicity.

Let me take you in for a tour.

First things first. You take your shoes off at the door and enter the place. A small hallway greets you. You try to eyeball its length and settle on roughly 10 feet long as you take in the space. You look up. The small skylight in the ceiling is warming your face. It quickly makes you forget the cold tiles under your feet.

You realized the oddness of the layout. At your left is a bathtub and behind the barn door to your right is a small bathroom. In it, the vintage wooden-framed mirror and the beautifully crafted stack of antic drawers feel out of place next to the cheap sink and tiny toilet.

You move along. In the next room, two massive cabinets stand guard on either side of the entrance. The one to your left contains neatly folded shirts, jeans and socks in colourful balls on the lower shelves and everyday care items on the top.

It’s the cabinet to your right that catches your attention. It’s filled with colourful fabric, piles of new books that have yet to be cracked open and the copper bowl that caught your eye the moment you got closer. It is full of shells, iridescent beetles, monarch butterflies and other wonders.

Facing the left cabinets is a small round table. It sits under one of the three large windows pouring light into the room. Old family photographs ornate the uneven walls.

You get closer to examine them, but your mind is distracted by the creaking wood planks. You can even see tiny cracks where the thin straw rugs don’t overlap.

At the end of the room, is a tiny rustic desk, the world’s most un-ergonomic office chair, and an armchair wide enough to sit your saint-bernard.

Going back to the chair, though, I’ve been sitting in it watching you roam around while my back is screaming murder.

I’m trying to steady my mind and get in a flow state so the words can cascade out. And I’ll be honest. The assignment is simple:

  1. Sit down and get your bearings.
  2. Look around and describe your environment
  3. Spit.
  4. All in under 45 minutes.

Well. It’s been over an hour and a half. I’ve started over a dozen paragraphs and can’t find a proper way to start.

It’s happening.

My fears are manifesting.

I’m overthinking it again.




Mohamed Thiam

Pragmatic dreamer ✨ Joy harvester 🎨 I bust the myth of the ‘hungry artist’ by coaching creatives to turn their knowledge into profitable online courses.