A few weeks back, the water taps went dry, then came the notice to brace for water rationing for a number of days as a result of on-going preparations for the ASK show. The ASK show. Way before my teen years, the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) annual show was this spectacle that was so special that it was incorporated in the primary school term event calendar. Heaven, in that era’s context, was being selected to attend the ASK show. I have been fortunate to attend the ASK show twice, in the early 2000’s and most recently, 2017.
The ASK show is an annual fair that provides an exhibition forum for agricultural, trade and other related sectors for both local and international businesses. There are about 15 dedicated show grounds in different regions around Kenya. This year’s theme was ‘Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Technology’ and the Nairobi show 2017 was held between the 2nd and 8th October.
For a show filled with so much from rabbit sausages and the perfect looking cows to vast fields of perfect crops to the food + snack stands to companies that you’ve never heard of to entertainment for the whole family, one of the most vivid memories from my 1st attendance was the spectacle of ‘Kichwa bila Mwili’ (Head without a body). It was this small, barely there shed about 3 metres long by 1.2 metres wide with a dark curtain at the entry and the ‘spectacle’ tucked in the furthest end. The queue leading to the curtain barrier between viewers and the ‘spectacle’ was fairly long and dominated by 7 to 12 year olds clutching that 5 shillings coin entrance fee so hard. The excitement for what lay ahead was unmatchable to nothing else a child could ask for. A head without a body.
Given the time frame between my 1st attendance in the early 2000’s and my 2nd in 2017, the ASK show has stayed true to the value and entertainment it delivers.The multitude, the riders, the free samples and fun for the whole family, especially the young ones.The dance and face painting, the cheap gamble ring game, the promotional hats and the color.And of course, one of the few days we get to see Police bands put up a performance.