I used to read telltales of how fun and fulfilling it is to get paid doing what you love, I guess I’m on that path. If I can get paid to watch football, especially the world cup games, then hell yeah I don’t mind staying awake the whole night, even when the idiots make a 90 minutes game last for 12o minutes, not forgetting an additional 10 minutes for taking the pelanties(I’m told that how y’all cool kids call it nowadays). On Tuesday, I left the office at around 8:00 pm partly to avoid the boredom on the traffic filled roads and also coz I dint have enough money for the peak hour hikes. I got a mat from Westlands to town for only 10 bob and then paid 50/= to Umoja. That left me with only 50 bob between me, my shadow and poverty.
That happened to be the same night that Brazil obeyed Raila’s orders and went for Saba saba. After watching the game, I went and instead of sleeping, decided to watch the BET Awards as well. I slept at 3:00 am and set the alarm for 7:am the following morning, a deviation from my normal 5:00 am wake up time. If you find a winning formula, never attempt changing it, I was about to learn the hard way to stick to my wake up time.
The following day, Wednesday, I woke up at 8:57 am like a boss, or maybe not. Took a cold shower and the when the water cleared my soggy mind, I remembered that I had only 50 bob! On the regular, you pay 70 to 80 bob from my hood up to town. This may vary depending on the number of guys at the bus stop, at times it goes as low as 30 or 40 shillings. Simple facts of demand and supply law applies here. So as I was dressing up, I remembered God for once and prayed against all odds for the fare to be less than 50 bob. Ladies, don’t give me that look, men are ALLOWED, in fact, required to be broke once in a while. It shapes our focus. You ladies on the other side are not permitted to be without money, it is an abomination and insult to hustle. I will explain that soon, in a different post. I miss my homemade amarula 😦
I got to the bus terminus at eleven minutes to ten and there is huge crowd. I’m shocked as I know how the story goes. The Umoinner bus that is there is charging 80 bob. That leaves me with negative thirty shillings. I seriously need to do better for my life. We spent another hour waiting for the fare to drop, meanwhile the able members of our society are gladly boarding every arriving bus. Poverty is bad my friend. In Umoja, you can choose to board the 3560 matatus to town or the 1960 ones. The latter are always cheaper so i leave the terminus and lumber towards Donholm road where the Kayole plying matatus are found. Luckily, I get one for 30 bob after waiting for another 27 minutes.
I’m checking my Instagram when the conductor comes for the money and I just dip my fingers in the pocket, pick a random coin and drop on his huge opened palm. He asks, ‘Dohnie’ and without even knowing, MI node in agreement, at which point he tosses a ten bob coin back in my hands. Be informed that my 50 bob was in a denomination of 20 shilling coins and a ten bob coin. Just as we get the outtering road and into Jogoo road, the traffic snarl starts right there.
It is 11:34 and we are stuck in traffic. the driver, being in his element decides to take some bypasses in and among the Eastlands estates and shanties so as to avoid wasting time – wira ni wira. We find ourselves maneuvering the dingy surroundings of Ziwa, Pango and the sort.
As we pass by, i sport a “Masjid Khadija hotel” and ponder if that’s where Al shabaabs have their meals. If it is, then my life is not thaaaat bad. Basically, we in the downtown areas of Kenya. Suddenly, I remember that my sister Mishu has just professed her desire to get down with a downtown guy in her recent single. I’m not sure if she knows how things get down in the downtown really but trust me you, she will change her mind quicker than Vera Sidika’s skin colour if she sees how guys live here.
The matatu gets to town (it’s not really town, it stops at some roundabout, I guess in Thika Highway or around there and after waiting for 5 minutes, I realize that guys are getting out, so I follow suit). At that point, I confirm the amount in my pocket and to my amazement, I have 40 shillings! two ten bob coins and a twenty bob coin. Well, I had my lucky boxer on so it explains. Mindlessly, I follow the people ahead as they trace their way in to CBD. With the ease at which they are moving, this has to be something they do regularly.
Normally, I’m not used to walking much. The daily 50 sit-ups and press-up are enough for my skinny body. Plus hey, I’m not trynna be Sauti Sol lol. I see a signpost written ‘Ukwala Lane’. My friend Owino told me sometime back that ‘Ukwala’ in his native language translates to ‘you are stealing from me’. Well, I just got my computer a day earlier so Jesus knows I’m not ready to loose it at some unknown downtown Nairi street. I clinch my bag tightly. I also remember that I have my phone in my trouser pockets. As much as its a cheap Tecno smartphone, you can confirm with Prophet Muhhamed that I’m not willing to lose it either. Not at this point in my mid-life crisis life. I clinch my pockets too. Pass me with that ‘love for downtown’ bullshit, hey, I’m not Mishu lol. Getting to the Westlands matatu stage, they guys are shouting 40 bob. Hahaa, I have exactly that in my pocket but Hail Mary righteous me, I can’t pay 40 bob for a place where I normally spend 20 shillings. I wait. It is 12:07 already.
A star bus commuter comes and I see guys rushing to jump in. From my ghetto life experience, when guys scram to board a bus, do the same, it is charging cheaper than the others. I dive in like Van Persie in front of a goalkeeper. Rightly as I predicted, we are charged 20 bob to Westlands and I get to Spring Valley by 12:19. Now from the main road to where our offices are located is a bypass under construction but a walking distance.It should interest you to know that I had not eaten anything since the previous day so practically I’m really starving and weak. It’s really hot so I get to the office sweating profusely and guess who is sited at my desk? The manager and our team leader. Well, at least I have 20 bob in my pockets 🙂