Many nights, I find myself standing right here on the balcony looking out at the city lights in the horizon as vehicles zoom past the highway close by. Men and women hurrying home at 3am. My heart is full of doubt and fear thus trying to sleep is a futile exercise. Instead, I came over to bask in the moonlight as the cold, silent Nairobi breeze blows gently over my bare skin while my head is plagued with heavy thoughts.
Most kids had their fathers teach them how to ride bicycles, play soccer or drive. As a child, my father taughtme how to buy, sell and manage my money before my teens. I have sold second-hand clothes, farm produce, veterinary supplies, and by my 18th birthday, I was overseeing a project with about 10 people working under me. That has got to be the hardest thing I have ever done.
My eyes were white, my face glowing and skin so smooth. There was a twinkle in my eyes and a spring in my gait. I was a pretty freshman girl with the whole world before me. I had just landed a role on MTV Base Shuga 2 TV series, was modelling for Strut It Africa and was running a growing show on campus radio. My life was perfect.I think a lot of people were jealous of me. Who wouldn’t be? I was talented, smart and one of the hottest girls on campus, and on top of that I was making my own money.
I just turned twenty-five. I have been on earth for a freaking quarter century, can you believe that? It just feels like a few months ago I was the youngest in everything I did and suddenly I’m agemates with Prof. Dumbledore. Now, exactly 7 days to my birthday I was hit by a car while crossing a junction. As life flashed before my eyes two questions stuck in my head “What have you achieved with your life?” and “If you were to die today would you be happy with how you’ve lived your life?”
It’s a Friday night at the end of the month, having been paid, you are out with a friend in a club having drinks. You are not really good at dancing so you wait until you are too tipsy to give a hoot before you hit the dance floor. While nursing your drink you scan around the club. Your eyes land on a table at the corner. It’s occupied by a beefy guy and three beauties.
You settle on one of them. There is something different about her. She is not only stunning but also has this aura around her like she is some sort of royalty. She takes a sip of the red wine before her then flashes you an enchanting smile. You smile back like you are possessed and lift your glass in her direction like they do it in the movies.
February 13th, 2008, a stocky man walks into the room full of bleary students for evening classes in a high school located on the slopes of Taita Hills. The man goes by the name Samuel, the most revered boarding master and business teacher in the entire province. It’s claimed that he knew all the business principles by heart that the only reason he carried the voluminous books to class was to confirm whether indeed the authors got them right.
Samuel loved his short-sleeved shirts, baggy trousers, and shoes with huge soles perhaps to appear taller. He set down books on the table and looked into the crowd particularly at one young boy with huge ears seating right at the center of the room.
In the event you are kidnapped and thrown into a dungeon for months till you lose the sense of time then released in Nairobi, you won’t need a calendar to tell which day it is. If people on the streets repeatedly and unapologetically bump into you and have this distant and sad look in their eyes then it’s probably on a Monday in the middle of the month. If the streets are filled with animated, well-dressed and radiant looking Nairobians then it’s most likely a Friday just after payday.
Today happens to be a Friday and the entire city is alive , lots of people milling about on the streets making plans for the night, however, you are in town for a different mission. A mission so sensitive and risky that the probability of the whole operation going south is close to one. How did I get here?
Hi brother, I hope you are well. I woke up to another long text from mother pleading with me not to give up on you. To tell you the truth I gave up. I tried my best to always see the positive in you but each time I ended up hurt and disappointed. You know what they say, it’s those whom we love that can hurt us most. Brother, I love you and always will but I can’t do this anymore.
It’s been two weeks since you were suspended from school for the umpteenth time. For three nights mother couldn’t sleep because she couldn’t find you. She went to police stations, hospitals and even morgues looking for you. You didn’t go home or even contact her when you left school leaving her worried sick. Man, don’t you know she is hypertensive? Why would you put her through such an ordeal? After days of frantic search, one of your friends finally revealed where you were. He said you were living on the streets with street kids because you felt we don’t love you.
Its 3 am, your eyes are closed but your mind is working overdrive. Not even your nymphomaniac neighbor’s loud moaning can disrupt you train of thought. Earlier in the day, you received a call from a lady with a trace of British accent inviting you for a job interview the next day. For a moment you thought she was a con but when you checked your email and saw an invitation for the same, you felt happier than you have had in a long time.
A year after clearing campus, you haven’t landed a job. Your unemployment status has not been due to lack of initiative. You have applied for literally all jobs even those remotely related to what you pursued in college. Over hundred job applications sent yet only two firms invited you for an interview. The first job interview was a sham, from how the officials conducted themselves it was clear they had already picked their preferred candidates before the process began.
It’s one of those Fridays you feel quite lost. You have watched all movies on your computer and your girlfriend, well she hasn’t been talking to you for the last three days just because you forgot your anniversary. Seriously, how do women expect us to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentines? For Pete’s sake, lets just combine all these days and celebrate them on one day say 1st January? I mean we already other important things to occupy our minds like soccer and cars.
While contemplating on how to add some excitement to your night, Dan, your neighbor pops in. He suggests you visit the new local bar. When someone mentions a local bar, the image that comes to mind is a shitty, stuffy room with rickety wooden benches for seats, full of old Kikuyu men talking about their waru farms back in Nyahururu. The only female present is the no-nonsense barmaid with cheap makeup and probably a 40-something-year-old woman with a stinky weave and a black petticoat protruding beneath her grey skirt-suit. However, Dan is a great wingman so you give it a shot.