I must be the only Kenyan in Nairobi who does not know where to go in order to eat this election money. Because that is what I am seeing. People are posting about handouts reaching the thousands and tens of thousands. Do you know what ten thousand would do for me right now? I would probably comfortably order a new Bentley Bentayga, rent a pent house in Upper Hill, bail out Nakumatt and Uchumi at the same damn time, send CK a loan on M-Pesa and retire by thirty letting my money do all the dirty work.
My financial woes are a thing for the history books. If there was a competition to determine who the most broke and least eligible bachelor was, I would probably win. My assets as of now are the shoes I bought last year, a new mattress, and 2 shillings (courtesy of four 50 Cent songs I have on my playlist). One of those songs he talks about laughing straight to the bank; I think it is because he thinks I bought the album. Jokes on him. Also I ate chips last week; with potato prices smoking weed I think I am not doing too bad.
I might not go to church that often; one I do not really believe church is church anymore and also I do not want to be the guy that passes the offering basket without dropping something inside. Those guys get weird stares. The ushers even begin to treat you differently. It’s even worse if you drop a coin and they hear the clink sound. They look at you like you were trying to open the gates of hell or something. Basically, broke people do not go to church; or should not go to church. You can argue with your bank account later after you tithe. But; this one time I decided to go out on a date; broke but by faith. You know those dates right? No? Okay.
Let me educate you on what a date by faith is. A date by faith is when you go out knowing you have expected cash flow coming in. It is an almost certain bet. 80% surety and 80% is good enough to gamble with. Usually, it could be that boy of yours that said they’d pay you 2K at the end of the week. He has been saying that for the past 134567 months but you sort of believe him. He has this ka-feeling you know? Things are going to work out for him this time. Or a pending M-Shwari transaction. It could even be that you went to church on Sunday, and you are sure it was you the pastor was talking about when they said “This week your blessings will pour like el-Nino.” Pastors make corny lines like that; the congregation just eats it up. Yes, that was a pun. Go back and read it again hehe.
So you go on a date; your attention is 20% on the date and 80% on your phone. Your data is off; you do not want unnecessary messages from WhatsApp group reminding you Arsenal is still number seven. Those things can jolt you into cardiac arrest. You are only interested in that M-Pesa message. It is the longest wait a man ever has to endure; that and waiting for her periods to show.
You are probably in campus or fresh out of campus. Your idea of a good date is pizza. Your boy has just texted you to promise that the cash is on its way. He has marinated you with some believable lies; something like how he has the cash on M-Pesa but does not have enough to send so he is going to top up 50 bob. That’s plausible yeah? Besides you do not want to absorb the cost of the transaction fee; your calculation is down to the cent.
So you go on a date; you are meeting this fine mami. Trust me, it gas to be a fine mami and not just looks fine; even her name has to be fine. You have to be meeting someone whose name is along the lines of Beverly. It has to sound as good as she looks. The rest of the ordinary named ladies can wait until your faith materializes. You decide to do pizza because at that time it is all the rage; everyone is doing it. Everyone is talking about it. It is social currency for the uppity campus guys and the wannabes. The only difference is the uppity guys call it pitsa while the wannabes pronounce both Z’s. You will be that guy that took her out for pizza; you will be the pizza guy, which is a step up from the “niwekee antivirus aki please” guy. Those software boyfriends on campus are the most misused lot. They should know why Microsoft Word will not open a PDF (yes; some are that blonde) or why VLC will not play YouTube videos. They get called, a lot. In the wee hours when she’s watched the last episode of her favorite series but needs another season because in her words “I can’t sleep”. This guy will have to cross three rivers, climb a mountain, sky dive into a volcano and eat shoelaces before he disappoints the lass. Saddest part is he will do all this only to be told that the laptop he’s been sprucing up belongs to the boyfriend.
Back to the date. You are to meet the mami somewhere in town. You are meeting in town because you are still in campus, on a budget thinner than the ice politicians walk on with their hate speech and you have not developed “taste”. The exclusive restaurants and overpriced drinks come later when you get an internship allowance and office tea you can post on Instagram. Where you guys are going is a pizza join in town; you have chosen one that is close to the outskirts of the CBD; she thinks you have done that because you want a little bit of exclusivity but you have done that so that the walk gives time for your faith to mature.
So as you wait for her to show up you keep looking at your phone; constantly. You want to see that M-Pesa message flash cross your screen; you need it. Especially since the restaurant you are going to have a PAYE policy. Pay as you eat. You are even comfortable when the mami texts you saying she is still stuck in traffic. But you get jittery because with each passing minute she is getting closer. You are not sure how long you can walk her around town before she realizes you are stalling. Though you could easily pass it off as a romantic walk; but then what if you work up her appetite then your money does not come through?
All these thoughts go through your head until you see a message from the mami; she’s in town. She asks you to give her five minutes and she will be at the rendezvous. The first idea that comes to your head seems to be the most brilliant. You switch of your phone and hide it. But you stay there; you do not leave, you let her find you.
A few minutes later you see her waving at you from a distance all smiles. You approach her sojourn look on your face, wry smile forced at the corner of your mouth and eyes fighting back tears. She hugs you and asks you what is wrong… you shake your head in disbelief and whisper that your phone has just been snatched. You even point to where you were standing and emphasize that it was nabbed right there. In broad daylight. Buy guys in long trench coats, red eyes and evil sneers. You then go on to say that it had all your cash on M-Pesa including your fare home.
She of course sympathizes with you; offers to call someone you know on her phone. Someone who can come and give you fare. It does not matter that you were to take her out for pizza; she won’t give a single cent. So you call a friend and fake a conversation and plan to meet up and that’s that. You casually say your goodbyes; her probably cussing under her breath why she wasted her time for a date that never happened. She was never coming for you just for the food. You on the other hand hi-fiving yourself for the brilliant idea while still cussing the friend that did not come through.
You go into a mat and head for home. Inside you put your phone back on; it lights up gleefully and the first thing you see is an M-Pesa message. The rest of the way home the only thing you can think about is Jesus telling his disciples “oh ye of little faith…”