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My Bad-ass Valentine’s Day Ideas

valentines-day-1159281_1280

Last week, I was live on Radio Jambo, talking about Valentine’s Day and how to spend the least but make the best impression on Valentine’s. So if you had any doubts about my expansive knowledge of the subject of love, there you have it (twitches my fingers like a badass mafia capi). You can say “…awww, his girlfriend is soo lucky, dating such a romantic bae”. Well, Awww to you too! 🙂

Now that we have established I am an expert in these things, up there with Chris Hart and Gertrude Mungai, read on carefully on how to rock your Valentine’s Day on a shoestring budget. (Okay, the point is not the budget…)

Invent the Valentine’s Gift

You don’t have to buy her flowers because everybody else is buying her flowers. Actually, flowers are nonsense, and they are too boringly cliche, and they dry fast. Back in the days, right after high school, I got Lorna a muraa (that’s singular for miraa) as a Valentine’s flower. It was a joke but I am sure Lorna remembers that particular flower.

I am not saying that you get your girl a muraa – leave that to me… but invent. Show her that you gave her a special thought and did not just get her the trendiest thing on the street. Write her a letter on a flowered writing pad as we did back then (spray some perfume, too), give her a bunch of carrots, decide to have your Valentine’s the day after. Be unique.

Valentine's Day Kenya

Don’t Go to a Movie or Play, Act yours

Cinemas and play theaters will be fully jammed Valentine’s Day, so, don’t go to iMax or Alliance Francaise or wherever. You can do that on Saturday. This Valentine’s, act your own movie. Fight on the streets for her (make sure you win if you are the sterro of your movie), buy those water gun toys and “kill” each other, play some game, like kati or bathe in the river mpararo. Let her slap you so that you can kiss her in exchange, you know, the things that happen only in the movies.

Make it a dramatic Valentine’s!

photoshoot Valentine's

Take photos, enough photos to last your Instagram a year!

Stay Home and Cook, naked.

Well, if you aren’t married forget the “naked” part. Thou shalt never see each other’s things before marriage.

Yes, you can stay at home and cook something that you are not used to. It is okay to try new things, like boiling mukhobero with njugu and waiting to see the result after eating. Lingerie is too overrated, make your house the Garden of Eden before the snake – kaa bila.  If you decide to stay naked, make sure you stay away from the oil, that badass can destroy your skin… oh, and don’t touch each other with pepper.

It is okay to get carried away… the food will burn, but it will be fun.

cook together

Make it spicy, literally

Walk around town aimlessly

Pretend you are kids and walk around town with no destination in mind. Walk up and down like you did on school opening days. Pop into a chipo joint and order chips with kuku pono. A lot of people will be doing proper dinners so the chips joints will not be full.

Then walk to one of those benches in town, sit down and talk. Flag a hawker and order one of those Ginger Biscuits and Tropical. Enjoy the moment, gossip about the couples walking in red carrying stupid flowers and life size dolls.  And then walk into a park, remove your shoes, lay a leso and lie on the grass. Watch the ants. Buy a soda and bread. Drop litter and run from kanju, it is fun.

sit and talk this Valentine's

Just sit on a bench and talk about everything and nothing. Gossip!

Remind yourselves of the First Day

How well do you remember your firsts? The first time you saw each other, what were you wearing? Wear that. What did you say? Say that. Where did you go on the first date? Go there.  How was your first kiss? Redo it. See how much you can remember, and every time one forgets something, pinch them… or fine them. This way, I swear your love will be renewed.

Remember why you will be doing this – it is not that you have no money to treat each other, you will be doing this for the sentimental value and it beats any of those things people do on Valentine’s Day.

And in any case, Valentine’s Day is too overrated. Love your partner every.single.day!

 

Bad Debt Chronicles: Musa

Running from debt

Everybody has encountered one, or many. Those people who, giving them a debt, under any circumstance, is like throwing your money into a pit latrine. People who have no tinge of guilt keeping money that doesn’t belong to them, and continue to live their lives normally, while you skip meals or get acid burns in their stomach when you see the good life they are living on Instagram.

Debts make my skin crawl. I can’t live comfortably with someone’s debt.

But I guess people are different. Like Musa. Musa called me one fine Sunday evening and told me.

I am in an ATM, but it is not working, man. I was going out with my girl and now this has happened. Please loan me some cash and I will refund it to you first thing tomorrow morning when I’m able to access my cash.

This was quite a legit and straightforward request. And it happens to everybody – you have money but your bank can’t give it to you because of what they call technical issues. So, being the good friend I am supposed to be, and also because Musa is supposed to be a respectable man who we don’t joke with, I sent him all the money I had on M-Pesa. I would have it the following day anyway.

That was on 23rd July 2016.

I think Musa has never woken up from his debt-induced hangover

To this day, the ATM has never been repaired. The “following morning” has never come. To this day, Musa has been in this huge hangover that he has never woken up from to go the bank. I think Musa’s M-Pesa line was stolen that night. Or how would you explain that I haven’t received the money?

I am not one to ask people for my money. I assume people feel as I do when I have their money. But in this case, I have tried, because, it’s not like he didn’t have money, the problem was his ATM and ATM machines get repaired within 12 hours. It started with calls or SMS, not talking about money, of course, but things like,

“How is the family?” 
“Huko kumenyesha?” 
“Boss, kuliendaje?”

Okay, many of those. And Musa always has answers. Good answers. As I said, he is supposed to be a respectable man, and respectable men know how to talk and soothe, even Mr Nyoka from pangoni. Or Frank from going bananas.

Excuses

Every time, there is a very convincing excuse, followed by a convincing promise, just like the ATM one. Things like,

“My problem has now been sorted, let me send the money to you tomorrow, without fail.

I have been called by my bank, a loan I applied for, has been approved, and I took it just to pay you.

“I have been called by my bank, a kaloan I applied for, has been approved, and I took it just to pay you. Naenda huko saa hii.”

“Man, I have been having so many issues, I feel like God and ancestors are against me. But things are looking great. Acha nikusort Monday, baba.

“Guess what? Niko Nairobi hii conference ya Jubilee. Delegates tunalipwa vile umeskia kwa news, alafu nikutafute tukule kanyama nikikusort.” You see, Musa is one of those political bootlickers on social media and in real life… I thought they get paid for their noise and MBs.

After the Jubilee conference, two weeks later: “Man, my dad was involved in an accident and I took him to the hospital with the money I was to send you.

And so on, and so forth. So I stopped talking to him or asking him anything. Or replying his excuse messages. Sometimes I don’t pick his calls because, I can’t waste money and time on one person, donge? Until the first week of January when I randomly liked his Facebook post announcing how wonderfully his New Year had started.

Kutoa Ntero

Minutes later, Musa called me and told me, “It’s true my year has started very well, and I want to pass this feeling to you. I know I wronged you but you will be smiling as I am, in a few hours. I will even ‘toa ntero'” (Ntero, in adult Kimeru jargon, is like the bull Kibaki paid to Njuri Ncheke for his wife slapping a Meru elder, Gitobu Imanyara. It’s like a token for forgiveness).

On a side note, this “kutoa ntero” looks like the first word in debt defaulters’ vocabularies. Someone else has been telling me the same thing for eternity.

You guessed right! The few hours have never come to pass. And I forgot about that until I received this message on Facebook from my beloved Musa:

musa-facebook

[Dude, I am coming to Nairobi. We link up on Thursday I “toa ntero”…]

That Thursday came and passed, of course.

You might wonder how much this money is.. well, it’s a meagre Sh. 3500

You might wonder how much this money is.. well, it’s a meagre Sh. 3500 bila ya kutoa. Money I can easily give a friend without expecting a refund if they asked (I am not too poor). But if you give a reason like Musa gave and it becomes a battle… you are just plainly a bad person who has failed in the subject of humanity. You can’t sell friendship for Sh. 3500. Make it a million, or something better.

And that’s too little money to not get in half a year.

Let’s laugh at Musa and people like him. 

Oh, laugh at me too for wasting precious time writing about things that don’t matter (debtors don’t matter)… and I will happily tell you I paid Sh. 3,500 for this post. 🙂

Meanwhile, it is a new year resolution that I will not be giving anybody any debt. 

There will be part 2, about someone else, and if you have your story, tell me about it in comments and we will name and shame these people

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