We are still at the Coast and I must say that I am having a great time — so great that I have not been thinking about the arguments with my siblings or the confusion in our office. On Christmas eve, my mother called me and we had an interesting chat.
She started off by saying, “I have prepared beds for children, you and Shiro. What time will you come over tomorrow?”
My mother was being selective with her memory since I had clearly communicated to her my decision not to go home for the holidays.
“But mum, I told you we were not coming to the village this time round,” I protested. She went on to lecture me on family values but I was not swallowing her bait, especially since we were already at the Coast.
I could sense her disappointment, but I knew that going to the Coast was the best decision I had made. Hanging out with my chama pals has been interesting.
You have George, a self-employed lawyer based in Nairobi. He is a teetotaller, unlike his wife Linda who consumes copious amounts of wine every evening.
On our first night here, George had to carry his wife to their room when she became too drunk to walk — it really is a case of opposites attracting. According to Shiro, “Linda is a harmless darling.” I must say I find that hard to believe. My favourite in the group is Mwanzia because he seems to effortlessly combine seriousness and fun.
On the first day he gave me what he called the “A-B-C of serious drinking.” He told me that whisky is overrated and cognac is the drink of real men.
Free-loader and dreamer
To be honest, my palate could not tell the difference between the drinks. I decided to play along and believe the hype about cognac. However, the next day I felt rather fresh with no sign of a hangover, which led me to believe that Mwanzia might be onto something.
He also told me about some business ideas. “We can make lots of money from recycling and waste management,” he blurted.
To my untrained ears all of this sounded like a money minting project and I thought of sinking some money into the project. One evening as we headed to bed I told Shiro about Mwanzia and the project.
“I think we can make some money by investing with Mwanzia. He said we can get a 30 per cent return if we invest Sh1 million.” Shiro’s reaction was unexpected. “ Mwanzia is a conman,” she said firmly. I protested.
“He is not even a member of our chama, his wife is,” she added and proceeded to unveil Mwanzia. He came to the chama with some lofty ideas, she said. “He told us that Shylocking is the new way of minting money. We put quite some money in the venture but only got half of it back —not what he had promised.”
“Then why is his wife still in the chama?” I asked. “She means well and is a serious contributor to the chama, we cannot punish her for her husband’s sins,” Shiro said.
She described Mwanzia as a free-loader and dreamer who did not pay his bills. The next day I tried my best to avoid Mwanzia but he still found a way of catching up with me.
As children swam he pulled a chair next to me and started telling me about yet another money-making venture.
I decided to play along and listened to him though I could not help but wonder if Shiro was reading this guy wrong.