Posts Tagged ‘ATM’

As i found out, this is actually not as easy as it looks.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine told me it was time to grow up and buy myself a wallet. Before we continue, I should mention that this friend was female, and to vanquish any other questions about her, we are just friends. You see, I have had this phobia of carrying money in a wallet ever since I got robbed in the company of a girl called Sofia.. I am not sure whether that was purely coincidental or not, because to date I still fear carrying lots of money when in the company of anyone called Sofia. Nhu, I decided it was a long time ago and bought myself a nice leather wallet. The kind that are just fat by nature regardless the presence of money, the ones you use to confuse both your enemies and would be chips fungas.

I was happy. I had just been paid. I swiftly headed to the bank after work and withdrew a sizeable amount of money, after which I proceeded to pay a house call on one of my oldest friends. Yes, the bartender. Within no time, I was singing mwenda wakwa mariru and feeling overly philanthropic. Alcohol makes you feel like you own the central bank. Knowing fully well I had to be at work the next day at 9 am, I was in no hurry. And that’s when she showed up. Shiku. She was beautiful. She had all the goods. With my blood draining from one head to another and with alcohol quickly replacing the blood draining from the former head, I made my move. We bonded almost instantly. I bought her a couple of drinks and when it was time to leave, you cannot imagine my joy at discovering she lived in Kasarani, which as it turns out, is where I live. The gods were on my side.

We boarded a matatu and very soon we were on our way. I had done my quick calculations and discovered that I could pass by her place and get some chips deep fried since her place was closer than mine, and that I would still make it to my place by 12 am. The makanga, after making sure all the seats were filled, started collecting bus fare. I told Shiku I’d pay for her fare. After all, a small amount of money was nothing compared to what I would get at Kasarani. So when the makanga was standing right next to where we were seated, I produced a note from my pocket without even bothering to check what its value was. I was pretty confident it was a Ksh 1000 note, which was sufficient to cover three objectives: one, pay for Shiku’s fare, two, impress Shiku that the money was not about to run out soon, and three, cover for my bus fare.

Except it turned out to be Ksh 100, as the makanga quickly pointed out. “Haya, hiyo nimelipia mresh,” I said in full confidence.

Shiku was smiling. Ah, simple mistake. That must have been the change I received from the bartender. I quickly slid my hand down my pocket to retrieve my wallet and get cash to accomplish objectives two and three in that order. So, you can imagine my shock when my hand came back with nothing but a few beads of sweat on them, more of which was quickly starting to form on my face.

“Mzae kama huna pesa ebu shuka. Ama hiyo umelipia mresh tuseme ikuwe yako alafu yeye ajilipie?” the conductor asked, with a menacing smile because he knew he was about to cock block me. I hated the bastard more because my fellow passengers, who had been intensely following the proceedings like a Mexican soap opera all laughed. As well know, Alcohol rarely lets you make well informed decisions. So, I found myself saying this next:

“Apana. Hiyo ni yake. Sa si juu tunashukia hapo Equity si unaeza nipea dakika mbili nikimbie ATM nitawithdraw nikulipe.”

The makanga after slight deliberation agreed, then as though we were thinking on the same wavelength, it dawned on both of us that there was no way I could withdraw money from the bank because, well, I had lost my wallet. My ATM card in it.

“Ah weh maze wacha za ovyo. Utawithdraw aje pesa ka ATM imeibiwa kwa wallet? Kwani wewe ni mwizi?”

More laughter. Shiku at this point declared she had no money on her either.

“Ama, hiyo simu yako si uniuzie elfu nne alafu nitatoa fare hapo. Halafu change nitakubeba sare miezi sita hadi iishe.”

If there’s one thing I absolutely love, it is my phone. I flatly refused. But then again, I was growing desperate. So, I slowly took out my phone and tried to call anyone that was willing to lend me cash on M Pesa at that time of night. As you might have guessed, I had forgotten to purchase credit before we boarded the matatu. All I had were internet bundles, which were of no use to me since my phone had no Whatsapp and all my closest friends have flatly refused to join Twitter because it is too complicated (?????). I decided there was only one thing left to do. I slowly stood up, much to the mixed emotions of amusement of my audience, some of whom felt I pity. By now, the matatu had stopped. I slowly walked to towards the door. Until one brave passanger, God bless his soul, suggested that I be given a chance to earn my money.

How you ask? I was to be a tout for the next trip to town and back to Kasarani. Everybody suddenly seemed to be on his side. Bear in mind that my knowledge of makanga-ing, if there’s such a word is limited to “Beba! Beba! Tao Mbao.”

Seeing as my only two options were to either sell my phone, was value was way above that Ksh 4000 offered, or to be a tout for two trips, I decided to go for the second option. The tout, having already completed collecting fare for the trip proceeded to hand me the maroon jacket all touts are required by law to wear and. Then after showing me how to hold on to the door and how to notify the driver how to stop by banging on a specific part of the vehicle’s body or window, left me to my means and went to his seat. Sorry, the seat I had been seated in next to Shiku. I deleted Shiku’s number from my phone.

Expensive handshakes are the order of the day in Kenya.

On Friday my friends and I decided it was about time we went out, drinking indoors wasn’t quite working out. Let me mention in advance that this was, as usual, an alcohol motivated decision that was largely influenced in part by absence of female company. Being in absolutely no state to drive, we decided to travel to town by public means, though that may also have been due to failure to secure a car earlier on, a story I will recap once I am over the trauma caused by Mr. Malenje’s dogs.

The journey was uneventful, although we almost got thrown out for singing. According to the conductor, we were scaring all the would-be female passengers away. Nobody moved an inch. Not even Elvis, who soon befriended the conductor when he generously offered him a couple of gulps of the concoction we had been consuming… Don’t worry; nobody lost their sight… yet.

Anyway, one hour later we reach Thika, our preferred destination for our drinking spree having paid nothing for the trip. We conclude the conductor is either really drunk or he knows not to bite the hand that feeds him. We get to the club and there is some ‘big star’ performing so the entrance fee had sky rocketed. This we did not mind until we realized the conductor did charge us but he didn’t return any change and we forgot to ask. Conniving bastard drank our Ksh. 2000 alcohol didn’t return change! Now, if you’ve been with a drunk, you will know that reasoning is at a minimum, especially if another drunk is with him. In this case, we were four of us. It was unanimously decided our drinking spree could wait; we needed to find this conductor, fast.

We hit the streets once more but he is nowhere in sight. At this point somebody comes up with the brilliant idea of reporting the idiot to the police. We agree they will help us best. Somehow on our way to the station one of my pals notices a Pesa Point ATM machine and like sheep in the big city, we follow. After all, more money can only do us more good in alcohol terms once we have accomplished our quest for justice. We are almost done when a police Land Rover passes by. Somehow in our stupidity, we decide to yell that they should come back. We were on our way to see them in any case and now that they found us, it would mean we wouldn’t have to walk to the station. A good omen!

What we didn’t realize is that the police are sinister people. In fact, if a man ever steals your wife, don’t tell them; to them, there is no better punishment than to let him keep her. The police happily drive back to where we are standing yelling after them. Two of them jump out of the back and from where we are standing; I notice that the back of the truck is loaded beyond capacity. It’s barely been one month since Michuki left and the police themselves are flaunting the same rules he fought so hard for. Anyway, I decide the people in the back are idiots for getting caught. By this time the two men are with us.

“Vijana mnafikiria nyinyi ni nani kusumbua watu usiku?”

“Afande tunahitaji usaidizi wenu….”

“Nyang’au nani amekuuliza!? Jibu maswali na majibu sio vitisho!”

“Apana, si vitisho…”

“Kwanza mnafanya nini nje ya bank usiku?”

“Hawa wanapanga kuiba!”

At this point we start protesting in earnest because it now occurs they think we are the criminals. We decide to proceed to the station to see their boss. These idiots clearly don’t understand we are the victims here and we need a man who poses grave danger to society apprehended.

“Kama unaeza kimbia haraka kuliko bunduki toroka!”

We stop dead in our tracks, not quite believing what is unfolding and alcoholic levels in my bloodstream have suddenly fallen enough for me to vaguely understand what is going on. You see, in Kenya, the police assume everybody is guilty of something until proven otherwise. Here you can be charged for anything including ‘Loitering with intention of murder’, ‘Looking at government buildings suspiciously’, ‘Smoking with violence’, ‘Soliciting for sexual favours from unwilling female customers’ and ‘Smiling like a terrorist.’ I found myself panicking but the worst was yet to come. We were ordered into the truck which was almost as depressing as the man that was arrested for indecent exposure then released for “INSUFFICIENT evidence”.

I need not describe our state at the back of the truck. Two armed policemen at the far end, people on the floor and those that did manage to find a seat were seated in twos- one on top of the other- even PK doesn’t have it that rough. The journey wasn’t really long, but when all you can smell are people’s armpits and feet, it is unbearable. It wasn’t uneventful either; a fat woman was fighting with a boda boda guy for ruining his bike. Apparently she was so big the bike literally, got smashed, ‘ilibondeka’. The police didn’t want to know whose fault it was- they were both dumped into the back with the rest of us and told ‘The issue will be sorted out at the station.’

I think I may be the only person who still knew the whereabouts of his phone by the time we got to the station. Anyway, we try to explain ourselves to the police once more but they hear none of it. According to them, we were going to be booked for standing outside the bank with intention for pulling off a heist in addition to being drunk and disorderly, but we could be let free if we knew what language paper talked. It didn’t take very long for four drunks to pay up. Quite literally, fools were soon partying with their money, just not the way we had hoped. It was the same case with everyone else except the poor girl accused of prostitution. I hoped her freedom wouldn’t have to be purchased along the lines of what I was already thinking.

We did eventually have our drinking spree; it was to end with me in hospital with severe alcohol poisoning characterized by loss of vision for a full day thanks to the same ATM machine that got us arrested in the first place. The difference is that we were accompanied by our new body guards, the police, whom we learnt are a kind lot once you are fluent with this language of paper. They even offered to catch the conductor and inform us the moment they did. We also learnt two things; never get arrested in front of an ATM machine, and if you do get caught, don’t panic and cause headlines by turning into a goat like the Nigerian man back in 2009; there is a language spoken by paper that you should be fluent in – bribes. It has no rules, no grammar ninjas, nothing. Oh, and if you don’t drink and drive, don’t drink to die either.