On Monday I went to town to meet a friend. A schoolmate in fact who graduated a year before me. This chic had whatsapped me the previous night asking me if I was available for some opportunity. In this Kenya just know one thing, opportunities that you’re called for using WhatsApp sometimes ain’t what you’re specifically looking for. They’re jobs for desperate people, Kenya is full of those. For the worst, they may not be the normal jobs you would want to don a suit and jump into because they demand unusual methods of doing things and they run on unusual lanes of businesses that do not specifically tell the whole truth about the business.
Of late I have been called here and there for opportunities. Thanks I got great friends whose hearts are simmered in ‘care for your friends spirit.’ I appreciate them because if someone can think of you once they hear of an opportunity, then you must be in good hands of great friends. Friends who can think beyond their own selves.
As you grow older you realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. You see, you are nothing without friends. Altruistic friends for that matter. The ones who call you in the morning to know your well-being, if you had a sound sleep or if you’ve had something for breakfast. We’re special because someone somewhere loves us unconditionally. Otherwise, if no one loved or appreciated you in this life, you won’t develop a taste for living. That is why you’ve to thank your parents because they’re the only people who truly care about your life. And those friends who care. There are a few people who care about you, and when they do, do not send them away. They’ve left their own life burdens, come a long way just to see how you’re fairing on. Appreciate your friends…without them you’ll be nothing. As I say, the rest will only show at your burial.
I tell her, ‘of course.’ Giving this answer means I have to cut my activities of the day to squeeze in this opportunity. You see, you don’t expect a friend to lie to you or send you to something they don’t believe in. But then out of the sheer curiosity that comes with my inquisitive nature, I tell her, ‘I hope it is something worth.’ To which she assures, ‘I promise u won’t regret sparing your time…Just attend.’
So I was supposed to meet her on Monday at around noon. Okay, which opportunities are these that are given at noon? I kept asking myself. I know serious opportunities regard time as a commodity. They’re those which require you to show up at 8 sharp with a suit on even if you don’t have one. By around 9 in the morning you’ll have known whether you in or not.
Since it is an opportunity, I jump into a faded jeans, a LG T-shirt and finish it with a black trench. On my feet, happy brown shoes and black ankle socks. Zile za 50 bob. I also yank my dark goggles in the pocket in case the sun decides to do 360 degrees turn towards mother earth. I hit the bus and by 11.54 I’m in town.
I call her to pick me because I have no idea where she wants me to go. She shows up in a few minutes in a leopard dress. Hell, she looks smashing in it. What I know is that her smile never leaves. Beauteous as ever. We hug because I love hugs. Everybody does. You don’t? Okay. We whiz off, street to street as we chaff. I like knowing what is going on in other people’s lives. Yes, that’s how long my nose is into other people’s lives. To a larger extent, it is because I’m altruistic, another portion is the writer guy inside my head looking for stories. But one rule for jests is to let someone talk firs till they’ve exhausted their word banks. Then they can give you a chance to talk. This not only gives you room to understand each other well but it also helps you bond easily. The other person will feel like you’re a great listener, they can tell you anything. I love that part. But do not pretend like I do sometimes when words become boring.
We get swallowed into one street and get dumped into another. This takes around 10 minutes before we show up into a building and go in. We enter this small lift that serves only six floors. I perch to a corner and lean on it tightly. I and lifts are mars and earth…as they up, if I am not leaning by the corner I just feel kizunguzungu and collapse.
There are four of us in the lift car. I blurt out that I need to be by the wall before they collect me from the floor. Everyone laughs. I finish it off with a loud laughter from hell. The car vomits us on sixth floor to a large room.
At first I jerked. The room was so full of people that I didn’t know what else to do with my life from that point. There is a point in life when you meet the unexpected, a time when your thoughts undress and switch off for a minute siesta. With your brain dead, all body parts become befuddled. Nothing is working in coordination. It is the time your knees knock, your hand goes into the pocket unconsciously, and your eyes sweep across the room with no particular desire.
I think most of these people noticed I was operating on zero brain scale because they all looked at me, planted on the same spot for seconds. Maybe it is because I’m tall. I believe at six feet I am tall enough than normal Kenyans, except the towering Maasais. I think I was surprised because everybody else was smartly dressed. Damn, they all looked sexy. And I, was the only black sheep in the room in casual. Too casual is what I looked. But did I care? No!
My friend held my hand and said, come. We find a spot and sit. Actually the first thing I tell her is, “Looks like I’m the only crook dressed casually amongst all these.” Of which she points back, “It is a choice, here you can where anything you want.” I look around once more, men in sharp suits and women with glistening faces in sweet body hugging dresses. Okay, if you’re going to ask if I drooled at their sight, no I didn’t. Though I kept stealing glances at my friends tu-boobs because her dress had a ka-net around that area. The boobs were peeking at me suggestively like (come on, I got sharp eyes for things- especially those on a woman’s body), “come on buddy, ni nini wewe! Kwani hutuoni?” That was the impression I got from the boobs every time I tried to ignore looking at them from the corner of my eyes.
Then I ask her, “What exactly did you say this is?” She tells me it is AIM Global (Alliance In Motion Global). My spirit dies. Instant death because it sinks so low to my abdomen that it doesn’t pump blood to my body on time. My faces peels and gets replaced with creased veins, utter disappointment. My face reads a tremendous shock. I think she notices it. She did because I went blank, my lips opened but words, nothing.
From previous experience with GNLD, Tiens Kenya, Online Business Opportunity and from many other Ponzi schemes, I had vowed not to ever step into a room promising me a future I didn’t understand. My experience had been so bad that I swore on my mother’s grave never to sit down and let someone preach to me about undefined success. That is why when I heard AIM Global, my heart sank. I had broken my oath, and that was the prelude of the repercussions.
For me, working in such business is similar to working with insurance companies. Only that this one involved selling people while insurance included selling life. I’m not a fan of them things, however much success they might seem to give. Whether they’re Ponzi schemes or not, they’re never my line of business, the same with marketing.
We keep bantering, asking a few questions here and there. But I tell her my stand. My history with AIM Global started way before it penetrated the Kenyan market. I don’t think by then it had even broken the African soil virginity. Some Philippine dude had told me about when I was barely in my 20th birthday through Facebook. By then, I told him I had enough money, I didn’t need any extra. It wouldn’t make my life any better. Then, more money had made my life miserable. I was swimming in it but life was just on the other end of furious hell. Being 19 with no ambitions of life, with money lying by your side looks like a fat potato.
It is either you got money and you’re unhappy, or you don’t have it and you’re still unhappy. In between, you can have some money and be happy. That is all that is to life. Happiness, and kissing death. The question of whether you were just born to suffer and die or just stay happy and die largely remains a decision only you, can make.
Again since she’s my friend, I sit and listen to their presentation. She tells me, just listen, if you like it, take, if you don’t, well, it is unfortunate. The presentation starts off at around 12.30. The speaker promises that it will take roughly less or one hour on the higher end. Of course it ended at half past two. I loathe liars, especially those who collude to waste my time.
I love the presenters. Not the presentation because it is the same old boring shit like any other Ponzi scheme. It is about products that are meant to make your life better. Lengthen your life, I don’t know how, make your skin glow, shed weight, detoxify your body plus other things. As usual, the prices are sky high. If you were to buy, I’m sure you can never afford unless removing 20k from your pocket for a wrist watch is no big deal.
The presenters know how to pitch. They’ve been chiseled to sell with their testimonies. Three years ago, I was a policeman, when I joined this business, I quit. Now I earn 20k daily. I’ve never regretted. Join the business and we’ll make you rich. Three months ago I was a banker. After joining this business, I’ve never looked back. Now I earn more than 40k on the lower side per month. It only took me one month to be a Silver exec. If you join this business you won’t regret.
So after each of these testimonies, you clap and shout. They have a ka-slogan that you chant while you clap, one million! You clap and shout ‘in cash. Two million, you clap twice and shout ‘in cash in cash!’ There is a kagirl somewhere in the audience, the kind of the ones paid to make noise in campaign rallies when their politician is speaking, even if it is shit. She uses this popular comrade chants associated with Babu Owino- Comrades power! Some few comrades around her do a resounding shout, Power! Comrades power! And then ends it with an icing of Comrades Tialala!’ okay, maybe she is a comrade after all because when I look at the audience, I see so many innocent faces belonging to comrades who have no idea what they’re walking into. All they know is that wealth awaits them after these presentations. Most of them look like they’ve never tasted problems all their lives. What do you expect of someone with fat cheeks, and a fat ass, and he is a boy?
These men and women in better apparel continue bragging. Because that is all that is to these pyramid schemes- to show you that there is actually unending cash waiting for you to just join, and in a snap of a finger, swim in millions of bucks. Poor folks! Then there is this chap from UG who had a very sharp suit. He had good public presentations skills before he soiled them with a lot of bragging. Imported a Benz from majuu, juzi tu. That it has this button that when you switch, it becomes an airplane. Then a house in a posh hood in UG, where if 100 guys showed up with their cars, they could park and his parking lot wouldn’t cough a bit.
They had this common greeting. Something they use to motivate their audiences. So when one shouts Good morning, you shout back, good more earnings! What a killer pitcher greeting.
When the meeting concludes, they usually sit in groups to discuss more, ask questions and get answered including how you can join and the benefits that you as a newbie will gain. I don’t get to attend one because I have a few urgent things needing my attention in town. I tow my body off with profuse apologies why I have got to run. I go down using the stairs because the lift is sluggish. I keep thinking to myself as I go down, really, I feel hungry. A quick burger would do it as I think.
Before I wrote this story, I asked Fidelis if I can do it. I furthered the request by saying that I might make it salty because that is how my writing ego wants it to be. She said okay brother if it is for the good cause then go ahead. Brother! Maybe it is because I didn’t take the opportunity or maybe it is because of the discussion we had during the meeting, she usually texts back, sawa dear.
Earlier in the meeting.
“Harusi yako tunakuja lini?’ I asked in a badinage.
“Me!” she laughs it off. “I have two more years. I am 24.”
“You mean we ni mzee hivyo.” I joke.
“Hehe, yeah. Mimi ni mzee, wacha tu.” She again laughs it off, not sure whether she feels turned off by my question or just amused. Sometimes you never know when you touch the wrong button on a girl’s emotions. Even when you’re trying to be witty it might make you look a buffoon.
“With me I got some four or five more years to settle down.” I tell her.
“Meaning you can’t date me.” She says.
“Unless you want to wait that long. Though I am not into girls right now.” I answer back. “Mwenye niko na yeye we just kicking it.”
She nods. I continue, “Hii ni ile time I need to kujipanga and make a future for myself. So that when I bring the woman of my dreams home, she comes home, not to a shack.” She agrees. “I think by now you should start dating.”
“Year, sure.” She says before the first speaker shows up and says, Good morning!
The crowd drums, “Good more earnings!”
Fellahs, good more earnings ya’ll. And Fidel, thanks. Was good seeing you and thanks for considering me. We shall dine in better places.
Mzangila Empire 2017