It was Christmas Eve in 2014 and I did not have a shilling to my name.
I recall I had spent the last fortnight awaiting payment from three different avenues of income, and they had all promised to pay me by the 23rd. I decided to give them time for bank delays and what have you, and head over on the 24th. I knew the banks would close at mid-day so to make my surprise at having money extra sweet, I waited until 11.30 am.
I called up my boda guy (let’s call him John) and asked him to take me to the bank on credit.
“Got no money currently, you see” I explained. “But once I reach the bank, I’ll pay you”.
We set off. We reached the bank. I had not been paid. Morose, I stood on the sidewalk and spent some time peering up at the sky.
“You have not been paid” John surmised.
“No”, I confessed, blushing. “But it’s fine. I’ll just give you the last of what I have”.
“Okay”, John said. I got back on the bike, and we headed home while I conjured up horrifying ways for my employers to die.
When I was deposited at my gate, I pulled out my wallet to pay John.
“First wait”, he interrupted me, as he pulled out his wallet. It was packed to the brim with 50,000 shilling notes. There couldn’t possibly have been room for one extra note, that’s how packed it was. He pulled out two of them and handed them to me.
“No!” I protested, horrified. “I can’t take your money. Put it away!”
“But Madam” he reasoned. “It’s Christmas eve. What are you going to do? You need to transport yourself, you need to visit your family and you need to party and have a good time. You can’t go for Christmas without money!”
I chewed on my bottom lip. The science behind his words was undeniable.