Diaspora Stories: Why you should be careful dealing with friends and relatives in Jamhuri
Diaspora Stories: Why you should be careful dealing with friends and relatives in Jamhuri
Before going for holiday in Nairobi sometimes back, I contacted a tour company to book for me a hotel and a visit to Mombasa. I did it online where I would amend the dates, cancel the entire week depending on how my job was in England.
In the course of amending and cancelling some aspects of the trip, we became ’friends’ with the person handling my file whose name was Joe. I even went to the extent of buying him a gift from London to cement our newfound friendship.
From the airport, I would make my own arrangements on how I was to make to the hotel. No big deal, I would take a cab for less than kes.2k. I was surprised to find that Joe had volunteered to meet me at the airport in his car. Surely, that was a very good and kind gesture from someone who had never met me.
I had instructed him to book for me a hotel that had all along been next to my former employer’s office building for some reason. At night while trying to do few over time hours, I would go to the balcony and admire tourists as they came and went from the hotel. Sometimes they would forget to close the window curtains and so I would see them relaxing while demonstrating the anger their love to each other. I assumed that they were all honeymooners not sinners who were committing a sin that was punishable by being thrown into a lake of fire.
We arranged with Joe to meet for a drink in the hotel that evening but due to unforeseen circumstances, he could not make it. According to him, he was due to attend a church meeting the following day.
“If earthly things contradict with the work of God, that of the work of God prevails,” he said. Wow! Who would hate to be a friend to someone with such a good moral compass?
He arrived in the evening at exactly 8:00 pm. I was taking my favourite Guinness beer and so I also expected him to take beer like me. On seeing my beer, he opened his eyes wide and looked at me as if I was a wild animal.
”If there is anything that will give you a first class ticket to hell, it’s this beer.”
”Why, ” I asked him.
”Alcohol has destroyed homes, make sure that yours is not destroyed by alcohol,” he said. I informed him that I was in Israel where I visited Cana, Galilee in the exact place where Jesus turned water into wine and I did not see demons flying in and out!
”In that case, you are your own best manager!” he concluded.
It was a lovely evening as I took my beer with Joe taking soft drinks. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation, Joe suggested that there was business we could do, and that the business was buying merchandise from Asian countries which we could supply to some institutions. In fact, he showed me an LPO dated a week before.
” Look here, I have the LPO, but I don’t have the capital to do the purchasing. We can do this job with you then we share the profits 50/50” he said. The projected profits were in millions of shillings which was music to my ears.
Considering that I lived in Europe, I would easily fly to the factory where goods were manufactured, make the order, pay and then do the shipping. On arrival to Africa, Joe would do the rest. I would give capital so long as there was accountability and transparency in the deal.
I was feeling thirsty so I asked one of the waiters for two bottles of water but Joe suggested that I should not buy bottled water in the hotel because it was sold at ’tourist price.’
”Why don’t you buy water in the shop downstairs and it only costs kshs.70 per bottle. Give me kshs.140 and I will get for you two bottles. I did not have loose change, so I gave him a five-hundred-shilling note. He went and brought me the two bottles but as for the change…much as I waited, I never got it. No big deal…so I told myself.
Exit three weeks and my holiday had come to an end. Our plan was that Joe would e-mail me the documents so that we would set the ball rolling for the new business venture.
In about two weeks upon coming back to England, my phone rang at 2.00 am when I was dead asleep. I answered it reluctantly.
”Heeeelloooo….This-is-Dr-Joe…hooow is…is…. London?!” said Joe in a very drunken state. He had told me that beer consumption would take me to hell. What changed?
”Hi Joe, is anything the matter?” I asked him.
”All is ooookay! You are my saviour! Do you want me to call you Doctor or Professor Man Man?” he asked.
”Hi, I made a cool kshs. 50k from you. Those cancelled hotel bookings that you made…. respect man! I was not charged but I charged you…. Hi, that’s why I am taking my beer because it is more costly than petrol!” he said.
“In that case, you must be a very intelligent person Dr. Joe! Congrats!” I told him.
“Call me Professor Joe, business is made with human beings not trees!” he said. I was angered by his sentiments, but I also counted myself lucky for realising that I was dealing with a person of questionable character. In a bid to get to know more about him, I suppressed my anger and became more friendly to him.
“But Professor Joe, you would have shared some money with me, just a fraction my friend,” I told him.
“How can a whole Professor share his exploits with someone who cannot locate his (unprintable, denoting a part of the anatomy) even with the help of a spotlight?” he asked me before letting out a prolonged laughter.
“Okay then be my guest Sir” I said.
“I knew you were mediocre the moment I saw you, from the way you had curled your hair and from the way your perfume was smelling. I thought God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve hahaha,” he said.
“Come again Professor whoever?” I asked angrily. After listening to him for the next two minutes, with him attacking my character, I disconnected the phone never to contact him again.
From that day, I learned a lesson that what we see is not always what we get. One does not need to do big things for you to know his or her character. When Joe refused to give me my balance change when he bought water for me, that should have set the alarm off that he was crafty. Very little actions when looked at closely describes the person a great deal.
Many people end up in wrong relationships because of not reading the tell-tale signs. Even when love for each other is overflowing from the veins, one should always look at the way the would-be spouse is treating other people who are in the lower social pyramid. If one is abusive to them, that is a sign to inform that the lover would also undergo abuse when the chips are down. How was your spouse treating his parents, siblings and the general public? While courting, did your opinion matter or everything started with him or her? If you had no say in the relationship, you could have found an exit strategy early enough because you were dealing with a person with a choleric type of personality. I am not forgetting the fact that a lover who reasons is not a lover.
May I confirm that Joe was not a Professor in the world of academia though he was referring himself as such. His speech was extremely polite and calculated. In my meeting with him, his talks were very intelligent. When laughing, he was almost shy when looking at me to the point that I felt that he was very holy, so holy that if he walked on eggs, they would not break. How he ended up being a conman was something that I would not imagine. While making judgement on someone, do not rely on what you are told because looks can be deceiving. It does not matter how Godly one looks, behind the holiness could be a completely different person if we put his or her conduct into consideration. Don’t let every person lay hands on you or your children because some could be pretending to be holy, but they are something else. Before you realise, you and your children became their slaves long time ago. If someone wants to control, he will just make you think like him or her.
I don’t know of anybody in diaspora who has never been conned by friends or relatives abroad. There are those who will approach you for financial loan and they will swear by the gods of mountains and valleys that they will pay you back. Chances are that you will never be paid back and so you will have earned yourself an enemy in who was previously a friend or a relative. I always wonder how a person from diaspora can loan 20k to a relative to do business and that relative has never handled 2k in his or her lifetime. This is like putting a sandal on a cow!
Listen to my grandfather when talking to his daughters; “No doubt you people will take different paths in life, but you will always have one thing in common, that you all came out of this body of mine. When you go out there and you are approached by a man who is quiet and will not get angry, think twice. This does not mean that he is an Angel. He could be a bomb about to explode! Still waters run deep. Listen to what your man tells you when he is angry or drunk because what he will be telling you is what is in his heart. Another thing, when you go to visit your boyfriends, just greet them with your hands only not with anything else. If you sense that his eyes are looking at you as if he is drunk and has not taken any beer, that should tell you that it is time for you to leave. This is because men are turncoats,” he said. Need I say more? Action speak louder than words.
By Man ManKambugua [email protected]