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Everyone Has a COVID Story, What’s Yours?

September weather innit? It really isn’t but here we are na cha muhimu…? 

Tumefanya kila kitu during this pandemic. Ambao hawajawai kanyaga Mara kama Wafula na Sospeter waliomoka na wakasumbua sana pale IG. Wengine m’mechapa biz ajab pale twitter (btw a big shout the bigwigs making noise for Kenyans trynna cup a buck on there btw)

Now if you are like me, then you come complete with an unbridled set of skills to always getting ‘the tea’. Take for example juzi. I was in a mat on my way home after what had to be one of the longest days of my life!. I got comfy in a seat just in front of the back bench. I’m not gonna lie,these new sitting arrangements are actually a win in my books. But I’ve secretly missed serving side eye and subtly fighting for my sitting space. The possibility that some kiddoz will never know this was a thing is oh so wild to me!

Anyhu, behind me sat two chaps. One wore a black suit. I’ve hang around a ton of bank tellers and this guy certainly made the cut. He gives off a good vibe. He’s not loud. He’s polite – yes, I eavesdropped long enough to pick this up. He seems pretty laid back; often shrugging and giving an awkward laugh when he doesn’t necessarily agree with what his friend says and ends it with a “but si ni life?”. He seems like the kind of fella who sticks to routine. He’s of a medium build and he was about 6”2” if how far his leg stretched out into the matatu isle is anything to go by. We’ll call him Mike because he struck me as a Mike and because that’s his actual name – I heard guy number two call him that.

Then there’s his friend – He donned a crisp white tea… y’know the ones that give off a neon aesthetic under matatu lighting? He also had on the legendary Nairobi chain that everyone from down town wears. What’s up with that by the way? It’s like the Kenyan bracelet for downtown folk. He also wore skinny rugged jeans. He looks like yeye huchapa gym kila siku. And of course he has a kabag that bore a box – perhaps a phone was in there. These guys are always repairing and/or selling gadgets. We’ll call him Brayo for the same reasons we named Mike, “Mike”.

Their conversation was pleasant. I like a good talk. It was studded with high highs and low lows on how life has been since March. Mike and Brayo walipatana stage kimakosa. Hakuna kitu hunibo kama kukutana na mtu unajua stage. The expectation that you then have to sit together and chat all the way give me anxiety. Na the awkwardness ya kulipiana fare – hadi nimetingika kiidogo just thinking about it. Plus matatu rides huwa time ya kureflect so no please.

These two guys haven’t seen each other since Mike left ‘the bank’ (I still maintain that he’s a bank teller and that’s on periodt). Brayo is ‘in between jobs’ while Mike is still in his routine but expresses notes of dissatisfaction and exhaustion. Management suffered an incredible arm twist that ended in staff restructuring and Brayo ended up being let go.

He spoke freely about how and what life has dealt him since the beginning of the pandemic. And honestly, it was somewhat painful to listen to. From having a job with an office building that adds on to the striking Nairobi skyline to becoming so unfamiliar with the place you used to make your daily bread. The place becomes another landmark ndio usipotee hii Nairobi. It becomes to you what Afya Centre is to our good cousins from shaggz wakikuja Nairobi. Plotting his next move was unnerving and it really made me wonder why we never seem to plan ahead. COVID has shown us what that brick wall we all joke about is like.

Mike speaks of several failed projects. Lakini si mlisema mwauname ni kujikaza? He speaks about the speed at which his savings just poofed – often as a result of the said projects. He speaks about the ripple effect it had on his budding relationship. Gyal dem sensed trouble akajikata mapema - the sifia pains za kulalia ngumi usiku. He spoke about having to step up even more to take care of his ageing parents and younger siblings. Oh and have I mentioned he had to move? In so doing, he had to sell a few (read ‘a lot’) of his belongings. Despite all this, Brayo still smiles and laughs through his story. A man with an admirable character. He now owns a phone repair shop that is picking up.

Shortly, we were at Brayo’s stage. As he was alighting he hit us with, “ukitaka kuwai jua kuna ngori, juanga bei ya pineapple.’ Ruined the calm mood in the mat. He must be fun at parties 😑🙄😒 But the man has a point. I’ve taken it upon myself to deposit whatever amount I can in my KCB Goal account. Hiyo discipline nayo si rahisi so get you an accountability buddie to keep you on course.

And maybe you’re actually down and out of a job – companies are downsizing, contracts are expiring and a lot of other tough cookies being served around. So a lot of peeps are finding alternative means to cop that buck. If you’re in this space, maybe self-employment is your light at the end of the tunnel. So let us also interest you to our Niko Waks program. And what better time to give it a shot? Applications are open NOW.

Today’s post was not for kicks and a good laugh. It was intended to awaken you to the reality of the times we’re living in. It was intended to challenge you to have a plan. It was intended to remind you to check on people. Above everything, it was intended to ring this on high: nothing (especially bad) is forever.

Stay safe, wear your mask, maintain social distance, keep warm and carry your own sanitizer – mat zingine wanaweka maji in those spray bottles. Semeni ng’we nisnitch!


Over & Out,

The Witty Banker



Sep 10, 2020 Trending

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