“When you pray to God about something, genuinely from your heart, and He answers in greater ways that blow your mind, that’s when you’ll know He truly lives.”
(Hi there. Missed the first episode? Feel free to read it here before proceeding. If you already did, happy reading:)
I was strolling around home probably even pacing up and about just trying to figure out what to do with my life. I had prayed countless times towards the open blue sky for something to do that would help me earn money. The best response I got were birds flying through chirping about heaven knows what as if to laugh at my prayers. Or maybe the best I also got was my mum shouting from the yard that the goats had run loose from their tethers. If they set foot on the sukuma in the shamba we would have brimstone for supper.
My strolls led me near the highway which is not far from the house. I can’t really say why I was heading towards the road. Our home is in Nyaharuru. We live along the Nyaharuru – Baringo highway which was under construction. There was a Toyota Hilux parked under a tree on the other side of the road. A Toyota Hilux is a Toyota Hilux in Kwale or in Nyaharuru. But for some reason, this wasn’t just any Toyota Hilux. I had a gut feeling that I had seen this specific Toyota Hilux before. The shade of its body paint. The grin in its headlights. The ego on its tyres. The confidence in its posture. All what I had interacted with before but where and when?
Okay it’s so damn familiar. So what are the odds that that Toyota Hilux that I sure as hell saw in a county hundreds of miles away was now in my home county? Coincidence? I had all the time in the world to find out.
So I got to the car. There was someone on the driver’s seat. His feet were on the dashboard. I could tell he had been fighting back waves of sleep and losing terribly. The closer I got to the vehicle, the more convinced I felt that I knew it along with the reminder about where I had seen it.
“Mzuri.” He said sitting up. The ghosts of sleep fleeing quickly.
“Wapi mwenye gari?”
His face creased. “Kwani mimi sikai mwenye gari?”
I would have said I am not stupid but my prayers were at stake. So watch your tone and tongue sis.
“Ni vile najua mwenye gari.”
“And who do you think that is?” He was making it a pissing contest. It was time to show him even girls can beat boys in pissing contests.
I saw how his face punctured. Because he was Wafula’s driver. “The construction warehouse down the highway.”
I even didn’t think about the blazing sun as I matched nearly a kilometre down the highway. From our previous interactions, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about meeting him. But today felt different. It had to be different when he stopped barking instructions to workers after he saw me craning my neck around. He looked at me like he had set his eyes on a long lost daughter. Later anyway I’d realise that the word in place of daughter would be princess. A long lost princess. Much much later I’d realise even with greater magnitude that the word is queen. The long lost queen.
“Yes Mr. Wafula.”
We shook hands, “Ah. Mr. Ni wewe.”
I laughed and clicked, “Really now?”
“What are you doing here? I must admit this just got very interesting.”
“More interesting for me. I saw your car and was like, hii gari nimeiona Kakamega. Inafanya nini hapa? I had to find out because sina kazi ya kufanya anyway.”
“I am looking for a job. Like for real I really need a job.”
“And you think I can offer you one?”
“I am seeing you offer me one today.”
[The confidence, I know, right?]
“What kind of work do you think you can do around here.This is a road construction site. I deal in pavements, drainage and gabion constructions after a road has been constructed.”
“Well I can do everything you have said.”
Of course we laughed.
I saw the way he looked at me. He couldn’t resist my bid any further.
“How about then you come tomorrow morning we see what you can do around here.”
“Mapema sana kama jogoo I’ll be here. When mum wakes up to pray, I’ll be on my way out.”
I remember taking an about turn that was a restrained happy dance. A mixture of praises to Yahweh for proving Himself yet again so uniquely to His very own and humility because it was still quite early to throw a feat.
[I was reading things on a forum I like and came across something at the end of last year. It rubbed the walls of my heart never to forget it’s embrace. The story was about an interviewer who had a chance to interview Bill Gates.
She asked, “What is the secret to your success?”
He was silent for a while, stood up and headed towards his desk. He walked back with a cheque book and a pen in hand.
“Write any amount you want in there.” Gates said.
“I’m sorry sir. I don’t think you got me right. I was only asking for an answer to the secret of your success.”
I’m a journalist and I know our book says we should always evade the reception of pleasantries in the line of work. It was ethical for the interviewer, in her defense, to stick to the purpose of the interview. Because, was it now turning into some kind of paper game? What are the chances it was some kind of trick anyway that he was trying to pull probably to illustrate a point? A trick that would embarrass her. Whatever it was, like many of us as practicing journalists, we would be super conscious not to fall for it. But therein lies the test.
Gates offered it one last time and she insisted that the question needed a response.
He tore the cheque book in what seemed like disappointment and threw it. He turned and said, “That’s my answer. You had the opportunity to become the richest interviewer on the planet and you blew it! The secret to my success is that I do not let opportunities pass me. I do my best to seize them as they come.”
You, just like I was, are amazed and probably even embarrassed for yourself because we didn’t imagine that story would end up like that. We probably are afraid because we’ve realised like the interviewer, we would stick to what we believe so staunchly and in the process, let opportunities slip right through our legs. We probably are embarrassed because we have just realised like the interviewer again, we didn’t even realise that that was an opportunity.
To pray for opportunities is just as important as learning how to spot them and pounce on them without hesitation. And having the confidence to stand before the face of opportunity and saying, “It’s mine!” is the knock out tactic.]
It just felt like an opportunity. I couldn’t even sleep like a log like other days. My mind was busy preparing for the chance to prove my worth if at all I was to be on this payroll that was now dangling on a branch on the tree of the universe. The first streak of sunrise caught up with me at the gate of the warehouse.
Wafula drove in just when I was trying to compose words to explain to the gateman what a girl like me who didn’t look like one to koroga simiti was doing there. He showed me around. Kilometers and stretches of the places they were constructing. He mentioned the materials used that I don’t think you all are interested to hear about. Surprisingly, I did understand what he was talking about even with the fact that I’ve never held a shovel to dig a dog’s grave.
He introduced me to the workers and with time, even his seniors. He mentioned that the workers needed to have their payments processed. Thank God for paying attention in the business class in Baringo Girls High School. I said I know all about ledgers and what not. That was it, I was hired!
Your first day of work and you’re already entrusted to pay the workers. I was their new Santa Claus. As if that wasn’t anything, having learnt the construction process through apprenticeship, two to three weeks later I became what you’d call a junior supervisor. I was paid a thousand bob a day. Holy macaroni that was good money at a time when the country was reeling over a pandemic.
The epitome of it was when Wafula was a way for some days. Somebody just say Lord Almighty!
Junior supervisor was now the supervisor in charge. I had my own driver. From walking and flexing my ass down the highway to pampering it at the back left seat of a double cabin. I would be picked every morning and dropped in the evening like the boss the favour of the most High God had elevated me to be.
[Get to the part where even your diet changed.]
I haven’t told you about food. Shame on me. Lunch was never on me. I was told to order anything I wanted. I think my body has become 70% yoghurt. I’d eat in the car and go back to work.
[I choose not to remember what I was eating during the pandemic. Of importance is that we are all alive.]
My studies had become challenging because of not having a laptop. I bought myself one early in advance also before mum fully realised how much money I had made so far. I had it ordered from Nairobi. I’d save most of my income and give out some to help with things around home.
I had established a good rapport with Jim, a white guy who was the boss of all bosses over there. He owned the construction company Wafula was a major shareholder in. They had secured contracts around the country so now here they were. Everyone knew I was standing in for Wafula. Wafula’s right hand man, or woman now in this case. Told you the pissing contest just got real. He came back and was impressed at how I had seen things through.
And so, he said I deserved a treat. A very very good treat. A treat as good as the girl I had been. A treat worth the beautiful woman I am. And just who says no to a well deserved treat? I don’t think that would be me, mjango.