This long post knocked whisky out of Uhuru’s head, stayed sober reading through to the end, life of Jebet and her unlucky brother

0
81
This long post knocked whisky out of Uhuru’s head, stayed sober reading through to the end, life of Jebet and her unlucky brother

(Very long post)
Jeruto was lucky to have been married by a D.O. (District Officer) somewhere near Marigat. She wasn’t anything we as a family looked up to as her new acquired status as a wife to a high ranking government official pushed her pride way beyond our level and reach. She was much older than me but quite bullish.

My wife had just had a bouncing baby girl, Jebet who brought to us the joy that life itself couldn’t have offered by then. She was a bright ever smiling girl full of life. Life was difficult in our one roomed structure at Westgate considering that I did not have a steady income.

I did casual jobs here and there that came on and off but never earned me enough to take care of my family well. I therefore decided with my wife Memoi that she should go back to her mother at Ole-Rongai and our daughter, who was by now close to 5 years old would stay with my mother at Kabarnet since there was a pretty good school nearby. I was to remain alone at Westgate and try and survive alone on these manual jobs as we figured out what to do next. This way, we would save quite a lot both on food and many other things.

After dropping Jebet at mum’s in Kabarnet I decided that I should go visit Jeruto to see if she could assist me with capital to kick off a business but before I set out to go, she had already got wind of my impending visit from a close relative who had also told her the way I was a mess and a reckless drunkard who had sent away my wife back to her mum. Unaware of her knowledge about my visit, I proceeded to visit her, big mistake. I arrived at her home at night around 8PM, she was in with her family. Her welcome was very cold. I expected that from her anyway but I did not mind since all I wanted was money.

I had planned to bring up the subject of my visit after supper but to my great shock she sat me down and started a really long lecture full of insults about how I was a great disgrace to my family.

“You are a reckless drunkard, a shame and a bad example to your wife and daughter. I am ashamed to be your sister…”
“Who told you all these sister…?” I had asked her.
“I know, everyone knows, we as a family have been talking about you always and we are all so much embarrassed about you.” She continued.

But I had just been with mum and she never mentioned anything. I thought to myself. Anyway, I never answered her back as all I had wanted was money but she had continued with the insults over and over until she said one thing that touched my soul.

“When dad died, ‘hakutuacha na deni yako’ so we and I in particular owe you totally nothing.”
Dad had died a couple of years back of a terrible road accident leaving mum with about 150 acres of land in Kabarnet, a few cows for milk and about ten goats. Mum had sold most of the cows due to hardship around the farm. The farm had been of great help in taking care of mum and some of us but we couldn’t use it for farming as it was a semi-desert so it was just used for grazing and keeping bees for honey. The goats dad left had reproduced and the number raised to over 130 goats.

“Now, I was told you were coming here for money, what money do you want from me? Did you give me any money to keep for you? Like I told you earlier, I owe you nothing, infact, you better get up and start moving, you are not sleeping here today. There is no room for you here.” Jeruto had shouted at me that night. I never argued with her or tried to plead as I noticed some sort of finality in her voice as she walked away into her bedroom banging the door hard behind her.

It was heading to 11PM when I walked out of her compound not knowing where to go. I did not have fare to go back to my one room structure at Westgate, about 40km away and Kabarnet was even a much further distance at Kabarnet. I decided to walk, towards Kabarnet. There are no houses at that place and it is quite deserted at that time of the night. I was also aware of poisonous snakes and scorpions that roamed around at night. Since Marigat is a desert and snakes being cold blooded will prefer to move at night while hunting because of the cool temperatures. The place was also a red spot for thugs and car jackers who targeted matatus that plied the Nakuru/Kabarnet route. I was very much aware of all these threats as I walked after being kicked out of my sister’s house but armed with my Rosary in hand as my only weapon; I walked slowly reciting it over and over.

I had decided I would walk to Kabarnet however long it would take. After a two hours walk, my dusty feet had started swelling and hurting. I came to a shopping center that was already dark save for the few security lights on the verandahs. Businesses here closed early for fear of robbers. Kabarnet was still quite a distance and walking would have taken me the whole night. I therefore looked for a security light outside a shop and sat under it on a verandah. This way, any thugs or even the police would know that I am a watchman. It was going to be a long night, mosquitoes all over and a slight drizzle had just set in, I could tell from the drops on the verandah’s corrugated iron roof. I had no jacket on me.

By good luck the real watchman arrived. He was a huge figured fellow.
“Hey, who are you and what are you doing here?” He had demanded to know in a harsh voice.
After calming him down, I had told him my story, the whole true story and pleaded with him to accommodate me on the verandah for the night for I had a long distance to go. He felt so sorry for me and offered me a sisal sac to sleep in. He had two of them so he remained with one. We talked about our lives till late into the night when he fell asleep.

“Use the sac as a sleeping bag, mosquitoes…” He had earlier reminded me as he slid into his and switched off into a loud snore almost immediately. I followed suit, but I couldn’t catch any sleep. I had stayed awake the whole night thinking about my sister Jeruto. Occasionally I would sit up and count the stars and wonder how it was up there. Were there people up there, maybe souls of our departed loved ones? Was dad looking at me from up there? How could my sister do this to me?

Anyway, by 5am I was still awake, deep in thought, my friend was still fast asleep. There were already movements, birds singing, cocks crowing and a few school children walking to school. Matatus had also started moving by. I sat quietly shivering in the cold until the sun started cropping up from a distance chasing away the darkness. My friend woke up to find me already seated.

“Hey, good morning..” He shouted stretching up his limbs.
“Good morning” I answered back.
“Thanks a lot for your kind gesture; I do not know what I would have done without you. I must start going now.” I told him as I stood up to start my long journey.
“Hey, here, have this, its little but can help you on fare. You can pay me back some day latter when you have money.”
He handed me a 100 shillings note. This was a miracle.
“Thankyou so much buddy, God bless you.”

I had found a matatu that the conductor was from home and I asked him to assist me reach Kabarnet with the little money I had. He agreed on condition that next time we meet I must pay him.

By around 9am I arrived at Kabarnet and started my journey on foot reaching home an hour later. Mum was just through with milking the goats when I walked in. Jebet had already gone to school. I ran to the river, showered and returned home, sat under a mango tree and immediately fell asleep. Mum had not woken me up I think because she must have realized that I was very tired. By 1pm when I woke up, she was seated right next to me under the mango tree.

“So what’s the story? Why are you here very early and why did you fall asleep immediately? Don’t tell me you have been drinking busaa at the neighbors’ the whole night.”
“No, mum, I slept out at a shop’s veranda somewhere near Marigat…” I started before she stopped me.

“Outside? Marigat? Why didn’t you sleep at Jeruto’s? When you left here you said you were going to her place.”
“Yes I did mum, but she accused me of so many things and threw me out.”
“What!” mum let out a scary scream.
“Why do you children want to send me to an early grave? I never imagined this would have happened while I am still alive. What came to you people? We lived as one happy united family before your dad died, now see how divided you are.”

We talked about it then I told mum I wanted to start a business and needed money. I had some beehives and I had decided I would harvest the honey and go with it back to my place at Westgate and brew muratina to sell to locals. This would get me some little capital to try and kick off the business I wanted to start of selling local brew. I had shared this idea with mum and requested her to add me more money, in case she had, to boost my beer business.
“I have five thousand somewhere. Will that be enough?”
“Thank you so much mom, that’s more than enough.”
My beehives had given me 20 liters of honey which I carried the following day back to my one room mabati structure at Westgate.

I arrived at Westgate at around noon and embarked on my muratina brew. At the back of my mind I kept wondering who could have told my Jeruto that I was going to visit her. Anyway, I decided to put that at the back of my mind as I continued to brew the muratina. I did this the whole night until around 2PM when the thoughts of Jeruto kicking me out started haunting me again. I wanted to drown my sorrows, I had over twenty liters of muratina, this would be good to drown my sorrows so that I forget about Sarah once and for all. But I hadn’t eaten anything and I had no food in the house at that time of the night. The pangs of hunger were hitting me hard and the only thing to be eaten in that house was the muratina. It was just over 20 liters and I started drinking it cup after cup. I drunk as I cried tears, tears of how Jeruto had treated me, insulted me and thrown me out at night. It bothered me so much. By morning I had consumed over 5 liters and funny enough I was still very sober.

I got out of my room at dawn and started walking around not even knowing where I was going to. I walked to Rafiki centre then all of a sudden my head started spinning slowly then very fast. I felt as if the world was going round as I fell to the ground hard. The muratina had started getting to my head and with the hunger in my stomach the effect was much harder and more severe. My mouth was foaming and people walking around thought I was dying so they carried me, put me on a shop veranda and poured some cold water on me. This had made me vomit and even dirt my pants, muratina does that, it’s honey. I was a total mess and I had attracted a crowd, some people having fan others taking my videos of me using their cell phones. As I struggled staggering to head back to my room I fell into a ditch by the side of the road and just couldn’t get myself back to my feet.

The sun was up by now and people were up going about their business yet here I was stuck drunk inside a ditch by the side of the road with a huge crowd getting entertained. The sunlight didn’t make things better for me as my drunk status got even worse. My head was spinning, spinning round fast. I felt as if my head was getting detached from my neck.
Suddenly from my dizziness I noticed a matatu stopping next to me and a figure that I realized alighted. It was Jeruto my sister. She had a huge phone in her hand and an expensive handbag in her other hand. She walked to me and straight away started the insults again about how useless I was as a drunkard and about how my wife had left me because I couldn’t take good care of her. Hmm, I thought I had agreed with my wife to go stay at her mum’s for a while as I put my life in order. Anyway, who had told my sister that I was here in a ditch very drunk? Now she had proved her allegations right that I was a drunkard. A reckless one at that.

“Hey, sis, you are attracting a crowd here, please can we talk aside alone away from these people?” I persuaded her.
“You can go to hell! I am ashamed of you as my brother, I am embarrassed, you are a shame to our family and to me, you are such an idiot, a fool, good for nothing.”

Jeruto had gone on insulting me the ‘F’ words and all the insults she could get her tongue to pronounce. After I realized that I couldn’t convince her to talk in private I gave up and just slept there in the ditch as she continued shouting at me and kicking me with her sharp pointed shoes. I ignored her as her voice and insults became more and more faint…I fell asleep right there.

When I woke up I was in my room in the evening smelling like sewage. I went and showered, dressed up well and went and slept, hungry. Came morning and my stomach was rumbling with emptiness, hunger. I had to do something to get a meal. The 5 thousand mum had given me had been pick-pocketed from me the time I was dead drunk. I went to some of my close friends to try and borrow some little cash to buy food, but no one was willing to lend me. I went to a building site and got a building job as a mason. The pay was 200 shillings a day, not much but enough to get me githeri of 40 shillings a day. The remaining 160 I would send to my wife one one day and to mum the next day to take care of Jebet through that conductor friend of mine. I did this job for about 6 months and I decided it wasn’t going down well with me. I went back home to my mum again and tried to get some money. I had spoken to her that I would sell some part of our farm to raise money for a business I wanted to start. I managed to sell an acre of land, bought two motorbikes and employed some two guys to do bodaboda on them. I had by then requested my wife to come back home so that we would try and make this thing work together. She came back and we got Jebet from my mum and enrolled her in a school nearby. I went on with my mjengo work but after a while I realized that the two guys I had employed on my motorbikes were jokers and I wasn’t getting what the worth of the bikes were. I decided to sell one of the bikes and remained with one which I used myself for business as the bodaboda.
Things were still tough for us so I went back to my mum again. God bless her, she was always there when everyone turned against me. I told mum that my business wasn’t going well and I wanted some money to boost the business or start a new business.
“But son, we have no money.” She had told me.

I wanted to sell all the goats, I had by now over 200 goats and I wanted to dispose off 190 goats at a price of 5,000 each. That would give me good capital to do some really good business. I knew mum had been milking the goats for milk to take care of Jebet but I had now taken Jebet and she needed just a few goats for milk of her own. We had agreed with mum that I sell 190 goats. The issue was now to get a buyer. I approached many slaughter houses but the best price anyone was offering was 3,000 for a single goat, and no one was ready to take all of them at ago.

Trouble started again when word reached my dear sister Jeruto that I was selling Dad’s goats. She traveled all the way to Kabarnet, this time with her husband in a GK vehicle, maybe to make us feel her power, she was furious.

“Why are you selling dad’s goats?”
“But’ sis, when dad died these goats were less than 20, me and mum have taken good care of them until now when they are over 200 so I thought I would sell some to do a business and retain the original number of ten to start breeding again.” I tried explaining.
“Rubbish, it doesn’t matter, those aren’t your goats. They are dad’s. Can you get your own goats to sell and leave dad’s goats alone. For heaven sake whats wrong with you? You are just seated there doing nothing and eyeing what isn’t yours to sell? What dad worked for so hard to get? What type of man are you?”

Well, I gave up and decided this life was not for me. If it wasn’t for my wife and Jebet, I would have taken my life. Life was not worth it, nothing was working to my favor yet here was my sister, the only one in my family that was doing well, frustrating me even further instead of being happy for me that I was trying to do something to help myself. I had no other way to raise money yet Jebet needed food and fees and clothes.
I had traveled back to my wife feeling dejected and very low.
“How did it go?” My wife had asked even before I sat down.
After I had explained to her we sat thinking of the next thing to do. For the next one week things were hard, there was no food in the house, we could only afford Jebet’s food. Sometimes we had to pretend to be visiting a friend just so that we could eat there, this had to be done tactically from one friend to another without raising suspicion. Sometimes we just drunk water and slept for days.

One Saturday afternoon my mum called. She told me she had spoken to Jeruto about the goats and Jeruto had accepted that we could sell the goats on condition that she was the one buying the goats. I had no problem with that, the only issue was that she was buying each goat at 2,500 fixed price so I was either to accept the price or forget the whole deal. I had no choice but to take her price. I latter came to find out that she had found a buyer for the goats at 5,500 each so she was making a cool 570,000 for herself.

I didn’t care much. After she paid me the 475,000 I traveled straight to a friend in Nairobi who had introduced me to an Asian pool table manufacturer. I wanted to buy ten pool tables for business but I had only half a million. We struck a deal with the Asian for ten pool tables at 100,000 each then I would pay half of the total amount and the remaining half I pay in 6 months.

The pool table business was quite good. I had placed one pool table at section 58 Nakuru, a second one in town center and a third one at Shabab, still in Nakuru. I had spoken to some friends who owned bars so that I could place the tables in the bars and pay them some rent. The remaining 7 tables were placed at different places one at Mercy Njeri, two at Rafiki center, one at Bargasen, two at Kampi ya moto center and the last one at Eldama Ravine junction. A single pool table on average was paying me a net profit of 12,500 per month. In less than 5 months I had cleared the loan. My friend who had introduced me to the Asian had given me a phone number to be paying the loan through.

5 months after clearing the loan, I got information that the police were looking for me all the way from Nairobi. I was at Kabarnet at mum’s then so I traveled all the way to my family where I bumped into the police just outside my house. Without any explanation, they bungled me into their land cruiser and drove me all the way to Nairobi in handcuffs. Somewhere along the way we had stopped for lunch and when the police un-cuffed me is when they told me about a scandal that had led to my arrest. I was informed that I had conned a certain Asian man of 10 pool tables. I was shocked beyond words.
“But I have cleared the loan.” I shouted at the police.
“He has never received any money from you since you took the pool tables, it’s been close to a year.”
That’s when I realized that my friend had conned me, so I had been sending to him money all that while yet he doesn’t forward it to the Asian. The court had decided that I be locked in and be made to pay for the loan until it was over. I was to stay in jail for 8 months. Within these 8 months all my ten pool tables had been rounded up by police and returned back to the Asian in Nairobi.

Jail life was terrible, no one came to visit, not a single soul apart from my wife and my mum, I was there just alone. I had been transferred to three different prisons during that period. My mum had struggled and taken loans here and there and managed to pay off the loan that I was being held for. Again, only a mother’s love could be that great.

On the day I was released, I had a pair of shorts, an old shirt and a huge rain coat that I had bought from one of the prisoners while in jail. I gave up several of my meals for the rain coat. A good friend of mine had given me fare to travel all the way back to Nakuru to my wife. When I reached home, my wife had informed me that there was word around that I had died in prison many months ago. I wonder who had spread such news but I wasn’t in a mood to find out. I wanted just to rest and put my life back in order.

One Saturday afternoon just after my release from prison I noticed a longtime friend of mine peeping through the fence to have a look at me. I had been told that he is the one who had informed people of my ‘death’. He is also the one who had earlier called my sister Jeruto to inform her that I was going to visit her to borrow money and he is the same guy who called her two days later to tell her that I was drunk and lying in a ditch. This fellow walked passed my compound and he was so shocked to see me. I noticed him bending low to catch a good glimpse of me through the fence then he walked away even without saying hi. A few minutes later my friends were streaming into the compound to visit me just to make sure it was me and that I was alive after all.

I was now back at square zero, all my businesses gone, my pool tables gone, my goats sold out I just did not know where to start from. Mum still had to pay the loans she took to bail me out of jail.

One day when I was taking a walk in Nakuru town I came across a hawker selling stickers. I am not a fan of stickers but this particular one caught my eye and I just had to buy it. It had these word printed on it:
ONE SET BACK IS A SET UP FOR A GREAT COME BACK.
My life had so many set backs, and this sticker was quite encouraging. I hanged it on the wall of my room and I still have it to date.

Remember that friend of mine? The one who gave me fare from Nairobi? Sometimes angels come in form of people. This fellow saw how much I had suffered with my family. He came and lifted me from the ditch I was in. He gave me enough money as a loan to start up a business and get back to my feet. Using the little money I had, a friend introduced me to a gas cylinder filling business and gave me a few cylinders to start with. The rest of the money I set up a shop and put my wife in there to sell. After years of struggle, I again bought several pool tables and set them at strategic places. I also set up video halls for showing movies and soccer.

My life has been a living testimony, Jebet is doing quite well in high school and even though I am not yet at my peak, I still believe that my setbacks in life truly set me up for a great come-back.

(This is a real and true life story narrated a week ago by a close friend of mine of real life events that happened to him. This is a man who has been my friend for so many years but I had never known his other side of life. I promised to put his story down in writing and share because I know there are many people out there passing through the same obstacles in life and just need encouragement that their setbacks could be a setup to a great come-back.)
NB: The names used here-in though are not the real names of the characters.(Very long post)
Jeruto was lucky to have been married by a D.O. (District Officer) somewhere near Marigat. She wasn’t anything we as a family looked up to as her new acquired status as a wife to a high ranking government official pushed her pride way beyond our level and reach. She was much older than me but quite bullish.

My wife had just had a bouncing baby girl, Jebet who brought to us the joy that life itself couldn’t have offered by then. She was a bright ever smiling girl full of life. Life was difficult in our one roomed structure at Westgate considering that I did not have a steady income. I did casual jobs here and there that came on and off but never earned me enough to take care of my family well. I therefore decided with my wife Memoi that she should go back to her mother at Ole-Rongai and our daughter, who was by now close to 5 years old would stay with my mother at Kabarnet since there was a pretty good school nearby. I was to remain alone at Westgate and try and survive alone on these manual jobs as we figured out what to do next. This way, we would save quite a lot both on food and many other things.

After dropping Jebet at mum’s in Kabarnet I decided that I should go visit Jeruto to see if she could assist me with capital to kick off a business but before I set out to go, she had already got wind of my impending visit from a close relative who had also told her the way I was a mess and a reckless drunkard who had sent away my wife back to her mum. Unaware of her knowledge about my visit, I proceeded to visit her, big mistake. I arrived at her home at night around 8PM, she was in with her family. Her welcome was very cold. I expected that from her anyway but I did not mind since all I wanted was money.

I had planned to bring up the subject of my visit after supper but to my great shock she sat me down and started a really long lecture full of insults about how I was a great disgrace to my family.

“You are a reckless drunkard, a shame and a bad example to your wife and daughter. I am ashamed to be your sister…”
“Who told you all these sister…?” I had asked her.
“I know, everyone knows, we as a family have been talking about you always and we are all so much embarrassed about you.” She continued.

But I had just been with mum and she never mentioned anything. I thought to myself. Anyway, I never answered her back as all I had wanted was money but she had continued with the insults over and over until she said one thing that touched my soul.

“When dad died, ‘hakutuacha na deni yako’ so we and I in particular owe you totally nothing.”
Dad had died a couple of years back of a terrible road accident leaving mum with about 150 acres of land in Kabarnet, a few cows for milk and about ten goats. Mum had sold most of the cows due to hardship around the farm. The farm had been of great help in taking care of mum and some of us but we couldn’t use it for farming as it was a semi-desert so it was just used for grazing and keeping bees for honey. The goats dad left had reproduced and the number raised to over 130 goats.

“Now, I was told you were coming here for money, what money do you want from me? Did you give me any money to keep for you? Like I told you earlier, I owe you nothing, infact, you better get up and start moving, you are not sleeping here today. There is no room for you here.” Jeruto had shouted at me that night. I never argued with her or tried to plead as I noticed some sort of finality in her voice as she walked away into her bedroom banging the door hard behind her.

It was heading to 11PM when I walked out of her compound not knowing where to go. I did not have fare to go back to my one room structure at Westgate, about 40km away and Kabarnet was even a much further distance at Kabarnet. I decided to walk, towards Kabarnet. There are no houses at that place and it is quite deserted at that time of the night. I was also aware of poisonous snakes and scorpions that roamed around at night. Since Marigat is a desert and snakes being cold blooded will prefer to move at night while hunting because of the cool temperatures. The place was also a red spot for thugs and car jackers who targeted matatus that plied the Nakuru/Kabarnet route. I was very much aware of all these threats as I walked after being kicked out of my sister’s house but armed with my Rosary in hand as my only weapon; I walked slowly reciting it over and over.

I had decided I would walk to Kabarnet however long it would take. After a two hours walk, my dusty feet had started swelling and hurting. I came to a shopping center that was already dark save for the few security lights on the verandahs. Businesses here closed early for fear of robbers. Kabarnet was still quite a distance and walking would have taken me the whole night. I therefore looked for a security light outside a shop and sat under it on a verandah. This way, any thugs or even the police would know that I am a watchman. It was going to be a long night, mosquitoes all over and a slight drizzle had just set in, I could tell from the drops on the verandah’s corrugated iron roof. I had no jacket on me.
By good luck the real watchman arrived. He was a huge figured fellow.
“Hey, who are you and what are you doing here?” He had demanded to know in a harsh voice.
After calming him down, I had told him my story, the whole true story and pleaded with him to accommodate me on the verandah for the night for I had a long distance to go. He felt so sorry for me and offered me a sisal sac to sleep in. He had two of them so he remained with one. We talked about our lives till late into the night when he fell asleep.
“Use the sac as a sleeping bag, mosquitoes…” He had earlier reminded me as he slid into his and switched off into a loud snore almost immediately. I followed suit, but I couldn’t catch any sleep. I had stayed awake the whole night thinking about my sister Jeruto. Occasionally I would sit up and count the stars and wonder how it was up there. Were there people up there, maybe souls of our departed loved ones? Was dad looking at me from up there? How could my sister do this to me?

Anyway, by 5am I was still awake, deep in thought, my friend was still fast asleep. There were already movements, birds singing, cocks crowing and a few school children walking to school. Matatus had also started moving by. I sat quietly shivering in the cold until the sun started cropping up from a distance chasing away the darkness. My friend woke up to find me already seated.

“Hey, good morning..” He shouted stretching up his limbs.
“Good morning” I answered back.
“Thanks a lot for your kind gesture; I do not know what I would have done without you. I must start going now.” I told him as I stood up to start my long journey.
“Hey, here, have this, its little but can help you on fare. You can pay me back some day latter when you have money.”
He handed me a 100 shillings note. This was a miracle.
“Thankyou so much buddy, God bless you.”
I had found a matatu that the conductor was from home and I asked him to assist me reach Kabarnet with the little money I had. He agreed on condition that next time we meet I must pay him.

By around 9am I arrived at Kabarnet and started my journey on foot reaching home an hour later. Mum was just through with milking the goats when I walked in. Jebet had already gone to school. I ran to the river, showered and returned home, sat under a mango tree and immediately fell asleep. Mum had not woken me up I think because she must have realized that I was very tired. By 1pm when I woke up, she was seated right next to me under the mango tree.

“So what’s the story? Why are you here very early and why did you fall asleep immediately? Don’t tell me you have been drinking busaa at the neighbors’ the whole night.”
“No, mum, I slept out at a shop’s veranda somewhere near Marigat…” I started before she stopped me.
“Outside? Marigat? Why didn’t you sleep at Jeruto’s? When you left here you said you were going to her place.”
“Yes I did mum, but she accused me of so many things and threw me out.”
“What!” mum let out a scary scream.
“Why do you children want to send me to an early grave? I never imagined this would have happened while I am still alive. What came to you people? We lived as one happy united family before your dad died, now see how divided you are.”
We talked about it then I told mum I wanted to start a business and needed money. I had some beehives and I had decided I would harvest the honey and go with it back to my place at Westgate and brew muratina to sell to locals. This would get me some little capital to try and kick off the business I wanted to start of selling local brew. I had shared this idea with mum and requested her to add me more money, in case she had, to boost my beer business.
“I have five thousand somewhere. Will that be enough?”
“Thank you so much mom, that’s more than enough.”

My beehives had given me 20 liters of honey which I carried the following day back to my one room mabati structure at Westgate.
I arrived at Westgate at around noon and embarked on my muratina brew. At the back of my mind I kept wondering who could have told my Jeruto that I was going to visit her. Anyway, I decided to put that at the back of my mind as I continued to brew the muratina. I did this the whole night until around 2PM when the thoughts of Jeruto kicking me out started haunting me again. I wanted to drown my sorrows, I had over twenty liters of muratina, this would be good to drown my sorrows so that I forget about Sarah once and for all. But I hadn’t eaten anything and I had no food in the house at that time of the night. The pangs of hunger were hitting me hard and the only thing to be eaten in that house was the muratina. It was just over 20 liters and I started drinking it cup after cup. I drunk as I cried tears, tears of how Jeruto had treated me, insulted me and thrown me out at night. It bothered me so much. By morning I had consumed over 5 liters and funny enough I was still very sober.

I got out of my room at dawn and started walking around not even knowing where I was going to. I walked to Rafiki centre then all of a sudden my head started spinning slowly then very fast. I felt as if the world was going round as I fell to the ground hard. The muratina had started getting to my head and with the hunger in my stomach the effect was much harder and more severe. My mouth was foaming and people walking around thought I was dying so they carried me, put me on a shop veranda and poured some cold water on me. This had made me vomit and even dirt my pants, muratina does that, it’s honey. I was a total mess and I had attracted a crowd, some people having fan others taking my videos of me using their cell phones. As I struggled staggering to head back to my room I fell into a ditch by the side of the road and just couldn’t get myself back to my feet.

The sun was up by now and people were up going about their business yet here I was stuck drunk inside a ditch by the side of the road with a huge crowd getting entertained. The sunlight didn’t make things better for me as my drunk status got even worse. My head was spinning, spinning round fast. I felt as if my head was getting detached from my neck.
Suddenly from my dizziness I noticed a matatu stopping next to me and a figure that I realized alighted. It was Jeruto my sister. She had a huge phone in her hand and an expensive handbag in her other hand. She walked to me and straight away started the insults again about how useless I was as a drunkard and about how my wife had left me because I couldn’t take good care of her. Hmm, I thought I had agreed with my wife to go stay at her mum’s for a while as I put my life in order. Anyway, who had told my sister that I was here in a ditch very drunk? Now she had proved her allegations right that I was a drunkard. A reckless one at that.

“Hey, sis, you are attracting a crowd here, please can we talk aside alone away from these people?” I persuaded her.
“You can go to hell! I am ashamed of you as my brother, I am embarrassed, you are a shame to our family and to me, you are such an idiot, a fool, good for nothing.”
Jeruto had gone on insulting me the ‘F’ words and all the insults she could get her tongue to pronounce. After I realized that I couldn’t convince her to talk in private I gave up and just slept there in the ditch as she continued shouting at me and kicking me with her sharp pointed shoes. I ignored her as her voice and insults became more and more faint…I fell asleep right there.

When I woke up I was in my room in the evening smelling like sewage. I went and showered, dressed up well and went and slept, hungry. Came morning and my stomach was rumbling with emptiness, hunger. I had to do something to get a meal. The 5 thousand mum had given me had been pick-pocketed from me the time I was dead drunk. I went to some of my close friends to try and borrow some little cash to buy food, but no one was willing to lend me. I went to a building site and got a building job as a mason. The pay was 200 shillings a day, not much but enough to get me githeri of 40 shillings a day. The remaining 160 I would send to my wife one one day and to mum the next day to take care of Jebet through that conductor friend of mine. I did this job for about 6 months and I decided it wasn’t going down well with me. I went back home to my mum again and tried to get some money. I had spoken to her that I would sell some part of our farm to raise money for a business I wanted to start. I managed to sell an acre of land, bought two motorbikes and employed some two guys to do bodaboda on them. I had by then requested my wife to come back home so that we would try and make this thing work together. She came back and we got Jebet from my mum and enrolled her in a school nearby. I went on with my mjengo work but after a while I realized that the two guys I had employed on my motorbikes were jokers and I wasn’t getting what the worth of the bikes were. I decided to sell one of the bikes and remained with one which I used myself for business as the bodaboda.
Things were still tough for us so I went back to my mum again. God bless her, she was always there when everyone turned against me. I told mum that my business wasn’t going well and I wanted some money to boost the business or start a new business.

“But son, we have no money.” She had told me.
I wanted to sell all the goats, I had by now over 200 goats and I wanted to dispose off 190 goats at a price of 5,000 each. That would give me good capital to do some really good business. I knew mum had been milking the goats for milk to take care of Jebet but I had now taken Jebet and she needed just a few goats for milk of her own. We had agreed with mum that I sell 190 goats. The issue was now to get a buyer. I approached many slaughter houses but the best price anyone was offering was 3,000 for a single goat, and no one was ready to take all of them at ago.

Trouble started again when word reached my dear sister Jeruto that I was selling Dad’s goats. She traveled all the way to Kabarnet, this time with her husband in a GK vehicle, maybe to make us feel her power, she was furious.
“Why are you selling dad’s goats?”
“But’ sis, when dad died these goats were less than 20, me and mum have taken good care of them until now when they are over 200 so I thought I would sell some to do a business and retain the original number of ten to start breeding again.” I tried explaining.
“Rubbish, it doesn’t matter, those aren’t your goats. They are dad’s. Can you get your own goats to sell and leave dad’s goats alone. For heaven sake whats wrong with you? You are just seated there doing nothing and eyeing what isn’t yours to sell? What dad worked for so hard to get? What type of man are you?”

Well, I gave up and decided this life was not for me. If it wasn’t for my wife and Jebet, I would have taken my life. Life was not worth it, nothing was working to my favor yet here was my sister, the only one in my family that was doing well, frustrating me even further instead of being happy for me that I was trying to do something to help myself. I had no other way to raise money yet Jebet needed food and fees and clothes.
I had traveled back to my wife feeling dejected and very low.
“How did it go?” My wife had asked even before I sat down.

After I had explained to her we sat thinking of the next thing to do. For the next one week things were hard, there was no food in the house, we could only afford Jebet’s food. Sometimes we had to pretend to be visiting a friend just so that we could eat there, this had to be done tactically from one friend to another without raising suspicion. Sometimes we just drunk water and slept for days.

One Saturday afternoon my mum called. She told me she had spoken to Jeruto about the goats and Jeruto had accepted that we could sell the goats on condition that she was the one buying the goats. I had no problem with that, the only issue was that she was buying each goat at 2,500 fixed price so I was either to accept the price or forget the whole deal. I had no choice but to take her price. I latter came to find out that she had found a buyer for the goats at 5,500 each so she was making a cool 570,000 for herself.

I didn’t care much. After she paid me the 475,000 I traveled straight to a friend in Nairobi who had introduced me to an Asian pool table manufacturer. I wanted to buy ten pool tables for business but I had only half a million. We struck a deal with the Asian for ten pool tables at 100,000 each then I would pay half of the total amount and the remaining half I pay in 6 months.

The pool table business was quite good. I had placed one pool table at section 58 Nakuru, a second one in town center and a third one at Shabab, still in Nakuru. I had spoken to some friends who owned bars so that I could place the tables in the bars and pay them some rent. The remaining 7 tables were placed at different places one at Mercy Njeri, two at Rafiki center, one at Bargasen, two at Kampi ya moto center and the last one at Eldama Ravine junction. A single pool table on average was paying me a net profit of 12,500 per month. In less than 5 months I had cleared the loan. My friend who had introduced me to the Asian had given me a phone number to be paying the loan through.
5 months after clearing the loan, I got information that the police were looking for me all the way from Nairobi. I was at Kabarnet at mum’s then so I traveled all the way to my family where I bumped into the police just outside my house. Without any explanation, they bungled me into their land cruiser and drove me all the way to Nairobi in handcuffs. Somewhere along the way we had stopped for lunch and when the police un-cuffed me is when they told me about a scandal that had led to my arrest. I was informed that I had conned a certain Asian man of 10 pool tables. I was shocked beyond words.
“But I have cleared the loan.” I shouted at the police.
“He has never received any money from you since you took the pool tables, it’s been close to a year.”

That’s when I realized that my friend had conned me, so I had been sending to him money all that while yet he doesn’t forward it to the Asian. The court had decided that I be locked in and be made to pay for the loan until it was over. I was to stay in jail for 8 months. Within these 8 months all my ten pool tables had been rounded up by police and returned back to the Asian in Nairobi.

Jail life was terrible, no one came to visit, not a single soul apart from my wife and my mum, I was there just alone. I had been transferred to three different prisons during that period. My mum had struggled and taken loans here and there and managed to pay off the loan that I was being held for. Again, only a mother’s love could be that great.
On the day I was released, I had a pair of shorts, an old shirt and a huge rain coat that I had bought from one of the prisoners while in jail. I gave up several of my meals for the rain coat. A good friend of mine had given me fare to travel all the way back to Nakuru to my wife. When I reached home, my wife had informed me that there was word around that I had died in prison many months ago. I wonder who had spread such news but I wasn’t in a mood to find out. I wanted just to rest and put my life back in order.

One Saturday afternoon just after my release from prison I noticed a longtime friend of mine peeping through the fence to have a look at me. I had been told that he is the one who had informed people of my ‘death’. He is also the one who had earlier called my sister Jeruto to inform her that I was going to visit her to borrow money and he is the same guy who called her two days later to tell her that I was drunk and lying in a ditch. This fellow walked passed my compound and he was so shocked to see me. I noticed him bending low to catch a good glimpse of me through the fence then he walked away even without saying hi. A few minutes later my friends were streaming into the compound to visit me just to make sure it was me and that I was alive after all.

I was now back at square zero, all my businesses gone, my pool tables gone, my goats sold out I just did not know where to start from. Mum still had to pay the loans she took to bail me out of jail.
One day when I was taking a walk in Nakuru town I came across a hawker selling stickers. I am not a fan of stickers but this particular one caught my eye and I just had to buy it. It had these word printed on it:
ONE SET BACK IS A SET UP FOR A GREAT COME BACK.
My life had so many set backs, and this sticker was quite encouraging. I hanged it on the wall of my room and I still have it to date.

Remember that friend of mine? The one who gave me fare from Nairobi? Sometimes angels come in form of people. This fellow saw how much I had suffered with my family. He came and lifted me from the ditch I was in. He gave me enough money as a loan to start up a business and get back to my feet. Using the little money I had, a friend introduced me to a gas cylinder filling business and gave me a few cylinders to start with. The rest of the money I set up a shop and put my wife in there to sell. After years of struggle, I again bought several pool tables and set them at strategic places. I also set up video halls for showing movies and soccer.

My life has been a living testimony, Jebet is doing quite well in high school and even though I am not yet at my peak, I still believe that my setbacks in life truly set me up for a great come-back.

(This is a real and true life story narrated a week ago by a close friend of mine of real life events that happened to him. This is a man who has been my friend for so many years but I had never known his other side of life. I promised to put his story down in writing and share because I know there are many people out there passing through the same obstacles in life and just need encouragement that their setbacks could be a setup to a great come-back.)
NB: The names used here-in though are not the real names of the characters.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here