KENYAN BAR CULTURE: REALITY CHECK


In Kenya, we live life in a strange pseudo reality.
A state where we do not trust our vision, feel our emotion, we hear but do not listen and find meaning in words. We touch but we do not move, act like we care but do not share.

An amazingly stupid incident is the cause of this rant.

It’s a Friday night and I’m on my way home.

I have turned down the company of an amazing girl because new work rules dictate that Saturday is half day.

I’m used to doing a jig on Friday nights at this nice spot with her but today I must pass.

So here I am minutes from home tweeting as I walk towards my place when this charming stranger stops me. He tells me never to use the phone at night, and how his got stole in the same area a few months before.

I appreciate his directness and I introduce myself. Hand him my card. He tells me he is in tourism and an interesting conversation begins. Two jovial guys chatting away. Oh, did I forget to mention Koi, his girlfriend? This is what “networking” is meant to be about.

They are headed to the local round the bend. I let them know all I have to do is drop off my work stuff (herein being laptop and my suit) before I can join them for one.

I have been on an attempted beer diet. No actually I am trying to quit drinking altogether. The cause of this is the subject of another FISHY story unrelated to this .

So I go ahead and quickly dump my stuff.

Head to the local. This place is amazing. Whatever day of the week, pilots, execs,makangas, you name it, it’s packed to the brim. Totally unbelievable. And they say ati uchumi ni mbaya.

And what greats me is a request that I throw a rao. I promptly do so coz the idea is we each throw a rao and thereafter head digs, to each his own. Wamboi doesn’t count as she is taken. I have forgotten the much sweeter old school version of that phrase. If you know it hebu remind me.[i]

Their best friend was already there by the way.

So three guys one chick. One rao later and my beer is not forthcoming. They have gotten their own rao and I’m seated there looking and feeling sheepish. Not that I cannot buy my own beer. In any case I was only planning for one for the bed.

It’s about integrity.

You guy that is one thing many Kenyans lack. Very few Kenyans have.

If I say that things are going this way they should go that way.

If I tell you each one of us is throwing a rao each one is throwing a rao.

If I tell you baby lets meet at one for lunch, it should be at one for lunch.

If I say dude let’s have a power sharing agreement and you are the prime minister and I the president and things are fifty fifty, let it be so.

But alas. This is Kenya as Churchill would put it.

Everyone acts like they are the stereotypical Nigerian.

And so I left the pub, angry at myself, feeling like “the mark” that just got hustled due to his own greed.

It would have felt comforting and rather expected were I shafted by a fly demu. That is rather kawa and expected.

But to be shafted by a guy, tena one with whom you have had an apparently meaningful business discussion with?

Dare he send me email kesho expecting me to throw business his way!

Foko Jembe!

Goodnight guys.

I am a tad the wiser.

 

 


[i] She is spoken for!

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