By Opuk Jakinda

Maybe I should maybe I shouldn’t but just because I want someone to laugh maybe I just will.

Once upon a time, I was broke (not that I am rich now please don’t have these things mixed up- kik ukwany tienda)

So yes where to start from? There are so many starting points but when I think about them I laugh my ass silly because they are all outright crazy but yes I was broke. Just having finished form four back then anything would have counted.

My very first stint at work was “mjengo” at The now Kisumu Hotel right opposite Maseno University town campus. I thought it was mteremko being that the boss there was my dad’s friend. Boy was I wrong. The guy was good enough to give me work but it was “koroga” (well if you Kenyan and understand building and construction you will know this is not a job for anyone) and that’s a story for another day.

Just so you know I didn’t go for the job but I was still broke and I needed to fit in. Society has a way with people and you have to cope or be left out. Things were not as they are now. There was no WhatsApp or things like that but there was Facebook and back then there was 2go but you needed a phone. So I needed a phone. I wanted to look cool too. So i needed new pants (05 the shiny one which could have been worn inside out to be very exact) then there were the jumpers the vests the kia angowa gini (I can’t remember the name but I remember Redsun like them so yes it looked cool) Then there was this none sense Nelly (of the Dilemma song) did with some Elastoplast on his cheek right next to the eye and shades. A boy child had to look cool. We had a catchphrase for it “cool dude ma manyo hot chick!” (Cool dude looking for a hot chick) so it was a tough life. Growing up during my time when krissKross (the hip-hop rappers) DMX, Xzibit were the kinda songs I listened to I had to be like them. All my peers tried to be Like them. Just so you have the clear context of all this remember I am born ghetto in a peri-urban slum dwelling area. Well so most of these things I heard from my friends or saw them in borrowed magazines (The Source, XXL) I am born and bred in Nyawita (next to Obunga the slum) and back then the only station we knew was KBC. KTN & the then Nation TV now NTV were Nairobi related only. If you had a relative in Nairobi with a good VCR they would record you tapes of “The Beat” so that you have a feel of what it was to watch Hip Hop videos otherwise down here all we had was Metro FM.

So now that you know how it was let’s get back to me! My broke self. Imagine walking around with knock-off jeans (imitates) fake Timberland Boots (simberland or simba land) & still broke as hell. So you there with sagged pants looking all cool (I am actually laughing myself silly as I come to think of all this crap)

Think of it. You looking all mashed up but penniless all the same. Walking to town and back was not news. Sitting at the town square staring at girls. Not like we (me and my cronies) could ever approach them nooooooooo! We just sat there like fools and chewed Orbit whooooole day. Nightfall would get us sitting at the same place. We had to wait for nightfall so we could walk back home! (Please don’t 😂) But it was what it was.

Back then dating was easy. Very easy. A soda (350ml) fries (fries mwitu of course). 50 Bob maximum no more no less. Then we would have those long romantic walks (sweetheart I was just broke there was nothing so romantic about walking all that distance) but still, it was romantic to some of them. Being broke and living in my parents’ house you couldn’t have sex. Lol… That was prestigious a luxury. So in case you wanted to lay, someone, you could go borrowing one of your older friends houses. Well, that was not a free service either but it was cheaper than renting a hotel room or going to a lodging. So more often this worked well. But after doing your shit, you would come back and do some cleaning for the sheets and stuff. Remember you had to save for this. So you have given him money but again have had to do the laundry again. My life typically. Once or twice the same friend who owned the house always ended up stealing the girl away. But what is life? (OMG this is a secret I hope those girls never get to read this LOL) And that is how I too got one of my girlfriend’s snatched away from me! But that’s another story.

One day I will tell you on some escapades to town I would end up at The Jomo Kenyatta Sports ground in Kisumu to wash my feet to rid them of the dust from home to town. I was broke but I had to look clean. I would want to mention names of my cronies. My ‘walkmates’. But because I don’t have their permission I will not though I am sure you reading this. And you know yourself well well.

Just so you don’t get bored or read the whole of me in one episode I will leave you guessing so that you look forward to hearing from my broke ass in the second episode of when I was broke


  1. So nice….. Bringing back all the memory of how hard people work to be who they want…… Good work

  2. Ha!ha! That’s some good read

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