When My Kenyan Neighbour Declined Cash Payment

Last night we were entertained to drama like we would never have had, if it was not for our Kenyan neighbour.

We live in a compound of six apartments, and we enjoy our life here. It is a quiet place, where everyone minds their business. But we love each other anyway, the kind of love that one would never have considered love if they lived in the times of our grandparents. We care, but we do not visit, we rarely call, we do not want noise around, whether from children, from the TV or radio. But we somehow tolerate each other for the small hiccups.

Last night, Mr Odhiambo, this ‘notorious’ neighbour of ours, came home late, as he usually does. In his company were two boys and a lady of around 28 years. I looked at my watch it was 3am in the morning. How does he manage? I wondered. Incidentally, he goes to work earlier than I do, yet I go to bed at 10pm.

I went back to bed. Before I could even properly cover myself, I heard sounds of a crying lady from the parking… I woke up again and looked through the window.

“Boss, you can’t force her. She will file for rape and it will turn bloody, brother,” said one of the boys.

“But I bought her many drinks. She has to pay for the drinks I bought her,” Odhiambo shouted.

The lady cried louder, “Sir, I will pay, but you roughed me up and I lost my wallet at the bar. Give me up to tomorrow I will pay. I took three bottles of Smirnoff Black.”

This made Odhiambo furious.

“You want to pay cash? Are you crazy?”

I could see that this was becoming more interesting. I tiptoed slowly out of my bedroom, went to the door, and guess what my house girl was already at the door, fumbling to open it as quietly as she could. She looked at me, and me at her, and we laughed, very quietly. We went out and peeped from the balcony.

The lady knelt down and begged Odhiambo, “Please let me pay cash. I request that you come with me so I ask a friend to pay for me. But I am not a prostitute, and I never asked for the drinks. When you bought for me, I thought you were just being a generous man.”

Odhiambo cried.

My Kenyan neighbour revealed, between sobs, that he had come to Uganda with intentions of getting a Ugandan lady for a wife. He was told Ugandan women kneel for their husbands, they are submissive, and welcome their husbands back from work by removing their shoes and socks. All this, on top of doing all the house chores and carrying out wifely duties without complaint.

But he said he had lived in Uganda for 10 years and had not found such a woman. So he was aised by his friends to be a real man, pay the bills when he takes a lady out, stop expecting the woman to buy the groceries and pay house rent, and to be more loving and gentle. He narrated that he had spent more money buying drinks for women than he would have spent if he had not embarked on a wife-hunting spree.

He went on to say that he was raised by his elder brother, and he witnessed his brother’s wife beat him up every day. He never wanted that kind of life for himself. When he finished school, he came to Uganda to find a wife, and ten years down the road, he had not found a wife. Ugandan women may not be husband beaters, but they never wanted to settle down with him as a man.

He wondered if he was the problem, or if he was being punished by his ancestors for not wanting his own Kenyan women. At this point he broke down again and cried so hard.

By the time he collected himself together to see if the lady would have pity on him and stay with him, she was nowhere to be seen.

Source : The Observer

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