Alcohol on the go: Wambu's mobile bar takes root in Happy Valley


Wambu is able to reach her customers whenever and wherever they are, at short notice. Of course, to compensate for the transport, risk and convenience, the price of the drinks is higher than in normal bars.

Photo credit: Pool

When Riggy G promised to tackle the drinking problem in the Mt Kenya region, calling it a criminal enterprise, the women of Happy Valley celebrated and promised to elect him president in 2032 or earlier. The women were very hopeful that the drinking and sleeping Happy Valley would be transformed into a working valley.

But as things stand now, Riggy G is in for a rude shock. The situation on the ground is different. As a former D.O, Riggy G should have known better than to shout at the criminal entrepreneurs. As our people say, 'an antelope hates the one who sees it less than the one who shouts at it'. He should have remembered that criminals, no, clever people, are always one step ahead of the security services. "Between beer and you, choose which is easier to leave! One of you has to go!" And because Riggy G is a serious man and puts his money where his mouth is, several chiefs and sub-chiefs lost their jobs.

Now, as all this was happening, Wambu, the long-time chief usher at Mrembo's bar, left her high-ranking and well-paid job to pursue personal interests. Having picked up more than her fair share of entrepreneurial skills at Mrembo's, she set up Happy Valleys Monkey Bag Moving Pub. Wambu has been aggressively marketing her new business, the 'instant delivery moving pub', on all social media platforms.

Wambu's moving pub is what I call the monkey bag moving bar. You see, she carries her goods in a monkey bag and then hires a bodaboda to reach her customers at their place and time of need. This bag contains all the brands, shades and names of plastic concoctions, lethal and otherwise.

Who could guess, let alone know, that Wambu sells beer to people other than her own customers? As the name of her business suggests, Wambu is able to reach her customers whenever and wherever they are, at short notice. Of course, to compensate for the transport, risk and convenience, the price of the drinks is higher than in normal bars.

At Happy Valley, roles have changed. Mrembo, her direct predecessor, now serves her. And as Kenyans who have recently hit the jackpot are wont to do, Wambu has had to let everyone know that she is no longer Mrembo's employee, but a successful entrepreneur in her own right.

“One should not work in the sun and also eat in the same sun,” said Wambu.

She was well into her fifth beer. Wambu had also bought several rounds for her former customers, yours truly being the main beneficiary of her generosity. 

“You do not seem to be feeling the hit of ‘Njugunization’. It is like Njuguna Ndung’u is your relative,” remarked Kimunya.

Wambu’s response was fast and furious. “Njuguna can even be more than a relative to me! Kwani you think you are the only one who can have a moneyed partner?”

This was a disparaging remark about Kimunya’s open secret liaisons with Mrembo.

“People are saying that there is no money. They should learn to say that they have no money,” she shouted.

To continue benefiting from Wambu’s generosity, I had to be on her side.

“You have spoken like ten men! People have to learn to be truthful men! And that makes the two of us. Why do you think they call me D.C? These days, mambo ni kujipanga,” I said.

At this point Wambu bought me another round.  "Now you said it, bwana D.C, mambo ni kujipanga. These days, you go to your customers where they are and when they need your services," she said.

So Riggy G would be very surprised to find himself on a government inspector's tour of Happy Valley, only to be greeted by drunken fellows dancing on Happy Valley countryside roads in the early hours of the morning. I even sympathise with the chiefs and their assistants as they stare at their pay slips.

And that's the new normal in Happy Valley.

But I recently heard that the women, who I understand have a direct line to Riggy G's Queen, the Second Lady of the Republic of Kenya, have been calling her and it is only a matter of time before the moving pub phenomenon is 'undressed'. It will be interesting to see how this drama unfolds.

In the meantime, all eyes are on Wambu, the new sheriff of Happy Valley. Watch this space.

Wainaina Karanja lives in Nyandarua County. He is a teacher of English and writes stories to portray the reality of countryside life in Kenya as well as offer entertainment. [email protected]