When I dug a huge financial hole at my Sacco to buy my ‘new’ secondhand Volkswagen Passat, my singular intention was to pacify my Queen and top up my marital nirvana bonga points. Well, I got more than I had bargained for in not only the family front but also in the whole of Happy Valley.
In the palace, where it matters most, Queen’s daily attacks on my Volkswagen Beetle (Concorde) and I are now past tense. “At last one can breathe fresh air! You have covered the family shame. I am now comfortable being associated with you. But I hope I am the only one associated with the new car!” Queen said.
“Thank you my dear. I did it purposely for nobody else but you,” I said.
You see, owning a vehicle of any shape, age, name and taste in Happy Valley is a long story. Now, owning a German machine, and a Passat at that, the very car that the minister for finance rides in during the annual ritual of reading the national budget, is an unprecedented act of displaying one’s manly and financial biceps.
At Happy Valley Grills, I have been the most trending topic in the oral and social media platforms in the last two weeks. My social, political and financial rating has risen astronomically, earning me the prestigious title of DC. These sides, the name county commissioner has not got into our vocabulary; we still refer to them as DCs (District Commissioners).
“Mkubwa! That car is marketing us to the whole world. People will know that women of Happy Valley gave birth to a bull,” said Mrembo. “You are driving a DC’s car. No! You are a DC!” she added.
I have known Mrembo since I started the taxi business and I could tell that she was speaking from the depth of her heart.
“You have removed words from my mouth. That German machine is placing Happy Valley somewhere visible in the map of Mt. Kenya. Actually, our member of parliament was asking me yesterday who the owner of the car is,” said Kimunya.
Although I know he is jealous of my promotion, he cannot dare to contradict Mrembo lest he is shown the door. As you well know, Kimunya has always feared that I may snatch Mrembo from him. And now with my prestigious Passat and consequent promotion to ‘DC’, his fear will grow tenfold, but that is his own funeral. That is the price to pay for being a mfugo (a kept man).
“Yenyewe hiyo gari inauzia watu uoga. Mr. Survivor amepanda, sasa ni DC,” said Mhesh.
“Thanks very much Mhesh. Mambo ni kujaribu tu,” I said.
“Now we have a respectable car to use when going on special occasions like dowry payment. People are received and treated depending on the way they arrive. Hii inauza uoga,” said Professor.
The three men are stock characters in dowry paying trips in Happy Valley, earning them the apt and hilarious title of marriage brokers.
As I write this missive, I have already attended two dowry excursions in the last two Saturdays and I am fully booked in the four coming consecutive Saturdays. From the look of things, and as December beckons, I will not have a free Saturday up to Christmas time.
At Mrembo’s, I was immediately promoted and admitted to the chosen few club of elders that gain entry to Mumbi House, a reserved members’ only room in the bar. Members of this room include the deputy county commissioner, the OCPD, leading entrepreneurs, and elected politicians. It is in this room that the area MP meets his ‘men of hand’ when he has come to distribute education bursaries to the hoi polloi of Happy Valley. The woman rep, the senator and the governor also make political stopovers and sittings in this house.
“Welcome to the house of ‘ten elders’. You have washed your hands and so you can eat with the elders,” said Professor. He is the ‘chairman’ of the Sanhedrin of Happy Valley. The Sanhedrin sets the social, economic and political agenda of Happy Valley. In his position, he is automatically the lead marriage broker of Happy Valley.
And although I am not extremely clever, I am not that daft as not to smell the aroma of coffee. I can tell you that I will make maximum use of the opportunity that has presented itself. With an avenue to meet the governor one-on-one; perhaps garnering for a tender in the transport and roads department, which is in line with my human transport business, will not be a hard bargain. Watch this space.
That is yours truly, Mr Survivor, the new ‘DC’ of Happy Valley.
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]