How Fiolina’s spending habits dug me a debt hole

Dre and Fiolina

Fiolina returned on Tuesday. I expected her to be excited to see me, but she wasn’t.

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • I looked forward to literally bathing in Jug Daniels.
  • Unfortunately, I found Fiolina away in Mombasa for team building.

Wen I first visited Fiolina in Kakamega, early in the year, I was so impressed by her employer. Not only was she being paid well, given the things she was now able to afford, but she had such a great boss, who supported her beyond work.

He would even visit her at home to ensure she was comfortable. He helped her settle in Kakamega, including helping her find a house and buy a bed, which he personally carried fixed in our Kakamega bedroom. His name is Tony.

Something else impressed me about Fiolina’s employers. They had given her an ATM card (she called it a Credit Card) that she could use for clearing bills wherever we went. Then, she used it to pay bills whenever we visited Golf Hotel, where she always reminded me to drink as much as I wanted.

“I am allowed to entertain guests and customers, so pewa vile unataka,” she told me. That is when I came to know of, and fell in love with Jug Daniels, which, since then, became my drink of choice. And we weren’t just spending in Golf Hotel alone; in July, we went to Kisumu and spent a weekend at the famous Acacia Hotel, and used the credit card to pay for our stay there – and drinks.

So when I visited Kakamega last week, part of what was on my mind was how we would use the card. I looked forward to literally bathing in Jug Daniels. Unfortunately, I found Fiolina away in Mombasa for team building, and instead of bathing in Jug Daniels, I spent the weekend bathing Sospeter! 

Fiolina returned on Tuesday. I expected her to be excited to see me, but she wasn’t. I understood that she was tired for she later told me that they had been busy with many team building activities in Mombasa.

Other than being tired, something seemed to be bothering her. I asked her what it was but she did not want to say it. That night, she woke up at 3am to pray. She prayed about her health, her children, her family, her husband and then her job. She spent quite some time praying about her job.

“God please help the problems I have at the work disappear so that I am not fired, Please help me God.” She went on and on saying how she needed the job or else her life would become difficult.

When she returned to bed, two hours later, she seemed relaxed. I asked her what the problem was.

“You remember the credit card we have been using for our entertainment?” She asked. Of course I remembered. “That is the problem.”

I wondered if it was wrong to have used it to buy me Jug Daniels.

“Imagine no!” She declared. She explained that she noticed some of her colleagues used it to even buy things in their house.

“It started when my boss asked me to use it to buy him a TV, saying he had exceeded his limit, which I did in May.” She told me.

Encouraged, she also started using the card to buy things in our house: TV, fridge, cooker, microwave and monthly shopping.

“My colleagues told me that as long as I did not exceed the limit it was okay.” Her limit was Sh44,700

“Did you surpass it?” I asked her

“No, I did not.”

I then wondered what the problem was if she was always within the limit.

She explained that the card was for entertaining customers and office events, and only food and drinks were allowed.

“It was wrong to use it to buy households items, house shopping and even clothes.”

Indeed, Fiolina had become the proud owner of some fine clothes and shoes. In August, she had bought me a pair of shoes worth Sh5,600 at Bata, money that I would have used to buy at least three pairs. 

“So what next?” I asked her.

She told me she was to appear before a disciplinary committee that Wednesday.

“Pray for me.”

When she returned in the evening, she told me that in order to save her job, she had committed pay back all inappropriate expenditure.

“How much is it?” I asked her. It was Sh393,000.

“What! How will you raise that?” 

“I thought you would ask how we will raise the money!” She exclaimed. “You drank most of the money and the things I bought; I bought them for your house here and in Mwisho wa Lami. Have you forgotten about the shoes? And the weekend in Kisumu?” She was getting agitated. “You must also pay.”

“Or will you be happy to see me lose this job?” She asked me.

In the end, we agreed to take loans to pay back her company the money she misappropriated. She could only take a loan of Sh100,000 while I ended up applying for a Sacco Development loan of Sh263,000 so we could protect my wife’s job.

This was a setback for me as I had planned to use my next loan on investments. I do not know a lot in life, but I know I will never ever use credit cards. And I will never take Jug Daniels again!


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