Celebrating East African Writing!

Kawaida Thieves by Eva Nchogu

Photo by Jerry Riley. Click on image or visit to see more pictures of Kenya

Times are hard my friends, things are gwan so you have to finyilia your money. To make matters worse everyone is out to steal from you.

I went to a supermarket today to buy buns. My sister had bought the very same buns a week before for forty bob but the sticker on the shelf is now reading forty three shillings.

Maybe my siz forgot that the buns were actually forty three bob when she told me forty. I get to the counter give the guy at the till fifty bob expecting some seven bob change back.

“Madam, ni fifty one bob,” the he says. “But your stickers clearly state forty three bob!” I get a blank stare. I think to myself, you got some ten bob in your purse girl and you will definitely use more than fifty one bob for lunch, add the bob and get another shilling in one of your pockets at home.

I add him a ten bob, expecting nine bob back. He enters the amount into the machine. The cash box opens up; he gets five bob out, closes the cash box, reaches to the candy box in front of him and picks four sweets. Ha! Same old scam of sweets for change.

“Ndugu, sitaki sweets, infact I am diabetic.” The guy is taken aback. Hajakutana na kama mimi before.

There was no way I was taking the sweets. I wanted my money. I had spent the night before in deep thought, my amateur balance sheet indicated that I had more expenses than my salary and if I continued impulse buying, I was on the road to destruction. This sweet business was imposed impulse.

My poor math had also told me that apart from the dentist fees, I had lost approximately two thousand bob in the sweet for change scam. In simple kawaida language nilikua niko kwa saving mode sicheki na watu.

The more flashes of the many times I had got sweets as change supermarkets flooded my mind, the more I fumed. Had I been a dragon, the kind you see in cartoons, my eyes would have been red, my tongue a scary black complete with fierce fumes accompanying my every word. Oh I would have loved to see the look on that guys face when I changed from this cute lovely chick into a frothing dragon. Man he would have peed his pants. Ha ha.

Well, I am no dragon, so I just stood my ground, with my kadogo voice and demanded my sixty bob back. A hustle and tussle but mwishowe I got my money. The next time that manamba tries to badilisha lugha after he has taken you out of town stand your ground. You never know you might just save that ka ten bob and use it when you most need it. Plus you might inspire others to stand for other rights na Kenya itaendelea hivyo hivyo tu.

©Eva Nchogu

If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.


7 comments on “Kawaida Thieves by Eva Nchogu

  1. Chrispus
    August 4, 2010

    nice style but the the 1st person leaves one a bit confused,seems like dialogue would have done the story more justice,keep up,7 from me


  2. kyt
    August 4, 2010

    indeed stand up and say NO (not to the katiba though)you may be an initiator of a revolution, remember rosa parks? 9


  3. eva nchogu
    August 5, 2010

    Thanks alot Kyt and chrispus. Will take all your comments to heart and incorporate them in my future writing.


  4. Alfonse
    August 5, 2010

    Truly real-life. Had the same experience once. Good that somebody comes up with this in an entertaining but educative manner! Rated 9. (And would the writer consider putting it in simple accurate language for school supplementary readers? We are almost short of these creative ways of educating our school children!)


  5. Eva Nchogu
    August 6, 2010

    Thanks Alphonse I will seriously consider your request.


  6. sammy
    August 7, 2010

    Good stuff,had to laugh,an 8 and be a regular on the blog


  7. Eva Nchogu
    August 9, 2010

    Sammy thanks for your kind words. Will try my best to stay on the blog.


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