The mitumba guy

Have you guys ever rushed a patient to hospital for medication? Please be sincere. I’ll ask again, has anybody here ever rushed a patient to a clinic or hospital? And what if after struggling with the patient, that you are now at the sick bay waiting to be attended to and the patient tells you they are now feeling well? I don’t know if you guys get what I’m saying. Like just the other day, my electric kettle stopped working. Seeing it was still under warranty, I packed it in my back pack and was off to the Supermarket where I bought it. After narrating its fault, the guys poured water in it and when they connected it to power and switched it on, it started working normally. Then one turned to me and barked “Boss! Si ndio hii inafanya!” I stood there confused. That reminds me of this one day here:

My boy (Compaq) started getting sickly last Thursday evening, but I ignored him because he is a man and men should not just be rushed to hospital ati due to a mere headache or stomachache or cramps, hehe. Sicknesses like fever are only meant to harden, boost and strengthen a man’s immune system. So that evening, after realizing he’s unwell, I still send him to the shops to fetch the normal 500 ml milk (any Lunje in the house?). After he’s left for the milk, I pick one of the plastic chairs in my room, carry it outside and take a pew there. It’s then that I sink into self meditation. I start thinking about why I’m not living my life right – people at my age are already at the peak of their careers, living and spending lavishly. Purchasing lucrative and expensive cars for themselves and for their moms and dads. Look at Willy Poze and all other young guys around almost living their dreams. I feel misplaced.

I am sitting outside in a pair of shorts, my thin chest enclosed in a grey t-shirt, under my feet are my beautiful green akala sandals – by the way have you seen those green sandals around? Like I said, I’m relaxing on a blue plastic seat. A few meters just in front of me is some guy bending over doing laundry, before him are three basins, a bucket, and a heap of second hand clothes. I stand and walk to him.

“Boss, sasa hizi ni ngapi ngapi?” I querry.

“Ah, hizi cheapest ni soo (a hundred shillings),” he runs his hands through the heap and one t-shirt attracts his eye. He dangles it in the air to show me. “Like this one goes for 300 bob, si you take it?” he mutters.

“Ati 300! I have a similar t-shirt and it cost me a thousand Bob! How comes you people are so cheap?”

“Usijali, hii ni biz buda,” he reaffirms.

“Naelewa, do you really make good profits?”

“Why not! I have been in this business since I was a fresha bana,” he stops washing and turns to me.

“Interesting, and it feeds you?”


“Na sasa what attracted you to selling second hand clothes and not anything else, like supplying cars, selling uji and stuff?” I ask.

“The urge to be self-independent man. You know you can’t just sit there and expect money to come.” His phone rings, he wipes his hands using one of the clothes, when he’s just reaching for the phone in the pocket, it stops ringing. He doesn’t bother taking the phone out. Turns to me and proceeds, “Sipendi watu wa kuniflash. Anyway, I also started this because I thought hustling after finishing campo would be tough for me. You get?”

“Yeah, I get, and why just selling second hand clothes and nothing else?”

“Oooh, I had bigger dreams but I couldn’t raise capital to start them.”

“Oh! So the issue is capital?”

“Exactly,” He affirms.

There’s this question that I ask almost everybody I talk to, the moment I shoot it, the other party always giggle. Looks like it’s an opener or a switch. That the moment you press it, there’s always that brightened face:


“Hahaha, of course.” (Of course is relative, could mean either. I decide to be positive.)

“So does she ever find it hard introducing you to her friends, now that everyone around here knows you as Jemo wa mitumba?”

“Hahahaha, ati Jemo wa mitumba? That’s how you guys call me? Hehe, I currently have no girlfriend. But I’ll consider getting one maybe with time. By then, the boutique that I’m opening in Nairobi along Muindi Mbingu Street will have thrived. I will no longer be referred to as Jemo wa mitumba. But seriously, that’s how you people call me?”

“Hehe, you like it?”

“Nooo bana, but hakuna shida. By the way, I now pay my school fees and send some money home sometimes. And I don’t bother anybody for pocket money.”

“All that money comes from this biz?”

“Currently, this is the only business I’m focused on, so yes.”

Our conversation is rudely interrupted by Compaq –my boy, who trudges in with something that looks like a packet of wheat flour on his head. After a keen look at him, I realize the thing on his head is a packet of Jogoo maize flour. I want to burst into laughter, at the same time I want to wail when I spot the jogoo flour on my boy’s head. He’s a grownup and I don’t expect to see the unga on his head. Secondly, I don’t remember sending him to collect flour. I however assume that maybe some other comrade has urgently commanded him to drop the jogoo thing in his room before he goes back to the shops to get the milk. So I chill and again steal a gaze at Jemo wa mitumba (as girls call him).

“By the way that roommate of yours told me you write, hope you are not planning to write this bullshit about me!”

“No damn it! Do writers dress the way I’m dressed? Have you ever seen a writer in green akala sandals?”

Compaq interrupts again. I realize that jogoo maize floor is meant for us when Compaq makes for our room.

“Wee Compaq! Where is my milk?” I bark.

He removes his tongue the way dogs do when they are taking water and says he thought I sent him to buy unga.

“And where is the balance?”

“Oh! Kwani you gave me how much?”

That’s how you get to learn that your Compaq has developed memory failure. He can’t remember the simplest things (equate that to when a laptop develops a memory failure – that it becomes unable to save your typed works and other files).

When Friday hoots its way in, Compaq now completely fails to sustain himself for more than two minutes. Life runs out of him as soon as you boot him up. You struggle with him the whole day but all your efforts to keep him alive for more than five minutes bare no fruits. He shuts down as soon as you switch him on.

The next morning (Saturday) you resolve to take him to an IT guy so he can diagnose and fix him. You sit your Compaq on the table in front of the IT chap and explain how he has been epileptic since yesterday – how he shuts down as soon as he boots up. After your explanation, you now switch your Compaq on, and sit there with the IT guy staring at Compaq and expecting him to shut down. Three hours later, the laptop is still so alive. You start imagining what’s going on in the IT guy’s head – is he thinking you just had nobody to keep company so you had to use any means possible to come waste his time?

Meanwhile, Jemo says if you happen to have saved his contact as Jemo wa mitumba, kindly edit it to something sexy.

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Achman is a Co founder - Creatives Kenya. Studied journalism and does a gazillion things. In descent places people know him as George Achoka. Email Get him on Twitte here:

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1 Comment

Kevin Ojiambo June 3, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Good one

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