My Motorolla C113 trembled from sharp vibrations as a message hit its inbox. Ugh! It’s Safaricom, again! Safaricom has vexed me since yestermorning. Constantly ‘reminding me to pay her Ksh 15 Okoa Jahazi debt.’ My phone says it’s 11:58 PM. Two minutes to midnight, just before my fate becomes apparent. Finally midnight clocks in yet that text message from those Sportpesa folks hadn’t come through.
My childhood buddy who operates the only cyber café in the hood just initiated me into betting a fortnight ago. It’s evident then, I’ve been impoverished again. Sportpesa chaps have deprived my weekend wage, 100 bob. Ok, maybe God has decided to chastise me because I skived church today. If that’s the case, God! Am more than ready to attend all Sunday services, even if it means spending the whole day worshipping. Provided I don’t lose again. The fact is, I’ve lost much more money than I’ve won from gambling.
I think of quitting gambling. But then, I recall that it’s this same gambling that saved my younger sibling; Okirinya, who had been sent home to collect 150 bob end year examinations fees. If not for betting, he could have iterated class three. Today’s lose means I won’t find airtime, maybe until next weekend. That means, a significant number of Kadimbworo residents won’t contact their distant kindred for a whole week again, my phone being a major source of livelihood in this village. This loss has really ruined my night.
Nights when I incur losses like this are always the longest. Am left gaping on my self-made wooden bed, my head positioned in the furthest corner from the door. From this point, I clearly have the site of the full moon through the hiatus in my roof. These gaps resulted from the previous rainy season and strong winds which almost swept down my hut. I can recall nights when I slept standing because my roof was porous. It hence gave in to the slightest of the rain drops which pounded it.
It’s also during such lonely nights that I remember a vast of things, including promises yet to be honored. Tonight I’ve recalled my uncle who promised to get me a single-battery radio over a year ago. At least by acquiring a radio, I will improve my betting and match analysis skills. I mean I’ll just get to know all about soccer. Currently, I only know about six teams, which a friend told me they are the best teams in England. Perhaps that’s why am always losing matches. I have to plan how to gather a few coins for today’s consumption. Because a new day has just been born.
And it’s my turn to provide today’s basic meal, usually the lunch-cum-supper, I’ll be obliged to go fishing at dawn. Thank God the lake is just a few Kilometers away. I must be up by four o’clock, prepare my nets and trek to the lake. I must get something for the family or else we’ll starve. All my ruth is to my esteemed mum. Unlike her, my siblings can move around the village collecting guavas and raw mangoes and pawpaws, which sustain them till the meal is ready. I have to be a man.