Friday, 18 December 2009


When I was growing up, the end of the year was observed as a time of thanksgiving, reflecting, and praying to God for the coming year. I still do that, but of late the New Year has found me sleeping, and at least once, in a club. I think I will be sleeping this time too. But today is the end of the working year at our office, effectively marking the end of the year career-wise. On Sunday I head to Nairobi, proceeding to the village mid-next week for Christmas and perhaps the New Year.


• I’m thankful for family, my job, and my new friends
• Thankful for old friends
• Thankful for great health
• I feel like I’m on track to get a grip on my finances, and for that I’m thankful.

Taking Stock

• It’s been a hard transition, getting into a somewhat different culture, learning to manage people, upping my ‘diplomacy’ skills, and negotiating skills. Not easy at all, but I strive to be better. Everything has a start.
• I’ve had fights with loved ones, some hard talking has had to be done, and all has ended well. We love each other deeply, though we rarely say this to one another, and I can’t wait to see everyone. I’ve made new friends, two who are very close
• The Man. Not sure where this is going. While Kisumu may be nearer to Kampala than Kigali is, it is farther away from Nairobi than Kigali is from Kampala. I aspire to aspire to be in Nairobi. I feel like I’ll be singing a different song when next year comes to a close. Ah, relationships! I’m not so good at them. Well, maybe I am, probably a tad too idealistic. I will never say never again .I’ve said this before , “I can never be ina long-distance relationship again”
• Houses. Nice, affordable housing in Kampala is not easy. How to say this? You can get a nice affordable house in a neighbourhood that doesn’t match the house. I moved into a new house in February. The rules? Not everyone who comes from Kenya should come to your place. Only have visitors on weekends, don’t come in after 10:30pm, 10:55 at the latest, that’s when the gate is locked. I’ll admit I got into this one with my eyes wide open, because after a long search that was becoming expensive, I had only one weekend before heading to Nairobi for a week. Couldn’t wait for the last Friday of April, by which time I’d found a house to move into the following day (having paid two months’ rent to the only guy who could accept as few). So I went out that Friday and came back at 11:30 pm. After all, it was my last day there, and wasn’t too late. That mzee tukanad me sana sana sana. Words like malaya. Then came to kick me out in the morning, as if I hadn’t already packed. And repeat the same scene in broad daylight. I was in tears. Funny thing is his wife is from Kiambu (yes, I knew this when I moved in. The broker said I’m muna-Kenya and she responded with “Uhoro waku?”) and she just stood there. I got the feeling the guy is the lion of that home. I moved to the Mengo area, not far from the Buganda parliament. This time it was an apartment, with the owner living in a separate house. I moved on out after the four months worth of rent expired, careful to give the required notice When I went to collect my deposit after moving to my new place, she informed me that one socket had burned out, and had needed UGX 35,000 for a replacement, and UGX 15, 000 for the service. Must have happened between when I’d moved out and came back for the deposit, but they had done the replacement already-and there was soot on the wall. There went my UGX 50,000 (Ksh 2,000). I didn’t contest it. And the broker who helped me locate the apartment had disappeared with my UGX 200,000 (Ksh 8,000) as a deposit on another house that we had been on the lookout for before the apartment materialized. That house was taken by another couple at a t time when the broker told me he had been imprisoned. He eventually gave me UGX 130,000. After going to the Local Council 1 chairman, who asked me for UGX 15,000, and various phone calls and visits to the broker, and threatening to go to the police, I gave up. I worried he could after me, hata kama he didn’t know my new place.
I like my current place. The landlord got his six months worth of rent in August, which run out at the end of January. He has been asking me for a copy of the lease (which I’d given to his agent). The agreement is that from January, I pay rent in three month instalments. Yesterday he called to say he has a tumour, and wants a year’s worth of rent at the end of January. The agreement clearly states that any notice shall be in writing, and each party shall give the other at least two months. I feel like contesting this, but then I like to go home to a place I look forward to going home to (God, I love my place, and no doubt it’ll be hard to find a place like it), where there is goodwill between the neighbours. If I contest his ‘request’, I’m not sure we’ll be talking to each other. Then, I’m scared for my safety. I live with his two siblings and two relatives on the same compound (mine is a semi-detached unit from their house), and the watchman is their relative. So if anything was to ‘happen’ there would be no neutral party. I don’t want to think about it right now. I just want to go home for Christmas, and a week’s leave on first week of work. If things turn out that I have to move, my friend is moving back to Kenya, and the house agent she worked with sounded like they’d be willing to have the house vacant in January if I assure them I’ll move in come February. It’s furnished, so I may have to dispose off my bottom of the range furniture. She lives across the street from me. I don’t intend to move after that, maybe when I eventually go home.

• My family
• My finances
• My country,my region, my continent
• My career
• Some personal things I’d rather not put out here
Happy Holidays everyone!


KR said...

The house drama! Ngai baba. That is crazy and I thought I had it rough with one ex-landlady who has refused with my USD 600.

But you are right on the end of year reflection. It is a great time to give thanks. Goodluck with 2010 and the long distance relationship!

Be blessed. Merry Christmas and a Happy Blessed 2010!

Mrembo said...

aieh! pole sana na hiyo drama. Wish I knew some people whom I could recommend, lakini it has been ages since I lived there...

Merry x-mass to you and happy new year. Enjoy Nairobi and shagz.

jny23 said...

Merry Xmas my new virtual friend. Wi Umwega?

Thinking of moving house as well but still going though the hussles of cheating and lieing house brokers.

Come year 2010, we gots to hook up for a cup of coffee. One evening with the boys shal be sacrifised.

Enjoy yo'self back home.

Cee said...

Merry Christmas and a blessings filled 2010....I'm happy I met you in 2009. Your writting is very interesting, makes me feel like I live in Champala with you....Btw pliz do have a ROLEX (sio saa lakini) on my behalf.
Hope to read more great stories from you.
PS: Pole sana about the moving....aiii that must be tiring...but you one strong lady you'll make it out still intact

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Maishinski said...

How is the security situation in Kampala? Carjackings, violent robberies, muggings etc?

Compared to:
1. Nairobi
2. Dar es Salaam
3. Iraq

A friend of mine is thinking of moving there and security is a decisive factor.

(kidding about Iraq)...

PKW said...

KR: Thanks, thanks, and thanks

Mrembo: webale nyo. Kati ndi sawa

jny23ug: Thanks, twas good to be home. How did the moving go?

Cee: it was nice 'meeting' you in 2009. I hope to blog more in future

Anonymous: thanks. Now, don't plagiarise!

Maishinski: I've never been to Dar or any other part of TZ. But compared to Nairobi, security-wise, Kampala is waaaay better. But not according to the UN. Followed a link on Nick Wadham's blog to find that Nairobi (and Mombasa) are rated B. Kampala-and Kigali and Nakuru- scored worse. Ignore them. That's not my experience.

Maishinski said...