“Leta chai na chapati”. This seems like an acceptable statement. The only information that you are not aware of is that this is my lunch meal. Its only the 10th day of the month of Njaanuary but I am aware of the amount of money that I have in my bank account.
I brush off the weird stares from Mama Njeri and tell her “Nilikuwa nimekula chakula kwa ofisi na pia mkubwa alinunua pizza”. I am obviously lying but whatever…
I have a one hour lunch break and somehow, I have to make sure I consume this one cup of chai and a single chapati during that period. 60 minutes. 360 seconds. I could eat them for luch too if they were edible.
“Kuna chapati moto?”, I shout. “Hebu leta ile yenye imetoka kwa jiko”. I say this well aware of the fact that it will take longer for me to eat that hot chapati. Isit being content with my kibanda wisdom.
“Never believe a man who wears an expensive suit to a Kibanda” – Chinese Proverb
This January, I have put in extra effort to look rich. The poor people really do try to look rich. None of the other customers at the kibanda suspect that I am broke.
“Mkubwa! Pia wewe uko hapa leo?”
My pleasant smile as I chew on the very small bit of this hot chapati that I just bit lets my workmate, Tim, know that I’ve acknowledged his presence.
“Hapa ni kuescort lunch tuu.” I tell him.
Soon, my humble chapati is finished. One of mama Njeri’s waiters quickly approaches me “Nikuongezee chapo?”
“Aah, hapana. Nimeshiba.” I respond.
The honest truth is that I have a limited budget. I look around to see if there is anyone at the kibanda who owes me a chapati from years past. Even a cold one would do. This is an ideal occasion to get something free. I subtly stick out my neck to look around. Nobody. Wooooi!
I have 30 more minutes of my lunch break and I’m still on to my seat. I pinch my chin in silence, contemplating my next move.
“Mathe, uko na change ya thao?” I shout so that everyone can hear me. This is just an attempt to mask my next statement.
“Ah! Kumbe niko na ka 50 bob hapa. Shika.”
I soon leave and choose to walk back to the office at an extra slow pace thinking, “What will I tell my workmates that I had for lunch?”
Hii Njaanuary ni shida. Sigh!