Every Kenyan tenant knows how landlords behave when it is at ‘that’ time of the month. That time when we are supposed to pay our dues and they gather their returns. However some are fortunate enough to have employed agents who help out during the time at some fee.
My landlady is no exception since she too is a landlady like every other one. And my tenant adventure too is not any different from any other tenant who is a ‘common mwanainchi’.
Truth is, am jobless and broke. But no, I think I have a full time job seeking job just that am not among the many who flock towards banks at end month. Meaning I don’t get paid for my job. So in this month, things are quite heated right now. Ever seen a fire without smoke? Its what am seeing at this moment.
Normally, we never talk much with my landlady. We only exchange greetings but yesterday, she asked me how I was doing. This raised an alarm in my head. And I remembered. Its time to pay my rent.
She spent the whole day by the gate holding small conversations with fellow tenants and I could note every each one of then looking down in deep thought. And I knew that am not alone. The only difference being, they are all in various jobs, working to get paid and I don’t.
Later on in the evening she passed by my house to check on me. Great, I was doing fine preparing a cup of black coffee for my super. You know, the one thing I love about her during this time of the month is that its when she actually takes the courage of putting into practice the gift of care.
Today I woke up with this consistent pounding on my loud metal door. I immediately knew whom it was so was in no hurry to wake up. However, I knew the pounding won’t stop if I couldn’t open it so I put on a pair of shorts under my old sleeping t-shirts and opened to let her in.
“Habari ya asubuhi mum” she greeted. How sweet of her. Actually, that’s the sweet language she uses whenever she wants to ask about the rent.
“Poa sana mathe. Na yako iko aje?” I answer back
“Iko poa sana switie, umeamka salama lakini?” she inquired. The woman is undoubtedly romantic.
“ Ndio mathe. Naona uko mzima pia. Nikusaidiaje leo?” I answered.
“Nyumbani wamekufikiria?” that’s her commonly used phrase. She has been always using it since I started residing in her rental houses since I was in campus.
In this case, I had to think fast for an excuse. I was tempted to lie.
“Bado mathe. Dad hajakumbuka kutuma any. Ata ndo nilikua ninataka nimkumbushe anitumie pesa ya rent na chakula. I lied. Little did she know that am now incharge of myself.
“Si umwambie aniekee mpesa, aki mum kuna vile nimeishiwa kabisaa. Sina pesa ya kulipa stima so mwambie aniekee mpesa leo nilipe bill ya stima ndo tusikae kwa giza usiku.” I hate it when she lists her problems.
“Ok mathe. Ntamsho atume. Ata wacha nipige sasa hivi.” I lied while picking up my android touch screen phone and dialing *450# to inquire on my data bundle balance. I put the phone on my ears to make her think I was calling home and trying to send her away but she would not move a feet.
What a patience. I shake my head. Does she not know that am jobless and broke? I will finally cover my bills but not quite today. Am even thinking of taking an mshwari loan to cover the rent.
“Mathe, ni kama hachukui phone lakini najua akiget missed call. Atacall back and ntamshow atume rent” I lie again.
If only she could notice I was lying. I don’t know, but I think she would hate me. Am never the lying type but in circumstances like this, am forced to in order to get out of trouble.
“Sawa mum mwambie atume leo tafathali” she finally said while leaving and I gladly closed my door in one strong pull. I put down my phone with no attempt of calling back home for rent.
Later, my friends came by to say hello. And as I was giving them a little escort when I unfortunately pumped into her again. She pulled me aside and asked.
“Mum ,dad alituma?” she loudly asked.
My friends were eavesdropping hence let out a series of giggles. God the woman can neither give me a piece nor a peace of mind. And again, I lied.
“Ndio, ata ndo ninaenda kutoa saa hii. Ningoje nakuletea nikirudi.”
Taking my phone out, I quickly took an mshwari loan and after saying bye to my snoopy friends, I withdrew the cash and paid her dues. For I knew, I could take no more of her relentless asking for rent.


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