When the call came through that I was the official SpotiChesa jackpot winner for Ksh. 23,480,942.00, I dismissed a message at first, having encountered calls and messages from the fraudulent shrewd Kamiti prisoners. I disliked being cheswad. On the 3rd call, I picked up my smartphone and listened. The number seemed corporate and the person on the line identified himself and purpose of the call. Upon vetting, I was confirmed as the jackpot winner. Ksh.23,480,942 all mine…… My heart raced like I was running through lobbed teargas during the NASA campaigns for Baba, as a sudden short call got me running to the loo. I was all over the moon. As the Swahili sages said, ‘…matako yangu yalikuwa yanalia bwata, baada ya kuangukia mamilioni ya fedha!
What would you do with over Ksh. 20,000,000? What would I do with such money in my hands? Eish! The most I ever handled was some Ksh. 300,000.00 cash, then working for an Asian Airtel distributor back in the day. I was so afraid then, and my unsteady hands could not handle counting the money. These things happen only in movies, save for the woman Kibage who collected money from banks in sacks. It was my first bet, being idle and with a few thousand shillings on Mpesa, I placed my pata-potea on teams across various top leagues in Europe. It was all guess work, as I consulted Ericko, a close friend of mine who did betting as a full time hustle.
The following morning, three black tinted SUV Nissan Patrol outrage came to my estate to pick me up for the awarding ceremony at the I&M Building headquarters. It was a total new experience for me as the well dressed men in black, bevy of beauties and camera men disembarked and come over to my rented apartment to collect and deliver me for the event. I was briefed on what was coming, but not even in my wildest dreams did I envision it as it unfolded. Luckily, I had enough time to purchase a new blue slim fit suit, white shirt and black boots to look the part. I was given Ksh.50,000 to groom and look the part as the new multi-millionaire in town. Brenda, the Corporate Brand Manager personally saw to it I did not let down the SpotiChesa brand, especially with this being the first time they would be awarding a major price to a jackpot winner.
A New clean shave, trimmed beard and looking good for the camera in the new smart outfit, I met the small team that was allowed in crammed in my sitting room. After several flashes of posed photos, I was whisked quickly out of the bed-sitter into the waiting SUVs for the grand trip to town. The whole incident seemed to attract sudden attention from mboches, neighbours and several idle minds who were laying around. Already, a small crowd had gathered to feed their curiosity, and Kamau, the newspaper vendor was gathering news to feed the audience at his kibanda later in the day. From the sudden messages I was receiving on my Infinix Note 4 Pro smartphone and sudden attention, I made a sudden guess I was on live broadcast and engagements on social media platforms.
The ride to town was sweet and mushy. Sandwiched between two beautiful and well endowed minji minjis in short tight dark blue corporate dresses, my mood was elevated and a sense of importance and pride suddenly engulfed me. I needed to focus and give a good representation of myself. If I would be appearing on the 1 o’clock news, I had to get it right. It was always a boyhood dream to have such a moment, both this kinda got me totally unprepared, besides whatever was at stake was humongous. I knew my dad, a tech enthusiast ever since I bought him a smartphone would be following the developments keenly and see what his son was made of. The family name would soon be on the nation’s radar, and it needed the best representation.
The dummy cheque award ceremony was a successful PR affair for SpotiChesa. They took the opportunity to invite top officials from the private and public sector, and officially launch their brand to the Kenyan public. My money safe in the bank, a finance consultant to assist in managing the money a call away, I was a happy man new elevated status as the new multi-millionaire in town established. I was pleased to see my brother, Architect Wekesa at the function too, having been invited by the pro-active Brenda as my next of kin. Wakubona, my brother from the other mother with his characteristic beard and clean shaved head was present, too. He was a media personality, and never misses such events in town. I noted to myself I would seek his counsel advice regarding some smart investment. This was the proudest day of my life, and I had to make the best out of it.
Two monumental phone calls came in quick succession after finishing the event and allowed to go my hotel suite at Crowne Plaza, where a fully paid for (bed and breakfast) at the iconic Crowne Plaza in Upperhill. Dad called me, gave his congratulatory remarks and advised me not to let the money mess my head. I needed to be careful and responsible or I regret my whole life for poor decisions I could make. The other major call was from Asha, my old flame who who had cast me aside back in college for not being moneyed and romantic, an experience I still cringe from. The parting after our relationship broke my heart to a thousand pieces, and I was just healing. From the way she sounded, she wanted us to make up. Was it a coincidence or she had been following my progress all along, until then when I had become suddenly famous? After taking shower and eating to my full at the buffet, I went back upstairs to my room and deliberated on how I would spent the money. I took out a paper and pen and made my list.
- Clear with KRA
- Pay tithe: 2,000,000
- Pay Helb: 1,000,000
- Pay full fees for Media School Training: Ksh. 1,500,000
- Buy 1/4 acre plot in Matasia and Build house: Ksh: 4,500,000
- Buy Car: Ksh.500,000
- Invest in my company: Ksh.1,000,000
- Stock Exchange: Ksh.200,000
- Pigia Mwili Pole & Babe Manenos: Ksh.100,000
- Pay all debts; Ksh.100,000
- Sent to dad and Mum: Ksh.550,000
- For Family: Ksh.600,000
- Friends; Ksh.50,000.
- Savings: The rest (7,500,000)
I went to sleep that night pondering hard on the list i Had just made. The finance consultant from Barclays Bank (Miguna) would be of real help in the matter. I needed real financial education or else…
It was until the following morning that it dawned to me what Ks.20,000,000 meant to the world. With me well plastered on the front covers of local dailies, and being the talk of the town on the social media platforms under #WafulaKulaMamilioniNaWatu, there was no escape. Every person I knew or who knew me suddenly wanted to meet me tuongee biashara bana. Even at the hotel, as I read the newspaper while downing my tea with some spicy samosas, the waiters and a few customers glanced and waved at me, some glowing with sudden adoration as they sought my attention. My low profile black t-shirt, cargo shorts and sandals and pair of spectacles seemed to attract more attention towards myself than anticipated. ‘Kwani ninanuka pesa?’ I asked myself. A call came from home, and dad in his usual matter of fact commanding voice declared he was coming to Nairobi to see me, together with my mother. He had important matters to discuss with me.
I was awaken from my world of fantasy with a jolt, realizing the world was kind of moving too fast for me. If I did not jipanga quickly, nitapangwa or rather pangiwa! That call from my dad meant there were family concerns and personal concerns at stake,and this was the time to address them. My boy-like plans might get overlooked in favor of bigger concerns which were not i n my mind frame at present. Taking cue of what could be coming, I quickly confirmed possibilities of accessing the money at the bank. With a go ahead, quickly I made a few phone calls to my ‘trusted boys’ to look for a new, spacious 1 bedroom apartment for me in Roysambu. Several were found, and I did my picking, after considering several factors. Upon talking to the owner directly on a few concerns and seeing photos of the place as sent to me, I paid the full deposit and six months rent in advance. I called Tuskys supermarket and made a list of household items for purchase and delivery to the new apartment. Carpets, seats, bed and curtains were all in the mix. They responded quickly and soon, with help from a friend who specialized in interior design had the house fully furnished and ready for occupation. As I walked into the new apartment and checked it out, I felt powerful having money with me. I knew the feeling when you had nothing in your account. I said to myself, let these other things find me at this new level.
To be continued…