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The day I almost got stoned while looking for a house to rent in ongata rongai.

Ongata rongai 4yrs ago.

During my first semester when I had just joined college, I could not afford to rent my own place to stay so I was hooked up with a guy who agreed to share his hostel bed with me as long as I payed half of his hostel fees. So apart from me and my host, there was one other guy living in the hostel room because each hostel cubicle was built to contain two students. Me and my host used to squeeze ourselves in the thin hostel bed, not mentioning the days when his girlfriend came to spend weekends with him and I had to be ‘exiled’.

A hostel room.

Life in the hostels became just but mere survival. On the days that I was ‘exiled’ I hardly ever found anyone to accommodate me so whenever I had no one to accommodate me I would go to the neighbouring town of ongata rongai and buy muguka(a type of khat), then I would enter into a night club, buy a soda and chew the hard stuff till morning came. As days went by, I graduated from just chewing muguka while sipping a soda to chewing the leaves while drinking keg beer. By then I had gotten affiliated to the wrong company. A gang of guys who were homeless and whenever I was ‘exiled’ by my hostel host, I would spend nights in ongata rongai streets with these guys.

Ongata rongai.

I lost focus on my studies. I started getting used to drinking alcohol. My hostel host couldn’t tolerate me for he was a born again Christian. He started complaining and calling my guardians telling them that I had become uncontrollable and he wouldn’t be able to accommodate me on the next semester. For this reason, on my second semester, my parents agreed to rent me a house in ongata rongai. However they asked me to look for a roommate with whom I would share the responsibility of sharing house rent with. The cheapest decent single room in ongata rongai then cost 5000kes and my parents were willing to pay half of it. I found a guy to share the rent with. His name was Mutaki. He was a friend of the other guy who was staying in the same hostel I had been hosted in by my friend during my first semester in college.

Hostel room.

So Mutaki and I agreed that we would share the rent then buy some other personal items like sufurias and a mattress together. He and I searched for and found a house that was being rented out at a price of 5000kes on top of which a deposit of 5000kes had to be included so the total rent for starters was 10k. Interestingly, Mutaki Sayed his parents had not sent him the money and that I should pay half then he would pay the other half a few days later. Luckily, the kind landlord agreed. So I payed half of the rent but after that Mutaki changed his mind. I didn’t know why he had changed his mind then but later on I came to hear that the guys I had been sharing the hostel room with during the first semester advised him not to live with me for I drunk alcohol and chewed muguka. That having happened I was left with the task of paying the remaining half of the rent. The landlord who was so kind let me stay for a whole month in his house while I kept giving him lame excuses. My parents refused to send me more money saying that I was just finding ways of getting extra money from them. On the second month the landlord said that he understood my case so he let me go without paying the money that I owed him. The kind landlord’s wife had even been providing me with meals at times. He and his wife even gave me a basin, a sufuria and a stove for free. God bless them wherever they are now. They advised me to look for a cheap mabati house to rent in a neighbouring slum called ‘kisumu ndogo’ as that’s what I could afford at the time.

Kisumu ndogo kware

So I went looking for that cheap house that would cost me 2000kes. What I never knew then was that guys in that slum were bitter about life and they didn’t like strangers. To cut the long story short, I went into one of the plots in the slum. On my way in I found a lady with blood shot eyes smoking weed with a guy whose eyes were equally the same. I greeted them but they didn’t respond. I told them that I was looking for a house to rent and that’s when the lady screamed, “thief!” The guy bent over, collected a stone and threw it aiming it at me but missed by inches. That’s when I started running and they ran after me screaming, “thief! Thief! Don’t let him get away, catch him.” The guy was still throwing stones but none of the stones landed on me.

The good thing is that none of the onlookers joined in the chased. They just watched the unfolding drama with pure amazement lingering in their faces. After realizing that no one, but the two stoners, was coming after me, I decided to stop running. I ran into the arms of some elderly men and women talking by the road side, flashed out my student identity card and said quickly to the elderly people, “hey! See! I’m a student. I was looking for a cheap house to rent and these guys want to stone me calling me a thief.” It was that point when one elderly woman said, “leave those ones alone son. Everyone knows them. They just like terrorizing strangers.” And to the ones who had been chasing me, she said, “get out of here you fools. Next time I’ll have you arrested.” The Guy and the lady quickly sped away leaving me in the arms of this caring lady. “Why are you looking for a house to rent here son, don’t you know that no students come to this place. This place is for low lifes.

In fact I own this place and I myself can’t live here.” The Caring lady said to me. “I can’t afford the houses that are good ma’am. I was told that this is where I would find a cheap house to rent.” I told her. “Where are you from, son?” She asked me. “Meru,” I replied. “That’s where I also come from!” She exclaimed. “You don’t have to rent a house son! I have a huge house along Mayor Road and apart from my husband there’s nobody else living with us. All my children are living abroad. Wouldn’t you like to come live us?” She asked. “Yes, gladly ma’am,” I told her happily. I didn’t think too much. I didn’t care that I had just met her. Something inside me told me she was someone I could trust. Just like that, I had found a good Samaritan. From then on, she treated me like her own biological son. The day I almost got stoned by two crazy people in ongata rongai is the same day God sent me an Angel in the form of a kind and loving elderly woman to solve for me a problem that had disturbed me for almost eight months.

By jessecameathi

Writer and artist from East Africa.

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