Absentee Fathers and Single Mothers.

“Mummy, when I grow up I will go to my father.” Sandbaby tells me as we head to church on Sunday. I smile and tell her that will be very nice.
“And then I’ll find an octopie costume so I can scare that wife of his.”
Continue reading

Advertisements

Sandlady on Fears and Phobias

Somebody once asked me what’s my worst fear and I realised it was something I had never thought about. I know we are in this together because I can see you are frowning in deep thought and trying to rank your fears. There are different kinds of fears, some we are born with, others we acquire in the school of life yet there are those that are self imposed. This my dear is a philosophical thought or opinion and if I were you I’d give me a cookie or one of those honey coated nuts.

I am sitting at the driver’s seat in a matatu, not just any matatu, a Mtwapa mat(short for matatu), heading to town. The wind blows hard from across the Indian ocean as we cross the Nyali bridge, I reach out and roll my window up and roll it down once we have crossed into the island. Now I have been doing this for several years and it’s been a norm for me. This one time am with a colleague of mine, Linda, and as we approach the bridge just before Shimo La Tewa prison on Mombasa-Malindi road, I start to roll up the window and she stares. When I roll down the window she asks, “What was that about?”

“What?” I ask back.

She looks at me and I give in because I have been caught like a child with his hand in the cookie jar. The truth is am scared of the wind, be it just a normal strong wind or the whirlwind because in my world they are one and the same. I always imagine the wind sweeping across the ocean blowing so hard and carrying me out of the car like a bird’s feather. You are probably laughing just the way Linda laughed her ribs out but I forgive you for you do not know what you are doing. Well, it’s no empty fear. Sometime back as I was in town running some errands and walking along Digo road in Mombasa’s CBD a strong wind almost blew me away. Yes, just like those flaying sunflowers stalks you see in cartoons and I had to hold onto a building to stay put. Since that day am very weary of strong winds.

About two years ago while on vacation with my girls in Dar, Tanzania, we went shopping in Kariokor market as we always do. On this day we wanted diras for ourselves and our loved ones and located nice ones in some stalls. The stalls happened to be on a storey building and we had to take a flight of stairs down. It was an open winding staircase. I stood still. One of the girls, Christine, started descending then realised no one was following suit.

“Nyinyi nugu nini mbaya?” She asked. Emily started laughing then it hit her it wasn’t funny.

“Anna tushuke bana” She told me. I told her to lead the way and I would follow. Unfortunately I could only do two steps and they had to call a retreat. In their words I was really sweating and shaking, to their amusement. Emily had to tell Christine of my fear for open heights and had to find an alternative route down. So just know if we have to either use the stairs or those fancy glass elevators I will pick the stairs and yes you can laugh all you want.

But these are not even my fears they are just things I have not mastered control over. With time, nay, in my own time I will overcome them but for now there is no need to stretch myself. The one thing am truly afraid of is dying. Not because am afraid of death because that’s everybody’s journey. Am afraid of dying before my daughter is an adult. I always wonder who will take care of her, the way I do. Whenever I look at her or listen to her I see how difficult it will be for her to adjust into other people’s lives. Her culture is so different. She and I have conversations, like real conversations and she’s so inquisitive. You have to think on your feet, be creative but consistent and make sure your story will hold water if not just tell the truth because she will interrogate you and investigate if what you said was true or not.

It is a sad affair that am not sure I can trust my daughter with anyone, even my siblings, upon my demise. But I think at this point I need to set my hope and faith on Christ and the word of God because 366 times the Bible in different books says “Do not be afraid!”

Have a fearless October!

Pirates

While I seem to be an extrovert and sharing all my personal life on social media I can be very private. I have always kept my person private, and often than not I will introduce him under unavoidable circumstances. Speaking of which, if you ever meet me somewhere and you notice am not talking as much but smiling a lot, then your guess is right, I am probably hanging out with my person. Back in 2010, when I was expecting Sandbaby, some people I know had trouble figuring out who this person was and where he’d come from. For all they cared they knew my every move and joints, so how come none of them didn’t know Mr. Person? From Friday i have been feeling out of sorts and my body making me feel like an old steel bed. My body feels like it’s cracking, if it was an attic I would be talking of squeaky and rattling sounds. Growing up my aunt, the wife to my dad’s brother, would tell us of stories where some old woman used magical powers to use children as labourers at night. The children would sleep walk to the vast farms and start working the lands, and just before the break of dawn they’d go back to their beds to sleep. In the morning these children would wake up feeling so exhausted but not know why. That’s somewhat how I feel, like I have played sogisogi, those people who carry gunias for traders at the market. Or maybe I was used as a red carpet in a ceremony last night as I slept. All I know is that this body I woke up in is not mine. It is out of this fatigue that I found myself accepting a date with my Mzungu admirer. Mzungu man has been asking me out for I don’t how long but I had been reluctant. For one I believed in my love with Mr. Person and felt it would amount to cheating. Another reason is I took it to be in jest and nothing serious, to my colleagues disappointment. Working in SinCity as i elaborated in Shades of Gray is a cocktail of learning that challenges your way of thinking. In fact one of my friends and neighbor would always lament, why I would not go out woth Mzungu man, as we waited to pick a matatu. According to him, if nothing else Mzungu would have bought me a car, even one as small as the Vitz. He saw no sense in us hustling and ducking from the rain yet all i had to do was say Yes to a date. If you give him audience he’ll tell you about this one time that I was at the counter serving Mzungu and I lied. Apparently, Mzungu asked me if I was married, I shifted the ring I was wearing to the ring finger and answered in the affirmative. Honestly the only thing I remember is saying I was married but not the ring part, I of course intended to discourage Mzungu. So it is the year 2017AD, and Mzungu still gives me the smile, never relenting and publicly asks me for a date. I tell him we’ll plan which of course widens his smile and he is now glowing. By now I have the whole office on my neck for not accepting Mzungu’s date. While I did finally go on the date as you might have already gathered from the date post. It is from him that I leaen to appreciate that the best things in life are really free. In my world this guy is rich yet his preferred means of transport while in Kenya is public transport. Imagine that. While he has a choice to buy or hire a car or even hail taxis he chooses to use public transport. He tells me hes had enough of his own company and now he wants to enjoy public, feeling and seeing the camaraderie that people live in. After our date I decided to take my daughter out to Pirates, that’s the other name for Jomo Kenyatta public beach in Mombasa. This is after Hans shared with me his routine run with his beloved dogs to Pirates. Most of the time as parents we fail to take our kids out for a treat because we are broke and we won’t be able to deliver as per our children’s expectations. This is exactly where we go wrong. Children don’t have expectations except for what we’ve gotten them used to. On the contrary on our part we want that which is out of reach, something we can flaunt on Instagram or Snapchat, it’s all for our benefit. I know some of you are already thinking how am just justifying myself for taking Sandbaby to such a public place, but hey, to each his own. So I hire seats for Sandbaby and I, and we settle at an ideal place where the sun isn’t so hot and not so crowded. We pay to go to the makeshift changing rooms and Sandbaby comes out in her swimming costume all happy. We have our pre-swimming snack as I take in the view that is pirates. I can’t help but take photos because the scenery is breathtaking. In particular this man who’s from the ocean spelling freedom in oneness with nature.

Me Before and Daft People Anonymous

Looking back at my before journey I am unable to reconcile that person with the person I am right now. I am not saying am a great perfect person but man I could have done better. I think am one of the daftest people to ever exist on this planet, this side of South Sahara and River Limpopo. Except for now that I have used that line about Sahara and River Limpopo, I have always wanted to do that since my first year in high school as it was a CRE teacher’s favorite saying. So I was saying, am daft, stupid and an idiot. I don’t even know how I have lived with myself all this while. Maybe it’s because I have been in denial or because I was just naive.

Remember me talking about the dude, Kedi, my first crush, in the post “Love is”? Right, now I can boldly say that that guy had bebad me malenge (pumpkin) because I still don’t get why I entertained his sorry ass that long. I claim temporary insanity and that he probably went to Swaleh Mdoe’s babu and kaliad me chapati. So here I am, all graduated, armed with the power to read and write and do everything that pertains to my degree. I get my first job, a direct sales representative, a job that would get my introverted self out of my shell.

It doesn’t take long before Kedi locates me since am back to the hood staying with my parents. At this point I think it is only fair to also accept that I am full of myself and may at times overlook details, details that are important about others as you are about to see. Kedi has also finished college, and right now am really trying to think what he studied and I can’t remember having that conversation. Anyway I could tell for sure he didn’t have a job and didn’t mind it. So we catch up, talking about lots of nothing, I think I just liked to look at his smile. He had the sexiest smile ever, he kinda looked like RL the artist from the then all famous boy band Next, he represented the bad boy.

Now most if not all sales people will tell you that after a day or a week of great or whack sales all they think about is unwinding. For my team and I the perfect unwinding was hanging out partying at the clubs. It is during these random sessions that I bump into Kedi. Stupidly I was always so excited to see him I never once thought why he wasn’t out with me. Now this is where my daftness starts to pick momentum. Every time I was about to leave or he wanted to leave a joint he would make sure he bid me goodbye and with that ask me, “Si uniachie kitu basi?” Or “vipi fare?”. I never at any moment found this to be weird and of course would part with some cash. Looking back I realise I didn’t have expenses, staying at my parent’s and almost never paying for the bills in the night outs, I could afford to be philanthropic .

Whenever asked him about visiting him he’d find a way to evade, either he would be working or his phone would just go mteja. You must be wondering why I was still holding on to his ass despite this. Well for one he had once told me he liked me so much and wanted us to end up together but he was trying to get himself a proper job. In fact he even alluded that his mum kept asking when I was going to their rural home. You can now clearly see I was justified to be in my stupor.

I was technically single. Having called it quits with Frank and not in a defined relationship with Kedi I found myself lonely. Again I got carried away by my naivete and daftness. In what started as a mistake, a one night stand, I got into a relationship with another punk called Vince. Okay, another disclosure, I love me some eye candy and my friend Winnie will tell you I love them pleasant to my eyes. Now Vince was a mix between Morris Chestnut and Flex, tall dark and handsome(TDH).

When it comes to Vince I find consolation in numbers because am not the only one who fell for his charms. As if being TDH wasn’t bad enough, this guy was intelligent, both logically and emotionally. What drew me to him, apart from the obvious, was that we could actually hold substantive and intelligent conversations. He provoked my brain in a way Kedi could never attempt with topics varying from religion, politics, social and economic matters. But alas he was playing me a fool in a more complex way. What this man was offering me was….Nothing….nothing except he was ensuring he was going to be getting free sex.

He convinced me that there was no need to go public letting people know our business. He liked me and he wanted to spend as much time as possible with me. Charm is deceptive and even geniuses will stammer. He wined and dined me in places that I had never been to before, he for the better part developed the cynic in me with his conversations. From his lifestyle and the job he had I knew I wasn’t dealing with another hustler. Then he started something that I didn’t realise at the time, borrowing money from me to entertain me and the others. Yes I knew about the existence of the others because when you are young you think everyone is your friend and you go blabbering. Unfortunately I have been that person that people feel they should confide in and I sadly had to shoulder the agony of knowing he was hitting on all these girls in my circle. Then like most girls at that age I was more concerned about being in The list than about the list. Vince on his part lived up to the man code:Deny, deny, deny and then deny again. Just like Shaggy sung, even when caught butt naked, which i did by the way, even then ,”It wasn’t me” is your chorus. So here I was doing the same thing all over again but this time I would always be paid back and then borrowed again and cheated on though technically I was not being cheated on since our relationship was such that it was a secret. I think right now the most daft thing that I was doing at that time was sustaining his cheating ass and enabling his philandering. I wasn’t to date but he could date so that people wouldn’t suspect us.

How did I break off the two relationships? Well I broke up with both after having a eureka moment. It suddenly dawned on me that a man who is interested in you would never ask you for money, Never. Unless he’s your husband or friend but not a potential boyfriend. Instead the proper thing for him to do is borrow from his boys or family. The last stroke for Kedi was when he called me for a drink and on settling down to catch up he asks me to pay the bill. It was the last bill I paid and blocked his number. He didn’t believe I was walking away, something that’s common, people never think I can walk from anything I value with a straight face. He kept asking me to at least give him transport home, but I was very categorical, he called me and not the other way round which meant he should have been taking care of the expenses.

With Vince it was a bit tricky, as it was also a sort of an abusive relationship. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will get the courage to talk about it. But maybe meeting this other charmer, Sitati, did it. Best guy ever! Tall, dark, handsome and sexy. Sitati was a breath of fresh air, a gentleman. I didn’t date him because I was scared of what he represented, while I was ghetto he was everything classy. I would never fit in into his world. He is the kind of person who never looks at the price tag, the word expensive doesn’t exist in his vocabulary. While am a more practical person and prefer to plan a lot of things, Sitati is a guy of now, a guy living for the moment. It is him who taught me that women are to be respected and treated like the gem they are. He bought me two significant gifts. One was a Bible which he granted me for my birthday from a random wish list I made on Facebook. The other thing he got me was a watch. This was because I never kept time and he felt I needed to start respecting other people’s time. Oops! I was almost forgetting about the expensive box of chocolate and the bottle of lacquer. See, never an ordinary day or gift from him. Sitati, he thinks I friend zoned him while in reality I was always scared. Scared that with all his awesomeness he’d break my heart and walk away. He effortlessly commands attention from the womenfolk and he is as smooth as they come with them. I think this is the only time I wasn’t daft because for once I reasoned, used my brain to reach a decision. He probably knows me better than any of the guys I dated.

Well even after all that Mr. Person happened and proved that I definitely held the PhD for Daftness. Am still digesting this one so I can come back with a proper analysis. In the meantime if you hear about Daft Women Anonymous do holla at me I need a dose of some common sense.

Photo credit: Google, Las Vegas black image

Sandlady the junkie.

Hi!My name is Sandlady and am a drug junkie. Admitting my predicament publicly like this makes me feel so contaminated, like Nairobi river or the local sewage. Just like the other junkies I insist I have not done it intentionally and I am not sure I can quit.

A few years ago, after fourth form, I stayed with my uncle for quite some time before joining college. This is what used to happen those days, you either went upcountry to stay with your grandparents, visited an aunt or uncle as you figured out what to do after high school. Now while staying with my uncle I would see him taking pills almost every single day, I think five days in a week. I felt sorry for him, having to take medicine every day didnt sound like something anyone enjoyed. But I could see he had no choice, it was either that or he would not sleep.

I joined college, on your way out of Nairobi heading to Ruiru, Kenyatta University to be precise. If you have read my other pieces youll realise that I dont like disclosong my higher learning information. Compared to Mombasa where i grew up, Nairobi is pretty cold most of the time but KU(Kenyatta University-Main Campus) proved to be even colder. It is while pursuing higher learning that I found myself into drugs. I started light, taking a mild tablet say once a month or once a week.

During what we called Summer classes, which is really ironic since its the coldest period of the year, the situation would worsen even as I kept warm through out. I increased my dosage and changed drugs. But because money was scarce as solely on pocket money sent to me by my parents my intake was in check.

Fast forward to the present and I can not say it has gotten any better. I have a good job and am able to afford the best drugs for oral and inhaling. This is what allergies has turned me into, an anti-histamine junkie. I know most anti-histamine drugs in Kenya, from piriton, cezine, aerius, montana, zyncet, cetrizine and celastamine amongst many others. Some are the real deal while others are generic, in fact I get loyalty discounts whenever I go to buy in most chemists.

You are probably wondering why I can’t do without medication while the simple solution is to keep off the triggers. Believe me I really try but first to tell what exactly are my triggers, dust, smoke, perfumes, paraffin and most fuels. My reaction is a sneeze-a-thon out of this world, I can out-sneeze most people I know. My sneeze is so loud you would think my skinny self was going to crack in the next minute. To avoid smoke and paraffin I use gas, and it was the first thing I ever did for my parents, buying a gas cooker.

My main challenge lies in where I work and where I stay, a total dilemma, as both seem to be almost permanent, at least in the near future. I am a cashier, which means in the course of duty I receive cash from customers from all walks of life. From the office executives to mama mboga, from the petrol stations to the hardware dealers, from the Somali livestock trader to the Giriama charcoal dealers without discrimination. All these come bundled with dust and different scents that trigger my allergens. Most often I will be fine till the end of day when I arrive home and the sneeze kicks in while at times it’s instant. At home another challenge awaits, dust from the dusty road just next to my house. When I bought into the idea of getting the ideal corner house I had not taken into account how dry Mombasa is and that it gets dusty. To make matters worse construction of the estate is ongoing which means lorries carrying construction materials are always on the move throwing in dust at me and mine. So you see either way am doomed.

I have been in a complicated relationship with my doctor,an ENT specialist, whom I see when things get awry like yesterday. In fact after always being prescribed anti-histamines and anti-biotics i decided to seek professional help and I do not regret it. It is at this point that I learnt that all this time i had been treating the symptoms instead of dealing with the cause, I realised I had allergy issues. She,the ENT specialist, advised me to try to keep off the triggers and where a mask at work, she also prescribes some medication plus a nasal spray which I must say is a life saver. A puff and am as good as new, though I suppose this is how smokers feel at their first puff. About the mask, hmm I have been rather reluctant to put it on throughout because of stares and questions from clients. I always feel they’ll be offended, that I find their hard earned money smelly and not worth me touching it while others having asked me if am allergic to money.

So now I have resorted to accepting my smelly druggy self since even the mildest of perfumes doesn’t augur well with my nostrils it seems and wearing masks like I work in some factory and not a bank. I also never miss a tablet of celastamine and a nasal spray as I travel since I cannot control what other people do. My friends having experienced firsthand what i go through will double check and will endure the heat for fear that using the fan will cause me harm, which is the risk they run. I have learnt to love citrus fruits and you will see me buying oranges and ‘chenza’ whenever they are in season. I don’t take milk in my tea as am told dairy products increase…., instead I love black tea. I prefer lemon tea but am afraid of its slimming effect as am already skinny and slimming will reduce me to a walking stick. Honey, ginger and lemon concoction are my go-to home remedy.

Now I appreciate my uncle’s life better and I know it’s genetical, something I hope not to pass on to Sandbaby. In the meantime, Sandbaby keeps praying for me to get well and stop getting sick every now and again.

Sandlady Dates Mzungu

The other day I went out on a date with my long time admirer, Hans. As you have already guessed, Hans is a foreigner, a “Mzungu” to be precise. I hope that doesnt sound racism from your point of view, i just found it necessary to point out. I have known him for close to seven years, which is before I even got Sandbaby. I am expextedly late for the date but he accepts my apology and says what is a few mijutes when hes been waiting for this chance for years. I smile for lack of a better reply, because really how do you beat that?

When i arrived at our designated meeting point, Kahamas (My choice of course) I find one of the waitresses at the entrance sort of waiting for me. I say sort of because just as I was going to call him to know where hes seated the waitress called to me. Hed told her hes waiting for his date and as such would not be making any orders until her(my) arrival. As Hans stood to usher me to my seat I felt like everyone was staring at us. And it reminded me why this whole idea was a mistake, going out with a mzungu was so cliche for my kind, skinny women(sb, skinny bitches) and all sorts of conclusiins would have been drawn by the time I sat down. The fact that Hans is not exactly young doesnt help my case but further vindicates me.

We place our orders and get into a conversation, getting to know each other, something I dont enjoy about new dates. The half-hearted smiles, the withheld smart retorts and the false sense of understanding doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I am at point in my life where I’d prefer being disappointed on the first date, get the real deal from the onset. But for Hans, I play along because it’s the politest and right thing to do.

The good thing about dating at the age of 30 is that you can actually ask blunt questions without flinching. This is exactly how I get to learn that Hans, who’s older than my late father, has never been married and has no child. He tells me that he was busy looking for money and taking care of his sickly parents and did not make time to start a family. Unlike here, it is common for Germans to seek financial stability before going into marriage and starting a family. Being the doubting Thomas that we women are, I ask him if he’s maybe met someone in Kenya in the few years he’s been here. At this question, he despairs and laments that as a Mzungu it is next to impossible to meet a lady who’s genuinely interested in him. He further narrates how he’s seen and heard of fellow Mzungus who’ve been swindled of their hard earned money. Worse still they have been dumped and their passports either destroyed or hidden.

I take a breather from this conversation to enjoy the live band playing and nod acknowledgements to some of my acquaintances. At this moment I sort of wish I had selected a more exclusive restaurant but then again I was going for what I could afford and safe in case of any eventuality. The stares and the smiles am getting are laced with mischief and accusation. Like they are telling me, welcome aboard, you have finally seen the light. While another pair silently asks how and why am going that way. I don’t blame any of them because it is a common scene to see a skinny girl with a Mzungu old enough to be her grandfather in the name of a sponsor or benefactor. I digress but it is what it is. I am grateful that apart from acquaintances I meet no friend here because then I would have wished for the ground to open up and swallow me.

Back to my date, Hans is rich and like any other rich person, controversy beckons. His caretaker who happens to be a woman is suing for half of his property in Kenya alleging they were married in a customary wedding. He’s denied these allegations and I can tell he’s really stressed by these turn of events. He tells me that he regrets why he ever offered to assist this lady who’s proving to be a wolf in a sheep’s skin. Well it is matter that is in our courts and since it is causing him so much grief we drop the topic.

He asks me about my daughter and I show him lots of photos of Sandbaby. I can see his face clouded with emotions and I gather we have seen enough of my beautiful girl. I ask him how he spends his time in Kenya while around. He tells me that every morning he goes for a run with his babies, his dogs who he loves so much. He goes with them all the way to Pirates, the public beach, stays there for about two hours then takes a Bajaj back home. Once a week he goes for live band and on another day he goes for massage.

The night progresses very well and I feel we can be friends with Hans. I had unfairly judged him because of his race and colour. Despite the language barrier, he speaks a bit of English, he is a really good conversationalist and has a lot of wisdom to pass on. So don’t be surprised seeing me with a Mzungu or going for language classes.

Agency Banking is Here to stay.

In the recent past we have seen more and more Kenyan owned banks embracing agency banking. Mobile banking is a service provided by financial institutions in cooperation with mobile phone operators. It allows customers with busy lives to conveniently do their banking using their phones anytime. It is about getting banking services to the unbanked, those who do not have bank access or bank accounts, and those who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid, often living in remote areas.

Agency Banking is governed and licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya as provided for in the Prudential Guidelines which clearly states that an institution may carry out banking services through an agent. The agent may be an entity running a commercial or non-commercial activity. This therefore means banks may engage varied businesses including, but not limited to , hardwares, mobile money agents, wholesalers and more.

Without a doubt you have noticed non-bank officers in the banking halls offering banking services like cash withdrawals, cash deposits, bill payments and account opening . These are agents that have been authorised and licensed by the banks to carry out banking services on the banks’ behalf.

On 2nd August 2017, the Daily Nation reported that Equity Bank had announced its plans to shut down 11ATM machines and instead invest more on their agency banking network. Equity Bank as a matter of fact pointed out that it is cheaper for them to engage the services of an agent than to maintain an ATM. Going by the financial results of the two key players in agency banking, KCB Bank and Equity Bank, you can not ignore that truly the future of banking is tied to agency banking. This is because of the non-funded income they are earning from agency banking. It would also be important to acknowledge that banks have gone on a retrenching spree coupled with closure of some branches as a reaction to the recent interest capping enforced by the Central Bank of Kenya.

Agency banking can be accessed through the use of either a phone or a PDQ machine at an agent. To use it through the phone a customer will need to first register for mobile banking with his bank to enable him initiate transactions while the agent is able to initiate cash deposits from his phone without the customer being registered. For withdrawals the customer will produce his card, which the agent will insert on the PDQ machine, then the customer will key in his pin just like he would do on the ATM machine.

Going my argument above it is clear that agency banking is a business that is not short termed. So how do you become an agent or what do you to become an agent? I have outlined the basic requirements for your perusal as sourced from both KCB Bank and Equity Bank who are the market leaders in agency banking:-

  • An existing business at the same location for about 6months.
  • Valid business permits for the business i.e KRA PIN, Certificate of incorporation etc.
  • Certificate of good conduct to vouch for your moral standing
  • Current bank statements for the last 6months
  • Credit Reference Bureau Report
  • National ID of the applicant
  • Sufficient cashflow to sustain the business
  • Strategic location.

Armed with the above requirements you can now approach any of the banks offering agency banking to fill in application to become an agent. Once your application is approved you will be required to open at least two accounts by the bank, a float and a commission account. The float account acts as the contra account(mirror account if you like) for the transactions that you will be performing while the commission account is precisely what the names suggests, an account for the commission collected for every transaction. At this point it is important to inform you that you need not have an account with the bank beforehand to be their agent, a certified bank statement from any other will suffice. Minimum float requirement is atmost Kshs. 20,000.00.

Is it a lucrative business?Is it worth it? This is the question any business minded individual will ask themselves. The answer solely depends on you. Just like M-Pesa agency banking relies heavily on volumes, the more transactions you do the more the commission with the minimum commission per transaction being KShs.10.00. While most agents agree that the smaller banks pay better commissions they also admit that the bigger banks have more traffic. The top three busiest agency counters in no partivular order are KCB Bank, Equity Bank and Family Bank.

As an agent you need to be reliable and consistent by ensuring that customers get the services they need everytime. It is discouraging for you to always say you have no float whenever a customer wants to transact. Always ensure you have float by replenishing the float account, have cash to pay customers doing withdrawals. Again like M-Pesa withdrawals lead to an increase to float and attract higher commissions while deposits reduces your float.

Excellent customer experience coupled with professionalism and integrity will guarantee repeat visits and customer loyalty. This in turn has a spill effect of ensuring you get customer referrals. Some rogue agents have been reported and closed down because of cash suppression spoiling the reputation of agency banking. Having at least three or more agencies at the same shop will work to your advantage. Another thing is to make sure you can access mobile banking through both the mobile and the PDQ machine.

I believe I have tackled most questions that most people have on agency banking but am open to questions, suggestions and corrections on the comments or to my email: andiegos12@gmail.com

Akinyi, the Banker.

The Power of Three

Two is company while three is a crowd, or so it’s always been said. I tend to think that three is a powerful number that we tend to overlook. Even our African forefathers knew this when they designed the fireplace to be in the form of three stones. Presently even our modern jikos and modern cook stoves borrow heavily on that.

Looking back from the time I was a child to now I realise that I have always been in a threesome kind of friendship. No, I do not mean the gutter mind kind of threesome as you would like to think though I know that would have been a more interesting tale to tell. Maybe one day I’ll write about that as well, who knows. As I was saying, before I got caught up in your naughty thoughts, I almost always find myself in a triangular kind of friendship.

It’s not something I consciously go out to embed myself onto. On the contrary it’s such a natural phenomenon that we all find ourselves into. Just think about it, look at your circle of close friends, you will find the triangle bond. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table. I am tempted to use mathematical illustrations so kindly bear with me.

While there are about seven types of triangles I will use only three to illustrate what this analogy is about. There is the equilateral triangle which has equal sides and angles. The right angle triangle has one angle being a right angle, that is to say it is 90 degrees. The other triangle am interested in is the Isosceles triangle that has two sides being equal in size and angles as well.

Just like triangles the threesome friendship can be categorised in different groups. I have attached the above photo that I picked from Google to help you from having a migraine from the mention of mathematics. An equilateral friendship is where the three friends give as much as they receive. Their level of emotional, social and intellectual intelligence are at par, the friends will reach at the same conclusion whether individually or collectively. They have an equal chance in decision making and will seek each other’s opinion to reach an amicable decision.

In an isosceles friendship, one friend always stands out, either socially, emotionally or intellectually. The other two tend to have similar opinions in most matters and the third friend always feels as a third wheel. For this friend to get her way she must put in a lot of effort to sway one of the other two. It also implies that at any one time two friends will always be on one side and at no one time will the opinions be the same.

The right angled friendship is a friendship that is based on one of the three friends being superior in most areas and therefore almost always has the final say. Sometimes it’s about the friend who keeps giving or taking from the friendship. There are friends who at all times suck from the friendship and may even be draining like a tick.

Now that we are done with the boring illustration maybe you want to practically look at your chain of friendships. As for myself I can tell you for a fact that I probably have one or two non-triangular friendships. Otherwise I exist in triangles, in some am a silent follower, in another am thrown into the limelight of leadership while in others am among equals. I definitely enjoy being part of the triangles because I can’t imagine having only one friend. Okay so maybe I can have one very close friend but not the only one.

Let me tell you why I wouldn’t give up my triangles for other kinds of friendships. There’s this girl I know and she tells me she has no friend. When I asked her why, I realised she had put all her eggs in one basket. Friends aren’t angels my dear, and are entitled to mood swings and making mistakes. So apparently she stopped keeping friends because her one “most” trusted friend had betrayed her. Of course am curious to find out how she was betrayed but that will be too nosey of me. All said I do tend to think she’s miserable, as a woman you need a girl to gossip with, another one you can be a kid with and another you can be with when you feel like letting your hair down. In fact the third force is important to restore sense and sanity to the group. If these ladies were three, the third one would have found a way to bridge the gap.

I remember back in high school, my friends, Grace and Maureen had had a tiff, and weren’t talking to each other. At the same time we needed to go watch a play and no one was willing to go alone. The two of them picked me at my place and I was the centrepiece for the better part of the time. Had to make small talk with both without seeming to favor anyone until we picked Dorina, my twin at the time. She and I were assigned the duty of being the voice of reason and this meant we broke into twos. See this is why three becomes very handy, and not a crowd in a bad way.

I know men get annoyed whenever they are trying to hit on a girl who always seems to have her crowd in tow. In such a case you shouldn’t feel intimidated because the other girls have specific roles to play. There’s the one party girl who’s the life of the trio, without her the group is boring and the other girls would be better off staying at home. There’s the polite one, she doesn’t talk as much and when she does it’s about deep stuff like politics et cetera. She may seem to be enjoying the drinks but in truth she’s the group’s guard. She will try to stay sober at all costs and gather what you are all about. Of course there’ll be the girl you are hitting on who you will not figure since today she’s assigned the sweet girl role. As girls we wear these roles as the need arises.

Even the creators of the cartoon series “Powerpuff Girls” knew this and exploited this bond. Some of the best music bands were made of trios, Destinys Child, Spice Girls, The Supreme, TLC and many more. Find a triangle that complements you and build a strong bond. Because many a times one of the three breaks away the friendship of the other two will most definitely suffer.

The Big Chop. Why women cut their beloved hair.

The other day I was talking to two friends and was trying to complement one of them, Judy, on how good she was looking in her new hair cut. Adelaide, the other friend, quickly cut me off,”Don’t listen to her. This one had long hair and just chopped it off. Who does that?” Then turning to me she asked, “Why did you really cut your hair?”

I smiled, you know that kind of smile you pull when you can’t truly answer a question. The smile that says I-can’t-get-into-that-right-now. But I did tell her to get over it, to move on since I had shaved my hair more four years ago and most of the people I now called colleagues could not imagine or believe I could keep let alone grow long hair.

You see, I went to a catholic primary school and the only hairstyle allowed was short and neat hair. I therefore got to start keeping my hair in high school. If you met me either in college or afterwards I would have sworn against all odds that I would never shave my hair. I was so sure that nothing and no one could convince me to let go of my beautiful long hair that i had nurtured to more than shoulder length.

That was until 2012, when fate would have me reconsider my hard stance. Most people think that women cut their hair at the spur of the moment. I’ll have you know that this is not the case, we actually spend a lot of time antagonising on the pros and cons of shaving. It is not an event my friend, its a process of thoughts, emotions and logic.

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”~~~Coco Chanel

When a woman cuts her hair, it’s seldomly because of trends or the fact that short hair will flatter her. No, instead it marks a turning point in her life since it mostly involves something very emotional, unpleasant and most often than not will involve the man in her life. It is also true that the same woman will grow back her hair, healthier and voluminous as she grows into a new relationship and finds happiness. It therefore follows that women will cut their hair in times of strife and stress.

Consider this for a moment, how does hair and emotions relate? The simple answer is that hair represents the feminity and beauty of a woman. It also informs how a woman thinks of herself among other women,how she feels about herself. For doesn’t it say in the Bible that if a woman has long hair its glory to her? Even the woman you think is not beautiful will spend time and money to attain beautiful hair. Women all over the world invest time and money on the hair, in terms of products used and time taken to be styled. We spend on shampoos, conditioners, dyes and all sorts of hair accessories to attract attention from men. This is exactly why for a woman cutting her hair should come as a warning.

It may be explained as cutting off men, recoiling from being attractive, trying to camouflage oneself. Believing that you will become incognito and disappear from the face of the world. It may not be a conscious decision to do so and one may only come to realise it later on deep analysis.

A woman may also cut her hair in her attempt to reach out to her lover. The chop is a hint that something is not going so well in the relationship and a cry for attention. If you are sensible you will look beyond the hair cut and prod for more. If in luck you may be able to turn around your relationship. Rarely will you find women cutting their hair because it was falling of anyway or had suffered damage from over processing and the like. The first time I cut my hair it was because of two reasons. For one I thought if I cut my hair I would be less attractive and therefore command less attention from the menfolk. By extension I expected to afford my Person some reassurance of not being hit on by competition. I loathed long hair, blaming it for my misfortune not realising that my dear Person was insecure for his own reasons. It is true that a woman will withstand a lot of pain and abuse in a relationship but the minute she makes up her mind to walk away there’s no stopping her. This is how I chopped my hair, to signify a new beginning. As an African i should have buried that hair as a symbol of my new journey.

The other reason, that now seems unreal, was the lack of proper hairdressers in my new neighbourhood combined with my new calling of motherhood. When you are a working mother balancing between the self and motherhood can be tricky and most often you let yourself go. At the same time the convenience of short hair can be quite addictive, I should know because I always find myself at the barbershop.

As much as short hair is becoming trendy, what with having people like our very own Lupita Nyong’o donning it, as a man or a mother do not ignore that hair cut. At the very least she’ll be happy that you noticed her.