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Night time takes it’s leave and the day begins its shift; a new Monday morning turns in. I’m sloshed which goes without saying. It takes a bit of time before I stir awake because I’m still feeling warped from last night’s bender. I only fully come to after my friend, Ibrahim, incessantly nudges me out of bed. I spent the night in the servants’ quarters – Ibrahim’s crib. It’s time to hit the gym. The cardinal rule is that you never miss a Monday. Even if you spent the previous night in a drinking den hoping tomorrow will take care of itself.

The light piercing through the blinds makes my eyes grimace. My ears ring with impertinence. I suffer hasty palpitations as my heart contends with pumping intoxicated life juice through my veins. My limbs and bones feel snappy. Before long, my belly growls expressing displeasure after having its sleep disrupted.  I feel pale from last night’s ale. In a disconcerted but gingerly manner, I haul myself to the bathroom. Where my glassy eyes once meeting the mirror renders my own damning reflection.

For the past year or so, this moment has become routine after getting myself drunk as a skunk over the weekends.

Every other Monday morning, I take a long hard sobering look at my countenance. It’s a time where I get to see the skeletons in my closet despite trying to avoid them. It always feels like a Damascus moment. Maybe it’s not because by dusk I’ll have certainly bundled myself out of the wagon again. The question I ask myself this time, is one I’ve kept asking but to no answer.

“What have I become?”

What does a man do when he can’t answer existential questions in a bathroom? Gargle mouthwash and skidaddle out of there. Kick the can down the road and hope to never go down that path again.


16 months ago, I graduated out of uni.

16 months ago, at noon inside the campus coliseum, an old ashy looking Professor stood behind a lectern, read my name out loud and hailed my achievement of cum laude honors in Sociology.  He then went on a long spiel and finally conferred me the ‘powers to read and do what appertains to….’

It’s the last I recall of what he had to say before hoisting my cap up and watching it fall back down like pieces of confetti. Immediately after, I gathered my family and made for the exit. I didn’t see the point of sitting through the entire event. Your birth and death are lonesome events. I think it’s the same for graduations.

The wind was in my sails as I bucketed my way around in that gown. My chuffed elder brother then chugged the engine of our rickety Peugeot 504 and steered it home. Seated shotgun, my middle-aged mother wore a smug smile. Yet another instance where I wished I could free my deceased father from the clutches of death. At least if wishes were horses. I was over the moon.

At the house, the party was raring to go. Oddly so, I spotted a Holy Padre waiting eagerly at the verandah which after a while, I figured was no surprise. If you could describe any Christian as dyed-in-the wool, it would be my mother. She had organized a ‘brief’ thanksgiving Mass seeing as we are of the Catholic persuasion. The average Catholic Mass lasts about a fortnight so there’s no such thing as brief Mass. In a measly two hours thirty minutes we shared ‘Corpus Christi’ and the Holy Father declared, ‘Mass has ended, go in peace.’

Soon after friends, family, relatives and gatecrashers flocked in and we had a ball. Song and dance. Trite congratulatory speeches. Old people praying. Inebriated guests braying. Chomping at haute cuisine. Posing for innumerable photos. Receiving gifts. Uncles telling white lies and promising well paying jobs. Spilling broth on my suit. Teary laughter. We did it all. You name it. Coachella? You know Coachella, yeah? My party topped Coachella. It was a huge shindig. Or as a Kenyan would put it, “It was a shindig na nusu!”

That was the summit of 2020 for me. Given that I graduated that December, I was justified to think of life serendipitious. New decade then a degree. Life seemed expectant with hope. Commensurately so, I was brimmed with it (hope) and prepared for only the best. The white picket fence, a house and beautiful spouse finally didn’t seem so out of reach. I would go on to have a blossoming career to bankroll it and more. More of my dreams and horizons felt palpable. There I was, starry-eyed. Starry-eyed as only a young man could be.

But here’s what life has offered since then,

It’s like a muscular Roman gladiator grabbed me by the heels, turned me upside down and shook every dream, desire and yearning out of my being. It gone tits up and my life is now upended. I’m like an hour glass, sand and substance gradually dripping down from me and there’s nothing I can do to stop the haemorrhage. I’m slowly and surely running out of time and essence.

Early 2021, I was boiling with oomph as I sent out job applications to prospective employers. Landing a gig should be easy, I’m a valedictorian for Pete’s sake, so I thought. The cover letters, profiles, transcripts and variations of CVs I curated then frothed with optimism. Things had to look up. My persistence would completely chip away at resistance. If I hang around the barbershop long enough, sooner or later I’d get a haircut.

Unabatingly, I continued applying. I opened job application portals at Inspira, Diageo, Oxfam, Mckinsey, myjobsinkenya and at any entity that sought to hire. On Linkedin, I spruced up my profile. Putting up my graduation photo as my display picture and even decorating it with an #opentowork tag line. I was hell bent on giving the impression that I was qualified and job bound. I saw to it that all and sundry who frequented my page gleaned such a perception of me. I stalked recruiters and sent them connection requests. So did I to any individual who cared to use Linkedin, I went out guns blazing with connection requests like we all did when facebook first graced the planet.

If it were newsletters for job ads, I subscribed. Parted with 60 shillings daily just to skim out job adverts from newspapers. Iteratively and religiously made it my habit to send out at least three job applications in a day; online and sometimes on terra firma. I attended networking events and sold myself. Initially to the highest bidder but over time to whoever cared to purchase.

I did a slew of aptitude tests, digital assessment tests, oral and written interviews – the entire gamut. I queued behind long files of people outside tall intimidating government buildings manned by famished guards to submit my numerous duplications of applications. Afya house, Stima house, Ardhi house, Social security House, Teleposta towers, Nyayo house, Parliament, Real towers, Times Towers, KICC, City Hall…  Government edifices in this city recognize my visage and tenacity. They are aware of my unanswered applications.

On occasions when I couldn’t beat deadlines, I sent friends to drop my papers for me. When it came to deadlines, none would beat me to it – alert as a fox I made sure to be prompt. For applications, I read and proof read before sending them out. For the interviews, I prepped in earnest. My unwavering sister by now is a seasoned mock interviewer for she has been my partner in these futile exploits.

I’ve called people especially those promising uncles prodding them to make good on their promises. I’ve written to countless industry experts, making my case and being vulnerable begging them to take a chance on me. I’ve acted on advice on how to dress, behave and act to attract fortune. Eye contact, firm handshake, dress to the nines, quit slouching, some even told me to adopt a plant. Apparently, there’s something about nurturing plants that makes you more centered. I don’t get it but I’ve tried.

One time, going through my late father’s memorabilia, I found a card holder booklet with hundreds of cards. I wrote bespoke emails to each contact crossing my fingers that at least one of them would be willing to lend a helping hand to the son of their departed friend.  I’ve opened burner accounts of email addresses with variations of my names thinking that I must have at least one lucky alter ego.  As a knee-jerk reflex, I got a knack of opening and reopening these email accounts, searching for the gospel – the good news. But since I’m a Sunday Christian, I doubt my prayers have done me any good.

This forage, job hunt and madness went on for the entire 2021. But to my attempts, life said no bueno. Working backwards, having done the math, it’s a total of 500 applications sent to no avail. Rejection and regret responses became the mainstay of my email.

My only stroke of luck being one unpaid internship that I did. But it later turned it was a brief case company fronting as a start-up. It got dissolved within 4 months of operation.

Over time I’ve also learnt that a first-class honors on your CV can pit recruiters against you. That we are entitled, picky and overly expensive for entry-level jobs still befuddles me. Stereotypes are brandished your way. Before getting a chance to show what you are about. I’m still waiting for a reply on my greencard inquisition. My knuckles are sore from knocking on doors of opportunity.

Last time, I spent so much time at home, I was in primary school. Or a baby par excellence. The difference between then and now is nobody expected me to be economically resourceful. When you are a 24 -year old graduate – living off someone else’ back gnaws at you. Even the best mother grows dispirited. Until September last year, she was actively concerned seeking feedback and softening the blow of each sucker punch. But since, she now dons a cloak of indifference. She says and asks nothing. My predicament speaks for itself. In a family home, we are living like strangers.

My siblings visit over weekends and manifest my breakthrough in pithy cliché statements. “God’s timing is the best.” Then head back to their cushy homes and careers.

My relationships and friendships have been thrown under the bus. It hits me now most relations in life are circumstantial. My high-school sweetheart furloughed our love, citing my inability to facilitate a dream. Whatever that means.

I can’t keep up with my peers. We no longer have anything in common. Not even manhood. Paid and unpaid men are two different species. I can’t catch pints with people who have money for five to six beer bottles on Friday nights. I can’t make the road-trip, the concert or keep up with Nairobi’s relentless enjoyment trail. I don’t even have enough to go dutch. Neither do I enjoy reverse calling people. People think I find it hip to be broke. I don’t. When I’m unavailable for a friend’s birthday, farewell party for Masters or whatever the gathering is about – I’m branded disloyal.

Uber, bolt, spotify, luxury apps on my phone have been replaced by mobile loan apps. Tala, Branch and CRB are my current hangers on.

Unwittingly I’ve created distance with people and they have responded in kind. Up in smoke, goes my social life. Chris Rock was right, “A broke man is like a broke hand, you can’t do nothing with it.”

Unsolicited advice is constantly thrown at me like I’m a pinata. Be creative, create content, open a kiosk, Be your own Boss, Robert Burale started with just words, employment is saturated, think outside the box, vie, sell quail eggs, learn a trade. It’s a whole barrage.

Still, I insist on my unfashionable sociology, it’s what makes me tick. It’s what I know, understand and could do for half the pay. I think it’s worth throwing my hat at it than doing other things that would corrode my spirit. Maybe I’m entitled. Maybe I’m a deluded beggar who thinks he retains choice. But I don’t see it that way. I won’t settle. Until I find something that moves my needle. If you think I’m playing victim, it’s fine, there is no shame at the bottom[N1] .

But I’m just a man. Cowed by frustration, I developed a vice in November last year. I needed a way to get out of the house, an escape. It didn’t help that Ibrahim had let out our servant’s quarters. We live in Southlands estate Langata. He runs a makeshift gym nearby. He’s an instructor by day and reveler by night – an irony of a man. He’s done well for himself having pulled himself by the bootstraps from the village. He’s got 15 committed members to his outfit, it’s a small but tightly knit fitness community.

But we oft ignored each other at home. Rather I ignored him because my mind was constantly aloof for obvious reasons. Here’s how we broke the ice. While in university, I managed to save money to the tune of 100000 shillings. One Sunday evening, Mid-November last year, I withdrew some five thousand shillings. I needed an outlet. I ended up at Sundowner wines and spirits where I drowned my sorrows then briefly bumped uglies with a hooker at right before dawn. Then went back home.

¼ litre kibao, goes for 50 bob a pop. I’d spend 1000 shillings max per weekend. Then repeat for subsequent weekends. I tried to maintain a sense of sanity during the week. At least heeding to the iota of hope left in me that my stars would align.

I’d soon realize that it was Ibrahim pimping the ladies of the night I was frequenting. Before long I was buying him drinks at Sundowner in exchange for you know what. Then we’d march home together oblivious of our debauch camaraderie.

We are now in March 2022. That’s how I’ve been spending my Friday evenings to Monday mornings for the last four months. I’m now Ibrahim’s member number sixteen at his gym but I do it solely for the endorphin rush and to leave the house. Between 10 am- 12pm, from Monday to Friday, I work-out.

But I’m afraid I feel like the devil’s piss is getting the better of me. I can feel alcohol’s thrall taking over me. Kibao’s reeking stench overbears Listerine’s cleansing capacity. I’ve had multiple unprotected casual sexual encounters and I don’t know if I should go get tested or let the damn chips fall as they may.

I’m at the end of my rope. Down this road, I don’t want to go. But it seems to me that’s how fate would have it. For all my brilliance in school. For obeying authority. For always topping my class. For playing by the book and the rules. This is what I get. I feel cheated out of life. Sometimes I think it might out of turned out better if I was a bum. It seems that what this society seems to reward the most.

Comme ci, comme ca though. Life must go on but I’m not sure I can. Sina wera. I need a way out. I’m left with my last 1000 for this weekend. After that, I’ll have to steal to sate my demons. I will if I must. But I don’t want to. Granting me a job offer is all the rehab I need. More than anything this is an appeal for help. I want these 20s of mine to roar again.


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One thought on “SINA WERA

  1. I love this! A true testament of our 20s after uni. To everyone feeling like this, “we shall overcome” ❤️

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