“The house of the year,” was one of the comments in the Whatsapp group as other real estate developers marvelled at the photos of the new Tigoni bungalow. They were amazed by its design, the budget and the construction period.
Located in the leafy Tigoni estate, the mansion was described to be more than a home. The house attracted multiple tenants wishing to be allowed to rent it as it was built in a serene environment, on approximately 1.2 acres offering a peaceful unique way of living.
The 4 bedroom bungalow believed to be worth nearly over Ksh10 million is attractive with how the lobby connects with the visitors’ lounge, guest bedroom and dining room.
It also has a closed kitchen with a pantry, laundry area, garden store and utility area. The SQ stands beautifully detached from the bungalow, offering more accommodation in a house which space begs for attention.
However, they wondered how I turned down lucrative offers. What they never knew is that this house is not just my home but my sanctuary, my haven. A place I am physically and emotionally attached to.
A home where I retire at the end of the day and smile when the rising sun casts a rosy hue across the morning sky.
From the street, it appears just like any other house built with bricks and mortar topped with tile. Yet when I walk inside, it feels different, embracing me in between its walls, filling my lungs a little deeper with its air.
They also did not know the story behind the owner. A former street boy.
“Ian…,” my wife, Sarah, called, while handing me a glass of hibiscus juice.
“Reading the reviews again huh!” she added and smiled and left me to continue resting outside the lawn as I continued perusing through the Co-op bank documents she picked in the CBD earlier that day.
My early life as an orphan was quite a struggle. I had never seen my parents and I was told countless versions of how I lost them. Life at my uncle’s place was a little bit harsh and by the nature of being a young confused boy, coupled with peer pressure, I ran into the streets in Nairobi.
By then, I was in form three. A young naive boy from upcountry. Three years of street life, running from the cops and surviving by all lawful means. I used to work menial jobs, at car washes, events, gardens when opportunities surfaced.Aun undated image of a tea plantation in the posh Tigoni Estate, Kiambu CountyFile
The night that my life changed was when I bumped into Amason, an accountant at a firm in Upper Hill.
As I cleaned his car, Amason was amazed at my detailed knowledge in business and passion for investment.
He encouraged me stating that I still had the passion for education in me. “I see a bright future in you,” he would say.
Amason assisted me to get a fully paid sponsorship to finish my Form 4. Three years in the streets and I still got the heart for books.
I also used to live at his place with his family. To admit, I never passed with flying colours but performed well.
I even returned home and reconciled with my kin, who hinted at having searched for me when I ran away.
Amason had more responsibilities at hand, paying fees for his children and supporting the wife’s business. He, however, hooked me with Ken, a real estate developer and one of his friends, where I learnt by apprenticeship as I was street smart. I started with marketing, earning a salary plus commission.
Two years later, I had saved enough and juggled diploma classes with work. That was a course in business administration at a college in the city. That’s also where I met my wife Sarah.
As a gift for aiding the company to maximise its revenue in the six-year period, Ken sold a parcel of land at Tigoni at three-quarters the listed price and also gave me another raise. I turned to my savings and the yearly bonuses to raise the amount.
However, building the house was costly as I almost depleted my savings. The engineer kept pushing, asking when he would do the finishing touches. I was short on cash, and the house needed plumbing and electrification.
As my wife, her friend Meshack and I sat in a cab heading to our rental home, we pondered on how we would raise cash to finish our dream house.
“Where do you bank your cash?” Meshack asked, adding that she was a Co-op bank customer.
“Ian also uses Co-op bank,” Sarah stated.
“Co-op has a salary advance offer which has really assisted me to pay school fees for my kids,” he stated. “You can check it out,” he added.
His Co-op idea offered me a lifeline. I made a trip to the bank in the CBD during my lunch break the next day and discussed with the manager on the salary advance option.
I qualified for one and after doing some paperwork, my dream home construction continued. Co-op bank had come to the rescue. Sarah and I moved in after four months and she fell in love with the house.
“Are you coming in for lunch, honey?” Sarah asked, knocking me back to reality.
“I was thinking of how the Co-op salary advance had rescued us. How I wish other potential homeowners would also discover this secret,” I added.