Winning your first million is not an everyday story. Some may even say ni story za jaba.
Ksh1 million in Nairobi! I imagined buying a new car for a road trip to Naivasha, building some rentals back home or transferring my son to a new school.
Oh, and my woman! Definitely, I had to treat her well. I always planned an extraordinary outing as a delightful gesture to show her my thoughtfulness, love and care. I couldn't stop picturing her on a scenic hike or swimming at the beach as we embraced the thrill of the moment.
I always aspired to have a better life. Sometimes while crossing Nairobi streets on rainy days, rushing to beat speeding nganya’s honking adamantly or standing by that band that plays street music near Archives or window shopping at that expensive fashion house across Moi Avenue, I’d wonder how people made their fist milli.
Like you, I read a lot of articles online with those vague titles - How to Make Your First Million, Number 6 Will Shock You. Haa!
You’d also find me scrolling Twitter threads on how to invest your money or live on a budget… bla bla bla.
“You will be rich one day. See that gray hair on your head,” my friend Patso always joked while incentivising me to pay for his second round of beer at our popular joint as we feasted on some nyama choma and talked about investment opportunities.
As a 30-year-old with gray hair, I often attracted the attention of my peers, who would make subtle jokes. At one point, I was a low-budget Morgan Freeman. (Oh, Morgan Freeman is a Hollywood actor famous for a golden goose voice, portrayed as a supreme being in most movies)
At another point, I had the potential to be wealthy. Not rich; please note there is a disparity between the two.
Maybe we can ask that English word master who appears on TV every Friday to teach us the pronunciation of words, haa!
Anyway, my friends always said I was blessed. I can’t disagree with them. I turned 30 a month ago and was self-employed, running multiple hustles.
I had a saloon and a cyber and worked as a freelance communication consultant. But don’t mind me. I use Matatus and buy Safaricom data every day.
Nairobi ni shamba la mawe.Tukose usingizi lakini tuunde pesa. Ama vipi. We have to live on a budget.
One day as we were debating with Mwas, a friend of mine, on the current dollar to the shillings exchange rate, he asked me to cross-check online to end the heated argument.
In between, we made some jokes about the current high cost of living and new deductions. I pulled out my phone and immediately checked the exchange rate, only for my website to reject my request with a message plastered all over the screen.
“No internet.. Will let you know when this page is ready!”
A few minutes later, a text followed suit.
““Dear customer, Your Data Bundles balance is below 2MB. Click on…” I read it halfway as Mwas, and I burst into laughter, the air resonating with a symphony of laughter, carrying with it the sheer euphoria of shared camaraderie.
“Buda, huna hata bundles. Wachana na mambo ya kubuy data kila siku. Subscribe to Go Monthly. Dial *544# and buy 400min + 8GB +1000sms+ Free WhatsApp for only 1,000 bob,” Mwas stated.
He paused, then added. “By the way, yesterday I even won an instant Ksh10,000 cash award after buying the bundles. There is a promotion underway dubbed Gomoka na Go Monthly, yani kuomoka.
“You buy any Go Monthly package, and you not only get the data packages or instant M-PESA prizes of up to Ksh30 million but also you can win Ksh1 million every month,” Mwas added.
At the party, with vibrant hues and shimmering lights, I felt an electric energy pulsating with some zeal to win that Ksh1 million.
Mwas seemingly knew I would be intrigued by the Ksh1 million, having desired for a long time to call myself a millionaire. I felt the Ksh1 million beckoning me, whispering and stirring my soul.
So, according to Mwas, once you buy any Go Monthly package, you get a link from Safaricom.
“Click on the link, spin the wheel, and get instant rewards. Once you spin the wheel, you will be automatically entered into Safaricom’s monthly draw to stand a chance to win Ksh1,000,000 every month,” he added.
“Okay, wacha ninunue izo bundles via My Safaricom App,” I added as I pulled out my phone as Mwas asked me to ensure my app is updated.
Amid the pitter-patter of raindrops in Nairobi, my girlfriend Cherry and I walked calmly into a shop near Archives on a window shopping spree one month later.
There is this feeling you get when shopping with your girlfriend. A feeling that ranges from exhausting to hilarious. She’d try any appealing jumper to stilettos and bags despite being aware that she would only purchase one item.
I moved from the shop towards the door to let her try every alluring fragrance and different outfits.
Across the street, a woman was bargaining for a new pair of shoes. New or washed and dyed? Hmm. A smokie vendor filled the air with the scent of food warts from his food carts. Two lovebirds passed while engaging in lively conversations with plastic cups of coffee.
Just outside the shop at Archives, Nairobians had queued patiently waiting for their matatu, but across the street, others pushed and shoved each other to get seats at Kencom.
My phone rang, at first I stared at the number for a while - 0722000000. There was a soothing voice at the end of the phone call… A life-changing phone call.
There was an explosion in my brain, a buzz of electricity, a happy feeling. The world felt like it was on pause, and all I could see was a cloud of wordless joy.
I fell on my knees as Cherry rushed towards me, confusion on her face. She then pulled me up as other shoppers looked on, some with concern, some appalled.
“I am the new millionaire in town, babe,” I whispered in her ear as she hugged me tighter. She spoke, but I couldn’t hear her voice. All I could feel was her uplifting my spirits in a special bond of happiness, emotions intertwined.