I was walking home one easy evening in Nairobi, lost in #Foodie thoughts, you know, what I would have for dinner in my #FlatTummyQuest. I had decided on butternut squash and a nice wet fry 🙂 I was already cutting up the cucumbers, the red and yellow capsicum when a man stopped abruptly. He bent to pick up something from the ground. He then turned my way and said, “Huyu ameangusha pesa na anendelea tu kutembea?” (Someone just dropped some money). I encouraged him to go after the man and give it back.
“Aii zi!si hiyo ni carelessness. Tugawane!”(No, he was careless, let’s share it) By now, I had noticed he reeked of alcohol. I decided to play along.
“Sawa, but let’s find him and give him the money and then demand ‘our share’… imagine if it was you?”. Accompanying the bundle was a receipt of one from the trusted banks in Kenya. Fifty Thousand Kenya Shillings Only, it said…being payment of ‘driver’s fee’. I really wanted for the guy who had dropped the bundle to get it back, so for a moment, my dinner plans were put on hold even as the ‘finder’ agreed to my suggestions. We crossed the road and started looking for a short guy with a red cap on and a sweater draped around his shoulders.
We went back to the spot and as if by a miracle, the guy appeared, exhibiting all manner of stress and panic. We greeted him and asked him if he had lost something, and in the shakiest voice you could ever imagine from a man, he said, “Aki nimepoteza fifty thao!”(I have lost fifty thousand) We interrogated him a bit more then Mr.Finder asked that he gives us five thousand each. I looked at him, registering all sorts of disbelief and anger! When did we stop being genuine good samaritans we once were, eh Kenyans? So ‘we’ negotiated to two thousand each. He agreed. As soon as Mr. Finder handed him the money, I excused myself, telling him I didn’t need his money. Mr. Finder protested and said we had a deal. he was almost getting angry. I knew this could get out of hand so I said, “You can have my share too” and whisked myself across the road. I looked back from the other side and the tension seemed to have eased a bit.
Fast forward a week later. We were passing through the exact spot where Mr. Finder had found the 50k bundle. I start recounting to my colleague my experience and how we are just becoming a hopeless cruel society where no one helps without expecting a reward (I might have also shown some bravado, being a Christian who wants to follow Christ’s footsteps and get to heaven, lol) She stops me midway looking quite concerned, but on second thought lets me continue. Once I was done, she tells me, “Those were conmen!” Apparently, these group of people work in twos or threes. One drops the bundle, the other one picks and offers the third unsuspecting party a share of the money. If one agrees, they are escorted to a dark corner(because the owner might come looking) and then robbed and whatever other evil they feel like metting out on the victims.
“You know what saved you? You are not greedy. For money. For things that aren’t yours. Imagine if you had accepted the share.” My colleague quipped. I was quite shocked. How naive of me, to just help without asking the right questions. Here are some of the things that should have raised my antennas;
- Why would someone, tell another of a jackpot, yet only he had seen it? Very strange that they would insist on sharing.
- This drunk man, remembered the details of the man who had dropped the bundle, in suspect clarity! A red hat, and a sweater draped around the shoulders? First of all men don’t do such details! haha!, I should have known!
- When I refused to take the deal, he got agitated, even when I told him to have my share, he seemed to insist that we are in this together. Why would someone get so angry?
- Come to think of it, the supposed receipt from a leading bank in Kenya was not the ones I had seen before…but I didn’t think it a big deal, since there are bank transactions that I have never done.
In hindsight, I only had Ksh. 100 left that day. I don’t know why I didn’t think that Ksh 2000 would help my life, because it would have.
I Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
I am so glad God delivered me from that snare. The whole experience challenged me in ways of honesty and trusting God to provide for when it is uncertain where our sustenance will come from. My greed would have led to me “piercing myself with quite a pang”, it makes me shiver. Be wary of conmen! There are people who are out to use your kind-hearted spirit for their own selfish gains, of course hurting you in the process.
One more thing, challenge yourself to be a genuine helper. One who expects no rewards. When the rewards do come, they will be even sweeter. I know mine was.