04 AMINI: Datsun120Y…

X6? and three is the number of previous owners on the log book I jointly hold with the bank. I would need a really good convincing that this guy isn’t doing drugs. Three weeks back he was running around with a red A200 CDi sport and before that he was cruising with a machine of similar swank. Or perhaps he is in the business of defrauding hardworking Kenyans of their vehicles, at gun point. The more I internalize it, the more I feel very disgruntled about this Dominik guy.

Usishangae nani…” Peter interrupts my wonder as multiple emotions disfigure my already dark face. “Kuna masonko hii ‪‎Amini.” (There are wealthy people here in Amini)

He goes on to explain how Dominik did not make the grades to join the University of Nairobi and still could not secure a decent job even after completing an intensive engineering diploma course at the polytechnic. He took up a job as a mechanic at a nearby garage and on his father’s retirement, acquired the family’s turquoise Datsun 120Y for taxi business.

A few months into the hustle, a fellow cabbie suggested that if he wanted to get better paying clientele, he should trade his vehicle for something newer. All saved up, he got an automatic transmission Toyota Corolla that a couple he carried from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and were moving back to the country from overseas asked to buy. 3 months worth of taxi business is the profit he made in this singular transaction. Phenomenal kill aye? Today he sells German hatchbacks; nothing less.

The four shillings change in my hand turn green with envy as they covet the numerous rectangular a thousand bob notes that lace Dominik’s black Diesel leather wallet.

Eh kweli biashara ya magari ni poa sana.” (The motor business is truly lucrative) I respond in a voice that heavily tries to conceal defeat.

I will for sure never get there. Ok maybe if I do drugs. How can I start? Someone anyone please introduce me to the trade! My spirit is desperate.

Ah mtu nguyaz, biashara ni ku-focus. Cheki kama mimi…” (Business is about focus my friend)

He explains how his 3 feet by 3 feet wooden kiosk of 5 years now returns a minimum profit of 5000 a day. “Unacheki…” He further elaborates how his daily target is to make at least 10 shillings from 500 of the almost 4000 potential customers that call Amini home. Bread and butter, sugar and sweets, milk and ‘mala’, exercise books and kilometric pens are his prized possessions. Not a wrought iron bed. Ok maybe I should become a shopkeeper but I do not think I can manage getting to work at 5.30am.

I ask him of difficult moments. He talks of a time he lost all his stock to rumours of contaminated milk and another time when what he thought was a clever decision almost cost him the shop.

Kuna wakati wagosa walihama na kila kitu jo! lakini Mungu yuko.” (There’s a time thieves took everything but God restores)

I nod in concerted agreement. It is 10pm. The night is black, it is clear that I am the one who has been on drugs; so defrauded of the truth but thank God for Peter! The moon is full, I feel hopeful, very hopeful. I bid him adieu.

Good night msupa!” He bids waving.2


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