My radio is old. I inherited it from Kate Njenga when she completed her undergraduate, shipped it all the way from Eldoret, Rift Valley to Nyeri, Central Province. I needed it that much. My love and my moonlight. I call it Ampex because that is the name written in a bold silver color on the top. It has been through countless repairs, but beyond that, we are good and have remained stronger together. It is a healthy relationship where she speaks, and I listen. We never argue, I mean she can be a little bit nagging and talkative sometimes, but our differences only make us sturdier. We are often alone in the house most times, so we are reasonably fond of each other. Sometimes, Kenya Power does a number on us and switches off the power, and I am left alone, desolated and abandoned with no one to listen to. Such moments bring out the worst in me. Other times King Kaka’s voice vibrates through the house, and I dance to the tune. Rabbit gets me, I dig that guy, he speaks, and I listen yet I am not overly fond of listening because I am a reader and readers are more of talkers than listeners. Rabbit will say stuff like, ‘gerrahia’ or ‘besha shigana’ and the next day you will hear me say the same words to my clients through the phone, the latter is always gratifying and the something to smile about.
Now, the other day, we are chilling out with my radio just, as usual, time is around 10.00pm, and I just made and had supper for one, and I am slowly sipping a homemade whiskey cocktail from a whiskey glass, and then it happens. The guy speaking calls himself ‘Doctor Love.’ I know there are animal doctors, teeth doctors, eye doctors, private parts doctors, all kind of doctors but love doctor was somewhat a new concept. I pause my thoughts for a moment and open my ears to what the love doctor had to say. Maybe he had something I could do about my relationship with the radio. Better still, perhaps he had something really smart to say that I would rush to my sticky notes, write it down and pin on the wall for later use on the blog. Oddly enough, these sticky notes never end up on the blog, sometimes I wonder why I still use paper while Windows has a virtual sticky notes application I can delete after I am done with it.
Our resident love doctor is responding to a question from a disturbed young man who has a girlfriend. A real girlfriend and not with a radio, but with a girl. The guy has ninety-nine problems with his girlfriend. At this point, I slowly shake my head, girlfriends and problems always end up on the same line, don’t they? So, among the ninety-nine problems is that this young man is in campus serving his undergraduate sentence, (see what I did there?) but so is his girlfriend. They are at a university in Karen, Nairobi, home for the elites. Home for people with pockets so deep your head would spin trying to create a balance sheet of their income. It is the home for people who sneeze, and the country catches a cold. Such people with big houses and even bigger cars and you even wonder why they do not just move into their cars instead.
The problem with such kind of an environment is that people have money and you do not. Yet like every human being, you need a mate. It is basic knowledge that you need money to call someone your girlfriend, even a monkey can point that out. In a place like Karen, the same girl you are interested in also has the attention of a person who owns more hectares of land than the entire Rwanda. The same man has bank accounts with CBK, CBU, CBT and CBN in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria respectively and in addition, he has his illegal stash of money hidden away in Switzerland should the apocalypse strike.
Our guy asking the love doctor for a love prescription says that her girlfriend loves him too much, but he does not have enough money to afford her. To meet the prevailing conditions, this couple is about to make a decision that the girl can go out with these rich old super humans who own Eritrea and Djibouti, entertain them, sleep with them if she has to and get money in the process to sustain her needs. At the same time, the girl is not to get emotionally attached with any of these guys because she is in a relationship with her broke boyfriend. Expensive dates and paid sex are just business. Nothing is social about it. The mere reason the guy, let’s call him Peter, (because Peters is taken by someone who cannot tolerate this kind of bullshit) is asking for advice shows his level of distress, torture, and misery that this arrangement has on him. He sounds broken. He is just 23 and only owns a laptop and an Ampex radio then nothing else. He loves this girl yet, there is nothing he can do about it. So, yes he is considering this arrangement. Poor Peter probably feels like a leaking pot that cannot retain any water.
Up to this point, I am staring at my radio, mouth wide open like I had indeed heard what she had said and was now slowly trying to believe it. In my head, this does not even happen in movies, this is beyond creativity to be a real-life situation. What even appalls me more is the Doctor’s response. I expected something tangible, I was already preparing to write it down because I was sure it had to be something worth listening to. I was ready to be intrigued by the Love Doctor’s response. I poured myself another shot and put the glass on my lips ready to pour the doctor’s wisdom into my brain.
The doctor started with the word, ‘now.’ People who start their sentences with something that sounds like a conjunction, something that makes it appear like it is not the start of an idea, but rather, a continuation of thoughts, are very smart people. You can imagine my surprise when the doctors said that sponsors are a common phenomenon in campus, and it is just a means that girls get through campus. That there was nothing wrong with it provided he (Peter) loved the girl, and the girl loved him back. I felt wounded and affronted like someone has just insulted me. My mind was infuriated and could not simply comprehend why a person declared by the communications board a doctor, and not any doctor, but a doctor of love could suggest something like that.
Now, I am not the moral kind of person you come to when you need advice on life, but this was wrong, is wrong, and will remain wrong for all generations to come no matter how flexible the society becomes. Here is a young lady that was taken to campus by determined parents that she should study and uphold the community’s qualities through what she has learnt. That is the main purpose of education. But then what dignity is there in studying all those years then end up receiving favors and money because of your lady parts. Will you ever stand before your children and inspire them to make something for themselves when your past is ugly and heavy with misdeeds like the secret chambers of hell?
Doctor Love, I am just going to call you, Scam Doctor because that is what you are. Read your love medicine books again, this time slowly and take notes like a real doctor. Love is beautiful, love is unconditional, and love has got no money attachments. A real doctor would encourage Peter to put a start-up business or get his hands dirty in work so that he can make income and salvage his relationship. Just because things are ‘common phenomena’ does not make them right.
Ata nimecatch tena. You guys, si we talk baadae? Yes?
Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri