By Wambui Ochieng’
Gold is so valuable that the luhya’s of western Kenya spend their lives digging for it. Is that wrong? No it isn’t. We are all looking for gold. The difference is in how we do it. It’s a cruel world out here. We are all rushing to get the dough, the gold. It is a gold rush.
He walks in the campus just like any other boy. He sags his trousers, bounces and whistles when a ‘hot’ girl passes by. He is as handsome as any other and misses at least ten classes in the semester to get time to lay his mistress. There isn’t anything weird with that, we all miss classes for even worse reasons like to make your hair. I meet him every night in F2, not that I am an alcoholic, I just go there to get my gold. Don’t you dare judge me, you do the same thing when you go out with your friends and dance seductively for a certain mister to buy you one for the night and afterwards he escorts you to your house and he leaves immediately he wakes up. Both of you found your gold. So back to him; he always has the cash to buy me one for the dance floor before my well arrives. There has never been exchange of anything except that one night when we couldn’t find our shovels and decided to just do it for fun. Okay, maybe not, he left a couple of ivories by my bed. Don’t you judge me!
We usually have two drinks, hit the dance floor and discuss the lucrative markets and the rookies in the house. He shows me his latest competition. He is quite a face but we both know that in this line of work it takes more than just a face. He doesn’t look strong enough to be in this game. He looks so gentle, he wouldn’t survive two weeks. He thinks of only the pros of the game, he doesn’t have an idea of the cons. Jack walks in, he is one of the most respected in this trade and he knows all the tricks. Jack has all the connections, I hear he is running the big ship now and all the blues respect him. You would never get in trouble if you sail with jack. Alex and I don’t sail with anyone. We are both mercenaries, it’s better for our reputation. We both have families to protect and only the big players know our trade. We hit the dance floor for the first slow jams. That’s how we roll before the floor is filled with rookies and we have to dance like them.
The dance is over. See you tomorrow Alex. Sandra is his mommy. She is a 2nd year student. She balls with a certain bishop who provides her gold. Alex would never take her sweets unwrapped. Last year she gave him the itch. He pretends he doesn’t know her trade because it’s better that way. No questions asked; that’s rule number one. She provides everything for him, his room in stage, his food, his boxers and all he needs. Don’t get me wrong, Alex is not the poor boy, he just likes this game and if it helps with the gold rush, why not use it. If it works, use it. Alex uses his money to get all the 2nd years from our school and it works. You wouldn’t believe just how many girls he has gotten with Sandra’s money. He has broken a lot of hearts; he is after all very handsome. And don’t forget, he can’t keep a girl for so long we both know what Sandra is capable of.
Alex has found a girl called Lucy. She lives in Houses, far from all the hustles of his trade. She is a good girl, goes to church but I have ever seen her in F2, not once. She once saw Alex with another girl and she got very angry. He of course lied that the girl wanted him and that he was not seeing any other person apart from her. She believed him. His perception of devotion is sick; he would never lay with any other except her without the rubber. He spends the days with her and Thursday till Saturday night, that’s when Sandra goes on her gold rush. He spends Sunday to Tuesday with Sandra and the other days are his reflection days when he sleeps with any other girl he wants.
My well has arrived and I have my shovel to dig as far as I can. My story is different from Alex’s. I don’t do this for fun. I just looked for love and when I didn’t get it I just decided to see what this other side of the leaf has. It’s not too bad. Apart from the cigarette and marijuana addiction, everything else will be fine.
Its 4am now. I am about to leave to dig for my gold. I meet with Alex at the door. We smile at each other secretly, in both our minds, it’s the gold rush.