When I was finalizing my mature degree course at SFB, I was on the verge of sealing a deal when a classmate ruined everything. With my thirst related problems, I had devised ways of getting free funds from relatives and friends. My target was the dot.com young relatives who had since completed universities around the globe and were chewing real salaries.
These are the very nephews and nieces who I used to show dust during the mid-90s. Whenever I would be driving the office jeep along the then dusty roads of Kigali, I would not even bother to give these small kids a lift to school. They used to walk long distances to school dressed in funny looking uniforms. Oh, how I used to despise them! I always thought that these kids would soil my nice office vehicle. That is why I just looked the other way when I drove past them.
That was more than 15 years ago. Today, the story is different. These kids strived on and today most of them have chewed lucrative jobs in Kigali. They don’t have children and spouses to look after and that is why they will always be spotted at the most expensive joints guzzling nice cold frothy drinks. So, I hatched a plan of visiting them in their offices.
I had to concoct some good lies when I visited them at their workplace. I already knew where they worked and I knew the names of their parents, sisters, brothers, uncles, Aunties and cousins. I opened up my visits by connecting myself to all those relatives. This would soften the ground so that when I finally asked for inkunga, I would not be told to try elsewhere. My first visit was to this big bank in Kigali where one of the kid nephews had landed a great job.
I walked in at the reception area. The receptionist eyed me from head to toe and from toe to head. It was if she had seen a stranger from the village. Yes indeed, I was dressed up in a lousy jacket and I had not shaved for a few days. I looked like a rogue. “May I please see my son called Filipo?” I asked. The receptionist rudely interrupted me “You mean Phillip? Where are you from?” She asked as she picked up the phone to talk to Filipo. I then explained to her that I had come from the village to bring some personal news for Filipo.
Well, Phillip finally emerged from the executive offices and approached me. It appeared he hadn’t recognized me. “Are you looking for me or someone else? Aren’t you mistaken you old man?” I cleared my voice and started to give him a long list of relatives that are either past tense or present tense. Philip started to nod his head in approval. I could sense that cash was about to trickle in. It was now time to release my master plan.
“Son, things have been tough for us. You may have heard about the floods that swept away all our crops and killed our livestock, we are in a very rough state my son”. I could sense that Phillip was buying into all my lies. His expression could tell it all. He was feeling so sorry for me. I continued “That is why I have come all this way for some assistance. I would be very grateful if you could loan me 100,000 francs so that I re-construct my fallen hut”. Phillip kept nodding in approval. He picked his phone and called someone. I could hear him tell his colleague to bring some cash. He was saying “Hey brother, please bring me some 200,000 francs from my drawer. I am at the reception area”
But alas, it was at this point that some goofy person came from outside and spoilt my day! He happened to be a classmate at SFB. When he entered the RRA reception area, he shouted at the top of his voice! “Hey Diaspoman! Are you looking for a job before we finish our 1st degree? Eh, you are tough men. What about our group discussion? Did you guys manage to compute the ROI?” I was almost weeping! This classmate had spoilt my day! Here I was at the verge of scooping a free 0.2m from my rich unsuspecting nephew! I had been nabbed with my pants down.