Have you ever heard about the Midas touch? Yes; everything Midas touched turned to Gold! But for us, it was the other way round! You see, during the mid 90s, Aggrey and I were in search for riches – at all costs.
We had to find the funds to enable us sustain the already expensive lifestyle that we were leading. Our lifestyle could not match the meagre salaries that we received from our expatriate boss who used to spend half of the day snoring in his tent at the Gikondo hill.
The Kigali ladies were always out there waiting for us to emerge. Then they would cajole us into taking them for drinks in the evenings. Usually we ended up drinking until the wee hours of the morning.
So one day, Aggrey and I landed a huge mega deal! It was arranged for us by one of our many female friends who used to enjoy our evening spending. The lady came in rushing and announced to us the good news!
“Guys, we are going to be very rich! I have met someone who will give us some gold from Congo!” WOW! This sounded great. “Where is this man? Please take us there.”
Then the lady announced that we had to go to Zanzibar. What! All that way? Where were we going to get air tickets from? No way! “Not the real Zanzibar, I am talking about this Zanzibar bar at Kiyovu,” explained the lady.
Oh? Yeah! We remembered immediately that there was this hot but expensive spot in Kigali called Zanzibar . This was the spot where the big shots of Kigali hanged out. It was situated in Kiyovu and patrons trekked in from all corners just to enjoy the drinks, food and music!
Tourists came over and danced to Latin and rumba sounds. It was such a cool place only that our pockets would always tremble in fear whenever we entered Zanzibar. Anyhow, this was a golden chance.
We had to find some money so that we could meet this gold trader at Zanzibar. Our lady friend warned us that it was a secret mission so we had to act like real smart characters.
At 7.30pm we approached the one and only Zanzibar joint. Aggrey and I walked confidently at an angle. This angle was meant to send messages to any onlookers that we were serious investors. We had come over for a business meeting amidst this crowd of revellers.
We crossed over to a darkish corner where we waited for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, the waiters came for our orders. But since we were top guests, we could not be seen drinking beers. Especially when we felt that it would be inappropriate to be seen guzzling beers in the presence of our gold vendor. Instead we placed an order for a bottle of Champagne.
Within minutes, our lady friend came rushing in and whispered to us that the big shot had entered. We cleared our throats as we waited for him.
Then he arrived. We stood up and exchanged pleasantries. He was a burly guy from the Congo. His necklace was made of gold. His wrist watch was glittering like the stars. Overall, he smelled like real cash.
After darting his eyes from corner to corner, he sat down and started rapping like 50-cent himself. But we could not understand a word! Apparently, he was speaking to us in the French language.
Anyways, our lady friend translated for us. All we had to do was look for half a million francs in exchange for gold. He pulled out a wrapped tiny box and secretly showed us the gold. Wow! He then told us that we could fetch not less than 20 million francs from this small stone.
We were so excited! Ibaze, just spending half a million francs and in return pocket 20 million francs. So, Aggrey and I hit the road in search of the half a million. We approached just about everybody for soft loans.
In fact, we promised some of our lenders an exorbitant interest rate for the funds they loaned to us. Besides, were we not going to get rich in a matter of days? Before very long, we managed to raise the half a million Rwanda francs. Our lady friend was on standby so we asked her to link us up again with the gold vendor. Once again the meeting point was at the famous Zanzibar joint.
In our dark corner, we sat down to seal the deal. The burly gold seller pulled out the small box and urged us to hide it deep in our pants. Aggrey picked it rapidly and stuffed it inside his pants. I also pulled out the bundle of cash and handed it over to the guy.
He then stood up and left the place in a hurry with our lady friend behind him. Before he left he warned us against being silly; “Guys, do not open it until you are safe at home otherwise crooks may kill you!” With all the excitement we rushed home.
It was almost mid-night when we reached our Kiyovu of the poor home. When we were safely locked into our room, we eagerly opened the small package.
But to our astonishment, there was just a heap of ashes instead of that most coveted golden gem. Aggrey’s pants were all sprayed by ashes from a stove.
Indeed, we had been conned so very mercilessly! Unlike Midas himself, anything we touched turned to ash – not cash!