If you have ever lived in Mombasa, then you know characters referred to as ‘Beach Boys’ or the BBs.
These are guys who cherish being born in a country that has white sand beaches and have vowed to take full advantage of this natural endowment to the maximum.
While in the land of 1K Hills parents are rushing to take their kids at an early age to different schools in the region to acquire good education so that they can be somebody in future, the story is different in Mwambao wa pwani (Mombasa).
When a child is born at this Kenyan coast, what the parents do is take him to the beach so that he can familiarize himself with the place to make him ‘a beach expert’ in his future because that is where he will get it.
At the age of five onwards, the boy starts to spend most of his time at the beach, making some money selling sea shells or guiding tourists around the old town. But as they continue to grow into adults, and when they are barely bidding farewell to their adolescence, their roles start to change dramatically.
The tourists who go for ‘vacation’ at the beaches are not all innocent birds taking their time off from unbearable cold and stressful work in their countries.
Most of them are actually birds taking ‘time off’ from their hunters to come and be like the legendary Rwandan bird that has to fly in order to know ‘where the millet is ripe.’
When these birds come, they expose themselves to the beach boys and since they have been trained on how to ‘handle’ tourists since they were very young, the BBs take up the challenge and perform (pun intended) ably.
Due to their exemplary performance, most of the BBs own posh houses, businesses and even big hotels at the coast, courtesy of the touring birds.
Back home in the land of 1 K Hills, we are beginning to experience this kind of trend where otherwise hopeless hunters are continuing to climb up the ladders courtesy of birds – and I should say their oblivious hunters.
Well, we may not have beaches and foreign tourists but this is happening, almost in the same style. Have you ever heard of a group called the abapfubuzi? Well, don’t dismiss its existence because it’s real.
These guys are very much around and about and the number is increasing by the day, thanks to the fast development of the country which is keeping hunters too busy for their birds.
This group, I am told is composed of a collection of money changers, school dropouts, local artists, radio presenters and all other young hunters who mostly don’t usually have much daily engagements.
Their availability is what makes birds target them because presence of a hunter is what they lack. And the abapfubuzi readily and happily provide it.
A typical mupfubuzi is normally young, handsome, street smart and charming. I am told that this ‘business’ started off slowly as an act of promiscuity but has now grown into a lucrative project which these relationship hooligans now call the ‘effective sharing of national resources.’
You know, their services don’t come cheap and therefore the seekers of these services are not your ordinary birds. These are birds who drive high class Benz, Prados and Range Rovers. It’s not like these are hard working businesswomen – no.
These vehicles mostly belong to their hunters or they are ‘I am sorry’ gifts given to them by their husbands to appease them after a misunderstanding of some sort, or as an apology for not giving enough time to the family.
To make up to the ‘crime’ of not giving enough time to the family the hunter also provides lots of cash to the birds so that they don’t lack anything while he is away.
This is the money used to also buy the services that the hunter cannot provide because he is away. But on top of the cash, the hunting hooligans will also demand temporary possession of the birds’ wheels and that is why you will find them cruising in sleek Range Rovers, Benzes, Prados and other expensive cars.
Seeing that I was being left behind by the trend, I also decided to become an idler one day in order to see whether somebody could buy my ‘services.’
I went to town and strolled around strategic areas and kept on the lookout for any posh cars with birds looking around for ‘service providers.’
After hours of idling around, I saw a Prado rolling slowly down the street and because the glasses were tinted, I just winked in a ‘to-whom-it-may-concern’ kind of way. Suddenly, I saw the Prado slow down and a glass rolled down halfway, to give space for a brown hand that beckoned me.
I went over and sat in the co-driver’s seat and we drove off, this time a bit faster because other hunter were apparently beginning to gather around the vehicle, which means competition is getting tight.
The bird looked good and a bit familiar but when you are a hunter like me, all of them do. She asked me whether I am new and I answered in affirmative.
I saw her smile. But later, when we drew to a gate, I realized that it was not only her that was familiar to me, but also the gate and the house where she took me. Upon entering the house, I suddenly realized that this actually was my friend Tonto Kak’s house and this here was his bird that he had married six months ago.
I immediately excused myself to go and buy cigarettes and despite her protests, I bolted out of the gate and to freedom.