A Goat Called Hussein.
A male black goat which is tethered outside can’t stop bleating. It bleats with so much passion. No one is sure whether it finds the environment new and strange or it just derives fun from bleating. It can’t be hungry, we feed it well. In fact ,in turns. Someone scribbled a duty roster immediately it checked in.
It doesn’t have long before it faces the knife (sic). Which is sad because I’ll sort of miss how it’s never afraid to maintain eye contact. It’s a very macho goat ,with a goatee and all. Strangely enough, after a while of having your eyes locked with the goat, you wonder if it knows you broke the glass on one window pane; a case which has remained a mystery for a week now.
I promised myself last night that I wasn’t going to open my eyes till the 8am alarm goes off.( Tweeps ran out of interesting challenges).It isn’t time to open them yet, but thanks to the goat, sleep seems to have just checked out. I am now looking for a good reason to open my eyes. Pretty much any scapegoat for not being a woman of my own word.
My phone boings. It’s a message. It has to be Safaricom saying that they are unable to process MY request for all in one monthly bundle 4GB + 2GB YT+ 200 mins Auto + 1000sms service at this time. Smart marketing devils, those ones. I ignore it. Then, it rings. Well, for the record fate willed it that I leave my challenge unfinished. Quite sad.
It’s a new number. True caller says it’s a Hussein. I don’t know any Hussein. I know a Suleiman and his goat though, both of whom I met in one of Biko’s hilarious articles. One would be forgiven for thinking that all those guys do is feast with goats because they pet about half the population of goats in the world. I would be damned if I picked the call and Hussein spoke to me in Somali, a goat bleating incessantly in the background. I would bask in the distinction and beauty of the question marks, boxes and other symbols that Somali language uses in the place of unicode characters, then with a sinister smile say – “Ni wrong number, Inshallah.”
(Unfortunately, Hussein didn’t speak to me in Somali. . He did not even say, ” Aleikum salaam.” This one spoke in sheng. Neither was it a wrong dial. I must say that I was very disappointed. There was a bleating goat in the background though. Heck, stupid things amaze me. Like speaking to someone on phone and listening to goats bleat on both ends of the line. Sometimes at the same time. I began to have wild imaginations and possibilities of a very good friendship between Hussein and I. Ours was going to be a friendship that sprouted out of an accidental call and coincidental goats.)
Huss; Hallo. Kuna doh nimekutumia by mistake. Umeona?
M; (confused). Ummm…. bado sijaona. Let me check.
H; Ni sawa. Utapigiwa na customer care alafu watakuguide through the steps. Alafu ukirudisha hiyo pesa unaezabaki na six hundred bob kwa hiyo yangu.
M; (trying not to sound too excited as I hung up) Haya basi.
Of course my mind does an analysis of all the good things I could reward myself with for being an honest citizen who willingly sent back money that was accidentally received. But before that, I can’t help wondering why Hussein chose six hundred. Not five hundred.. or a thousand, six hundred.
“Queer but generous guy,” I think out louder than I anticipated, ” I like him already.”
I am too lazy to check the message. But there’s only one message that came in and one person who claims they sent money by mistake. I mean… one plus one, two. Right? Sure enough, customer care calls. I make a mental note to ask them about the unsolicited messages that speak of my requests which I really remember making.
Cust; Halo. Habari ya asubuhi.
Me; (wondering when customer care began using Swahili as their default language)… Niko poa.
C; Okay. Kuna pesa umetumiwa kimakosa. Sio?
C; Okay. Basi nina hakika kuwa simu yako ni ya aina ya smartphone. Ningependa uweze kuniweka katika loudspeaker ili nikupe mwelekeo tunapozungumza.
M; aha.( I would be lying if I said that for a moment, I wasn’t thrilled that customer care could sniff out the kind of phone I use… It’s in how you breathe,people!)
C; Bonyeza *…. #( I don’t remember the rest of the characters that he instructed me to bonyeza. But most of them were numbers, stars and a hash tag at the end)
M; Inanionyesha limit ya fuliza. Mbona hivi sasa?( I say, both feet on the ground and eyes shrinking the way they do when the brain realizes a new bit of information all on it’s own.
C; Endelea tu kubonyeza. Tunataka kuhakikisha kuwa mawasiliano yetu yanakufikia.
M; mnahakikisha na fuliza limit aje sasa?
C; … tuna kesi zingine zinazotusubiri madam. Muda utatupa kisogo.
M; (suspecting that I’ve been speaking to pawnsters and unconsciously switching to English because it’s my strong suit especially when arguing) So… listen. How are we requesting for my fuliza limit when we were trying to return money sent by accident? And how is it that you didn’t make me choose what language I prefer to use?
C; Madam, naona wewe unazungumza vibaya. Tutablock laini yako ili uende kwa customer care. ( These guys are good. They know fear is a resourceful tool and they use it well. Because in that moment of doubt and weaknesses, you could easily choose to believe them)
M; I don’t understand Kiswahili. Speak to me in English. Alafu mublock tu number yangu. Hamna shida. If I have Hussein’s money, I will call 100 and ask them to reverse the money.
C; Kwa hivyo unasema mimi si Safaricom?(I have heard about stories like this one before. People getting conned after being bombarded with a million instructions. People who think the world is filled with trustworthy individuals and so do not confirm the authenticity of such claims first. Only for them to dent largely into their moneys. I just never thought it could happen to me. Or almost happen to me.)
M; Did I stutter? ( meanwhile, I rush to my messages. The mpesa message had been sent by a regular number and not Mpesa itself. It took long but at that moment, things became crystal clear)
C; Hivo ndio kusema nini?
M; Hivo ndio kusema ntawaanika. I am a writer. I will write about you. This isn’t over. And tell Hussein he broke my heart.
(Till date, I can’t stop thinking about Hussein and his goat. How our friendship would have flourished and how we would momentarily allow calls between Goat Hussein and Goat Mercy. I mean, perhaps Goat Mercy is just lonely and would not really mind a bleating stage with another goat as its death wish.)
Under the assumption that Goat Hussein was female, I imagine the goats would talk in goat language as such;
GH; I am sorry I said your Mehehes are not deep enough for a male goat. It’s just that goats around here….
GM; Stop it already! Enough about the goats in Mandera and how they Mehehe. Plus, that is not really an apology.
GH; Okay I’m sorry for picking on your mehehe.
GM; How about my goatee?
GH; I did not say anything about your goatee.
GM; Exactly! Mehehe!