“Of wigs, weaves and hair-raising predicaments” – Timbuktu

| Timbuktu Express

Toon tim x_48

I am broke and it seems this is becoming routine. The matatu as they say ‘is on stones’ meaning broken down.

I wish vehicles were like people and can be given simple, cash-free mouth to mouth resuscitation every time they act up.

On the other hand, Michelle is also acting up. Her problem is she has not been to the salon in a long time. The gusto with which she harangues me would make you believe that fixing one’s hair is the forth human need after food, shelter and clothing.

But I cannot be fooled because I have the misfortune of intricate knowledge of her. To begin with, the woman is as bald as an egg with just a few tufts here and there upon which they sew a weave when she visits the salon. The entire shaggy mass is then pickled in oil as hot rollers hold it in place to give it a shiny gloss.

Were it not for the fact that her head starts smelling like the operation theatre of a cheap salon after some time, I would appreciate all the money that gets poured into the project.

The whole drama however makes me wish that I could sometimes sleep beside a woman whose head smells human.

“Honey, just this once pray for me,” I plead with her as I head out of the house. “You know how much I would like to meet all your demands and this is guy is promising me a job on the strength of my friend’s recommendation,” I continue.

“Just don’t feed me lies when you come back. I am getting fed up,” she simply said as the looked at her image in the dressing table.

I keep time, dressed to kill in my crisp suit, as I knock on the hotel chain manager’s door. After introducing myself as the cousin to a friend of someone he knew, we settle down to business.

tim toon 60 clean

“The only available vacancy is that of a Maasai,” he tells me blandly. “What do you mean, Sir, after seeing my degree. I will never be a watchman,” I vehemently protest.

“I did not mean a watchman but a Maasai showman. These guys are quite popular with the tourists and you will be surprised how much in tips they take home in addition to the 5K retainer and free meals from the hotel.

“But what if the tourists find out I’m a fraud?” I protest. “Will I not get lynched?”

“I assure you they can’t find out and even if you decided to give yourself away, they won’t understand. Their knowledge of Kiswahili begins and ends with ‘Jambo’.”

I take the job just for the tips. I hear these come in the form of real dollars and Euros and not the local legal tender whose value erodes with every successive regime.

I join our leader who outfits me with a loin cloth, traditional bling, weapons and a pair of shoes made of tires. “All you have to do is leap as high as you can and chant the chorus when the rest are singing.” And that does it for my orientation.

Before we get on stage that evening, a makeup technician fixes a wig on my bald head. It is then smoothed over with mud and animal fat “to make it as colorful as the sun rising over the Savannah” she says.

Poor me, I am no different from Michele with a fake wig dripping of smelly fat. But then again my wig will make money while hers punches a hole in my pocket.

We troop out at the appointed hour after the guests have been dined and are busy getting drunk. The songs go mighty well and we climax to a deafening crescendo when the spirit of the wild takes over and we start leaping high up in the air.

The wazungus are happy and they cheer and clap at our antics as some join the dance.

We almost bring down the house with renditions out of Africa. I can’t wait to start receiving the tips. So when an old German lady approaches me, I welcome her with a big wide Kenyan smile.

“Jambo Herr Masai,” she greets me. “Jambo yourself lady. Hakuna matata,” I yell at her.

That was as far as we could communicate but I understood when she invited me to have a drink on her. I knew European money was headed my way.

We toast our new found friendship after the usual photo shoot during which she stands rather close. I must say the only other thing of interest besides her money is the sweet smell in her hair unlike Michelle’s.

“Mercedes,” I say the only German word I know as I imitate driving. She smiles happily and launches into her language. I of course am interested with what she has to say so I bring in a waiter who understands Deustche.

“Ich bin eine einsame Witwe. Sie wäre mein schöner Maasai Freund einen guten Ehemann,” she says. I look at the translator who shakes his head in disbelief.

“Are you always this lucky mtunguyaz?” he asks winking at me. A kaleidoscope of Deusche Marks in varying denominations flash before me. “She says her husband is dead and you are strong and handsome enough to fit into the old Kampfer’s (soldier) boots,” he tells me with the air of one informing a Kenyan that they have won Tetemesha na Safaricom.

I am shocked beyond words and excuse myself to visit the bathroom. I know I won’t get a Mercedes, but one wife is more than enough. I just hope I don’t get nightmares of her dead husband chasing after me with his Kanonn.

GROWING YOUR MONEY – ABCs for stock market Investors

 

“If you’re learning to invest, but don’t take action, you’ve done nothing more than those who never bothered to learn in the first place.”  Robert T. Kiyosaki

 

|  John Macharia(Investment Planner)

Investing in the stock market is a rewarding experience for some and a disappointment for others. Many individuals aspire to own stocks. However, there’s a perception that the stock market is the province of high net-worth persons only.

This is not the case. The market offers equal opportunity to all investors; financial capacity notwithstanding. Some investors start on a wrong footing and end up losing hard-earned cash. They burn their fingers in the first attempt, learn no lessons, and then quit the market with losses and frustration.  This can be avoided. Good knowledge of the basics help you understand how stock trading works.

The first lesson is that those with knowledge about stock trading stand a better chance of success. The second is that even the most refined investors have made losses along the way. Investors should set realistic expectations in terms of returns. Any worthwhile investment will at some point reflect a big profit, big loss, small profit, small loss or breakeven.

What investors seek to do is mitigate big losses and make reasonable returns. One needs to have clear objectives, outlining the amount of money available for investment, time frame to meet these objectives and the risk vis-à-vis expected returns. Once the decision to invest has been made, stock selection follows. This is an obvious but difficult step in stock trading.

With a wide variety of stocks available, one must first consider which sector one wishes to invest in and then start to research on stocks in those selected sectors.  An analysis of each stock to know its actual worth and future prospects is a must, as well as technical analysis to ensure you don’t buy it expensively. As some analysts say, the stock market is 85% psychology and 15% in economics; for one to be a successful investor, good technical analysis is indispensable.

Proper planning, prudence and patience are critical recipes for success.  These guide the decision making process when buying or selling and eschew dealings initiated out of emotion. The plan should include an exit strategy to allow the investor to jump out of the market with profit. For beginners it’s desirable to start small, invest wisely and stay a distance, as you build confidence.

Another aspect that investors tend to overlook is choosing the right stockbroker. A good stockbroker should offer advice, guidance and support to take you through the trading process. A seasoned stockbroker with a good track record can become a powerful partner in pursuit of wealth creation. However it is  important to remember that any investment decisions  you make will ultimately be your own.

The path to investment path can be bumpy. However, if you clearly identify your investment goals, learn investment basics, choose quality stocks and closely monitor and manage your portfolio, you enhance your chances of success.