The lottery that I ‘won’ last night


WINNIE had left me dramatically with the words “Kwanza we nawe mwanamme? Hela huna!” Her parting statement could only mean one thing; she had met someone who was way better than me.

I wish she had given me an opportunity at least to vent some of my frustration by shouting some nasty words at her in some sort of revenge.

I would have been even happier if I could inflict some physical damage on her lovely face but I was rational enough and feared the consequences of such a reaction. Nothing irks a man more than madharau.

Winnie had left me with a gaping wound in my heart and ego. Five long years had passed and I was slowly and painfully getting over her when I got a call from her. She said in a surprisingly cheerful voice, “Hi Johnny, long time no see. I‘ve missed you.

I am out of Dar at the moment but I’ll Make it a point to see you as soon as I get back over the weekend…” she paused, waiting for my response.

If I was superstitious I would have thought that she had bewitched me. I felt a warm glow of anticipation and said, “Sure, call me as soon as you arrive and we can meet for a drink.”

I thought it would be an interesting meeting after her words at our parting… no doubt she wanted some sort of reconciliation and a get back together. I was saving Winnies new number when another call came in.

It was long lost cousin that we had not met for years. It was long enough that he had to introduce himself first, asking whether I remembered him. I said I did and politely asked about his wife and kids.

He said everything was OK except for his daughter who was in form two; she was about to do her district mock exams but might miss the opportunity of doing so because she had not fully paid her school fees and the Headmistress was insisting that unless she paid the money within the week she would be sent home… Would I be so kind as to advance them Tsh. 300,000/= which he would return as soon as he received his salary?

He swore that this time he would pay his debt. Our long gap in communication had been due to his ‘forgetting’ to repay a previous loan.

Just to get him out of the way I said something non-committal and cut the line. There was a knock on my door and I went to open it. A faintly familiar face looked at me expectantly from the door.

The man was accompanied by someone who appeared to be his wife. By his posture and the nature of African hospitality the man was anticipating a welcome into the house and I complied, curious as to his mission.

I was still struggling to place the man; where had I seen him before? Was he a school mate? Secondary education was for me many decades back and I could only remember the boys with whom I was especially close.

Or the very notorious ones who did something for which they are remembered ‘forever’; like my friend Sigmund who made a pass at our female English teacher and got a suspension for his efforts or Dennis who was an exceptionally gifted footballer.

Was it someone I had worked with as a fellow employee? I had worked in quite a few different places; which one? The man removed my dilemma by introducing me to his wife.

“This is Mr. Ndunguru, my dear friend I was telling you about. We went to college together even though he was doing engineering and I was on Sociology, we were quite close (a lie). I am sure he can help us...’

He then went on in great detail to tell me about his mother-in-laws medical problems which needed attention at a Hospital India.

At this point his wife was sobbing and pressing a white handkerchief to her eyes. ‘So Mr Ndunguru, as a person close to this family, we expect you will contribute to save the poor woman’s life.

We only need three million now to complete the arrangements with the hospital in India.” I couldn’t understand it, how did they expect me to have so much money?

I could barely pay all my bills and I had shelved a lot of projects because of money. In fact Winnie and I had parted over religious differences; she worshipped money and I had none. Why did everyone think I had money?

I told the guy that I could not afford such a sum. He pulled out a Newspaper unfolded it and handed it to me as if it was incriminating proof of my uchoyo.

A major headline on the front page read “Mr. John T. Ndunguru wins Tsh.100 m Jackpot” Further reading showed that the initial T was for Thomas. Mine is Timothy. I woke up. It had all been a dream.

However, if I did win a lottery, I would be happy if it could be kept secret!

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