Photo: Courtesy

Bottomline: ”I am not a kid… My mum thinks she will carry me in her arms all her life, all the way to my grave but I am man enough to make and execute my own decisions concerning my own welfare”

Raphael Furaha should be a name only juxtaposed against characterized irony in some delicate yet crucial life; the old lad lives in a manner parallel to whatever virtue the sorry mother to my uncle named him after.

So he is out of prison after duly serving his short 4 month sentence, at the Annexxe Medium Prison 3 kilometers off Shanzu stage, Mombasa county. Its a Tuesday morning the guy is seen from a distance surveying his own land in the company three other guys,. Raphael’s father has already given the lethargic guy the green light in his desirous bid to have his land sold off as soon as possible.

So my uncle is well inebriated after a spree entailing gobbling copious amounts of alcohol… He follows my cousin Gideon Kombe to help him as witness in this 50 -50 land sale agreement. The latter is on the verge of completing his Medical Science degree at Maseno University main campus, Kisumu.

After rigorous hefty thought, the first born, my mum’s eldest brother decides that unity is far much more than power. He swiftly noses into my father’s house, finding my brother and I in the loving embrace of a five bedroom house we are now used to calling home – For a house is not a home.

This guy I lovingly refer to as cousin comes with somewhat rare kind of semi genius mind that knows exactly what to do, when to do and the exact kind of modus operandi with which to orchestrate his well calculated plans. As the situation unfolds, the incumbent fourth year student is not as wise…or is it that he always finds a more diplomatic way to close in on his predicaments?

Its 8:30 am of this fateful Tuesday, 1st January 2019, when Gideon seeks my much needed advice on a family issue which is fast mutating, may even prompt wars and wrangles amid fire intensified squabbles within our larger extended family.

So our uncle is out of some correctional facility in the name of a penal institution . He should have changed; prison life should’t be as plausible. Every sane individual residing within the Kenyan boundaries understands this. We are too young to engage in such controversial issues with the entire family’s eye steadily gazed learning each of our possible and impossible moves in the wake of some 5 day ‘balling’ spree that left our small suburb of Mtwapa largely thrilled articulating our names randomly and constantly anytime we are home on holidays, let me passionately narrow down to the lowdown that necessitated our rich kids tag conferred to me and my elder cousin as ‘rich kids’ Are we, Are we not?

Prison life coupled up with sweet animosity have brought Raphael to the books, presumably the prime motive that compelled the 46 year old to start hunting and tracking down willing customers to buy off his parcel of land. A portion he received from his father (my grandpa), Raphael’s father strictly adhered to equality on matters acreage each of his ten living kids received. The old man potentially did wow most persons’ within our locale by also allocating land parcels considering gender parity. The gist of the matter is that my grandpa loved all his children equally.

”Daddy, from where shall we get space to build our own homes when we clear our education. If your will to sell is driven by thoughts of how you are going to afford us a good education; then personally I no longer feel there exists a reason for me to be educated… Not a solid one from the angle I am seeing things,” reiterates her firstborn daughter who is now candidate at Ribe Girls High School, to say nothing of three other younger siblings to the beautiful candidate cousin of mine by the diamond – flawless name Magdalene.

The following morning Raphael seeks my assistance in marking out beacons that will identify the area land for sale traverses. I am in the midst of my right hand man on such issues (Gideon) to see us complete the task long before noon. Value for money comes in hand luring, enticing and tempting, uncle dishes out ksh. 2000 to be shared between these two hardworking brothers. This makes our pockets ksh. 1000 richer and heavier. Raphael promises that the monies from the sold parcel shall come within a weeks time. Not that we expect a dime from his own land’s consignment but because he is so transparent to lie to us about anything.

Wednesday 9th January 2019 should be the D – day. We have been left with some simple assignment to look after Raphael’s younger kids staying with them for at least 5 days as the dad is busy handling issues of ‘national security’ issues best known to him.

” Wait for me, for you are to take me back in Kikambala for some work,” the ex – convict speaks to a motorbike ‘bodaboda’ operator who has just brought him home. We wake up the kids preparing them tfor school, don’t ask me where their mother ‘disappeared’ to that is Raphael’s story to tell. Sinclair is in class seven at the Majaoni Primary School while his youngest sister Zafiya is almost turning six and attends the Farsa Pronkjewail School  kindergarten or is it pre-primary.

We are timely alarmed so my cousin and I get out of our beddings to open the steel door for our already inebriated uncle, it was 4:45 AM.

With him comes queer luck inside his back pocket of a rather dirty, sweat-chocked black trouser he has made merry with the previous night is some brown envelope that is stashed with paper… we are yet to find out what sort of paper…

He unleashes terror upon us with the contents of this envelope rather scary but sweetly appalling. Several one thousand notes are poured onto the 6 by 6 bed my cousin and I had spent the previous night on while keeping an eye on the toddlers. ”I need you guys to help me count this money right here, right now. I need to know how much I have,” affirms a seemingly intoxicated Raphael.

Never in my life have I counted such amounts of money, never in my life have I enjoyed some minutes with notes scattered left, right, center on a morning’s unspreaded bed.
We pile the notes in stacks of nine and the final one thousand note is used to mark 10 thousand (that’s how we count money down here), round the nine one thousand notes of Kenya’s legal tender. I count ksh. 100, 000 all by myself, Gideon also counts a bale of 10, ksh. 10,000 notes to make another hundred thousand. Raphael empties yet his pockets to offer the tally of monies with yet another ksh. 3, 980 he is left with as balance after spending whatever he had spent the previous night.

From all this, he takes Ksh. 2,000 before fleeing with his boda boda guy back to Kikambala, where he came from leaving us with the Ksh. 1,980 to cater for his kids’ needs until he is back, only he knows when.

This sale saw him pocket ksh. 200,000 thereabouts an undisclosed installment payments at a later date agreed upon by the buyer and seller; in this case Raphael was the willing seller, only he knew the willing buyer.

The guy making up the bulk of this story is by far the holiest scoundrel I have ever known. He is a phantom who won’t keep out of violence and sensational confrontations whether you cross his limits or even choose to keep far off his lines. He is one such guy who philanthropically believes in charity helping fellow beings with whatever problem even when the predicament is just minute.

Using almost half the amount obtained from the land sale loaning neighbors and friends residing close by, with the view that all who accepted handouts from him shall be accountable enough to pay up their dues at a later comfortably convenient date.

” I fondly recall all those I have aided with monies. trust me, I know everybody by name and face; soon after this is over, I shall emphatically follow up so that they have their debts fully settled in due time.

The final day of our money heist turns out to be rather chaotic, filled with solemn sentiments and drama which closely resembles reality. My grandmother; who is also responsible for bringing Raphael to this world rises up early to confront Raphael’s quiet homestead, wailing abhorrently while orchestrating some monologue remorsefully; seeking to know what curse befell his son.That a man of his age should sell some chunk of family land only to dish out the cash wastefully to friends terrifies the old woman in her late sixties. Should she contemplate death as a much viable solution now?

We inform our uncle Raphael of her mother’s morning sorry yet bitter cries yet all the crude guy can retort is that he is mature enough to handle all his problems as a man.
” I am not a kid… My mum thinks she will carry me in her arms all her life, all the way to my grave but I am man enough to make and execute my own decisions concerning my own welfare,” answers back a rather tensed but already pissed up Raphael… Even Gideon, in my presence is unable to pull the plug off this guy’s (our uncle) shenanigans.

Confucius would lament it is  to be better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without, moreover, this guy was doing something that was very archaic, uncouth and barbaric. He sells a piece of land, pays a year’s fee for all his four school going kids. Later, he squashes the remaining amounts through extravagant spending.

The guy benefits from the sale of some significant chunk of acreage, only to have the finances wasted with no project funded nor another one initiated but thousands and thousands have been philanthropically offered up for grabs to the always persuasive ‘needy’ neighbors and friends. It beats logic selling land for unorthodox, less significant and non-ideal reasons. I should have a predicament that calls for counselling with kinsmen on the possible, probable possibility of putting up my chunk on sale should be suffice to justify the cause for which I am selling the land. Unless my need is as deep not flimsy, friable and shambolic definitely I shall not put the place on auction.

Jeopardy… this is whatever Raphael’s life story makes you want to think. He is putting his loved ones’ future in darkness with prevailing doubt, uncertainty and skepticism. What then does the future hold to these young, innocent and naive individuals who call him daddy despite his wayward ways deeply rooted within him. Surety will have it that they still breathe love toward Rafael thats one thing which remains genuine for sure. Trust dies when mistrust blossoms, however, its puzzling how these children could probably not detest their biological father. I don’t see how you too should stop searching for any.

A short open letter to their smooth operating dad though,

Dear Rafael Furaha,

Life is good, so is it sweet. But also, life is strangely unpredictable, awkwardly improbable and verily nasty. It could turn out to be a real threat, shuddering and creepy altogether. In short; I opine an array of dreams including day ones, nightmares and wet dreams to this end choose your paths, friends, priorities, opportunities wisely; but more so with a conscious and sober mind. Not in a somber state rather ghastly, sorry state. Your kids, wife, family, relatives, community and brimming squad of friends who love you so much. Just be you whilst observing fear of the Lord and observing the law of the land alongside personal principles.

yours loving,


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