You remember how we differed with my father over my decision to host Tocla’s children.
Tocla is Fiolina’s elder brother. I use the word decision loosely, for I was never consulted before Tocla’s children came over, I just woke up one day to find them in my house. Tocla believes I grow a money tree.
Take an example of his children’s clothing. Despite buying for them some mitumba when they visited in August, they, as usual, came back without any change of clothing and I had to, once again, buy them more.
But this is not reason there was trouble. It was my father who wanted them out after the boys spoilt his bicycle, and stole his money. Deep down, I always wanted the boys out. In fact, I also had lost some money which I suspect Tocla’s boys had stolen but I could not raise the matter with Fiolina.
How could I tell her that her brother’s children were thieves? I know I am a real African man but when I get to my house, or before Fiolina, I am not so sure I can say that.
There are people who will call this cowardice, but if Comrade Bob Mugabe, a man who sent away the British, and has ruled Zimbabwe for over 37 years could not tame his wife, whom am I?
But once my father decided that the boys leave or I move out of his home, I consulted with Fiolina and we agreed to go with the latter.
“I have never liked staying in the same compound with your parents,” she said.
Deciding to move in to our home was the easy part, moving in was another story. Last Monday, with a battalion of boys, we went to the site for clean-up and stock taking. I called my fundi Ali who came in the afternoon.
“I need to move before the week, ends,” I told him.
“You are not serious Dre,” he said. “It is impossible.”
“What do you mean it’s not possible. Aren’t you a qualified fundi?” I asked him.
“Do I get another fundi?” On fearing to lose the job, he asked me to give him an hour. He took a pen and paper, and wrote so many things.
“I will buy all that’s is needed tomorrow so that you can work on the house from Wednesday,” I said. I had Sh 15,700 that I was sure could finish the job. I then left for Hitler’s, as it was clear Ali would take long.
It was about 4pm when Ali came at Hitler’s, he showed me a long list of things that I needed to buy. It was a joke. He wanted three lorries of sand, a lorry of ballast, 60 bags of cement, thousands of feet of timber, 72 iron sheets among so many other things. But the biggest joke was the labour cost. He wanted Sh71,000 for labour.
“Are you building SGR or what?” I asked him.
“To finish the house in three days I need many people,” he said.
I told him I had several boys around who could do the job and he reduced the price to Sh59,000. I took the list and told him I would notify him once I have bought all the materials. Once he left, I tore the paper into pieces and called Nyayo.
“Hii nyumba imeisha Dre,” he told me as we walked in. “Kazi imebaki ni kidogo sana. Over a year ago, I had bought some blue iron sheets – to match with my blue Kaunda suits which I showed him.
“Since you want to be here soon, how many rooms must be ready” he asked.
“We need three rooms, our bedroom, the sitting room and another room for the children,” I told him.
“Sawa, you need to add five iron sheets,” he said.
He then asked for a panga and walked to the tree plantation and cut down about 10 trees which he asked that we carry to the site by the next morning. He then asked for Sh 1,800 to make three doors.
We later walked to Hitlers, where I paid all his bills. Nyayo was at my place first thing Wednesday morning. By the time he arrived, together with the boys, we had carried the iron sheets and the poles he had cut the previous day to the site. I went to the hardware to buy the iron sheets and nails.
Nyayo was accompanied by one other fundi, and together with the boys, they embarked on work. Usually, Nyayo works with Tocla, but he hadn’t come with him. He asked me to get murram. “We will finish the roof today and do the floor tomorrow,” he said. I used wheelbarrows to carry the soil.
That morning, Tocla passed by but Nyayo never talked to him. I did not understand why, yet they have always been great friends. The roof (for the rooms to be used) was done that Tuesday and on Wednesday, he embarked on the floor. Tocla also passed by, he appeared to be inspecting the house, then went to see his sister Fiolina!
The doors were fixed that afternoon and the house was complete and ready. I negotiated and Nyayo accepted Sh1,300 for all the work plus several payments of his bills at Hitler’s. I led the boys in cleaning the home and we planted some trees and flowers. Then I walked home with the intention of bringing Fiolina to see her new home. I was sure she would be proud of me.
“Have you talked to Tocla,” was her first question. I told her I had not although I had seen him. She asked me to call him but he was unreachable.
“Nyayo ameharibu nyumba, it will fall on us,” she said. “Tocla, who is a house engineer, has looked at it and he says the sitting room will fall and the bedroom will flood when it rains.”
I told her the house was stable and Tocla was not happy he hadn’t been invited to work with Nyayo. She accepted to go see the house.
“Now which flowers are these you have planted. And that tree attracts caterpillars, uproot it?” she said.
Inside the house she was critical of everything.
“How can the main door be opening from inside?” she asked me. “Tocla would have done a good job.”
She then asked why we had forgotten windows. I told her that we would fix the windows temporarily with carton papers.
“The house will be cold, who advised you like that?” she asked.
“This Nyayo of yours? I don’t know what you see in him.” she said.
I did not respond. On our way back, she was on phone with Tocla throughout, agreeing with him how the house looked bad. That evening when I asked that we start packing things for moving, but she refused.
“I don’t like it here, but I am not going into that house built by Nyayo. I don’t like him at all.” I couldn’t believe that after all my efforts, we could not move into our new state of the art bungalow!
I have invested a lot in the house. Whether Fiolina likes it or not, we will be in the new house by Christmas!