Conned of money and left with useless pile of trash

As a student at Moi University, main campus, a familiar face approached me one afternoon.

He was looking for a matchbox to light his cigarette, but when I told him that I didn’t have any, he hung around me trying to catch my attention with numerous topics: exams, lecturers, ladies, pool and the EPL. None of these aroused any interest.

He then spoke nonchalantly about a mhindi businessman who was buying trash: Old mattresses, waste papers, coins, old-model weighing machines, locks, name it. “Mastude wanaeza muuzia old class notes au hata books za last sem,” he said. (Students could sell the Indian old class notes or even last semester’s books).

I instantly became interested in the waste paper business and was soon asking the guy to sit down and explain more. He quickly told me that he was the mhindi’s point man in campus and the surrounding areas and that his work was simply to get people to supply the trash. He told me that a kilo of waste cost Sh50 and the pay was instant - the moment the merchandise was collected.
“Hii kitu imenisaidia sana, si ujaribu,” he said. (This business has assisted me a lot, why not try?)

He gave me his number and I bought him a Pilsner for introducing me to the business.

I fantasised about how I would mint money from the tonnes of waste paper that were burnt daily around campus. I called the guy and he was excited about my interest.

Two days later, I heard another student talking about how a load of waste papers was stressing him in his room. I pulled him aside and asked him not to destroy the papers and instead sell them to me.

He pretended to be surprised that I was going to buy useless paper, but I persisted and he asked me to go to his room the next day. I bought the huge load for Sh500 expecting to get at least Sh2,000 from the mhindi.

I called the conduit to pick the load of papers but his phone was mteja (he couldn’t be reached).

Two days later, I found the two drinking and that is when it dawned on me that the whole thing was a scam.

I had been conned of Sh500, a bottle of Pilsner and precious time that I had wasted ferrying the waste paper to my room.

And I was supposed to dispose of them again!