Commercial sex workers who had flocked small towns in Rift Valley to take advantage of randy farmers are not a happy lot.
The women of the night, some of whom travel from as far as Mombasa and Uganda, are complaining of bad business, following the peanuts tea farmers were paid as bonuses.
“Unlike other seasons, this one is terrible. Business is at its lowest,” complained a commercial sex worker, only identified as Anne, citing low tea bonuses paid out.
Her colleague, Mary, said she feels wasted having traveled all the way from Nairobi only to find the going tough.
“Ordinarily, on a good night when bonuses have been paid, we make close to Sh10,000 or even more. Since we arrived here early this month, making Sh5,000 a night is proving to be difficult,” said Mary, while calling upon government to pay more attention to agriculture, seeing as they are beneficiaries of the trickledown effect.
Despite the said bad business, the girls are still arriving and pitching tent in centres in tea growing areas in the region.
The towns like Silibwet, Mogogosiek, sotik and Kembu, which are home to tea growing farmers, are already a hive of activities.
“Silibwet trading centre in Bomet Central has already received first arrivals and partying has started,” said Bett Rono, a local.
He said some have already booked lodging rooms and are already entertaining locals in readiness for the tea bonanza later in the month.
Locals interviewed by Crazy Monday said the skimpily dressed women do not shy away from declaring their interest in the tea monies.
David Chepkwony, a trader at Silibwet, says the arrival was low this season compared to other years, saying they suspect the low bonus payout kept some of them away.
“This time last year, Silibwet would be flooded with new faces of scantily dressed women. The low payout must be the reason some of them have kept off,” said Chepkwony.
Chepkwony says despite their arrival being hated by some, they make the town lively. “Their presence makes business in Bomet very lively and we wish they were here all year round,” he says.
Chepkwony, who operates a retail shop, said the girls attracts farmers from villages to come and spend money, boosting business in the town.
But Sally Koech said their presence is a nuisance to wives in the area as they pose a threat to marriages.
Ms Koech, a food vendor, said the government should keep them away from the town saying their arrival also attracts criminals who take advantage to steal from farms.
“As much as there will be booming business for us, I feel for farmers who will lose their hard earned money to criminals accompanying the girls,” she said.
Local leaders have cautioned farmers against misusing their money on the girls arriving in the region. Some women groups have launched a sensitisation movement to warn farmers not to use their tea payment on entertainment.
The women from tea growing areas said the movement is aimed at warding off the twilight girls in future.
“Our intentions is to ward off twilight girls who have fleeced farmers and left them suffering despite working on their farms all year round,” says Lilian Ruto, one of the group members.
Surprisingly, the twilight girls have a ‘harvesting calendar’ of sorts, which they use to move around. Mary and her friend Anne told this writer that they start traveling in May and June to the North Rift to entertain maize farmers.
“After the maize harvest season is over in the North Rift, we turn our attention to Miraa farmers in Meru,” said Mary.
In mid-October, the twilight girls troop to the South Rift to make a kill from small scale farmers and thereafter make a trip to Narok for a last party with wheat farmers, before retreating to the cities to wait for the next season.
As the tea bonus payment looms, authorities say they are on high alert. Bomet County Police Commander Naomi Ichami said residents should report any untoward incident for action.
“We are not turning a blind eye to the situation, we will act in case of any reported cases,” said Ichami.