Last week, I was boiling. Not because someone had me inside some hot liquid but because of the anger I had within me after having a one-on-one with a landlord somewhere in the city in the sun.
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One day, someone will have to explain to me like a two-year-old full of tantrums why some landlords mistake their tenants for something else.
Last Saturday, I embarked on a mission to look for a house for my daughter Sori and I. Yes, I am tired of Komayole, tired of the jerky little movements I make inside the Forward Travelers every time I imagine I have just spotted a bedbug, tired of pleading with the conductor to give me back my balance and above all, I am tired of alighting two stages ahead of the stage I am supposed to alight because the bus was too full and the aisle too packed to give way!
There I was swinging my hips from right to left in some place in the leafy suburbs looking for a tiny vacant house to move in.
After spending hours looking at several houses, I finally landed one that pleased me and immediately started the negotiations with the landlord who was present.
Some of the questions he was asking me were awkward but I answered them anyway. How old are you? Are you married? Do you have children? How many? How old are they? Where do you work? At some point I wondered whether I was filling some medical insurance form or talking to a landlord but because of desperation after walking in the scorching sun, I kept faking a smile and answering his questions.
After being grilled for almost half an hour, we came to an agreement that he loved what he had seen and was ready to take me in as his tenant. The little angel in me shouted ‘Imela’ from within and I started my journey back to Komayole, the place where I was about to leave Tony Mochama and his likes to dominate.
Throughout my trip back, I kept imagining my life in my new house. Finally, I was going to upgrade from a bed sitter to a two-roomed house. At least my television set was not going to share a room with my utensils anymore.
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There was no more reaching out for everything while seated on the bed. From now on, I was going to rise from my bed to reach for the remote or grab a cup of tea. Sori was going to have room to crawl.
Indeed, ‘Mungu akileta mtoto, analeta na sahani yake.’ Sori had indeed come with an extra room in my life. What if I had given birth to twins, just what if, maybe we could have been talking of a bungalow, whoop whoop! My dreams are still valid.
Fast forward to two days later, the landlord called me and still in the excited mood, I picked his call and in a British accent said “Hello Sir”. What I heard next immediately changed my accent from British to that of someone born, bred and married in the innermost part of Mundulusia where floods sweep even drinking water forgetting it’s also water!
“Madam, after thinking for a while, I have decided I can only take in a single lady who has never given birth.”
Booom, he dropped the bombshell! I was quiet for about ten seconds still looking for words to tell him, the words finally came, “Kwani nilikuwa nakuletea mtoto wangu umuadopt? Unatafuta tenant ama bibi?” He then answered “Nataka msichana single bila mtoto,” and hung up. I wanted to call him back but my guardian angel who was singing ‘Imela’ days back calmed me down and told me all will be well.
Why do some of these landlords behave like they are looking for something else apart from tenants? Seriously, as long as I pay for the house I am living in and adhering to your rules, why would my marital status or having a child or not become an issue?
You landlords who give weird conditions to your tenants, especially tenants who have seen many years like me, the lightening that is supposed to strike you is still holding a press conference in Antananarivo! You have just murdered my dream of leaving Komayole yet I was already looking forward to joining that class of people that walk into malls to sip croissants.
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