Kenya Kimbo is a term used by ‘coasterians’ in reference to foreign tourists, who although came to the country pretty loaded, have either been swindled or lost money to their wily Kenyan lovers as they ate life with a big spoon in mwambao. It is also used to describe naturalised odieros who have lived in the for donkey years and become more wajuaji than the locals.
For Kenyans kutoka bara who cannot differentiate between Kenya Kimbo and newcomer odieros, here are the 10 telltale signs that will give these wazungu wakuosta away:
1. Bargaining power
These wazungu can haggle man, you’d think they want to ‘buy things for free.’ Like elephants, they never forget and will tell off a retailer who thinks he can rip them off, by quoting the amount - to the last cent - of what they are planning to buy, having probably frequented the store before. Don’t be surprised if they brandish an earlier purchase receipt from the store to prove their point. If they loved ugali, these wazungu would probably be the first in line to whisk away the GOK Sh90 ‘Mexico unga.’ They don’t spend on unnecessary luxury and would rather ride in a matatu or tuk tuk instead of wasting money on taxis. They eat in vibanda and buy mitumba clothes.
2. Birds of a feather
Kenya Kimbo deal with the same problems like ‘masufferer’ — lack of money and hustling for a living. They lounge in cheap crowded joints where tea and hamri can’t dent your wallet beyond Sh30. They also dot kawaida pubs, hoping for someone to change their fortunes. Their best days are in the past and you’ll catch them boasting, “If these people saw me two years ago when I had money, they would not be talking to me like this way.”
3. Udaku kibao
Gossip knows no gender among Kenya Kimbo, as they sit in groups dissecting which other odiero has joined their broke ranks. And you cannot sengenya them. They understand Kiswahili, Sheng, Okuyu and a smattering of Kigiriama and Kijaluo. If you want to know which Kenyan communities has wild women, ask Kenya Kimbo!
Poverty usually offers another lease in life. In Diani, you will meet Kenya Kimbos who are ready to sell you a phone that they acquired through Bonga Points, back in the day when they had money. Others act as brokers for new foreigners who might want to invest in the country.
5. Ghetto massive
It is shocking that some don’t appear on telly begging the Jubilee government to rescue them from squalor as they hole up in shanties pretending they are sampling local cultures. But the obvious fact is that life has become unbearable. They leave in makuti-thatched houses, eat in vibandas and even know the difference between githeri and muthokoi. They will wear the same shirt for a whole week, and to them, sandals are not only for the bathroom.
6. Overstay their welcome
For a foreigner to stay legally in the country, they need to have a passport, a visa or even a work permit. But for Kenya Kimbo, most have overstayed their welcome and because they can’t go home in their new status, they will rather hustle here, albeit illegally. Others have their documents confiscated by their lovers as a source of extortion.
7. Toa kitu, mtu wangu
Being in the country illegally, Kenya Kimbo knows the art of bribery - they can work government officers, from police to immigration officers. They can narrate to you how the 2002 General Election was conducted, because they were around!
Most of them lack enough money to woo women as they depend on their meagre pensions. This has led to many of them sharing women and they don’t shy away from discussing it.
Their debts are not loans from banks, but from mama mboga, local water vendors among others. They are also indebted to women they sleep with.
10. Kaa ngumu
Kenya Kimbo are hardcore survivors. Whether it’s the roof that’s leaking or they have been kicked out for accumulated rent, they’ll kaa ngumu, even if it means sleeping in the car. And if they can’t afford fare, they’ll just trek and pretend to be ‘keeping fit!’