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January blues

By | January 8th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

After the festivity of Christmas and New Years’ comes January, the month filled brokenness and the various blues related to it. If you are like some of Carol Mutoko’s callers early this week (mostly, married women with kids), you are sitting pretty because you planned your finances to the last cent long before Christmas season rolled by.

The majority who didn’t call were in what is commonly referred to as dire straits or as the most penniless would say "straits be dire!".

Many December revellers are broke and hungry because they spent all their money during the festive season, some even dipped into their emergency stash. Well trust Kenyans to have some self-made survival tips …

Cheap movie date

December is movie month, all the blockbusters are released in anticipation of the spending spree that usually comes with the holiday season. In December, everyone wants to impress their date by taking them to watch at least one major movie during the holiday season not so for January. This is the month you discover just how expensive movie tickets are and reminisces about the days a movie ticket was Sh200 and popcorn was Sh20 .

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If you still want to enjoy a movie date without breaking the bank, create the movie theatre experience at home. Cook yourself some popcorn, close the curtains and pop in a DVD and enjoy with sodas at Sh20 courtesy of your local kiosk.

January’s wheels

The Matatu strike was met with relief by the broke lot, they could stay home and save the two day fare, this relief is, however, short-lived when the landlord came knocking.

For those with wheels, January is also known as ‘Jav month’, if they didn’t totally wreck their cars, they are saving on fuel by taking matatus to work. While December was the time to spin around town without a care in the world, January is a time to watch someone elses spinners go by. For some, the wreck formally known as their car is now owned and displayed by NACADA as a cautionary tale.

Cheap plans

Some people still want to party in January, in December they drunk their money away but in January they drink their sorrows away. But, because they have no money to facilitate this sorrow-drowning spree, the cheap ‘booze plan’ is born,

Basically, this involves a group of friends holding a Harambee to buy a bottle, which they then drink at a ‘designated hosts’ house. The poorer the crew the cheaper the bottle and for some the urge for illicit liquor becomes very strong around this time. They reason: "If I pour changaa into a vodka bottle it will taste the same. Right?"

Going underground

Every January, the Kenyan phenomenon known as ‘vanishing acts’ aka ‘going underground’ or in local tongue, kupotea happens. If you borrowed heavily to facilitate your festive season, January is not a fun month.

It’s a time to hide from family, friends and landlords who are now banging on your door looking for their money. Underground may mean only coming out at night like some crawling nocturnal scavenger while for others it could mean leaving for far up country to hide out until they can find a way to pay some of the money owed.

Raving in January

While December meant clubbing at the most expensive and newest joints, January brings with it a renewed love for the cheap local that’s within walking distance. Those who enjoyed drinking Kahawa and ‘zubaing dooba-dooba’ at Java are now common faces at mabati banda’s with names like "Bomblast Hotel" or "Mama Suzies".

In fact, forget clubbing in January, there’s no need to dig yourself into a deeper hole by spending money you don’t have, stay home, tune in to your favourite radio station or music TV show and party vicariously. Happy 2010, may it bring better spending habits and richer Kenyans.

Christmas festivities NACADA
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