I was quite excited. The cold weather did nothing to dampen my spirits. For the past few days, there was a cold blizzard. If one had nothing to do, it was wise to stay indoors to avoid the freezing temperatures.
The war in Ukraine was so remote to us although some politicians were trying to tie our current economic crisis to that war.
Myself, I did not fathom any effects from the Ukrainian War.
The conflict seemed far away from us.
All I was concerned about was the arrival of Simon. You may wonder who Simon was. He was one of the first guys to embrace me when I first arrived in town from the rural areas. All I knew about him was that he was an agricultural consultant and that he had worked in the Horn of Africa in such countries like Somalia and Ethiopia.
He had become somewhat an expert and advocated the use of drip irrigation which did not waste water. Countries like Somalia were mostly dry and the scarce water was used sparingly to great effect and there were success stories in the middle of the desert. His work had also taken him to Israel which had successfully harnessed the desert into arable farmland. His trip to Israel had opened his eyes to new irrigation technologies.
A couple of days ago, Simon had told me over WhatsApp that he would be arriving in the country. He was quite excited about introducing innovative ways of farming.
And if I was interested, he would be happy to meet up with me. Remember, I was struggling, my monthly salary was hardly enough for even a week. I had tried everything possible to start some business without success. I once came very close to making a breakthrough by starting a car wash, but my friend Fatso stole the idea from me. He not only stole my idea, but he also built his car wash at the location I had selected. For this, I still hadn’t forgiven him.
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I was desperate to start some small business to supplement my income. I was quite aware that my struggle was also the struggle of many others living in the ghetto. I had no rich uncle who could come and lift me up from the gutter. I had to work hard and broaden my network for opportunities. Without that, I would forever cry and condemn my children to a lifetime of penury.
We had agreed to meet at Zororo Bar. I arrived in the early afternoon at Zororo Bar; I wasn't the only person who was early.
Many people had already shown up. I should also mention that, with the election season approaching, it was possible to get some politicians to buy beer for the audience while they were campaigning. So it was a good idea to get there early so as not to miss out.
The large screen mounted on the wall served as another attraction for people like us to visit the bar frequently. Some of our best days were spent watching our favourite teams play football live on that screen as the English Premier League was just getting underway from the various stadiums across the length and breadth of England.
I remember the other day, there was quite an argument about which was the best stadium in England. John, who sold second hand clothes along Rujeko Street kept saying, “ the Etihad is the best stadium built in England,” He has been a devoted fan of Manchester City Football Club for a very long time. Dumisani, who was on the opposing side gave us a detailed overview of Old Trafford Stadium. I have never been bothered by arguments of this nature. I was not one who was easily moved by emotions.
“Never get emotional in public or you risk losing your temper,” that had been the advice of the father of one of my friends when I was growing up. I have kept that advice since and a lot of good it has done me.
At last, when I had almost given up, I heard a voice behind me say,” Hey, is that you?” That was Simon. He had arrived.
“Wow, you look amazing,” I said.
Simon had put on some weight during his absence, as far I could tell. I stood up. I intended to get him a beer. I had to admit that was my last dollar.
“Don’t buy me anything. In fact the honour is on me,” he said. He bought two beers for us.
“I don't want to waste your time but since you showed interest, I will teach you how to grow potatoes in your backyard,” he said.
“I also want to work with someone like you as I want to introduce new technology to local farmers and boost productivity on the land,” he said.
As Simon explained to me, my eyes widened. This could be the breakthrough I needed. The idea didn’t require a lot of money. I came to the conclusion that this might be the turning point I had been looking for. Get-rich schemes were a myth, but sincere effort paid well.
- Onie Ndoro is a an IELTS tutor, ghostwriter and storyteller. For feedback: Twitter@Onie90396982/email:[email protected] 0773007173