The Barber Shop


I felt a tad bushier than usual. I had not kept my usual Saturday early morning barber appointment the previous week meaning that it had been ten days since I shaved. My hair grows fast, very fast! I am told that out of the few things that I got right in this world was that I gave my daughter my hair genes. At least I have changed someone’s life, ama? The pretty munchkin has hair that grows like those plants that accidentally grow around organic mbolea. So now you can get a feel of how it is if I don’t get a cut for a week. I start looking like a distressed homeless person and that’s not a good thing, normally.

So on this Monday morning, I woke up with a resolve. I needed to schedule a meet with my barber. I love Mondays. Mondays are good days for me. Unlike most of you who completely loathe Mondays, I totally enjoy them. It is one of the few, far and in between perks of working in church-you get Mondays as an off day.

I called my barber, phone rang, repeatedly, he didn’t pick up. So I thought to myself that he most probably must have been handling a client or couldn’t hear the phone ring. He has the habit of not picking up calls sometimes, this barber of mine. I don’t like it but I like his work. So I am stuck with him. I find myself consistently going back to him. It is one of those kinds of relationships that are hard to explain to people.

It’s like that fundi who consistently lies about when to pick up your dress? She’ll tell you that it’ll be ready tomorrow at 4pm. You’ll go to pick it up only to find that she hasn’t even touched it and without a hint of shame, she’ll tell you to pick it up the next day. You’ll know that she’s lying but you’ll still believe that she will get it done the next day. Funny thing is, it doesn’t matter how many times she lies, you won’t change fundis because, it might take her a month to get a week’s job done but oh my God doesn’t she deliver! She comes through for you in such preposterously outlandish ways that you forget all the lies! Do you get me?

So that’s kinda how I am with said barber.

I called him like three times and he didn’t pick up so I caught feelings. I was like “I am done with this one! Kwani he thinks he’s the only barber alive? Nkt! Akwende uko!” And I went about my business nonchalantly. I decided that long hair and beards never killed anyone. He called back hours later. I look at the phone ring and decided that he can call on, I don’t care, where was he when I was calling him anyway. I ignored him in the same manner that the Kenya Kwanza government is ignoring all the noise you are making about the finance bill. But my beard and hair wouldn’t stop itching. I kept scratching my head and pulling my beard until I finally decided to eat humble pie and call him back.

We agreed that I would go in in the evening.

I get there at 5.15. He is finishing up with another client so I take a seat to wait my turn. There’s one other barber, who also has a client, and two wash girls in the shop. The guy being attended to by my barber is very chatty. Let’s call him Chatty guy. He’s very happily beating stories about whatever and whoever as he gets his haircut. He’s a middle-aged man, slender and about a six in height. He loves his mother tongue. I can tell that by how many Swahili or English words he spoke while he was there. He doesn’t look wealthy but he talks like someone who might be rich, I don’t know. The other guy is very chilled out. We will baptize him Chilled guy. He doesn’t say much, doesn’t give away a lot. He prefers to be on his phone all the while.

So I am very busy on my phone scrolling through WhatsApp statuses when my barber motions that he is done with Chatty guy. I get situated comfortably on the seat and after exchanging a few pleasantries; he starts working on my hair. It is at this point that Chatty guy starts telling one of the wash girls that he rears rabbits. Yes! Rabbits. He has many and as many breads as you’d think. He keeps them for business so he sells rabbit meat at very affordable prices. “Do you want to see some?” He asks the wash girl passing over his phone to her. She takes the phone, looks at the photos curiously asking questions after every scroll.

“This one looks big! Is this a rabbit really?” Wash girl asks.

“Yes of course! That’s a Flemish Giant Rabbit” Says Chatty Guy “You see that boy there? He can’t lift that rabbit and even if he does, he will get tired in a few seconds.” He adds. He tells the wash girl that the rabbit will give about 5 kgs of meat. “It’s like a goat.” He says.

I get interested and so does Chilled out guy next to me.

“How much do you sell the Kits for?” He asks.

Chatty guy gives a price and goes on to educate us on the health benefits of rabbit meat. He indulges us on how his rabbit keeping works and even tells how much money he makes at the end of the month. If he isn’t lying, he is not doing badly at all. He is giving us this crash course in rabbit keeping when he suddenly mentions that previously he tried diary farming which according to him is utter nonsense. He now has the attention of Chilled out guy.

Kwani what did diary farming do to you?” Chilled out guy asks.

“Leave those animals alone. I can never repeat that nonsense again.” Chatty guy says agitatedly.

He goes ahead to explain how he got interest in diary cattle and decided to take it up as a business. He went and got a good breed-as advised. He was also advised to go farm his own feed. So he set aside his 20-acre farm to grow animal feed. He built an ultra modern shelter, bought machines, bought supplements, and employed two full-time employees-he invested heavily.

“How did it go?” Chilled out guy asks.

Chatty guy laughs sarcastically and says, “No where! The milk that the cows gave me couldn’t even pay the bills incurred. That thing doesn’t work! All those animals do is eat!”

“Maybe you did something wrong.” Chilled out guy says to him.

By this time, Chatty guy is on his feet explaining that he followed all the instructions given and yet got nothing out of the venture. His animated explanations soon get everyone laughing. Diary farming clearly did him a number. He will hear none of it.

“There’s a time customers came to buy milk in the evening. I had advertised that I had diary cattle and that milk was available in plenty. The queue was so long that it went past the gate. Thing is, the cows had just decided that they were not giving up any milk that day.” Chatty guy says. He then demonstrates how he hid from the customers because he couldn’t handle the drama.

“If I found a diary cow in my compound today my wife would have to explained where it came from before I send her away with it.” He says.

Chatty guy goes on a rant for the next few minutes. A rant that was rather hilarious to say the least. In the end, Chilled out guy tells us that he is actually into diary farming and it is quite lucrative for him. He makes a kill from it. Chatty guy says he doesn’t care neither does he want to hear about it. He is done with dairy farming.

“Do this,” Chatty guy offers “come for all the equipment I had bought for diary farming. I’ll give them to you for free.” We all burst out laughing at this.

“In fact, I gave my sister one of those cows and she is still struggling with it. I pity her. I pity everyone who thinks that they can make anything from diary farming.” Chatty guy adds.

The conversation goes on until my hair is done and I stand to leave. Chatty guy and Chilled out guy made my evening that Monday. They made me laugh silly. But I also learnt something. I learnt that the fact that something doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with it. Maybe it wasn’t meant for you in the first place. And don’t demonize it either. It could work perfectly for someone else.

Some of us will be rabbit keepers and it’ll work. Others will be into diary cattle farming and it’ll work. We can’t all do the same things and be the same. Do what works for you. Find your own version of rabbit rearing and do it. It’ll work if you work it. Yea?

  1. Mr. Chatty and I are in the same WhatsApp group.
    I’d fail, terribly 😂 This story reminds me of my attachment experience. Eish, tough times 😂

    I’m glad I finally found my rabbit.

  2. I have Chilled on my phone like the chilled guy until the last iota of this hard-to-leave-when-you-start piece.Felt pampered by the piece as if in the barbershop😂😂😂.

    Point taken,won’t curse and call names what don’t work for me!

  3. This is great Pst. The story is well narrated such that I’ve actually visualized how that chat was. I even feel like telling it to people na niongezee kachumvi

  4. Very true💯
    What might not work for me, might work for someone else. Don’t demonize it.
    Loved every bit of this story😂

    Looking forward to the next one. Blessings✨

  5. I like the flow of your story. Amazing & creative. Wait!! You had to remind us how “Kenya Kwanza Government is ignoring us😆

  6. Oh yes,we cannot all of us do the same thing. Find what works for you and don’t look for approvals from people.

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