Standing close to him you can smell sweat on him. Doesn’t stink though. A smell of effort. A smell of struggle. A smell of one trying to build a better future for his family and himself. He works at a construction site. He lays bricks, One over the other until bungalows, apartments, mansions or malls are complete. His name is Martin. His peers call him ‘pastor’. Not that he is religious or anything.
Recently I spent quite some time in a construction site. Most of us see big buildings but are ignorant of the effort it takes to stack bricks till it is what we see. At construction sites, men work like they are not sons of women. In construction sites men do not call their mothers. Men push themselves to the limits. There is less talk more actions. Rare they are told what to do. Each one knows his duty. It works like a well oiled machine. Less noise more work. These sites can be death traps. Bricks and tools can be deadly. Literally.
After months of blood seat and tears, Martin and his peers fold their tools and are off to lay bricks elsewhere. The building is now complete. the owner has an asset. His blood, sweat and tears too. If he doesn’t screw up he is on the right track to live his dreams.
We all want to be that guy who owns the building when the construction is complete. Even Martin wants to be that guy some day. In this life time.
I have this old (literally) friend who seems to be living it up on his investments. He lives his dreams.He is sixty something years doesn’t look his age though. Looks ten years younger. Thats what money should do to you. Drives a German automobile. He looks happy. Of all his investments you can tell he loves his Bar most. Its a nice medium sized bar with a restaurant.(i mean very nice) No lodge though.
He has a favourite table in his bar. He spends time there reading. Occasionally he holds court with younger men. Listen to their dreams, ambitions and insecurities,over tusker malt. His favourite drink.
He is happy with his investments. He says they are all he ever ever wished and worked for. He is among those who achieve their dreams. The only thing he intends to change is the roof of the car park. It is leaking.
Every time I hang out with him, am reminded that in building you lay a brick over the other one at a time. The mortar between the bricks should hold the bricks the best way possible. That way you end up with a perfect wall.With that he always sips the last of his second beer and heads home to have dinner with his wife. He always has dinner with his wife every day after two beers.
So last weekend he asked me of my investment dreams. It went something like this:
God willing I want to open a small coffee house. A coffee house like no other. A coffee shop that accommodates art .In there you disappear to the world of art. On the walls will be glorious paintings and pictures that tell stories, that inspire, that teach, that mock, that talk. Sculptures and carvings will be strategically placed. they shall be frozen realities. The biggest among them will be a rhinoceros carving that will cost me a fortune. I love rhinos. Am the only one who shall be allowed to sit on it- talk of dictatorship.
There shall be a small stage . Once in a while the stage shall host a live band. Not Ken wa maria or Tony Nyadundo. A soul or jazz band that play music not noise. Local rock bands will own the stage once in a while. The stage shall acts as a gallery once in a while for rare items.
The music will be soft to allow conversations. The music shall allow the guy in a grey suit lie his way to Ann’s heart or knickers (or whatever she will be wearing beneath.)On the wall shall be a TV set that shall be mostly of unless there are Hague proceedings. Outside shall be a table or two for smokers but the smoke shall not drift in the coffee house.I will remember to put a fan at the entrance.
The waiters shall he polite, clean and courteous.(like Maureen of Java Unafric, k-street). They shall not ask you “utatumia nini”
I will always prefer to sit on a stool bar by the counter. My old man shall prefer to sit by the window sipping a cappuccino while reading and occasionally look up smile at me exposing his false tooth.The coffee house shall be opened at nine in the morning to 10 pm after Janet Mbugua is done reading news. By then she will be Janet Ike- she will marry a Nigerian.
God willing I will then open several branches of the coffee house but the first will always be dear to me.
Next I will open up a small sports complex. By then most people shall be conscious of their health and keeping fit. there will be a gym, swimming pool, a spa, tennis court, martial arts centre, a basket ball court amongst other facilities, complete with trainers. It shall accommodate all, including the disabled.
Slowly it shall expand, increase and improve its facilities. People will get value for their money there. There shall be an in-house physician in case one gets hurt. People will come to the spa to find their lost selves .Hopefully before I grow senile foreign teams will hold camp there before big games. Including Brazilian ladies volleyball team.(have you seen those ladies?)
With that my sixty something year old friend downed his forth beer (double what he takes), looked me straight in the eye and said “i am late for dinner with my wife, and make sure the roofs of the car park do not leak”
sound track: the end is where we begin– thousand foot krutch, TFK