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February 16, 2019

Why we should start doing things once a year

Mbalamwezi Beach Club, Dar es Salaam
Mbalamwezi Beach Club, Dar es Salaam

 As you can tell from the pub review below, I was in Dar es Salaam this past weekend, which was my first time in this famous city on the coast of Tanzania.

As I was here, I interacted with many residents of that town and learned of their delicious food and reasonably priced drinks when out at night and much more.

One of the things I learned that took me a bit aback was that a sizeable group of Dar es Salaamers don't pay rent by the month. Many of them only meet their landlord once a year where they pay the rent for a whole year. Those who I asked about this way of paying rent were taken aback that I was so surprised by such 'strange ways'.

Upon further questioning, it was explained that people do this by saving money and then paying at the end of the year. This method worked because no one will be hustling them until the year ends. Landlords also loved this way of operating as it is easier for them to make plans for their investments as they receive larger sums of money.

Even as I started getting my mind around this, I started thinking about how this would work if this was to be in Nairobi – my home city. It would be very strange.

The landlords for one would have to change their penalty structures. Currently, many landlords charge you five per cent of the rent above the fee for payments after the fifth of the month so that if your rent is Sh20,000 you end up paying Sh21,000 monthly.

Many landlords, with our acceptance of these late days, already know that we pay late and some even go as far as to budget for that fine. If this new method of collecting money were to be done, then some landlords will have to find a way to plug that five per cent they collect every month. They have to find a way of ensuring that they get their Sh12,000 that they expect at the end of the year.

Actually, it's not uncommon for some Kenyans to pay yearly fees. People who pay car insurance are known to pay their fees once a year. Perhaps we should involve other parts of economy and general society so that we don't have to keep dealing with one another every month.

Let's start with the school system. We all know that students, as human beings, have to make mistakes every year. How about whenever you join a school you are assigned your annual punishment at the beginning of the year. Corporate punishment is illegal in Kenyan schools but there are other imaginative methods out there. If the school is known for giving tree stumps to students to uproot, then you as the student will be given your allotment for the year – one every year. After you have done this, you will be safe the rest of the year. If your school makes naughty students slash grass, then you will be required to do many fields of slashing at start.

If you are someone who is courting a young woman and you wish to favour her throughout the year, you should be supplied with an invoice that gives you all her requirements for the year. This invoice will include salon fees and all other fees for a whole year. With this, you won't expect to be told about someone needing money for a salon appointment or being suggested to by someone that they need M-Pesa to call an ailing mother.

And how cool would it be if one could go to their local and simply drop off a large sum of money to last for a whole year. So many Nairobians fail to budget for alcohol and they end us having massive holes in their budgets. Paying a year in advance will ensure that they have their allocated amounts of booze as they year goes along.

The only downside with this specific example is that the true Nairobian will probably run their tap of annual booze within a month, what with our horrible track record with disciple where this product is concerned. Actually, isn't that what Christmas is all about? Saving money to splurge in a short time?


Venue review: Mbalamwezi Beach Club, Mbezi Beach, Dar es Salaam

 Mbezi Beach in Dar es Salaam Tanzania is a decent beach in the commercial capital of Tanzania. I was fortunate to be in this city this past weekend. The entrance to Mbalamwezi Beach Club, the subject of our review, didn't look like a place which is designed for many cars as the parking lot on the outside was not well maintained. There were some gentlemen hanging out there in what we like calling Maasai clothes, who looked like they were the guardians of whatever came, and we left our vehicle at their mercy.

It was a Sunday and at the gate you are required to pay a fee of TSh5,000 (about Sh250) to access it. You also need to pay TSh6,000 for a little pool where kids were swimming.

The club is one of those on the beach and the materials used in there are mainly wood. At the entrance, there is a boat structure which gives it that dhow feel that made me start thinking that my host knew something about cool places. The structure was more of a cover from the sun, which was quite harsh (truth be told) with one area with a counter and TV above playing the big match.

I settled under that shade with my group and we ordered drinks. Mine was a cold Castle Lite, which was having a promotion and selling at TSh4,000 (around Sh200), which I'm told is quite high for that town. I was on break so I downed my beers and followed the exploits of West Ham and afterwards Arsenal as they both made it to the next round of the FA Cup.

As I was following the game there was an order of some chicken and shrimp mshikaki as well as chips and I enjoyed these very much. The folks from Tanzania really know their food.

One of the best things going for this place was that we could look to the ocean as we relaxed. Also enjoying the afternoon with us were a mix of families and what looked to be tourist elements. They were enjoying first the music, which included an eclectic mix of folks like the Bee Gees, Micheal Jackson and Tracy Chapman, before the Swahili Band took over.


A quick recap of the venue:

 Good: Great décor, clean washrooms, TV fans can watch the game

 Bad: Slow service, an entry fee might put off some, the distance means that not all Nairobians can access it.

 My verdict: A club on the beach where one can drink a cold beer and if need be follow their game. The natural décor is brilliant. Come with sandals as you need to feel the sand between your toes.


Twitter: @jamesmurua

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