I’ve been in Nairobi recently to attend the memorial service of a dear aunt and friend. As is the way with many of our African cultures, the mourning period is when friends, relations and the odd purveyor of crocodile tears, visit the home of the deceased to pay their respects to the immediate family.
This usually lasts until the remains of the deceased are interred or otherwise disposed of.
Most visitors at such times generally mean well and genuinely mean to bring a measure of comfort with them as they condole with the bereaved. However, there are also those for whom curiosity and a chance to gossip about the bereaved or those they have left behind is the key driver.
During these mourning periods, there are a number of stock characters that appear without fail. For instance, there is that aunty or friend (often female, but not exclusively so) who wants to be the one who was there for you when you had your big emotional breakdown, as if there is some sort of honour to be gained or a prize of sorts.
They resort to all sorts of tricks to make you cry, including talking to you and appearing to be on the brink of a breakdown themselves, and having to change their expression when they realise it isn’t going to be that easy.
Then there are those nosy relatives who want to know why you are not married yet, and if there is a significant other on the scene at least. These nosey parkers don’t just turn up at funerals, but at weddings and all other family gatherings. While for some the concern for your romantic welfare is thought to come from a good place, for many it is just gossip fodder.
It is for this latter crowd that I have decided to see if I can find investors for an escort agency. One that provides a good Christian (or whatever faith is necessary) boyfriend or girlfriend to accompany you to events where the nosey rosey’s and their male counterparts the nosey parkers are expected to be lying in wait for you, the poor singleton.
I am not reinventing the wheel here. It has been done before elsewhere, and I think it could work very well in Nairobi and spread through to the rest of the country and eventually, the region.
The scheme I saw comes with two packages: The first includes hiring the person for a four-hour event and provides a background story to how the two of you met, and a picture on Facebook or Instagram. The second more expensive package adds matching outfits, clean parent-appropriate jokes, the ability to quote from the Bible (or whatever book of faith you use), family photos and videos.
I can already see an Africa-wide franchise for this idea. After failing to convince people to lend me money to invest into the business of death (funeral homes, hearses, funeral insurance, etc.), I think this madcap idea may be the one that finally makes my fortune and helps me in my old age as retirement prepares to beckon.