Saturday, January 26, 2013

100 million Cheque: Part 1

 Guest post by Samuel G. Njenga

On that Saturday I was extremely tired after a drive to and from Nakuru together with my good friend and business partner Paul. When we were somewhere along the Northern By-pass, Paul suggested that we pass by his friend’s place somewhere at Ridgeways. I was really tired and all I wanted was to go home and have a rest. Somehow Paul convinced me otherwise because he really wanted to see some guest houses his friend was doing.

When we entered his compound, Mark was on hand to receive us. A very talkative fellow who could not stop smiling. He took us round the magnificent 10 bedroom maisonette which occupied approximately 50% of his ½ acre land. The property boasts of two large living rooms, with double ceiling and feature staircase, two large modern design kitchens, with exquisite finish of granite and wood. There are ten en-suite bedrooms with external balconies whose bathrooms are fitted with hot water Jacuzzi bath tubs and separate shower cubicles. There is also an office study, prayer/gym room, TV room, and SQ with 4 rooms. I also noticed wooden pergolas over all balconies. A stunning property with exquisite gypsum ceilings throughout. A site to behold.

Externally, there is approximately 1/4 acre of mature garden with immaculate landscape and design the main entrance has bridge with water feature and fountains for a memorable welcome. There is also a stunning swimming pool with hot Jacuzzi, gazebo, changing and shower rooms. I also saw 4 covered car parks and additional open car park areas that could fit 8 or so cars.

The property had been converted into a guest house and Mark was very jovial narrating how the idea struck him. In fact, what was bothering his head was how to market his services. Inside the house, one of the rooms had been converted into his office. We finally sat inside his office and he started telling us of his immediate plans on how to market the guest house. While he was talking nonstop, I noted a bible on top of the table and my curiosity got the better of me. I took it and started flipping through. Somewhere stuck within the pages of the bible, I saw a cheque leaf, torn into two pieces but looking very very old. My eyes couldn't help but notice something weird about the cheque other than how tattered it was. It was a cheque drawn by Mark and to himself (drawer and payee were the same), done in 2007 and with a figure of One Hundred Million. Well, my head got thinking….and I finally gathered the courage to ask him what the cheque was all about.

He subconsciously rose from his seat and with a lot of excitement he started pacing around the office. It is like my question took him down memory lane and he remembered something. What followed was a story that has stuck in my head for some time because it was not only amazing but I realized that Mark had gone through one roller coaster ride in his life.

The dude was once working for an insurance firm based in Nairobi, rose through the ranks and became a manager in 2006. As a manager he had a company vehicle, attended big meetings on behalf of the firm and everyone out there thought he was doing very well. The unfortunate thing is that despite his big position, his pay was a paltry 60k. He got so frustrated because in his own words; his was a dog’s life; barking at the behest of the master and living from hand to mouth. He realized he was not heading anywhere in his life.

One day, he decided to call it quits. He wrote a resignation letter, dropped it at their HR office and left in a huff. When he reached home, he thought of his next steps but all was dark ahead of him. It is then that he pulled out his cheque book and wrote himself a cheque of 100 million. He put it inside his bible and went down on his knees in prayers.

“Lord God, I have written this cheque in total trust and belief. I am at the lowest point in my life but I know you can lift me up to the glory of your name. Amen”

In his own words, he was to work extremely hard and pay himself 100 million in 5 years’ time and as to where the money was to come from, he had no clue. The story got juicier and I lost track of time as I listened to him…………..more onthis in the next post.

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