As people flocked the national celebrations in Narok, practitioners of the world’s oldest profession carried their flag high
Manuel Ntoyai @Manuel_Ntoyai
A s Narok town simmers down from the hive of activity that had hypnotised the area last weekend: businesses witnessed such a bloom, and even recorded huge profits. One of such is the oldest profession in the world.
Commercial sex workers are known to flock the South Rift town during wheat harvesting seasons, where they target the farmers, most of who are quite loaded. This time round, they had their eyes on a different type of client: government officials and other guests, visiting the town for the Madaraka Day preparations and celebrations. With local hotels witnessing 80 per cent bookings two weeks prior to the event, their mission would never have been clearer.
The armed forces, who arrived with their May salaries and further armed with allowances, were the first batch targeted.
“When they landed, we knew we were about to make a killing. These ones are so thirsty that they do not bargain whatsoever. We normally charge Sh300 per shot, but these ones we charged them Sh500 and above and they pay. Some want to have sex almost the whole night so we charge them at least sh3,000,” Susan Wanjiku* told PD.
For some workers, it was time to reap their taxes back from the government, payback time as government officials ferried the commercial sex workers at night to their prestigious hotels.
“We slept at the best hotels here, drunk expensive liquor, enjoyed buffets and got paid in clean, crispy and new notes. We are finally “feeling the government” in our pockets and other places,” said one who insisted on being called Vero only.
With most standard hotels booked, the latecomers had to settle for the dingy lodges, and the commercial sex workers saw an opportunity to make some more money. “I met the client near Nyawira’s place and that’s where I usually hang out waiting for the next customer. I had had two customers already when a guy approached me asking if I knew where he could get another lodge. It was already past 2am and jokingly, I asked him if he could sleep at my place and to my amazement, he agreed. We drove to my place and I killed two birds with one stone. He has been staying at my place now for the last three days,” she adds.
To prove her point, after 1am, I stepped out of my hotel and Kadaddy, my boda boda guy, took me around the town. Their entire hangout spots were deserted. “This is unusual. Even when we have wheat farmers around, there is usually a number of them hanging around clubs and their usual spots, but up to Majengo, where one usually finds the cheap ones, they are not there; they are all busy,” he says. In other words, competition was stiff.
No good tidings
According to him, the visitors come bearing not so good tidings at all. “At night the army guys are very arrogant, apart from not paying for the bodas, they spend good money at the bars, and if you are friends with one, you are sure of a few drinks every evening. They kept boasting that they are bringing pesa, magonjwa na mimba za mapema (money, diseases and early pregnancies),” he adds.
Despite the county government of Narok having earlier distributed 4,000 boxes of condom to bars, lodges, hotels and other social places for free, the demand for them was so huge that they ended up being sold.
“When a man comes to a lodge with a woman, it is not rocket science on why they are there. Most of them want a condom, which we gladly sell to them at Sh30 for a set of three. I’ve sold a number of boxes since we were given and no one is complaining,” stated a lodge attendant at Sarufa Guest House.
With HIV prevalence at 2.7 per cent in the county, the leadership was keen to set up preventive measures by distributing condoms. However, not all adhered to this. Vero says while some commercial sex workers will never agree to have sex without a condom, others are too willing.
“Most of them have ‘been burnt’ (meaning they have HIV) and are on ARVs. They will normally ask for a condom, but when one wants it raw and is willing to pay more, why not? After all, they know what they are doing,” she says with a shrug.