It all started with my search for an internship or a job, anything that I could get to keep me occupied and enhance my experience in my journalism career. I was lucky enough to attend two interviews at a very popular and legit media station within Nairobi, so i must say I was extra optimistic about it.
I had been waiting for that specific call for a while telling me I got the job. After 2 weeks I had already given up and was applying to other media stations. On June 8, specifically on a Thursday, I was awakened by a strange call at 7.00 am. ‘Hello, am calling from bleh bleh media station and am glad to inform you that you have succeeded to get the 3 month paid internship you had applied for. I have been trying to call you for 3 consecutive days without reach.’ How sympathetic I was with the poor guy, he had been trying to reach me for 3 days! 3 days!!! Without reach. Smh… I quickly apologised to him and lied about loosing my phone, I felt guilty due to the fact that I had switched off my phone, and this was an opportunity that was almost missed. I related his voice with one of the guys that was in the panel from my second interview.
‘I want you to come to the station in our head offices and carry with you a copy of your CV and original documents, ‘he added. ‘Jeez, how many of these do they really need?’ I wondered. I had sent a soft copy of my CV and documents via email and also taken with me a copy of the same CV and the original documents to my second interview, hmmm… okay then , who am I to question an employer right. ‘Oh, and you also need a medical letter which you will get from the Aga khan hospital at ksh3,500, when you come to the station you shall be refunded the money. ‘Ala! why would I pay the hospital, then be paid back by the future employer?’ all this did not make sense, but I was too excited to think through it. My ‘hr guy’ gladly sent me the number of a certain ‘ Dr. Okore’ to save me the trouble once I got to the hospital. 0720575409.
I quickly started the preparations by ironing and heading to the shower quite excited. When I was out, I thought about calling ‘Dr. Okore’ to confirm the whereabouts of the Aga khan branch that he was located. At first I contacted a woman who told me that it was a wrong number and she had received so many of the calls. So I decided to call back my ‘hr guy’. He quickly told me to pick up a pen and jot down the actual number saying that he probably had it confused, he was busy lol…
Sigh.. I took the new number and called it quickly switching to my American accent, ready to speak to my ‘doctor.’ He had a rather deep unbothered voice ,but what was weird was his struggle to speak English. I mean, a doctor stammering basic English words! how now? How does he relate with the patients? It was actually very funny. After a few seconds he quickly switched to Swahili and sheng which I gladly reciprocated thinking he just wanted to sound casual maybe, ionno. I had never had to take the letter before so I didn’t know the specific details.
‘ Aki ata natoka, tufanye ivi, nitumie details zako nitengeneze letter nitume directly kwa company. Natumai hauko pregnant...’ He said trying to sound serious as hell. I laughed slightly and asked if he had ever sent it directly before or it was just me. He quickly answered yes he has. ‘Nitatuma directly uko, alafu wewe ntakutumia copy na receipt.’ he said. ‘Nmeambiwa ni 3500? ‘ I asked. ‘Ndio, utatuma na mpesa, utanitumia tu details zako, majina, i.d na miaka, alafu usiwaambie ulinitumia details, staki uingie kwa shida hehe...’ He said. ‘ Alafu, niulize, my insurance can’t pay for that?’ I asked. ‘Apana, inafaa kukua cash.’ He replied nervously. I hesitantly agreed asking myself so many questions. Why would the Hr of such a big organization require me to get a medical letter from a specific hospital at a specific price? Why is this doctor sounding so fishy? Why should I pay ksh3500 for body scans that haven’t happened? Why is this guy getting off from work the moment I want to go, and why specifically that doctor with all those doctors in the said hospital? Aaah, so much fishyness, things were not adding up for me.
I decided to call the lady who had called me for the previous interviews. ‘Those are thugs, they did that to some people last week and they sent them the money, do not send them it’s fake!’ She told me rather pissed at the situation. A part of me hoped that it was legit and I had actually gotten the job, I was quite disappointed, but quite relieved that I wasn’t conned money I barely had.
I sat back relaxed laughing at the situation, ‘Dr. Okore’ called me back and my brother picked up the phone pretending to be a police officer, he quickly hang up and probably blocked me.
These people are smart I must say, it is well crafted, they understand that Kenya has a big lot of citizens desperately seeking jobs, and would willingly do anything to get them. Whoa! The Big question is, how did they acquire the information that I had applied for the certain job, which I did privately in the house?