The Croatian Affair


I usually watch the World Cup matches with my Old Man. Sometimes he leaves office early so he can catch the 5 p.m. matches. For the night games we brew coffee and we cheer every goal, and we cringe at every miss, and we breathe a sigh of relief when we hear the poetic sounds of Peter Drury pouring out the commentator box.

There’s a lady who hosts the analysis show on SuperSport. Old Man doesn’t like her too much. I don’t know why. I think it’s hot when a chick talks soccer.

Anyway, during game play we chip in our own analyses.

“Neymar amebore this time.”

“Hii VAR ni fake.”

“Haha, woiye Iwobi.”

Saturday before last, I missed to catch the quarterfinal match between Croatia and Russia with him because I was at a graduation party. It seems everyone is graduating this month. Every few days you get a forwarded message saying: I’ll be graduating this weekend. I’d love if you came to the party. 4pm till late. See you there.

It’s hard not to attend, really, especially if the graduate is your best friend’s sister.

Throughout the party I kept colliding with a rush of solemn emotion. I terribly missed the Old Man, I felt bad for leaving him to watch the game alone. I imagined he was all slack-faced and quiet, with no one else to talk to. (Mom can’t stand football). Maybe the coffee just didn’t taste the same. I couldn’t shake off the dark cloud of guilt over my head.

I was at a corner table, under a tent, staring down a bottle of beer. The patron next to me – the graduate’s cousin, I think – was educating me on Bitcoins.

For conversation, and to distract myself from the pangs of remorse, I asked the chap how Bitcoins work. And then I wished I didn’t, because I couldn’t understand any of it. I don’t recall a word he said. But he went on and on and on, and I thought, “Please God make it stop.”

I might have said it out loud.

It was the sort of event complete with a DJ and outside catering. Lunch was a buffet of the usual menus you find at such buffets. Including water melon. I didn’t know Novida was still in the market until I got to the end of the queue, where a black-uniformed lady was waiting with a bottle opener.

There were a few speeches after the meal. The Graduate’s folks said how proud they were, and that we were welcome into their home. There was a vote of thanks from the MC, and a final prayer. Then, as dusk fell, there were trays of nyama choma.

The compound was a seething cauldron of uncles and aunts, and little kids running around like startled geese. There was a yellow sign dangling from the tent, with the words ‘Congratulations Grad 2018’.

On my other side of me was my best pal, and every so often a relative would stop by, and say to him, “Na yako ni lini?”

It was funny at first, but then it got annoying, not least because they were interrupting some serious football banter. It was dispiriting for me too, because I also started to wonder, “Yangu ni lini by the way?”

I’ve been in campus three years, but I still can’t picture my disheveled ass in a graduation gown.

Ha! Imagine that. Mike Muthaka, columnist, reggae-loving, vodka-drinking bastard, with a glowing GPA, shaking hands with the Dean, receiving a cylindrical document – Bachelor of Arts, license to practice.

By 8 p.m. the tent was divided itself into factions. Men sat with men, and women sat with women. The millenials took up a round table. No gender lines here.

No beer guts, either. No discussions about school fees. No vernacular. No billowing laughs. It was more like soft chuckles, everyone slipping steadily into alcoholic nirvana. There were selfies, cool sneakers, and sneers at the DJ, whose music selection was so dreary that someone wondered out loud about the skills of said DJ.

But soon, the graduate – having slipped out of her graduation gown into something tight and playful – simply plunked a bottle of vodka on the table, and tongues loosened, and the music picked up the tempo. The DJ was giving it the full Davido.

My gaze fell on the girl seated across from me. She had arrived when I was on my third beer, accompanied by two guys. One of them was her boyfriend, but I didn’t know this until later, when I asked my pal if she was ripe for the taking.

Her braided hair fell to her shoulders. She had a tight dress, and a leather jacket. She had hips for days, man. She returned my stare, and I saw, or I think I saw, a bloom come over her round cheeks, ending in a fleeting blush.

Suggestive? Could it be that she undressing me with her eyes? I couldn’t tell for certain. But boy did I love it. We kept locking eyes. She held her drink with both hands. And suddenly I was the one doing the undressing. I was unburdening her of the drink, and her boyfriend, and leading her to my bed.

I was getting drunk.

At around 10 p.m. another guest arrived. A boy. Another leather jacket. He’s what you’d call fashionably late. He came when the DJ was playing Wizkid’s Soco. He had a grey god papa hat, and he looked like some sort of benign ecclesiastic.

He said hello to everyone and sat one seat away from me. I turned to him and said I liked his hat.

“Thanks,” he said.

“Where did you get it? I’ve always wanted a hat like that.” (Hehe, lies)


“For real? How much?”

“Five dollars.”

“Eh? So what took you to Amsterdam?”

“It was a study trip.”

“Ah nice. What’s the craziest thing you did over there?”

“Si unajua tu,” he said chuckling.

He spoke dreamily about the hotel rooms and the coffee shops and the weed. I chuckled, as if establishing a mutual understanding of his foreign conquests. I couldn’t share in his enthusiasm, though. My thoughts were split between Old Man back home and the forbidden fruit seated across from me.

She had stopped looking at me, now tapping at her phone. A crowd gathered behind her, they all had their eyes trained on her screen.

Turns out the fruit hooked up a live stream to the World Cup match, which had gone on to penalties. My attraction for the fruit was now threw the roof.

I stood up quickly and went round to take a peek. I saw Rakitic go up to take the kick. If he scored, Russia would be kicked out of the World Cup and Croatia goes into the semis.

The music died out like a spent wind. The world held its breath. My mind went back to Old Man.

I see him on the couch, in socks, holding a mug of coffee. I see him tense up. He’s a Barcelona fan, so Rakitic is a familiar face. I see the commentator going quiet, and I see the silence that whips into the living room.

Rakitic kicks.

It’s a goal.

Croatia advance.

A loud cheer erupts from the table of old men. The women look on in amazement, before collectively wondering what the excitement is about. At our table the cheer was more subtle, and someone said, “Si nilikuambia, hii kitu ni ya Croatia.”

Then I see Old Man retiring to bed with a smile. And I smile along with him.


But I’m not smiling now. It’s the night of the World Cup final, and France has won. I’m writing this with my snotty hanky on hand.

I feel bad for Croatia. I really do. I cried when I saw the players holding back tears. And I cried even harder when I saw Giroud – a French player who has had no impact on any game whatsoever – French kissing the Cup and shouting into the cameras.

The world is truly unfair, and I’m of the opinion that VAR should be outlawed from here on out. What’s the point if the damn ref doesn’t know a ball-to-hand when he sees it?

There’s a silver lining, though. And his name is Luka Modric. Short-legged, long-haired, and pointy-nosed; Modric stepped onto the pitch and grabbed hearts everywhere. He captained the underdogs. He chased down the ball, and created chances, and put the brakes on England, even though the team was suffering some tired limbs. And in the end, with the rain falling with an open handed velocity, he was awarded the Golden Ball.

The entire world nodded in agreement. And his President even gave him a warm, lingering hug. Doubtless Giroud was a little jealous.

If you read Modric’s story you’ll find that his parents worked in a factory. His grandpa was killed when he was barely six years old, and he was forced to live as a refugee for a while. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for the lad. And now I hear there’s a court case against him.

I bet the President, while hugging him, said: “I’ll make sure the case is dropped. Okay, son? You’ve made me so proud.”

He’s come a long way, Modric, from playing football in a cramped parking lot to where he is. And I tip off my hat to him.

Here’s to Luka Modric.

Here’s to Croatia.
Mike blogs at www.mikemuthaka.com

Dirty little feet
Some bird watching

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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