, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – Cash windfalls in the hundreds of millions is often the stuff that sweet dreams are made of but for Geoffrey Kung’u, on December 31, it ceased being a reality one could only dream of when he won Sh100 million playing the lottery.
And so it was that he came to say “Lotto sio ndoto,” over and over again at the formal cheque presentation on Thursday.
It would have been hard to pick the 41-year-old potato and cabbage farmer out of a crowd at the event just going by the matching jeans shirt and trouser he had on with a hooded jacket thrown over but it’s not every day that a person wins Sh100 million; in fact before Kung’u, never before in Kenya’s 50 year history.
He was therefore ushered into the venue, a Nairobi hotel, by an entourage of dancers who led him, his wife and their two children – in matching hooded jackets – to their seats with a security detail behind them.
The muscle was hard to miss given their dark suits, dark glasses and ear pieces jutting out.
“With God,” however, Kung’u told Capital FM News, he had nothing to fear but he did admit to an “unease” about the whole thing.
You see before the night of Saturday, December 31, Kung’u was just a man on a tractor playing the Lotto lottery odds on his cell phone, behind his wife’s back, as he ploughed his seven acres, two on rent.
A couple of days later, he not only has the will but the means to buy hundreds of acres more and so his sense of disbelief at the enormity of it all, is understandable.
“When I got the call informing me of my win, the family cautioned me against getting too excited as it might be conmen from Kawangware.”
Still, he says, he had a “feeling” the third time he played that Saturday that he was in it to win it.
“The third time I played, the text with the lucky numbers didn’t come in until night-time.”
The lethargy he’d felt getting up that morning to tend to his farm in Nyandarua, he says, is what prompted him to play. He’d done so 33 times before then, having first started in April of last year.
So it was that he turned out third time lucky; making a handsome return on the Sh1,800 he’d spent on Lotto that far. “But I wasn’t just betting on Lotto,” he makes clear.
And while his disbelief becomes evident when he makes reference to his winnings as Sh100,000 as opposed to Sh100 million or more accurately Sh80 million after tax, he makes clear that he’s not so blinded by the cash as to be easily taken advantage of.
“Cause I don’t want to be disturbed by so many people calling me, giving me this and this and this so definitely I’m going to change my number. At this particular moment I’m mteja. Gachugua system I don’t want. For the coming months I’ll be a billionaire not a millionaire.”
In fact, he says, he wishes Lotto hadn’t made such a ruckus about his win when they visited his home, caravan in tow, on January 1. “Hiyo ilikuwa mambo ya nyumbani.”
That being said, the farmer who once dreamt of winning big by becoming a public health officer, is however not averse to taking the occasional selfie with those mesmerised by his win as was a female security guard at the Nairobi hotel.