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Experts weigh in on borrowing and entitlement to other people’s help, especially when done voluntarily

By Sandra Wekesa
Wednesday, July 7th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Of entitled ‘beggars’.

Sandra Wekesa @wekesa_sandra

The news that former Tahidi High actor Peter Kamau Kinuthia aka Omosh was broke again after getting help from well-wishers caused furore and anger. 

Many people were taken aback by what they referred to as the audacity that pushed Omosh to ask for more, weeks after he had received contributions in cash, assets and kind from well-wishers.

The whole scenario left many wondering the level of entitlement individuals have to people’s promises and contributions.

In many African communities, borrowing after you have received financial assistance was always seen as taboo.

The community would say the constant need for help and assitance is a result of something you might have done wrong in your past. 

In the Luo community, for an instance, this was the case.

“Back then, you couldn’t depend on people for everything; you were only allowed to borrow once.

In fact, the act of borrowing itself was hard because it would be discussed within the community and you would end up being ashamed,” says Olang’o Ogot, a Luo elder.

Touchy subject

Shadrack Kyove, a psychologist, says borrowing is a touchy topic because many things could go wrong, thus, it is essential to be aware of a few things or you might risk losing trust from your friends and loved ones.

He adds that being a borrower carries a tremendous amount of responsibility because you need to be careful not  to step on or meddle with someone’s kindness and generosity. 

“You shouldn’t overstep it or act as though it is a debt if that person takes long to give you what they promised.

It is important to be patient and ask politely about anything that you might want assistance with be it money, food, or even financial aid,” he says.

To him, the one mistake people make when following up on a promise, is acting entitled. 

“You can always remind them, on the pending promise, or do a follow up on the possibility of them fulfilling their promise, politely.

The hardest part you might experience is waiting silently for them to fulfil their promise, which might tempt you to jump in with more words or give possible alternatives on what could be done instead that can match up with what they had promised, which is not right,” he says.

He adds that this even stretches to that family member who always feel entitled to their relatives or sibling’s money.

“The fact that someone offers to help you once doesn’t mean that anytime you have a problem, they will always be there to help. It is good for you to plan yourself with the little you get from their assitance,” he adds. 

Rufense Chelimo, an accountant, says people’s entitlement hit hard in a relationship as opposed to friendships or even family.

She recalls an incident where she secured a job for her ex-fiancé, which didn’t go as planned because he wasn’t committed. She later established a clothing business for him.

“He had one job; to ensure he sold clothes and grew the business. Despite investing in it, I never got to see any benefits, which I was okay with because it was his business.

However, he had the audacity to borrow from me money for everything, including for his personal maintenance,” she recalls.

It was  no surprise that they later broke up, because she realised that he was just using her and that she never felt secure with him because he always felt entitled to her property and money.  From this experience, she learnt not to let anyone take advantage of her generosity.

Boundaries of borrowing

Dr James Kariuki, a lecturer of sociology and social work at University of Nairobi says, trust is the core of any relationship, be it friendship, siblings and even family.

He adds that saying the truth about what you need money for always lays the foundation of how they will deal with the problem; that is why asking for financial help from friends, family and even well-wishers isn’t a problem. 

“I mean, so many people go through a lot of financial problems and at times they need help in sorting out these problems.

In most cases you will get assistance, but also, you need to make sure you don’t overdo it for them to feel like you are becoming a burden,” he says.

He adds that one thing people miss out on is exercising the little etiquette you need in asking for money, for example, asking politely, being honest without making people feel guilty or obligated and being as transparent as possible to them.

“But the most important etiquette of them all is appreciating the little you are given and working hard to avoid the same circumstance you have been found in again.

Don’t just use up all the money to pay your debts at one, first look for a business that will help solve these debts and stay paying them off slowly,” he says.

Sandra Wekesa