The story follows Meja and Maina, two young boys who move to the city after obtaining their secondary school diplomas. They hope to find jobs in order to support their families back home. Initially unsuccessful, the pair live in dumpsters, eating rotten fruit and stale cakes, unable to return home as failures. Eventually, they obtain jobs at a farm working for a very rich family. Maina causes problems in the house while blaming Meja, who suffers the consequences. Meja is put on half rations, moved from job to job, then has his rations almost completely revoked. After Maina’s biggest episode, the pair lose their jobs. Mania and Meja split after Mania steals from a store and gets Meja in trouble. Meja flees home only to return to the city and work in a coal mine. Maina joins a gang in “shanty land,” led by a boy named Razor who claims they went to school together. Here, Maina attempts to run a scheme selling milk to clients in the area, which he has stolen from the rich neighborhood. Eventually, he is caught. The pair meet up again in prison, but soon go their separate ways. Meja continues to go in and out of prison, and Maina ends up on trial for murder.