The Eleventh Hour:I had gone on holiday when I decided to go and see a piece of land I had purchased while in diaspora. From what I had been told by my people on the ground, the place had not been developed despite the place being in a strategic place. After arriving in the city, I went straight to see for myself whether there was any development going on. I was surprised to find that 98% of the place had been developed and children in the neighbourhood were using my plot as their playground.
I parked my car next to the land as I explored the place. The children went on playing with taking notice of my presence despite the land being mine. Within minutes, I saw some two men in a salon car come and stop next to my car. They came out smiling boldly and I smiled back.
‘Hello sir, I am Martin and this is my brother Bob. We live around here,’ said one of the men as he extended his hand.
‘I am Kambugua, I am just enjoying the weather!’ I said as I looked at them straight on the face.
‘I guess you are looking for a land to buy, am I right?’ he asked me now smiling more than ever.
‘Well…Yes! Why do you ask me that question?’ I asked him.
‘We can sell you all this land if you want it. We are the Land agents and we can make you a very good deal. The owner lives in America and he has told us to sell it,’ he said.
I was shocked but I forced myself to hide the shock. The land was mine for a number of years in the first place. Secondly, I lived in the UK not America so I knew for a fact that I was dealing with con men. They went on to tell me about the price but I informed them that the price was too high for me. After so much persuasion and with their persuasion bearing no fruit, they decided to leave but not without giving me their contacts in case I changed my mind. From that moment, I knew that I had to fence the land and place a person on the land as a caretaker. I quickly made plans of building a semi-permanent house and a toilet because somebody had to be on the land.
I asked my friends whether they knew of anybody who needed free accommodation as he or she took care of the land and I was told of a certain woman who was a stranger to me. I did not mind anybody so long as he or she was breathing in and out and would show signs of life while on the land. On the third day when the house was complete, I decide to meet the woman myself in my plots. She came carrying her paraphernalia on sacks. With her were four children who looked painfully thin with protruding stomachs. Their skins were very dry and their clothes were tattered. The woman, despite being in her sixties was also thin, just like her children. Her shoes were old and torn. From a distance, I had already formed an opinion on the family’s status.
‘Hi, I guess you are the lady my friend was telling me about?’ I asked her.
‘Yes, I am the one. I am glad to meet you and the word ‘Thank you’ is not enough,’ she said in a very low tone that suggested that she was either sick or very hungry.
‘My name is Kambugua and I am the owner of this land,’ I told her.
‘No, you are not Kambugua, you are our Angel. You have just come to my life and that of my grandchildren at the right time, eleventh hour. I have not paid rent for the last three months and the landlord was getting impatient with me. In fact, my grandchildren and I were to be thrown out of the house this week. We had nowhere to go so you can imagine my joy when I was informed that you wanted somebody to be a care taker of your land,’ she said with tears flowing from her eyes.
‘You keep on referring your children as your grandchildren, where are their parents?’ I asked her.
‘Don’t even mention that! All these children belong to my daughter who is a drunkard! All what she does is wake in the morning and go to the drinking dens. One year has passed since the last time I saw her. She had gone to drink as usual and then fell by the road side. Some people came to know that she was my daughter so they brought her to my house late at night. She could not even recognise me or her children. She did not even seem concerned that she had not seen her children for more than one year. The following day she left. I have never seen her again although I understand that she is still drinking and taking drugs. Now I am the father and mother of these four children. I do menial jobs to survive so you can imagine the task of taking care of all these children with no income,’ she narrated as more tears continued to flow from her eyes.
Some weeks later, my holiday was over and I was back to England. I had not talked to the grandmother for two years since I was back to UK because I wanted them to have peace of mind.
During my last holiday, I decided to go and visit them, just to know how they were doing. On entering the compound, I did not find anybody. I decided to wait in my car outside, maybe the family was just nearby. One hour gone, two hours, going to three…yet there was nobody coming to the house? I asked the most immediate neighbour whether he had seen them that day. He first asked me who I was and I told him that I was his neighbour. He then ushered me in to his house and we started talking just to break the ice.
He told me that the grandmother in my land had had a misfortune in that he had been in the hospital for one week.
‘She has been in hospital…what happened? Was she sick?’ I asked in bated breath.
‘No she was not sick…just a misfortune. Too sad you know,’ he said.
As far as I knew it was a misfortune to have four little children to take care of without any income. It was also a misfortune to live in someone’s land because the landlord can ask you to vacate any time.
‘Please, do not tell me that there is death in the family…God!’ I said.
‘About a week ago, as the grandmother was going to look for a casual job in the nearby coffee plantation, she had to pass through the big river nearby. There is no permanent bridge, only some few logs that are laid down to connect both sides which is very dangerous. On that particular day, it had rained cats and dogs and the river had burst its banks. Many casual labourers decided not to report to work because it was too dangerous to cross the river using the logs. There was no way the grandmother could afford not report to work because the few shillings she would get would help her buy some food for her grandchildren. No sooner had she set her foot on the logs than she was swept away by the roaring, angry floods that were coming from all directions.
The people nearby saw that she had been swept away so they shouted on top of their voices for help just in case there was somebody who knew how to swim. One man who knew her decided to swim anyhow in order to rescue her but she had already been swept away from the sight. People did not lose hope so they decided to go downstream to look for her but they could not see her. They all presumed that she was already dead,’ he narrated.
I listened to the story and I was now becoming restless. If she died, who would take care of the poor kids?
‘By good luck, as the angry river floods flowed downstream, the grandmother gained some little strength and edged towards a tree by the side of the river amid tough waves. She got hold of it and refused to let it go. Meanwhile, some trees branches had gathered around her so she was not visible. She could see people looking for her but any time she tried to raise her head, more tree branches upstream gathered around her and covered her.
While still in that difficult situation, she decided to talk to God one to one. She subconsciously asked God to remember that she had her grandchildren who depended on her. She went on to ask God to give her another chance in life and to remember at least one good thing that she had done in this world. While still in that mood of prayer, some branches that had covered her head moved away one by one so her head became visible. Many people had given up and had started going back to their homes but by good luck, one man saw her raise her head and swam towards her and removed her to safety! When people saw this, they cried with joy. They even did a small fundraising to take her to the hospital. I have been seeing her and she is doing well. She will be okay in one or two days’ time. Meanwhile, her grandchildren are with a well-wisher,’ he concluded.
Hang on a minute! Why did bad things had to happen to the grandmother? Was there a generational curse in the family that was following her everywhere? If your life does not change from January to December, please ask yourself whether you are under a curse. For example, you live with a daughter of someone and you have never told her parents that you are with her? Are you serious? You have never ever sent a coin to your in-laws and you expect blessings? Are you joking? Are you the type of people who quarrel with parents all the time? And you expect blessings? Curses are real, no wonder even your children and great grandchildren will carry the curse even to the fourth generation. The time to act is NOW!
There are times in our lives when we encounter problems and those problems can only be solved by God. No doubt, God heard the grandmother’s cry and gave her a second chance in life. What I know is that not everybody can be given a second chance. Some people in our midst are so bad that God cannot wait to put them in the hottest spot in hell. These are people who do not want other people to prosper, they are rumour mongers and their work is to divide people. Problems can come to anybody. Do an audit in your life and see whether God can send Angels in the eleventh hour when you are suffering.
Written by: Man ManKambugua aka L.J. Carlos – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org facebook: Man ManKambugua