She walks with a hump. She is one of those people unseen by a majority of us. She was born with a disability, and it shows. Several times, I picked her up several times, sometimes at 7pm as she walked down from Gichiengo (a small junction joint that connects Kijabe mission with the northern Nakuru – Nairobi road). Each time, she was carrying a sack of potatoes, or cabbages, or carrots. I never looked at her stuff therefore I cannot confirm what it is that she carries. All I know is that it is heavy.
The few times I have given her a ride, I have tried to have a conversation. But she speaks with a slur and it is hard to understand her speech. Therefore, the time I have given her ride, we travelled silently. One day, I was working near a matatu stop in Kijabe Mission at Harriet’s Bluff. She was standing on the northern side of the road: That is the left side of a car while driving north out of Kijabe. It was a hot dry day. Though she was hot, she could not hide under the trees where other people stand. She cannot dash to the other side quick enough if a matatu pulls up!
Two women, one young wearing jean, and another well modestly dressed in a skirt heard a matatu coming up. They were on the southern side of the road where there was a shade. They quickly moved to where she was. The matatu was not full therefore the two upright “normal” women got into the matatu. Then as if she did not exist, the matatu driver took off.
You see, she walks with a hump and even sitting in my car, she leans forward. I guess the matatu driver did not want to be inconvenienced by some “abnormal” human form riding in a matatu whose passengers are but perfectly formed. Several private cars going her direction with only one person passed her. You see it is hard to see those who are born with disabilities. I imagined if it were a well-dressed woman, beautiful and upright, the cars would have stopped.
As I watched her, I wished I had a car with me and going her direction to give her a ride. But I was not and there was nothing I could do. Some people speculate that her mother cursed her. Maybe that is why one day a car in front of me passed her. I picked her up behind them.
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As I finished my work at the bluff, someone picked her up. This was after almost an hour of burning in the sun. Almost an hour after many cars and matatus passed her by.
As I thought about this incident, I remembered a hymn, “Pass me not oh gentle savior. Hear my humble cry. While on others thou at visit, do not pass me by”. Must be the composer sat on the road side in the heat and cried, “Lord do not forget the list of these”.
Teddy Njoroge Kamau(PhD) SYR Radio/TV, Director International Desk. IMANISHA