Diaspora Stories: Things we miss most about living in Kenya
Diaspora Stories: Things we miss most about living in Kenya. Most of the times after work, there was a place where we all used to meet those days in Africa. We would eat and drink and tell each other stories, something that made us see the value of living within a society. It did not matter whether one was educated or not, once we met, everyone was a brother or a sister to the other.
I am sure every person in diaspora misses that kind of life. In the Western countries, there is no social life especially in England. The locals do not want to know you and they also do not want you to know them. This does not mean that England is a bad country, far from that! I cannot bite the hand that feeds me so I will refrain from discussing my country in bad light.
We would stay in our meeting place even up to 2 a.m. with no care in the world. Those with cars would offer lift to those who did not have. Talk of unity! Talk of being a brother’s keeper! I cannot confess that there were no differences amongst us, but they were very minimal.
One day, it happened that I was to go home earlier than I was used to. This meant that anybody who wanted me to give him a lift had to go with me also. I was usually used to offering a lift to two gentlemen called Jim and Jack. Both were car mechanics somewhere in river road and were very good friends. They both used to live in an estate that was associated with people who were of low means, so I did not mind them saving the fare.
With time, I noticed that anytime I offered one of them a lift, the other one would refuse to come along. One day, I had offered Jim a lift and I asked him whether him and Jack were no longer friends.
“Man Man, how comes you don’t know about Jack?” asked Jim.
“What is it about Jack that I don’t know?” I asked.
“Have you ever seen my cousin’s last two children?” he asked me.
“Not really. Maybe I will have a chance to see them one day” I replied.
“Another question, when you look at Jack’s head, how does it look like?” he asked. I tried to figure out how it looked like and I was unable to fully describe it. When he was younger, it was cone shaped at the middle. I told Jim that I had never paid attention to the shape of Jack’s head.
“Even a fool knows that Jack’s head looks like mandazi!” he said.
“I still don’t get what you are trying to say. What’s the connection between your cousin’s two children and Jack’s shape of his head?” I asked.
“My cousin’s last two children have got heads that resemble that of Jack. I have a very strong feeling that the wife to my cousin goes an extra mile after greeting Jack,” he said.
I was shocked at his confession to me about what he thought of his friend Jack. Being someone who values peace, I informed him that not unless he did DNA test on the children, he should not conclude that they were fathered by his friend. He then told me that there were rumours that for six months before, Jack was in a relationship with a lady who was reputed to be having a dangerous disease, so he was just a passer-by in this world.
It reached a point where I asked Jim whether it would be okay if Jack, him and I could have a meeting with me as the mediator for them to iron out the differences and he was okay with that. We agreed that I would have a word with Jack before then which I did.
On the coming Saturday we met as agreed in one of the hotels in Nairobi (Hotel Accra to be precise). For them to open, I made sure that they both took at least three beers each before the meeting. After the third beer, Jack had an urgent urge to go to the toilet. It was at this time that Jim stood up from his seat and raised his eyes up the ceiling and started mimicking a pastor performing a burial ceremony.
‘…May you help this servant of yours called Jack. We loved him but you loved him more father. No doubt his days are numbered in this world simply because he could not zip up his trousers. We know that choices have consequences so if you decided to throw him into the lake of fire, may your will be done. Amen!’
When Jim finally opened his eyes, Jack had already come back. On seeing him, he sat down then stood up and in praise and worship mood, he started singing;
“In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
In the sweet by and by, we shall met on that beautiful shore…”
He finally ended the song with a big Amen!
I started the meeting by thanking both for attending and I reminded them that we are all passers-by in this world and that we should treat each other with dignity and respect since all of us will one day. When Jim heard my sentiments, he stood up and angrily said that it was obvious Jack would go before others since he had a dangerous disease.
“How do you know that I am sick? Are you a Doctor of Medicine? Get lost you ****** (unprintable),” he exclaimed.
“Who does not know that you have been having an affair with my cousin’s wife who has been on medication for ages! If I were you, I would go confess my sins to God since my days in this world are numbered,” said Jim.
Jack stood up and grabbed Jim by the neck and shook Jim many times. Meanwhile, he was also trying to grab his neck and was kicking him severally with his elbow. Soon a full fight was eminent and had attracted many people who told them to maintain peace or be taken to police station.
They had to be peaceful or face the inconvenience of being locked up for the whole weekend. As he sat down, Jim told Jack that if it were not for that strange, dangerous disease that he was suffering from, he could have killed him.
“But why should I do God’s work. God gives and God takes. It’s God who regrettably gave us you and it’s him who is about to come for you,” he said.
Though the meeting did not go as expected, some tension was relieved since Jim and Jack finally agreed to bury the hatchets. Be careful what you say because you cannot take it back.
Towards the end of the year, Jack started showing signs of sickness. He started coughing uncontrollably and being in and out of hospital every now and then. Jim once told me that I should have taken his word because he was a ‘prophet.’
“Man Man I told you! Look at your friend now! See how he is a walking skeleton?! I told you the guy is finished!” he said.
Fast forward. At the start of the new year, Jim also started showing signs of sickness. His skin was dry and had wounds all over. He experienced tremendous loss of weight and was coughing every now and then. He was finally diagnosed with the same disease Jack was suffering from. By mid-year both two gentlemen were seriously sick. Incidentally, they were in the same ward and their beds were adjacent to each other. The saddest thing was that they both died on a Thursday morning, with Jim passing away at 3:00 am and Jack at 5:00 am. That was their sad story.
It was customary for friends and relatives to meet and fundraise for the funeral expenses. As for Jim, we met in the same hotel (Hotel Accra) for funeral arrangements. Any time we met; the pastor always requested us to sing the song;
“In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore…” It was the same, same song he was singing to Jack to mock him on his supposedly ‘death.’
Just because you are rich and your colleague is poor, do not belittle him or her because there is a living God somewhere who can turn tables. When you are well endowed with resources, make sure you uplift someone else because your wealth can vanish within no time. Therefore, we see people who were rich suddenly becoming poor. Have a good Godly attitude for God to maintain his favour on you.
Stop going around telling people how so and so’s spouse does not know how to respect the family values. If your spouse is a good person, go on your feet and tell God a big ‘Thank you.’ He or she is made of fresh and blood and it will only take a younger, more beautiful or handsome person to come his or her way and you will be history as far as he or she is concerned. We live in a material world. Everyone likes fame and glory, so God be with you my brother my sister if your spouse gets a better person materially. You need no effort for your relationship to hit the rocks so do not celebrate when other relationships are going down. The devil of relationships might be planning to visit you next. Rebuke him by telling him to go back to hell.
Do not be happy when you realise that your colleague’s child is in drugs or is alcoholic. Everyone would want to have a kid he or she is proud off. Unfortunately, the world of today has many challenges, that’s why our children are diverting to drugs and prostitution. If you find that a kid belongs to a single mother, as a man, be a man of integrity and be a father figure to that kid. Encourage him or her without pointing a finger at him. That’s how you attract blessings.
Anything that happens to one person can happen to the other person so do not celebrate the other person’s misfortune. How I wish that everyone knows that when you point a finger at someone, many more fingers are pointing at you.
By Man ManKambugua: E-mail: [email protected]