Imagine that you are old, with no one to take care of you. That your family has deserted you, or they have all passed away. Or you never had kids and your wife fled when you got an accident/became poor. Imagine yourself in that life. Imagine yourself living in Slums, or in Kibera where a good Samaritan has given you a place to sleep, but not to live because it’s so squeezed for you and the family. You are only allowed to be there to sleep and then go your way every morning. Imagine that you walk all the way from Kibera, (every morning and evening,) to Kariobangi where there is somebody who has allowed you to help them work even if they don’t pay you. But its better at least they give you something to do during the day even if you are frail and you can’t do much. You’ve been used to that life of solitude, and that no one in the world notices you.
Them someday in the morning you meet a girl, who notices how tired you look like. And the heavy luggage on your back. She had just left office to go buy something, she is in a hurry, but if she leaves you like that she may never forgive herself. She asks whether she can help. You tell her it’s too heavy. But she insists so you let her. She asks you where your stage is, you tell her’ it’s just here’. She doesn’t know town well so she just follows you hoping it’s not far. On the way you tell her so many stories, no one bothers to ever listen to you and you’ve kept so much in your heart and you never know when somebody else will ever talk to you again so you better say it today. You tell her your childhood stories, where you worked before you got an accident that left your foot almost crippled and that’s why you can’t walk properly. You tell her that when you have 20 Bob you normally use a Matatu, but today you didn’t have a cent. You tell her your clan, your origin, your name and that you are aged 29years. You ask about her and all that. Your charisma reminds her of her grandfather.
She notices you’ve walked so far and you’ve not identified your stage. You’ve left upper hill, town and you still walking. She asks you where you are, you tell her in Kariobangi, that you want to show her where you ‘work’ in case she wants to visit you someday. She’s never been here before and she notices how life maybe tough living in this side of town. There are boys sitting around sniffing glue. And sewage water running everywhere which is stinking. Her first instincts would be to run, but you seem a good man and she trusts you even when she doesn’t know anything about you. So you keep walking and the boys shout ‘Mzungu anafanya nini uku? ‘She just smiles. She hears in these sides there are a lot or crimes, but she knows God will protect her. At home if they know where she is they will get so worried so she calls nobody. You show her around, you are so proud to have somebody to talk to. Thu you can tell from the stares people are thinking she must be mad to be with you at those sides. You ask her if she is okay walking with you, she assures all is okay. After various vichochoro you arrive where you ‘work.’ it’s so congested and with a lot of mud. You put your bag down and everybody gets surprised to see who you are with. You are so happy. You decide to show her the way back because it’s too risky for her to walk alone. She asks you where the stage is, you tell her you will take her where she is going. That it’s not far. But it’s clear you don’t want the only friend you’ve gotten for a long time to leave, that you just want to be with her and walk around town with her. She tells you she is late, so she will go back to the office in upper hill and she will buy whatever she wanted to later, you tell her it’s okay you will show her the way. She is so tired, but for you she will. She is worried you are too tired though so she suggests you use a vehicle but you say no. You help each other, you hold her protectively just like a father would do and she holds your hands in busy road. People stare at you; I am sure wondering whether she is in her right mind. You laugh on the way, you have so much fun. You are an interesting with good stories too.
In the suburbs few people on the way stop her and tell her to be careful, that ‘dirty’ men like you are normally thieves or used by thieves. Imagine if that was you. But she says she is okay, to the amazement of the concerned people (including a policeman) . You look tired, but you say you are not that it’s good for your leg. Yet you’ve been walking since 6a.M. imagine that life.
You arrive at her office, she shows you around and them takes you to the stage, she writes for you her number, and you give her the number of place you ‘work’. She puts you in a Matatu, you she’d tears as you wave bye, (which moves passengers in that vehicle) you tell her in a faint voice ‘be blessed my child.’ And off the Matatu goes. She wishes she could follow you, but she knows in her heart that she’s gotten a true friend. And you remind her, that everybody, even those who are ever quite, for sure, need somebody to talk to, who doesn’t care, how you are dressed or where you come from.
Because imagine… Imagine the brokenness and the loneliness. Imagine if that was your life…