So in the past few days I have been learning how to Use Public transport. We made a deal with mum, I get dropped in the morning and I find my way home. I being In Nairobi reminds me of a story I Read back in Primary called the big big city. It described a young girl whose first time in the city was amazed by those big buildings. I have been in Nairobi for years now, but still being in the town makes me feel too small like that young girl because I literally know nowhere apart from Archives and if I am dropped few meters ahead I get confused and have to ask all again.
So yesterday in the bus I sat next to an old man. There were many vacant seats but something greatly pushed me to sit next to him. I normally like seats near the window, but for him I had to.
He had moustache and sideburns. He had a kofia on but from the sides he had maintained his hair I could see. He must have been a very classy young man. I could tell that.
He looked that life had had a twist on him, and had taken a toll on his health. He was bodied, or not maybe it’s the clothes he was wearing . But he was no thin though you could see he was frail. Very.
I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to ask what was his name. And where he came from. And if he had a family. He reminded me of my grandfather, well, typically every old man in old oversized clothes remind me of the man I grew with calling grandfather, the man at a certain point I would have given anything to have his second name and forget I ever had a mother, but his firm answer was no. The man who basically said nothing to me, but protected me from men, from circumcision (Yes, my village practised it ), from being married off. The Man who despite being affected by some choices his children made gave me his best, even when his friends discouraged him telling him that the money he was spending on me he would spend on having fun. The man who instilled morals in me and gave me only one freedom – dressing. Other than that I can say I grew up in a prison. Lol! Well, I can go on and on but apparently this post was not about my grandfather…
On the vehicle the man looked like he needed me, not just as a friend but as a granddaughter. Something told me he may not have a family, he looked weak and frustrated too.
But he covered it with the smile the moment I sat next to him. It was a sweet infectious smile. Perhaps he didn’t expect Me to sit next to him given the many seats which were empty. Or perhaps he was a sweet old man Who understood that a smile to the world would cost him nothing.
I wanted to start a conversation with him, but I didn’t know how to. I was afraid of scaring him off. I was afraid of making him feel insecure. You see in the generation we live it is so hard to trust somebody, and I was afraid he may think of me like that too.
But I wanted to tell him that he could trust me, that I could be his family.
He was eating Njugu. I said hi and he smiled and said hi too. I asked what he was eating. He told me Njugu.. ‘Do you want some’ He asked in a feeble voice.
You could tell from His voice he expected me to say no. You could tell that all he thought was that I was too classy to eat something that he was holding in his hands. But I said yes. I was more excited to take some from him.
I know. I know that the world’s way is we should not trust strangers. I know that if I tell anybody at home then they are going to condemn me just like they did sometime back when they saw my photo with another old man. I know they will give me all sorts of lectures of why I shouldn’t have eaten that Njugu, that it may be poison. But I knew God wanted me to be kind to that man, and anything to make him feel comfortable I was going to do. God was with me. God was protecting me. And I always believe God will protect you from any situation that He doesn’t want you in.
He stretched his hand gave me some. You could see the smile on his face that at least somebody had not despised him. He told me his name was Samuel.
I told him of my grandfather, and that he reminded me of him so much. And that I wanted to be his friend. I asked him whether he had children, he says he did, but he immediately put a sad face and I knew there was a story behind it.
I took a piece of paper and wrote him my number. With the name star. I hoped he will call me someday. He never had a phone I would have taken his. But you could tell he was really grateful, that in this ever busy world one girl had at least noticed him. Before I left he told me ‘Greet your grandfather when you go visit, tell him he is so blessed to have you..’
He took me back to last year In December where I and My Friend made a friend with this man.
He was a taxi driver and he showed us around the place for a very cheap price. He charged us very little yet he took us to so many places for so many hours. Given the amount I use on taxis in Kenya, I felt for that man and I could not sleep. I felt we had paid him so little money for so much work and hours. I was to leave to Kenya at 5 a.m, but a strong conviction told me to go look for him before I left the place. It was at 4:30 a.m I still remember the smile on His face when I handed him all the Tanzanian money i had left. He had dropped us at around 12 a.m , yet I found him parking at the same place we had picked him from meaning He hadn’t slept. I still remember the smile when he Said Mungu Akubariki Mwanangu. He was such a sweet soul.
And that’s the power of God’s love and friendship, it never discriminates people based on what they are dressed in, or In terms of where they come from. God unites all of us despite of our different backgrounds, because unlike human being he looks at our hearts, and not our physical appearances.
I still hope My old man and new found friend will call. I would like to go to see where he lives. I would like to be his family If he doesn’t have any.
And he just inspired me and I realised other than children I have a very soft spot for the aged. Maybe it’s because they brought me up, maybe it’s because of their sincerity sometimes given they have seen it all. Hopefully, and God willing in the next few years I should start a home for the aged. Because they deserve love, care and protection. they deserve somebody to listen and talk to them even when they are saying nothing. They deserve love and a family even if they have no biological children to call their own..