As a writer, I have written many pieces. Some that I have done are for selfish reasons while others I have done were not because I wanted to or because they were right. I wrote them because the job demanded and because I needed a paycheck at the end of the month lest my wife and children become homeless.
Today I write for one reason, I write because I am Kenyan and because najivunia kuwa
Mkenya. I write a story of patriotism, love, resilience, and commitment to remain victorious as an individual and as a country.
The act of social distance is not just about protecting you but about protecting even those around you.
Fresh from college in 1998, I had the world on my palm, I had just graduated with a first-class honor from The University of Nairobi and I had just landed a job at the US embassy as a communications liaison. At the time, I was over the moon with this job, my peers adored and worshipped me and my family and community members thought that I had a miraculous way of processing visas and that I could ship them all to the United States. To date, I have never understood why Kenyans think that if you work for an organization, you can somehow pull all the strings in that organization. Just like all other days, August 7th was a normal day in the office only that I was not going to return home and if I was, I wouldn’t return home on my feet. At around midday, we had a loud blast and my world turned black!
I woke up 15 hours later in a hospital bed with one leg and in excruciating pain. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. It still puzzles me to date how one minute you are okay and the next minute remains filled with uncertainty. The 1998 terrorist attack had paralyzed me and the entire country at large. One thing I fondly remember from that time is the Late President Moi’s speech where he said: Kenya has been through a lot as a country and we shall not be deterred by terrorists because we shall overcome. True to his word, Kenya overcame, I overcame. The country was back at its feet and Nairobi was back to its vibrant self again and I was learning how to use crutches as I learned my way back to a ‘normal life’.
I decided to leave employment because at the time, getting a job as a disabled person was almost impossible. Fast forward nine years later, I had built my life again, I had a beautiful wife who I still wonder how I managed to woe to this date and two boys who were full of life. I had overcome. We lived in Kericho where we had set up a supermarket that had dominated the entire town. Despite having come from the land of wheat and cattle (Narok) we had blended well with the community we were one. We knew no tribe the only language we spoke was love and business.
Having lived somewhere for too long, one can hardly imagine life elsewhere, I mean what would I be without my supermarket? Who would I be?
Unfortunately, I am not the author of life. One afternoon, I saw my life torn into pieces once again. The difference is this time, I was awake to see it happen. Goons stormed the supermarket with machetes chanting huku ni kwetu. I saw my employees get butchered right before my eyes; I saw my investment torch down in flames. Was it not for one of my employees I too would have died? The whole country was on fire, we no longer knew brothers and sisters we knew tribesmen we had brought an entire country to its knees and in ashes. In 2008, we put that behind us because we overcame it.
Even I who has suffered misfortunes twice, I overcame because Kenya was bigger than me or my tribe. In 2017 we came close to getting on our knees again, but two leaders put aside their differences for the sake of Kenya because they aren’t Kenya and because Kenya will leave long after they are gone. President Uhuru and Hon. Raila Odinga put aside their difference and we overcame 2017.
Right now, we enjoy peace and serenity as Kenyans because of the BBI. There are many things one could say about the BBI, but as I mentioned earlier, this article is based on my love for Kenya therefore I chose to focus on ethos and heritage. The 156-page document talks of uniting for respect and change and upholding our heritage. For this piece, I chose to focus on these because I believe they embody our current situation.
The entire world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic one which has seen the global economy come to a halt and big countries like Italy come down on their knees as a result of the impact it had. Kenya has not been left behind in the losses and turmoil the pandemic has caused. We currently have seven confirmed cases with fears of more cases.
I commend CS Mutahi Kagwe for his outstanding work in communicating and reassuring the country that all will be well. I believe he has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he is the man we need at this time. However, there’s one thing. You cannot win this alone and neither will his rosy speeches win this. It is a collective effort for you and me. If I am your neighbor and I am unwell, the chances of you getting infected are much higher than if I was healthy on that note, I urge all Kenyans to be considerate in whatever they do, don’t go buying the entire supermarket to stock your house with sanitizer because I to need it. Don’t confuse this as a message to stop you from buying sanitizers but instead buy just what you and your family need. If you feel that you have a high fever, headache, cough, sore throat and diarrhea, stay home! Do not go to the hospital. Remain in quarantine and call 719 for guidance.
The act of social distance is not just about protecting you but about protecting even those around you. Therefore, let all Kenyans unite for respect and change against COVID-19 because if we remain united in this fight, just like President Uhuru Kenyatta said, we shall overcome because even in the past we have overcome! Or just like the new slung Kenyans are using; Kenya can stop the COVID-19 reggae!