Kenya is an interesting country.
People are dying. Killed by our enemies they say. The police that are supposed to be guarding us are being ambushed by Al Shabab they tell us. In another part of the country, families are mourning. Their lost ones because of ethnic and castle rustling wars. In the other corner, the Aids scourge is wiping away families. Bread winners. Fishermen that ensure you can call the waiter and insist on ‘Tilapia ya lake Victoria’. Its terrible everywhere. The capital city included. Where dwellers are dying from a Cholera outbreak. And the county government says you can’t sell reja reja food if you don’t have tap water. But the taps are dry. Bone dry. And you have to buy water from cartels. Maybe its the water that is supposed to run in your taps. Maybe. And the places with water, its really not running water. Its ‘swampy’ water. From a fresh water burst pipe that has remain unfixed for months. In the bottom corner, young men wake up early in the morning to snatch bags, fill matatus and carry loads for commuters. Its 6Am, and their eyes are dazed. ‘Oya Omari mchukue huyo matha umbebe mzigo. We vipi wewe?” One asks. But Omari can’t lift a thing let alone construct a proper sentence. He just had his fix. His ‘steam’ fixed from kichuri and ‘unga’. The drug war is being lost. Hundreds of thousands are succumbing to the menace. From school going boys to call girls. Call girls that we all know exist and probably even enjoy their services. But we will not register them to know how many they are. To give them access to medicine and ARVs for those that are infected. ‘Its un African. Its unacceptable.’ The big man says. He that we probably know of one of his side dishes. A side dish that is probably even of the opposite sex. But hiding our head in the sand is a brilliant idea.
And then there is the one monster that is eating us all up. That one that almost 99% of us have been caught up in. The famous ‘Si unajua afande hununuliwa chai.’ The ‘Hiyo file ni kama imepotea. Ebu nunua lunch tutaitafuta during lunch break.’ That ‘The media cannot afford to name names in exposés because most have had a fat envelope sent their way to run a front page story. Or to push it to the last pages where no one will see it. That is why they all want to talk about freedom of the media but no one wants to mention integrity.’ That ‘Hii si kitu kubwa. Hata ukienda Kwa lands utapata search iko sawa Munene. Uyu mugunda ndungiaga kwendio.’ Corruption.
All these are happening under our very eyes. But to us its a way of life. We have accepted it, we have embraced them.
And then there is the other side of the nation. The one that holds ‘National Prayer Days’ in big flashy hotels as they feast. The one that tells us corruption will be rooted out yet you will find their names in a scandal. The one that is praying. Steadfastly praying. Praying not because we are doing well, but because of all the above. Yet ironically, these are not Acts of God. They are not national calamities. They are man made problems. Problems that we can eradicate. Problems that we can look at and say ‘Hey. Enough is enough’ and weed it out.
But we are African. We rejoice when things go wrong. Because that means your company will get a tender. As you chill in your swanky house talking about, ‘Hawa ni wale wale. Hapa nikienda nimwage pesa, hii maneno haitakuwa Kwa news ya saa saba’.
We are praying for things that we can control. A child that has broken his leg playing on the stairs. And we can the neighbour to join hands and fast and cast out demons. No one will take him to the hospital. Medicine is Western. And western is bad. So let’s eat, feast and pray. And hope that that solves our every problem.
Kenya is an interesting country.