STREETS BECOME FAMILY by Daisy Waitherero Wambua

I had alighted at Cannon House where most Rongai buses and matatus claim dominance. This is mostly to avoid the ongoing traffic and getting subjected to delve much deeper into Railways station. Not a minute after, my phone rings capturing the attention of those walking besides me and in opposite direction. I have never been taught the art of shyness or perhaps outgrew it as age began catching up, I dare not speak out of aberrations. Claiming part of a house that produces strong women who have a fine prowess in multitasking, I could initiate, conduct and become fully immersed into more than one conversation.

A young girl lies on the cold pavement covered in a deplorable headscarf exposing her graven feet, full of cut marks probably from walking a long distance. A boule with seemingly empty or bearing two or three shillings is placed not so far from her head. Imploring many are yet to be convinced and some suffer blindness as they make their way. Irascible passers-by quick to call her out of her ‘fake’ act, aggravate their voices as they near her. However, she doesn’t seem disturbed by their scoffs or their precedent disregard. Her body seemed dry and drab, no interjections, no fuss, no gesture, quite odd especially in a country that savors rants and raves. This particular case struck me of how I so often withhold rotary in fear of exploitation or endorsing dependency.

Two minutes too soon (still busy planning my weekend shenanigans) we come across several cases similar to the prior. As if the universe was giving a second chance. This round a woman sat impecuniously one leg over the other, a half masked face, frail hands holding onto her bare naked child. The mid-day sun charred her lips, illuminating the dentures as she asked for a hand of kindness. The bundle of joy sitting on her laps seemed blissfully unaware of her diminishing energy and ultimate sacrifice. He smiled so idyllically that I found myself smiling back. That’s when I realized all this time it was me who was disabled, not them. I was blind to them, my brain was malfunctioning and my hand withered. I gathered that physical inability does not drive us to pits of mercy and ravels of fine acting and manipulation. It’s the mind, the heart and the soul predicament in seeing a better day and striving to achieve it.

The inability was only but a state of mind inasmuch it affects so many of us but we remain unaware.It’s not just charity to them, it’s a hope for a more desiring day. An opportunity to see the good in a world that grosses and only gives when it’s assured back.

Manipulation has many artists of contours that we fail each other for fear of exploitation and deceit. But would you rather give to somebody who is at the depths of famish whether calculated or not? Or deny them mercy on account of pure guesswork and misguided imaginations? If you give out of a pure heart, what is it that you will lose? Money cannot overtake goodwill and if does then it shall find you in the streets. When a rich man has no morals, we altogether succumb to blindness but when a poor man suffers the same shortcoming, he shall be stoned to death. Hitherto a politician grabs land and no one utters a word but a commoner will snip a loaf of bread and so shall death befit of him.

One event can make you be on the other side of the hand.


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