Nature has a way of working in synchrony with events. I mean, the sky was clear devoid of any clouds but the atmosphere was dark and cynical. It was more than fifty shades of dull. It was like the gases that burn within the sun were on a go-slow either to protest the gross barbarism that had befallen the human race or were just in distasteful wonder about how too much hate can reside within one part of the entire Universe. The clouds refused to do their habitual gathering. They refused to apply their cake of makeup which makes them dark. They refused to deliver their usual smiles often known as lightning. They decided there wouldn’t be any more celebrations among them. No thunderous applauds and teary laughter of rain.
The roads are flowing of blood. The streams are crimson red. How can we just wash it away. Let the humans feel the rotten smell of the putrefying corpses, bathe in the bloody waters. Make red footsteps wherever they go. Maybe they will learn! I imagined them saying to each other.
Have you ever lived in a place for decades but wake up one day and ask yourself where am i? How did I get here? That moment when you stop being a zombie staggering through life; you reflect about the deep emotions that you have never considered. Looking around, you see people for what they are; mortal flesh fuelled by tens of litres of a circulating red fluid carrying free oxygen to every corner. You see the smooth faces of babies and infants tainted only by the drying tears of fear. You observe the arrogant wrinkles that rudely invade the faces of the older citizens of Oyugis. You see humans to the basic of what they are. For a moment; a miserable, pathetic moment you forget the be-suited, bespectacled, be-whatever robots that bhang their drinking-water-deficient shoulders against their counterparts as they go about what they call building the nation. We build the nation, others will paint it. They whisper to themselves. You forget about the glittering women of the city with their notorious hydrophobic black forest/chocolate paintings that they carry in their faces. You forget about all that bizarre superficial phenomena and think of humanity at the very basic level. The deepest level; Have you ever woken up and wondered of your whereabouts all your life till that moment?
Well, if you haven’t, be my guest. Because, you will continue to take peace for granted. As for me, this was the time when I almost died for my country.
The day is 30th December, 2007 is still very green in the mind of the son of the soil. We woke up quite late. It was 9.00am. Of course, we had the option of being idle and we could have kept tossing and turning on our beds. Partly because catching sleep at night was equivalent to convincing Willy Paul that his songs are not gospel. The bullets that whistled across the air, hit walls, and poked holes on the iron roofs were a constant reminder that if you dared to tiptoe to slumber land, it would be the last place you went. Well, the possibilities were high. The other reason was that we had nothing to do. No shamba. No market. Not school. No nothing. And of course no phones. Not that they were taken away or what. Hakukuwa na stima. And those who were lucky enough to have power, had the lack of airtime to deal with. Those who were lucky enough to access the credit had the 1000 shillings for a 50bob scratch card to deal with. And those who had the ability to skip this hurdle had the inebriated connectivity to deal with. And those who managed to have their network intact… Ai yawa ptho! Aol! There were just too many problems.
So, I woke up feeling bored. Tired of the same routine of sitting next to the CASIO radio that mum used to listen to religiously. My cousin, Vicky, and I just took a seat in the sitting room and sat lethargically. Listening to the news updates. Waiting for some good news. A solution to the election dispute stalemate. None was forthcoming. I was about to catch the second round of sleep when mum announced that we did not have a drop of water left in the house. Well, at first, she said it as though alerting us of the impending hunger and thirst in the house but knowing her, I knew she expected that something should be done. The boys had to think hard about this problem.
Lets go get the water down across the road. Vicky would say, blinking rapidly and shaking his dreadlocks. He does this every time he is nervous about what he says. Or when lying. Or when he is sure he is on the wrong. There was a curfew. Bullets were weaving their ways across the innocent skies. There were red eyed policemen doing violent rounds all over. Down across the road! No one was expected to be on the streets. They did not expect to smell, let alone see, a young person anywhere apart from within the confines of the four walls of a house. So, when Vicky suggested we go get water down across the road. It was close to preposterous. If you think this is a hyperbole, let me tell you a little about the looks of Vicky. How he looks. You see, this guy was slightly older than I am. He is one of the cousins of mine with whom we have spent a lot of time, and of course involved ourselves in several situations of mischief. Even, there was time the brothers to some lass kidnapped us for 6 hours trying to drive kilograms of pain deep into our skins using the sticks from guava tree branches. That was a hell of a beating. Simply because, our hovering around their fence and contiguous systematic whistling had become too much. But, for the record, Vicky still got the girl and hit that thang. If youknowarramean.
But since its about the day I almost died for my country, I will tell you about Vicky. His name is Victor Omurwa. He identifies himself as a kisii or Omogusii. At the age of 13, he had held the record for the most skillful Pool player in the A thousand streets of Oyugis. Yes, Oyugis also has a street with such sobriquet. And yes, it is sometimes called K-street. At around the same age, he had already styled his hair into 24 hairstyles. He had fried his hair using balataglo, he had put culkit (that thing you do so that your hair looks like Joseph Hellon’s), he had shaved marine, punk, Jordan, Mohawk. He had even tried kibaki style. You know. He had done it all. It was another record. In 2007, he had rasta. Dreadlocks. Okay in short Vicky is someone you can look at and you end up having a good day. Laugh. So bearing in mind that he was quite tall a guy and had dreadlocks (just imagine a long, stubborn mop and eureka!), his suggestion just meant one thing. That I would go to look for water alone. Vicky couldn’t go out like that. The times were bad. His hairstyle and physic was associated with that bad drug that does not cause cancer, makes people feel good, but is still illegal. Those men patrolling would not hesitate to do some harm to him. Nevertheless, being the daring guy, he insisted we must go together. So, I took my luminous green-long sleeved shirt, threw it over my teenage body and off we went amid warnings and instructions from mum. On the day I almost died for my country.
With the two yellow twenty-litter Jerricans tied together using a sisal rope on the bicycle carrier, we were en route down across the road. Things were different. The road was dotted with stones and metallic water tanks that seemed to be releasing pungent smokes. Burning tyres took their defiant positions on and off the road. It was impassible. The streams that usually and grudgingly followed the commanding directions of the culverts had turned red with blood. And after three days of tiresome travels, they had begun to release their anger and fatigue by expelling a really reeking, sinus-numbing disturbance to the living noses. For five good minutes, I had stood in the middle of the road, dumbstruck, contemplating. Questioning my actual existence. Wondering; Vicky stood there watching me and leaning on the idle bicycle. It was a moment of Understanding silence between two cousins on deathly road.