Friday, September 23, 2011


This is one of those posts that gets me thinking why I have such a personality.
I spent the day at my community service center packing maize in bags for HIV+ve primary school children to pick during their lunch break. The children who stopped by the center were from Marura primary school in Kariobangi-here in Nairobi. They were about thirty eight of them, all bright eyed and hopeful.
I looked into each of their eyes-as if collecting ghosts for my closet. There were children who out of their innocence and dash used the sleeves of their sweaters to wipe the snot off their faces, others were forever staring at my chest-for the tee-shirt I wore was inscribed "CHANGE STARTS WITH A GIRL."
They came in listened to their names and signed for the food-and descended the fifty something flight of stairs back to school. These children, so bold and full of life, had incomplete uniforms-most of the boys had shorts with patches, shoes agape, shirts too small for their growing chests-and bags, too worn out to hold a pencil. I looked at them-and blamed myself for comparing them to me years back at their age. I had a new set of uniform, neatly pressed, brown Bata shoes, the best bag and at least ten shillings for my break money and my lunch was fully paid at school. I would get home in the evening, wash my uniform-polish my shoes and then sit down to tea. I would do my homework and watch the television as I waited for supper. I never went to school in a disheveled uniform, and for that I must give thanks to God and to my hardworking mother, Bertha Odingo.
I judged these children in an effort to compare myself back then to them. What has gone wrong today?
Isn't there a sense of pride parents feel when their children go to school in good uniforms? I do not seek to blame the parents here so as to crucify them for that seems to be what people in the 21st Century have been doing. It is the age of being 'politically correct' and people gladly settle for the middle line when they can clearly agree or disagree with someone. What has gone wrong?
So, this girl picks the maize from me and walks away as I try to serve the growing number behind her. Then a few boys point at her and laugh. I riased my head and we locked eyes-hers' were blazing red and her pupil bigger than is expected. She had this awful rash on her neck-that made it look like a mass of ringworms had infested her. Her hair was braided in lines. The bag she had got messed up before she could put the maize in and I realized her left hand is paralyzed. I choked up as I helped her get a bag and wished her well in school. She thanked me and left.
That's why I cannot be a Counselor for my heart breaks when I see, such a beautiful soul, undermined by people based on what they see. Those boys were laughing at her-she was almost 13years old and had the best smile I had seen. Her looks would not secure attention from boys but her spirit and smile would if only they cared enough to see it.
It hit me then that love's pure, it must not be from the opposite sex or family-but in that moment I wished I had a good paying job to simply take her up as a mentee-to make her know that she was not an object of ridicule but that of love and radiance.

How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?