Every day, we wake up in a house. Be it rented, owned, or be it in Kitsuru or Mukuru Kwa Njega; but we wake up in a house. Most of us eat three meals as we were taught in school, and the lucky ones among us even enjoy a snack in between. For some of us, life has been so good to us that reality has evaded us and we no longer understand it. It has become difficult for most of us to even wrap our minds around the idea that someone goes to bed hungry, or someone’s kids still walk for hours to school, or even worse, some people still use kerosene to light their homes. As someone once said, “Comfort is beauty muted by heroin. Sadness is beauty drained by lack of it.” So, I guess most of us are too high on our heroin (things that makes us feel comfortable) to realize how ugly things can be.
Last night after work, my friend and I were walking toward Nakumatt Mega to pick up my car where I had it parked. As we were walking in the street we came across two street families seated on a pavement with their kids playing. One thing about kids is no matter how bad life has served them, they will always wear that smile on their face, and I guess this is what keeps fueling mothers to keep pushing, no matter what. As we passed them, one of the lady shouted, “bro, si ununulie mtoto maziwa” (brother, can you buy some milk for the kid). We ignored them and continued walking, but it didn’t take us long before we started talking about them and all the things they go through, such as how do babies survive in the cold, how do they sleep on concrete every day, and the more troubling one, why do those women decide to conceive or what led them to conceive, knowing very well their plight?
The entire thought about the plight of street families didn’t escape my mind even after we had concluded the discussion with my friend without getting the answers. When I got home, I telephoned my friend who is doing research on how children who cannot give consent can get treatment, and I started talking about the street families and what can be done to save them. Even more, how prevent more children from being born on the streets. Our conversation lasted long as we could not agree on the best solution, but at least she promised she would research about it. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with, but for the record, as any lady has a right to bear children wherever they want, I still believe even the kid should have a right not to be born on the street.
So, the sound of the mother asking me to buy milk for the kid as if I had sired the kid refuses to leave my head as my shadow refuses to leave me. I decided I will pass the same spot, and if she asks again, I will stop and buy the damn milk. So the following day, I passed the same spot and the same voice now as familiar to me as my heartbeat says the same words again. I turn around go back to where they are seated and offer them money to buy milk. But before I leave, I decide to engage them in a conversation and we get to talking. I came to learn of their plight and how each ended up having three babies. To my surprise, the reasons are unimaginable to me because comfort has me thinking you can’t lack one hundred shilling to buy P2(levonorgestrel), or twenty shillings to buy condoms, when sex is the only way to ensure your kids won’t sleep hungry. This is one moment in my entire life that I came so close to believing men were dogs, but that story is for another day.
I get home to my comfort and as I scroll on my phone going through social media sites, I see Itumbi and Saddiq have been having a catfight about photographs of school children in statehouse. There is even a hash tag reading #childrenoflesserGod. For once, I could not come to terms with these two brats, because only brats engage in that kind of conversation in a country where we have a 3 month old babies sleeping on pavement, a woman who almost lost her life for being unable to sire kids, where women walk for miles to fetch water, where gambling has become a job, where millions of shillings are siphoned daily by corrupt individuals and someone using public resources has the guts to engage in a conversation about a picture. Some kids will be so happy even if they happen to be on top of a tree at the statehouse, let alone not having seats. Worse enough, some kids are dealing with so much that they won’t even know anything about statehouse or care about it.
Maybe next time before we start crying foul about pictures of kids in statehouse or being children of a lesser God, maybe we can find some time and walk through the city of Nairobi after 9pm and see how children of a lesser God look. Then compare them with the one we see at statehouse. Then let’s think on how we can lift them up from their situation or engage the public on a discussion of that nature, rather than dwelling on pictures. Or since you guys have both the state and media, get a hold of the prime minister of Jesus to come help save them for the cold pavements. But for the rest of us, we can play our part too. No matter how small our deeds and actions might be or how insignificant they may feel to us, we can make all the difference. Just remember, “When many work together for a goal, great things may be accomplished. It is said a lion cub was killed by a single colony of ants.” Saskya Pandita