More than ten years ago, as Alwy was watching a series on NTV called charmed I kept on thinking of how much I could stop time and rob a bank. I know how strange that sounds. That was not my first thought though, I really wanted to stop time and shop in a mall without paying, or just go to school on time because I was always a last minute person. I never really watched the series charmed so I don’t know what it was about. What I remember is I just fancied freezing time and being me.
When the bank robbing idea came, I also thought of how I could have power and use magic to change my body size and shape to get into the tiniest places, especially the banks or where they kept all that bulk money. Then sometime again I thought of investing money to buy bullet proofs. This thought came after watching Sarafina I think. I wanted to hide from everything in the world. Just be anonymous and live my life. Do my salaah and wait for death. I used to imagine me as an ant or coacroach , sneak into money stores, at nights where everyone is asleep except the gatemen, pull out the money bags in the tiny sizes and expand them when I’m out. Silly right?
Ironically, I’ve been so much afraid of the dark. I fear everything that moves/crawls or can get creepy. I fear everything covered i.e Masks people. (I know you’re now wondering how I get along with my niqabi friends) . Ask your questions when you’re done reading this. I do not watch horror movies because if the person in the movies gets scared then what’s the point? Are we here to scare one another? What’s the fun if we can’t sleep in peace? What’s the fun if we have to turn or skip a heartbeat everytime we hear a sound?
Okay, might sound so strange because I grew up in Majengo and everyone is expecting I should be used to bullets and guns especially after the Aboud Rogo Saga and everything that followed. Nobody gets used to being uncomfortable. Nobody gets used to a life they are not meant to live. It is not a situation that we have to undergo. We have had cases of policemen shooting the air, in search of terrorists around that area, tear gas peeping through the wired windows and our wooden doors. That is how much we could protect ourselves since we couldn’t afford glass windows and doors.
The 2007 post election violence is another way I heard real gunshots and thought, ‘how many bullet proofs would I own if I ever did? ‘ ‘how many would I afford to protect our house? ‘ ‘what about those who stayed just the mosque? ‘ etc. These things really traumatized me by just overthinking. I guess this is where anxiety began.
I remember passing through Jomo Kenyatta avenue, along Mwembe tayari directly opposite the 3idols monument. There was a huge, smokey abandoned building which looked haunted. I always asked my dad what it was and he always said, “this was a market. The famous Mwembe Tayari market which was bigger than Makinnon market”
“what happened to it? ” I would ask.
“it caught fire one night, but it looks like it was a set up. A huge building like this would have been saved, even if it’s some part. Everything just got lost into ashes” he would say. Everytime I passed by there I would imagine what happened, according to my dad’s answer especially the set up part. I imagined masked men holding ancient flame touches, one of them carrying a jerrycan of parrafin. They jump off a lorry, and run into the building. Their head already strangled the security guard from the back forcing him to shut up if he wants his life. The man with parrafin jerrycan opens the can, and starts to sprinkle drops of parrafin all over the building and in the end, they push the security guard in and throw one of their flame touches. Poor security guy dies in an uncontrollable fire even after staying quiet.
I hate these men. What did they get by the way? Anyways, what really happened to that market? Anyone with the actual story?
See now where my pain comes in? Is in this recent attack where at least touched people I know. It affected some friends/business partners from Cellulant . On Tuesday 15 January 2019 afternoon, there was a terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Drive -where Cellulant is Headquartered. We immediately thought of all our friends and families in Nairobi because who knows, anyone could be there. We started sending messages in groups asking specific people if they were safe, since calling was not advisable. If anyone was in that attack and was struggling to hide, calling them would make their phones ring and expose them to terrorists. The idea of texting really got me paranoid especially after texting someone who don’t reply immediately. We had to hold our hands together, pray for them and hope they were fine. As we were asking, some said, they are fine and others told us to stop worrying as they did a headcount. It was later on confirmed that our partner Cellulant lost 6 of their colleagues from the tragic event. These are not our close friends but the heartbreak we felt really dropped our mood completely.
I started imagining the person who survived Westgate mall attack, then dies in Riverside attack. I imagined the mother who found out the death of their child through a photo in social media, on her way to a business trip. I imagined all those people whose close people lost their lives, the situation they were in before they last saw them and after the whole event and news. I have reached my saturation point of imagination. All I can do now is pray for all of them. Pray for strength and courage to push through this unguarranteed life.
I send my sincerest condolences and prayers out to the deceased family and friends. May their souls rest well.