Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A journey of many turns

It's been a rollercoaster of feelings, thoughts and activities through the night... but that's no surprise. First, a series of earth tremors have been felt in Nairobi since Saturday, leading to a major panic last night with rumours that a major earthquake was imminent. Most residents spent half the night outside their homes (I wonder how life-saving this is). Do understand, we have been blessed enough never to have experienced real earthquakes, just slight tremors so when such news do the rounds, some of us pack up and head to the gates, open fields and some to our folks. Well, that passed and reassurance came through the airwaves this morning.
I did manage to drag my sister to yesterdays AA meeting where she sat through listening to our little chit-chats, saying nothing all the while. I was trying hard to read her mind, without necessarily looking at her. I don't want to fill her with any guilt, and I don't want any mercies, wont want to torment her soul... just want her to understand that we are fine... and we all have each other when here. But, what I expect of her is not what I feel. I feel guilty, and I am on and off in self-pity mode - I can't help it, I just find myself there. My soul is tormented with issues, several issues:
During the meeting yesterday, I met a widow who has been doing a small business to support herself and her three children, she comes for the meeting not for financial support but for moral support. But she woke up to a razed down business... their go-downs had caught fire in the night and everything was gone. She spent the whole day sitting in the yard, contemplating her next step, and soon it was time for the meeting and there she was. Yet, we didn't learn about this by her own contribution, someone in the meeting had learnt of the fire and knew that one of us worked in or around the area... that's how we got to know. There is the grandma with several grandchildren under her care. Yes, she is strong enough to work, but if young, strong graduates have problems getting jobs, where would she head to. Her presence in the room has come to mean one thing to me... food for the kids. Pity it has to come to this. This lady did her job with her kids, brought them up and was done with it. But AIDS has taken her back to the drawing boards, this time it's her grandchilren she has to toil for, only a little late in her life.
As we wound up the meeting, I looked at the mother of three and saw this blank stare on her face. I walked up to her and held her hand, with a very beautiful forced smile decorating my face. I was not in the mood for smiles, to tell the truth, but I was ready to force one if it was going to make a difference. I told her not to worry, that things were going to be alright.
"Will they?" she asked, as if talking to herself.
"Yes, they will. Just hold on to your inner strength." I was glad I was able to spare an equivalent of US$3.00 Believe it or not, this is food for her and the kids for almost a week. She was so grateful and hugged me tight, but I couldn't wait for her to let go and move on, so I could release the burning tears. I eventually left with my sister by my side, parting ways outside. I did what I could. For her. Yesterday. But what happens next week? What happens to the others?
At least I have come to realise one thing, that this is not just a journey, it's not just my journey... it's one heck of a journey with lots of people and issues on the road with me. One minute I have the drive and energy to hit that hill, and I do it with zest to the top, then the next minute I am drawn of all energy and willpower to even take one extra step... that's what it felt like this morning.

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