It is true that my heart skips a beat every time I hear a strange sounding car in the neighborhood close to our gate. Alas, nothing but what can be called an occupational hazard. I still have no regrets about the path I have chosen for myself.
And that is one of the reasons why my heart goes out to the really brave folks like one John Githongo. The Kibaki administration is determined to peddle the lie that he is a spy for foreign governments and sadly it seems that some Kenyans have swallowed that one. Yesterday somebody repeated that ridiculous assertion that if he were genuine he should have stayed in the country and exposed Anglo Leasing while in Kenya. I didn't even bother to answer them.
How naïve can one get? The shadowy figures who are the real masterminds behind the grand theft and looting of the treasury would not hesitate to snuff out a life that stands between them and their easy billions, which they have come to consider to be their birthright.
Anyway on this Friday evening I arrive home a little late and find that my grandson "H" has been waiting up for me. I had my first-born daughter before I was 20 and she too went out and had a son shortly after her 19th birthday. Yep, so I am a grand daddy already like Obako although I am not anywhere near his age.
"Daddy, what have your brought me?" that's what he calls me instead of grandpa. And that's not all, the 6-year old thinks that my son (now 17 years old) is his big brother. Our efforts to inform him otherwise have all failed. By the way, his mother still works in the other country where we used to live before we came to where we are now. She visits us as regularly as she can on her small pay as an elementary school teacher.
I have been blessed with just two children My daughter (still single and now 26 years old) and my son whom we will call "M".
"M" is a true dotcom and doesn't like the old Kumekucha design (which we now use in our sister blog). However we agree on all matters political.
"Hiyo design ni kama wewe tu. It is so old," he once told me about the Kumekucha logo.
"M" is very determined to have two careers. Namely professional soccer and rocket science (and if possible he might just squeeze in medicine somewhere). He has the grades to back his ambitions and his nickname in school is "Genius." I advice but I never force my will on him because I am a strong believer in the truth that a person can only be truly happy fulfilling their destiny and nothing else. If that destiny is soccer so be it. However I suspect from his great love of all things biological and his great interest in the human heart (he often names me parts and arteries I have never heard of, although I also did biology in high school) that his true calling is in medicine.
I bring up my children very differently from the way I was brought up and if you hear us having a conversation, you may think it is a big brother small brother affair. At a soccer club we both joined recently (that mostly consists of youngsters) everybody was shocked when they later discovered that I am his dad. Our relationship suggested otherwise.
As I walk into the living room this evening, "M" is busy doing what he does most of his free time and homework time as well (when his mother is not in that is), watching soccer on one of those 24 hour TV sports channels.
"You're late, you must have gotten involved in one of those political debates," M says with his eyes still glued to the tube.
"How come you are always guess right?"
"Sio guess. I know."
"Don't tell me it was about Raila?"
"Why don't you people discuss the Mathare massacre instead?"
"Nobody is interested in that topic."
"I don't know son, we Kenyans are a strange lot, I'm still trying to figure us out."
"When I turn professional for Arsenal, I will do everything to bring their plight to world attention."
"What's for supper?"
"Your favorite. Mum has managed to organize for chapos." immediately my mood lifts.
At that very moment Mrs Kumekucha walks in and kisses me lightly on the cheek.
"Sasa sweetie. How was your day?"
Usually at around this time there is a problem with H, M and Mrs Kumekucha all fighting for my undivided attention. Mrs Kumekucha tends to win "that battle" hands down most of the time because one look in the direction of her son and grandson shuts them up pronto.
I try my best to keep from Mrs Kumekucha the threats that I sometimes receive in my line of work, but she always ends up somehow finding out. That is why she hates politics. She wonders why we cannot live happily and mind our own business. "What can one man do?" she asks sometimes.
Then she sometimes turns round and sheds tears when the plight of the poor and voiceless majority of Kenya are brought to her attention. "These politicians don't care for anybody but themselves. If I was given a chance…"
But that does not stop her sticking with me 1000% in every decision I make. My mind goes back to the time when things were very different between us and we argued about everything and even now it makes me sad, just remembering. Especially that year or so we spent in the slum-like Mabati house, when we couldn't afford to pay the rent of Kshs 2,000.
"Daddy which do you love more? Chapos or your country?"
Where else would such a question come from other than "M" who has noticed that I am really enjoying my supper of chapati and bean stew.
I chew vigorously as I think of an answer that won't be challenged. If I say chapo, "M" will say I am a pretender and hypocrite with my Kumekucha blog. If I say I love my country more, he will ask me why my spirits don't lift as high for Kenya as they do when I discover I am about to have chapos.
"Daddy!!" he admonishes.
"You have seen how I shed tears for the motherland."
Mrs Kumekucha cuts in jokingly; "You just like to cry."
"But I don't cry when I eat chapo."
That shuts them up… for the time being.
I love my family and many times I wish I would turn my back on Kenya and stay away from politics and maybe if possible move even further away, somewhere like Australia and sell the Kumekucha blog for a couple of millions (in this election year, that is very possible.)
But I usually sober up soon enough and recover my resolve. My greatest inspiration is my grandson whom despite living in foreign countries since he was young always keeps asking. "Sisi ni waKenya, si ndio, Daddy?" as if to make sure that he never forgets his nationality.
If I have fun and mind my own business now and forget the cause, what will happen to him? And to so many other young Kenyans out there still growing up?
I have lived a very challenging life. But it has been generally a good life. I am not a millionaire (yet) but I have the things that really matter, like a loving family and especially a wife who loves me to bits, so much so that I get scared sometimes. I love her too, even after all these years.
Yet I have to endanger myself and them in this way, by the path I have chosen to follow.
That's life and I must take it as a man.
All for the love of the motherland.
Civil Society Message On Mwai Kibaki And Grand Corruption
The Untold story of the Mathare massacre and where the bodies were dumped
Nasty men habits that women hate with a passion
What Grown Men Do When Their Wives Say, "Not tonight sweetie"