It was a A week of great Blessings, A week of great trials A week of great lessons.
When you are working on your dreams things will happen to you that will catch you off-guard. For two consecutive days Thursday and Friday of that week, from around 9 pm to 11 pm, I sat down at the same spot I am seated as I write this stared at one spot on the ceiling and cried a stream, tears trickling down my cheeks un- interrupted like a busted water pipe.
I had organized a motivational event for teenagers dubbed “TeenNaweza” everything was going very well, Alhamdulillah, [all praise to God] great speakers confirmed, kids registering in large numbers, that we were worried if we can manage such large numbers in these covid times everything was going like it should, like a needle into a garment, until, a week to the event.
Exactly 6 days to the event, I escort my wife upcountry to visit her family. Since the next day I have to be at work, I travel back as from 7pm usually the journey is only 2 and half hours I presume I will be in Nairobi by 9:30 pm and beat the 10 pm curfew time.
I reach Nairobi at 10 pm, people are still walking and some shops still open I walk ki Unaweza until I meet nyaunyo (whip) swinging police officers, no stories, you get close enough you get a whipping of a lifetime, they don’t care where the whip lands on your body, they derive pleasure from cries of grown men, I hear cries from people in front of me.
In my mind a giant split screen start to play, on one side is images I have watched of people injured even maimed by police, a swollen eye, an open wounded blood dripping forehead, a cracked skull, a broken arm. On the other part of the screen is interesting, I see Usain Bolt passing me a relay baton giving instructions in his Jamaican accent “ cum pon let’s go” which is Jamaican for mguu niponye [ run].
I understand right away for in the ghetto we are partly Kenyan and partly Jamaican. I sprint towards safety, listening to one thing only, my heartbeat, its sending messages about the weight someone lost and I found, and how I need to return it urgently, but I hear something else I was not expecting, a crack was that a bottle I stepped on ? No that was me, my left foot answers as it tries to lift itself from the ground. Ouuuch that hurt, just like that I have twisted my ankle. I keep on walking a few steps a boda [motor bike] comes and I jump on it. I get home and apply Robb just like we grew up seeing our parents do, don’t worry about it, it will be better in the morning.
I wake up to a pain I have not felt in a very long time. I can barely walk, I have deadlines at work I have an event am planning I am all alone in the house I have to prepare breakfast prepare to go to work. Mwanaume ni kujikaza [ man was born to suffer] I say. I go out walking with a limp towards a friends car, who came to pick me up. I go to a friend who is a masseur, I know the rubbing (kukanda) will be very painful but I convince myself to endure the pain and will be better tomorrow or at least by Saturday the day of my event. But I was wrong the rubbing/ massage is more painful than I anticipated at some point I just hold tears but the sweat I can’t hold my whole body is perspiring. The long week of pain has just started but what can I do ? Do I even know what tomorrow brings? No, I just hope it will be better.
I wake up with a pain a hundred times more than yesterday my feet is also swollen it looks like unsliced bread. I still have to go to work I have to prepare and still I am home alone. I don’t want to tell my wife who I know will be very worried and I want kumalizana na hii uchungu ki mwanaume ( want to deal with the pain like a man) she keeps asking are you okay, its like she has a distant eye ? I reply never better . In the evening the pain pushes me to tell her, but I downplay the situation I just tell her ni kitu kidogo tu (its nothing much) she hears none of it, and true to my fears she is extremely worried, “tafadhali enda hosii na usiniambie ni kitu kidogo” ( please go to the hospital and don’t tell me its nothing) “okay” I say, just to kill the conversation but deep down I know am not going anywhere. But the pain waaaaaah!! I decide it will be a good idea if I go to the hospital but am not sure if this is something a hospital can help I decide to call a friend who is a coach they deal with this everyday. He says “no don’t go to the hospital, can you get ice blocks? You should have iced it from the first day you shouldn’t have rubbed or massaged, I’m sending you a contact of a physio go see him tomorrow in shaa Allah” regret is a grandchild, the swahilians say. I wish I knew, I say to myself.
After icing it the previous night, today the swelling has subsided but still very painful, I can barely walk plus I was advised to tie a bandage, which plus walking with a limp I look like I have just survived a fatal accident. Remember the plans for the event are still on, kids have already registered, schedules have been planned but the leg has other ideas. Also today I had planned to visit the venue with my mentor /friend sh Abu Najma. He calls “ mguu ikoje, utamake? ( how is the leg, will you make it?) “ inauma but ntajikaza bro”amidst the pain I struggle, take an uber and get to arboretum, I find him already there, from a distance he just stares at me struggling to walk, only short steps, stop, rest a bit, walk with one leg raised and the bandage on my foot makes it look like I have just survived a fatal accident. After salaams, he just say one thing “kweli Unaweza” In the middle of a very important convo with the sheikh my phone rings, I reluctantly remove it from my pocket, with the look of who has the audacity to interrupt this convo, oooh its my wife, “my flower” I call her. In her voice I can detect anxiety, “ your daughter is unwell since yesterday she doesn’t want to eat she is unresponsive she is not playing, that’s not a good sign you know how playful Hayaa is ” that deflated me completely, “ my daughter, my love my sunshine my Hayaa. I send her cash for medication.In the evening I get another call from my flower“ Hayaa anaendele vizuri, but Mimi naskia tumbo inaniuma sana” ( your daughter is doing much better but I have a stomach ache)Not very good news for someone 3 months expectant. Not to cause panic I ask “did you eat something that might be the cause? Maybe try drinking hot water if it might help” since its at night we agree if symptoms persist she will seek medical advice next day. We sleep hoping for the best.
Murphy’s law States that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. I think its not true, it should be, anything that can go wrong will go extremely wrong or very very wrong. My foot is a bit better today though still painful I walk with a limp and bandage still on but that’s the least of my worries, I’m worried about my wife’s health was it just a minor ache or something is wrong? We are about to find out in a few. She goes to the hospital, the doctor refers her for an ultrasound. The result must have shocked her that she needed time to breath and gather courage to inform me of the situation. When she got the courage;“ nimeambiwa mtoto alikufia kwa tumbo , 3 weeks ago” ( the baby died 3 weeks ago)how do you receive such information with a hurting foot? When your wife is over 300 kilometers away from you, you are all alone in the house, and you have a very important event in a day? I just sat down in a corner of the house and just cried a river. Its said “ the sorrow which has no vent in tears, may make other organs weep ”to be honest all my organs, the whole of my body was weeping. I wish my tears could wash all that away, but since they didn’t, I still had to face the reality. What next ? it will have to be flushed out. With the doctors striking, the few private ones working will charge an arm and a leg. Now this is an emergency I had used all the cash I had on other issues. Where will I get the cash? I decide to channel all my grief to Allah I pray 2 rakaats (units of prayer) “ only You we worship only You we seek for help” afterwards I sit down and start contemplating my next move, I send a few friends text messages they comfort me with their words but still money is needed. lol. One of the friends is a brother I love so much, in our conversation I could feel his empathy,
Him : “so what’s the plan ?
Me: the foetus has to be flushed out, and she be cleansed.
Me: I give an estimate of the amount
Its now 9:00pm I don’t have the cash, I don’t know where it will come from all I have is faith, all I know is Allah will provide a way. Meanwhile I have a zoom meeting with my team organizing the TeenNaweza 2020 I join in and talk and laugh and plan like everything is alright on God’s green earth.
Its 8:00am my ife is on her way to the hospital. Do I have the money? No. Do I know where I will get it ? No. But money is the least of my worries, what’s giving me a headache is I am in Nairobi and my wife is in Kitui, she will go through this procedure in my absence. Will she be alright ? My event can I just abandon it, delegate to someone? How will that turn out, will be a successful event? Its tough coz this involves peoples kids and money you have to guarantee their safety and make sure the kids get value for their money.
What do I do? I am worried. Nitaweza kweli ?Then my wife sends me a text:“Najua ungeweza ungekam more so uko uliko unatushugulikia and I appreciate Ntakuwa Sawa biidhnillah Focus kwa event ikue Unaweza “I’m trying to be strong, trying to calm myself “don’t worry Hassan everything will be alright”.
Have you ever had one of those days maybe it’s an exam, a driving test, a wedding you try to pretend everything is alright but deep down in your gut, weeee! I am on my way to a school I was to speak alongside other speakers I had invited, but I can’t concentrate my wife is in my mind and she is on her way to the hospital am not taking anything less than the best healthcare around but where is the money? the calls keep coming in from people around her updating me of the progress each second but what they want to hear is “nitume kwa number gani?” ( to which number should I send ) but where is the money ?
I start to panic a lil bit . I call a few friends who I know can help, they listen attentively and promise to call back in a few. My mum is also calling everyone on her phonebook lakini wapi . Then my phones beeps, a message, I wish its Mpesa as I hurriedly check, my wish comes true its Mpesa, you remember I told you about a brother who asked, how much is the cost ? He sent me 30,000 Ksh I just teared up. Alhamdulillah ( all praise to Allah) indeed Allah works in ways only He knows. I wish I could thank the brother enough. With that my wife can begin treatment the rest I will get am sure. Now its time to make sure everything needed for the event is in place. But there is still some worry about the event especially with corvid regulations and risks but it has to be done. I juggle between calls to plan for the event and calls following up with my wife in the Hospital.
8:00pm I am still in town running up and down in town making that Kenyan last minute purchase but to be honest what is running up and down is my blood and my thoughts am nervous, or anxious I don’t know which, will the event be successful?
My sisters Ayan &Naseeb are very helpful in planning the event, my sister Ustadha Maryam offers to cook lunch free of charge On the other side my wife regains consciousness and demands I be called she wants to release me of my worry and she succeeds, Alhamdulillah
The event is amazing, the speakers over deliver, the food is beyond yummy the games beyond fun words can’t describe, the feeling I had as I saw those young people being impacted greatly. From the event I was able too get a little something that helped to clear some bills. Mine is just to give thanks. Alhamdulillah. A special thanks to my 2 sisters Ayan and Naseeb without whom the event won’t have been as it was, I don’t know how to repay you. the parents, kids, speakers and all the volunteers and Myself.
I finish the event and take the first shuttle I can to go visit my wife it leaves a few minutes past 7pm I reach Kitui after curfew time I take a motorbike and in front of us is a cop with a very long stick caning everything on sight….And certainly.
We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient)”. (2:155)
The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”.[Muslim].
The world breaks everyone but some are stronger in the broken places.
I choose to face my problems with grace, for if you don’t face them with grace they will stay on your face