Perhaps your day started out like mine; a series of intense irritation inducing incidents.
I started a new job, and with it the battle of finding parking. Each morning I have been leaving earlier and earlier, hoping and failing, to snag myself a city council parking slot.
Perhaps like me, this morning you left the house a whole hour earlier, reluctantly leaving your warm bed, fueled by the optimism that at that time there would be no traffic, salivating over the array of parking spaces that would be at your disposal.
Maybe like me, the moment it started raining, you knew it was going to be one of those days. For my non-Kenyan readers, let me school you on some fundamental peculiarities of Nairobians. Our logic is water soluble. A few drops of rain and any reasoning we might have had dissolves faster than a block of salt in hot water. Many of us have not realised that it is only our logic that dissolves, instead we harbor a misguided belief that we ourselves may disintegrate if we come into contact with rain. Oh, and the car is no barrier. We are convinced that our Nairobi rain has super penetrative powers that can bore through even the hardiest of cars. So we must get out of the path of this highly toxic liquid masquerading as H2o. At. All. Cost. Lest we spontaneously combust. This is the real reason behind the madness on our roads when it rains.
Like me, you probably took one and a half hours battling with matatus, shaking your fists at overlappers, banging your head against the steering wheel, and wishing you were a toddler so you could throw a tantrum and someone would give a fuck and sort the whole damn situation out. (Ok just me then?) Traffic makes me cranky. And I know it does you.
Maybe like me, your biggest irritation of the morning was simply getting to work on time.
Then life shifts sharply into focus.
Later in the day, I emerged from a long meeting to 6 missed calls from the head teacher at St Stephens in Sultan Hamud. This is where Njugu George goes to school.
You can meet Njugu George here
When I called the head teacher back, he told me that George’s sister had passed away. George has no other family. He was orphaned a few years ago, and was chased away from his home during the Post Election Violence. He had only his sister, who he used to stay with when he was not at school.
The head teacher handed the phone to George and I listened to the sound of a heart breaking. The sobs of a boy whose life has been ripped apart. Over and over again. So many times. And again now. He is broken. My heart bleeds for this young man who has lost more than is fair for any person to lose, and in such a short period of time. He is just a boy at the mercy of life’s cruel determination to force him into becoming a man.
He has nowhere to go. Life is dark and scary for him.
I need to find a care facility for him, somewhere nurturing that can give him stability and support. I believe in this young man. I believe in his dreams. He has fire in his belly. He has love in his heart. He wants to a chance to build Kenya. A better Kenya than the one that was given to him. He is ours now. I want to imagine into existence a Kenya where a boy like George never feels alone, where he can chart out a path that gives him a life he loves, a life where he feels fulfilled, a life where he can contribute in whatever way matters to him, and one where he feels his existence in this country is important. A life where his footprint on our country is one carved out of pride, dignity and purpose. A life where all he has to grumble about in the morning is matatus, traffic and rain. Not a life where he doesn’t know where he will sleep when school ends . Or a life where the seduction of the streets lies in the simple possibility of a place to rest his head and a friend with whom to talk.
I am asking for help. If anyone knows of a reputable care facility they can put me in touch with, or any ideas of how we can help him, please get in touch. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I am because you are. He is because we are.