it's been a bayaad old week. that's for sure.
it's been a bayaad old sad old week.
it's always like this.
the bad after the good. it's always wise to watch your back. not that you can do anything about it, mind.
i had a wild time in the west - west kilimanjaro - over the week-end, playing guitar, watching horse dances under the moon. singing cowgal songs. watching the stars twirl their stuff above my tent and elephants rumble far away in the silver. my head felt clean, my heart light. i didn't want the next week to happen. i didn't, no siree. now i know why.
monday rolled in, like the bad penny. reports. newsletters and thangs. lesson plans. blah. parents evening. i felt heavy. mr mugambi leaned against my desk, rolling his eyes mumbling about too much work, not enough time, parents evening. we laughed. he always makes me laugh. he was born west of mt kenya and told stories of his ma who is still alive. maybe it's something in the water there, he intimated once. we sighed and headed to our classrooms to start the long, tedious chore of meeting with the parents. i finished up at seven. francis (mr mugambi) left with ben, the ICT teacher, and headed into town for a beer in downtown mbauda, at a local bar on the barabara (main road) to chill out after a long and stressy hot day. the smell of nyama choma (roasted meat) on the air, the clink of kilimanjaro beers, laughter and swahili music spinning around the fairy lights.
around seven thirty eight the bar erupted with some heavily armed robbers. bullets and crashing glass sprayed the air.
a stray bullet hit francis in the stomach. the bar lady took one in the head. the robbers stole all the telephones. phones for fucksakes. ben managed to find a daladala (taxi) to rush francis to hospital, accompanied by some KK Security Guards. he was told that a police report is needed before they could treat him. they left francis at the hospital and rushed off to find this "documentation".
in the meantime, francis died. from internal bleeding. alone. without his family. without his friends. without anyone to hold his warm hand while he made the transition. i hate this. i hate it. he was a good man. a very very good man. africa needs good men like him.
yesterday morning the school was silent and full. only the sound of soft crying filled the corridors. everyone loved francis. he has left three children and a wife in nairobi. his body will leave for kenya tommorrow. he will be buried in meru, north of nairobi towards the end of next week. he will be buried before his old mother, living near mt kenya.
yesterday and today have been sad sad sad. i am not writing this to ask for apologies or condolences. really. i. am. not. i am ok. i am just angry. and sad. and shocked. this continent needs men like francis. it needs people who care for their family, who care for children and who think of a brighter future. as one of the students wrote - how could his own african brothers shoot him down? why? for his phone? the police do nothing. mbauda is full of guns these days.
and then mama kuku. she grew up in the shadows of mt kilimanjaro on a farm in the early 1950's. in the early days of post independent tanzania, all farms were nationalized. her family lost everything. she didn't turn into a bitter person. she stayed. she has dedicated the rest of her life here to improving the lives of street children, lepers, to those who have so little. to those who have nothing. she is now seventy. her husband died last year. last week she returned home after a fund raising evening, raising money for those who have nothing.
they were waiting for her. the baddies. the jambazis. in the dark with their guns. waiting. they dragged her out of her car. beat her up. beat a 70 year old lady up. broke her arms. broke her ribs. smashed her head with the butts of their guns. stole the money and left her crushed, broken and bleeding, crumpled on the ground, yet alive.
this town ain't cut out for lilly livered cowboys. no sirree. your heart must be strong. watch yer back. watch yer back.
i'm too tired to even philosophize about everything. about death. about anything. no words. i tend to read poetry and listen to music and watch the summer storms crack the early evening gloom. i lean my head against my horse. and i think of better things, ya know, nicer things.
safari njema francis mugambi. you'll be missed more than you ever knew. at least you don't have to write all these reports now. . . jeez. god speed, bwana, god speed.
bisous, oh bestests X.X.X. sad salty torn ones. x j