27th February 2021 is a day worth recalling the rest of my life. Come with me and hold on your straw so as to sip every of the juice in this narration. It was my first day in Town. Well, I don’t mean just any town but the biggest of them all in my motherland, Nairobi City. Mixed feelings. I felt super exited yet scared for leaving my mother’s house. I thought I had left too soon. Just like Abraham I felt like I was walking into unknown land. Sadly there was no turning back. I was already in this unknown land.
I was welcomed to this land with an incident. My friend who happened to be my host for a few had just picked me from the bus stop. I did not try leaving the bus stop. Not even a step. I had heard disheartening stories of friends who had gotten lost around. In their lostness all they’d see was an Mpesa shop (huh you know how many Mpesa shops you can see in town-as many)
At this point in time, the country was on the verge of getting into loggerheads with the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, a number of health protocols had been revisited including the basic one of putting on face masks. My friend had not put on his mask properly. Suddenly, we bumped into a slightly tall man, plump who looked stern. He was in civilian yet had handcuffs. Without further ado, my friend had been handcuffed. The supposed corporal requested for Ksh 5000 lest we’d spent in jail that night. I was frightened. I didn’t utter a word. I was helpless so to speak. Sadly we lost this battle with a ransom of Ksh 1000.
This made me question myself. Was I the best choice to be part of the program that had caused me pack from far West? I was singing a different tune to the lyrics at heart! I had fallen down to be stood on by evil. Rather than standing out to be counted. Little did I know that my own contextualized test on my values was cooking.
A week ago, I had reported at my work station enthusiastically regardless of the freezing Nairobi. Little did I know what the day had in store for me. At about 11am, there came this airline agent who looked bit restless. He came up with a narrative that seemed kinda fishy. One of the passengers, he said did not have the COVID-19 Free test certificate. Reason being, she went to a salon the previous day only to come back and find the house help had locked the house and left with the key. Interesting! How does that relate with them not adhering to the regulations.
Little did we know, the crew and another passenger had not met the requirements. So he wanted us to help as Fellow Kenyans. Remember, that certificate is a requirement for all international travelers. Not just by the Kenya’s Ministry of Health but by the International Health Regulation (IHR).
We, I together with my shift-mate, told this guy who had been send to prepare the way for the rest of the passengers and the crew. That, that wouldn’t happen. He did not believe it at first. From his stance, he saw young people who have been raised and with the Kenyan culture embedded in them. He was pretty sure we needed some coins for lunch or even fare back home.(actually I needed some financial miracle, huh). He knew we were just buying time, if not wittily bargaining for the increment of the helping price.
We had resolved just like Daniel not to defile ourselves. The more we remained adamant to his plea the more he pleaded persuasively. He even brought in the pilot and the owner of the plane who was the co-pilot. The deal was getting ‘huge and better’. The Potato would be big. Two hours down the line we still held to our stand. This left the proponents of the deal in shock. They couldn’t imagine we couldn’t seal the deal as quickly so that they’d find themselves in Juba-Sudan in a few.
Soon our shift lead who reports later in the day had come. The proponents of the deal decided to engage her. Perhaps they thought she’d overrule the young people’s stance. After hearing the case, she, my shift leader called an impromptu briefing for the three of us. Guess what!
“Ebenezer what do you think we should do”. She asked. Really! I hoped that the question had been misdirected. Unfortunately I was the one and only Ebenezer in the vicinity. I was to make a verdict which would be adopted and be presented as unanimously agreed. Candidly but in a low tone I said. “This guys are flaunting the rules yet they know what’s required of them, my stance, we cancel the whole flight so that they’d go do the test and travel the next day.” Friend, that was the end of the boardroom briefing.
Our guy, the airline agent was briefed that we had unanimously agreed to cancel the flight. He didn’t believe the deal was ending into a drain. He reported to the pilot and the co-pilot. The Co-pilot who doubled up to be the owner of the plane wanted to hear the verdict first hand. He came to us and with a polite smile my shift leader repeated the same message. That was it. A two hour quest had hit rock-bottom. Perhaps with many losses yet with a major significance. That, doing the right thing is still right and possible in this present age. Secondly, it’s possible to live our values and sing to the below tune.
(I will be counted, I will stand)
(I will take action)
(I will be counted, I will not be silent)
(I Will Be Counted)
At some point someone joked that the lines of the above Hesabika-Theme song should be added to the National anthem. Which I couldn’t agree more! It’s easier said than done! Change begins with me and you. Gladly, change is inter-generational. What burton will you pass on to your children’s children matters changing the morals of our land? You can do your part as insignicant as you may think it is.
Someone is waiting for you to stand so that they can also stand.
Together we be counted!!