Tough Times Don’t Last
Ali, my brother, is 3 years younger than I am, starting with the age difference, between us is an avalanche of differences, he is taller, stoic and masculine as for me if I am short and round and were it not for the few push ups I do I would be round like a doughnut or what governor Lonyangapuo called kijana fupi round.
I only use my hands to eat and to scratch myself when itchy and once in a while to write but my brother is handy, a craftsman the things he makes from his hand using steel are exceptionally elegant. I was a C plain Student in school my teachers always screamed I was an A material if I could just work a bit harder as for my brother he didn’t get along with books
I still remember the day he walked up to mum in her small roadside food kiosk and told her he didn’t feel like going to school anymore.
My mum did not waste her breath in objection instead the next day he gave him the pan and he started cooking chapatis and boy were they sweet ? In a few days he had transformed the roadside kiosk into a roadside hotel hope you notice the difference working he had built a seat for mum for customers expanded
Then one day a drunk man passing by said to my mum huyu kijana wako sana ntapitia kesho nimpeleke kazi ( your son is very hardworking, I have a job for him I will pass by for him tomorrow ) my mum agreed hurriedly to brush him off as a just a mere drunkard.
Unbeknownst to her he was serious he came back the next day sober, my mum told him to come the next day.
That’s how he became a welder his boss while drunk would tell my mum he has never had such a hardworking and talented worker not sure if you know but drunkards rarely lie.
While the intellectual me was still looking for my footing in life, my Jua Kali younger brother had found his,we had always watched Television at our neighbors he was the first to break that spell he bought big Television butterfly chairs that were the order of the day.
He started thinking of investment. He bought a motorbike, hired a young man as the rider on his first day at work he was robbed off the bike that is a whooping 70,000/-(seventy thousands) gone with the wind. He lost his money but not his spirit.
A short while later he got married and was blessed with twins,a boy and a girl before their second birthday the boy died. This was the first death in our family and with the pain came confusion too where will he be buried ? A family of seven kids brought up by a single mother with no land upcountry deserted by extended family in case we came looking for land from our maternal grandparents.
We buried him at Lang’ata cemetery. The whole family was in grief but for my brother it was a different kind of tears he felt like he had thrown away his blood. The way I read him it’s like he had decided something but didn’t tell anyone this no matter what decisions.
He called me one day saying he had bought a piece of land upcountry and wanted our help to put up a structure for our parents that is my grandma and my mother, with little support from my sister and I we built a one bedroom house and moved our grandma there, 2 weeks later she passed away. It was an emotional moment for our family. But thank God for my mum getting a safe place to quarantine away from the slums she brought us up in.
Life is a bag of chocolates when you dip your hand in you don’t know what will come out,my parents couldn’t have predicted that the kid who didn’t do well in school would be the one to build a house for them.
Now I am Sharing this story at this time of Corona pandemic for it has disrupted our lives but hey maybe something good will come out of it who knows?