People say that they enjoy sleeping as it rains; that it makes them sleep like babies; that the sound of rain pouring, as they cuddle in warm blankets is soothing and comforting, and one of the closest experiences there is to heavenly peace.
How I would love to be among those that enjoy sleeping as it rains. Sadly, I am not, if anything I dread the rain; because every time it rains, it means starting my life over again. It means loss and pain. The rains hold with them uncertainty and the potential of dreams cut short.
As it rains tonight, I go back memory lane, to last year at a time like this, when it rained and our house was swept away. I am lucky my children had gone upcountry to visit their grandmother, otherwise, I would tell a story similar to that of my neighbour, Grace, who lost her only daughter to the flood.
That night we slept in the cold, some of us trying to salvage the little we could of our belongings, as they were swept away by the water. Some people lost their lives, as they tried to swim and salvage their belongings. The next day, we got into mourning, for the little girl, Grace’s daughter, and nine other neighbours. We couldn’t spend too much time mourning, as we had to reconstruct our houses.
I had saved 6,000 shillings with my SACCO, hoping that I would get a loan, triple the amount I had saved and use some of the money to improve my grocery business, and the rest to pay school fees for my son Joshua, who had just joined secondary school that year.
The rain cut short that dream, instead I had to borrow money, not to improve my business or to send my son to school in the new term, but to reconstruct our house, and replace some of the household items that we had lost in the rain. I didn’t know how to explain to my son that he would have to stay at his grandmother’s home longer, as I tried to look for school fees to send him back to school.
I got the loan, and built our house. Determined not to disappoint Joshua, I saved all the money that I made from my grocery business. To make more money, I started hawking on Tom Mboya Street after 5pm, as people were leaving work. On the first day, business was booming, and I sold all my stock.
Though I arrived home late and tired, I could afford to have a smile on my face. I called Joshua, and excitedly shared the news with him, reassuring him, that I would soon be sending him back to school. Joshua kept asking me to repeat different segments of the story. I guess just like me, he could not believe the miracle.
In a bid to hasten the process, on the second day, I bought double the stock of the previous day. I was determined to send Joshua back to school before the end of the month. As fate would have it, I was arrested that night for hawking on the streets. The askaris chased after me, but my wares were too heavy and they caught up with me. I was thrown into the truck and taken to a cell, where I spent the night.
I gave all the money that I had, together with the hope of sending Joshua back to school to the askaris, as it was the only way I would gain back my freedom. All my wares were confiscated, and they were never returned to me. I had to start afresh again, this time unable to borrow from my SACCO as I was still repaying the loan.
Downtrodden, I quit selling groceries, and resorted to casual labour. I wake up at 5am every day, and leave the house at 6 am, for a two – hour walk to the nearby suburb. In some cases I find work for 500 shillings, and on good days, 1000 shillings. Some days there is no work, and I have to walk back home for two hours, tired, hungry and still uncertain of what the next day holds. Life must go on though, and so I never give up.
With the ups and downs, Joshua never went back to school. He also looks for casual work, and helps me here and there with the bills. I don’t see him going back to school, but I hope that the two of us can work to provide a better future for his sister Brenda.
The rains are now here. I am now afraid because I don’t know what they hold this time. I haven’t been sleeping much, as the roof has been leaking, luckily, we have not been swept away yet.