Merchants of Death

Tears stream down my face. I close my eyes and listen to The Fray. I can’t hear what they are saying but it sounds really sad.

I got the text this afternoon after class. From my dad who rarely texts me. You have to come home early, it said. I had a group meeting to discuss our project and a dinner meeting afterwards so I called back to find out why.

I had a bad feeling something bad had happened. The feeling had persisted during the day. He didn’t pick buy he called me back shortly … I was thinking please don’t be Sam or Albert, my bros. Or mum. It turned out to be my grandfather, on my mother’s side. My paternal grandfather passed on three years ago.

He was going to come for my graduation … that’s what I keep thinking about. He was going to wear a suit and tie and well shined shoes. He was going to wear his godfather hat and pose with me in my gown.

My grandfather loved suits.. and his godfather hat. I was going to be rich so I could charter a helicopter for him to fly around. He’d always wanted to do that and I was going to keep that promise.

Earlier I’d kept wiping the tears but now I let them flow.

He was an elegant man. Very neat. Polished. He was born poor, he didn’t die rich financially but he leaves behind a wealth of people.

I keep imagining how it happened. It wasn’t a long illness bravely born. It wasn’t old age… he was about 70 [Learned that he died at 78/79]. It was a motorcycle accident. Those boda boda operators riding recklessly. The merchants of death.

He’d just gotten off one motorcycle and was about to cross the road when another bike came from the opposite direction …

Did I say he was gonna come for my graduation?

I feel for my mother. Her dad would walk for miles to come see her in boarding school. He’d wear torn shirts just so he could pay school fees for his 12 children. He’s the type of man who took responsibility seriously … he was.

We didn’t talk much but we had a basic understanding of each other. We’d sit under a tree and listen to the portable radio whenever I was in shagz, which is not too often. It was never often enough.

I left school this afternoon in a haze.. wiped the tears streaming silently in the mat. Later I didn’t care, I just let them flow. The.conductor tried cheering me up but I couldn’t even speak.

Now I’m feeling better, I have to be strong for my mum.

I’ve been tweeting whenever I get any free time… but I just can’t tweet a death. It feels like Twitter is for trivial news like “just won a lottery! ” “just married”. Not any amount of sympathy will bring back my grandfather.

If only we could sit under a tree one more time and listen to Egesa FM. If only I could buy him a hat, suit, shirt, tie, shoes and socks and take that graduation pic with him. If only I could charter that helicopter and give him that ride he always wishes for. If only wishes were horses …

We’ll travel to shagz as soon as we can. We’ll reunite with all the people whose lives my grandfather touched. We’ll curse these careless merchants of death. I’ll wonder if there are stats indicating the number of accidents caused by the recent influx of Chinese motorbikes ridden by untrained merchants of death.

We’ll bury our grandfather and come back to our lives. We’ll be sad for a while, and sad on some lower level for life.

With time we’ll move on. People are born. People die. Every second. Before my time comes I’ll take time to live. I’ve been thinking of writing a will to ‘dispose of’ my online accounts since I have no financial wealth … YET.

As the French say, c’est la vie.

In the meantime, I’m letting the tears flow. Flow for my grandfather. For the boy he was, the man he became, the old man he was before the merchant of death knocked him off this earth.

I’ll miss him.

BAKE HH: Blogging for a Cause

The question is: would you tweet, facebook and blog to save Mount Kenya?

The next BAKE Happy Hour is on Friday 8th July, from 6pm. Please sign up so we know who is coming! I think there might be a surprise (shhh.. maybe a free drink). The tentative venue is Secrets Lounge. Get your groove on and see you then!

Oh right, about Mount Kenya.

Would you tweet to save the Mount Kenya? Would you Facebook (just clicking on Like)? Would you blog about this initiative to save Kenya’s largest water catchment?

With over 7 million Kenyans online, Africa Point through Tupande Pamoja and partners strongly believe they can bring on board 100,000 social media ambassadors to help raise awareness about this worthy cause within a period of two years and subsequently plant 100,000 trees in Mt Kenya Forest over the same period of time.

Just How Important is Mount Kenya?

Batian Peak in Mt Kenya, Africa's second highest mountain. The glaciers are melting at a worrying rate.

Mount Kenya is Kenyan’s largest water tower whose underground lakes and a large network of rivers supply water to more than two million people living in the surrounding areas. It also provides about half the flow of water into the Tana River _Kenya’s largest river, which produces 50 per cent of the hydropower generated in Kenya. Mt. Kenya is also the source of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the only river supplying water to the arid Laikipia and Samburu area to the north of Kenya. In a nutshell, Mount Kenya Forest alone is estimated to provide more than 40% of the country’s water requirement. But deforestation – a major contributing factor to global warming – is threatening to destroy the globally recognized tourist attraction and Kenya’s major water tower.

So as we come together this coming happy hour, kindly take the time to tweet the link on this page, and like the facebook link at the bottom of that page. What a joy it would be if the Tweet Count reads 100,000 retweets!

Then if you’re a blogger, and your answer to the question is yes, display the banner on anywhere your blog.

Would you? Will you?

See you on July 8th! Let’s blog for a cause, let’s do this!

P.S. The hashtag for this is #TupandePamoja and #saveMountKenya

If Mount Kenya Forest goes, we all go!