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I remember a day just a few weeks ago, I was walking around Makadara Old town with my close friend Amina, when all of a sudden the man right in front of us fell down. He started having fits and convulsions before he became unconscious. We both freaked out of course and we had a second of shock before we thought of doing anything. His fits seemed like he was an epileptic but he didn’t produce any saliva like I have seen it ooze out of my sister’s mouth.
See my sister is epileptic but in that moment I just froze and my mind went blank. I totally had no idea what to do yet I have the experience doing first aid for an epileptic. When the shock sank in, I ran to a chemist nearby to get help while Amina picked up the man’s belongings that were scattered.
I couldn’t get any help from the Pharmacists. So I rushed back. People had started gathering. Everyone with their own theory of what to do so he can recover.
“Mnusishe ufunguo.” (Let him smell keys)
“Mnusishe upande wa chini wa kiatu.” (Let him smell the bottom side of the shoe.
There was a biology teacher nearby. He asked the people to space out before saying that epileptics can’t be helped in that situation. They are left to regain their consciousness.
Every kind of people stood and had a peep at him. Some questioned what was happening while others just looked and disappeared. We still stood there; me and Amina. And it was while we were waiting for the man to gain consciousness I remembered my sister. I imagined how it would be if she ever fell down on the way. Will she get someone like Amina to hold her things until she wakes up? Will she get someone to raise her head and turn her back and cover her well? My heart was in a pinch now and I was holding myself so hard not to break down. But then my brother in law appeared (the husband to my epileptic sister), and you know, usually when you see a familiar face in such a situation it’s like “at last someone to understand what I am feeling”. So I just let it out and started crying. Mind you, I was crying in front of a crowd of people. So the attention shifted for a moment.
“Why is she crying?” They started asking. My brother in law pulled me aside and I quickly rubbed off my tears and put on a smile. He left and I went back to where the man was lying.
Slowly, we watched as he regained consciousness. I went on my knees and questioned him his name and whether he remembers what has jut happened. From experience, there were times she couldn’t even recognize my mother until moments later.
The man told us his name and gave us his relative’s phone number to call. A lady gave me her phone to make the call.
“Are you so and so?”
“Yes. Do you know so and so?”
“He mentioned you to be his uncle. Do you know him?”
“No this is wrong number.”
“Wait…aren’t you so and so?”
“I am but as I told you I don’t know the person.” The line went dead.
“He says he doesn’t know you,” I told the man.
“We are not in very good terms that’s why.”
“Any other relative we can call?”
“My cousin but he doesn’t have a phone at the moment.”
We all sighed. This is going to be tricky to deal with.
The same lady who gave me the phone to make the call went and bought the man some water and glucose. Another male student seemingly going to college stopped by and offered to help too. The biology teacher was still standing there and Amina was still holding the man’s belongings, tears in her eyes.
“So how can we help him? He can’t leave like this.”
I knelt down again.
“Do you have epilepsy?”
“No I went to the hospital the other day and I was told Malaria has gotten to the brain…and thus the convulsions.” He slowly removed a hospital subscription and then showed me ARV’s.
“I am coming from my uncle’s.place to ask for help to buy the medicines required and I was heading to another place to ask for help too.”
A Barawa man or perhaps he was a Somali quickly asked me, “He needs money for hospital?”
“Please come with me to my shop I will give you the money.”
The hospital prescription was written that he was referred to Coast general and he needed malaria tablets worth 2000. I stared at the amount with puzzlement. 2000/= for malaria tabs? Or is it because he has Aids? Doesn’t make sense. I still went with the Barawa guy to his shop and gave me the two thousand shillings. I thanked him and rushed to Kisima Chemist.
I quickly told the story to the Pharmacist and showed him the prescription. His next words shattered me…
“That man…he is lying. There is no prescription that can be written for malaria tabs worth 2000. Plus if he has been referred to Coast general he should be there instead of taking malaria tabs worth 2K”
“I thought so too…but…but he can’t be lying. He fell down right in front of me. I saw him get the fits. How he gained consciousness.”
“Ma’am…we have seen a lot here. People go to far extents to make money from people. He must have used a substance that triggered the fall and the fits. They usually point out targets and then do the act.”
I was speechless. Shocked. Pertubed.
Does this mean this man had actually targeted me and Amina as potential naive souls to believe his drama?
“Now what should I do? Someone just gave me 2000 to buy the guy medicines. I don’t even know his name. How can I return it?”
“Listen… if you want to buy malaria tablets worth 2000 then I will give you…but if you really want to help this guy take him to hospital. You will know the truth from there”
The pharmacist turned to the next customer as I stood still. I replayed the whole scene.
It was just Amina and I behind that man. No one close by. I remember how fast he showed me his ARV’s and the prescription and how he told his story of needing funds…Oh my…
Amina interrupted my thoughts.
“Oh I finally found you. The man was saying he knows a place he can buy the medicines at a cheaper price.”
I told her what the pharmacist had just said.
“Anyway let’s just assume he is being honest…in any case we haven’t lost anything.”
“Well yeah but if he is lying then we have lost our tears and my head is drumming and I am late for work. Both of us are late to work…” I said.
As we approached the man again, the crowd had dispersed. Remaining was just the fallen guy, the biology teacher and Amina’s mum who had come after Amina called her.
We took Amina’s mum aside and explained what we were told. The shock never seized appearing on our faces.
“We can’t exactly know though. Maybe he is sick after all. Let’s just give him benefit of doubt…”
Amina’s mum approached the man and asked him,
“Should we take you to Coast general? Won’t it be better if we took you there?”
“Mmh yeah…” he hesitated, “but let me relax first.”
Amina’s mum told us they will try questioning him before giving him the 2K. So Amina and I left while Amina’s mum and the biology teacher went with him to a small cafe to buy him lunch and question him too…
It’s been quite a while since that incident but I have never been able to digest it. Every time I pass by that spot I remember how that man fell down. And whenever I do, I feel disappointed and sometimes; stupid.
Amina later on told me that her mum told the man that if he is genuine then may God help him and if he lying then God is there too to grant him what he deserves, before giving him the money.
When I told my family what happened that day, my dad and brother told me I should stop being naive.
But then this isn’t about me alone. There was the lady who bought water and glucose for the guy, who gave out her phone to make calls, there was Amina who went to a further extent of calling her mom, who also had to leave her job place to come help this guy, there was the biology teacher, the college boy, the Barawa guy who gave out his money…Sometimes I wonder if they ever heard the Pharmacists words what would they say? Or feel? Or perhaps how would it change their perspective to humanity and humans? True, sometimes humans don’t deserve humanity…
We complain of how humanity has died but there are so many good people out there. But it is still us humans who kill the remaining perks of faith that we have in humanity. Again and again, we have broken the trust and the chains connecting us. I remember another friend once told me of how someone orchestrated their own death and went to an extra mile of letting out photos to prove the death. Only for the family to find out it was a huge lie in the name of revenge for a fight that happened. Tell me, who does that? Put your own family through such kind of pain cause of a fight?
This is how when someone calls wolf…we are barely ever going to believe it anymore. Because we have reduced humanity into nothing by just putting up an award winning drama. This is how to kill humanity in a moment….
P.S My intention in writing this story is to not show what I did or what my friend did or what others did. Far from it, this can serve a lesson for those who believe what they see easily. You need to be alert out there. We have cons and real psychos out there. You need to be careful…And that there are so many kind people ready to help but we are the ones who break them by killing the little left humanity in them…
Nonetheless, may God bless every single kind soul that helped out that day and every other day. They are the only hope we have in humanity.