Both my family and friends keep accusing me of not being Godfearing simply because they never see me in church on Sundays, and also because of the content of some of my posts on my blog. The accusation is ludicrous, and unjust. I’m not that religious, I have to admit but it doesn’t mean I’m not Godfearing! I’m the most Godfearing dude out here and I will tell why. And to put that on me just because of what I write on my blog is nonsense, and sounds to me like pure malice.
Honestly, what do you expect from a twisted Christian poet dating a beautiful Muslim girl who keeps threatening to walk back into the arms of his Muslim ex boyfriend if he doesn’t convert to Islam? I can’t talk to anyone because I’m sure no one will understand. Anyone you try telling, quickly jumps to conclusion.
“Stop lying to yourself bro. Just get a Christian chic and move on…”
“There’s no way you can marry a Muslim woman, not unless you convert…”
“Sure, she’s a nice girl man! But do you honestly think her folks will let her get married to a Christian man?”
That’s partly the reason I never tell them anything. I prefer writing my feelings, my pain and confusion to telling judgemental humans! Has any of them ever sat down and rationally thought about the whole thing. Have they ever imagined that my situation might be different from any other case study they’ve come across? Of course I never asked my heart to fall in love.
Now to why these folks should not be too quick to question my spirituality. They shouldn’t call me a pagan, and neither should they be saying I’m not Godfearing.
Ever passed at the Aga Khan Walk in Nairobi? I know almost every Nairobian has been to this place. Did you see the number of preachers at the place? Yea, at least twice every week I find myself here, not to preach or anything like that but just to write. This is the place where people of all walks. From the rich to the poor, from the employed to job seekers, from preachers to conmen, to kanjos — city council officers — manning the surrounded car park, and to beggars and street urchins.
I sat here on my first day in campus and the habit stuck like a bad rumor. Walking from the Technical University of Kenya to the place when I had a lot of time to the next class became a routine. Sometimes I came with my friends and we would just sit here along the walk ogling at girls and starring at them kifisi (like hyenas), and arguing about topics with very little relevance to the current units at school such as; who is the richest man in Kenya, who owns which and which building in Nairobi, which is the hottest matatu in the city, et cetera. And how can I forget backbiting dudes passing around with pizza boxes from the Pizza Inn. I don’t know why but we always found it weird, and it always made an interesting topic long after the guy has disappeared in the next street.
Later on after I started my blog, this became my favorite writing place, especially for complicated topics. In that babel of noise I found my focus. Observing people; black, white, Asians — mostly the Chinese assembling and interacting as they go about their activities inspire me. Sometimes I would just stare at the clouds forming above the KICC, indicating it might rain in the course of the day and then I will direct my gaze back to my phone — always write on my phone because of its portability factor — and type with some sort of urgency. I can’t let it rain before I get home, not because I’m allergic to rain water or something, but because of the hike in matatu fares that happen in Nairobi immediately the first rain drop touches the ground surface. The bus fare doubles, and sometimes you have to fight a dozen other desperate passengers for your way into the matatu, not mentioning the fact that you had queued for an hour. And the jam on both Jogoo and Mombasa Road for those of us who stay in Embakasi is aggravating.
Anyway while I’m at the Aga Khan Walk, writing, and sometimes just taking a breathe before going on my errands, I never miss to take in whatever the preachers would be preaching. When they’re praying I always close my eyes but holding on tight to my smartphone and whatever luggage I got. In the streets of Nairobi, homie don’t even trust the guy praying himself, and obviously not the grinning grandpa seated on the hard stones next to you reading from a newspaper. When the preacher asks for offerings I give something, but only if I have a coin with me. Blame it on the Kenyan economy. And if he says:
“Psalms chapter…”, or “The book of Proverbs says…”
I will always make a mental note, promising to read it later but sadly I never keep the promise. Funny I always find time to read shockingly huge novels but I can’t even open the Bible App on my phone — God forgive me, promise to do better next time.
So you see, I too listen to the word of God. I may not know the name of the preacher or which God he or she truly serves, but does it matter? And I do pray. I sometimes pray before I go to bed and sometimes when I wake up, but hardly during meals. I have to be honest. I’ve never had the patience to go through a prayer with a meal in front of me, not unless someone else is doing the praying.
“Amen!” That’s all I say sometimes before pinching a huge chunk of ugali like a real Luhya.
Next time you pass around the Aga Khan Walk from the car park, or from the electricity house, or from eating pizza or from taking coffee in Java House, or from whatever, don’t forget to look around the area carefully. You see a moderately tall and slender, dark-skinned young man with a black bag tightly strapped on his back, vigorously typing on his phone and sometimes just staring at nothing in particular in deep thought, please say hi it might be me or some other guy like me.