It was late in the evening, a day before the media reported it when I heard of the sad story. It was actually from one of the victims close relatives, a girl friend of mine who told me of what had happened to her step-dad’s brother and six others while felling down trees somewhere in Karen, Nairobi.
According to her — my source — the victims, who were from Kawangware in Nairobi had gone for a job in the home of some rich person who turned out to be the Nasa co-principal, Musalia Mudavadi. Though at the moment she didn’t know that.
“Walikunywa dawa ya Maasai,” she said peevishly.
“Walipelekwa Karen Hospital, wakakataa (Karen only treats the rich), and then wakawapeleka Mbagathi, na uko pia wakawatuma Kenyatta.” She continued.
My first instinct was to laugh, but thought against it. Would’ve been so insensitive of me, and so I just said how sorry I was. But you can imagine how hilarious it sounds being told that someone is in a hospital after consuming “dawa ya Maasai”.
Dawa ya Maasai for those who don’t know, is a concoction made from herbs and other God knows what. Most folks take it with the hope it’ll cure them from ” magonjwa yote”, like the peddlers keep saying. And if you have ever stopped to listen to those guys clad in shuka selling that funny looking stuff in some dirty five-litre plastic container that still bears “Dawa ya ng’ombe” sticker on its side, then you might find it funny as well.
Those guys would tell you how their medicine cures all diseases; gonorrhoea, syphilis, headache, stomachache, HIV/Aids, impotence, kujikuna ngozi, and even teeth-whitening for those with “corroded” teeth, just to name a few.
So the next day when news of the incident finally broke out on the media, I remembered my source and what she had told me. But the media, it seemed didn’t have the facts since they were saying that the victims had prepared the fatal concoction themselves at the site, which wasn’t true. It was a Maasai man who had sold them the poisonous concoction that left four dead and other three fighting for their lives.
Early this morning I reached out to my source to follow-up on the story and as it happened, she had some new facts for me.
The three men that had immediately died at Mudavadi’s home had refused to drink water unlike the other four after they started feeling stomachaches that was accompanied with heavy vomiting and then dizziness after consuming the dawa. The three believed that the medicine was now working its magic.
The four men who felt that what they were experiencing after taking the concoction wasn’t normal, rushed to the tap and drank water, made it to the hospital. With the exception of the unlucky one who died on the queue as they waited for treatment, the other three are recovering.
I told you I live in a crazy country. An emergency case such as that and you still have to queue! The hospital, the country, killed that poor man, and we should be ashamed of who we have become as a country.