I have friends: , Ayo Okello, Bilha Njoki Omina, Akinyi Oluoch, Mwimali Wesonga, Ndanu Ngie, Festus Maunda, Wangari Githinji, Nyambura Karenju, Nasra Mahmud, Lilian Kwamboka, Calvin Eaton, Kipngetich Arap Bett, Sindala Ogutu, Paul and Doreen Lemalee, Vishal Nagaria… Wanjiru Wachira, Njeri Njuguna, Jadot Niyomugabo, I can’t number all :).
I have Luo friends, Luhya friends, Kisii friends, Kalenjin friends, Maasai friends, Munyoyaya friends, Rwandese friends. I have black friends, white friends, red friends, Christian friends, Hindu friends, Muslim friends, even a few self confessed atheists. I have friends who can’t fit on one blog post!
I do not always agree with my friends’ opinion or even their stand in life. I do not like all their favorite foods, I actually cannot stand the smell of omena and I can’t eat mrenda even with a gun to my head. But then again, my friends do not agree with my opinion or even my stand in life. They don’t always think I’m right which is okay!
I do not know who my friends voted for in the general election; neither do they know who I voted for. True, as one leader misguidedly said, I may guess who they voted for depending on their surname – but I could be wrong! And I know I would be wrong!
My friends have been with me since high school, some since campus days. We have struggled through arithmetic together. We have been harassed by university food and exams together. We have been unceremoniously flushed out of college in the evening after a riot and spent the night in a single room with seven others as we awaited daylight.
We have enjoyed working together and shared meetings chaired by awesome bosses together. We have wept together when we lost a boss who was oh-so-dear. We have shared memories of a loved high school coordinator and a much hated teacher. We have lived under the same roof to make rent easier as we struggled through the first days after college.
We have shared the loss of a child together, crying through it all though we weren’t together in person. We have enjoyed the beauty of marriage, the birth of children and the clumsiness of being new wives. We have shared our frustrations with our husbands when we thought they weren’t being so sensible.
My friends have bailed me out financially when I had too much month at the end of the money. We have carpooled – more like I have ridden in their car! They supported me through my wedding and showed up to make it so glorious. When some people jeered me for calling a wedding committee and refused to show up, I held no grudge. I had no room since my friends stuck with me through it all and stepped in in ways I hadn’t even requested.
I have hidden a Kisii neighbor in my house when the husband beat her up and locked her out of the house at night. I have hosted a Luo friend in my house when thieves broke into her house and the land lord took forever to repair her door.
No, I’m not trying to show how I’m the model Kenyan patriot and how much I deserve the patriot of the year award. Far from it, I know I may have said one or two things that the NCIC would not agree to per se but I have tried.
I just do not understand how one Kenyan would go and hack another Kenya to death, or even think another lesser because they speak a different tongue. These are the people who have helped me up when I was down, and I know they will be of immense help later in life – whether I know them or not.
I have friends I will never know beyond the one time we met. Like the girl I took to Pumwani to deliver after she was thrown out of a dispensary while in labor. Like the stranger who paid my fare after I forgot my purse at home. These little things that make us unique is what we should be thinking about – and appreciating about each other. We are ONE!