Friday, April 26, 2024

Hopes and Fears before the book launch.


Tomorrow we meet at 61 Marula Lane for the books launch. If I said I am panicking it would be an understatement. So let’s say that I slept at 1.a.m, got up at five this morning, tried to convince myself that I could still have my eye check up on Monday, but then what if the eye decided to misbehave on Saturday, so the adult in me called a boda, while on the boda I remembered I had not carried my hospital card, went back, couldn’t find it. Got to hospital and was number 6, an improvement from last week’s no. 9. If you are going to have your eyes checked at Kikuyu Hospital then you better be there by six if you hope to see a doctor by midday.

So I am in the third queue. It’s raining, I have drunk all the tea I had carried, even the back up tea in a tight thermos, and eaten the plantain and liver I had carried for lunch. It’s 9.45 a.m and from the looks of it the doctor I had an appointment with has not come in yet.

When I came in were just about 10 people, now the hall is full and we are watching akili kids.

Mzee kijo ako na kondoo

Na kondoo hulia baa baa baa.

I am thinking this would be a nice lullaby to sing to myself when I cannot sleep.

My friend calls public hospitals , cattle dips. They mainly are, cattle dips for the masses, where you are heardered into paddocks and moved from one to another depending on malaise.

Kikuyu hospital is not public, or kanju. Nī ya mīceni. And if you come on a Tuesday you might find yourself smack right in the middle of a  morning devotion church service. You can join in the singing if that’s your faith, or continue watching tiktok with your Somali Brethren.

The Somalis come in families. There will be a young woman, a middle aged man, nicely dressed to blend in, an old man with a tie and dye beard, wearing a Kikoy and carrying a walking stick, and an interpreter. This will be someone short and stout and darker in skin tone. He will have blue denim bottoms and a dress suit jacket.

When you get in and get a number, you stay in a state of panic, your number or name might be called, and if you don't jump from your seat fast enough and announce, niko hapa! Then your number gets pushed behind. At the eye testing paddock there is a gum smacking Jane with smudged, wine red lipstick and seems to be having an internal joke threatening to have her laughing out loud any minute, but it would be inappropriate in the  face of the blurry sighted teenager who cannot even see the two fingers she is holding up.

It’s a smirk. She has a smirk.

So instead you concentrate on the. Very very conspicuous Somali. 

They have a high hat look, and refuse to sit with hoi poloi. I donno maybe they have elitist cards but they will not be caught blind sitting watching akili kids an entire day with you. 

I get called in pretty soon and a happy, middle aged woman, the kind that are usually very light on their feet , and stylish holds my hand and says.

‘Nīwe Cecilia Gathoni.’

I feel, ndatuītīkira nda because amenya atīa? Maybe my results came in an Inhave cancer. Are they going to break the news today? A day before the launch? I should have come on Monday. She gives me a sit and asks where I stay. I respond and then she tells me ‘ nītūkwaria.’ As the doctor gestures at me to sit in front of him. 

When I leave the lady escorts me, still holding my hand. I tell her ‘Ndūkīnjīre wītagwo atīa ndīgakūhatūke mūthenya ūngī.’

She tells me her name is Leah.

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