A while back, I read a story called ‘The Guilt’; it’s one of the many stories in the book ‘When the Sun goes down and other stories’ (It’s a short story book, but I’d recommend anyone to read it.) The story-The Guilt- talks of how the blacks in South Africa are trying to use guilt to manipulate the “rich whites”. After the apartheid regime, most of the blacks still live in deplorable conditions, and they try and use guilt as a weapon against the white man. ‘Since you treated me unfairly, and now we’re somewhat equal, don’t you think you’re inclined to give me that piece of bread, twice the money I worked for, guavas laying around in your compound ‘ is the general African person setting-in the story.
Whether you’d like to go to Jivanjee gardens and start a debate with the ‘kamukunji’ there, if there is one thing that is evident to every person, there is always a person who’ll always try to use guilt as a weapon against you. Whether it’s your watchman, your gardener, your mother-in-law or small brother. Someone will always want to make you feel bad for having a car, being healthy, being married, having a job. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should boast around all we have, but if you got it then enjoy it.
Now, every weekend-and holidays, there’s this woman in a wheelchair who sits between me and the stage. (no pun intended) Every time I pass she has this soft ‘habari yako’ greeting with the puppy face and it just kills me that I can’t do anything about her condition-Which one time I asked and she was very reluctant to tell me (eases up on the guilt). But what is most intriguing is, no matter what time I wake up, I’ll find her there. If I leave the house at 5 A.M, I’ll still bump into her (seriously, no pun intended) if I leave the house at 11 A.M, I’ll still find her there chillin’ in her wheelchair with that faded red 20 bob plastic cup.
Once I tried a different route altogether just to avoid her and it worked! Well, until the point I saw her on the other route as well, thank goodness I was in a car. But now the issue got me thinking, how dedicated are the family members that get her to the ‘donation spot’ every weekend-and holiday and even had the audacity of buying her a 200 bob umbrella during the El Nino season.
Is she their livelihood? Is she their scapegoat? Is she their cash cow? Now this just gets me so mad that people would just drop a helpless lady on the road to act as their breadwinner! I picture some strong guys laying around the house all day, waiting for her to scorch in the sun, get sand in her eyes from the wind, and get her hair all wet from the rains just so they may get a meal.
I don’t know whether to be furious with her for just sitting around arms crossed and letting them use her, or with them for using a helpless lady. That’s why I stopped throwing my coins in the faded red 20 bob plastic cup of beggars all over. Please don’t get me started on those little kids selling tropical and Njugu with the ‘saidia uncle’ face.