My Village Diary 2 – “I used my cellphone to inform my neighbor that my wife was very ill”

May 31, 2011

Using cellphones in a small village in south eastern Kenya…

The story of Musyoki

Last Saturday, I invited my neighbor, Musyoki, over for lunch to catch up but mostly to hear about his late wife and brother. Musyoki’s mother was our nanny who took care of me and my siblings when we were growing up here in the village. He told me that his wife, Safina, had been ill for a while. “They said she was diabetic.” When I saw her last May, she looked fine but she told me she was unwell. I never knew that was the last time I would see her.

This is what musyoki told me about the death of Safina:

 “One day I came home from work and found her seriously ill in bed. She asked me to give her water to drink. I gave her and then I called my friend in the market and asked him to loan me some money to buy my wife some glucose and orange juice. When I came back, my wife’s condition had  deteriorated. At 5 AM the following day, I phoned my friend and asked him to call a bodaboda (local motorbike taxi) to rush her to the hospital. My friend phoned the bodaboda and we rushed my wife to the hospital. She was treated and admitted in the hospital for three days. Unfortunately her condition got worse and on the third day she died. I was there when she died. I had gone to the hospital early in the morning to give her some porridge. But she was too weak to drink .  She died in my hands. I covered her and went to call the doctor. I immediately phoned my neighbor to tell him the bad news. My neighbor then phoned other neighbours and family and mobilized them for funeral arrangements. When I went to the hospital to collect my wife’s body, they refused to release her because I owed the hospital a fee of 1200 kenya shillings (about 13 Canadian dollars). I phoned my friend and asked him to loan me some money to pay the hospital and for funeral arrangements. Another neighbor who heard about the death phoned me, and he offered to buy the coffin. I was very happy. With the help of the neighbours we managed to organize a decent funeral for my wife. I miss her very much”

My wife phoned me and asked me to come home immediately

I asked Musyoki to tell me about his late brother. His brother had “disappeared” for 20 years. He left the village in search of a job and came back home after 20 years, very ill. This is what Musyoki told me:

“I was at work, one day. My boss told me that my wife had called him and asked him to let me go home immediately because something urgent and important had happened. My boss gave me some money and allowed me to go home for two days. I left at 5 a.m and by 6 a.m When I arrived home I found my wife waiting for me outside, she told me she had very good news, my brother who had disappeared for 20 years, had returned home. I couldn’t believe it. I went to the bedroom and I woke him up. He was the one, my own brother. I was shocked but very happy. My wife made some tea and we all sat and had brieakfast together.

What did he tell you? I asked…

“He told me that when he left home he found a job at a farm. After 5 years he found another job in Nairobi. While in Nairobi, he met a woman with whome they moved from the city to another village. They lived together and had 2 children. The wife refused him from coming back home. After many years he became ill and started thinking about home. He hid from the wife and ran away. He took a matatu (public bus) and came to machakos (a town about 50kilometres from our village). He did not have money so he was stranded at the bus station. A neighbor noticed him and offered to pay for him and bring him home. When they arrived at the local market they phoned other neighbours who gathered and brought my brother home. I was very happy to be reunited with him after many years. But after a few months, he died of the illness. I phoned my neighbours and they supported me to make the funeral arrangements.

I listened to these two sad stories and consoled Musyoki. I assured him that I shared his grief and that I will be there for him and always pray for him. Then I wanted to know how he his doing these days and what he is up to. He told me life goes on and that he had some good news to tell me. I asked him to share the good news…

 I felt alone and lonely, I phoned my cousin and she organized a date for me…”!”

“After my wife and my brother left me, I felt alone, lonely and afraid. (His mother – our nanny- died 6 years ago and his father and other siblings died several years ago).  One day I phoned my cousin and told her to find for me a girlfriend. She arranged for me to meet her friend. I saw her and fell for her. We exchanged phone numbers, continued calling and meeting. One Sunday evening, two months ago, she phoned me and told me she was coming home. I thought she was coming to visit as usual, but she brought her suitcase, she moved in! I did not have breakfast  and I did not want her to know I was broke, So I excused my self and walked afew metres frrm home to call my friend for a small loan. He understood my situation so he brought me some money immediately. Early in the morning, I went to the market and bought sugar, tea and bread for breakfast. My new love was impressed. I thank God that I phoned my friend and he helped me….”

I congratulated Musyoki and we had a long laugh…

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