GETTING HOME

I got rained on today. As usual. If I’m not at home when it starts to pour, I always get rained on. My being rained on is nothing like the fun characters in romantic movies, novels and series seem to have in the rain, to the extent that they find the composure to kiss in the rain. (By the way, does that happen in real life? Rain kissing? If it does, and you have seen it happen. I want to know.) My being rained on is a messy, mushy, icky affair. It always happens on the streets of Nairobi’s and as luck would have it, my route experiences the worst flooding and puddles. On top of that, my shoes always get soaked through and I end up with wet feet. I hate wet feet. I hate them so much. There are only two instances in this life when feet should be wet; in the shower and in the swimming pool. The sensation of having wet feet while the rest of you remains relatively warm and dry is one I find extremely uncomfortable.

My discomfort made me think, ” I just want to get home.” That thought then fuelled my determination to trudge through God knows what, because I can assure you that the puddles on the streets of Nairobi are not made of pure H2O. As I walked, it dawned on me that the streets were peculiarly clear and I seemed to be the only person walking. This was because, Kenyans, who generally like watching stuff happen and doing nothing to alter a situation, were watching the rain. I kept walking past groups of people as I jumped over puddles that were quickly growing into water bodies and ducked left and right to avoid those bizarre people who think it’s okay to just stand still and not move on the pathway where people ought to be walking. Didn’t these people want to get home? In my book, it’s always better to get through the rain to get home as soon as you can than it is to stand outside in the cold, waiting for the rain to stop.

 When I finally got to my stop and got onto a matatu, all the while thinking of these people who were rain gazing in stead of going home, homing pigeons came to mind. Homing pigeons are a breed of pigeon that always find their way to their nest even from long distances. Some pigeons have even made it back to their nest from a place 1800 km away, which I think is pretty amazing. Of course, there are scientific blah-blahs-blahs to explain the phenomenon, however, we all know that I don’t like to bother my readers overmuch with technical details. So we’ll just chalk up this navigational genius in these birds to God’s awesomeness.

When I was a child, my dad always told me, ” Ebby, wherever you are always do your best to get home.” Many times when we would drive home from school, he would ask me,

 ” Do you know the way home?”,

“If you had to, could you get home by yourself?”

 By the time I was nine, I had answered both those questions in the affirmative because my father made it necessary for me to find my way home on my own. He’s all about giving practical lessons.

Once when I was 18, he punished me for going somewhere without telling him by leaving me to come home in the rain. When I asked him why he did it, he told me, ” You got there on your own, you get home on your own.” God gave me a miracle that night. I happened to run into a friend of mine who paid for my cab fare to get me close enough to home that I only had to pay 20 bob for the bus. I got home. For your information, I found at I was being punished a week after my punishment.

There was also the time my father chose to teach me a lesson in punctuality when I was in first year. We were meant to meet up and go home after my orientation. Foolishly, I didn’t charge my phone (it’s a bad habit I am yet to overcome), so my phone went off before I could call and let him know that orientation would take a bit longer. We were to meet at 4:00 o’clock at the school gate. At 4:00, he came to the gate, did not see me and left. Just know that that day I somehow got lost in Syokimau and after four matatus, I got home at 10:00p.m. My miracle that day came in the form of my mother’s intuition. She caught a philanthropic spirit in the morning and gave me Kshs.1000, “For moving up and down,” she said. All the fare I paid that day came from that random money. At the end of the day, I got home.

Then there was the time in class 7 when my dad decided to teach me another lesson. I don’t remember what it was. Unfortunately, he must not have paid attention to the news the night before because the matatus and other public service vehicles announced that they would be going on strike. So, the next day, I finished school at 4:00p.m as per usual and walked to get a matatu. I paid almost 300 bob in fare and the bus decided it’s last stop would be in Karen, probably 10km from home. I had run out of money, but I had to get home. So I stared to walk. That day, I got two miracles, the first came in the form of a pastor’s wife who was appalled at a child walking from Karen to Ngong who gave me a lift to the turning that leads to our house. The second, was in the form of a young lady who happened to live along the same road but just a little but farther, who walked me home. I got home.

Then there was the time I got lost in Kajiado county and had to walk to Isinya after three morans left me hanging at an acacia tree. But, you know the story and I’m sure by now you get the drift…I get lost, I get stranded but somehow, well by God’s grace, I always get home.

The three scenarios have a few things in common. First, they are all true stories. By now, if you have been with me for the three years since I started my blog, you will realise that crazy things happen to me. Maybe it’s God’s way of giving me content for you guys. That would make sense seeing as I usually pray for ideas when I have writer’s block and soon after I get into something, for example, getting rained on today. Second, in all these situations, my father’s admonition was always in my head. “No matter what, get home.” I think my father raised a homing pigeon. I definitely act like one. Third, my mother freaked out on my dad every time I got lost and told him to go find the baby. Mother’s are precious. Finally, as I look back I realise that in those moments, I wasn’t really fearful or scared because I was so determined to just get home. Fear often takes a back seat when there’s a stronger more positive emotion driving you.

Here’s the lesson. It’s a new year. We all have places we need to get to in different parts of our lives, places, for purposes of this analogy, we can call “home”. Whether it’s to do better at school or work, work on improving your skills and talents, being a better friend, getting fit,… I want you to be a homing pigeon; No matter how far you are from where you ought to be, whether you’re halfway there or starting over, get home. We all know you’ll feel better when you get there.

Now, as January comes to an end, finally, I take this time to wish you peace, courage and faith in the new year. I hope we have great stories together this year. Also, if you happen to get lost and stranded on your way home as I often do, I’m praying God gives you miracles too. Happy New Year.

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