EPISODE FIVE: #LostButFound
Things had now gone back to normal back in the village. Well, obviously not completely back to normal. Lydiah had given her mother in law the explanation on her child’s loss and definitely, this did not go down well with her; often times in her conversation with her mother in law, this story cropped up and issues of her being an irresponsible woman formed a major part of this conversation. However, Lydiah learned to live with it anyway because it wasn’t like she had any other choice. She lived with her mother in law since her matrimonial home had been leased out. And her life was characterised by hard labour and rebukes from her in-laws. She often reaffirmed herself into persevering by saying, “Lydiah you chose this path so do not complain”. But had she really chosen this path? Was this what she had bargained for? For all that I know she had traded her child for her marriage, a marriage that was now dead and gone.
Because every town has its own mad man (or woman), in the very town where Lydia lost her child there was a mad woman called, often known as “Mwenda”, a Kiswahili word for mad woman. As you would expect, she spent her life in the dustbin, streets and at times made her way to sanctuaries where she was most often than not chased away. It was a difficult life, a life no normal person would survive, but then again, she wasn’t completely normal, so she survived. And God with His unending mercies made sure that she forever remained healthy and unharmed.
Rumour had it that this mad woman suffered from post natal depression that escalated to a very high level of madness. On the other hand, there was also a rumour that she was bewitched. This bewitching rumour was especially spread by the men and women who did not fathom what Prenatal depression was. Complex things disturbed their minds and unbalanced their equilibrium so they settled for the easy thing, bewitching. You say someone is bewitched and no one will ask you what that is so it was the safest option. And because there is always too many sides to the story, everyone had the onus to decide which version of the story to buy.
There was something spectacular about this woman.; something that was never seen in most insane people. Something that made every person to pause and question her insanity; This was her humanity and especially when it came to children. All the street children wanted to hang around her because in her they saw a mother figure; a person to rely on even when times were hard. It never mattered to the children whether she was a mad woman or not, all that they took importance in was the fact that she genuinely cared and loved them.
Funny how in the contrast the sane women would literally flee away on seeing her yet she was harmless. Anyway, their loss, this “Mwenda” was such a beautiful soul.
One Saturday morning, “mwenda” was seated in the streets perusing her nylon papers as she made tunes of some music, well obviously some “fake” tunes that made no sense to the very sane people. So on this Saturday, everyone in town was going on with their business. Hawkers were hawking; matatu touts were also hawking for passengers; busy bodies were walking up and about. There was serenity as each minded their own business; Even “mwenda” was minding her own business.
This peace was suddenly interrupted by the mention of the word “kanjo”; if you are a Nairobian you can foretell the effect of this word to the public especially to the hawkers. All and sundry ran away and “mwenda” was not left behind. She ran for her dear life even without the knowledge of what was going on. Something to take note is that she took up something that looked like a toddler. To top it all, it was not the first time in the past two months she was seen carrying that that seemed like a child. Well, she was humane but it was not in her habit to carry children around.
She ran and sought refuge in an alley. She put the child down and looked deep into the child’s eyes with so much love. She then removed the shawl that covered her and trust you me this child was beautiful. The toddler had a chain around her neck with an inscription, “MUM LOVES YOU”. Does this ring a bell my dear readers? Does this remind you of any child that had such a chain? That got lost in this very town?
Written By: Anne Mumbi Njoroge