By Owen Habel
It is 7:00 am in the morning. My friends and I are prepared to journey to a village called Kakamega. Kakamega is a beautiful village located in western Kenya. In its intestine, is a beautiful momentous spot. What makes the spot historic is the presence of a tall, gargantuan, crying stone. The stone has a head. It also has a shoulder. But it has no neck. It’s crippled. It also has no hands and legs. Perhaps that’s why it cries the whole day long. It has experienced eternal devastation. It was there during the eon when our ancestors were colonized. It was there when our country was headed to the dogs during the bloody post elections violence a few years ago. And that’s why my friends and I decided to go and commune with it. We had decided that we shall name the stone “Cinderella”.
After three long hours we arrive at the grasses of Pokot, we are tired. Blood has clotted in my buttocks. There’s a raucous stillness in Pokot. The type of stillness that gives the ticking of a clock a shrill tock at the dead of the night. All shops have been shut. We slow down our car. Peeping through my half closed window, I see a school that looks uninhabited. In front of the school’s closed gates is a lonely notebook whose fatigued pages keep on being flipped by the whistling currents of air.
And then, without warning, three gunshots pound on the silence that was there, followed by a woman’s painful scream that pierced our ears.
We are all bewildered. We are unacquainted of what to do. We are incapable of knowing whether the scream and the gunshot we heard came from where we came from, or where we should go.
We are out of gas.
The driver then notices that the narrow path that leads to the grass thatched hut has trails of blood. At this point, I feel like peeing. My bladder is full of the coffee I took before we left. But I’m unable to get out of the car. We hear another gunshot in the air. Now I can feel some droplets of urine salivating to come out of my bladder.
As my pants become wet, a man appears from the grass thatched house. He has stains of blood in his hands and shirt. He looks like he has come from killing somebody, and in fact, he does not mind killing another one. He is in custody of a double edged machete. He wore a bag of arrows and held a big bow firmly in his hands. All signs indicate that he is coming towards our direction. From a distance, we could see a young boy calling, shouting. The bloodied man came towards our direction with the evil determination of a rapist on his face and because we were strangers in the village of Pokot, where two clans were fighting. we did not know where to run. We froze to immobility. I knew it was the end of us. I knew it.
There was a smile on everyone’s face when I opened my eyes at the hospital bed where I had been laid for two days. I was surrounded by nurses, my mother and the people we were with me when our car broke down in the village of Pokot. Standing with a calabash of hot peppered soup was the man we saw with blood stains on his hands and torn shirt. He hid us in his hut after I lost my consciousness during my first ever panic attack. We had the assumption that he was coming from killing somebody but that was not the case. He had just slaughtered his goat when his son told him about our broken down car in a war zone area. He narrated the story of our time in Pokot. The inter-clan war that was there, the violence we had seen evidence of was the midnight burglary of livestock – a violence becoming more and more common with the elections upon us.
Our driver and my two friends said that, when I fully pull through, we shall plan another journey to Kakamega. And that once we arrive, we shall tell Cinderella, the crying stone, of the spiteful voyage we navigated through just to wipe the tears that that have been oozing from her eyes perpetually. And I will tell her of my own tears.