Written by Gracey Eunice
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Sitting outside her grass thatched house Teresa holds her malnourished son in her arms. The boy is now is years of age but looking at hi you will think he is only three, his body only made of feeble bones and a dark thin layer of dry skin making it difficult to tell his true complexion. Two chicken walks around their quarter acre of the dry unhealthy land that they now have for a living, it was dry with brown sandy soil and no crop could do well in this kind of soil, the little vegetables they had tried to grow barely grew beyond sprouting. A goat weakly bleats from their neighbors small farm as an owls cry is heard from a tree facing their homestead. “Akinyi! Akinyi!,Teresa calls out her firstborn daughter whom she can’t see around. “Ameenda kupewa pesa ya Kura, yule mtu wa magari tena amekuja.” Babu, the son she had named after her late father Munderema answers hopping into the hut with his crutches yawning hungrily. The last meal he had wa yester nights bread crumbs that they all scrambled for and was over before any of them could feel any of it go down their throats. They couldn’t afford a packet of unga and the last they had couldn’t last them two days. “Atanitambua leo,hio pesa ya Kura ndio iliua baba yenu..amesahau? sitaki kusikia mambo ya kura tena! Sitaki mkosi mwingine tena hapa!” Akinyi! Akinyi!” she storms angrily towards the road where a crowd is forming surrounding a campaign car.
Akinyi is trying to find her way into the growing crowd when a hand grabs her blouse from behind and roughly pulls her from behind. She stumbles over some two men who are also fighting their way into the crowd toward the person at the center and nearly falls her head down. Angrily she turns to face her attacker ready for a fight, no one could just pull her away when she was so near to the person giving out money. She needed the money badly, her family will go hungry today if she doesn’t get the money. The previous person campaigning for the parliamentary seat only gave out fifty shillings for each person which the men took for themselves leaving her without a single cent, her immediate neighbor Akaranga was her black messiah when he gave her a fifty shilling note which she had used to buy medicine for her brother Babu. Facing her attacker, Akinyi came face to face with the angry and ‘ill skin you alive’ look on her mother’s eyes. “mom..I.. only wanted the money for..” “spare me that crap Akinyi, were you not here when our house was burnt down to ashes because of hii kura? Did you not see how we were driven out of our own land and property like we never labored for it? My son Babu is now on crutches and your father..(swallowing bitterly) usiniue Akinyi, usiniue wewe!” Teresa could no longer hold back her temper and pours all her bitterness to Akinyi pulling her ears really hard. She was furious, her eyes wet she fought back her tears. Her body trembled with anger as dark veins protruded on her pale face, her heartbeat rose and fell at a high tempo as she struggled not to choke with words, it’s a nightmare she definitely doesn’t want to remember. “pole mom” Akinyi tries to apologize, “nikupate nyumbani! (pushing her) ati pesa pesa kwani kura hatuwezi chagua tunaowataka bila kupewa pesa? Mbona lakini wanamlaani mungu?hukumu ipo,wazibebe pesa hizo siku ya kiama” Teresa curses as she walks behind her half walking half running daughter.
As much as she doesn’t want to remember, the events of the previous voting are clear like yesterday. She remembers vividly how It had all started like today, political parties were formed and the politicians started making their promises. They talked of what they will do when elected, how they will serve the citizens and how they’ll improve the life of the people; good schools, better roads and transport, clean water and security become their number one song. The people listened, weighed and made their decision on who will be their liberator. It was all calm and people looked forward to a peaceful exercising of their democratic right until the days to the voting day run below thirty. The same politicians filled the roads running up and down in their vehicles in the name of ‘kipindi cha lala salama’.One by one they began cashing out money to the people saying it was a way of proving their ability to the people and their appreciation in advance so people ran from one person to the other for money. streets filled up day and night with people waiting for the fifty and hundred shilling note they got. People fought for the money which wasn’t enough for everyone and slowly brothers began fighting their brothers as neighbors became enemies, money now came first and the person who gave out the largest amount now mattered the most. Those who couldn’t fight their way out for the money waited in dark shades along the roads to get their share from the others and peace turned out into people falling to pieces. Then the worst happened, this is what Teresa didn’t want to remember, they one day woke up to a new title; “mtu wetu” .everyone forgot about the right person to govern them, no one remembered about a person for the people and the nation because everyone wanted “mtu wetu” .Brothers turned against brothers, saints lit hell fire on the streets as neighbors got their neighbors property on eternal destruction, farm tools became weapons of mass destruction because of “mtu wetu” .Innocent blood was shed like rain blessing on the land with pools of blood forming in the potholes of the wrecked roads. Children screamed their lungs out running to their parents who were caught in between with nowhere to run to, people run to holy places for redemption, salvation from sin and begging their maker to take away the cup of suffering from them, a state of madness had swept over the people and the land. It was during this madness that Teresa lost her beloved husband in the run. Her little boy Babu lost his left leg in the struggle and she was left with a big scar on her left hand while struggling to help her 3months baby from their burning house. They had lost everything they owned; her house, property and worst of it all the father of her children Munguti .How could she forget? The scars on her body had healed and his son although now using crutches had healed too but how was she to heal the scars of the heart? How could she heal the pain of losing her husband and do away with the nightmares of that particular day that haunts her everyday of her life?.She really wanted to heal, to forget about the past and start all over again but how could she settle and forget when another voting was just around the corner and she could see the same madness again, history.
Teresa closes her eyes and swallows a lump of bitter saliva, she doesn’t want to remember and she wouldn’t want to go through the same again. “mungu aturehemu” she murmur as she approaches her hut. Akinyi is seating at the edge of the door holding Babu who is chewing a dry piece of sugarcane hungrily. Life had changed ever since the last voting. “enda kwa uncle Juma umwambie apigie aunty Rehema simu amwambie arudi nyumbani haraka,mambo ya town sitaki kusikia tena.she bitterly instructs Akinyi getting into the hut. “mom, tena tutafukuzwa?” Babu asks innocently. “hapana Babu, mungu ataturehemu..mungu atatulinda baba na tutakuwa vyema tena.she knows things can indeed be better if the people choose to. If people changed their way of thinking and chose the philosophy of peace. She wants it to be well, she’s scared and she wants to heal, heal her scars and end her pain.
We can heal her scars, their scars .we can avoid any other scars that are too painful to heal and end their pain. WE CAN CHOOSE PEACE.

About the author


Gracey Eunice

Find what you love and let it kill you.
If my words ain't shit,neither am I.

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