I watch in a shuddered frenzy as the moonlight becomes dimmer. Having been the person that put-off the lights at the hospital on 12th December, I stand in doubt. Ok not exactly doubt. The yolk of the moon has burst on my head. The sky has fallen. Is falling. Where is James Bond?
But it always does. The sky always falls on health matters, and we have learnt a clever way of putting it back and holding it in place. We have learnt ways of devising and improvising. Making do. Moving on. What this current frenzy has brought to the limelight is the heartfelt empathy of our leaders.
I heard one yell “doctors are killing people, by being on strike” I couldn’t help notice the stench of semi-raw boiled egg mixed with garlic, French beans, mushrooms and mrenda jetting out of his mouth and aromatizing the misty sorrounding. He did a belch or two. I couldn’t really count. But it was the belch of a well satisfied man. Much more disgusting was his pretence. His I-cannot-even harm-the bacteria-in-my-mouth-by-brushing kind of attitude. I suspect brushing teeth to him was considered as foreplay. Lucky wife he got.
I thought, silently, lest he belches on my sweaty face.
“But the country leadership has been on strike since Mau Mau left the forest!” How would you explain the lack of basic emergency drugs in hospitals in country that has been independent and warless for 50 years? A very easy extrapolation…you don’t stock our hospitals with the basic drugs, lives are lost…and it has been that way since the black man in Kenya was allowed to wear trousers. Deliberate or not, people have died as a result. So much so that I think as a country we are wasting an opportunity to export manure derived from decomposed human flesh. If we did that, I can bet my bottom dollar, Singapore would be taking soft loans from Kenya’s pocket change. The tones would be back-breaking. The Honorable Minister of trade should seriously think about this venture.
Back to the man with egg/garlic/beans/mushrooms/mrenda mouth perfume. He stands tall on the roll of honor of hypocrisy. The Pharisees should sit their buttocks down and seriously take notes on modern day double speak (a laptop will be provided for that I am sure). Is he the same gentleman who flies out to have his flu treated? The same man who takes the Boeing to get his testicles examined. I wonder what his ‘fundamendos’ are made of that a black doctor in Kenya is not allowed to give them a therapeutic squeeze. These are the epitomes of our leaders who do not live by their consequences. When their shit hits the fan and splatters on your face, they are up in the skies that very moment. As we are left with a open mouths and a stench, wondering what has happened, they are back again with more promises, they don’t even have the courtesy of reminding you to spit what has collected in your mouth as you let out a disgusting sycophantic cheer. You Kenyans are cool. And so am I.
Then comes another one to take the podium. Just the other day she was as thin as an apostrophe. You could see the head of the femur through her tie-and-die skirt. The trappings of power have however done her good. She walks pulling her linen skirt from between her buttocks. Life’s good. Wonder why the minister of energy hasn’t made some megawatts from the vibrations of her rear yet we import stima from Jinja, Uganda.
Amidst ululations she confirms to the mothers of the country that they can now give birth free of charge. I find myself clapping, against two odds. One, that am a man so I have not had the privilege of getting myself pregnant yet and two because I know what this free entails. But hey dude, everyone is clapping and cheering, so take your silly sulking face to your grandmother’s grass thatched mansion. Bure wewe, mavi ya kuku kabisa!
As she goes to sit down, amidst wild cheers, still pulling this stubborn linen skirt from the embrace of her buttocks I remember she has forgotten to mention that the mothers need to come to the hospitals ‘self contained’. They should buy gloves, cord clamps, fluids, blades and hey the doctors are very few too (WHO standards) it might be polite of them to carry a one-use-only doctor from China in their kiondo. Those are the details, the devil!
Before the dust settles, another one takes the podium. This one has his tummy moving freely and graciously to the blast of the song ‘kanungo’ . I wonder how he does it so effortlessly, but one thing that is obvious for sure is that he has been eating his lunch without fail for a long time now. The song stops and he looks lost. Like a rabbit caught in the glare of the headlights. But he too has to say something. So he picks on the unpatriotic Kenyan doctors who are on strike.
“We are going to sack all of you and replace you with students..” he says, again his tummy moves with every word. It’s like it’s got a life of its own. I like it. What a show. “You cannot let Kenyans die like this and get away with it..” he says in a cracking voice. At this point I heard him belch because I was close enough. I doubt if others did hear. Then tears rolled freely from his eyes. It was such a scene. The crowd got worked up, emotionally. And felt the sting of the words of mheshimiwa. They thought he was crying, but I was close enough to notice that it was the eye-tearing stench of raw onions from his belch that made him tear. You see, this man had a three-course meal. Some onions were used to make his food, and some he ate them raw. I learnt this kind of eating from books.
“You cannot let Kenyans die because you are on strike” are the words that got my thoughts to race. Trying to put it into perspective. I thought we already knew the country had gone on strike against its very own people and their health since 50 years ago. And as a result, the mortality had risen in proportions. We were however doing well with security. We were even at war with in a neighboring country. A good thing. You see, Kenya was a safe country to die in.
The failure to increase budgetary allocation in proportionate to the growing population had led to preventable deaths. But those were not deaths. The lack of diagnostic equipment had led to preventable deaths. But those were not deaths. The failure to expand our ICUs had led to deaths. But those were not deaths. The overwhelmed doctor and nurse who was expected to attend to multiple patients like he is some sort of a DJ…mix here, mix there… had caused preventable deaths. But those were not deaths. In fact, they had come up with new solutions, that was to bundle up these health sector workers into tribal circles for management as a way to address all the above. This, they called ‘the constitution. ‘ You should have seen their sleek suits, fat ties and staright faces when they were talking about this.
As darkness engulfs, the rocky hills of Mutsuma have a way of making the sky climax. The heavens opened, the men at the podium ran to their SUVs as we stood to watch and exclaim “powerful people we did elect there” living a moment of fantasy as boluses of rain painted our shirts.
While I was rained on a bit, I didn’t mind, I knew I still had to endure the stretch of the road from Mutsuma Market back to Burundu Health Center, where I worked and lived. For the trouble of the rain, and the cold, I had bought my own penicillin just in case. I hoped the members in the crowd would buy theirs too when they come to the Health centre, because I have none in stock.
Then again I remembered the strike. And the sack. A genius moment for me. So I thought to myself, how about we convert all hospitals to churches, let people die and then let’s pray for them, for the kingdom of heaven is free, and it is indeed a kingdom.
Let us pray,