Encounters With Mad Men
In late December 2009 while returning to Nairobi from Murang'a where I had gone to visit my maternal grandmother, I chose to travel in a car that Uncle Gibson Mwangi had hired to carry his family which had also visited Grandma. I sat in the back-seat, and as the car followed the road to Nairobi, we passed through a small town whose name I didn't bother to ask and note. All I remember was Uncle Mwangi saying of it in Kikuyu, "This is the town with the highest number of mad people in East and Central Africa."
If Uncle Gibson was telling the truth, I wonder how my hometown of Kiserian would fair in a ranking of towns with the highest number of mad people because I see quite a number of insane people in Kiserian during my daily walks in the shopping centre. Some roam while talking aloud to themselves. Others spend much of their time scavenging through garbage for something to eat. And all are usually dressed in dirty, greasy and tattered clothes. A few years ago, I saw one drink raw sewage water as some people looked on nonchalantly.
Sometime back while I was in Kiserian one day, I saw a mad running while hitting people along his way. As he approached me, I didn't stay away from his path as others were doing; foolish me! So when the mad man passed near me, he slapped me on my hand and continued running to wherever he was headed. I didn't go after him and retaliate; I just walked on. As they say, don't wrestle with a pig because you will both get dirty but the pig will enjoy the experience.
Another mad man I see in Kiserian is a guy called Faoro. (I guess his real name is Paul; it's just that we pronounce it "Faoro" in Kikuyu.) I have known Faoro ever since I was a small boy. And I recall vividly my immediate elder brother Paddy pointing out to me how fast he walked back in the early '90s.
Another memory I have of Faoro was when he came to Mum's grocery one time and asked me to hand him a bottle of soda. I was about to give him the bottle but Mum strongly asked me not to. Again, that was in the early '90s when I was a small boy.
I still see Faoro every now and then in Kiserian. He always looks confused and absent-minded. There was a time he used to greet me by calling me "Bot", the nickname of my eldest brother Joe Kagigite. So it seems he has an idea of where I come from.
Sometime back, I once saw Faoro react furiously at someone. I didn't find out what had made him that angry; I just remember feeling afraid that he could turn his anger on me, so I was cautious not to pass near him.
These days, Faoro doesn't greet me when we pass by each other. I never bother to talk to him as well. From the way I saw him react furiously at someone sometime back, I feel safer passing him without exchanging a word.
What I find amazing about Faoro is that despite his insanity, he still finds something to eat. For how can you explain that he is still alive this day. Because he is not employable, I wonder where he gets his daily bread from. It seems I worship a God who caters for the needs of birds in the air as well as of mad people like Faoro.
Another amazing fact about Faoro is how he has managed to stay alive to this day ever since I got to know him in the early '90s. I know of several youthful and handsome people of sound mind who died in freak accidents. And there is Faoro, a man people would label as mad, still going strong.
When I was growing up, I heard rumours that Faoro used to be a very bright student in school. And if my memory serves me well, I recollect hearing that he went mad because of reading too much.
But Mum told me sometime back that Faoro's madness was as a result of a curse from his parents. He did something wrong and one or both of his parents cursed him that he would go mad and become a restless wanderer like Cain, the man who was cursed by God for killing his brother Abel as narrated in the Book of Genesis. I don't know if Mum's account of Faoro's madness is true. Suffice it to say that Faoro has been a mad and restless wanderer for as long as I have known him.
By the way, Mum has warned me on several occasions that a parent's curse has dire consequences. I therefore advise all young people out there to live at peace with their parents and to seek parental blessings in all their endeavours. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on encounters with a mad man, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Some Mischievous Acts I Liked". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Benefits of Wisdom
If there is something I value these days and desire to get, it is wisdom. The wisdom on how to spend my time, energy, money and words wisely. I usually pray for it regularly. And God is answering my prayers because I am no longer making some unwise judgements that I used to make in the past.
Yes, I used to make some very unwise judgements in the past. Like when I was in Starehe Institute in 2006, I sometimes used to sneak out of the school during class hours. I would wear a jumper to hide my black and white uniform, glance in all directions to see whether there was any man of authority looking at me, disappear into Ziwani Estate that borders Starehe, and then head to Nairobi City. And if you ask me what I gained from those sneak-outs, I am at a loss what to say. I just wasted my time, energy and money.
If I could wave the magic wand and roll back the hands of time to 2006, I would spend my time improving my mind through reading instead of sneaking out of the school. Or in the Music Centre honing my musical talent. Or in the computer laboratory developing my skills in computer-programming. Such wise use of my time would have made me a better person, thus saving me from some of the failures and mistakes I have committed over the years.
Another example I will give you of how I made an unwise judgement was a project I initiated sometime in the year 2014. A mentor of mine from Canada called Norman Brown sent me money that time for doing farming here at my home in Kiserian. You know what? I used some of the money to hire several workers who I instructed to pull down a fence. And I did so without consulting my father, the owner of the land on which I was to carry out the farming.
That evening I had the fence pulled down, I was paralysed by fear of how my father would react when he came home. I was afraid that he might castigate me. And he did. So did my elder brother Bob Njinju who was also doing some farming on the land.
Well, I had the fence pulled down because I thought it was too rickety to keep thieves from stealing my farming products. I intended to erect a new fence and make it more secure by planting kei-apple along it. But you know what again? I eventually gave up on my plans of planting kei-apple. So I ended up wasting money, time and energy, not forgetting the lack of peace I felt when I had the fence pulled down without consulting my father.
And the thing about wasting money is that when you don't have it, you end up regretting why you squandered it when you had the money. That's what has happened to me in the past several years. There are times I have thought of how I could have made wiser use of the money I wasted in having the fence pulled down; wiser use such as buying a good book or a nice pair of sports shoes.
Indeed wisdom is of great value. Especially the wisdom on how to spend our time, money, energy and words wisely. There are several benefits of possessing wisdom that I can think of. They are:
- Having peace of mind
- Giving us happiness
- Making us strong
- Keeping us from evil
- Saving resources
- Winning us good friends
- Discerning great opportunities
- Bringing us wealth and honour
- Imparting us with good health
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