So, I know you want the whole story about the needle guy. But for those who didn’t see the Facebook gasp, here’s the rundown.
I hate needles. Seriously. So I go in to the lab room where there’s lots of needles. And they want like a pint of blood for the tests. well maybe not that much, but a lot of blood. I am terrified. The lab guy is this taaaaaaaaaallllll guy, who immediately starts talking to me like I am a little girl. So I open my eyes, they were tightly shut thus far.
Hmmm… not bad. He smiles, and then says, “Mami, si wewe ni mpwani?”
“Ah, I think so.” Really. Really, he asks if you come from the coast and you answer in Southside Rock English? Really?
“Basi usiogope mami. Kwenu ni wapi?”
“Ah, Mtwapa?” What, you are not sure? Why are you asking him where you are from?
“Ah! Basi wewe ni dadangu! Kwetu ni Shanzu. Wajua pale Borstal iko?”
“Yeah, I had a friend who used to live there.” Girl, you are the one who gabs about thinking and dreaming in Swahili. Drop the Southside Rock English anytime now.
“Rafiki yako aitwa nani?”
“Khadija Mohamed?” We lost touch. Like as soon as I walked out of my High School, I never walked back, and have only connected with my old schoolmates on Facebook. I am that bad.
“Khadija, mwenye alisoma Aga Khan? Alimaliza 1998?” Yeah, Khadija was like a year ahead of me. And she had a really tall brother.
Did I say that Khadija had a tall brother, who played Basketball, and was so cute that the girls just couldn’t help but swoon when he was around and who actually made me pause at the balconies to look over the courtyard and watch the Basketball practice? Oh Aga khanies, don’t bother trying to figure out who I mean, I changed names. But if you are a girl who went to Aga Khan Mombasa, and watched basketball in the 1998 – 2000 era, you might be warm. As a matter of fact, you might remember a cat fight or two between that girl who used to be the Alpha Female of the Toyz Wolf Pack and that other girl who was trying to make a pack of her own but didn’t do too good coz her twin sister usurped her and became Alpha Female of the Tembo Wolf Pack.
Hihiii, I know I’ve confused you major time, but if you were really there it shouldn’t be too hard to reconstruct. And imagine that! I actually knew what was going on in school, in between time in the Reading Room and Ghost Writing for a magazine that I will not mention ever ever.
So anyway, me and Khadija’s brother hit it off immediately. I couldn’t get my head to output in English though. We were cut off by a receptionist/assistant girl who looked a lot like not-quite-alpha-female, I swear she barred her teeth as she asked why I’d been in the blood chamber so long.
“Her veins are hard to find.” he announced non-chalantly and proceeded to try and find my veins. I didn’t even notice the pinch. My arm did kinda hurt later.
He did give me his number. But not for the reason you think. Aswad Mohamed is married, with the cutest 3 year old daughter I have ever met. My God, that kid is smart! She also has Cystic Fibrosis. She is in pain, spends a lot of time in hospital, and as a matter of fact, I met her with her mum when I went back for my medical report and they were there for some blood work for little Khadija.
You know how when you are in pain, you think that your is the worst in the whole world. Well, my mind was set straight by a smiling girl who giggled in between gasps.
I just happened to have come from the Storymoja office, and had with me a bunch of books from the Storyhippo, the companies children’s publishing section. One of them was Go-go the Goat goes Ga-ga in the Park.
Once Khadija met me, and assessed me, then accepted me, I showed her the books, and she immediately reached for Go-go. In no time, we were reading the funny little rhymes together and dissolving in laughter as we tried to roar like the lion who met and made friends with the lost little goat.
I think for a few minutes we were the entertainment crew in the waiting room. There was a bunch of other people in the room who looked like they were in major pain. WHen I did pause to look up, I thought people might be upset by the noise. But they were smiling.
That’s what a child’s joy can do. Suspend pain and fear for a moment.
Which brings me to an idea my friend Ray Ray had a while back. To collect books and bring them to kids who can love to read and spread the joy. Well, the idea is still raw. But if you have ideas, please holler at us on Facebook —> Jules and Ray Ray.