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A ride with a drunk

Few weeks ago I received an invite to a Wedding Committee Meeting by a friend at her place. To get there, I had to transit as it’s a quite a distance from where I was coming from. The Bus I boarded wasn’t ‘full’ yet (Buses to this place CAN’T depart until every room in them is occupied by either passengers or luggage), so we had to wait till it was fully full to begin the short journey. Every time I travel I prefer the front seats to avoid being ‘shaken and thrown up’ from my position to my seatmate’s, especially when the bus hits a bump or something similar, and so I hoped to find an empty front seat.

On boarding, I found all the front seats occupied and the only remaining ones were where the conductor is supposed to sit, just near the door, and the one next to the window was empty, so I got graced (I’ve avoided the word ‘luck’ coz I don’t know anything like luck). As passengers continued to board the vehicle, I was busy looking outside and observing how passersby were carrying on with their businesses, and I spotted 2 young looking men, probably in their late 20s, though they looked much older than their ages, honestly, and they were drunk (not an assumption though). It was obvious they were heading the same route with ‘us’, from the way they peeped at the bus I was in, maybe hoping it still had some space left.

The bus was almost full and there were about 1 or 2 seats remaining at the back. The 2 men headed to the back to get seated, but fortunately or unfortunately, one of the guys who seemed a little bit sober managed to get a seat, but his friend, who looked very intoxicated didn’t have a place to sit. Next to me was a seat (the conductor’s), but he had opted to place someone’s luggage on it, and because he couldn’t tell this guy to get off the bus, he takes off the luggage and tells him to sit, beside me. While this is happening, I’m really hoping and praying that the tout doesn’t show this guy to come sit next to me, but even with all the hoping and interceding, he still sat, yes, next to me. And ‘the struggle for life’ officially began (the ‘busaa’ stench was too much to handle).

I found myself trying hard to prevent my dress from coming into contact with this mans’, (if you’ve ever been in such a situation, I’m sure you feel me on this one). His eyes were sore red and his lips swollen (like someone just from a fierce fight), and hands were shaking (I have no idea why this is a tendency with them drunks), but he was neat. I started Questioning God (He controls everything anyway) with why He had to let this stinking man sit next to me, why He didn’t let him wait for the next bus instead, and yes, you guessed right, He ignored me, just like that.

I decide to keep calm (and hear what the inner small voice has to say about this). At the back of my mind something is LOUDLY ringing, that everything happens for a reason (and we don’t have to like it), and though most of the times we don’t see and understand why it has to be so, we are expected to flow with it. So I concluded to my questioning-angry-self that this guy was here so I can witness to him, about Jesus Christ, and maybe, just maybe, make a difference in his life. I definitely knew the next challenge would be how to do this, especially with all the odor. It was a ‘I kent’ moment (if you know what I mean). I couldn’t stand to breathe it in so I opened the window to let in some fresh air.

I found courage and BEGAN ministering to this Child of God, whom He loves so much by the way, and whom He doesn’t love less just because of his ‘drunk lifestyle’. He loves all of us the same way, same measure, and in reality there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more. Here’s a sneak-pic of how our conversation began (with few translations):

Me: (my mind is negotiating with itself whether to say ‘Hi’ or not…FINALLY I manage to say) Habariyako?

Him: Mzuri. Unanijua?

Me: Hapana, sikujui, nisalamutu…

Him: You look VERY familiar…

Me: (In my head I’m like, this guy is funny coz in my lifetime I can bet I’ve never laid my eyes on him, I’m sure). I don’t think so…

Him: You look like someone I have seen in Kakamega…

Me: (I’m LOUDLY LAUGHING ON THE INSIDE, but I choose to ignore his statement).

Him: What’s your name?

Me: Philo …

Him: Shiroo…

Me: No, it’s Philo…

Him: Ooh, Philoo…

Me: Yes. And what’s yours?

Him: I’m Shadrack

Me: Oh, okay…

It was on a Sunday afternoon and so I asked him whether he attended fellowship at Church. He said he forgot that it was a Sunday. (Shadrack, really??) To my response I ask him a rather harsh question (while trying not to sound judgmental), “Na Munguangesahaukukuamshaleo je?”. In a state of defending himself, he starts talking in a manner of blaming God for the way his life is (not sure how it relates with my question though). While trying to prove a point here, he’s raised his voice (like he’s quarreling about God), and everyone in the Bus is all of a sudden interested in listening to our conversation, some of them giving me those ‘why are you wasting your breath talking with a drunk’ kinda looks, but I ignore them. I try to tell Him how God is good and gracious, and that what we go through in life doesn’t necessarily mean that He doesn’t love us, or has forgotten us, but Shadrackain’t convinced, and it’s like his mind is fixed and tuned to believe the opposite.

As I keenly listen to him (as I try to understand where he’s coming from), I realize he’s talking from a bitter heart (with his voice still high) and so I interrupt him by asking, “Unafanyakazi?” He replies with a “Yes”, then goes on to say that he works in a construction site somewhere in Kawangware and only gets sh.500 per day, and that’s the amount he uses to pay rent and school fee for his son whom he tells me is in High School in his 4th year. (I nod in agreement). I’m tempted to ask him how he manages all that with the sh.500, and still has some change for buying the local brew (busaa), but I don’t.

I’m forced to talk to him while facing away (coz of the bad breath, but I don’t want to make it obvious to him, so I’m kinda throwing glances). As I expected (from a drunk), he starts asking some not very comfortable questions and making some conclusions for himself but I ignore them. I give him this serious-face expression to show that I ain’t interested anymore. About 10 minutes later he reaches his destination and so he alights, and on his way down I tell him to stop drinking, and he replies (with a smile), “Nitawacha”. Well, I”m hoping he will. The journey continues while my mind replays that encounter with Shadrack.

What I picked from this:

*We shouldn’t try to run away from a situation before trying to at least understand why we are in it in the first place. There’s always something to learn from it (eye-openers)

*Everyone is worth something in life


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