He is very quite. Probably that is his nature, or it’s because that’s how he is supposed to show he is well cultured to his employer. He hardly talks to anybody, not at all, unless you greet him. When you greet him he will respond with the greatest smile ever, perhaps because he appreciates the fact that you noticed him. Because hardly do people notice he exists, hardly do people say hello. And he has been used to that.
Nobody knows what he is thinking, if at all there is somebody who is interested in enough to care. But I am.
Beneath the Shamba boy I see a man. A man with feelings. A man with emotions. A man capable of crying but opts to remain strong everyday because the African society and traditions expect him to show no emotions. A man who has experiences so deep embedded in his heart, whose life’s outlook can change the world if only he was given a chance and a platform to express himself and what he has learnt In his thirty something years or even twenty something. He may be young but the tussles and hassles of this life may have made him look a bit older.
Beneath the Shamba boy I see a friend. Somebody capable of being able to take long walks with me and laugh at funny stories as we reflect on our childhood stories, which may be different and with disparity; distinct enough to make us unique but similar enough for me to feel the urge to understand him as a friend and for him to agree to take a walk with me. I see a man who is capable of laughing at my jokes and telling me not to cry when I break own due to small stuff. I see my friend, a potential best friend…
Beneath that Shamba boy I see a man with million dreams that were cut short by perhaps the death of a parent, the death of a caretaker, or poverty and inability to avoid fees to keep them in school. He ran away from home when he was ten, because there was probably a family feud on whom to inherit his family wealth. Or even worse – who to educate him.
He never gave up on his life, like most of his age mates did, he was lucky enough to escape prison because he hardly stole, and the one time he stole was an avocado. He was caught, beaten and almost lost an eye. And his late mum used to tell him about the importance of hard work and honesty.
As a kid he nursed dreams of being a pilot, an engineer a lawyer or doctor just like any other normal kid would.
He came to Nairobi when he was young around ten in search of the big city dream. He wanted to work hard and own a Car, own a house, own a family and forget all the bitterness of rejection and growing uo, a dream he still nurses today but from a distance now. He is wise. He is sharp now to know not to expect too much and life can go totally different ways. He still nurses that dream now the difference being right now he is almost disillusioned, he is known how it is hard to keep a woman when the money you earn is not even enough to pay rent, and he has come into terms with that, he has no hurry but during his times of loneliness he still prays to GOD to give him a woman who will love him for him and who they can grow together and have grandchildren.
Thinking of it gives him nausea of when he was ten and thought life was easy and predictable like a staircase. Right now he knows that different from the staircase he knows you can miss a step and be forced to start all over again, right now he knows you only sure of where you are standing and you can’t see whether the future is dark, dull, rainy, or sunny.
Before he became a Shamba boy he was a conductor. He has done several jobs like mechanics, carpentry, builder, mkokoteni driving among others. He wakes up around four and sleeps around twelve. He hardly sleeps though because he is thinking of what to do next. His work involves lifting heavy loads, cutting and tidying the compound and Shamba, Digging and farming. And that explains his well perfect and his chiseled torso and muscles that want to make you forget your good girl tag and ask him to remove his apron and be shirtless for even a second. He makes you imagine how if he gets a little bit care he would be…
People say he smell and some cover their noses when he is passing by. But to me I admire him for that and regardless. I think his sweat is a mixture of hard work and manly smell, I think it’s sexy and irresistible given that he is among people who don’t care about worldly standards. He is confident enough to be himself. A trait that I wish I could borrow. Even half of it. He doesn’t care that he only has one apron; he wears it and never complains.
Sometimes he thinks of his past and he wonders whether if his parents were there and he had proper education he would still have ended this way. He is not complaining. He says it never helps. But he wishes he could know. But nevertheless he is proud of himself, of his hard work. He is grateful to God for giving him life, for giving him health and a chance to live another day. He appreciates all that too well because he saw his childhood friends die in front of his own eyes.
And someday I hope to find enough courage to talk to him, either through a call or perhaps go visit him when people are taking dinner. I hope to hold his shoulder and tell him ‘ you see when I was in high school my classmates used to make fun of me severally because I could not afford deodorant , I used to feel bad and sometimes I would cry. Years later, I am here, I have all sprays I can afford, but still I am still struggling to fit in, I am still figuring how to master the courage of accepting myself and being me without being afraid of what anyone thinks, it’s a tough journey for any small girl who is not perfect but in a world where people portray perfection, and where people opt for lies for the sake of image, but thanks for being an inspiration and showing me I can be myself and I do not need to measure to worldly standards. Thanks for showing me what real looks like. You may not know this, but sometimes when I am Sad I go to the balcony or look over the window and see you sweating and I wonder how it would be like to listen to your story not from other people but from you. Sometimes when I am down I pray to God to give me as half as courage and optimism that you have to face this life. You always cheerful even when it’s evident you a tired and needs a rest, you always push on to finish your duties, you always wake up early and you always smile at everyone’
I hope that someday I will be able to celebrate him, that someday I will be able to call him when I am somewhere and my career in whatever field God places me will have kicked off, I hope I will be able to call him on the high table to be dined with and celebrated like a king, because he deserves that because he too is phenomenal, he too deserves some recognition. He too is among the people that I celebrate today. He makes me believe that one day, I will be strong enough to carry the heavy task force without giving up, he does that everyday and never complains. That one day just like him, I will face life tough headed and be strong. He has made a difference in the world in his own small way. And on my special day that I hardly talk about to anyone, I chose to write about him because I am not yet courageous to write about what’s so special about this day. I celebrate him today.
(The date 28th March unknown to most people, and most I mean including my closest friends, is a very special day to me. It is like my birthday, it’s a long story that i will write someday. So far I only talked about it to one person. My high school best Friend. I normally celebrate the day by going to a children home, or simply being with those I care for though I never tell them that it’s a special day to me. And thus tonight I reflect about life and post about one person who intrigues me- The Shamba boy. Ps. Photos have nothing to do with the story. Though they somehow describe a similar story line )