Bang! Bang! Bang! It rained…

The sun sets beautifully as usual. Reflections on the River Tana are spectacular and the breeze in the hot but humid climate is quite relaxing.I have been very tired. Corridors of justice and the county referral hospital have the marks of my footprints. I love it here I love what I do. The reward is really almost immediate. From a sad face to a smile despite any situations. Being a humanitarian worker and a psychologist, this is more than I could ask for.
This morning at the courts were interesting procedings. After my usual role I decided to sit and watch. Charges are read, the legal language is quite technical but to the layman I am it is an alshabab suspect. Just a few months ago a hundred and forty seven young souls were lost to the militia. For me this brings back the memories of wounded people in pain, a dead girl beautifuly dressed but headless, the smell of dead bodies that the small mortuary could not hold. It is an uncomfortable feel. I come to the river banks often to reflect and heal and today this is definitely therapeutic.
Phone rings, it is my colleague. We got to see some clients she says. It is past working hours but it is important that we do this. The brilliant lawyer has a passion for humanity and justice glad she now serves now at a better position of delivering justice at the seat of honour. Interviews are exhausting, traumatic stories of refugees journey for rescue and sometimes ordeals of rape and defilement. The organization has dedicated to a systematic method of sensitizing the community and creating a level of awareness to help these people but I digress.
I leave the station to the police mess. I love this place, I have made great friends. The somali goat meat has become my daily meal and sometimes accompanied by a glass or two of brew. They keep most of us sane and keep the conversations more interesting.
On this day I am with some officers. Discussing everything from politics to security to love to technology. I admire the intellect of people in military probably one of the reasons Kurt Vonnegut is my favourite author. It is bright outside and warm. The moon is bright and the stars fewer but beautifully placed in the skies. He asks for another round this time for everyone. A reason to stay here longer. Bang! It is the sound of a gunshot. Being here, I have learned to tell these sounds by distance and type of arm. It is very close maybe 300M from here. Bang! Bang! Bang!….. It happens so fast in a distance that seems to be forming a circumference around where I am. Hard to ignore the reaction of the men who have dedicated to the security and protection of this country. Alert as ever. Bang!Bang! Ba!Ba!Ba!…..and before we can hear the sound of the next bullet it is a rain of bullets. Scared as shit. Can’t lie on the floor because the beautiful moon is not beautiful anymore not for my dear life at this point in time at least. We move to the wooden Kitchen walls, the safety shadows, I am in a bright blouse bad idea for security and the illusion of safety here is not as convincing. My colleague is convincing me to remove it and as you may know I do not wear bras and that was not one of those exceptional days. Behind the wheelbarrow I am hiding, radio calls on my side, a man holding a gun ready to fire is besides me. It is an officers’ mess and they make the biggest population there. I can see the bullets flying in air low enough. The sounds have changed and I can tell it is a different weapon. The tanker is out, and I am terrified. We all are.
This lasts for about half an hour to forty five minutes. My mind had gone from feelings of helplessness, fear to contemplation of my own death or is it imagination of what happens after I am dead. Cognitive Behaviour therapy comes in handy and I start asking myself what all this troubling of self is doing to the situation. By the time this was done it was like therapy from all the gunshots I have ever heard. Therapists will tell you that flooding which is a behaviour modifications method that uses exposure therapy usually used for phobias and anxiety works magic.
That day driving back to our own rooms and the thought that this may just be the beginning. I watch through the window, I can see the road from here and police vehicles are the only ones that use it tonight. We have a very intimate discussion with my colleague about life, I sleep off for about three hours and wake up to routine. Office then Court then hospital then office. Another day in the beautiful Garissa heat.

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  1. ericmugambi April 7, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Wow… Bras aside (not literally)! Kurt Vonnegut? Love his style too! What an experience – one in a lifetime! Glad you made it through.

    1. sharpbea April 20, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      I know right! He is adorable


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