Saga of Wanjiku’s quests for heroism

Ode to Hero's Acre, which cost billions but lies desolate

In Summary

• This is a land that has a house of heroes that is empty

Burial grounds
Burial grounds

There is a house in the mind of Kenya, empty it has become abruptly. They call it in the national language here, house of those who brave are. It is located several miles up the road to Lang'ata, near where small planes make big tycoons soar into the skies like gods of Hinduism. The house, made by billions of taxes, houses no one.

It is huge, its hues those of the national banner. It sits next to a barracks of commandos. From its posterior, you hear the roar of the king of game parks. From its anterior, you witness the metallic indifference to poverty in our motherland, in the largest slum in Africa that a major urban tourism hub is.

Here, dollars and doleful kids mingle freely, like human dung in plastic bags and birds sharing the traffic lanes of free skyhighways of God. There is an empty house as huge as a monument, here here in Kenya, at the heart of a fast-growing nation. Kenyans had no choice or chance but to name it. They opted to go for the Hero's Acre.

Wanjiku, are you dead and buried here, now that your feats in decades tabulate tiny yet big inputs to our motherland?

When you chose to open a jua kali dispensary, you did so without profit as a goal. You gave your all to stop babies swimming in sewers here. You are not an abortionist. You defend women who die by birth. It is not their birthright to die with their firstborns while still pre-women in this city. You told me with your surgical gloves impaled on a palm with plastic coffee, steam rising from it like your voice of a guardian angel.

Those who have seen a baby bear a baby as a potbelly, understand why men with sagging navels attached to expensive suits end up in lodges with kids without school fees.

The college is now a slaughterhouse. The car parks next to it, now lodgings without fees are. The city is a cemetery, where dreams of girls with brains but no means end up in graves without shape, graves of all sizes, graves without soil, graves that overflow with packets of P2.

Who is this that skirts around this stench, mask-masking her face, police stations and courts, dreading to hear her name, Wanjiku?

Those who sat hungry at Freedom Corner, against the will of a dictator, one day bared their naked pudenda to the press and police. They wrote their names on their breasts without milk, with the blood from lashes of brutality. They opened their retired wombs to let out their final labour screams, cursing Uhuru Park in the name of the motherland.

The lake of pleasure in this park became a contaminated cesspool of shame. The trees here turned barren, lightning striking them without fail each time rains visited this city. Those were the women who gave birth to democracy; they taught you to bear witness to the red of our flag. How many litres of blood fall in Kenya as birth happens, men of Kenya tell us!

Litres for the birth of children born lawfully to die unlawfully. Litres for children born healthy to die of hunger. Litres of girls born as flowers only to wilt in the primordial sun of traditions, blood here of a child begging for water, after the water of the uterus broke and bore them broke.

You took to herbs to stabilise your dwindling thinking faculty, eroded by these questions so acidic, they ate edges of my sanity to date! This is a land where the people of the land name their leaders by surnames that are familiar, to those of places where their graves exist.

This is a land that has a house of heroes that is empty. This is a land that stands in the sun of the equator, engages the earth with eyes half open, and in sleepwalking stance, sings its national anthem at a new garden for past heroes. This is the land than is lonely for new heroes. It is like me in my quest for a heroine.

I am this land, which walks the path to the house in the city for a hero who lived, loved, left.

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