Four possible weddings and a funeral

Foes become friends as floods bring people together in Jiji Ndogo

In Summary

• The power of tragedy to make people value relationships more is on full display


The current miserable state of affairs in Jiji Ndogo brings to mind an incident early in my career.

Back when I was a rookie stationed in Nakuru, a tall, very dark man from Sudan was arrested following an altercation in a bar. His name was Paul.

I recall because he said, “My name is Bol with a ‘B’ for ‘Botato’.”

It’s a dialect thing like our Kikuyu brethren’s trouble with Ls and Rs. Soon after Paul was booked, a gang of more than 20 of his fellow countrymen swarmed the station, swearing to pay his cash bail or break him out.

As I filled out Paul’s bail forms, I asked him how come he had so many friends.

“All my country people are my friends,” he said.

“Is that so?” I said skeptically. “Is it because you are foreigners here?”

“No. Because we go through lots of broblems together. We go to war. You meet friend in the morning, in night time, he protect you and get bullet in head.”

Now I understand what Paul meant. People unite by sharing a common experience, and the more dire the times, the deeper the connection.

As we save people from flooded homes and share the little the devastating floods have left behind, I’ve seen some transformations here in Jiji Ndogo that I never thought possible.

As the entire villager gathers in Dr Selitol’s compound to mourn the one person who perished in the floods, I remember espying Mrs Makelele the other day, crying because she couldn’t locate her husband after the rains.

For context, Mr Makelele is a boozer who sucks the bottle as if alcohol is going out of fashion soon, and his wife hates him with a passion. So much so that she once brought him to the police post, seeking a divorce. Mr Makelele showed up in the morning, still drunk and soaked to the skin.

Mrs Makelele first hugged him tightly, then she slapped him and said, “Don’t you ever make me worry like that again.”

Then there’s the case of Deacon Kongo of Our Lord The Saviour Church. A single father, he hasn’t spoken to his daughter Deborah for going on five years after she ditched school to elope with a fellow teenager.

Now 18, she and the dude are still together and have a son. The possibility of losing his only daughter is the one thing that drilled sense into the deacon. Now he’s all smiles as he holds his grandson for the first time.

The third possible wedding (a stretch, but plausible) is the unimaginable sight of Nyathina, the self-professed most beautiful girl in Jiji Ndogo, conversing with Jose the boda boda guy. Everyone and their mother knows how much Jose likes Nyathina, and how in turn she can’t stand him.

I learned of the animosity when she came to the police post to seek a restraining order against him, saying he was a devil worshiper and was basically stalking her.

Jose had no idea what a restraining order was until I explained it to him. He had cried. Now, Nyathina leans against Jose in the corner, wearing his leather jacket printed with a snake coiled into a skull and the words: 'Hell’s Angels'.

Hell’s Angels ni motorcycle gang majuu,” I hear him say as I take the census. “Si devil worshippers.”

I’m almost done taking names when Sgt Sophia, my work partner and common-law wife, pulls me behind a wall, kisses me more fervently than she’s ever done.

She looks into my eyes and breathlessly says, “Makini, once this over, we’re getting married properly.”


*Please, consider donating to the Red Cross or any other reputable organisation. Every little bit helps.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star