There is hope for a tree…

Mama Boi is a tiny scale groceries vendor. You wouldn’t say she runs a green groceries store because none the items she sells is green. She has got only a handful tomatoes laid lazily on a gunia, and a small basin with 25 or thereabout onions and a few oranges, most of which aint gonna fetch much, if at all they do. Am here to buy 20 bob worth of tomatoes which she carefully selects for me, gets them wrapped and hands then over to me as I hand her a hundred shilling note to “cut” the money from. She removes a small porch, small enough to fit only two fingers, ransacks through it but she can’t find enough for my change. Her last born is alert and she snatches the 100 shilling note and runs to get change. Well, she’s got it and am now on my way back home…my head though is awash with thoughts. Just what keeps Mama Boi going? What motivates her?

You see, mama Boi taught me in Sunday school. That’s just about 17 years ago. By then she was a vibrant, motivated and joyous young woman, recently wedded to the finest carpenter in our village then, ready to raise a home. Her mother in law was also a Sunday school teacher, so you can connect where the motivation came from. Blessed with two beautiful girls, everything seemed to be going on well with her. In fact, one of the beds in our house, was made by Baba Boi. Disaster knocked on her door, no, forced its way in her home when hubby died. Their last born was barely 2 then. Everyone was shocked…and that has been quite a while now. The girls are now grown women and that’s not where my focus lay.

Back to our grocery store. I don’t know how much she makes a day. But the look on her face says this is for lack of a better option. I know tomorrow when I go back to the soko or pass by I still will find her there waiting for someone to come buy from her stall. And she is not alone, there are many more…in a steady row, all selling the same things, in tiny scale. Their eyes are downcast. All have families to fend for and for most of them hubby is part of them that are fend for since he probably is on the other end of the market place at happy hours bar & rest sipping, no, gulping the evening away on a cup of cheap liquor. Some like mama Boi are widowed and the lucky ones are married to watchmen and matatu drivers who will barely be at home when she is home. It’s a cycle that starts and ends immediately.

But women in the village have been brought up to be resilient. They cannot afford to squander their time away. The motivation for mama Boi and co might simply be finding something to do with time. It’s the rainy season mind you, so farm work is minimal and field gatherings unheard of due to the cold weather. A woman can’t sit around the fire and warm the day away and they are not sure where bread (or literally, ugali) will come from? I know the local church recently had the floor tiled and so cleaning it would fetch something, at least twice a week but they won’t pay you because apparently, the signatories for money to be released are not available and they must sign sitting on the same seat and that seat is in the church office…smh!

Just recently, again, I came across a family of three. A widowed woman, her daughter and granddaughter (child to the daughter). I had visited their home for research. When I got there, the woman was seated outside basking in the sun. Her granddaughter had just woken up. She gave her tea, about half of a quarter of the cup, say 50ml. From the look of things, that was all she had. She tells me of her agonies: her husband passed on two years back cutting out their source of income, the father to her granddaughter denied them, a blow drier she’d bought for her daughter was taken away by local authority officials because she couldn’t afford Kes. 6,000 for the license fee…

In August 2015, I visited Marsabit (Northern Kenya) for a Christian Union mission. These are places when life has given people a wide berth.  Food is basically all they live for. Oh, and their livestock which they rather would have die than eat. Women are categorized with children. A mother could give birth to a girl and ear mark her for marriage and that’s it for the poor child. She will never see the doors of a classroom. She watches the days come and go, waiting for her 10th birthday then she will undergo FGM and be handed over to her (10+x) – where x is a number greater than the books of the Bible – aged husband as the Nth wife. And that’s life!

Life can really hand you a bitter pill. When you living a life that has spelt doomsday and you only waiting for dawn. When the pods of tears are dried up outta constant crying most times deep within. When you see other people’s lives moving faster than your own. Your gas is out and the gas pedal is squeaking, it hasn’t been greased in while, rust is fast catching up. When living from hand to mouth is luxurious because you can’t afford anything interfering with what’s meant for your mouth. Yes, it’s that kind of a life that is ruthlessly helpless. Yet they still get out of bed every morning. Ever felt like it shouldn’t have dawned?

Yet in all these things, the earth’s still taking 365¼ days to revolve round the sun (sounds like some idle activity by a busy body), the world is developing, scientists are making new discoveries (all of which show the marvels of Jehovah God), terrorists are giving people sleepless nights, evangelists are breathing fire and brimstone, students are minimizing ignorance, states are making treaties, couples are falling in and out of love, musicians are churning out hits each day… life is happening.

At this point, I ask, what keeps mama Bois’ going?


Yes, hope. The Bible says in Romans 5:5 “…and hope doesn’t disappoint…” every so often, we feel like we are not living the best life and there really is nothing to look forward to. But deep within all men is a desire to become better than the present. A deep conviction that tomorrow is gonna be a better day. Even the suicidal, they axe their own lives in the hope that on the other side of life, things are gonna be better. (Shock on them).

Still, with hope, you could be wrong because of what you hope in. our hope must be in something that is out of this world yet present with us. Something that has identified with our helplessness but is mighty enough to overcome. That, I have found in just a single source: JESUS CHRIST. He is the hope of all glory. Our brother and friend, yet is the King of kings. Any hope outside Him is akin to a postponed catastrophe. Christ is able to and he does handle our cares, struggles, worries, troubles, hurts, sins, burdens, wretchedness, name it. We only have to trust him.

So, where is your hope?


8 thoughts on “Hope…

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