Part One

By Ess Waceke

With the owners of the night outside,

We wrestled with water and a cloth throughout the night,

With hopes that maybe the traditional method would work this one time.

Early birds, we left home in a jiffy,

Carrying a helpless child kwa mgongo.

With neighbours singing worship and praying for us,

Getting a lift from Mr. Rich,

We arrived at the hospital right on time,

With puffy faces filled with hope.

We ignored the arrogance that we were welcomed with and bowed to every rule that was given us.

When they asked for an obnoxious amount,

I questioned the writing on the wall,

Bure kwa watoto chini ya miaka mitano,

But I accepted it because Israel was my hope.

When our pockets ran dry, the church offered some offering to Carter for the bill,

But it was not enough; it’s never enough.

We had nothing more on us,

All blood given left with some to sustain us,

All funds given left with 100bob to ferry us back home.

We held hands na machungu as he wailed his last cry,

We cried as he struggled to breathe, harsh reality dawning on us that we are really peasants who can’t even afford public healthcare.

The sad faces from the rich around, wishing that they were not us,

The grandparents’ faces realizing that another one is gone.

He lies in a tiny casket,

Ethan losing her favourite dada,

We losing our “ndio wa mwisho huyu,”

Our hearts filled with anger that our poor selves could not save our son,

Questioning God why us not them,

But questioning everything that happened that one hour.

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