By Cecy Gaitho
“When I grow up I want to be a pilot.”
And every day, young Malaki would go out into the fields and excitedly wave at the passing aero planes up on the sky so high. He would dream inside a plane, visiting his grandmamma in Songunde village, his aunt in Seneto, where she lived with her English speaking sons. “I will have a lot of money and build mama and papa a big house like papa Faraja who comes to the village with a car!” He would proudly thump his chest, full of dreams, never hoping to quit.
At school, Malaki beat all his classmates in all subjects; Mathematics, Coloring, and in English, he became the genius. Thus he became Malaki the genie. Everybody loved Malaki, teachers adored him and every girl was dying to have him. Yet, Malaki never lost focus. Furthermore, in order to become a pilot, teacher Jeniffer always warned, “One need never to look down, lest your dream passes you unawares.” Thus he looked up into the azure blue sky of education, wanting only to conquer and to ride the great plane of success.
It happened one early morning. The sun did not shine. The birds sang in unison, dirges of the beginning to the end. The owl in the distance mourned the death of a dream, for whatever had happened in Malaki’s home was unheard of in the village of Mashete. The loud screams cut the morning air like a sharp knife. Mama Malaki had killed papa Malaki. This was an abomination that was going to cost the whole village, unless a cleansing ritual was held immediately. The outcast had to be driven out of the village before greater evil spells befell the peaceful village of Mashete. Poor Malaki and his siblings became scattered, and life was never going to be the same.
At school, Teacher Jeniffer became his guardian, offering him every support that he needed. When he didn’t have clothes, she would generously buy him new ones, for a cost he would dearly pay in the future. Malaki was fourteen when she first touched him. They were alone in the office, learning the tricks of Algebra. As the evening winded, Malaki had not only learned Algebra but also began his lessons on seduction and romance.
“The Ministry of Education is going to be very strict on exam malpractices from now henceforth. Anybody caught stealing in the forthcoming exam is going to face the full force of law! Hapana leta mchezo kwa masomo!” the final nail was being hammered into Malaki’s coffin of life. Teacher Jeniffer had promised to offer all answers for the coming examinations. They had gone out together when he was supposed to be studying. The government must have been hiding in the bushes, watching them with its all-seeing eyes. Oh Malaki!
Malaki is now out in the streets of Nairobi, roaming from dawn to dusk seeking employment. All the companies in Industrial Area wouldn’t hire him! Teacher Jennifer had already found another ndogo ndogo. “I wish I knew!” he curses, knowing that all is lost. He’ll never make it to being the pilot he so wished for. Regret, doubt, frustration and failure stinks in the very air Maliki breathes. He hates every rising of the sun, he only wishes to sleep, that long dark sleep of death.
One early morning, he wakes up all tired, weak and sickly. When the doctor confirms that Malaki has the virus, he doesn’t cry any more. “I am finally going to die and all will be forgotten!” He boasts and whistles happily. This is finally the harbinger to the life yonder, where the preacher says there’s no more sorrow. Time has come to a standstill. “No more weeping in the land yonder!” Life is a crazy mess that has no mercy on those who find themselves in the wrong hand.
“Good morning listeners and welcome to our news in the morning. This is your number one station Rumor Mill FM. The body of a 22-year old man was found dangling in his single room house in Nairobi’s Shauri Moyo….The man who has been identified as Malaki…” “What a waste to a young life!” the village people whisper to one another as they make the burial preparations.
“In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on the beautiful shore….” Of course they could be lying because Malaki might be burning in the lake of fire that burns with sulphur.