When your child passes high school or standard 8 exams or graduates from campus you are filled with gladness. When they pass and get high marks the child is carried on their parents and relative’s shoulders and they run around elated. Every one feels they contributed towards their success even if it was just sending a success card.
In fact when there is a campus graduation, the parents and relatives carry lots of shiny decorations- like those you see on a Christmas tree and put them around the graduand’s neck once the ceremony is over. The colours are usually very bright like red, blue, purple, yellow, silver, green ( in Machakos we say ngween) . You will have many Ngweenones on your neck. If you have many relatives, lets just say that your neck will be full. I had a friend whose dad came with a bus (70 seater) full of relatives for the graduation. She only went with her parents and siblings for the graduation ceremony. They didn’t tell her that they were coming with other relatives from the village, so after the ceremony, she sees them coming in their traditional Pokot ceremonial dresses bearing these colourful shinny decorations dancing towards her, like how Hawaiians give a wreath of flowers to visitors as a symbol of affection. She was overwhelmed. My friend and crossed a significant milestone and became a dentist.
I keep thinking about milestones. For me a major milestone- it looks very small is when I get this mop-bucket I have been looking for. Let me explain.
I was sitting in a waiting room in hospital somewhere in this country. I had gone to visit a patient and since I could not enter the ward I had to hangout in the waiting room. They were asking for IDs. My ID was conveniently in my purse at home actually in the car. And the car was a county away. It was not very near by the way. I had to find things to do since I can’t go anyway I had to wait for Levis to pick me up so that we go home together.
I kept myself busy by reading a book. I have been reading this funny book on my phone. Laughing sometimes- trying not to do it audibly by the way. So an hour later….My phone battery is dying. And no I don’t have a charger. I have a power bank and the cable is at home! So so helpful by the way. I have now to keep myself busy.
I think of asking for help from the cleaners to ask them for a charger. Its low so I shut off all the non essential functions and keep it on low power mode- so that Levis can find me when he comes to pick me. I can’t ask for help from the cleaners to help me charge my phone. You need to have a rapport to ask for things like this. I tried to break ice by talking to one of them. I think they are not allowed to talk to strangers. Like how my mum used to tell me not to talk to strangers. I had tried to chat one up how nice their mop buckets dry the mop. The mop is dry and doesn’t make the floor wet, so the risk of tripping is low. I guess it sounded lame. In-case you are wondering why am I asking about a mop bucket. I’m actually very serious. Do you know how long I have been trying to get the brand of this mop bucket? I have chatted to several cleaners in many hospitals to get the brand of their bucket so that I can get search the name of the company that sells them. My last attempt at a hospital in Nairobi, the cleaners were so nice. They even went to look for extra buckets from their cleaning store so that I can check them out. Unfortunately- the writing was so blurry- it was not legible. So for now my hunting continues.
Therefore if I’m successful in finding the brand, will use the name of the brand of the buckets on a search engine like Google. Then voila I will have the name of the manufacturer so that I can buy the buckets. Back to my story, I digressed. ……name bucket hunting is not for the faint hearted. I then see this other housekeeper and then start my usual conversation. I even told him I work in a hospital ( I omitted the fact that I’m a doctor, it would have been awkward to explain why a doctor wants to look underneath a hospital mop bucket unless I’m swabbing for bugs) and that I’ve been wondering about the brand of their bucket. … bla bla bla…. Anyhow it didn’t work.
I had at least filled in some time. I’m now back to finding things to do. I did my second plan. People watching. I sat there and this group of people had come to donate blood for one of their church mates. They were so kind. They were greeting each other and they also greeted me – even though they didn’t know me but hey, I love chatting with people and it helped me kill time. We had a good time. Remember my phone is almost dying. So when their time came to go to donate, I was left there. I wished I could also go to accompany them and donate as well. The last time I tried to donate they used to give sodas. But I can’t leave to get a free soda, sorry donate blood, so I have to wait.
I then decide let me watch TV. I don’t usually watch TV at home. I found this program going on about Cheetahs. The only thing I learnt was that Cheetah brothers are best friends for life. Just in-case I decided to adopt a cheetah I should adopt brothers because they will be buddies for life and help each other. At least as pets they will love each other and chase thieves very well. I remembered that those chaps can really run fast so thieves will keep a wide berth.
Despite the story about cheetahs I couldn’t shake the feeling that if the cleaners had allowed me to check out their bucket I would have solved this huge problem. The mop buckets are so many and to get a good brand that is durable and dries well isn’t easy. I think will have solved a big dilemma and I will be very happy indeed.
In the event that I solve this mystery I will feel like Nancy Drew and maybe Levis will get me one of those Christmas decorations and put on me like a garland. But that in no way compares to the joy that parents feel when they see their children pass through a milestone.
We see parents with children born with some disabilities undergo social stigma and keep wondering if their child will ever be okay. Will their children be accepted in society. For some there are some surgeries that can solve some of these problems. They undergo surgery and they are able to see their child walk for the first time. They see their son able to play with other children and kick a ball. It’s usually a miracle. For some the surgeries may not make the disability disappear but make their lives easier.
These parents have to celebrate milestones that we usually take for granted. Having your child join school, go to Sunday school or even pass standard 8 exams is a big deal and may seem very far for them. They rejoice when a 4 year old who has only walked with support- holding on tables or chairs is able to stand without support and take a few steps without help. It is a reason to celebrate.
I have deep respect for a Christian couple who struggled to get a child but eventually got a baby boy who unfortunately was born with some disabilities. They love their son and take so many photos with him. He is a sharp boy , with a brilliant toothy smile, who walks with some difficulty but he is so happy. He is very intelligent and a bit naughty, but the parents soldier on to give him a good life. He is not hidden away from sight but they go with him and expose him to have a variety of experiences. They once had an impromptu picnic in their car. They spent the afternoon drinking tea with him from a big flask outside the clinic. This was despite their problem not being solved. They maintain hope and live life. They are looking forward to the day he will run. On that day I bet you it will feel like Christmas. Maybe they shall get those graduation decorations and celebrate. They always have a reason to celebrate like the bible verse that says Rejoice always, Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances …..