Posted: June 10, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Adol Akuei, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya

Kiir and Garang, liberation day

Dr. John Garang and Commander Salva Kiir Mayaardit, during the liberation era

June 10, 2017 (SSB) — Can you define life in your own prospects?  How life can be determined? I mean its quality. And when do we say that someone has shaded dark prints in his or her life? I mean the end of life. Many people have different approaches to lifetime questions. Some define it according to how they live it. Some copied it from literal contexts. That’s they learn it from books with views from different authors. Scientists for instance have their own approach too toward life.

They believe that life begins immediately a zygote is formed in that ampulla part of the oviduct. Life again moves on to be determine by gene expressions and environmental conditions.Yea about inheritance and adaptations. The” survival for the fittest” slogan. Charles Darwin will explain you that. The likes of Sigmund Fleud and Erick Erickson came in too to explain the psychological aspect of life as you develop from apes, Charles Darwin said so. That’s their lot as scientists.

Their full replica of what life entails. They will also tell you that life ends with the ultimate failure of your cardiovascular system failing to perform the job it had voluntarily performed in the past. They called it death. A certified death. Somehow they can use you as cadaver for study to enhance more discoveries. Let me not bore you with those scientific facts. Of course it makes sense to them that have undergone the scientific kind of study.

A religious person of course has a different thought of that too. They believed in their biblical principles that God is the origin of life. He created man out of the soil, breathe the air into him and life came to existence. Visit your genesis story of creation if you are religious. You too as my reader have a different opinion about life if you are not in either of the stated teams. Anyway, I personally have never known what life truly mean. I am just living because I am alive.

Posting questions that are sometimes difficult to answer. Following the multitudes, with their beliefs took better part of me and that’s why I failed to defined it. That is why I am in this state of asking all these nasty questions. Don’t be bored with me my dear client. I have something to say about all this questions. Something intriguing. Something striking. Be careful with my introduction, it will give you a full elucidation of I am going to tell you. Or else you will miss the logic. But have those questions in your mind.

We all ought to tell something to our children in the future about our past. It might be a history of our dark life or bright life. At least each and every one has an experience to tell. Something that will qualify him or her as a full living creature. Not in history but in real life practical that creates history. This is what will exactly define life. Will determine a driving force towards it. In fact experience is a great source of gimmick to life. Until I came into the darker side or rather history of this man, I have never known myself.

I thought I was a king over my own life. Living it to the brim with all sorts of ecstasy. But I realized it was all void. In fact glitzy ritzy. Wanyonyi was his name. I mean the name of that person I called man. Yea I called him man for a number of reasons. First, when you just look at him, he has a starling face. Face of determination. His white hair with a big bald tells you another thing about him. That’s he has lived life decades of years as experimental.

I mean he did experiments with life and that is why he looks stalwart enough. He is off age but still with agility to forge on. Move on with even a better momentum than before. I wondered what next this man really wanted to achieve in life at that old age. His hands were that hard like a stone. I even thought I was exposing myself to a stone kind of thing when I greeted him. His teeth were of less but with tobacco stained. He has lost quite a number of his dental formulae. I don’t know where. Don’t ask me because I am like you.

He is of medium height with an average body mass index. I mean he is neither slim nor plump. He seems to be happy all through. You can just read happiness in his face with his black suit, a pair of black well polish shoes and a polka dotted tie. Questions boggle in my mind. I was very curious to know why this person in that old age dressed so neatly that you cannot differentiate him with a university gentleman. There is something strange about him. Something unique. Something lips smacking.

“Come here my son”, he called me when I almost by passed him. He was seated at a small kiosk near the crossroads or rather roundabout. The first crossroad bordering the airstrip to Bungoma town. That’s to your right when you are coming directly maintaining the highway from Kanduyi; bungoma county. The kiosk is beside the airstrip. Only what you can see there is a cobbler. I mean inside the kiosk. I wonder if he was the cobbler or was just resting there.

I had alighted from the 64 shuttle bus in my blue navy shirt and a black trouser, well tacked with a maroon school tie. By the way I was from school. I obediently responded to his called. After he introduced himself to me as Wanyonyi, he asked me of my initials and my country of origin. I hesitated at first because he looked strange to me but after proving him to be harmless; I gave in. “I am called Adol from south Sudan”. That’s all that I can give as requested. Of course he appreciated me and started to go on with his talk. He first uttered a statement that triggered my participation in the talk.

Indeed it ejected my curiosity. “Soma Kwa bidii mtoto wangu ili uokoe nchi zako.Hiyo nchi inawataka kabisa na ni nyinyi ndo mtabadilisha hayo maovu yanayotendeka huko.” That was the statement. If ever you wanted to get my attention, mention something about my country. This message was sent direct to my intellect. It made me felt important. Indeed needed somewhere and depended on. I can’t take it for granted. In fact it is the reason why I am here in Kenya. I cannot play a round with it. Or else my destiny might be aborted.

Opportunity comes once and for all and for that reason, I cannot spare this old man in asking him questions of life. And how it can be determine. “Mr. Wanyonyi, tell me what made you successful and still look optimist to have more dreams to be achieve in future though in this old age? Your children should be serving you at your home, why struggling with life that you had so much lived? “ I asked him. He smiled abit as he summoned me to sit down on a stool that was unoccupied inside the kiosk. You can imagine what happened next?

‘Aluta continua, struggle continues until the days you will breathe your last breathe my son. You know we men are design to struggle to make both ends meet. I will tell you about me as Wanyonyi. Not Jehovah wanyonyi as some people say. (We bursted into a pillar of laughter at such a humor). Of course he is true. There is that history about Jehovah Wanyonyi among the luhyas of the western Kenya.

That is for another day. As the old man, Mr. Wanyonyi continued with his life facts history, I put my school bag down and lend him all my ears. I can assure you even if you slap me, I cannot actually feel the pain. The pain will be deeply engrossed in the listening part. Yea I have to listen to him to be a bonafide benefactor of his experience. I have come a long way with life my son and when I saw you, I feel I could tell you something to reminisce your life. To ameliorate it.  I never finished my secondary studies……he coughed to his ribcage as he clear the air to continue.

 People were just passing to and fro and unfortunately there seem to be no customer. I was the only client getting the lion’s share rather than him. People just don’t mind about what this mere school boy is doing with this old man. Well seated. It was indeed rock of ages.

Wanyonyi continued. My son, I lived in Bumula constituency and have lived there almost all my life. That resident as history will tell you were not a place to stay but I was born in there. A place so full of evil spirits and dry spell is all over. The place that is arrested in the development. A place that you just cannot walk to school wearing uniform. You can easily be killed because no one wanted to feel the guilt of being inferior. That is class stratification.

Everybody needs to be in the same class. I did cats and dogs style to get acquainted to school. I went to khasoko boys’ high school by then. Things didn’t go well with me. You know my son; I was not that much an apt and prowess student. I always drag behind the class. Always tailing up. My colleagues humiliated me and called me dummy but I resisted. I never wanted to be called a zombie but my brain was denying me that. They say God has created people with different skills and abilities, I didn’t know mine.

As if that was not enough, I have mayhem in paying the school fees. My school fees were never paid in time and my father had to struggle tooth and nail to pay my fees with a sack of maize. You know that was in the 19th century not like the current 20th century where money can talk. Where everything is expensive. My father, Wekesa was a farmer by profession. I wanted to be an engineer but the mathematics and physics subject caused me migraine. I even thought I would go mad. I finished primary school on nice trend and in secondary things were not moving. All the calculations were bulky in my brain.

Do you still have those subjects to date? He asked me as he paused a bit to give himself a break. Of course the answer is yes and I am going through what he has just said. Let’s continue. With all this challenges, I developed a wrong habit in the school. A wrong identity, my son. I called myself a nitwit and could prosper no more. I indulged myself into thefts cases. Why grandpa? I cut in. I was amused with that. I hated theft with venom. I don’t like it all cost. Of course life forced me my son.

I kept quiet and continue to listen, now to a potential thief. And to add on that I engaged myself in drugs kind of business. Selling illicit drugs. Bhang and cocaine of course were no exceptions. My eyes started to pop out of their sockets. I now know I am in the wrong hands. With a wrong person. My questions that I told you at first were now right. This man must be a pickpocket. Must be a town hustler. Must be a broker. Must be a criminal. Must be a Bumula village crook?

You can guess what I was feeling. He is never pundit as you think. He is a flogger. I wanted to quit the conversation but something held me on. Something pressing hard in my soul to let me continue listening. At least am at the roadside, I can be helped incase anything erupted”, I told myself.

Wanyonyi went on after breaking the ice in me and eased me up to continue listening. He just told me that it was his true life history but he was not that way right now. I mean a criminal. He added on that he is the manager of Shariff Centre, one of the prowess business mall or rather shopping center in the outskirts of the Bungoma town currently. It’s called hypermarket if I have not forgotten my little business knowledge.

 My eyes glimpsed with much affection and develop energy to listen more to this complicated life story of my “grandpa” Wanyonyi. I called him like so because he is old and also to honor him. Grandpa continued with the story. After I did all those atrocities my son, I was expelled out of the school in form two after being first prisoned with the orders from the school administration.

I was that much obstinate and would want to kill everybody using a knife in my house when I was under the control of bhang. You saw my teeth (he showed me his teeth with tobacco stained). That is tobacco with bhang. I was taken to Bungoma court but after the school appeal, I was released. A criminal indeed. My dad was furious of this and he tended to disowned me. I had no other option my son. I had nowhere to go. I was young, brave, stout and virile.

I resorted to join the streets children. Bungoma Street. I ate those breads with molds thrown to garbage on the street. I knew all my dreams had been charred by my unbecomingly behavior. Son, I had to blame myself. Life in the street wasn’t favorable. I begged and begged. I did all the atrocities of evil. Call it the work of the devil. I live to the analog of,” no man can choose and he is in prison where he can live only on subsistence”. Hand to mouth life.

God has a plan for everyone; a mzungu took me to the children home from the Koinange Street in Nairobi and trained me abit to be a better person. I went there using this big trailers on Trans African Highway that passed via Bungoma to search for a better life. I was rehabilitated for three years. Had brain disorders which I suspected was caused by the bhang that I smoked. As I grew up, I develop positive attitude toward myself and I finally realized it was not me in the first place.

It was the other me that was never me, my son. I realized it when my minds grasp true sense about me. I loathe all those and decided to transform my own life. (I nodded my head though in disbelief because how can such a criminal from the village, a drug addict become successful once again after he received such a propounding smack from life). That is why you see me in a suit today and I was in tatters sometime back. He paused to let the message be driven home.

To let the message sink. I was tongue tied and dumb. Had nothing in the mind to say. This experience kicked me off. I was almost shading tears because I sympathize with him. And that is when I realized that, favor is not fair. Someone somewhere is enjoying all the stuff yet another one is suffering. That is why it’s called life. Different to different people. Wanyonyi then continued shortly after I digested the words. They have hit hard. And where is your mother grandpa after all these struggles?

I cut in before he concluded. I was interested to know because your mother cannot disown you. I was shocked to the roots of my existence when he told me that his mother, Faith Nekesa died in a fatal road accident on her way to Eldoret where he was taking his aunt to hospital. I was relieved after he answered me and I allow him continue with his conclusion about the dark episodes of his life.

My son, I told you all these for one purpose, it is to teach you a lesson that life is called life by what you experience, and what you are striving to achieve before it ends. The determining factor of life is all in your head my son (he gently touched my head saying it ‘head’ with vigor). Don’t look for it in books, scientific facts or whatsoever, its lies deep there in your head. Give your head a right picture, a right image in your own mirror on that wall and you will understand it my entire son.

He then told me some words as he escorted me on my way home after I told him that I am a candidate ready to sit for my KCSE exams. He advised me a lot. Ranging from life to academic. This motivated me and I summarized his words in poetic form as shown below:

My son

Rise up and stand the hefty blows in the rare strife

The time has come for you to sow seeds of life

The eschatological days described in the four year course are over

You should be well prepared to handle the heavy hurdles to cross over

And you will realize that you have a true reflection on that mirror on the wall about your full self my son

My son

Many students including me in this long academic journey have fallen off the lane

But you, who have remained to the last kick, have guts to stand the variable winds in the rare rain

There is no struggle without pain my dear candidate

Your struggles now are the best in defining your dreams and visions in this life that repudiate

And you will realize that you have a true reflection on that mirror on the wall about your full self my son

My son

Trust, courage, patience and tolerance are what the paradise of life demands in the battlefield

Be not shaken in the last minute to flutter failure in the yield

Your head should always be the best in guiding you make lifetime decisions in grief

Work smart not only in class but in all your lifetime circles in brief

And you will realize that you have a true reflection on that mirror on the wall about your full self my son

My son

Life is a myriad of experience and examinations, it’s not hard

It’s our attitude and wrong view toward it that makes it hard

Build your life now my son since it will be a stepping stone to the next level

Your sweat is other people’s sweet son, be careful about how you wipe it, make it gravel

And you will realize that you have a true reflection on that mirror on the wall about your full self my son

My son

Make both ends meet to be a bonafide benefactor of a baboon tree

A tree of life that is planted for four years and bear fruits in the spanning spree

You should always be ready to tackle the fight

 When the voice of the people shall speaks, you will be the one my son in your country to explain it swift

And you will realize that you have a true reflection on that mirror about your full self my son

My son, struggle continues until the last breathe is lost

And these words of wisdom uplifted my soul from my grandpa Wanyonyi.  We parted ways as he dashed into his way after pouring such a soul into me. I must appreciate him always for making a difference in my life and see myself as a better person before my physique in the mirror. And that is why I began by questioning life because I didn’t know what it truly means. Through my grandpa Wanyonyi, I can easily say that life is an experience. Period. What about you????

(pls it’s a true life story that changed me forever during my high school days and Wanyonyi is a character adapted to play a literal role in my writing and make the message to be driven home though that is not the real name my mentor. I intentionally avoided it for personal private life security purposes, hope you understand, 2014 draft)

You can reach the author via: adol akuei <adolakuei@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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