Letter to a friend

This is my first post this year. What happened after the General Election left me thoroughly disillusioned. How could we descend to such barbarity. Is politics really that important that I have to kill my neighbour? Are our political leader’s worth dying for? Do we have to hate so much? I tried asking myself these and more questions, and everytime I drew a blank.
Today, my e-mail inbox popped and a childhood friend (who by accident of birth is a Luo) wrote telling me how this fighting is ovyo (full of rubbish). He reminded me that in Nakuru (Rongai), where we were born, we co-existed with so many tribes that some of us are multi-lingual. My friend is called Chege, but his real name is Ouma. He got his name after that famous footballer Ouma Chege. The subject of his message was Amani (Peace).
As I write this my family back at home lives in constant fear of being attacked.
I thought I might share my reply to him, with you. In a way, it captures what has been going through my mind:
“We need peace my brother. This tribal hate thing does not help one single minute. You and I were brought in a society where you only spoke your mother tongue in the house. Out there Kiswahili was the lingua franca. Even today I consider Kiswahili to be my first language, because I think in Kiswahili. I never knew tribe, I only saw friends. Many were the days I came to your place, and even though I did not understand much of Luo, I felt quite comfortable and safe. I really looked forward to having a meal at your place. You on the other hand knew so much Kikuyu, that you could tell when one was being rude to an elder. All that didn’t matter. What mattered was that we were friends.
“Remember the days we used to sit outside Kaguchia’s bathroom, watching the sun set on Kandutura Hills (sadly that is where they started burning houses in Rongai), telling stories and laughing at our silly mchongoano (kutoana magear). Remember how I would go to our house and find you gone, and had to find you at your place.
When we were growing up, it did not matter what tribe one came from, what mattered was who would beat the other in our games, or who would play football better. With our dogs, we went hunting together, swam together, stole fruits at Nyamu’s together, and chased girls together. We engaged in mischief together, and our parents, it did not matter whose child it was, punished us together.
Why can’t Kenya go back to those old days? It is said that people wise up as they grow older, does it mean that as Kenyans we’ve grown foolish as as the years go?”
Peace my dear readers