“Let me tell you something you already know, the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, it’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it, you, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it isn’t about how hard you’re hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
This time I’m kept awake by this picture. His name is Simiyu, a construction worker across my home. I want to tell Simiyu’s story, hopefully it’ll have some kind of effect on you like it had on me because that’s what we do here, we tell stories, we laugh, we dream, we inspire.
I took this photo after a small chat with him, before today we only shared the occasional hello. Simiyu has taught me that life can be a bitch and that all we can do is be grateful for the things we have. See, every morning as the sun peers through the thorny grass, as you slowly stretch out of bed, because it’s your right to anyway, right? Simiyu is already at the gated site crossing his fingers that his spot at the queue is reached to provide the labour needed for the day, and I’ve seen the foreman there; he looks like he doesn’t want to hear any life stories. You’re late you go home, and then old Simiyu won’t be able to bring home the bacon.
I met him one morning as I was waiting for sun-rise,
“Habari ya mkubwa?” he asks,
His expressionless face tells me maybe he hasn’t had any breakfast; even in this state he will still have to haul huge rocks from one point to another. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t think I can do anything without my cup of tea in the morning; I might curse the heavens for the splitting headache that will follow, I worry about a mere headache while he worries about what he will eat before he goes to bed.
His lunch break lasts for an hour but he can’t go home and manage to get back in time so he sits under the shade of a tree, him and three or four other chaps in the same boat. They engage in endless political banter. And then the rock hauling continues up to around 5 p.m. He goes home and finds his two kids immersed in their homework upon fuel lamp light while mama watoto prepares ugali which will be washed down with a cup of hot tea. Tomorrow is another day for Simiyu, the struggle continues. Simiyu had some big dreams, he didn’t tell me this but it’s one those things you can smell from a man’s shirt. It’s just not fair this, life.
The point is, as you sit there on your blissful throne, don’t take shit for granted.
By the way, the quote in the beginning is from the film Rocky Balboa; you thought I was into some deep stuff huh? Have a blessed week.