You might want to sit down for this cracker. So we posted the story on the blog on Tuesday circa 10.30am, right? Zawadi, who was working Twitter, called me at 4:12pm and said, “Are you seated for this?” I stood up and said, “I am.” She said. “We have hit a milli only 5 hours in!!!” Suddenly I got this naked craving for a double whisky with one ragged ice cube. But it was 4:12pm. When you are a factory worker you can’t have a drink at 4:12pm. It was such a beautiful day so far. Jadudi was happy; the sun had thawed the nippy day; we were trending at number one, my grandmother hadn’t called me about her arthritis and back-pain and how she couldn’t find someone to send to the shopping center for a Fanta. Isn’t this how God had wanted our days to go?
The next day – jana – at 4:08pm, Zawadi called again. I picked up the phone and said, “I’m seated but I can’t take any more good news. Please don’t say anything that will make me crave for a drink.” Then she said with no preamble, “We have hit 5milli.”
“Get the fuck out!” I said.
“I’m not kidding you!”
“Kenyan money with the Baks on it ama Zim dollar?”
“Haha. Kenyan hard money.”
“Haha, I don’t even know what to say!”
“We can now die Zawadi. What’s left? We are done here. I say we die.”
I took my headphones, went on YouTube and played Ojuelegba by Wizkid featuring Sarkodie, the remix in French? Played it in the loudest volume. And it all felt so right. It felt so great to be Kenyan. You guys had done 5milli in, what, 28hrs? That was beyond paper.
Here is the final figure: As of 9am this morning you guys had raised a little over 6million, actually 6,111,638 Kenyan money. I will repeat, 6,111,338!! It’s surreal. I saw the statements, running into over 180 pages. Kenyans in their thousands sending 130 bobs and 1,000 bobs and 500 bobs and 200 bobs. Kenyans making a bold statement putting their Mpesa where their hearts were at. I swear if you come to my office right now and tell me, “Biko, Ethiopians are at our border, get this gun and die for your country,” I will say, “Sawa, but wait, let me get a haircut first. If I’m to die for Kenya I want to die with a fresh haircut.” I’m heady.
I feel very grateful for you guys. How you all came through big time for this boy. How you heeded his call for help. Humanity has shown its hand here today and in the most profound of ways. God has shown his kindness and grace. The past two days have been about one candle lighting millions of candles all over the world, from Australia to Japan, from US of A to Amsterdam, from Sweden to Kendu Bay. Strangers inboxing wanting to help. Strangers praying and quoting deep bible verses. Tweeting and Facebooking. Commenting. Paying his flight to Nai (He lands this evening). Not one person has commented something negative on my blog, It’s been one loud voice of hope. A friend of mine called and said, “Biko, can you take a cheque?” And I said, just Mpesa it boss and he said, “Bwana this mambo of Mpesa is too complicated with this money. Just come pick the cheque.” And I asked him, kwani how much is it you are giving and he said 200K. I stood up and sang the national anthem…in bloody Kiswahili! To show what kind of a person he is, he said please don’t mention me by name in any platform. I called Jadudi and broke the news and he couldn’t say shit. He kept saying, “I don’t know….I don’t know….I don’t know….akia!”
Droves of ladies called and texted me and said they cried reading about him but I suspect some men also cried but you know how men are. Kwanza guys who like taking selfies… Teary chaps, those. They even cried watching The Lion King. I can’t mention everyone who put their backs into this. That list like I said is too long.
Oh more good news. I phoned the lovely Wanjiku Mugo – head of Comms at Kenya Airways – and said, “Wanjiku I know this is probably a bad time to ask for freebies but is there a chance you guys could bail this chap with tickos to India?” (See how I threw in that word “bail” hehe. No come on.) I figured she had some random tickets lying at the bottom of her desk. It didn’t even have to be tickets direct to India. If there is a ticket to say, Bangladesh, si Jadudi can just cross over using a mat? Surely, even him (Kenyan lingo) he should apply himself. The least he can do to show gratitude is get to Nepal, jump into a mat and find his way to India. You have gone through three head surgeries. Surely you are tough and can take a mat from Nepal. Donge, Jadudi? Even you stand by us now. Anyway, Winnie Onyach from Kenya Airways confirmed that they will be taking care of Jadudi and his mom’s travel to India when they sign the necessary papers. As the church congregation in my shags would say in resounding chorus – “Amina!”
By the way, some chap (he’s one of those chaps who think when jang’os say they are going to shags they all go to Kisumu) called me asked me; “Biko what does Jadudi mean?” So I asked him, “First have you contributed?” He said, “Yeah, boss. I did.”
Jadudi means a guy from Dudi. I told him.
So his name is Jadudi as in it appears on his ID?
No. His name is Emmanuel Otieno but Jadudi is just a name he uses. Jang’os feel the need to announce their shags. Especially when drinking. Or during a Gor match.
Haha. Oh, so Dudi is a place?
Correctomundo. Where is your shags?
I’m from Kianyaga.
Kianyaga, that’s in Kirinyaga County.
Right. OK. So you are Jakianyaga. A milli for Jakianyaga…Naah.
Haha! Oooh, So how far is Dudi from HomaBay?
HomaBay town? I dunno, maybe two hours drive….if you are using a Nissan March.
Hehe. But Dudi should be in HomaBay County, technically….Why?
I was just wondering…si Homa-Bay is the headquarters of those nightrunners?
I laughed I almost died.
Jadudi. I think what this guy wants to know is if you know….have ever….you know….ran in the night? Actually, I also need to know.
But seriously, there is a lesson here, Gang. That people are just people. And that people will not stand aside and let tragedy or evil triumph. If there ever is any show that Kenyans are beautiful people this is it. You came out with your middle fingers and you flashed it in the face of cancer. Cancer is right now curled whimpering in a corner, sucking its dirty thump. No matter what it does now, we have won.
Tuesday night Jadudi texted me and said his mom wanted to speak to me. His mom is an old mathe and when an old mathe calls for you, you stop whatever you are doing to talk to her. So I walked out of my last Centonomy class – unrelated: if you spend 200 bob on the watchie to wash your car you should attend these classes. So I walked out to the parking lot at Apollo Center in Westy and I called him back.
His mom picked the phone and said, “Good evening Mr. Biko…(Jang’os and English, sigh!) And I told her, “Yaye, madhe, kizungu mane kendo ma’ iketa e go’dhiambo kendo?” She really laughed at that and off we were. She said what you guys have done for her son can never be repaid by anything but prayers. She said you guys have done what she didn’t imagine anyone could do for her family. She said this is a testimony that God doesn’t sleep. Said in Jang’o, Gang, it’s deep. And that you will all be blessed abundantly. She said she will pray for you all and she will continue praying for you. I’m certain these blessings will be reaped by our kids. Suddenly if Tamms starts improving in Kiswahili in school I will be like, “God, I see you. I know it’s you! Come out and admit it. Take credit for your work this once!”
How this cookie will crumble is that a sum of 1 million shillings will be transferred to Jadudi’s account to enable him fly out as soon as he gets his visa. Africa Cancer Foundation Trustees plan to create a sub account for the extra fund and a disbursement strategy will be discussed with Jadudi, his parents and lawyers on a roundtable. All further updates on this case will be shared via ACF. Which means a month from now you can’t run into me in a bar and ask, “By the way Biko, how much of our money is left from what we raised?” Let’s be easy, sawa?
Zawadi Nyong’o and I thank you profusely for the support. We have officially closed this funds drive now. Any monies you might send I think will go to Africa Cancer Foundation to help many more Jadudis out there battling cancer. You guys are stars. Each one of you. And for the guys in the Diaspora who couldn’t send money because of an oversight on our part, poleni. It’s the thought that counted.
Ahsante. Thengiu. Kongoi mising. Nimuivea. Chabucha. Orio muno. Shukriya. Dhanyevad. Mbuyamono. Ashe Naleng. Ero kamano.