The number of beggars in Kenya is progressively skyrocketing all thanks to the interior and coordination ministry.Its lunch hour but I am still in the office,punching some numbers on a spreadsheet. The report is urgent and so that means my stomach can wait.A tall,dark guy with statuesque shoulders that tapered off his thin neck like a coat hanger suddenly appears on the small window frame that we serve customers from.He has an athletic body,same height with the boxing beast May weather.He is clad in a red Manchester united Jersey,it is long sleeved and old.Not very old though,just fairly old.The T-shirt does a decent job exposing his masculine frame.
He seems healthy and all good to me.As a matter of fact,I thought he was a customer.I quickly get into PR mode,cleared my throat to soften my hoarse voice,then with the politeness of a royal maiden, I asked “Habari ya mchana,nikusaidiaje Rafiki.”He didn’t answer my humble greeting,he only waved in the style of the retired president Moi during public holidays on his ceremonial landcruiser,that wave that exudes confidence and charisma. He pulls some documents out of an envelope accompanying him and hands them over to me.I thought hr needed copies,only to look at the first leaflet that was emblazoned ” MINISTRY OF INTERIOR COORDINATION.”I stare at the documents for a while,then stole a gaze from the presumed Manchester fan.
He hasn’t said a word all this while.He had a pen,he gestures something to me.I don’t understand sign language well,but I could tell he wanted me to write something on the proforma that accompanied the ministry’s document.It stated that he was DEAF and that he needed some assistance.Now I am not a sadist but for a moment I could not comprehend which dump Ministry official would approve such a recommendation.I mean,it is basic common sense,a crippled man asking for some donation,that I can understand but a deaf guy seriously??
I mean the guy got both hands,good vision,he seems healthy and above all he is more masculine than tiny me.Instead of a recommendation for donations,in my thinking,if I were the Ministry’s official I would have wrote him a job recommendation.He is still planted there,pointing at his mouth with his index finger then gesturing something that I translated to him telling me he was deaf.I got no cent in my pocket,the little cash I have is on my Mpesa.
The problem arises here,I don’t know how to tell him that I have to money.So I hand back the documents to him and gestured something that I thought meant “Hebu tembeatemba alafu urudi” using my index finger.He then gestured something that I accurately translated to “Hata nataka kuenda tu sahii,sioni kama nakaa hapa.”At this point,I know it has come to the moment when I have to break a deaf man’s heart.I rub my index finger against my thumb to signal money then I give him that ordinary NO sign using both hands,waving them inter-twinably.He quickly understands what I meant.His face frowns,as though I had crushed his hopes and ambitions to countless pieces.
He is hot,with simmering temper, in fact burning with anger.It is all there in his eyes,I can tell he is switched to his dark side.He ignorantly takes the documents from me then he gestured something vulgor.Who said DEAF men cannot throw an insult.He points both his index finger on his big head,metaphorically he was pointing at his brain.He was blissfully telling me that I was either a fool or a mad man.My only sin being,I had no pocket change.He accompanied it with a click,an annoying one for that matter,in the same style slay queens do when they dump a broke boyfriend.
It was both humorous and equally saddening.You know what that means is that I may be the first man to go down in the books of history as having been insulted by a DEAF man,mark you,he is not only deaf but also a BEGGAR.
I cannot blame the man nevertheless. I understand his maladies.He is a totally able man who has been reduced to disability by a letter from a government official that I can only describe as an incompetent man and undeserving of a position in public service.
The government should come to my rescue and shield me from such intimidation’s in the future.Begging has become a new career in my country.I strongly believe it is the mandate of our state to check on this spiraling habit because it is devoid of human dignity and it erodes our values as a people.It also taints the image of our statesmen as ignorant men and women of power who have no connection whatsoever with people at the grassroots.It also goes without saying that money earned from begging is totally un taxed and unregulated.I can easily reach a conclusion that most men and women who hide behind the mask of begging are well off and have fatter bank accounts than average Kenyans.I don’t deny the fact that some people need help,but there thousands if not millions of men who are disguised behind the curtain of begging yet they are totally able to do work and provide a living for themselves.LET US CULTIVATE A CULTURE OF HARD-WORK AND DILIGENCE NOT MEN WHO RIDE OF THE SWEAT OF OTHERS.