“Have you had breakfast? I can see you didn’t wake up too long ago” He said, as I smiled in embarrassment. The year was 2011 or thereabouts. It was around 8.00 am and I had just woken up, Guka on the other hand, had his green gumboots covered in morning dew. Meaning not only had he woken up, but that he had already walked around the farm and probably tended to the cows and sheep. “Go and get ready, today I am taking you somewhere.” He said with a smile on his face. I did not question where we were going. Based on experience, I knew any trip with Guka was always to a nice place. Roughly thirty minutes later, we left home, walked to the bus stop and boarded a matatu. Guka was a man of simple means. At this point I still had no idea where we were going, but I had so much trust in Guka I didn’t question.
We alighted at Kangemi and started walking into Loresho. He made fun of me for walking slowly yet I was the younger one, and we laughed. He explained to me how only the white men and very few elite Africans lived in this estate back in the day. He remembered so much from his youth, “Have you ever gone to ‘kwa maitho’ (the eye hospital) on this side”’ he asked. I told him I had heard about the hospital but I had never been there. “I keep telling you I know good things. “ He said as we walked into Lions Eye Hospital. “This is where I have been coming for my eye check-ups since I stopped going to Kikuyu. I want you to get checked. Your left eye has been very red lately.” I had no words for this man with a heart of gold. Mark you I had not told him that I was in pain, but being Guka, he had noticed a problem and he followed up until it was fixed.
As we waited through the queues, Guka insisted on holding my hand from time to time. I felt like such a lucky little girl. We were given some forms to fill out our details, one of which required us to fill in our ID numbers. I helped him fill his. When he gave me his ID, the shock on my face! His age! This eighty four year old man had woken up before me, prepared and brought me to hospital out of his own volition. I was so touched. I remember telling him I would never forget that day. He later on bought me some chai and mandazi on our way back to Limuru. I went home and he proceeded for a meeting at one of his many project committees. I felt so happy knowing someone here was looking out for me even when I did not know it.
This is just but one of the many amazing little things Guka did for me. I remember how my report card was not complete before I showed it to him. The way he would say a hearty congratulations and give me a warm hug whenever I showed him my results. I remember how whenever I bumped into Guka in Limuru town back in my lower primary school days he would buy some meat and ask me to take it home. Nobody else called me Karimus (his version of the short form of Wairimu). The day I fell and got this big scar on my leg and scream for help, Guka was the first person to respond to my yelling and screaming. He helped me get up and held my hand as I limped back home. We laughed about the whole scenario for years! How can I forget your beautiful handwriting on cialis generique my KCPE success card? I remember telling you that you had the best calligraphy I had ever seen!
Guka held my hand when times were tough, when mum passed away and furthering my education appeared shaky, he reassured me that everything would work out and I would go to university and become a “Wakiri” (lawyer). Oh how he cheered me throughout Campus and Law school. He made it his duty to give me pocket money every week without fail because he did not want to hear that I was “crying in Nairobi”. When I told him that there was no money for me to throw a graduation party hence I wasn’t going to have one, he fully funded my party. Oh what a man!
Guka, I hope the angels in heaven will read this to you.
I remember how happy you were when I got admitted to the bar. How you and Cucu came to Nairobi early that morning for my big day. I remember holding your hand as we walked through town to go and have some lunch. I remember you saying that the good work that everyone had done had borne fruits. My best cheerleader you were, Guka.
You listened to my “Nairobi Stories” with such enthusiasm that every time I came home, I made sure I had a story for you. Coming home to find you at the chimney by the fireplace was one of my favourite things. You gave the best hugs and would always make sure I had something to bite, even if it meant sharing what was on your plate. I will always treasure the evenings when we would chat as you updated me on what had happened in my absence.
Your meticulousness in everything was unmatched Guka. Yesterday morning as I helped Cucu get dressed, she told me how helped her hang her coats because she was too short to do it and you did not like clutter. She said you helped her apply oil and ointment on her back when she could no longer reach it. I have seen you carry her handbag countless times. I have watched you hold her hand. You looked at her so lovingly, even after 65+ years of marriage. Guka you were the best husband and gentleman!
Thanks to you I know to avoid getting double lines when ironing trousers and shirts. You were so neat that even your handkerchiefs had to be clean and properly ironed.
I cannot fail to mention your reverence and unfettered love for God. Never did you fail to remind me the importance of having faith in God, prayer and leading an exemplary life. You prayed for me and many others and always worked to make sure we all grew up knowing the Lord. Since our Sunday school days till now.
The last time I saw you in hospital, I remember praying and asking God to heal you and get you out of pain. You did not deserve the pain. God healed you and took away your pain the best way He knew how, by taking you into His heavenly glory.
I know I will miss you for a very long time Guka, but I am grateful and blessed to have known you for the years I did. I pray that God helps me to be the woman you hoped and prayed I would be. The values you have instilled in me, I will carry them forever. I am comforted by the fact that your reward in heaven is great. We shall meet again in the heavenly glory Guka.
For now, rest well Guka. You were the hero who wore no cape,
Koma thayu Guka. Forever in love, and in my heart.