The reason why I don’t want to have a car in Nairobi (besides the ones we all think of: jam, repairs, cops, cleaning…) is that I could miss out on what makes life. You see, Kenya is a walking nation and many real human encounters happen while walking.
After lunch I walked to the nearby mall (beautiful sun today) as just before the entrance a lady walking in front of me collapsed and had a seizure. I stopped to support her face and head. While shaking, she injured her face and tongue on the tarmac and started bleeding.
The medication she needs to control her epilepsy are 450 per week and 1900 a month. With Corona and no work, she doesn’t have that money, she told us after she recovered and sat up against a wall in the dirt. She had visited her sister to get money but in vain. As she walked home she had 3 attacks, me witnessing the third one.
During Corona, do you touch a bleeding stranger? Support her back while she sits? A few others walking nearby stopped and after initial concern helped and one lady offered to accompany her home on the same bus (another 4km walk was ahead of her). The mall security got her water to clean her face. The security chief and I went to the pharmacy and got her meds for some days days and gave her bus fare. (Why do the fancy mall pharmacies not sell generics?)
Can you believe it? She cried from exhaustion. 1900 a month and even worse, the generics are nowhere to be found currently, another lady who stopped and who previously suffered from epilepsy but recovered, explained.
I could have gotten mad at our health system failing us and her.
But I know that we need a civil society stronger than our challenges.
I got the opportunity to have a conversation with 5 previously unaware strangers about this disease and how we can support.
I remembered the saying that God has no hands but our hands.
Don’t walk past someone in need, if you can help.
Do a first aid training. And please learn and educate others about epilepsy. It’s noone’s choice, not contagious and it’s not a curse.