CAN HE WHO THAT EATS WITH YOU OFTEN STAND WITH YOU UNTO DEATH?

Allow me to deviate from Immigration related issues for today…. I promise to be back soon… I would like to share with you some wisdom from my people… I mean the African people.

The Swahili people of Eastern Africa have this saying…mla nawe hafi nawe ila mzaliwa nawe… loosely translated to mean that he who that you mostly keep company of and spend your resources on can not stand or be with you when in trouble or faced with even life threatening situations. Anyway this is subject to interpretation but that is how I will treat it in this piece.

My dad too has told me this on several occasions to nurture in me the discipline to take care of my brothers and sisters as per my abilities and it is this story that I will share with you in this short article…. Once upon a time in some village in Tharaka there lived a man. This man had many friends and relatives as well. However, he spent most of his time entertaining his friends than his relatives. This went on for many years and one day something came up in his mind and he decided to indeed test the value of his friends as well as his relatives.

On this material day he sent a messenger to one of his ‘best’ friend and the man that he would spend most of his time with sipping gourds of traditional brew as well as all manner of food…boiled, roast, fried meat and so forth. And he told the messenger to go and tell his friend that a terrible misfortune had befallen him and that he should hasten to his compound. Without wasting time the message was relayed to his friend and he came. He found his host looking crestfallen and sad. What is the matter my friend? Amidst a lot of difficulties the man replied, yester night, a man came over here and we had a disagreement and started fighting. Out of rage and annoyance, I killed the man….and that man is lying in my compound and pointed his friend to a bloody scene next to his house. The man looked at it from afar and saw that which looked like a corpse but covered with a blanket. He stood there for awhile as if in a trance…then said to him in my mother tongue… “wee, bai ntiumba mantu mamu…nigu i kurea turarijaga bai cheria antu beenu bagutethie”loosely translated.. I am sorry my friend, I was only eating with you but on this one please look for your own folks to sort you out…and hastened out of the compound to avoid being seen to have been there.

Left all alone to sort his mess, the man sent the same messenger to his brother who lived not so far away with the same message. When the messenger arrived and broke the sad news to his brother, he was extremely disturbed and without wasting any time rushed to his brother. Upon arrival, he asked his brother what the matter was and like in the previous situation he responded to him that indeed a man came here yester night and we quarreled and fought. Out of annoyance and rage I killed the man. The brother asked so see where the body of the dead man lay and was pointed to the bloody scene. Without wasting time he asked if he could uncover the body so as to see how to carry It and dispose in the forest upon which the brother replied please go see it and see how you will help.

Albeit with a lot heaviness of heart and steps, the brother walked slowly…got close, hesitated then gathered enough courage to lift the cover a little bit and as hurriedly as he did that he quickly dropped it and jumped towards his brother with shock all over his face… “whaaat is the meaning of this bro? At this point the sadness on his brothers face was gone and he seemed just fine and told the brother, please let us go have some chairs and sit. He then explained to him why he did all that and was very remorseful that all this time he has been wasting with friends who could stand with him in moments of trial and temptations at the expense of his own folks.

It then emerged that apparently nobody had died. The man had just created the scene to appear bloody by killing a nice fatty lamb and sprinkled its blood at the scene. Once he had explained to his brother this, they both uncovered the lamb, skinned it and started roasting the juiciest part together enjoying the tender meat as brothers should always do and packed half of it for the brother to take home and enjoy with his family and from that day onwards they remained very close and cared for each other.

Moral of the story: always remember, it is less likely that he who that eats with you will stand for and with you unto death…now you know.

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