Tear Gas Festival

It’s been a bad day, literally. I queued in a government office for 2 hours, then the officer tells me, “kuna document haujaleta” (there is a document you haven’t brought)! 2 hours for that?? They didn’t even state that in the list of requirements, I was totally mad! Now I have to wake up early to be among the first tomorrow, sigh.

Now that is not even it, now to the real deal, I walk into a stall and hear a tear gas canister blowing up right outside the building and I said to myself, thank God I wasn’t out in the streets as that was happening, only to realize that the city council askaris (kanjo) had no prior experience in kati or even rounders! What type of childhood did they have? Smh. the tear gas canister missed its target (the hawkers) and went into a stall!! 

The real horror began, the tears, mucus, tightened chest, burning face, it was hell. I am pretty sure the description of hell matches what I was going through at that moment. God I never want to end up in hell, I am going to live for heaven everyday of my life! No amount of water can help you at that time by the way, only a swimming pool can quench that burning sensation!

After that ordeal I even forgot what I was going to do next and I went home, itching for a sip of juice from the person who sat in front of me in the bus, too bad he was a complete stranger, so I watched helplessly as my throat burned. I eventually got home and washed my face then proceeded to research about tear gas. (I am weird like that)

I have to be honest, ignorance is not bliss, do you know that I actually thought my contact lenses had some sort of superpower? They protect me from the onion sting but this time round they absorbed the teargas like a boss and locked the gas in there, the pain. In my research I read about saline solutions and decided to wash my eyes using the liquid used to store contacts, it helped alot!

I have realized that tear gases have basically been used by the armies since world war one, as a retaliatory technique or to confuse the enemy and conquer them. It was actually banned in 1993 at the Chemical Weapons Convention because it can cause death but the treaty doesn’t apply to the domestic laws of nations, so we are at the mercy of the police and kanjo.  

It got me thinking of the topic we are covering this month in our bible study group about Conflict and Resolution. These gases were employed because people could not use diplomatic ways to solve problems, so they resorted to war. Some of us are like that as human beings, we love to revenge and to make the person who hurt you to suffer. We do not know how to forgive so we want to make sure that “it’s going to go down”. 

We forget that we too are humans and we could easily hurt another person whether directly or indirectly, and that they too can plot for revenge, don’t you think it is possible? They say an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind, and as that kid who calls the mother Linda says ” and then what?” (by the way that video is hilarious but not in Africa because if it was me calling my mother Susan, I’d be given a whooping!)

Today, I want to challenge you to put your tear gas away, in fact get rid of it, face your misunderstandings like a man, and no I don’t mean fight because that is what boys do not men, talk it out with the person you are in conflict with, understand each others point of view, call a mediator if possible, forgive and let that burden out of your heart and mind, you don’t need that weight on you anyway.

And I know that you might feel like you don’t want them to be a part of your life anymore, fine, forgive them then release them to go their separate way, atleast they won’t reside in your head anymore. Don’t be tempted to throw a canister at them, they might just pick it and throw it back at you, which by the way Uon ninjas do! How do you pick up a canister thrown at you then throw it back to the police? lol

Always remember, don’t burn your bridges, you might need them to cross later on in life.


I thank God I survived the tear gas festival!



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