I was seated at the back of a matatu on my way from work one evening right next to two women having a conversation that I could not help but eavesdrop. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of people who peep into people’s phones as they type or scroll away. In my defense, I did not have earphones that day.
These women were catching up from what I could gather. One was telling cute stories about her babies and how much they had grown, while the other keenly listened. At one point one lady asked the other how her husband was doing and this is when the story took a turn.
She is an army wife. The wife to a man who defends his country while every fibre of his being longs to be home with his wife and children. She talked about how this long distance marriage was taking a toll on her, she only got to see her husband once or twice a year. It was disheartening to see that their babies could not even identify their father whenever he would come home. So bad that they ask their mother if the strange guy in the house is their uncle. Listening was heart breaking. Her stories still resound in my head almost one year after that encounter.
The Americans celebrate their armed forces and we see that so vividly on social media, but as Kenyans we often forget or take for granted what our soldiers do to keep us safe. Their sacrifices make up wake up with ease and go about our daily duties in a normal society, their sacrifices enable us to drive around the country with assurance of safety, their sacrifices enable us to live without the constant fear of a bomb, missile or even a grenade descending upon us every single minute of our lives, and their sacrifices enable put away the thoughts of ever being refugees in a foreign country.
The biggest losers of this patriotic sacrifice are their families, the wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, children, siblings and friends who constantly live in the fear of waking up to bad news everyday concerning those whom they love. These people live and eat from the sacrifices of their loved ones.
Today I reflect on the sacrifices these gallant men and women have made for us to live in peace, and we have lost quite the number as we speak. Someone somewhere is questioning their decision to join the army or the police force for that matter, questioning why they have to pay the price with their lives for this country we all so love, questioning why we live in such an evil world, but still wake up in the midst of all that heaviness and put on their boots to serve this country.
I celebrate these brave souls that have chosen to walk this path. May God be your ever present help, for the bereaved may you find solace and comfort in God, He still reigns in the midst of confusion and anger. I choose to pray for you as you protect us, I cannot hold a gun to fight for you, but I can fight for you on my knees in prayer.
A Patriotic Kenyan.