To be Poor

beggar-sitting-by-the-roadsideI look all around the TV stations, switching between them, looking for something concrete to feed my mind. I have started to dismiss all the other types of so called news headlines because all there is purely a game of checkers, like amateurs. All I can see are people throwing stinky oranges and rotten bananas to each other. Therefore, when I began to listen to more sensible stuff, like podcasts, I became intrigued by them, I felt so new in them. Such that everything else is just a whole load of crap. But people want this crap. People crave this type of crap. Because this type of crap is sweet. I mean, how can you convince someone to listen to a TED talk when they have such sumptuous gossip stories to follow. When all they can talk about is: “Ulisikia venye Baba1 anadai? Ati huyo msee anataka kukuwa prezo bado”

Yet, they forget that they have their own lives to live. They forget that in the end, all they will do is fight not for their freedom, but for the selfish causes of other pigs. Yet, they will go back to their homes, with no food to hand over to their wives, and that day they will sleep hungry.

I realise that this weekend I won’t be having a pizza with a friend because I have no extra cash. And when a beggar stretches his hand out for me, all I can do is to touch my empty pockets as a gesture that I have no coin to spare. Yet, I don’t consider myself poor. What is to be poor? I am not poor because I have no money. I am not poor because I don’t have enough airtime to call my chiq. I am not poor because I have to kopa2 some cash from a pal in order to run my errands.

Poverty is a totally distant place from me. But why?

People say they are poor when they have nothing to eat. But I say that people are not poor because of lack of something. I say that people are not poor because of their current state of living. No, this is just not it. And it isn’t right to relegate somebody to the state of being poor just because of not having something to eat, or feed his children. Poverty is something else. Poverty is the inability, the disability to get yourself out of that state. Poverty is not having any idea of how things can be and how things should be. Poverty is not being able to know how. Poverty is not finding the beauty and grace in what you can do. Poverty is not knowing that it can be better and not giving yourself up to where life has put you. That is to be poor. That is when one is in poverty.


1 Baba- a nickname for the famous Kenyan politician Raila

2Kopa- The Swahili translation of ‘borrow’

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