Today morning during my run, something interesting happened. First of all, I did double the kilometers I do. Now, scrap every thought you have of how fit you think I am, In fact I am an occasional runner and sometimes it depends on my moods, perhaps I should not be proud to say that. One lap of the running track is approximately 3.5km. Yes, your girl did 7 kilometers.
Second of all, I saw a man, an old man, who actually smiled and waved at me. It’s not something new, it is expected in a ‘foreign land’. It’s normally cold stares or very warm smiles, the contrast sigh! This one however, caught my attention, it had weight it had meaning, it was curious and genuine. Nonetheless, I was too focused to stop. I didn’t have time for chit-chats, I had a goal to meet, double my usual kilometers, yeah, I ran on. I hope there will be no running in heaven. New bodies you know.
After a run, I do a small ‘gym’. Bucharest is a benevolent city that cares much about its residents. They have outdoor gyms in most of the parks. Usually, I go there to finish off my run in style because why not?
As I am approaching the outdoor gym I notice the old man I saw while on the track. I observe him as I approach, working out, pushing hard. For his age, he is more than fit. Here I am panting while he is busy doing press-ups flawlessly. Talk of being challenged!
As fate would have it, he comes up to me and asks where I am from, from Kenya I say….There is a sudden light up on his face. I thought he was happy until at this moment he was Happy Happy. It is hard to entertain strangers especially if you have walked through the streets of Nairobi. There was however a sense of calmness and peace with this particular man. We were in the open Afterall and my instincts were fine with his presence.
He tells me how he was in Kenya 40 years ago. “For Safari and the beach?”, I ask. He says no.
He was tired of the Normal routine. He wanted more. He knew there was more to life. He wasn’t willing to settle, he was seeking for more. Therefore he went in search for it.
My impatient side goes like, and did you find that something? He asks if I have time. Well, I suddenly have lots of time. It’s a Saturday, I have met my running goal and here is a very intriguing old man, yes I have time.
He travels with me from Egypt to Juba then to Kenya, through Lodwar then to Nairobi, Stanley and to Lamu. He tells me of all the beautiful places he saw and how he was conspicuous with his white color in Africa, the same way I am here. Oh! did I mention that he spoke very good Swahili, he not only knew Jambo! but also, ‘Nataka Kuenda kwangu kukula chakula’. I was impressed.
I admired his adventurous spirit, his desire for depth and more. His daring nature. His courage even to talk to me, a stranger.
He was an atheist and a hippy. He liked to smoke and do drugs because as I told you earlier he was looking for meaning in life in everything and all things. He was young, energetic and lost.
He was born in France, Paris. Can you imagine leaving Paris? I want to go there, someone take me please.
He didn’t care about anything, he was on a quest, left everything behind and went solo, searching. Looking for more. Of course he didn’t have his parents approval. I don’t blame them. It is a wild decision. What if you don’t find what you are looking for? Will it still be worth it?
I salute him for his adventure, he has seen it all, he has been to every continent, well not every country, but most countries. His most memorable being when he crossed Aswan dam in a boat, 3 day long journey he tells me. He saw the most amazing shotting stars in his life.
Back to Kenya……One day he felt totally confused and hopeless. There was no solace. Having no one to run to, he ran to the forest. Deforestation hadn’t taken center place like now. He was hurting, desperate, hadn’t found what he was looking for, well, he didn’t exactly know what he was looking for but maybe if he found it, he would know.
He told me people go searching for wealth, for education, for a feeling, for security. I don’t know what you would be searching for.
People are only looking for love, he finally said. Here goes a love story, I think to myself. I don’t want to hear a love story. I am single. I don’t want a story that will leave me asking where is my love and why the heaven has he not found me and named me yet. Did you know that Adam named Eve?
But, authentic stories have a place in my heart, I want to be a part of such stories.
In the forest, he cried, wailed actually and screamed his lungs out to the trees and animals. He couldn’t take it anymore. On the edge, desperate, broken, not finding answers, he said, If God you exist, show yourself and help me. Then he continued crying till he slept. Reminds me of Elijah’s story, do you know Elijah’s story, a mighty man who become scared because Jezebel was after him.
You know what, women, we are powerful humans. Cheers to us!!!
Poor man. He ran for his life even after making a mockery of the prophets of Baal. He was there scared and running away. Can somebody please whip Elijah back to reality. He runs and goes to hide. God is good, he feeds him and allows him to keep sleeping. If you looking for someone to pamper you, I bet God is your best deal.
Two days after his meltdown, he meets two men, a fellow white man and an African who had an open back truck. They offer him a ride to where they were headed to but he needs to ride at the back. It is either that or the forest. He hops onto the back of the track and off they go to where these men are headed to.
To be continued……..