Mauritius getaway, #Africa!

Mauritius getaway, #Africa!

Ok, I should have introduced this post. The writing’s from Dr. Awori a Kenyan Cardiothoracic surgeon based here in the US whom in my opinion’s (and that of many of his friends) a great writer. We’ve all been pushing him to write a book, probably short story format. What I have posted here are some of his random facebook posts. I did this for a different friend of mine who’s in publishing to see whether they would be interested in publishing him….

Short Story 1:

“She was 79 so I said ‘no’ without hesitation. She had never travelled to Africa and to select a trip to rural Kenya in the aftermath of post electoral violence was certainly not a risk I was willing to take for her or our fledgling group. No matter how genuine her intentions. What if she got sick in Kenya…..or worse? Not a chance.

It was about a week later, however, that I received her letter. It read like an excerpt from “The meaning of Life”. A profound essay on the interdependence of humanity…the rarity of actualization of true self and the discovery of authentic self identity against all odds, barriers, distraction – without prejudice. She voiced her desire to participate in an act of service, no matter how trivial or menial in this articulate gentle, earnest plea without a trace of manipulation. She talked of ‘special gifts’ given to ‘us all’ that ought to be ‘paid back.’ I immediately recognized the Judeo-Christian slant but it was only until halfway through that I realized what I was reading was a bucket list. HER bucket list and agenda item #6 was to travel to provide community service in a less privileged setting, remarkably deeming the recipients of the providence as the more deserving. I acquiesced and took her on that trip – still with profound fear. No longer, however, that something might happen to this precious matriarch but no – instead that I might not provide the experience that would live up to her expectations.

Two years later, I hear she has died in her sleep and in a letter penned the same week she described a peace found from specific moments in her life. She named three. Item #2 was one trip to Eldoret, Kenya two years previously. The family ‘felt I should know.’

I felt simultaneously sad, relieved, ecstatic and embarrassed.”

Short Story 2: 

“Tried hard not to eavesdrop but could not ignore the conversation. Quickening pulse. Temples blazing fire. The expressed sentiments, too casual. Nonchalant, I thought. They were talking about -hunting. Then it came…hope of traveling to “Africa” to hunt ‘big game.’ What? All ears now. I waited but no reference to culling. Just a brazen intent to utilize a fully automatic weapon from within the confines and refuge of a military- grade vehicle to shoot to kill an endangered pride. Beyond incensed. I noted the gleeful recognition of my ancestry as they now turned their attention to me. Unhesitatingly, I answered long before the question was completely verbalized. ….”No. In Kenya, shooting a lion is viewed with the same enthusiasm as walking into Nordstrom and opening fire with an AK-47 on a teacup poodle sitting strapped in a Prada bag.”

Silence.

I think they understood what I was trying to say.”

Short Story 3: 

“Last night, I dissected out the lungs of a dead man. I placed them in a new “box”, hooked them up and gently raised them to body temperature. No ice storage. I then ventilated and perfused them in that box just like they were in a human body. I put them in an ambulance and drove to a different hospital to implant them in a live patient who was waiting, asleep. Sometimes I catch myself smiling because if my poor grandmother, in the heart of rural Kenya, only knew what I did for a living she would absolutely believe her grandson practiced witchcraft.”

Short Story 4:

“Single bullet. Entry point – the vertex – on top of the skull, putting him in a sitting, perhaps kneeling position at the time of death. An execution. No question.  I found myself deliberately blocking out the details.  Too emotive.  Distracting. Sprinkling bias to fuel a kiln of prejudice. Focus.  I was here for his lungs – to propagate life elsewhere.  Ceremoniously, she calls out his name and address, identifying  “the body,” and my mind drifted again.  I knew his county. Out of 3000 counties in the US, it stood out. Flashed back to graduate school.  Thesis on residential segregation. Prostitution, homicide, weapons, narcotics, life below poverty level, escalating rates of high school atrophy. Either running for your life or running from the law. No grocery stores. No zumba joggers with I-pods. No mocha- or lattes. No farmer’s markets. Just liquor stores, cigarillos, fast food and lots of baggage. Medicine dismisses another ”fallen urban warrior” but he is so much more.
 A zip code may kill faster than cancer.”
Awori Hayanga Copyright  2013

 

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