Village Chronicles: I could've Been President

         (When I say My Village in the mountains this is what I mean)
Somewhere in Mbeya

I was in our little village in mountains on the southern highlands of Tanzania.Walking around I knew each corner of the village so well you would’ve sworn I discovered it in a Christopher Columbus sort of way.
On the morning of our arrival my grandmother did what she always did when we arrived, chicken was roasted goats were killed, ducks were broiled, MEAT FEAST! Every now and then I would walk around the village looking for friends from my childhood who I remembered from my earlier yearly visits, we'd say our hellos and goodbyes and I would be off on my journey discovering yet newer corners and greeting all the elderly neighbors, They’d ask me  to remind them my name  I’d tell them Ekela (My village name) and they’d smile and tell me ‘ but you were so short’ and I’d smile back ‘Growth is only inevitable’, kneeling with every greeting, a sign of respect in our village, my grandmother used to tell me when I was younger in our tribe if you don’t kneel when you greet  your elders you grow horns when you sleep, so now I’m older but believe it or not I cant quit the habit, the story stuck in my subconscious.
They’d ask me questions of the city and I would joyfully reply with a smile of course, not smiling while talking to elders was sign of disrespect, unless of course you’re being scolded, only then you can wear a shame face.
And that was daily village routine, wake and wander, discover. Until  today where i stayed home,Close to the kitchen where my grandmother cooked where we all sat and shared our merry as  grandmother would prepare another meat feast, it was just a day before Christmas and everyone was busy…1PM..until something happened…. The grounds started moving,  shaking vigorously everything seemed to be vibrating. The trees, the house, everything was shaking! I looked around and  there was my grandmother, laying on the floor …she told me to do the same but I couldn’t hear her out, thousand things went through my mind, what is this? Whats going on?
Then it dawned on me…Its DOOMSDAY! My life flashed before my eyes, this is it  I said to myself, This is how I die, I will not grow and become a president, I haven’t shaken Desmond Tutu’s hand or Mandela or the pope, I feel so unachieved …I die a 14 year old…What a uneventful life I have had, I thought to myself, in this manner? I said a little prayer and a little tear went down my cheek I was oblivious to all around me, until my grandmother who had now realized I was saying my last prayer screamed ‘ Its an earthquake!!’
Alas an earthquake! Its not the end! Now this was my first earthquake and surely I had no idea how they were like, I saw the light…all those geography lessons on earthquakes started to kick in and hope returned. This is not the end, we shall meet Mandela, I mumbled …I was beginning to get to safety when I noticed one of the neighbour’s children stuck under a tree, the tree was going to fall anytime soon and she had no way out. This was my moment, my uneventful 14 year old life is about to change I said to myself, my way out, I shall save this child and then I shall become his own personal Jesus, The village shall sing my name, they’ll make paintings and posters, my grandmother shall be praised, they shall name me chief…the elders will love me so much they shall ask me to run for MP…I shall run I shall win! Then  I’ll be a minister, in 10 years I’ll be president! This is how it begins! We shall shake hands with Mandela!  The picture was perfect, that's what we call a plan! I crawled in direction of the tree blind to the falling branches around me, hey, I was a determined 14 year old who wanted to be president, until the bubble burst…My grandmother pulled me back…all the fear and sudden courage  and ambition to become president made me numb to my own pain, my left leg was bruised, how? with what? I had no idea.
I made it clear to my grandmother I was going to save the kid under the tree
‘No’ she said
‘What?’ I thought, ‘What a selfish woman, I am going to save a life and she is holding me back because of a bruise’
‘You cant save anyone when you yourself need help,’
And all the talking and holding me back made the earthquake stop, and another kid went to rescue the kid under the tree…now she’ll be president, and I wont meet mandela ‘dream stealer’ I thought.

Those words ring in my head till date, I hadn’t noticed but I was very badly bruised, and the kid I wanted to save was a long distance away and the more I crawled the more my bruise got worse.

But the greater the pain the greater the lesson, the harder to forget.
Put yourself first. I will never forget that.
That’s the first time I ran into that quote…the second time I was on a small bumpy aircraft where stewardess thought it was funny to talk about air crash investigation mysteries, I filed a complaint about her just incase you were wondering. I don’t care how pretty she was you don’t talk to someone about that on a plane, much less, a very small bumpy cheap one...while we were talking she proceeded to tell me her excellent life saving skills incase ‘anything happened’ which included  the art of wearing an oxygen mask. I could guess she was new on the job since she was all giggly about the very handsome pilot and it being his first flight as well ( I filed a complaint twice by the way, with different names this woman was begging for it!)
And  that was when she said ‘always put your oxygen mask on first, even if you’re sitting next to kid’
What a selfish bitch I thought ‘ What if the kid cant put it on?’
Then you might die trying to help the kid, you’ll have no oxygen, you cant help someone when you yourself need help. You need only 2 minutes of no oxygen for your brain to react realize there is no oxygen 2 more minutes and the brain cells stop working, it will take you 50 seconds to put your oxygen mask on and 40 more to help  the kid, it will take you more than 3 minutes to help the kid alone because you will be panicked.
And it dawned on me.
Its not selfish, Its just only logical.
Be your own first priority.
Because lets face it . If you don’t attend to that yourself to ensure  you’re healthy mentally  physically emotional socially and spiritually, there’s not much you can do for others. So today I’m asking you to save yourself first, see where you need help and be selfish today…You can’t save the world when you’re dying.  Put on the oxygen mask, stop trying to be president.
Stop worrying about the world today and worry about yourself, are you where you want to be? Are you safe? Do you need help? Do you have any wounds? Attend to them first, there’s not much a pot can give when its broken.
The minute you start putting your needs behind, and others first your body will make sure you pay the handsome price.  I don’t care what they say about being a hero, even Superman couldn’t fly wounded. 

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