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I did it for a friend

We had planned for a great family Christmas lunch. To make things easier for everybody, each member of the family was to prepare a special dish for the party. I volunteered to make beef in pinneaple cubes, which is actually my speciality. On Christmas Eve, I carried my KSh5000 and headed to the market to buy the beef and pinneaples. That should be enough for everybody and some extras.
As I approached the market, I met a good friend of mine, Celestine, from Kibera slums.  She looked quite sad, which was surprising as she is usually very jolly.
“What’s wrong?” I queried after we had hugged.
“It’s my younger sister. She had a baby three days ago and she has no money for food. She cannot afford the hospital bill. She has no money for nappies or the baby’s clothes. I need KSh5000 urgently. I don’t want my sister to starve!” She pleaded with me.
My heart sunk! Between a baby that could not be suckled, a starving new born mother and a beef and pinneaple cubes for Christmas lunch… what a situation? “I don’t have any money. Have you tried other friends or relatives?” I inquired. “Yes,” she said. “I have called everyone I know but no one has any money!” My heart sunk even deeper. What would I tell my family. If I gave her the money I would ruin the party.
“Someone has my money but he is in meeting. If you can get me the money, I will MPesa it back to you tomorrow or later tonight. Please just help me get my sister out of hospital. She needs food!”
“I don’t have any money. I told her. I will try and talk to the family and see what I can do. But please return it tomorrow.”
I went back home without shopping but I did not consult the family. As I sat and thought about it, I could not continue hanging the Christmas decorations.
I felt both sad and guilty. I went to the Supermarket across the road and Mpesa-ed her the money. I hoped against hope that she would send the money by Christmas morning. I would be late for the function but I would not have let everyone down.
It was a long wait with excited children calling to find out how the beef and pinneaple cubes were doing. “I am almost through. I am almost on my way.” I said confidently, but I was worried.

At about midday I called Celestine but her phone was off. “Sorry, the mobile subscriber cannot be reached.”  Itried the phone for two hours without progress, dressed and sadly headed to the party. As the children jumped up and down in excitement nd hugged me, I looked at them sadly. I tried to gather courage to tell them about Celestine’s sister but I did not want to disappoint them. “Where is the beef and pinneaple cubes?” They asked.

“They got stolen on the way. A mad man just grabbed it from the matatu as I alighted and when I screamed he threatened me with a knife,” I lied. The rest of the family looked at me in disbelief but said nothing.  But my talkative aunt, Julia told me she did not like careless people, spoiling such an important occasion as Christmas. “I don’t even believe your story,” she said.

I have not yet told the family what happened and no one trusts me anymore. I finally got Celestine on phone last week and I immediately raised my concern that she had not returned my money yet I had helped her in her hour of need. “I don’t have any money,” she told me rudely. “When I get it I shall give you. Right now I am still campaigning to be a women’s leader and I am quite busy.”She said and abruptly hung up the phone.

I am upset by Celestine’s casual attitude. But I do hope mother and baby are fine.


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