Dodu Nims

The world as seen by Nimo!

Valentines in the bush

While I am a diehard romantic, very grateful for the corny day where people get to give flowers and chocolates for no reason other than love. This year I got myself stuck in a bush with a bunch of people I didn’t know very well. Don’t get me wrong I am a sucker for adventures and would with no doubt, team up with a bunch of strangers {my pocket knife at hand} and definitely go to explore new cultures and wildlife. While driving through a dried-up mangrove vegetation, trying to look for fish to sample. Did I forget to mention that these bunch of people were scientists, yes, they were.

We got stuck in the vegetation and just to add on the salt to the fresh wound, we got a puncture we

couldn’t repair. Why you may ask. Was because we did not have the right spanner, well, poor planning you might say but for me I just wanted to see what might happen next.

So, we got out huts out, thank goodness there was plenty of shade, got our snacks out and started loading up for the unexpected outcome. Suddenly, all the people who had directed us to the ditch had disappeared. It was just us, the distant noises of wildlife and our messed-up land cruiser {had to sneak that in}. As the hours passed the stories started getting less and less, the laughers were spacing out and no motorbikes or strolling pedestrians were passing by.

Finally, some of the strongly heroic men decided to walk for over 5km in the scorching 34 degrees Celsius to go look for help. We ate bread, lamented about our catastrophe for about three hours before two women and a man finally appeared. They looked worn out, carrying enormous size fish and sold some to us.

What disheartened me about them is that they were mother, daughter and the husband to the daughter. She was barely sixteen, very beautiful and she looked like she could excel in algebra class if she had a chance to. She’d be the next Amina Muhammed, but sadly, she was married to the fisherman. I couldn’t fathom that child brides still existed in the country, according to UNICEF, 23% of girls in Kenya are married off before they turn 18. We tried to ask this little girl how old she is, but all she did was look away. I could see anger in her eyes or maybe some kind of mind your own business kind of vibe. I wished there was something I could do but honestly, she didn’t look like she wanted any intrusion in her life. Maybe it was because she had come to terms with her lifestyle or maybe she loved her life. We’d never really get to know, and as she walked away with her husband and mother, I said a little prayer for her, that she will be happier.

As the sun started to set, and our superheroes had not yet returned from their hunt for help, we started a fire as we smoked the fish, sharing thoughts of how we would sleep in the forest if no one came to our rescue and how the fire would have to stay lit, the whole night and how we’d have to cram up in the vehicle. Then finally our “flash” came back in a motorbike with different types of spanners and a hammer, just in case. And in a few it was time to go back to civilization.

I asked to ride with the motorbike guy, his name was Abdul. I just wanted to know his point of view and his culture, when I asked about school, he defensively said that school doesn’t matter. He told me he was twenty-two, married a twenty-year-old wife, they had been married for a year and already had a baby girl. He asked me to be his wife so I could give him a boy, I wondered if boys still meant that much to the African culture, and if giving birth to a girl still meant nothing. Well as we biked off in the dusk, now barely hearing the sounds of hyenas, I was grateful for one thing, that maybe one day things would be different, but in the meantime, I just needed food.

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