Letter #1: Wakenya

Letter #1 - Wakenya

Letter #1: Wakenya

600 600 Oliver Kagwe

Dear Oliver,

I have received your letter in which you have expressed your frustration with me. You have rightly put it that I have not been writing back to you – a cause of severe frustration for you. I wish to salvage my reputation with you by stating that my silence has not been deliberate, but rather, a consequence of heavy thoughts that have been occupying my mind. This correspondence is written in fog, for I am still working out some sort of plan.

I am excited, though, to inform you of a new undertaking I have put upon myself. I conceive it to be the purpose of my life. The direction I follow. This is my contribution to the world. If it so happens that there is nothing else I shall be attached with, let this one be synonymous with my name.

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Had I the capacity to take away suffering from the world, I would. I would have it that everyone has food to eat, water to drink, a hospital that serves them well, a school to go to and a job that remunerates their efforts. My concern for the poor and the marginalised only grows as hours pass. My heart sinks in on itself when I see the mitigable suffering that undeserving human beings face. I am troubled by the human beings who demonstrate utter disregard for human life. I am defeated by our gullibility to tolerate intolerable injustices.

I realise that I may not be able to block the energies I get from the people I walk amongst. I cannot, for instance, ignore the emotions that embed themselves in the stare of a women shining people’s shoes on the streets. I cannot run away from the cry that disguises itself as sales words from the kid who tries to sell me sweets on a busy avenue. I may not be able to support everyone who’s leaning in frailty.

However, I perceive their sustained afflictions to a lack of knowledge, both by them and by we, the people around them. Hardly would a street child approach you and convey their feelings, thoughts and perspectives to you. Hardly would a poor man in the village open up to outsiders about the events of their lives. On the other hand, we appear to be so caught up in our activities that we forget to look to our side and notice the person next to us. We pass them by, every day, only noticing the superficial things and missing the details that define them. Take for instance, how many times have you sat with a random woman on the streets who is breastfeeding her child  and asked her about her life?

Problems are with people, and so are solutions. Moreover, a society is only as strong as its weakest people. I have now made it my life’s mission to mingle with the ‘weak’ so that I (and the world) can comprehend their lives. They, just like you and me, are human beings. They feel and they think. They have experiences and stories and an unexplored wisdom. They only lack a platform. I believe that in telling their stories, I shall have opened them up to the world in a new light. And because every person perceives a problem and its solutions differently, I shall have contributed valuable data to the world. This data can be used to make improvements to their lives, and our lives as a result.

I have established a Youtube Channel that identifies as Wakenya. Wakenya is a collection of stories told by Kenyans (Wakenya) who we have never quite paid attention to. I kindly ask you to squeeze some time to indulge in it. I hope the stories intrigue you, and moreso, I hope they challenge you to do better, both for yourself and for the people around you. In the long term, Wakenya shall be a movement. A movement of who notice each other and take interest in each other. A movement of people who support each other. A movement of people who fight injustices beside each other. Ambitious as it may sound, it shall be a movement of people who collect stories of other people all over Kenya. Wakenya shall be once massive online archive of stories by Kenyans.



Sincerely yours,