I could feel the life come out of my body the moment I fell to the bottom of that rocky ditch. It was impossible to move. Now I was nothing but a body. Perhaps even less: a poor hollow body invaded – and devoured – by immense pain. My left foot suffered two grim fractures, to the knee and the ankle.
I had hardly closed down my shop in time to beat the 7 pm curfew when baton-wielding askaris appeared from the south. They were clearly on a mission to smite with godly force, anything that walked. No time for questions; much less from persons at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Like myself.
People ran in every direction to the safety of their homes. The whole situation had been so tense. The cops got to me before I could promptly jolt back into my house. I do not remember ever being beaten quite as bad in my life. The officers kept hammering me and commanding me that I should get up and run! I was sure I was going to die today.
But finally, my wife and concerned neighbours pulled me out and rushed me to the hospital while I drifted in and out of consciousness.
One year down the line, I remain largely impacted by the assault meted out on me. Here I am now, Kobingo – my popular nickname which alludes to a strong and tough man – the once go-to barber, who can now no longer give a clean shave to his customers without taking a breather or two. A sickly old man who barely affords medication for his injured foot, let alone the underlying diabetic condition. The person I was has been consumed and all that is left is a shape that resembles him. I am unable to pride myself on being strong and tough anymore. But still, my customers identify me as their Kobingo. So, Kobingo I must remain.
SURVIVOR: Isaiah Omollo (Kobingo)
WORDS: Kanyi Wyban
PHOTO: Kongo Peter