Meet John, a young, hardworking man who works in a driving school in Rongai, both as a receptionist and as the driving instructor. If you have ever been to Rongai, you would notice the numerous numbers of driving schools in the area as such and the beginning of covid, business was down and as such, John had to work both roles.
One fine morning, a student, Leah, comes to the driving school for lessons and they start getting attracted to each other. Every day, Leah would come to the driving school and keep John company, even if she was not having any practical lessons.
“Watu wakipambana na COVID-19, mimi niliamua kutafuta mapenzi,”John would say. (As people were struggling with the adverse effects of COVID-19, I was searching for love).
“Leah was beautiful, two years older than me but hey, love does not know age you know,“ he would add.
Every day, as usual, Leah would pick John up from his folks’ home since he stayed with his parents in Karen and drop him at work and he would be picked up later on in the evening and brought back home. Love is sweet right? Two months into dating,
Leah came to John and said, “Babe, I am super stressed and worried.”
“Why?” John asked.
“Mum is hospitalized, she has weeks to live. If we do not get a kidney donor soon, we might lose her and I do not think I am ready to face that reality, I mean, I am too young you know,” she said. Tears rolled down her eyes.
Being a supportive boyfriend, John went to see her mum in the hospital, met some family members and the doctor, and since he wanted to score some points with Leah, he offered that they test him to see if he could donate. Leah had a medical issue that could not allow her to donate. Deep down, he was sure there was no way his tissue samples would match the mother to the girlfriend because after all, they were not related at all.
Little did he know he had set himself up for what would turn his life 360 degrees around. The next day as he was taking the girlfriend to see the mum, he found the same relatives there in the hospital room, all looking at him like he was their saviour.
“I entered the room and waliniangalia ni kama mimi ni mkombozi wao, kumbe daktari alinipata naweza donate. I was shocked,” He said. (I entered the room and they looked at me like I am their saviour, the doctor said I could donate a kidney, and I was shocked)
Leah and her family told him to take less than a week since the matter was urgent to decide and talk to his folks about signing the consent form.
“Unajua tu Afrikan parents, huweziwaambia ati nilipata dem sasa kuna venye mamake anataka kidney, so naenda kumpea, juu ata one week ni kidogo , you need like 4 months, month one nikutafuta uongo, the other one nikijuprepare, so hao wanataka response in one week,” he said.
(You just know African parents, there is no way you can go to them and say that since you have found a girlfriend and the mother needs a kidney, you are offering them your kidney. There is no way because you need more time like 4 months, One month just to come up with a lie, another month to prepare yourself to tell the lie and there was no way I could do that in less than a week).
So being an adult, he decided to sign the consent form and he disappeared from home. He was asked if he needed to be paid but he thought it would kill his relationship and he wanted to maintain the relationship, so he rejected the money offer.
The surgery went well with no complications and after two weeks, Leah came with her brother to see him and discharge him from hospital and they went to the Hub Karen for a cup of coffee. As the conversations were ongoing, something Leah struck him.
“Kim is back,” Leah said to her brother.
So Kim was Leah’s boyfriend who had gone abroad and was not able to travel back due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and with the easing of travel restrictions he had travelled back. The news broke his heart because why would he donate his kidney, and reject a money offer just for love, and yet he was just a caretaker?
He took a cab back home, back to his parent’s home and as we know, you can not leave an African home for over two weeks and just come back as if nothing has happened. He had to be lectured but if he came clean, he would be into more trouble than he already was.
He tried to get an audience with Leah’s mother and things did not go as planned.
“My son, I do not have money that I can pay you, as you know, I have spent most of the cash I had to pay for your surgery and mine. I can talk to Leah about you two going back to dating but you know that will only be temporary and eventually, you two will break up. I am sorry but there is nothing I can do about that,” she said with a sad face.
Well, that message hit home and threw him into depression and he had suicidal thoughts.
Asked what would he have done differently he said, “heri ningechukua that money. Hii Nairobi hakuna mapenzi.” (It would have been better if I just took the money, Nairobi there is no love).
That is how he donated his kidney to Leah’s mother, thinking he had a future with Leah and that his donating his kidney would have scored him points but that was just in his wildest dream.
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