“Hello , is this Christine? Christine you need to come over quickly, your daughter is VERY sick…”
I still remember those words. What every mum dreads to hear. It was my neighbor and workmate on the line.
I froze. No I didn’t actually. There was not time to act all numb and shocked. I ran. Out of the office door and past the administration block oblivious of any puzzled stares that may have been directed at me by the crowd leaving their offices for lunch…
How time flies!
Last Sunday my last born, Kajune turned 5. You have no idea how proud and blessed that makes me feel. Seems like just the other day, when on June 12th 2006 at some minutes past 3 in the morning, I held a little bundle of joy in my arms for the first time. Our baby who owns the title ‘baby of the house’ has transformed right before our eyes from a fussy baby to a wonderful little girl.
Standing at the foot of the water slides at Village Market last Sunday, I could not believe it.
Today, Kajune and her one year elder sister were going up the water slides for the first time. As they joined their cousins, I expected Kajune to change her mind and come running back to me. But no. Kajune is the decisive type. When she decides to do something, she goes ahead and does it, come rain come thunder.
Her father thinks she will make a good CEO one day.
So she took to the stairs. Higher and higher she climbed following her cousins and elder sister. Then she came sliding down shrieking happily and splashing water on my sister and I who stood albeit nervously at the foot of the water slides. Then she excitedly proceeded for yet another slide…..and so many others after that.
I was so moved. That’s my baby. That’s my baby who three years ago, was saved by my neighbor’s wife.
It was a Tuesday morning. I had left baby fine. She was her usual self. The previous night she had had a fever but I had given her something for the fever and thought that was all. Having recently moved to Limuru, I had taken to overdressing the children, in a bid to keep them away from pneumonia (ever since I have learnt to do it in moderation).
As usual I left the kids with a relative we were staying with and went to work. It was a minute before lunch hour that the call came. My neighbor sounded very alarmed. I got to the company clinic where I found him and an ambulance waiting for me with a driver already inside. He instructed me to go with the ambulance up to his house and I’d find my daughter with his wife. We had hardly got to my house when my neighbor’s wife met us running with my daughter in her arms. The ambulance driver stopped the car and I got out and ran towards her.
I was terrified. She was too. I wanted to scream.
“She was unconscious….when she was brought to me. I rubbed her back and she vomited….” , explained my neighbor as she handed my daughter to me. I looked at my baby. She was awake, but there was a blank look in her eyes.
“Asante..”, was all I could manage.
I jumped into the ambulance with the baby and the driver made a U-turn.
I will never forget how the ambulance driver drove using one hand and while placing another on my daughter’s forehead he said a prayer for her. He told me she was gonna be fine.
It was at the hospital that I learnt exactly what had happened. My daughter had had a bacterial infection that caused her fever to go up. Add onto that, that she was overdressed and so the fever shot up and she convulsed..When this happened, my relative under whose care I had left the kids, panicked and rushed to my neighbor, a stay-at home-mum. It was Mama Andy who did some first aid that helped kajune come to… before contacting her husband as she didn’t have my number.
As we celebrated Kajune’s Birthday last Sunday, I could not help but remember the faith and hopefulness of the ambulance driver and the kindness and courage (she could have freaked out and screamt instead of DOING something) of Mama Andy.
A few months after that incident, in the thick of the post election violence, Mama Andy once sought refuge in my house one afternoon. Being from the “enemy” tribe she was afraid for her life. That evening her husband sneaked her and their children away and they moved to Nairobi. We have lost touch since but I will always remember and pray for Mama Andy, the neighbor who saved my daughter’s life.