Odongo: Our Freedom is here

Its 2:48pm and the sun is scotching out its hot rays. The birds are feeding their nestlings; the sound of the dove hovering over a distance could be heard; the great African safari ants are crossing in their packs in front of our toes; I and Odongo are relaxing near the bushy roads with root twigs in our mouths as tooth-picks. Our dark African skins absorbed the heat but could not release even a single drop of sweat from beneath.

We are resting but not sleeping. We are contemplating and not dreaming. Arguments in our small minds about the distance from the village to the city. Odongo thinks so hard and says that the city is probably 18 miles from our position. We both burst into laughter. ‘Wait, why don’t we follow the car track to the city?”, Odongo interrupts my brief smile. At this juncture, I do not know whether to walk away from the childish idea or stay behind and embrace its thought of madness.

From a distance we could hear the sound of a vehicle approaching. We paused, adjusted our ‘shrek-like’ ears to the ground in order to get up close with the sound. Odongo again states that it is a tractor approaching. I disagreed and say that it is a war outbreak and the ‘sura mbaya’, an ugly army vehicle was approaching. We agreed, disagreed, agreed again and disagreed further. ‘Shhh, its getting close, listen”, whispered Odongo. It had been eighteen months since we last saw a vehicle passing by.

Alas! It by-passed us and we quickly jumped on its tracks. We were now chasing the vehicle. As we run, we felt the air of freedom whirling upon our faces. That magical moment felt as though we were being carried to the outer space. We felt the city was drawing closer to us. We were neither scared of the vehicle braking nor inhaling the dust that rose from the ground. Happiness was killing us slowly but surely! ‘Freedom…Yes, Freedom…Hahaha”, sighed Odongo.

After a brief marathon that lasted approximately seven minutes, our lungs could not hold any longer: we were tired. We gave up! The ‘freedom run’ was short lived. We watched our dreams fade as the vehicle sped off and vanished. Holding each other’s shoulders, we turned back and headed home. In our minds, we knew freedom would arrive one day!


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