All for Caesar.
I was walking as fast as my legs could. The morning was warm, quite a break from all the cold that has been reigning and starting the show. I’m like 10 minutes late for mass and I know that all too well. I had snoozed my alarm from 6am all the way to 6:30am.
Just as I was about to navigate a corner that takes you straight to the church, I saw him at the corner of my eye but i didn’t give him a second look or thought. So I brushed it off. He looked like he had risen up before the sun decided it would shine, came and sat beside the kiosk, on a stone, watching the world come to life, watching people go about their early morning business, the sun slowly casting shadows on one building after the other. He rubbed his short dreads and spit on the ground like he had a tart taste in his mouth. All I recall seeing is that he had red shoes, that is as much of his look that I recall.
When he first called out to me, I meant to ignore him, but he went on “sasa, unaenda church?” That sparked my interest like yes I’m headed there “eeh ndiyo naenda” I said with a raise of my eyebrows to show that yes, he was right.
“Uniombee” he added and I raised my brows, gave him a thumbs up and a smile “sawa”
I went all the way smiling, as the voices of the choir members rented the air, calling people from far and wide, but also reminding them that they are running late, just like I was.
And it all made me think about “it’s not like people don’t believe in God anymore, they just gave up going to church. That is where they draw the line”
Late that afternoon, as I sat on the plastic chair at the salon, the saloonists there doing what they do best, gossiping, tea after tea after tea, you might mistake it for a Boston tea party, only that there’s no cups and the setting is just off. Cheering from spectators watching a volleyball match just across the road dominated the surrounding, shouting so loud it made me think that they might lose their voices. The salon is not big, it holds a maximum of 3 people, others having to stay out, due to space. When the back door is opened, the smell of urine hits you so hard and that is how you know there’s a toilet just next to it. I love listening to their gossip. It makes time go by faster, and boredom becomes unheard of.
Half way into my braiding, one lady started narrating how this Sunday morning while at church, the pastor had started talking ill of someone who had offered some old note as offering.
Condemning the anonymous person, he went on ahead to rebuke those who would offer coins, instead of notes. She stopped and looked at my image on the mirror, ” customer, unadhani ni poa vile alifanya? Kama mtu hana pesa afanye nini? Kanisa tunaenda kuabudu mungu, kutafuta peace, na saa zingine ata labda hiyo sadaka kidogo ndiyo mtu ako nayo”
Before I answered,I recalled of the time I’ve woken up early as usual, went briskly to church, with no offering in my pocket. Come offering time, I sit on the pew, paving way for others to go give God what belongs to him.
“Apana, mtu hupeleka chenye uko nacho, kama hauna, Mungu anaelewa” *no, you take what you have, God will understand*
See, this is why many people will choose to just stay home and not go to church. If the only place you go to seek solace is the same place you are getting condemned for contributing the little you have, of what use is it? These days it’s all about Caeser, giving him what belongs to him, and oh! Giving him also what portion belongs to God too.