Once upon a time, long before ‘Operation Linda Nchi’, I worked in the Dadaab refugee camp. During this time, the camp was home to about 60,000 refugees; there were three camps each, so far apart so that if any of the refugees decided to walk from camp one to the other, my guess is that it would take a whole day – it is a guess. As you can imagine, there were many humanitarian agencies in Dadaab. Each agency had its compound; everything was scheduled – meal times, departure times, etc. and dining and entertainment were shared. OK, so much for the context, but you get a picture of where I met the geek.
It is said that you do not know the girl in you until you meet that ‘knight’ (me and knights he he he) – well this is an overstatement. Let’s just say even if the description of the place does not sound great, I still managed to meet an Adam who I liked, he was one of the camp doctors who was giving medical care to refugees. I think he had noticed me, I am not sure but given the nice lass that I am (grin), who would not?! But you know, we are sort of socialized to believe that a girl should not walk up to a guy and tell him she thinks he ‘shivers her timbers’ – OK, maybe not in those words but you know what I mean – Eves are not meant to say something ‘to get the ball rolling’, that is Adam’s role.
Anyway, finally an opportunity presented itself – an opportunity for him that is; the setting was the TV room (I told you the spaces were shared). The action was that Manchester United (Man U) was playing a team which wore blue uniforms with a ‘Thomas Cook’ branding. I remember very well this was the time when handsome Saha was playing for Man U. However, I have since learnt that he moved – I learnt to Everton and then to Tottenham and now I do not know where he is; and they say Eves watch soccer just to have the chance to look at toned asses and protruding gastrocnemius and pectoralis muscles. Anyway…….
So I went and sat somewhere near him, more like being ‘loudly discreet’. He looked and smiled and told me to “take a Fanta”. I was wondering how he knew that I drink Fanta .
So, there I was with this dude who I had been eyeing for days were, my Fanta in hand watching Saha’s toned ass. And what does he start to do? He asked me if I knew much about soccer. Now I think I do because I know, for example, that there is an English premier league – that is something important to know . I also know that if you touch the ball with your hands, the guy with the whistle will blow it so loud, your ears will burst. I have also heard that if you sit next to Adam and you start talking when the inflated leather thing is in motion, you might see a side of him – a negative side – you never knew existed. So I was quiet, and followed the match; I do enjoy a bit of soccer actually. Anyway the match ended, we bid each other goodnight and I thanked him for the Fanta and he thanked me for company and I was thinking “which company?” We had barely spoken to each other. At this point it was difficult to know what to think of the ‘encounter’.
The following day he met me at the ping pong table. I was waiting for another buddy to play some ping pong. He joined me there and this is how I sort of became convinced (grin) that maybe he fancied this lass.
I am told that you can tell what someone feels about you by looking into their eyes. He said: “Today was a very busy day. I did a CS on a woman who had refused to go through a CS and finally when we got the baby out, the baby could not breathe”. He added, “A life was lost in the building today”, pointing at the small operating room. I was sad, but my eye were peering through his vest and roving over his toned biceps (not sure where from, maybe from lifting babies out of the wombs) and some kind of nice fitting pants – I think they had were fashionable at this time. So here I was thinking that he would seize the opportunity, we would get to know each other as we played ping pong – but nope, he went on to say, “You know I read a report that one harsh reality is that young refugee mothers face is the chance of giving birth and suffering vesicle vaginal fistula”. Dang! OK, I know these things but I am not a doctor, and honestly, this was not what was on my mind at this moment, and I thought “what a geek!” This guy could get the stethoscope off his chest but he couldn’t get it off his mind! I looked in his eyes and I did not anything.
We sat there in silence, and then he asked me how long I was planning to be at the ping pong table because it was getting dark. I told him the power would come on and that I would get someone to play with in a bit. Well, he continued to sit there. After a while, he asked what I thought about deliveries by young mothers – I am not ignorant, there are a lot things to say about young mothers-to-be; heck! -, I can even quote what the W.H.O says about high mortality rate linked to young mothers but this is not what I wanted to talk about with this young dude with toned biceps.
The next scheduled item was up next – it was time to eat. We left together to the dining hall which was buzzing with people, conversation and clinking of cutlery and crockery. The food was not very appetizing but one has to eat to live – you get the gist. We sat together; thank God there was no fistula discussion at this time, but more of politics in Kenya; everyone on the table contributed and it was time to go. I left because I did not want to look like I was accosting him.
The following day we met on my way from the office, it was one of those evenings when the Dadaab breeze is kind of enjoyable. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him, “The breeze is good today, perfect day for a walk”. He looked at me and asked, “To walk to where?” My brain raised its eyebrows. To him, people had to walk heading to somewhere! I had started giving up on this one. I thought maybe his life revolved around his work and that I may have read too much in the Fanta. We ended up taking a walk actually, and talked more and more delivering healthcare to vulnerable populations. We met on a few occasions after that, more like bumping into each other in the shared spaces.
Now that I write this, I am reminded of the series called ‘Big Bang Theory’. In one episode, one of the characters told his mate something to the effect that he was not sure how to act around his mate and his girlfriend anymore because he didn’t know what to do around people who were having coitus. He then asked him if he knew the amount of bacteria in someone’s mouth. Back to my geek….
One blessed Saturday afternoon, my geek turned up to tell me that he was going on leave. Then after a long silence, he asked me what I was looking for in a guy because all along, he had been trying to show me that he was interested but I had seemed quite uninterested in him. I looked at him and smiled.
There are things they do not teach you in medical school.