It was on Friday 17.02.2006, when I got a message from my home country (Kenya) that I have lost my brother. A pastor friend sent me an sms that my only brother has passed away.
I was reading the Bible at the time the message came. Stunned, I thought I was dreaming. I looked at the Bible and felt "betrayed". A voice spoke to me'You were not reading the Bible so that somebody doesn't diewere you?' The impression was that I should continue reading.
I took the mobile phone and raised it before God and prayed, "Please, let this sms not be true, I pray thee, have mercy on your servant".
After doing that, I continued reading the Bible and finished the chapter I was reading at the time. I, however, realised that I was not concentrating. I took the phone and started calling friends and relatives back in Kenya. No one answered the phone. I thought, could they be mourning that nobody is keen on answering any phone. The only person I managed to get had not heard anything like that. He is living in a different town, far from where my brother was working.
I started thinking about plane ticket, but where on earth was I going to get the money after having hit bottom low financially?
After a while, I got a call from another pastor friend who "confirmed" that my brother had passed away. He expressed his condolences and promised to get me more details about what had happened.
We had exchanged sms with my brother hardly three days earlier and he was not sick or somethingwhat could have happened? By this time, I couldn't hold it any longer. I moaned for a while. Meanwhile I felt a strange mixture of sorrow and peace inside.
After a while I picked the phone one more time and tried calling my "dead" brother. The phone rang but no one picked. Frustrated, I decided to send an sms, addressing my brother by name and saying, "if you get this message, please get back to me immediately and tell me how you are doing". I waited for about an hournothing happened. I was beginning to "accept the reality" but decided to try one more time. I picked the phone again and called my brother's mobile. Guess who picked the phone on the other endmy brother, the one who was supposed to have passed away!
Have you ever talked to the dead?live! That was what I felt when I heard the voice of my brother whom I had believed was dead.
God had answered my prayer. The instinctive thing I did without thinking about it was asking God not to let the information be true. It turned out that it was not true, my brother was alive. I had never experienced a surge of joy. If we were in physical contact, I would have hugged my brother wildly.
Did my pastor friends want to pull a prank on me? By no means! What happened was that my aunt had lost a son. The son had travelled from the countryside to Nairobi to seek medical help and my mother who stays in Nairobi took him to the hospital. He passed away at the hospital.
In our mother tongue we don't have a word for cousin. The son of your aunt is your brother. And again, a maternal aunt is your mother.
Not having enough money to call abroad, my aunt called one of my pastor friends and asked him to contact me with the information that they have been bereaved. She used our mother tongue and it must have gone something like this: "Nyis Daniel ni owadgi otho Nairobi" (Tell Daniel that his brother (the cousin) has died in Nairobi). About her identity, my aunt must have identified herself as my mother.
My brother works in Thikaa town very close to Nairobi. For the people in the countryside, people working in the towns near Nairobi can as well be said to be working in Nairobi.
So, when the word went round to my pastor friends, it was about "your brother who works in Nairobi."
Of course, I still grieved that I lost a cousin but at the same time there was this feeling of "getting back my brother".
2007 by Daniel Owino Ogweno.
Ogweno is the author of THE SECRET WEAPON AGAINST TERRORISM, VIRTUE THAT COUNTS and A LIFE OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC WORSHIP, among others. http://danielogweno.blogspot.com
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