Yesterday terrorists attacked & captured the Westgate Mall. I was off duty & I followed what was happening on Twitter™. There wasn’t much I could do but stay alert incase I was required to report to work. It was sad. My movements this particular weekend were restricted since I was broke & all I could do was to stay indoors. It got worse when it rolled over to today.
I am on the path to spiritual recovery I may say and this has seen me trying to get back to the regular attendance if I am not on duty. I left home for church early, but I had miscalculated. I missed the start of the first mass & since mass is not mass if you didn’t start with the rest of the congregation; I had to do the second mass. The Kenya Red Cross Society had announced a blood donation drive at Kencom to help the victims of the Westgate siege. Being a regular donor, I had to take care of my duty to donate blood in times of need. Looking at my card, I realized I was still a week young of the 3 month period that is required of Men to donate. Women should donate after 4 months.
I got to Kencom where the line was already long. I joined in and after I filled my form, I felt that staying in line was not enough. I folded my donor form and pocketed it. I went to the Red Cross volunteers briefing area and after identifying myself, I was kitted and I started my day as a volunteer. I have been a member of the Red Cross since 07, but after I got to Nairobi, I registered as a life member. So it was while I was in line that the thought of volunteering came to mind. It wasn’t automatic since I have not participated in many other drives since, most happened when I was on duty or when I was far. Now that an opportunity arose, I gave my all to it.
There was no much time for introductions and I got to work. The work basically involved distributing refreshments to the donors, guiding them in the form filling, showing them the way around the lines and the various tents, helping the nurses and doing any other activities as required of us.
The Kenyan Spirit was displayed in its raw form & it was amazing. It was touching. Corporates were there with their donations, Individuals too & other humanitarian organizations gave their donations and the donation’s tent overflowed in no time. The lines were getting longer, more people were willing to donate blood. The entire Kencom’s stretch of City hall way & Moi Avenue was packed. It looked like a mini election taking place. The spiraling line was long enough to circle the block 5 times or more.
More volunteers streamed in, more donations came in all forms. Some cooked for the donors and the volunteers, music groups sang for the donors, the NYS assisted with security and people of all walks of life came out in large numbers to help. We also had private practitioners who donated their beds and staff to help in the bleeding process.
Journalists covered the event live. I got to meet a few of the prominent telly celebrities, both in arts, politics and other aspects of the social life in the line of the duties I was carrying out. It was such a unity enhancing exercise.
I was to donate among the last people, that is, after all the others had donated but the lines were just too long for the donation exercise to end that day. Nobody expected the number to be so huge. I did not donate, to the advantage of me buying some more time for my 3 months to cover up. That was a few days away. The KNBTS was overwhelmed by the turn up. At some point people were infuriated after it was announced that the exercise would have to be closed since it was getting dark. They couldn’t understand why they had spent the entire day standing in the line & yet they would not donate blood. KNBTS and The Kenya Red Cross had tried to move other blood donors in buses to other donation centers, but still it didn’t help much. Another bleeding station was set up at City Hall but still the numbers couldn’t reduce enough.
At some point there was a shower that kind of disoriented the operations. However, it passed and the packing up was done without many mishaps. The donation was scheduled for the following week at Uhuru Park. I wasn’t sure whether could hack skiving a few hours of work that week to volunteer but I resolved to try.
The volunteers were served with a warm meal of Chicken and Rice from The Boma after a debriefing. We then un-pitched and packed up the tents and we dispersed to our respective abodes.
It’s been a while since I volunteered and this day was a success to an extent. I believe I did my best to help. The feeling after such acts is overwhelming & fulfilling.
“My heart goes out to the souls we lost & all those affected by the Westgate Tragedy.
Its sad & disheartening. My prayers and condolences to the bereaved.
May God Rest their souls in peace.
Thanking the Kenyans for their unity & relentless efforts to help through this period.
May God Bless You all.
God Bless Kenya.”
God Bless Kenya.”