Saturday, 9th November 2013 was a wonderful day. I began the anticipated day by attending a friends wedding. The climax came in the evening when I was to head to my friends place for a sleep over. She picked me at the bus stage when I alighted and we were happily walking towards her house when we saw a crowd of people blocking the path to her apartment. Instinctively we slowed down and asked some people what was happening ahead. Everyone gave us some vague explanation-as was expected-of the reason for the crowding.
Therefore, without any other choice, we walked on and approached the mob. We were about to just pass when curiosity took the best of us and so we moved in to see what everyone else was staring at. By now it was dark and so we had to really move to the center to actually get a clear view of what had drown all these people to that spot. Lo and behold! A man was lying on the ground, partly covered with a “leso”. He looked unconscious but we were soon to know that he was alert but just could not move.
One with the mob
At this point we had definitely become one with what was a few minutes back a random mod. The other people were more than willing to fill us in on the happenings that had led to this sight. One tall lady painfully reported how she had heard the pleading cries of this man, “Woi! Poleni! Msinichape! Nilikuwa nataka tu msichape huyo mwizi!” (“Am Sorry! Please don’t beat me! I just wanted to stop you all from beating up that thief!”). He pleaded for his life to the construction workers who had probably turned on him after he tried to save a thief from mob justice! Unfortunately, his humane actions landed him into inhumane beatings..and now there he lay on the ground, holding on to dear life. The construction workers were obviously nowhere in sight by now.
As this story continued being retold as new “members” joined the crowd, the poor man continued bleeding form the gruesome cuts on his face and head. Some people were not the least bit concerned with the tales of the onlookers but just bent down and, using their mobile phones, shed some light on the man on the ground to take a look at his cuts and bruises. One would think they were going to offer some help but most of them just walked away after having their peek.
Thankfully there were a few good Samaritans among as- and am happy to say that my friend and I decided to play this role too. We embarked on the task of trying to get a taxi to rush the man to a nearby hospital. At this point we had definitely wasted many minutes in mere talk and none wanted to waste any more time. In my mind and out loud I told my friend how much I hated the feeling of helplessness and how much I looked forward to finishing med school in order to be able to lend a hand in a situation such as this! One lady said that we should see to it that this man is taken to the hospital because it was very easy for us to just talk and eventually leave him there to die! And so the hustle to help a stranger began.
His mobile phone was taken from his pocket and the last call redialed but unfortunately the person on the other end thought we were playing a prank on her! The person who had been sent to get a taxi was not back and so a few young men decided to carry the man to a clinic nearby. We arrived and told the doctor what had happened. One gentleman stayed behind with the mans documents and phone, still trying to contact any person who knew him.
For the rest of us, our task was done. We walked out of the clinic and started heading back to our homes. Everyone was proud that we had helped a stranger in need. And when we reached the spot where he had lied, we saw the small pool of clotting blood. The young men who had carried him covered it with soil as we all commented that it would be devastating to see that blood the next day in broad daylight. The good thing is that, for us, this blood was a reminder of our care for a stranger, a reminder of how we can be human and show care and love to a fellow human being…mob justice!