From watching the blockbusters that Marvel churns out it is nigh orgasmic seeing all these overpowered heroes and villains take to the streets or the skies or beyond the plane of our existence to battle it out for order or chaos, power or control. Some of us wish we could be like them with the ability of flight or supersonic speed. Alas, we can only dream of such abilities and deceive ourselves of their existence by watching laughable Youtube videos that claim that you too can fly or create balls of flame in your palm with a single thought.
There is a hero closer to home that does not possess such power or publicity. I don't even know his name but to me he has all the prerequisites to being a bona fide hero. This secondary student wakes up early and prepares his groundnuts from a tin shack in Kibera slums then takes to the Madaraka jungle to peddle them. He spends an entire day close to the Strathmore business school selling his groundnuts for less than fifty shillings whereas elsewhere you have to bargain with a fruit vendor to reduce your watermelon from 300 to 250- only to go home to find it is sour and more melon than water. This young hero never insults you or badgers you when you decline the groundnuts. Instead, he smiles and urges you to come again when you have the money. I was so taken by his response that the next day I went back with 500: I was going to buy the groundnuts and help this kid no matter how much money 500 is. Alas, I could not find him.
In a country where money talks and a wedding is wasted unless a brand new car follows it (or a proposal at The Hub ,Karen)this young hero's only plan is to get an education. He hungers for it. He craves it with whatever soul is within him. He is willing to fight off the metaphorical villains of hunger and the burning sun or scorching cold. He shrugs away the feeling of nonentity in his bones when he sees all these students leave school with designer bags and laptops; carrying multi-colored drinks and laughing among themselves. He knows that Kenya is a country of dreams and they creep up on those worthy unexpectedly. One day he will join the ranks of the Strathmore student. One day he will become the president we may not want but the one we need irregardless of tribe or standing. And for that he is a hero.
I am a writer. I like to think that my stories will reach the ears of someone and change society in a small way. I believe in the importance of my work more than the lining of my pants. I hope I can be a hero. I pray we all can be heroes in this land of opportunity.