Ready to Die But Not in the Jaws of a Crocodile
by Daniel Owino Ogweno
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all ye that fear
God, and I will declare
what he hath done for my soul
As my cousin Okomo was leaving for his peripatetic routines, he asked me to sweep his house. This was not a problem. I had always swept his house and it was going to be just another routine. I gladly accepted to do it—in fact, the idea of not doing it was not in the picture. What I didn’t know was that this assignment which I thought I was experienced in was going to set off events that would convince me that life was not worth living.
I swept the floor and thought I did my best as usual. There was however a used matchstick that had got stuck at the foot of the bed. The broom didn’t remove it and I didn’t see it either, otherwise, I would have pulled it by my fingers.
When my cousin came home, he saw the matchstick by chance. He called me and asked me if I swept the house the way he told me. He could of course see that the floor was swept. When I answered that I indeed swept the floor as he could see, he called me to come closer and have a look. He pointed at the foot of the bed and asked, “If you swept the floor, what is this?”
With that I qualified for another round of violence. Another round because this was not the first time I was being punished. If one could get used to being beaten I would have gotten used to it. I had no “problem” with being punished because at home and in school corporal punishment was normal, everybody else was being punished once in a while for one reason or another. The problems I had with the punishments my cousin meted against me were: their causes; their intensity and their frequency.
On this day he flogged me so badly. When the cane broke after repeated floggings, he went and picked a new one, and continued brutally whipping me.
At the end of it, my body was bleeding. Even the tattered shirt that I had on could not stay on my back. It was painfully rubbing against the wounds. I removed it.
I felt I had had enough. My father died when I was 12. My mother had left six years earlier.
If it was punishable offence for me not to have seen the one matchstick at the foot of the bed, a mild punishment could have been enough, but the way I was beaten was way too much for the offence. I couldn’t take it anymore. Life was not worth living—I decided to end my life.
There were two reasons for doing this: one was to escape the senseless beatings I was routinely subjected to and the other was to punish my cousin. It was going to be a haunting stigma upon him that he made me die.
As I went to graze the cattle, I made myself a rope. In the countryside where we had lots of sisal, making a rope was a simple assignment.
That afternoon when I took the cattle to the lake to drink, I went to a tree near the place where the cattle had been drinking the water. I fastened the rope on one of its branches. The tree was not one that could be climbed, so I rolled a stone to get it to a position where I could climb on it to get my neck into the noose.
Just when I was stretching my head to get my neck into the noose, Wilson Ochien’g Onyonyi appeared from nowhere.
“Hey! What do you think you are doing?” He interrupted me.
When I turned to check, he had already reached me. Without saying any more or trying to find out why I had wanted to kill myself, he confiscated the rope and walked away. He disappeared as fast as he appeared.
Just before I started moving my head into the rope, I had looked and saw that there was nobody around to interrupt my operation. Where did Ochien’g come from? How did he get to me so fast? And the way he disappeared after taking my rope!! Was it really Ochien’g?
Ochien’g was about three years older than me. I knew that he would tell my people what I had attempted to do. I didn’t know how this was going to be received. Perhaps it was going to earn me another round of brutality. I decided that I had to go ahead with my suicidal plans.
After he had left with the rope, I turned my attention to the lake. I said to myself:
He has taken the rope but what about the water? There are many ways to die in; I am going to drown myself.
With that I went into the water and started wading into the depths of the lake. I finally came to the depth that if I didn’t do anything I would drown. But God had other plans. Like Jonah who was saved by a fish, I was “saved” by a crocodile—No! I was not swallowed or mauled but the fear of being mauled got me running away from the water faster than I went in. It is a long story. I have indeed lived a very eventful life. I have reluctantly told my story, especially because of things that I would have loved to keep away from the public. The Full story is at the following link: DREAMS OF HOPE AND VISIONS OF DIVINE INTERVENTION
NB: The hard copy of this book is due for publication.
E-book for your e-reader device available here
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Daniel, Daniel, I am so sorry for the brutality you have endured. Thank you for taking a risk and sharing what your own flesh would rather keep hidden, in order to help others who think they are the only ones. None of it was for naught! Does that make sense? God is the orchestrator of your life, and he is doing a powerful work in you. Blessings, Barbara.
Daniel, The enemy wanted to take you out because of the work you are now doing. God's plan is what he intended on interrupting. But what the enemy meant for evil, today you are a witness of God's grace and mercy because He has turned it around for good. As your healing continues, I pray you will always feel God's loving arms wrapped around you. Continue to use your experience to help others as they too seek to forgive those who have hurt them and seek to be forgiven themselves for thoughts that hinders them from having a pure heart. God bless you and keep serving Him.