The day I almost drowned, is a day I remember like it was yesterday. I grew up in Nairobi Kenya. That’s where I was born and spent most of my life. My family had a tradition back then. During school holidays, we would park all our bags, get in a car and travel to the village. That was our parents’ way of making sure we stayed intact with our roots.
The trips used to be very adventurous. We would sing songs on the way, just like on those school outings to the music festivals or sports competitions. But my favorite part of the journey was the stop to grab some chips and soda. I don’t know why, but as a kid, I was so obsessed with fries.
My parents come from the same province in Kenya and to our advantage, their ancestral homes are just an hour apart. If not for the Nzoia River that lies between the two villages, it would just be a matter of minutes to move from one side to the other.
So, in the summer of 1988, we embarked on another holiday adventure to the village. After some hours, we arrived at my paternal grandparents’ home as planned. While there, we moved from my paternal side to my maternal side as we pleased. It worked to our advantage that the villages were not far apart.
My maternal grandmother was a very kind woman, and we loved being around her. Besides her kind and loving heart, her pantry was always full of harvest from the previous season. Also, her farms flourished with yields for the family and beyond. Be it papayas, mangoes, guavas, bananas, name it. She had them all.
In other words, her compound was a vegan paradise. I remember I would wake up every single morning and harvest one large, sun-riped papaya from one of the many papaya trees in her compound. I would then sit behind her kitchen and eat it all by myself. That wasn’t a big deal because there was always enough for everyone. I get nostalgic when I think of her. I guess by now, it’s clear; she was my favorite grandmother.
So, on the day I almost drowned, we woke up, as usual, and had our breakfast. After that, we packed a few things and were ready to hit the road to my favorite grandmother’s. However, we couldn’t leave without anything for her, so we bought some mandazi from my late aunt, Dom. She made the best ones back then. The fact that we purchased them every morning while in the village, tells it all.
We started the journey and were all so excited. My sister Patra was still a toddler, so my mum carried her the whole time. My other two sisters and I walked diligently beside her as we made our way to the vegan paradise. After walking for a few minutes, we arrived at the stream. It was the rainy season, and the stream had burst its banks. So, it was apparent that my sisters and I could not cross over without the help of our mother.
Being that mum had a toddler in her arms, she asked us to wait for her while she crossed over. She walked a few meters away from the stream to a safer distance and placed my sister Patra down on her baby shawl.
Long story short, I panicked big time. My four-year-old brain thought my mum was going to leave us on the other side of the stream. It’s like my body acted before my mind could even finish the thought process. I underestimated the danger and did the worst. I jumped! Unfortunately, my short legs couldn’t carry me to the other side, and I fell in the water. That was so unfortunate because I couldn’t even swim. I still have goosebumps when I think of this near-death experience.
My body started sinking deeper and deeper. By that time, I knew my end had come. I remember vividly seeing the rays of the sun hitting the surface of the water and streaming down as if to catch up with me. I stretched my hands and tried to grab on anything that I could grab on, but there was nothing! Absolutely nothing!
So here I was, submerging deeper and deeper without the assurance of ever leaving the water alive. My situation looked hopeless.
Suddenly, I saw this hand. Just like those rays from the sun, it hit the water surface and streamed down, trying to catch up with me. At that time, I realized that God had sent my savior, and it was my mum. Her shadow blocked the sun rays. She blindly moved her hand right, left and center in the hope that I hadn’t gone that deep.
Fortunately, she grabbed and pulled me out. God had not only used her to give me life, but He used she to give me a second chance at it. The incident took just a few seconds, but it was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. If she had come just a few seconds later, I would have been history.
Every time I look back to the day I almost drowned, my belief that God exists strengthens. I could have perished from this earth, but God still had a purpose for my life and every single day, He fulfills it. It could have been worse, but thanks to God, it only remains to be the day I almost drowned.
We didn’t care that the mandazi I was carrying had sailed down the stream and soaked in water. I was still alive, and that was the jackpot.
After the dramatic event, we continued with our journey and arrived at the vegan paradise without any further accidents.
Did you like the story about the day I almost drowned? Do you have any similar experiences? Meet me in the comment section below because I would love to hear from you.