God Answered My Prayer


Against my better judgement and Mother’s advice, I followed the love of my life to the barracks. Soldiers are never there for their families, she told me. You were never there for me, I retorted, and you’re not a soldier.
Every time he leaves for another mission in Somalia, I pray: God, let him come back alive.
Every time there is news of another ambush, another IED attack, against KDF troops, I pray: God, don’t let my children lose their father, don’t make me a widow.
Today I woke up to a thousand and one WhatsApp messages, Twitter and Facebook notifications, and ‘I-tried-calling-yous’ from family and friends: the worst of al-Shabaab attack on a Kenya Defence Forces’ position in Somalia.
I prayed: If soldiers have to die, let him not be amongst them. Kill others, but not him.
The gunfire goes off, pop! Pop! Pop! in synch.
“Fire!” the commander orders the firing party.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
The casket, draped in the flag of Kenya, lowers into the grave. He’s no more, but God answered my prayer.
A heart-piercing shriek goes off like an alarm. A woman runs to the grave; she wants to be buried with him.
“Mother! No,” I cry and rush to her.
Mother is devastated; her only son—my brother—died so young, without a family; her hope, life, snuffed out by the bullet of the dastard terrorists.
She will never come out of the hole she has sunk.

My brother is dead, but God answered my prayer: God killed others, I’m not a widow, and my children have a father.