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The doctor’s naked run across town

By Makau Kitata

Doctor Muchiri, my high school classmate, has a successful career at the county hospital. He likes the night shift and sometimes takes me along for ward rounds. His wife, Mueni, is a nurse in the maternity wing.  We now and again visit the ward at night to see her.

Since Covid-19 hit, Mueni’s ward has been receiving many teenage girls. When we last visited her, there was a whole high school class of girls on the labour beds.

“This is what a failed reproductive health system looks like,” I observed.

“Mwalimu, it is the human species fighting back from the threat of Covid-19 threat of extinction,” answered Muchiri, dismissing my teacher’s sentiment.

“And where are the men performing this noble duty for the species?” his wife sneered.

It was clear Mueni would not agree with her husband. She had been suspecting her hubby was having a trifling affair with their 20-year-old house manager for the last two years. To her, his view was self-serving.

Mueni had joined her colleagues in the national strike called by the medics union and was not on duty that day. She had gone to shop at the mall before joining in the march that was to take place in the streets of our town. Coming from the mall, she went straight to the bedroom for a shower and a change of clothes. She was clad in a towel, lightly tied above her bosom.

On entering the bedroom, she was met by the sight of her husband and the house manager in bed. Muchiri looked up and saw his wife looking at them. He bolted out of the room from the mid-afternoon nightmare.

Into the street he emerged to start a long run away from his wife.

Mueni yanked the towel from her chest to run after her man. As she sprinted after him, she thought, “I have to cover his nakedness before the world sees it.”

When Muchiri looked behind, he saw his wife advancing menacingly toward him. Then he accelerated down the street. In time, he found himself in front of the marching crowd. He ran in front of the leading group.

Mueni was slowed by the crowd. They gradually gave way as she pushed forward, brandishing a towel in her hand. By now, townspeople had joined in the march that was the biggest event in town that day.

Seeing his colleague stark naked in the march, Olilo, the march leader, shouted into the megaphone.

“Let us undress, if necessary, to make our point clear.”

“Muchiri is leading by example,” shouted Grace, Mueni’s colleague in the labour ward.

“Haki yetu! Haki yetu! Our rights!” the workers chanted.

At that moment, Mueni emerged from the crowd.  She swung the towel in an attempt to tie it around Muchiri’s waist and cover him from the eyes of colleagues. He escaped the grip. She didn’t care she was naked herself.

As the spectacle unfolded, some marchers used their phones to record videos. In a minute, the pair was trending online.

In time, Muchiri reconnected with the road leading to his house. By now his wife had caught up with him, only to realise that she had lost the towel.

“I’ve finally caught you,” she panted.

“We’d better talk through this in the house,” he said, dashing towards the open door.

When they finally faced each other in the house, Muchiri launched his defence:

“You made me run naked,” he accused.

“You made me lose the towel trying to cover you,” she countered.

“Did you have to sleep with the house manager?” Her anger returned.

“The girl has already gone to her parents in the village. You never paid her well.”

Later that day, Mwende arrived in the village. Katile, her best friend, while assisting her carry her bags asked:

“Have you heard of this now-famous couple that is trending for forcing the government to see the plight of our medical staff in broad daylight?”

“Nowadays news runs faster than people,” she said, “Yes, I worked for them. But I’ve quit today.”

“Why did you leave? You could become famous like them.”

“The salary alone was not enough to meet my needs.”

“Do you know how they managed to do such a courageous thing during the march?” asked Katile excitedly.

“I wish I knew how it started, but I would be happy to witness it again,” She said as she swiped her phone.

Back in town, the demonstrators were threatening to undress in front of the governor’s office – and curse the government.

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