Tattoos with a better story 

Most of us have two lives, the life we live and the unlived life within us. I’ll concentrate on the former. Sir Alan picked a theme, scars from the past and we both agreed it’d be a tricky one, but remember nothing sets your soul free than putting your words on a piece of paper for the universe to read.

I’m a believer that one should write something worth reading about and if not do something or live a life worth writing about. 

Scars, I decide to go with physical scars, the one I never got the chance to talk about or let the world know. 

By now you all know about my Harry Porter scar, that lord Voldemort’s signature spread through my forehead. No Sorcerer’s stone here. 

Every person I meet would stare at it for a while and curiously ask about it. I’d ignore some and to the persistent ones put them off with “it’s a long story buddy.”


Here’s the long story made short

 The year is 2003, I can’t recall the exact dates, something that disturbs me up to this day. On our way home from Madrassa, we usually walked home in pairs and in a straight line; not allowed to greet strangers and if you did, or break the line, Maalim (religious teacher) would be notified first thing at 5:30am the following morning during our next session. You’d choose someone to cane you, that’s if Maalim wasn’t in the mood, we’d always rush to someone who we thought would have mercy on us but he(Maalim) would always pick another person to do the work, but this story is not about those scars left by the canes.


At this diversion, we parted ways with our cousins and it was Yassin (my younger sibling) and I who were last since our home was further than the rest.

Screams all around us, turning around I see Yass diving away and out of the blue like a matador who has given up; this giant bull with much ferocity lifts me up with its blunt horns and throws me to the ground, tramples on my chest and forehead just above my eye socket. 

That was fast. I wake up but everything around me is spinning at an alarming rate, I’m back on the ground, phantosmia kicks in but the smell of the fresh soil balances this awful odor. 

My mind is distracted by the clear blue sky and two tiny clouds above my head. They are nearer than usual. Someone interrupts this moment lifts me and puts me under a shade. I’m surrounded by women screaming and crying, people doing nothing just staring at me, all this time I’m in a world of my own, busy smiling. 

Next thing I know this guy makes his way into the middle of the crowd, removes his imama (turban), ties it tightly on my open wound and carries me on his shoulder, he’s off running with me asking me to hold on tight. I recognize that voice.

The two tiny clouds are still above my head, following us. Still smiling my vision is getting blurry, the same voice is back, “mosh amka baba (wake up dad).” There’s a fear in that voice that I never felt before.

We get to the hospital, the surgeon is nowhere to be found, fifteen minutes later he appears. There are no stitching materials (Kenyan government hospitals for you). He sends for a nurse.

I can’t forget his bald face and his worried look telling me that I’ll be fine. I’m told he did fourteen stitches on my wound. 

On my way to the ward, hundreds of people are out there at the hospital corridor, some crying knowing that I’m dead, calling out my name. Five hours later I’m taken home.

At our compound there’s a huge gathering, I can’t see everyone clearly but they all want to catch a glimpse of me. I can hear my momma crying and chanting some prayers. 

Everything goes black. But the voices are much clearer now. I hear them talking about it being a miracle that I’m still alive; that the bull had been chased down and has been held captive, that the foot it stepped on my forehead was its limping one. I hear the owner of the bull agree to the elder statesmen demand, to deliver a goat every week until I recover fully.

Students from my Madrassa would arrive each morning to do dua(prayers) for me. This we usually did to every ailing soul out there upon request. Kid’s dua are readily accepted and we were a special bunch of kids back then, well that’s what the community usually used to say. This time round I was the one getting this special favor. They would surround me and everyone would place their right hand on a part of my body and do the dua. It felt good. 

I couldn’t see their faces but I knew each and every tone of my nineteen classmates. I couldn’t hold back my tears. This went on for a while and I was getting better with each dua session. 

All this time Yassin would be by my side, having every goodie that I turned down, as kids, falling sick would guarantee you anything you ever wanted. I wish this was the same right now. 

The only thing I enjoyed and still enjoy up to this day is Koche/ oodkac (special dried and fried meat). This I wouldn’t share with anyone. 

Two months later I was up, ready to go to school but against the doctor’s will. My parents were also against it. I was back in class with my huge bandage on.

On my way home, I’d pass the same spot and looking up I’d smile knowing that I cheated on death.

Fifteen years later, I’m still afraid of cows, I’ll take a different path if I see it coming my way. The scar is still going down my face as the doctor predicted, waiting for it to disappear into my mouth. But hey it’s here for a good memory. Wear your scar with pride.

So next time you meet me and you want to know about my Harry Porter scar, I’ll just copy this story’s link on your forehead. 

Oh, and the guy with the turban who picked me up that day was my hero, he still is up to now. The soldier I told you whose beat I only march to.  


*Happy Father’s Day to you poppa, and to all the fathers out there. *



8 thoughts on “Tattoos with a better story 

  1. Awesome piece Mosh and happy fathers day to abuya.

    And today u made me learn something new ‘Koche/oodkac’.

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