, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 21 – The last time I met Fred Bosire, he was confined to a hospital bed at the MP Shah Hospital waiting on surgery to take out four bullets lodged in his left leg.
That was on September 26, 2013, just days after the terrorist attack on the Westgate mall that claimed 67 lives and in which he was injured.
Two years on he leads me through a maze of corridors and up six flights of stairs to his one roomed house in Embakasi’s Pipeline area.
“It still hurts when I’m on my feet for long,” he tells me when we settle on the wooden frame of what I assume is a sofa in creation.
The rest of the room, like the sofa, also appears to be a work in progress. A folded over curtain and a sheet separate the living from the sleeping area. Cooking utensils are turned over atop a table top and below it are two basins filled with water. “It feels like I’m starting from scratch.”
Having eaten through his savings, Fred returned to Nairobi from his upcountry home in Kisii seven months earlier in search of work.
The two bedroom extension in South B’s Hazina estate in which they’d lived no longer within reach, he left his wife and four children back home to make a fresh start.
But it hasn’t been easy going, he tells me, his previous employer – when he was at Westgate – won’t see him and the, “kibarua,” that brought him back to Nairobi didn’t pan out. “I was managing a small supermarket in Syokimau but it wasn’t making money so we closed shop.”
He’s resigned to the latter but the former, given the empassioned tone his speech takes, evidently causes him some pain.
“I gave them five years and it was while working for them that I got injured and now the boss won’t even take my calls or see me when I go there. I keep being told he’s travelled but it’s become clear they just don’t want to take me back.”