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Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2007

By Amos KareithiWith a song on his lips, a wallet stuffed with currency notes and revenge in his heart, the administrator set for his mission.

His plans were simple. First would be the Mama Pima who sold mnazi (palm wine), then the bar maids in Kilifi and, if resources allowed, he would go to Mombasa.

He had secretly applied for a Sh130,000 loan. He was determined to spend every cent of the money, and then he would meet his maker.

One morning as he embarked on the one-kilometre journey, his wallet was bulging with currency notes. Later in the day he planned to travel to Kilifi town.

A few days earlier, Mr Reuben Tunje Ndago had buried the woman he had engaged with in secret love affairs. Gone, too, was their child. Now he had a burning mission to accomplish and there was nothing to stop him.

The irritating boils on parts of his body had paved way to serious wounds and more serious infections.

He had been in and out of hospital every other week and at one time spent days in bed, unable to perform the simplest of tasks.

Now that he had secured a loan, he had not factored how it would be repaid and neither was he bothered how his seven children would fare after he was no longer alive.

His worst fears had been confirmed. But all that was poised to change. The man had resolved he was not going to play in the hands of fate any more.

With a burning rage of betrayal and a desire to correct the wrongs committed against him, he set out on a mission to “teach” the world, and womenfolk in particular, a lesson.

Fruits of death

Five years later, Ndago recoils in shame remembering the enormity of the crime he had intended to commit.

“It was like mass murder. I wanted to use every penny in enjoying myself and spreading HIV. I was bitter and desperately wanted revenge,” Ndago says.

The Chasimba assistant chief vividly recalls how it all started.

“For five years I had not been faithful. I jumped in and out of many beds with strange women. My philandering had finally borne fruits. The fruits of death,” Ndago adds.

In 2003, the administrator, whose first calling in public service was as a teacher, was a devastated man who had a grudge against humanity.

After becoming a chief in 1997, Ndago says he had set out to enjoy the newly found freedom and status brought about by his new designation in the provincial administration.

He says the bitter truth dawned on him after his concubine died, hot on the heels of her daughters death.

Shortly after this, the administrator started exhibiting some disturbing symptoms. Both him and his wife, Mrs Josephine Nazi, developed skin conditions.

“We were afflicted with many opportunistic diseases. We suffered from running stomach, wounds and skin infections,” the administrator says.

He adds: “I secretly visited the Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCT) at the Kilifi Kenya Medical Research Institute. The results were positive and my life was never the same again.”

For a long time he agonised on what to do next. He could no longer live in self-denial. This is when he decided he would dramatically depart from the world.

“I wanted to infect as many people as possible. This was the sole reason I had taken the loan from Harambee Sacco. I wanted to teach women a lesson,” Ndago said.

But before he could put his plan to action, something happened and all his diabolical schemes were scuttled. This also changed his life forever.

“I was walking to the office one morning in May, 2003. I had some money in my pocket. Then I heard an inner voice: Hizo nia zako Ndago hazinifurahishi (Ndago, your plans do not please me,”).

This startled the administrator, who was then 39 years. He continued walking to his office, where yet another surprise awaited him.

The man says: “I had just switched on my small portable radio when I heard President Kibaki in an advertisement pledge how he and his Government would help eradicate the virus.”

The Presidents voice directly hit Ndago as if the Head of State was talking to him directly at a time when he was embroiled in an internal struggle.

He bolted out of office and rushed home, feigning sickness. His resolve to spread the HIV had considerably been weakened.

“I told the people waiting outside my office that I was not feeling well. I needed time alone. I decided to go directly to bed,” he recalls.

That night he broached the subject of HIV/Aids to his wife. He said the infections they had been fighting with could be directly related to the virus.

He said he feared the symptoms could have been from HIV/Aids infection and coaxed Nazi to accompany him to a clinic.

Ndago, for the second time, went to a VCT, this time dragging his half-hearted wife along.

He was overwhelmed when his wife, pardoned him for his unfaithfulness and bringing the virus home.

As fate would have it, the results were positive for both of them. One of the seven children also tested positive.

As the now devastated administrator tried to come to terms with his predicament, he made some tough choices.

“I used the loan money to buy 100 galvanised iron sheets. I also purchased some building stones and a grade cow,” he says.

Walking in the footsteps of the biblical Saul who was touched on his way to Damascus, Ndago decided to dedicate some of his loan money to God.

“I bought a quarter acre plot at Dzitsoni trading centre at Sh20,000. I used a similar amount to purchase some building materials.”

But if he thought the community he had once wanted to persecute was going to be sympathetic to him, he was in for a rude shock.

His contribution to set up a church for the Redeemed Gospel Church made some mouths in the village wag.

Some accused him of feigning illness and HIV status to get money from donors.

“Some Christians in church also distrusted him. They wanted him to hand over the land ownership document for the plot “before he died”.

“To them I was a man on death sentence I was supposed to die any time. When I told them I was not about to die, they excommunicated me. My church was deserted,” Ndago says.

It was around this time that Ndago says Kemri offered him some anti-retroviral drugs but he refused, opting to recreate his bodys immunity by proper dieting.

The chief, who had since decided to go public with his HIV status, was now forced to photocopy the results from the VCT and distribute them to disbelieving people.

“I decided to do this when some started doubting me. This made me more determined to expose myself so as to save as many people as possible.”

Ndago even renamed his church The Original Lords Church where he is the pastor.

“I believe I have touched the lives of 500 people in Chonyi. I have made it my habit to talk about HIV/Aids in every public gathering.

He has since graduated from a simple primary school teacher to an administrator as well as peer educator.

Announced HIV/Aids status on wedding day

Ndago now chairs the network of organisations involved in the fight against the HIV/Aids in Kilifi and Kaloleni districts.

His biggest triumph was on August 18, when he shocked the world by announcing his HIV/Aids status on his wedding day.

The most spectacular happening on that day was the decision by the sub-chief to establish two VCT centres on that day.

“I was pleasantly shocked when 12 people were counselled and tested. This was a big boost to the HIV/Aids war as the villagers are normally conservative and suspicious of such exercises,” the beaming chief says.

“More people would have been tested. They came but some were drunk. We turned them away as they could not be tested before going through the mandatory counselling session and understanding what it entailed.”

The VCT facilities cannot cope with the large demand from people who want to know their status.

The administrator-cum-preacher says he has recruited over 40 people who have gone public on their status.

The decision to formalise his customary marriage was arrived at after many sleepless night.

“I kept asking myself what would be the most fitting gift to my wife, who had accepted and pardoned me despite my unfaithfulness.

“Then I realised nothing could please her more than my declaration of my love to her,” says Ndago.

“Nothing inspires me more than the love and the unity which has been brought about by my predicament. My whole family is a team. We share a lot and support each other like never before,” he adds.

He says all leaders ad clergymen should lead by example and stop being judgmental since condemning an infected man could easily send him to an early grave.

“It is true the disease is mostly spread through sexual intercourse. This does not mean people have not contracted it from blood transfusion or emergencies,” he says.

Every morning, the man who not so long ago was a pariah meets neighbours who want to know how he had spent the previous night.

Being the Governments representative in Chasimba, Ndago hosts villagers seeking various services.

The cashewnut tree (Mkanju) along the road has become an extension of the chiefs office. Hours before reporting to his office, he will have counselled residents under its shade.

His home, strategically located along the road, near the entrance to Chasimba Primary School, now acts as a citadel of hope.

In an area still populated with igloo-looking grass-thatched house, the sub-chiefs glittering roof too is a beacon of hope, a signpost of modernity, just like his pedigree cow, Kanzi.

For a man who was bent on committing suicide as he extracted vengeance, Ndago has come a long way. He is now ready to serve as a role model to save humanity.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN

One Response to “”

  1. I really love this and i have been touched and it also reminds me of my father.MR ndogo has enttered into my guiness book of role model and since he is my chief i will pay him a visit my God increase his days here and in heaven.


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