Verify before you start sharing a lie

By: CAROLINE NJUNG’E

It happened more than 15 years ago, but it is an incident that is difficult to forget.

It was on a Sunday afternoon, and I was relaxing at home, (I wasn’t a keen church goer then) when I heard banging at the gate. When I opened it, there stood a group of men in suits and ties, some carrying bibles.

“Is your father in,” one of them enquired.

“Yes,” I said. My dad too wasn’t a keen church goer at the time.

They came in, and I went to call my dad, who was having his afternoon nap, if I remember correctly.

He was visibly puzzled and taken aback when he walked into the living room, only to find a group of men who I would later learn were church elders at one of the local churches in the area.

If you were raised like I was, you know you’re not supposed to listen in when adults are talking, so I made myself busy in another part of the house, even though curiosity was steadily eating me.

After about 10 minutes, I saw my father seeing the visitors off.

“They had come to tell me pole – they thought that was you on TV yesterday,” he explained.

ATTACKED BY SLASHER

The previous day, while watching the evening news, we had been shocked to see one of my cousins’ speaking from a hospital bed, narrating how she and her husband had been attacked by the “slasher” while on their way home in the evening.

Around that time, where I lived, a couple of people had been attacked by a mysterious “man” wielding a panga. Even more sinister, he did not steal anything from his victims. He had been christened “slasher.”

All his victims, including this cousin, said that the psycho, (how else would you call such a person?) targeted the neck.

My cousin survived to tell the tale by managing to outrun him, though by then, he had cut her arm, an injury that was thankfully not fatal.

Anyway, one of the men in the group that had come calling was convinced that I had been the one on TV – my cousin and I are named after my grandmother, so we share a name.

However, one of the men pointed out that it couldn’t have been me, since he was pretty sure I was still in school, and therefore not married.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the men were finally convinced that it was me who nearly had her arm hacked off by the slasher, and as a show of support for a fellow church member, they had come to commiserate with my father. They had also contributed 20,000 shillings to help with the hospital bill.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

When they learnt it was a case of mistaken identity, they of course took their generous donation with them.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how rumours fly. It takes just one person to say the word, and within a short time, it becomes gospel truth.

Had these gentlemen not bothered to make this selfless visit, my visits to shags would be unbearable, what, with people staring at the lucky one who managed to escape the slasher’s panga.

About two years ago, a friend who I had been in high school with called me.

“Have you heard the news?” she began. Now this is what is called suspense.

“What news?” I asked.

“I heard that Virginia died…” she said.

My head reeled. “What?! When? How? Who told you?”

She went on to tell me that a mutual friend had told her. According to this friend, Virginia, who I had just been with a week before, had been involved in a fatal road accident.

We agreed that I would call two other former classmates we were in touch with so that we could plan when to visit her family. I called the first one, who was equally shocked, and then called the second one, only for her to ask me whether I was talking about the right Virginia.

“Yes …why?”

“Because I spoke to her about 30 minutes ago…” she told me.

Surely that wasn’t possible, because according to my informer, Virginia had died two days before. To cut a long story short, while it was true that Virginia had been in a road accident, she had not been injured, though a relative she had been with in the same car, (called Virginia) had died.

Before you pass on information you heard through the grapevine, ascertain that it is indeed correct.

FEEDBACK

Your article has inspired to give and help the needy.

Dennis.

I couldn’t agree with you more. It is said the reason the Dead Sea is dead is because it only receives water but has no outlet. The people who hardly give must dead inside. And I don’t mean the giving associated with politicians seeking votes. Selfless giving is very rewarding and some rich people I know don’t realise how much they are missing out on. Crescence

I’m a regular reader of your articles. Today’s was outstanding. It shows that there’s power in giving just as there is power in prayer. Henry

Feeling challenged to do more charity work but if the society would also join in including churches I guess there would be no orphan or a needy child going without education. Macharia

I have a problem with your phrasing. You say that the world conspires to help those who give? That sounds like people who give do so solely on the fact that they will receive something from fate or the cosmic universe. I tend to think that TRUE giving is the kind done with pure and utter kindness, the one that you literally don’t expect anything back.

That means that you don’t expect to be blessed or rewarded by anyone. Dennis

Giving is better than receiving, those who give never lack, the cup is always filled. Gordon B. Hinckley says it better.

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”