14 Riverside Drive attack: How we won!

Today, grammar and punctuation is out the door. But this is my tribute to those affected by the terrorist attack on 15th January, 2019. When I got the calls about this very horrible attack, my stomach was in knots! My first instinct was to drive there, which I tried to. I had family and very close close CLOSE friends in that hot mess. My heart was in my throat, tears running down my cheeks and my blood went cold. We were fortunate to have someone on the outside keeping us posted on our loved ones while they were rescued. I know it is so unfortunate that some precious lives were lost and several injured. However, someone recently told me that, when one dies at war, we label them a hero. Heroes live FOREVER. Their names will never leave our lips and their memories will never leave our hearts.

I worked at Redhouse Group for one and a half years up until 2018. A very close friend called Kenny who works at Cellulant saw potential in me and pointed me in the direction of my current job and my former family cheered me on as I grew. I remember waking up really early just to land a city council parking spot before 7a.m with Lynne, Winnie and Obura. Walking past the security who we really loved, into the office and listening to Obura play “ Leg over” by Mr. Eazi at 7.30 am. I remember walking in and saying hi to the early birds; from the TBWA creatives, Redhouse Digital team, TBWA client service, the big shots; kina Eugene, Rodney, Maingi, Sekento. We’d watch people trickle in by 8.30 as we stood in the kitchen having breakfast from Abisai and just cracking joke after joke! I remember meetings with the BBDO team. Sian always catching me up on yesterday’s stories before meetings start, Maureen and her hilarious disses. I remember the really silly creative team at BBDO, from Young and his seriously stupid jokes, Franco and Georgie joining him to sing “Pour me water” by Mr. Eazi every time I walked into the room! I remember Noel and his sheng, hahaha too funny! I remember having lunch and walking to the smokers corner to catch up with other people from the complex. I remember the walks to the Tac shop and Davi always shouting “mremboooooo” every time I walked in. He always took too long to prepare my hot dogs so we could catch up. I remember making new friends from the complex at the Tac shop. I remember the lunches at Secret Garden with our suppliers. The hot waiter at Secret Garden that used to bring us sauteed potatoes to the office. I remember leaving pitches with Ally, Ngallow, Joyce and cracking stupid jokes just to unwind. I remember the Wednesday and Friday nights! Shots o’clock! Hanging out with the Redhouse Digital team, Kabuti, Nkiro Kaburu, Diana, Sam, the BBDO creatives and pretty much everyone. I remember Mutua and his storoz when he got high, hahaha. I remember Eugene asking Mutua not to give me the remote because I kept playing “Pour me water” all the time! I remember people bringing their husbands, wives, partners and friends to the bar and seeing them have such a good time with the Redhouse team! I remember listening to people vent about their bad days! I remember all the late nights almost 3 or 4 times a week and the stories being tossed around the room. Always made the late nights bearable. Oooh, I remember buying guaranas to drink while I worked late and Davi at the Tac shop always buying me one more! I remember taking walks to the parking with Kenny from Cellulant just to catch up on life and work. I remember the walks to Osiepe for kuku choma when we got paid! I remember Davi from the Tac shop hitting on this really fly security lady that got dudes stopping to stare everyday! Haha. I remember it all….EVERYTHING!

Everytime we took cab rides to meetings, or sat at the bar at lunch time, or even had our very very fantastic bar nights, we talked about our parents, kids, spouses, partners, our past, childhood, current life….we got personal. I know some of the kids, families and have visited their homes. So as I sat in that traffic, not moving yet still trying to make my way there, I thought about everyone I knew. I thought about where they could be at that exact time, knowing their schedules. I thought about where they could possibly hide. I thought about their families watching in tears and being so helpless. Worse even, I thought about how they felt! How did they feel dear Jesus….I cannot even begin to imagine to date. I read their tweets, facebook posts, watched insta-stories of them begging for help and my chest was heavy from pain! But later that night, we got news that everyone at Redhouse Group was accounted for.

I called everyone who I could call and texted everyone who did not pick. I wanted them to know that someone…everyone….had them in mind! That they were important and that they were loved. In as much as this was such a fucked up situation, these people lost. They lost because, they made us closer. Thank you for reminding me to reach out to my friends and family. Thank you for reminding me because I had forgotten how important they were to me. Thank you because, ever since you did what you did, I have scheduled a visit with not just my friends from Redhouse, but everywhere! In this one week my Alshabaab peeps, I have seen more than 3 friends everyday. In fact, I am on my way to spend time with two survivors! Even better, I have mended broken friendships because of you! You made people who fell out, reach out to each other just to make sure they were ok. You did not break us, you made us better! We won! And if I did all these things in the span of 7 days, imagine the millions of Kenyans who you affected. You may have taken lives, but now we have cast it on stone that they are heroes! I’d love to tell my friends and family who were in there and are battling emotions that I cannot fathom, you are not alone! We will be right here with you no matter how long it takes.

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