, 21 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
1. As foreign correspondents and media houses define their version of Kenya & #Riversideattack in a race to the bottom,lifting their heroes(@thesun @dailymirror)and denying dignity to our dead (@nytimes) I will tell my story,my Kenyan story of the same day.
2. It started with a Whatsapp message - Gunshots and explosion at 14 Riverside avoid the area. Within 20 minutes almost everybody in Nairobi had warned someone else via WhatsApp to be safe - because we use our tech to care.
3. Roll call began in our Whatsapp groups - ppl report in is everyone ok? We checked on each other cos for many Nyumba Kumi is my Whatsapp group.
4. Twitter lit up with influencers @samgichuru @KuisanMacharia @carolinemutoko and others cautioning ppl to text and not call those trapped in 14 Riverside because a ringing phone could be the difference between life and death.
5.In our hurry to help we circulated numbers of people we thought could help loved ones trapped inside.In many forums-the message was verify-you could be sending a loved one the # of an attacker. @NposOfficial_Ke soon verified the fake-we stopped.
6.Meanwhile @ 14 Riverside Kenyan reservists, embassy security form the area, and volunteers rushed in and helped people. Ladders emerged to help people quietly climb down from buildings. Friends dragged shot colleagues back inside from open doorways putting themselves at risk.
7. Online prayer chains were forming, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs all building a ground swell of prayer for all those in 14 Riverside.
8. Red Cross volunteers emerged. Those blessed red vests we have come to rely on - meeting evacuees and literally carrying, carting and leading them to safety.
9. Different arms of our security forces were on the ground and the Recce team arrived and the chain of command became singular. We’ve been here before, we’ve learnt from our mistakes.
10. Nairobians struggled to get home, traffic was gridlock, but Patience was at an all time high. Even Matatus were silent and not overlapping. Our minds collectively on fire and our guts knotted in twists thinking of our beloved city under siege.
11.Twitter folks realized trending images of Nairobi were starting to endorse a single story and fought back ‘shithole country assumptions’ by highlighting the beauty of our country. @Uber transported blood donors to hospitals for free. @Ma3Route did blood appeals.
12. #KOT took up arms defending the right of an African family not to find out about the grisly death of a loved one through an image on social media. The establishment tried to fight back, devoid of the humanity we witness for their dead when it came to our own.
13. We waited for updates about our friends, family, loved ones by any means possible.We heard @henrygithaiga school a journo on the need to maintain confidentiality in an effort to protect and save others.We thanked God for his concern even under stress.bit.ly/2FCZg08
14. We shuddered each time we heard gunfire and explosions from miles around as #RiversideAttack continued deep into the night.We prayed for those trapped inside.Unsure whether messages and texts was still a good idea as nighttime fell & sms’s would cause screens would light up.
15. We waited as 20, then 50 then 70 were evacuated in the middle of the night. We broke down as we heard news of rescue and news of loss.
16. We wondered if God had forsaken us.
17. Dawn found families who had trolled Riverside Drive, City Mortuary, Avenue hospital and everything in between throughout the night many with no answer.
18. Morning. Mum turned up with chai for Watumishi kwa Wote... because that’s what Mums do. Meanwhile Mzee reminded us that this was not a religious or ethnic attack but a senseless one as he prepared to bury two young Kenyan Somali men - victims of terror.
19. Wednesday - we all learnt of the one degree of separation we had to one of the 700 who escaped or one of the 14 who never made it out or the @RedCross 50 still unaccounted. We hugged our children a little closer and prayed a little harder.
20. Foreigners will have their stories.Reclaiming narrative begins by telling ours.Snatching back from those who dare to try & own it in a way that serves them and not us- the owners of the story. So World-this is my Kenyan story,truthfully told. RT if it’s yours too. 🇰🇪❤️
#WeShallOvercome #KenyaUnbowed
Pamoja in adversity, in tears, in prayer, in fear, in healing, in loss, in gratitude and in triumph. ❤️🇰🇪
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