I had a rather eye opening encounter with God’s grace and the power of forgiveness this morning.

On my way to work, I pass through Ngara Market and from time to time I buy fresh produce to take home in the evening. A few months back, I wanted to buy mangoes and the lady whose stall I intended to buy from was so curt with me when I enquired what her price was, that I went away angry and dejected, not buying mangoes at all.

Fast forward 8 months later to 15th November, mangoes are back in season and I buy from all the adjacent stalls but never from the curt lady. I even have an audible thought in my head – I will NEVER buy from her, and I walk away feeling pleased with myself.

Fast forward again to 5th December – this morning that is—I pass the said lady’s stall and she has beautiful mangoes stocked.  A voice speaks up in my head forgiveness it says… and so I reluctantly retrace my steps and approach the stall to enquire how much she is selling mangoes.

Me: Habari.  Wauzaje maembe?

Curt lady: Tatu mia

I turn to select the ones that I intend to buy..

Curt lady: Hizo hazijaiva

Me: Ni sawa

Curt lady:  Wataka za how much?

Me: Mia mbili

She takes paper bag and starts selecting. After picking two, she invites me to pick one more. I take 2 and add them in.

Curt lady: zishafika tatu

She must not have heard me when I said I want to spend 200 shillings.

Me: Nataka za mia mbili

Curt lady: Oo ,sawa… hata ongeza uchukue nane kwa mia mbili

I happily add on till they are eight and gladly pay for my purchase.

Curt lady: Unaenda mbali?

Me: Hapana, lakini nina nafasi kwa bag, nitazibebea hapo.

She had intended to give me a second paper bag so that the one I have does not tear along the way and spill the goods.  Considering that paper bags are expensive and the market people never give away extra ones if they can avoid it, this is a very generous gesture of the curt lady to me.

We part ways, with mutual asante sana said to one another.  As I leave I contemplate the lesson.

When you forgive, you (the forgiver) get more out of it than the person that you forgive (the forgivee), and a relationship is restored. In my case I got two extra mangoes for the price of six and she got an early morning customer back that she never even knew that she’d lost a whole nine months ago.