Rolf Schmid's "No Need to Lie" is an extraordinary account of a remarkable life. The author describes his rough painful struggle with cancer in the both Kenya and Germany. He became a celebrated restaurateur and sportsman and after acquiring Kenyan citizenship, he represented his new home in judo, polo, Weightlifting and pistol shooting, excelling in all four of them.
He also still got time to emulate his childhood idol, Ernest Heming w as a passionate big game hunter in the African bush. Tragedy through cancer which almost killed him, but sheer determination, and the hand of God saved him. After this ordeal, he ventured become a world champion power lifter in the masters over categories. For this and all his previous achievements in sports, he was bestowed with the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya by His Excellency President Daniel arap Moi.
Rolf Schmid has surmounted many barriers in life but a diagnosis of throat cancer came as a terrible blow to the prominent chef.
Summary of Incidents
Rolf schmid narrates in biographic way his long painful struggle and fight with cancer. As he battled all those negative emotions, Rolf made a vow to himself that he would not let the disease take him down. After all, he was only 50 years old (p 22)
It was not an easy fight. The surgery, chemotherapy and medicine took a heavy toll on him. He had lost all appetite for food. However Rolf knew that if he did not put something into his tummy, his recovery would be severely compromised. The terrible sores inside his mouth made any contact with food a painful ordeal.
To counter this, he resorted to inserting a long pipe into his gulle through which he poured in food in liquid form.
But the battle with cancer was not the cue to take things easy watch life pass by. More than anything else, Rolf's battle with cancer sums up his character: A never-say-die attitude in the face seemingly insurmountable challenges.
The well schemed masterpiece ends with Schmid landing back to Nairobi where he was accorded a hero's welcome, after having been treated at the Katharinen hospital in Germany. He rejoices together with his wife Asmahan and their children. He felt himself a victor and that he was beginning a new life.
"No need to lie" is set in Kenya. Rolf Schmid had obtained a Kenyan citizenship after staying in Kenya and working as a leading chef in Nairobi. Places like Langata road in Kibera are mentioned in the short story where he could drive on his way to and from the job. (p 131)
After the treatments in the Nairobi hospital proved to be ineffective, Rolf was referred to Katharinen Krsnkenhaus hospital in Germany, where he went with Roland for further medication. This makes the setting shift from Kenya to Germany, then back to Kenya, seeking medical attention for his cancerous condition.
The events are taking place between late December and early January. His medication journey begun January 8, after his personal Doctor, Mrs. Van Enk's coming back from Mombasa, where he had gone for the Christmas celebration. It begins at the Caren Surgery. (Pl 23)
Struggle to survive
One of his greatest battles in life was cancer. At 50, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. A fighter with a black belt in judo and a Weightlifter, Schmidt vowed the disease would not put him down.
He survived having gone through surgery, chemotherapy and no appetite and continued to forge on with life, with gusto.
Burdens of sickness
There is nothing that burdens Rolf, than his encounter with the throat cancer. It came after he had decided to cut weight, so that at least he, could lead a better sportsmanship life. Little had he known that he would be sick and the weight would cut down itself automatically, until the day he met Mrs. Van Enk, his private Doctor.
He was informed that his medical condition needed a lot of urgency, Dr Rupani agreed that he had to admit him and take a biopsy. After the test, it was affirmed that he was having cancer and not Aids. (P. 1 25) the greatest problem that exposed him to more harm was that his condition was in an alarming third stage, which was second to the last stage. He realized at a very late stage that he was cancerous.
The grotesque look of the people in the radiation ward made him scared more than before. After it he become malnourished, with his skin, sagging. As if this is not enough, he was still to undergo four more chemotherapies. He says that he endured four chemo sessions for the four Saturdays preceding. He lost half of his hair and most of his beard.
In his last cancer chemo, he got sick, something that made him dismiss all the clinics, the diagnosis and prognosis. He therefore decided to go to Germany. He fought his tears back as he saw his wife Asmahan cry at the airport, as she was bidding him good bye. He had to undergo a series of treatments before getting back to his normality.
Love and friendship
Rolf Schmid is a man that makes the definition of the word friendship easier. He receives a lot of attention from his native wife and native doctors too, who are assisting in his critical condition Whatsoever. His greatest treasure was his children.
His wishful prayer was that he was going to live and see his children grow up, play more polo, do more sculptures and be With Asmahan, His sickness really affected her wife a lot. She is seen weeping, full of tears; she tells him that God is going to be with him. That he has to remember to chant a prayer daily (p 132)His children and Asmahan were there ready to receive him after his treatments. They rejoiced together. He was indeed thankful in the way he appreciated the staff at the Germany hospital. He feels troubled, that he did not get time to appreciate Roland, who had taken a lot of core during his sickness time, for he died a year later, of a tragic occident, before their meeting again (p 1 35)
Techniques and Language Use
Point of view
This short story is written in the first person narrative voice. The "l" narrator is therefore the protagonist in the story and he narrates the events as he experienced them. This kind of narrative voice makes the events look very immediate to the readers.
It enhances aesthetic distance, that degree of separateness between an author and the events they present in the story. The first person narrator also helps create rapport with the readers through the informal use of humour, despite the depressing situation presented at hand.
This is a verbal exchange between characters. Dialogue is used to develop characters and themes in the "No Need to lie". quite a number of dialogues throughout the text. They make us comprehend the thematic concern and the plot at large.
A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in which a statement is formulated as a question. The question is not supposed answered, or if answered, one is expected to agree With the speaker without any contradiction.
On my way to Dr Rupani's, my head did not stop spinning. Fee had finally gripped me. What if it is HI V? Can I live with thought of being on death row? What about the stigma? (P. 123) This shows the kind of tension and fear as Rolf had as he travelling to Karen hospital for diagnosis.
Was I going to live? How bad was it? Did I have a chance? Too many questions went an answered (P. 3 ) These and other rhetorical questions give us the actual suspense created. They make the audience glued to the eyes. That the reader cannot keep the text aside, not until they have read up to the last dot.
Local dialects/informal language
The hallmark of Schmid, successful use of language is his deployment of simple English throughout. This gives the story a relaxed informal tone. It is as if the narrator is telling it to his peers.
Ndume-a male animal
Bwana — sir
Alhamdulillahi-praise be to Allah the most high
Bismillahi — it's an Islamic exclamation meaning in the name Of their God.
This gives the story a local flavor, making the writer to create his mental picture to the audience.
He is our narrator in the text. He is the one who had fallen victim of cancer. Cathartic effect is really developed on him by the reader, after seeing the struggle he undergoes with the treatment of cancer.
He is depicted as being assertive. He refuses to be killed by cancer.
He has a strong will and power to withstand all the woes that abides by the medication process for cancer.
He is determined, ambitious and indeed devoted.
Dr Rupani is quite resourceful. He admits Rolf and takes care of him in the Nairobi Hospital, together with the nurses as he is undergoing the chemo and the radiotherapies.
Asmahan is Mr. Schmids wife. She is depicted as being a caring and a loving wife to him. She is indeed helpful supportive and a concerned coastal lady, who gets to be attentive to the husband all the time.
She is quite emotional in how she really sheds tears as she bids the husband a good bye as he was flying to Germany for the further treatment.
Further she is depicted as being a religious woman who proposes that her husband be praying all the time while undergoing treatments at the hospital in Germany.
This is a helpful, supportive and caring character.
He is dutiful; he has taken it upon him to ensure that his friend is healed. He takes him to hospital abroad.
- Is the title (No Need to Lie) appropriate? Discuss.
- Compare the medication process in the first world the third world countries, with reference to this short story.
- Identify the use of suspense from the story and explain effectively it has been used.
- Identify and discuss two major themes from the text.
- Hierarchically, show the stages for battling with cancer.