PEARLS OF THE VILLAGE. (Tales of village folks)

I was so psyched up to visit my home village .It had been almost three years since I last visited. City life can be addictive but still , home is best .Our roots define us and so I planned to visit my roots.
The boy landed in kakamega town at around 8 p.m . When you’re from the city you land it doesn’t matter if you came crawling or bike riding. The change was dazzling in all manner of speaking. Even the back roads had super lighting. I had to take a moment to convince myself that I had not forgotten where I was born. The roads were even more astounding, four lanes . My friend in kakamega we are used to one lane so small that you can’t risk walking at the edge of the road a side mirror can behead you. There was no evidence of the boreholes that ,oh sorry the potholes that existed all over the roads . I promised myself to write the governor a kudos note before I left. I got to my home stage , boarded a tuk-tuk cause you don’t get to my village by bus and tuk-tuk was the cheapest. This economy couldn’t allow lavish lifestyle like taking a motorcycle, I had to save every penny. A penny saved always flattered me that I can still do economics, a boy must dream.
Using a tuk-tuk was like taking a brief fitness lesson, the rocking back and forth made breakdance seem like a minor deal, every bone got a chance to flex,that’s why obesity is a rare case this sides. As we zoomed past bukhungu stadium I couldn’t help marveling at the new structure, it’s baby time dream of “when I grow up I want to be kasarani stadium” was now a reality. When it rains some trees are struck by lightning, it’s the order of life and that made up adage couldn’t be more right. The stadium had been mordernised that all our dear panya-routes through the fence were no more. With this current galloping inflation those panya-routes were a gold mine. The thought of buying tickets to watch homeboys play was traumatizing. This developers need to think about our well fare once in a while, did they really have to build the fence to?
At 8:20 I was at our village market centre. The silence and the darkness enveloping that centre was eerie. The only light was shinning from one shop left open and by the look of things he was wrapping up the day. This sorry economy dispayed here begged the thought that maybe shop owners decided to take night classes on economics after all this sudden dive in economy caught everyone unguarded.
I wished those night class shop students success in their efforts and took a short cut heading home. I’m not a big fan of main roads and that made me have a default dislike of whoever made that proverb “shortcuts are always wrong cuts ” or something. I know those oldies were smart but he should have specified which short cuts, all the ones I’ve ever used seemed to have collogued to prove him wrong. I think the shortcut he or she meant was like using Bible verses to swindle village folks money or tithe. That would have been for that saying ’cause that Bible route is perilous . Village folks have nothing better to do or read other than reading the Bible ,you have to be a real pastor to beat them. Maybe I should have listened to my gut that maybe,a small maybe that saying was true. The rate at which I was tripping on that road made me think that some childish booby trams had been set all over. This road must have been redesigned and designated for birds only because passing through it was risking a broken leg. Next time I decide to pass through this road I’ll insure my leg first. Clinics must be thriving from mending broken legs. My phone came to my rescue and thanked heavens for making makers of phones make them with torch. This road was rigged with small small trenches, they didn’t have the dignity to be called potholes. Someone must have built a big cart that passes through this road oftentimes. The village headman or the Liguru must be voted out soon. After hop step and jump dance, passing over a thorny fence, almost tripping on a tethered cow in the middle of the road and subjecting my shoe to inhumane ordeal of stepping in fresh steaming cow dung ,I arrived home. Safe but not sound.
Most youths paint villages to be like some B.C enclave of uncivilized souls with unorthodox culture. They go to every nook and cranny to find reasons not to visit their rural homes. Let me enlighten you folks today, you miss out on a myriad of things. Apart from fresh foods, simple ladies who texting her ‘hi’ makes her blush, fresh air, high clouds and love everywhere ,you get to live like a celebrity for a while. Oh and this village folks know a lot, they even have WiFi nowadays. That’s a milestone.
Life always gets absorbing when you meet your village mates. If villages had gossip magazines,this would be my season. All cover pages would have their long lost son, me. It seemed like some herald had preceded me and spewed all niceties of my stay away. It was a wave here and there , strong handshakes that could make a good intentional assault case and some yum yum eyes that seemed to say, “toa kitu kidogo bwana , you’re from money city”. Vera Sidika would be so proud of me , I know how to handle fake fame like a pro. My age mates were all over me , “bradhe toa form ya weekend”. Our MCA who failed during elections would be envious of me. Anyway I’m not complaining,I love the attention.
The wazees didn’t disappoint either, they greeted me with so much enthusiasm I almost thought one might even bless me accidentally, you never know when your luck hits. Though the traditional way of blessing made that luck seem too far fetched. From the stories I’ve heard it’s quite an ordeal, “get some mucus on the hands ,rub it on your head, murmur some Gujarati” and Bam you are blessed. Drake knows no blessing,trust me .I was feeling this moments, celebrities and I were one thing now apart from the wealth. In that sector I was still an under dog. I was even tempted to offer my autograph to my friends , I wonder what I’d do if I was some real celebrity. The beauty of a village is that everyone knows everyone and everything.
Those wazees were oozing advise left right and center. I think if I stay here a month long I can be a very successful motivational speaker in future . One old pastor had me laugh my lungs out , flood him with pity and grab an apple or two of juicy advise.
He exuded too much energy and charm for his age though he is not that fossil old like Moi. I think he doubles my age and adds a decade or so but to me that is still old. He started with how proud he was that I had made a landmark in my life (educationally)though not a great one. He spoke passionately about education that I thank God I don’t own a school ,I could have made him the head teacher immediately. I suspect he would school all poor kids freely given the power.
He emphasized how important education is that it even makes your funeral be a bit longer when you die. I couldn’t help but laugh at this ,I didn’t see his reasoning. Then he went on saying that there is nothing as short as a funeral of a fool who didn’t go to school. His illustration had me clutching my stomach with fits of laughter, with a fake microphone he imitated eulogy reading session.” Josphrius Indukusi alizaliwa 1950 akazurura , akazurura Tena , akaenda Nairobi akazurura akajenga isimba akakufa, asanteni” . That summary of a life was so brief and stupid but that’s the best one could say for him as he gave me an example. Adding more information would taint the dead cause other than that the guy he told me about was known for stealing and digging farms. You can’t add that to a eulogy. The grains of advises were piling.
I pried a little deeper to find what was driving such a passion in education, that was when he told me his tale. He beat all odds ,by the time he was finishing I had spent all my emotions on the details, sadness, pity , awe but greatest of all I was proud of him. Yeah, a you man can be proud of an oldie.

     He was born in a family of 30 kids, 30kids. I had to ask again before I processed that information. We were only three but it’s not a smooth ride I tell you, 30 kids would be a warzone . I wager they had ganged up in groups but I didn’t say that aloud, maybe he was a gangleader and I hear they are no joke .His father had grown up as an only son so he swore to fill the Earth as God instructed. His father must have had some big balls to bring such a multitude, even thinking about it is scary. Such balls, SMH. His father first wife brought to light 8 kids, those were not enough and so a second wife was lined up for the show, not to watch but to play. The second wife outshone the first wife with Glee as she flooded the Earth with 12 strong kids. A full team with a coach . That’s not a meager feat. Twenty kids didn’t faze him still so the third wife was introduced in the game and 10 kids were added to the small army. (For the sake of not being misquoted, this is not the chronological order of how they were born it was not clarified. You can arrange their birth to your liking.)
This is what I call a healthy competition but the situation in that household was more of survival for the fittest.
He narrated how hard life was but he commended his father for always providing food. When it came to ugali they never missed but other amenities was up to you and your mother. His mother struggled to school them and when he was in class four she could do no more. The ball was in his court. He now appeared to be in a pensive state, a heavy sad frown masking his charm. In a trance like state he told me how he juggled selling sugarcane and going to school till he did his class K.C.P.E . Then school became a history , the future was left for fate to curve to its liking.
His narration on their best days had me smiling. It was the day their father went to buy maize and come home with a sack of yellow flour. They would watch him from high rocks as he peddled his bicycle down the hill towards home . Their focus was not in the flour but the sack carrying the flour. That was when the sack campaign would start , the smart campaigner would rush down and help his daddy cross the small river bellow the hill as he requests sweetly for the sack when the flour gets depleted. I sat there smiling as I pictured 30 kids some with torn shorts and cracked foot campaigning for the sack. ” Daddy I fixed your akala yesterday can I have the….and another one jumps in cutting him short….”daddy I caught a hare for supper I should get the ……cut short and another one wines his pleas”  I was laughing internally as I pictured him as a kid , probably he had a big head judging from the look of things right now . The victor had a kempinsky like sleep . You had to go in the sack headfirst and leave the legs dangling like wearing”don’t touch my feet” trousers. In the middle of the night when temperatures are bearing to the minimum you had to curl in like a snail, cold proof. Nothing could stand between you and all the wetdreams you could possibly have in a night. This was like heavy density maharaja dreamland matress. You should try it he joked .
At this point I was so lost in pitying him that I wished I could turn back time and lend him some sacks , we have alot of them . Fast forwarding, 27 years later he realized his dream of doing form four exams . That caught me off guard I had to whistle to relieve some shock. I always hear people whistle when shocked I don’t know why. The thought of his son thinking he was some fool was too much to bear and so he worked on his dream . Plus of course making his funeral a bit longer . His idea of his son thinking he was a fool had me crack my ribs in the middle of some serious tale , he mimicked ” dad nisaidie kufanya hii swali ya math topic one form one” and he goes ” aiii mtoto wanje hiyo ilinipita bwana unataka kuniuwa na maswali ngumu ngumu”
He is now doing his bachelor’s degree ,he finished his diploma some years back. I felt like patting his back and tell him how proud I was of him but I can’t risk being cursed because of a being carried away by the tale.
He finished his tale and the joy of being in the village was overwhelming. I was bursting with advise that I felt like collecting all youths together and advise them like an old timer. He kept telling me how proud my daddy would be if I buy a plane , I wonder why old people love planes . He said that I should buy a big plane that any moment a plane passes over my dad calls everyone around and tells them ” mtoto wangu ako na ndege Kama hiyo , inafanana hivyo kabisaa mpaka rangi ni hiyo hiyo” ,just to brag to his peers.
Rural has so much to offer . Make an effort to enjoy this setting. Right now I’m still busking in celebrity glory but for you feel free to fantasize how it feels, I am living your fantasy. Today I have a picnic planned , naivasha resort style. A chair by the fish pond as I sip my uji mos most while listening to Ken wa Maria songs and humming to the birds chirps. Let me enjoy my celebrity life while it still lasts I will find you ‘normals’ later when my status has ebbed away and I need some harambee to travel back to Nairobi. Oh and tell president Uhuru that my village grandy said I tell him asiwasahau , she probably thinks we dine with him in the same joint back there.

Advertisements

ART OF MISCHIEF-Gershon’s Chronicles

One thing I love about memories is that you cant miss a funny moment or two; sorry not two ,you will definitely crack a rib. I wonder who made that expression ‘crack a rib’ , were it possible some guys with a high sense of humor would have to rent a room in the hospital or just become doctors to be safe.

Anyway recalling my hay days. My brother and I were the worst duo to leave your humble cleaned home under our mercy . It always seemed like we had something against clean houses, well arranged cabinets ,shelves and as the rule of law stipulates ‘never leave a place as you found it’ we never failed whoever made that rule. But the problem was that we left it in a condition that always caused our butts massive pain almost on a daily basis,maybe that’s the prime reason for my ‘full’ butts. I’m saying full so that ladies don’t feel threatened. Mischief seemed to have been programmed in our DNA. I remember thinking that it was a problem associated with round heads, my brother Gavin used to call me moon-face ,such an a-hole . I used to hate that name passionately ,a hate that parallels my hate for very dilute milk tea with little sugar for the few who understand the sanctity of the taste of thick milk. Or “chai tikni” as the luyha folks I lived with used to say. The worst part was that even mirrors seemed to have connived with him to annihilate my hopes that he was kidding and it wasn’t true. I guess that was the onset of me making guys who love mirrors feel like women ,”uko na umama” was my favourite phrase whenever I saw  a guy using a mirror. Even my last tribal name seemed to have been tailor made specifically for me , it meant moon in Abagusii. Who the hell  makes such a name and how on earth did it find its way to me ,even fate seemed to be working against my moon-face.

 

Back to my tale ,in fact this is one of my favourite memories:DECEMBER HOLIDAY 2006. there is something about December that I should ask those wahenga fellows to help me figure out. It’s a period that as a kid you don’t have to look for trouble, it looks for you and my friend you can’t evade it no matter how many games of police and thief you’ve played. It always seemed to have trained with seal team six to take you down. As a kid I fell in love with Christmas movies or can I say I loved watching those dumb kids whine over presents like dolls and toys , God knows I’ll wash your legs all year long if you just got me a remote controlled airplane toy at that age but to those dumb kids that was always not enough.As if discontent wasn’t enough ,some of them had the guts to throw them at their parent:take a moment ,sit back and sip your ‘strungi’ as you picture yourself do that to your parent. The fact that I’m telling you this means i never tried such a suicide mission ’cause if hell doesn’t want you that bad ,maybe you can live in the ICU for a decade or two. That’s a real African home. If only they knew the only kind of Christmas I grew up knowing was from CRE teachers drilling in us that Jesus was born on that day. I’m a staunch SDA if you’re wondering how fucked up my Christmas was, we don’t believe in that but let me not preach to you for the fear that you might all  get converted and Christmas movies will face extinction.Sorry I can’t risk that.

 

The weeks prior to Christmas was well spent on fantasizing how the main Christmas movie will be. I pictured myself taking in the scenes with a concentration of an old-timer trying to put a string in a needle hole. If you stumbled upon me amid my fantasy one would have gone smiling , thinking that I must be the next Einstein ’cause that kind of pondering was for a few chosen;geniuses. Sorry if you saw me those days and thought I was solving some black-hole formula ,I was just planning my sitting position for Christmas movie.

I had played and replayed every scene in my head ,I had chosen the best watching spot in front of our small 19” fat backed Akira tv ,completed my chores by 7 o’clock and even found the best excuse for not doing many chores that day. My plans had one achille’s heel or one can say achile’s leg : a kid watching tv in our household was treasonous . This woe befell us thanks to Ben Carson with his famous books” from an inept student to a scholar” THINK BIG and GIFTED HANDS . If only he could foresee the troubles his books sowed for us he would have postponed its production by a couple of years till I was grown. In that book Sonya Carson makes his kids to choose only three programs to watch in a week. Who does that? Oh sorry ,my parents did that. I take that back. My parents having the “BIG PICTURE” for us and having fallen in love with Sonya Carson cruel methods of nurturing excellence in her kids implemented that idea. We chose four programs and so the tv was forbidden if those programs weren’t playing. Of cos we found a hack around that later but that’s a story for another day. If we were caught watching tv any other time the whole village would witness the perfect illustration for a real whooping. My dad was a pro at whipping ,sometimes I used to think the government should have hired him to administer punishment to those prison hard-heads, they would have reformed from his whipping. That was the epitome of child mistreatment as we used to think those days ,of cos we came to see the importance of it later on in life.

 

So my Christmas dream solely depended on my parents being away from home that christmas day, such a long shot that was. Talk about salvation in funny ways, my friend, I prayed for my parents to be busy that day, after all at Sabbath school we were taught God loves children so my prayer had a higher probability of being answered . Go to church my friends you learn very special things that come in handy when you need them , just ask my kid self he’ll tell you the same.Like you can learn how Jesus made five fish multiply,it will come in handy when you’re broke trust me. This was the point I was going to kill two birds with one stone ,prove the Sabbath school teaching and get time to watch my movie what a genius way of putting God to test. It seemed dumb I know but that Christmas day I solidified my faith in God. If it was possible to get God that day I know for sure he would have suffered a fracture or two from my tight hug. The big guy above never fails even the mischievous lot, I know evil doers are now sighing with relief. At dawn break my parents were out and as the saying goes “paka akiondoka panya hutawala” came to be lived. You have to believe those wise wahenga , the moment my brother and I had the gate close, all the chores froze. It was the first time the sound of those iron sheets from our gate made a sound that was more beautiful than Beethoven sonata . I high fived my brother and like a programmed robot we switched on our alarm system. Our alarm system was a state of art tech. Our gate was made of iron sheet badly fixed that to open it without a sound  required  knowledge you acquire from using it time and again. My parents were well versed with it so we couldn’t take that chance and that’s how we came up with our alarm system. The alarm was a big rock carefully put at the edge of the gate in such a way that when it is opened the iron sheet must scratch the stone. The noise it made could fool anyone that whirl wind was ripping roofs off. It was effective and you couldn’t beat it unless you used the fence and we couldn’t imagine my dad risking to tear his precious baggy trousers for a stealth entrance. Baby geniuses we were I think Steve Harvey missed an opportunity for featuring us in the big shots show. It was one of the many ways we used to convince ourselves that we were super those days , that kid from home alone movie couldn’t stand a chance against us. That warning plus the distance between the gate and the front door was enough for us to switch off the tv ,whipe all the static charges off its screen, arrange the sitting room,hide dirty utensils ,rush to the study table and pretend like books are the love  of our lives. We were pro’s ,shades on.

 

Together with my bro we glided to the sitting room, all teeth and cheeks hurting from smiling. Ecstatic illustrated and as the tv came on the feeling that coursed through our veins was past description. One might describe that kafeeling like that you have when you clean your ear with chicken feathers.We did our happy dance shaking our butts like clowns,our trademark happy dance. We took our positions pre-selected after long assessment of all positions in the house . I, directly in front of the tv a position I would fight for if anyone dared to take it from me. Little did we know that that Christmas would turn out to be what we wouldn’t have ever dreamt of even in our worst  nightmares………..TO BE CONTINUED #subscribe