A man who left his village 46 years ago in search of greener pastures returned home a poor man, but says his desire is to marry and have two children.
Chumbe Mwondo, 78, left his home in Ikorongo village in Nyaribari Masaba, Kisii County, in 1970, leaving behind a wife and a two-year-old daughter. The woman left with her child after some time.
But on Sunday, it was jubilation after he came back. Family members slaughtered a white goat as a sign of accepting him back.
When he returned home, just a few people could remember him. Neither his cousins nor younger sisters knew him.
Young Mwondo is said to have left home in 1970 to an unknown destination in search of greener pastures.
He arrived in Koywa, Bomet County, in the company of four other men from the same village out to work as lumberjacks.
“We worked in various forests in the larger Rift Valley region until when the Government banned timber harvesting in all forest in the early 80s.
“We parted ways then and I moved to Kipkellion’s Nyagacho Settlement Scheme where I have been working as a shamba boy.
He said for the past 27 years he was not paid any salary but got medical attention, food and clothing from his boss.
“My boss used to tell me that I would waste all the money on alcohol if he paid me every month. He had offered to buy a bull and give me a piece of his land. We had signed an agreement with the area chief that at some point my boss was to fulfil his promise,” he said.
However, when he returned home on Sunday, his boss escorted him to the main road and offered him Sh18,000 plus transport.
“I have handed over the money to my local chief for planning,” he said.
Mwondo said he took a matatu at Total junction along Kisii-Nakuru highway and alighted at Keroka market before taking a boda boda to his home.
“I used to herd more than 25 dairy cows and several sheep. My employer took good care of me. I plan to go back with my family members to thank him. He even protected me during the 2007/08 post-election violence. I became the son of the soil and they nicknamed me ‘mindet’, a local Kalenjin name for the antelope.
“I was given the name because of my prowess in hunting down antelopes in the nearby forests,” he said.
He said his desire was to return home and share Christmas with family members.
Get a wife
“I am satisfied with what I have. I am grateful that my family has not tampered with my portion of land and I will put up a house and make a home.
“I have age mates and family members who can get me a wife. I was not able to marry because I had nothing to hold a wife. I want a woman who will love me and cook for me,” he said.
Mwondo said he knew his parents had died because he used to have nightmares all the time.
“I wish they were around to receive me back home,” he said.
His father Abednego Mondo died in 1977, seven years after Mwondo left home. His mother Kerubo Mwondo died in 1997 aged 106 years.
Helen Moraa, his sister-in-law, recalled the day Mwondo left. She said she had prepared him spider plant (saga), sour milk and ugali for dinner. However, when the family woke up in the morning Mwondo was gone.
“I am willing to get him a wife. Whether she comes with children or not is not an issue,” she said.
Relatives said villagers remember him for his hard work and proficiency in playing the Abagusii traditional horn during funeral ceremonies.
His octogenarian cousin Jeremiah Nyaora said they had been looking for Mwondo over the years in vain.
“The family had hopes that he would return,” said Nyaora.