Ordinary items seem strange to city children

It always thrills me to go with my children to the rural areas.

Other than taking a break from the hustle and bustle of their city life, a trip to the village helps them see life from another angle. They also get to meet new people, learn new skills and connect with nature.

Last Sunday, we paid a visit to my old friend and former classmate Tito, at his Kinoo home.

Tito is one of my friends who have joined the growing wave of rural-urban migration. With his wife Sarah, they bought a farm a decade ago and set up a modest home, where they enjoy a quiet life with their children.

My two boys refused to join us for the trip, so Tiffany invited her best friend and classmate, Sandra, whose family lives two houses away from my hacienda.

The boys claimed they were expecting some important guests, whose identities they declined to reveal, so I was left with Mama Jimmy, Tiffany and her friend.

We left home after breakfast and arrived in Kinoo thirty minutes later. Despite being hyped as a fast growing “suburb” of Nairobi, Kinoo has maintained its classic rural feel. Ignoring the occasional robbery attack, Kinoo is a homely countryside where everybody seems to know everybody else, and the donkey is an important mode of transport.

We were treated to a hearty welcome at Tito’s, and everyone had a terrific moment. The women stayed indoors all day and watched Nigerian movies over tea, while my old friend and I sat under a tree in the compound.

Tiffany and Sandra immediately hit it off with Waitherero, the youngest member of Tito’s household. From Waitherero, the two “born towns” learned a lot. First, they learned how to ride a wheelbarrow, which proved to be an immensely tough task.

The two were also received free culinary lessons, and learned how to prepare various delicacies such as roasted maize. Even though most of their were looking like charcoal, I must say they learned really fast.

Lunch was served at noon, and the food tasted wonderfully farm-fresh. Afterwards, the three girls spent part of the afternoon in the chicken coop, where they patiently observed a chicken laying an egg.

For the two city dwellers, this was a moment to behold. They had heard that eggs come from chicken, and they had even read about it, but this was the moment to experience for themselves one of nature’s greatest phenomena.

Later on, there was drama when Sandra asked to visit the loo, only to be shown to the latrine. This was the first time she had ever visited a pit latrine, and she was visibly shocked.

 “Ai, hii sio loo! Wapi ile kitu ya kupiga maji?” she demanded.

To her young city mind, a real toilet must include a cistern and a bowl. It took lots of persuasion to convince her that a latrine indeed is a certified ablution facility.

More drama followed later when Mose, Titos’ farmhand, took a bucket and went off to milk the cows. Tiff and her city friend were exhilarated by the spectacle of a white liquid coming from the animal, and they wasted no time asking about this strange magic.

“Uncle Mose, hiyo ni nini inatoka kwa hiyo doggy kubwa?” Sandra wondered.

First, Mose corrected her that it was a cow, not a big dog. But the moment he announced that the liquid was “milk”, the city dwellers could not believe their ears. Sandra wondered what was to be done to this milk.

“Hii ni ya kupika chai,” Mose proffered with a smile, and this only served to massacre my angel’s appetite.

“Aiiii, mimi siwezi kukunywa hiyo!” she exclaimed. “Sisi tunakunywanga maziwa ya pakiti, sio ya ngombe!”

Other than the drama and culture shocks, we had a great time at my friend’s residence.

At 6 PM, we packed ourselves in our Starlet and left for the city. The Titos sent us off with enough vegetables to last a month, while promising to pay us a visit next month.