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This is why I am not going back to "ushago"


Like you know, I am at the village for a sabbatical leave. Being a young public accountant is hectic and leaves me with no good time to properly fall in love. So at times, I retire to the countryside to unwind in the cool winds of Mau forest.

When I was coming home, I saw a small Toyota Vitz with the notice "I’m on sale". It is like it wanted me to cry that it was being sold. The car looked so emotional, with a broken side mirror and a hanging headlight. If only my money was released from the bank...I could have rescued the car from the agony of a careless owner.

I forgot about it as soon as the noisy hornbill Tuk Tuk passed by. It is true that some Tuk Tuk have dreams. This one had mudguard with the words "When I grow up, I want to be a Coast Bus"

I wished it well, what else was I to do?

The Tuk Tuk reminded me about the question our Biology teacher, always repeated when I was in form one. He was fond of asking us to explain the difference between a car and a man although both used oxygen to generate energy. I ever wrote the last point as: The car carries people and doesn't complain while a man gets tired and drops you down. Mr. Cheruiyot was always threatening me, but same questions need same answers.

Whenever I land at the village I have to make my presence known to all my kinsmen. Big and small must see me, old and young must hear about me, friends and mabeshtes must pass by our home.

For all the time of my stay in the village, I rule, actually, I rock.

My slogan is always that: Even if I will embarrass myself, I have to be noticed.

I have to be with news of how tough Nairobi life is. This way, no one will ask a token from me. The only people who have a right to fifty bob each and in note form are two: My little sister and the boy Wamuroha.

I have to tell people about my last visit to parliament and I have to repeat to my little sister Esther that she needs to work hard in the academy if she wants to live on top of the house featured in the Ksh 100 note.

In spite of her tender age, I tell her she is a good and a beautiful girl; I can't stand another boy telling her that it is him who discovered how beautiful she is!

I am her big brother and she is my sister; my only sister.

This time mama is not friendly at all. At the gate I met a man leaving with two sheep, my sheep and I nearly created a scene but controlled myself.

I settled on peace, I believe in peace. What pained me is to find another sheep buyer in our home. They were negotiating the price of my remaining sheep. When I protested, she asked me why I keep them. They are meant for dowry but she has reasons to believe that I am not interested in bringing home the girl she overhead over the phone. It is fine.

We had supper around the three stone fire-place. All hands stretched by the fire, enjoying the warmth through radiation. Radiation transfer of heat is the only thing I remember in primary science and maybe the parts of the locust.

Mzee is good, he seems to understand me and actually he does.

"Hawa watu hawataki haraka", he says to me as we eat chicken.

"ee baba si rahisi vile mama anafikiria", I confirm his point.

"Things will fall into place, at the right time”, he says as he starts eating the second leg of the chicken.

Like you know in my culture, the leg of the chicken belongs to the father. The first born and the mother have an inherent right to share the chicken chest. The rest of the siblings can decide on whom to eat the feathers and the throat.

For all the time, mama has been allowing me to eat the whole chest but since June last year, she terminated the privilege. If only she knew how I struggle to make Susan understand why we need to make the 'mistake' and take the risk with me.

Suzie's happiness is my happiness, She smile for a while, I laugh in the rough life, Susanna is my Queen, Not only to the moon and back, but also to Pluto, I wish to cherish. But she asks so much. A Volkswagen POLO for engagement!

Here the night is darker.  Two people three meters from each other cannot see each other, unless they sing some unconnected songs. If they sing one song, one may think it is the echoes due to dark darkness.

I convince mama that we shall talk tomorrow morning since I am here for quite some time. I cannot let her know for how long. She will allocate me a piece of garden to weed or a tree to chop firewood.

As I go to sleep, halfway to my small house, I feel the presence of someone. So my little sister has followed me.

"Mteule I want to sleep in your house", she says.

"No Ciku, girls don't sleep with boys in the same house", I tell her. "But you are not a boy', she tells me. She is the fighting type.

"Who am I?" I ask her.

"You are aaaaa...I know it is because I have small legs. Sawa tu, good night", she says and gets lost back to the big house.

At the door, she shouts " baba amesema, be sure to listen to the cows. They get stolen at night"

That's enough reason for me not to sleep. I fear cow thieves. I am eagerly waiting for tomorrow morning.

This will be a long night.

Few minutes after catching some deep sleep, I am awoken by some faint noises and spontaneously the whole village bursts into screams.

"They are on these sides', someone shouts. "They are here....” another voice adds and stops midway.

Instantaneously, mzee calls me and asks me to follow him. I manage to put on three trousers and a jacket and keep Susan's photograph in the pocket of the leather jacket...There is so much noise. I don't remember the village this way.

This will be the longest night in my life.

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