So by now I should be a millionaire. Was it not that my brother and mama conspired and killed the industrialist in me back in 1996; I would be in a position of vying for the governor position in Kenya.
We had gone herding cattle in the deep places with cool rivers and greener pastures of Mau forest and Ngimwa suggested that we could make beer, herbal beer to be precise.
With his instructions, we picked some wild fruits that were sour. When ripe they are yellow in color and eating them is no mean feat. It was on a glorious Saturday whose air was filled with hope. The sky was blue and it was a sign of victory. My mama always told me that whenever I needed something, I was to look up at the heavens. That day was our day.
As I climbed on top of the thorny tree, with a wide smile I shouted to my partner.
“We can gather enough to brew enough pombe for the entire large village”, I told him.
“Yes Mteule, we will be rich and I will buy a plane”, Ngimwa gave me hope.
I threatened to climb down.
“Nitashuka kama utanunua ndege…I want to buy plane especially ile ya kubeba maziwa..wewe utanunua meli”, I negotiated a deal with this scientist.
Ngimwa was born a scientist and true to this day he is! Surely dreams are valid.
Like you know when were young, there was a plane that left a string of white “path” which we believed it was milk. You can’t really blame us. Whenever we saw it, we waited for the milk to reach us but it never did.
Ngimwa always told me that the milk was taken by the people from Venus. And I always believed him. In any case Venus is somewhere above us.
Back at home, we mixed the fruits, water and sugar in the ratio of 3.2.2. Each one of us was to keep one twenty-liter of the brew for fermenting. Caveat Emptor: fermenting was not my word but Ngimwa’s.
I choose under the bed to be the safe custody of the economic goods. We were to keep it safe and protect it at all costs. Each night I sipped a little bit of the pombe to tell its readiness and quality. I could not wait to see it being advertised on TV. “FROM THE FINEST BERRIES OF MAU FOREST COMES CAREFULLY BREWED BEER BY TWO YOUNG MEN”. I must confess that it was taking longer than I thought until one night I realized that the jelly can was not available for my evaluation.
I hissed and whined. I sighed and shed tears in the darkness. My brother sensed.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Someone took my divei from the land of Israel”, I answered.
“Niliona kibuyu chini ya bed, nikamwaga, I thought it was irrigation water”, he softly clarified.
Like you know him and me, irrigated on non- existing crops on our bed for quite a long time. As a fact mama had to give us a concoction made from boiling young maize cobs and honey. And it worked, we stopped;
The next day as we slept, my little brother smelt of alcohol. When I demanded for answers, he fought back and obviously mama and mzee had to come. To stop the impending World War III. He kept laughing for no good reason. The next day he was caught sharing it with his not –so-serious-class three pupils.
I was in class six