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Harold whines January has gone by too fast

By Peter Theuri | February 3rd 2021

I called Uncle Harold an irredeemable psychopath and he was deeply upset with me. He was angry not because I had insinuated that he is unemotional like a rock but because, well, the man can’t cycle to save his life.

“So why would you call me a cycle path?” he texted on a vintage phone that has survived tribal clashes, two referendums, a Trump presidency and even Sue’s infamous temper.

But I am not taking my words back. He is a sadist, Harold. When people around him suffer, he makes a fortune. And January, the month many people believe should be a year in itself, gives Harold the best returns.

It starts with the introduction into the New Year, after the Christmas razzmatazz. The excitement of the Yuletide season is still in the air, and the smell of half-cooked chicken and stench of muratina still hang on people’s overcoats.

In Gitegi, we celebrate the new year with a kesha. This is a barbaric arrangement where we spend the night listening to Harold scream prophecies at us, and we scream back; until midnight when the year turns.

We sing to usher in a New Year, then stagger home early in the morning, only to wake up with nasty hangovers and wondering why the New Year bears an uncanny resemblance to the old one.

At first, January feels alright. The spoils of December trickle into the New Year. Until mid-month, when the vagaries of the world’s nastiest month strike, and those who were feeding on chicken start feeding like chicken.

And, when the local witchdoctor confesses that he cannot turn stone into bread, the whole village trudges to Harold’s place.

If someone can sell hope, then it is this man Harold.

He promises them redemption, and such a change of fortunes that even the witchdoctor’s family is drawn to Harold’s church, Harold Assemblies of Holy Associates (Haha).

But Harold has seen this year’s January fly by too fast, courtesy of endless drama that occupied everyone for the better part of the month.

This, plus the fact that 2020 treated people to such pain that they got used to suffering, and January, for them, was better than any month of 2020, bar January.

Harold’s January collection is also used to fund his Valentine’s Day escapades. While I suffer explaining to my girlfriend Petra why I cannot afford to take her to the snake park so she’d ask the serpents a few crucial questions about a certain fallout in the Garden of Eden, Harold’s on-and-off squeeze Sue is usually wining and whining that the edition of the church wine in her hands is not fine enough.

But late Sunday evening this past week after a sermon in which he confessed to the congregation that Sh200 gets lost from the church kit every day, Harold lamented privately to me that the speed with which the month has gone is too fast, and he wanted to appeal to the President to extend January.

He also made it clear that when he stated that Sh200 is stolen every day, he had a name in mind and could have sued if the suspect was not Sue.

Of course, he quickly added, I could not be the suspect because if I ate at all, perhaps I could stop looking like a power pole; unattractively thin.

I swallowed the insult and even joked about it, telling him I would not mind being a Pole (a citizen of Poland), but then Harold is the same man who used the same formula (Poland’s people are Poles, Switzerland’s Swiss, etc) to say that German people are Germs.

Harold is responsible for all my nutritional problems; it is an open secret that he eats my food. But also he needs my services, and so that evening, he asked me to help him edit a letter he was sending to the president.

It was a brief, badly written plea.

I had a number of corrections to make. First, his sense of humour was a little uncomfortable. When he said that he ‘hopped’ to hear from the President, he was being funny, he confessed. “Or what do locusts do? Hop, aye? Haven’t I just mentioned them up there?”

I have said here before that Harold preaches, and drinks, wine. Water to him is only for Sunday when he is taking a shower.

Or when Sue pops in and makes stew, with the usual flood of soup.

I found an opportunity to remind Harold that, unlike his belief, we don’t say “Harold be thy name” but “Hallowed be”. He was furious.

“Why would you call locusts immigrants? Is it not you who said they are called LOCusts because they are local, and even said that if they were foreign they would be called FOREcasts?”

I am still waiting for a response to that.

This letter will be fully edited and send to the President by tomorrow, but we have one major problem.

We do not have the President’s address, and we are not quite sure smoke signals still work. Last time we tried, Harold was smoked out of the house by an upset Sue, who accused him of kuchoma picha, the only photos that were evidence of their on and off union, held together by church tithe.

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