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New, strict work ethics for Peasant Shamba's watu wa mikono

By Oluoch Madiang' | January 7th 2017
Peasant farmer in Kenya. (Photo: Courtesy)

The Peasant Farmer, as with many Wakenya watukufu, decided to travel during this festive season and visit friends and relatives. Of course, the dependable Peasant Shamba jalopy carried mavuno, which the Peasant Farmer distributed to his friends and relatives the way the supposed Three Wise Men gifted gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus.

You can bet that because he practises animal and plant husbandry, most of the Peasant Farmer's friends are wakulima wa aina mbali mbali. So he drove all the way from the extra-hot Kisumo to the extra-cold Nyandarua to visit Mzee Mwireri, a no nonsense 'mkulima wa exports' who does all sorts of horticulture. He is a rich farmer.

After rounds of mútura and supu ya kichwa made from the fattest goat in his honour and múratina to help with digestion, the Peasant Farmer joined Mwireri in supervising farm work. Huyu mzee hana mchezo! People and donkeys were working for him bila jokes and within five hours, all work was done and done well.

All the potatoes and cabbages and peas had been weeded within that period, cows fed and milked, kukus watered, fed and mayai collected, counted and graded and French beans packaged and dispatched for onward exportation to Ulaya. Na siyo hayo tu. Watu wa 'shift' had been paid and let off by 11am after a cup of tea with sweet potatoes. Such efficiency explained utajiri wa huyu mkulima.

Unlike Nyandarua, the Peasant Farmer has to deal with watu wa mikono who come later than the appointed time, insist on working as a group and spend half the work time discussing politics and the elections of 2022. Further, they demand to be made for tea and lunch besides their pay.

Some of them come with watoto who they have to feed under the banana crop, and also make loud telephone calls every few minutes to tuma salamu and plan for funerals. Isitoshe, left to their devices, they have a way of digging only a few spots and covering the undug places cleverly as if imelimwa. Of course they also eat the farm products ostensibly kuonja kama iko tayari.

On account of the Christmas visits therefore, the Peasant Farmer has adopted new ethics. Work begins at exactly 6am and ends at 10am. You report a minute late and hakuna kazi. No coming with children and shamba work will only be done by able-bodied women.

Men have too much siasa and laziness. They reek of cham and work with madharau. Telephones will be surrendered at the gate until work is over. Halafu, every one for herself: you will be given an area ufanye pekee yako and storytelling or speaking is banned. This story of coming to work as friends from a chama ya wamama hakuna tena. Payment is at 11am after satisfactory inspection and deducting any Peasant Shamba fruit you ate secretly.

No more working into the afternoon. There shall be no begging the Peasant Farmer for funeral mchango or permission. Kama huwezani na hizi sheria, potea. And with that, Happy farming in 2017!

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