Then i arrive at my countryside, located deep inside the Aberdare ranges. This was the kind of places one would have to board a train to the main town, then a bus to the town center, then a modified pickup known as ‘face you face me’ where there were sits at the opposite sides of the pickup and as the name suggests, people would sit at positions facing each other. The sad part about this mode of transport was that, if one of the passengers happened to have ubnormal luggage like live chicken, large amounts of raw fish or even a live goat, it would be put just beside you, at the same place you were sitted. So it was rather unfortunate if one was heading to a wedding then found himself in this ordeal, because he/she would end up having some kind of stench overthrowing the cheap perfum that you had worn , so people used to carry perfumes around like handkerchiefs just in case. Another thing was the dusty roads Headed to my country side were so bad that the ‘face you face me’s’ used to throw us around while they were racing to drop us at our destinations. Sometimes I used to have deep sympathy for the school goers who had to board these vehicles while heading to school in the morning, I tell you the way one is thrown around while the car is racing down the dusty road, is enough to have you forget all that you have read that previous night for an exam….and long term usage of those vehicles may have one even going insane.
I finally arrive at my grand mothers place, tired and dusty. She must have heared the vehicle stopping past the house and racing away afterwards because she came towards the gate running having the idea that she had a visitor. Then she saw me, trust me I’ve seen alot of people smile, but hers was real. Even with her notable number of scarce teeth she would still show her joy in one of the most selling smiles I’ve seen so far. She came then hugged me, she hugged me so tight that I could read that part of that hug was anger of me not coming to see her more often, but it was still filled with love.
She then leads me to the living room and immediately prepares a meal of roasted chicken and rice to kill my appetite….what can i say , the lady knows me 😀 . I showed her my prowess in that field as i had taken part in several eating competitions and the kind of hunger that i was going through in campus did not allow me to play with food….most of all chicken. After giving her my story’s of my experience in school using my crooked mother-tongue dialect which made be believe that we were not on the same page for almost half the time I was talking, but the fact that she was laughing and nodding her head while i was narrating was enough proof of communication.
Then just as i was getting done eating, my cousin, Mungai, came in and greeted me half heartedly as half of his mind was on the chicken. He asked me to escort him to watch an Arsenal game at a nearby bar and I hurriedly accepted being the loyalist I was of Arsenal. But the glutton of a man had to eat first and you could see the way he was tearing those bones, it was like he had some knowledge of chicken anatomy because he cleared the meat in those bones like if it was some kind of surgery, and finally we headed to the bar. Mungai told me he had ‘forgotten’ his cash at home but he would appreciate if I would buy him 2 beers and 3 glasses of Mùràtínâ (a traditional brew for the Kikuyu community) I knew the guy was taking advantage me expecting I had cash due to the fact I was from town, not knowing I had 20oksh in my pocket that I ordered a jug of mùràtínâ with, promising to buy him beer after the match had ended. When the brew was served, Mungai was so excited you would think he had won some lottery….he served his first glass and gulped it down his throat like it was tap water.
The game finally started, Arsenal Vs Manchester United, the screen we were viewing from was a JCV model ( China copy of the original JVC) and the TV was so small that I was having a hard time tracing the ball in the screen. Another thing was that the TV was on mute and the radio was the one giving commentary, so as we watched the game the commentary was from a local radio station ( Inóóró FM ) that was giving vernacular commentary of the match since most of the people there couldn’t understand English. The problem was that, the radio would sometimes announce a goal while in the Tv no goal had been scored.
The game ended at a draw 0-0 and as I was seeping my brew, I realized Mungai had finnished the whole jug and was now looking at me suggesting for the beer I had promised, knowing I didn’t have money I had to act fast…..so I faked beeing drunk by talking aimlessly and staggering as we were heading back home….Mungai seemed very disapponted…but don’t blame me, a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do 😀
(The picture is an artwork showing an artists impression of a rural township in Kenya. Follow him @jrsketchbook on instagram)