It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, my mum pops into our ‘bedroom’; a segment in our grass-thatched house separated from the living room by a curtain. To her amazement, we are all up and gazing at her, this has never been as she’s always woken us up fifteen minutes past 6. Which she always finds us dead asleep.
She instructs me to fetch a frying pan from the neighbor. she booked it two days ago. I can’t hesitate because a mere demur could lead to my mum changing her mind, you know what changing her mind means? Well, for those who reside in Europe, that means we won’t get a chance to munch on chapattis and mandazi again. Which we last ate early January when we honored my aunt’s invitation to attend her daughter’s graduation party.
I run to get the ‘pan’ at the neighbor; Okero, who reminds me to return it by 8 O’clock because it is the only frying pan in the village. And on such a crucial day, every village resident requires its services. Within no time, my elder sister Maureen is in the kitchen; a structure outside our house under a mango tree. Whose further descriptions none Europe residents define very well. She and my mum are now utilizing the firewood which she has been collecting for over a month in prior preparation for this day.
My voice is too hoarse because we spent the previous evening shouting ‘sikuukuu’ (Christmas). My dad is still in his bedroom possibly relieving himself of yesterday’s long journey from Nairobi. He set foot at home yesterday, late in the evening after a whole day’s travel from Kenya’s capital city. On his arrival, we grabbed his travel bag which always contained a loaf of bread. Maureen, being the eldest of us, had the obligation to ensure all kids present at our domicile got a taste of that bread.
Time is really flying, it’s now 2PM. All kids in the hood are heading towards the stream. Which is located a few metres from home, to shed off accumulated layers of dirt. We all lie in the same age bracket and the eldest of us is a class four pupil. Majority of us are class three. We all strip and run about the river, to gather the courage to bathe since the water is so cold.
It is Christmas day so we can’t afford the luxury of confining ourselves at our homes. We’ve just returned from the river, my mum jets into her bedroom and comes out with new apparel. I have six siblings and each is given brand new clothes to see that they fit them. We are all elated to receive new clothing. It’s now obvious that other kids from other families won’t boast or intimidate us. Because we will be dressed in new apparel too.
My dad hands Maureen seventy shillings to be shared amongst us. Mathematically, each of us is entitled to ten shillings. Cause we are seven. But because I’m cheeky, I jerks out of his but without showing gratitude, to him. Guess what that earns me! Exactly, he just pockets back my share. I’m left admiring other kids, as they buy balloons, and fill them with air. And as other big boys get jealous and burst these young ones’ balloons. I’m also left out, when my friends get into video halls, and watch kina Rambo, James Bond action movies. Because I can’t afford a 5 bob coin.