Last night

Ati why I’m soaked to the skin? I bet I also don’t know. Hehe, anyway, rain pounded me properly last night. But that’s its own story. It needs time to narrate. So you wazungus also seek rescue in these cheap vibanda? Now who do you want to utilize Villa Rosa Kempinsky, the Intercontinental Hotel, and other fancy inns? How does parking a Rav 4 beside these muddy structures feel anyway? Or you have no otherwise? Ooh! It’s just that I’ve been brought up to believe that these mud kiosks (let’s call them ‘one star hotels’) are meant for the deprived, like me. Ugh! I’m freezing. Mama Caro? Leta chai thermos moja. Na chapo tatu. And by the way, why are you here? Or you’re pursuing James Bond Wanjala(the Bungoma Superman)?  Alaine was also here recently. She was looking for some Wafula guy. And where do you take these people ?

You see, here, any boy that comes of age has to erect an isimba. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, in his book The River Between, terms it thingira. You must have heard of these people that love gold so much, and silver and bronze! Yeah! To them, it’s called singiroino. Yes, that one. An example of such structures is that one over there. No! That other one. Yes. The grass-thatched. Hahaha. It’s just a lifestyle, not really peasantry. Now why should we subscribe to the idea of purchasing iron sheets when there’s free grass, in plenty? In the swamp just down here. Cutting it is not hard. Probably because we are strong. But I know you people are so weak.

Show me your palm! You see! It’s very soft. No wonder you keep spinning around and enchanting our women. Whose thirst you can’t quench anyway. You can’t perform hard labor! Look at mine. Feel it. Do you see all these blisters? Oh! Wait! Do you have a wife? And kids? Why don’t you move around with her then? Ati exploring greener pastures! Kwani these ‘greener pastures’ of yours are only got in Africa? I mean, are there no younger women where you come from? And, by the way, you said you are from? Ooh! Are there rich blacks in Canada? We can build you a hut then, it consumes no time.

Roughly two weeks are enough to construct one. Regardless of its magnitude. The initial stage involves measurement making and marking. The same way all building foundations begin. Then instantly, we grab digging bars and sink holes. Where trees are supposed to be dipped. This process is usually a communal affair. So all boys in the hood take part. As some make holes on the ground, others pick machetes and task themselves to cut down trees. The trees are cut from around the village, and even from the neighborhood. And dragged to the construction site. The remaining lot trots to the swamp to cut grass. And leave it there to dry, before picking up wheelbarrows to collect it. Each wheelbarrow here costs 109K. Si you already know that? That’s why I told you we are not poor. Because we afford them. Each household has one or two of these automotive. They have indicators, and horns and airbags and firm brakes. So they ease carriage of grass from the swamp to building sites.

A fundi is then invited to even out the wall by chopping the trees to a 2metre length. And fixes a rail, which anchors the roof. Mind you! All that takes place in a single day. Now compare that to the time it took to construct walls of the houses you dwell in. I guess you now wish to move and reside here, with us? Which is still possible. Cause we are seven siblings. Only one is married, our third born. The rest are either searching or searching.

Where was I now? Oh! Well. The roof is then made. Separately from the erected barrage. And then lifted to fit the rail. The remaining job is now very easy. It involves cutting young trees. Which are flexible and can easily be bent to fit the dimensions of the barricade. And these trees are run flat through the wall, and fixed firmly with the use sisal thread. We hardly use nails here. The purpose of fixing these tree young ones horizontally is to create mud anchorage. All boys again gather to make mud. Enough mud to block up the whole fortification. And these boys must be fed well. So you have to prepare several 20litre containers of porridge, and a good number of sufurias of beans and maize mixture. That’s for breakfast.

The last step is to summon a specialist to grass-up your roof. And fix a door. And perhaps one or two windows.

So yester night, a dream hit me. That I was herding cattle. Then it started raining. And I started shouting at James; my younger brother. To aid me drive the herd home. But he did not respond. I got annoyed. I yelled harder, but still no one responded. Not even the passersby, who also trotted off for shelter. And the rain pounded harder. So strong was the storm I started choking. My torso heaved in and out in demand for oxygen. I gave a groan of dismay. A grunt that woke me up. Just to look around and realize I was in bed.  And for real, the heavens were leaking. And they released huge droplets. God must have been so angry.

It took me time to believe it was no more a dream. Because I don’t recall transferring my bed outside. And I don’t drink. So I was sober. One thing, I was sure I was inside my hut. Amid all that confusion, I gazed in the air. There was nothing up there. No roof! Just hollow and mist all over. I gulped several raindrops in that groan. Everything in my hut was soaked. So I had sleep standing the residual hours of the night.

That’s why I’m in this state. With all my clothes wet. At least mama Caro’s tea has rejuvenated me. I now have to leave, go home and start desiccating all that was rained on.

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