Back in the day as I was growing up in the firechi, we had a good life. It was a perfect life with fully paid-for holidays. Everything was cool and smooth, we trusted each other. We cared for each other and we were never sons and daughters of so and so. We just belonged to the local. You run away from school and you meet some parent on your way home, he looks at you and notices your nose resembles some villager who died 36 years ago and he asks you “Yaa aye tari mochokoro bwe entuga?” (“are you not a grandson to locust?”). You nod and he asks you, “why are you not in school?” you lie I was “chased” coz I had no pencil. He tells you no problem, let me take you back to school I will talk to the teacher he will get you a pencil. And that was life. We used to have stories for example there was one that used to do rounds about somebody who had a government emblem tattooed on his arm which meant that he was licensed to kill by the Government. His name was Monsooni. Ati yeye hata akikuua hakuna penya utampeleka. Then we had another one about a lion a kionga. A kionga was something that the lion used to carry and only puts down when drinking water. So if you time the lion and pokonyaz it the kionga, it becomes useless and harmless so you become chaosis like a lion. Then there was another one how police officers would arrest Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and he turns into a fly and disappear. Meeeeen…………….we had stories.
Back in the day when Douglas Mokoro will cook grilled French crostina (Chibando Chinkarange) and he will share with everybody during break time in school. Once we are done, I would chomoa undergroundee parafaits (Amanyabuari aka sweet potatoes) from a paper bag (jualaa) that also doubled as a school bag and we would make merry. And at the end of the month when teachers have eaten salary, we were sure Daniel Kabubi Bwoma will pinch slices of United yellow bread for his boys in school. And that is how we benefited from the sweat of his mother and our teacher. Of course thereafter, Nyambega Moka aka Obisa will take over the wrapper to use it in covering his exercise books. Jared Ogendi who was putting up with his relatives the Nyakoes (Late Chief – May his soul rest in peace) ensured we got a constant supply of avocados from Monday to Friday…………just in case you were wondering where I got the avocado-shaped head from! Sospeter Bangoya ensured that we never suffered from Kwashiorkor by ensuring a balanced diet using pineapples from Madam Yusita’s farm without her knowledge. On a few occasions, he would land on the wrong side of the law when he was accused of thievery, but that did not deter him from ensuring that we grew up healthy and stronger. His cousin Sospeter Matena was always proud of the development of the nuclear family of his father’s cow, lady Nyasero. Every time lady Nyasero gave birth, Sospeter would smear Makombito laccate (sour milk) on his chicks to pronounce that he is not mtu hifi hifi. Of course having a meal of sour milk in the village was no mean fete, until Tuzo diluted the experience. Sour milk was equivalent to terrific Tuesdays in Nairobi to some people.
……………………………NKT, back in the day life was good SMH. We would go for picnics and fishing holidays at the shores of river Geseneno. We would proceed to sunbathe at Tente Roche beaches. I tell you life was good. Food tasted fandastic. And when Malaria attacked you, you were sure lazima ukunywe soda Krest and a hen had to be slaughtered for you so that you drink soup and sweat the malaria out. We would even fake sickness when we craved soda.
And back in the day, magonjwa hazikua serious kama za siku hizi. Caffenol would treat all illnesses from headache to malaria to pneumonia to stomach upsets to muscle pains and even anthrax. I remember once I had a problem with my eyes and my grandmother prescribed aspirin for me and was fine and kicking ball 7 minutes after swallowing them. But magonjwa za siku hizi are damn unpredictable. You cough once and the next thing unasikia people are meeting at garden square for your funeral arrangements.
Back to food. When I tell you food was good, I mean it. My grandmother would boil Sukuma with pumpkin na akatekate nyanya na kitunguu kutoka juu and serve it with ripe bananas and ugali and from that I can authoritatively swear no chef would smell near her cookery geniusiosis. We licked fingers I tell you. Back in the day when the smell of cooked rice announced a serious occasion like Christimas or your uncle removing cows for his wife. And that reminds me of a friend whom I shall not name for obvious reasons. This friend of mine alikua anasikia kwao wanapika chapatti, anaoga hadi anavaa socks kutayarisha appetite. Yenyewe Douglas Omoganda hadi wa leo bado anapenda chapati although I am not sure whether he still bathes and wears socks wakipika chapati kwake. Old habits don’t die anyway. Aluta Continua!
Our entertainment was da bomb. When we would not willingly miss Ukumbi wa Kiislamu. We only had 2 TV stations; KBC and KTN. KBC used to ‘open’ at 4PM on weekdays and 2 PM weekends. When wrestling was war and not entertainment the way it is today. When Undertaker was facing Yokozuna, hiyo tulikua tunaionea Colored 14” TV Hot Pot Hotel Nyamira. Our black and white TV was showing half screen coz battery was low. Reminds me of British Bulldog, Tatanka, Money Inc, Bush Workers, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hitman Hart, 123 Kid, Giant Gonzalenz, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Owen, Diesel, aki anga life was good………………………Remember Masanduku Arap Smith of Vioja Mahakami? Tahamaki, Tausi, na Rex? The Rich Also Cry and Neighbours, and 21 Jump Street, the bold and the beautiful, Derrick and Tarzan. Remember Reino Reigns of Renagade? News by Njoroge Mwaura and Catherine Openda? Then later on we had Discos. We never had the DJ Kalonje nonsense……………..Inde monie hit would start from when Kanda Bongo Man is dressing in his house and dance till when he bites his finger regretting that the song had come to an end. There was no Demakufu nonsense in between a song and Fred Obachi Machoka new that Music time was Music time. When Lokasa ya Mbongo and Allain Kongou were on the guitar, it was dance till you remove dust. Until your aunties tell you toka nje kidogo tumwage nyumba maji yarorire see. (……………to be continued)
Now me wondering, when Willy Paul Changed his name, did he go telling his friends that he has dropped Paul and henceforth he will be called Pozeee????????????
Good Sabbath good people! Tukutane kwa firigisi na supu jioni.