BANANA DRAMA

My uncle will never interrupt you when you are making a fool of yourself. The other day, I paid them a visit and found uncle feeding his cows and aunty knitting a multi-colored kiondo as usual.

Now, aunty is this kind pious soul who finishes every sentence with ‘mwathani agocwo’.God be praised. If she won’t be in heaven, then nobody is going there.

After enquiring about all my children, their classes, height etc, she dashed into her sooty kitchen and came back with a melamine plate full of githeri. Real githeri cooked in an earthenware pot.

Then she went into her granary and came back with a bunch of ‘wang’ae’ or sweet bananas. Her bananas are ripened by catalyzing with ‘meenû’, an aromatic shrub that gives them a distinctive flavour.

Now, one of the exotic culinary habits that I picked in my expansive sojourn in Northern Kenya is mixing ripe bananas with my food. Go to any Waria hotel and you will see them doing it.

So I peeled two bananas, cut them into pieces and mixed with the githeri. The interplay of the tastes of the sugary banana and the salted githeri is something to die for.

All the while, uncle was watching me keenly with increasing dread, slowly taping his sharp machete on his palm. All his life, he has never seen a grown man mix githeri with ripe bananas.

When I took my first bite, he tightened the grip on his machete. When I took the second one, he tightened the grip further. Finally, he could stand it no more.

‘Ira muruguo kiria aragucia nikiramuthukira!’He barked at aunty. Tell this your son that what he has been smoking is not doing him any good.

Then, he angrily ran his sharp machete against the whetting stone before sauntering of to Wakulima Bar.

THE SECOND ANNOINTING

I am reliably informed that a certain Wagithomo lass has had her nude videos and photos leaked into the public- triggering a hormonal tumult among menfolk. But since I am junior elder, I have neither interest nor intention to watch that leaked nudity.

I am told that in the video she had nothing on, not even the radio. But despite all these temptations, I won’t watch it.It’s a ‘mugiro‘ punishable by a fine of several goats for a junior elder to enjoy such conjugal indecency.

Men who are less morally grounded like yours truly have been going gaga over her ‘au naturel’ features. Her curves which rival those of a Murang’a countryside have given many men sleepless nights. Some have even been seen zooming on her photos. It’s what’s hidden that men are always interested in.

Some men have been calling her ‘mboga kienyeji’ which I am made to believe alludes to her folksy looks and rawness. But since I havent watched that clip, I will let that slide.

Other men have been analyzing her, describing her anointing in glowing terms. Others have been decrying her lack of some critical part, the way you’d say a chicken you slaughtered didn’t have a ‘kaigangiu’ or gizzard. When you bare all, guys start analyzing you like a quartered cow hanging in a butcher’s shop. In a way, people kill you.

But let’s for once assume that that Wagithomo girl is my uncle’s daughter. Over Christmas, she lands in the village in those tiny cars Nairobi girls hire to wow villagers. The cars that run on three AAA batteries like remote controls- but I digress.

Aunty Jerusha- the pious lady who ends every sentence with ‘mwathani agoocwo’-have already gotten wind of her daughter’s unsavory exploits in the city. So she is waiting for her- like my people say- like a bus. But my analogue uncle is clueless about it all.

‘Thuthana ndoiga guku ndurarara!’

Susan you wont sleep here! Aunty shrieks at Susan as she sashays towards the house, her angel-white dress with a thousand frills lighting up the way.

‘Kwani nime-do?’ Susana asks, lifting her cosmopolitan shades and placing them on her forehead. After a short altercation, uncle appears with machete in hand, wanting to know the cause of the ruckus:

‘Si ni mom anazusha juu ya ile vida yangu ilitrend.Hajui vile imeleta likes kwa channel yangu ya Youtube na pale Insta?’She tells her dad in that nasalized Swahili characteristic of Nairobi girls.

Uncle, removes a half smoked stub of kiraiko from behind his ear, lights it up and for five minutes tries to digest what he has heard.

‘Niwarehere mamiguo cukari?‘ He finally asks her.’ Have you brought your mother some sugar?’ The girl nods and waves 5kg of Mumias sugar she bought at Maguna’s super market in Muranga town. Plus, a bale of unga and other foodstuffs. The last time uncle saw such a heavy shopping was during the coffee boom days.

‘Rugira mugeni caai.’ Make some tea for the guest. Uncle tells aunty. Its actually an order since he says it while pointing his machete at her.

The now smiling video vixen then greases a well folded brown note into uncle’s palm.

‘Noturageria muthee kuria gicuka’ Daddy, we are soldiering on in the big city. She tells him, acting up daddy’s girl.

‘Ethaai, gutire mbeca ngarange’.

‘Strive on by any means; money is money.’

Uncle answers back with one of his many truisms. Then he squints at his kabambe and calls Mukuna the bar man:

‘Munene, wekerea tumbukiza kiro moja nakuja.’

The daddy’s girl interprets that ‘money is money’ line to mean that she can make another primal video to trend.

All of you who enjoyed the debut video,Wagithomo Reloaded is coming soon. The second anointing, if you like, is on the way.

I am sure some of you have been wondering what happened to my panga uncle.I too was wondering why the punny kinsman of mine has been so quiet.Until he called me last week.

Mundu wa Njambi‘ he started.My uncle will rarely hail anybody by his or her name.Instead,he uses his own customized nomeclature.

‘Woiga mbura yurire thi? ‘ You want all these rain to end without you having planted anything?

In my community, maternal uncles are king.When one summons you, you go there running.It is believed that if he scratches his navel because you made him angry, a big calamity will befall you.In short, that’s how I found myself home last weekend.

I found uncle at Mukuna’s, a milk jerrican by side.The jolly old man still looks dapper- his suede godfather hat accentuating his suave retired city dandy image.

He slaps me with an instant fine of 5 Balozis and a kilo of tumbukiza.Giceeri, the greasy maitre’ d at Mukuna’s who prepares your tumbukiza but eats half of it while its cooking and half of it with you fixes for us a nice tumbukiza.

‘Eat, son, eat.’ My uncle cajoles me as we eat and try to outdo Giceeri in eating our tumbukiza.

‘Ikuria ti ndwaru’. One who eats heartily is not sick. Uncle says amidst loud chewing.

‘Guku thi no ndia na mahoya’.He says to no one in particular.The most important things in this world now are eating and prayers.I dont know where uncle gets this punchy one liners. But when you analyze them in the context of corona epidemic, they are true

When we’ve had our fill and burped loudly,we bid Mukuna the host goodbye .Then melt into the chilly Murang’a night- uncle’s machete shining like a chalice.

We have hardly done a kilometre when uncle breaks into a song.A long forgotten folk tune about a girl called Njoki from Iyego and her heroic exploits at the battle of Ndaka-ini during Mau Mau war.

At Mukarara shopping center, we are accosted by cops who wants to know why uncle is singing banned liberation songs after curfew hours.

‘Ikuina ti ndwaru‘ He tells the cops.

He who who sings is not sick.I have to bribe the cops for myself and my uncle.Uncle’s bribe is double because of his insolence.As we part, he tells the cops:

‘Ikuria ti ndwaru‘. One who eats heartily is not sick.A jibe at the cops ‘eating’ ways.

The cops ignore him and drive of their Landruiser to go and eat the bribe just acquired.Uncle and I then wades of into the night like two errant knights returning from a failed crusade.

Lawd knows how much I had missed this eclectic kinsman of mine.

EAT MAN,EAT!

I have not taken a break all this year. Been slaving all year like a horse- because there was a lot to be done.Sometimes even working at night- because there was a lot to do be done.

Until I got indisposed and had one foot in the grave and had to take a two-week break from work. Then I realized that ‘my work’ has been going on seamlessly in my absence. Maybe even better- who knows.

No one is indispensable.We will all one day leave our desks- and by extension our stations in life.But that wont stop things from going on.

Other critical lessons that I learnt during the sick leave:

1.Self diagnosis, treatment and discharge is one of the reasons why men die young.See a medic when sick.

2.One cant die from skipping Whitecap one full weekend.Its all in the mind.

3.Getting sick is like waking up. You can wake up 10,000 times but still never get used to it. It will always surprise you.

4.All the bland food is the healing food.Uji, greens,pumpkin soup, name it.Use them even when not sick.

5.Always have a trusted uncle who you can dictate to your verbal will since we African men don’t write wills. You can never know when they will call you over to the other side.

6.Eat well and heartily when you can.When you get sick and lose 5kg when you are 80kg, nobody will notice.But wait till you lose 5kg when you are 45kg-they will bury you alive.Eat man, eat!