Back in the day, a wiry man appeared in a certain village. Let’s call it Kagumo village since we have several places with that name scattered all over Central Kenya. He had this rough face that betrayed how life had wronged him. But his tongue was smooth as silk.
He had this big bag and a swanky phone that he kept tapping away on-like he was talking to very important people on the other end. He wore sharp shooters like a pastor. Though he didn’t have a collar around his neck, he had an aura of an anointed man. The villagers, staring at him with their mouths agape, started asking him pesky questions about his big phone and what he carried in his bag. He promptly asked for the Chiefs office.
‘I run an NGO that helps women take charge of their reproductive lives’. He told the Chief-a fat man in greasy beret and ill-fitting jungle jacket .The Chief pretended to have grasped the NGO-speak and posed a question:
‘Hio charge unauza pesa ngapi?’‘Actually, we don’t charge for our services-except for a small facilitation fee.’ He then handed the Chief a bundle of crisp notes with good old Jomo’s photo.
The following morning, the Chief went door to door telling the women that there is an NGO that has come with a solution to all their problems. The chairman of the NGO wanted to meet all the women in a baraza to disclose the groundbreaking solution to them. This information was then passed by one eager woman to the other through fences,smses and whispers.The baraza that took place the following day by the cattle dip was the most attended in recent history.
‘Your days of popping pills and using coils and Femiplan are over!’ The young man announced excitedly-his Adams apple moving up and down like an animal that was trapped in his throat. The women tightened their lesos around their waists and listened keenly.
‘You only need to swallow two of these special castor seeds per day-and you won’t go the family way.’He added- with the conviction of an Old Testament prophet. The two hundred or so women looked at the young man with shining eyes-as if though he was the answer to every prayer they had offered.
‘These seeds are natural, organic and cholesterol free!’ He went on. A round of messianic Halleluyias rent the air. Family planning pills do not have cholesterol but who knows that in the village?
Then, Chairlady, a regal looking woman rose up arthritically .She had a tangle of wrinkles no lotion could soften. After the standard testimony about how she saw the light in 1967, she went to the point:
‘Dagitari, can those seeds also help Ibrahim make Sarah happy?’ People will always ask questions with the answer in mind. Several women of her age nodded emphatically. The younger ones giggled.
‘The seed will not only make Ibrahim straight like the cedars of Lebanon, they will give him strength of ten oxen’. Dagitari gave her the answer he wanted. The long suffering grand lady sat down, promising in her heart to secure herself a sack of the magical seeds. For a region where most women spent cold nights alone since their husbands were away taking banned spirits, this was good news. It didn’t strike the women as absurd that it was them who were to swallow the libido boosting seeds and not their men.
After Dagitari was done with his speech, he went to his bag and brought out a small bag. Then he opened it up and took a handful of the seeds into the air like a libation. Then with the deftness of an experienced medic, he showed the crowd how to swallow the magic seeds that will prevent them from getting pregnant and increase their husbands’ desire for them.
‘Those seeds cannot be enough for all of us!’ Chairlady protested.What followed was a stampede for the castor oil seeds. Dagitari said that since the seeds were few, the facilitation fee had gone up so that he bring more castor seeds to the deserving women. In a few minutes all the seeds had been bought.Dagitari then left in haste, promising to bring more magical seeds to those that were left out.
When the women hubbies came home that night, the tangle of limbs, liquids and needs that followed was Olympic. You could see it in the glow of the women as they swayed their hips to and fro as they sang in the choir the following Sunday. Their faces shone with diamonds of perspiration, knowing that they could have all the fun without getting into the family way.
After two months, several women started craving the dark ‘nyamuiru’ sugarcane that grew by the river. Another lot started craving the soil on the walls of the mud houses. Another lot was craving rocks that were sold by some Kisii men. In short, almost anybody who had attended the young man’s meeting was craving something.
Nine months after the young man with the magical castor seeds had visited the village, it was filled with the cries of a batch of new mouths to be feed.This happened some years ago, for the castor seed generation joined form 1 this year.