‘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.