The hum

After the detour that took us through the beautiful Murang’a gorges we proceed to rapids camp. The rough road is quite challenging especially at some point where a seasonal stream meets the road. Despite these challenges we meander with the road ahead of us. On arrival, we are greeted by grass so green and well- manicured that I feel like making grass soup. That soup that Tom and Mary made and developed stomach troubles. On second thought I’d rather just roll on the grass instead. It reminds me of that song by Charley pride, ‘and touch the grass of home so green.’
At the camp we get a warm reception and are introduced to a host of activities which include but are not limited to: kayaking, rafting, rock climbing and zip lining. Something about the hum of the river takes me back in time to my childhood memories. It’s like I’m traveling through a time capsule and memories embedded in my subconscious come to life. The stage is set; it’s a beautiful Saturday morning. It’s mostly beautiful because there is no school today. I’ve been listening to that song,’uvivu ni adui mkubwa kwa ujenzi wa taifa,’ for five days nonstop. It’s time to take a break and roll on with Sagana River. Its washing day and it smells like spring. My siblings and I pack our clothes i.e tie them in bedsheets and with basins on our heads we head to the river. We have also packed plenty of tea and sweetpotatoes to help us manage the day. The day’s activities are going to be energy consuming or should I say extreme. On arrival to the river we find that our side of the river is not very laundry friendly. Mister Muhindi’s side though has a beautiful meadow almost as beautiful as the meadow at rapids camp. He also has a barbed wire fence which serves as the divider between his and Mr Theuri’s farm. This will serve as the hanging line. We banter and sing as we go about our laundry making sure to watch Mister Muhindi’s cows not to come near our soap; otherwise we’ll wash the rest of the clothes with ‘maji kavu’ water with no soap. All this while we are surreptitiously eyeing and salivating over Mister Theuri’s well-tended sugarcanes. There is no sugarcane at home because we can hardly wait for them to grow a nod before we uproot and eat together with the roots.
Somehow we manage to finish the laundry and hang the clothes on the barbed wire fence. By this time the sun is high up in the sky and ‘ooh the snakes crawl at night.’ We don’t want to crawl though, we are not snakes and it’s not night yet. Its time for something else and that’s a good swim. We dive into the river with our petticoats and some t shirts. There were no swimming contumes back then. Within no time it’s backstroke, forward stroke and splish splash when someone dives into the river near you. We swim without a care in the world. Then suddenly, someone screams and we all turn towards the direction she is running towards. We scramble out of the water and run with her thinking she has seen a mermaid. The fence comes to the horizon and it finally clicks. Mister Theuri’s cow is gobbling down our sister’s new school blouse. It’s a tag of war as we wrestle to remove the part of the blouse that is almost landing in the cow’s rumen. Whoever came with that wrestling slogan that, ‘raw is war’ was wrong. This is the real war. It’s a fight between life and death. If the blouse is swallowed how will we go back home? Did I mention that the blouse was bought last week and had only seen a week of school? Now blouse, ‘if you think you are going to skive classes that fast, you are way too long.’ Somehow the blouse seems to hear us and the cow gives up and regurgitates the blouse. However! the bright yellow that was boundering on mustard is not only green but creased. Nothing that a good scrub and encounter with a borrowed charcoal iron won’t fix though.
After hanging it to dry again, we decide that we’ve had enough swimming and so we stay close to the fence and munch on our sweet potatoes. They have remained warm thanks to the sunshine. After eating we realize that we could blackmail Mister Theuri with ‘the cow chewing our blouse story.’ We send our convoy and before they even reach where he is sitting under a jacaranda tree, he already knows whats spinning through our small skulls. He was watching the whole cow wrestling fiasco from a distance. He cuts some sugarcanes for the entourage and they come back smiling like the cat that caught the canary.When the clothes dry it’s time to climb the hill and go back home after a day well spent.
How I miss those days. Keep on humming as you roll to the Indian Ocean sweet Sagana river.



Published by Nyar Kaheti

Born and raised on the picturesque slopes of Mt Kenya, Nyar Kaheti is your girl next door vibe kind of girl. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and listening to country music among other things.

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