The Stranger

Imagine meeting a stranger that you like but can’t be able to communicate because there are simply no means. Those were the days of our lives. With no mobile phones earth was hard. Since then communication has grown in leaps and bounds making the world a global village.
However in the past communication was so awkward. Imagine lighting a huge fire so that the smoke could drive a message home.
The title of this script is motivated by a short story in the book, ‘the winner and other stories.’ It’s the first story in the book and it was set during colonial times.
Talk of colonial times and I just happen to be in a place that brings these chronicles to life. These are ‘ngurunga cia Karība’ caves found in Ngaini village on the slopes of Mt Kenya. It’s while visiting this heritage site that a random stranger decided to share a random moment with me.Ngurunga cia Karība are caves where the maumau fighters would retreat to and strategise on their next ambush. The caves were named after then General Karība. From these caves they’d take a message to Mary… 😂😂. There was no Mary here, just war and an incessant need to communicate. Well a messenger had to be sent to Marūa town to relay a message to other maumau groups via a letter. He would in most cases also find a letter which he’d take back to his group. This, according to my little understanding is how Marūa town, a small river town along the busy Karatina- Nyeri road actually got its name. The name Marua means letters. It’s weird how a name can lead to a person/ place developing characteristics close to its meaning.
By virtue of its meaning, this our Mississipi cotton picking delta town as I like to refer to it became some sort of communication hub. It had a postal box and a telephone booth which meant that every Sunday teenagers and young adults would come in leaps and bounds from far and wide places just to post their letters or make phone calls. Letter writing was not taken lightly ooh. First of all you had to gather a variety of vocabularies from friends and relatives so as to impress the recipient. Secondly the handwriting had to be extra smart or the recipient would be repulsed. If you had a poor handwriting you had to look for a confidant to write the letter for you at a fee. The charge mostly involved buying him/ her some Chapati’s and milk from the most recent tea kiosk. Here in Marūa town, it was not burgers and fries and cherry pies as Charley Pride would say, it was mostly toast kavu, toast mafuta, chapatis and milk which was often baptized. All this was purchased with hard earned coins from the coffee plantations. Once the letter was written, it had to be hidden in a very safe place to avoid falling in the wrong hands. By wrong hands I mean a sibling who might use it against you if and when need arises or better still use it to blackmail you to surrender all your savings. Sometimes you’d find the shop had ran out of stamps and so you couldn’t post your letter.
The telephone booth was on another level altogether. First of all, there was no privacy since there was always a queue of people waiting for their turn. Secondly you had to have enough coins to last the conversation or that kikii sound that always sounded before the call got disconnected would not only tear your eardrums, but would also cause you to walk away like a wounded dog with its tail between its hind legs. Talk of wounded egos.
Fourtunately though you could go to the meadow near the big bridge and watch the sparrows swirling, listen to the hum of the flowing Sagana river and get lost in the magic of nature.Yeah that bridge still stands tall.
Below is an excerpt from a love letter from yester years.
…..Sweetie pie, the reason why this miraculous thing is happening is because, honey, I love you spontaneously, and as I stand horizontally parallel to the wall and vertically perpendicular to the ground now, I only think of you, since you are a fantastic and fabulous girl, put together as fantabulous. I implore you to decipher this my anthem of love oozing out from the innermost pendulum of my thoraxial cavity…….
Cheers to more travel, more sweet nothings but most of all more chronicles. And for you stranger, if you ever come across this post, just like, share and comment, ‘it wasn’t me 😂😂’ Turruuus. Until next time I’m 👇



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.

13 thoughts on “The Stranger

  1. Tembea Kenya, ukutane na majina with their meanings especially ones pronounced by mzungu na mwafrika anajaribu immitating. Maria ‘letter’

  2. Waaaah, this is the place we used to go for trip especially on Sunday ad holiday season,walk by foot,carrying water with bottle

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