A Score

Ain’t nothing more delicious than posho milled and eaten with traditional veggies such as terere (amaranth) or managu (nightshade) and then rolled down with a cup or two of fermented milk. First of all the sufuria for cooking ugali almost always had the calico patch. You see this sufuria that had seen many a decades of smoke and fire. After a long period of use it had to be taken to the doctor sorry metal works engineer (welder) every now and then and even after repair by the village’s most prolific engineer it still had a few leaks here and there. This however was not a deterrent to cooking this delicacy. The remedy therefore was to pour some floor in the water, let it settle at the base of the sufuria and voila no more leaks.
Since the Ugali was for a large family, it meant that it had to be handled by large hands. This therefore meant that the task at hand landed on Jonah sorry 😂my brother. Once the waters started producing bubbles, my most gifted sister Asusena would tippytoe at the window facing my brother’s cube, ‘kiumbu’ and shout at the top of her lungs like Kalumanzira summoning the wangwanas. This was necessary because most often than not he’d be listening to Alpha Blondy’s’Coco de Rasta’ at full volume and was mostly doing some karaoke.
Sometimes milk and Kimbo shortening would be added to sweeten the posho goodness. The best part of cooking Ugali though was doing the quality checks of whether it was ready. This included removing a piece of the said posho, moulding it into a ball and throwing it on the kitchen wall. If it stuck it meant it was not ready. This quality control task would go on until the project manager was a hundred percent sure that it was ready. The next process involved placing the Ugali on your hands thus turning it in a bottom up manner. Yeah bottom up economy started a long time ago. This activity made the cook feel like he was the Jack Chan or Bruce Lee of the moment and sometimes one would even walk outside holding the ugali to show his prowess in heat perseverance techniques while demonstrating how MauMau fighters would come and carry your food without an apology.
Once the Ugali and vegetables were ready, dinner would be eaten quietly, hence the saying, ‘you are as silent as kids who have been served by their mother.’ Mūkūra would sometimes lead to a battle of the titans.Once the eating activities were over and the energy levels started soaring, it would be story story story come. Endless stories, gossips and songs would follow some all too juicy to be true.
All this time the water for washing our feet would be warming in the fire. When legends talk about washing feet it means soaking the feet in water and using your hands to pour water on the , ‘muthirimo.’ Soap was a veblen good only used when washing the whole body on Sundays or when doing laundry. While cleaning the legs one had to endure the pain from the various scratches gained either during grazing, cutting nappier grass or just walking in bushes looking for edible wild fruits. After gūcabacabia the legs you’d look for a piece of firewood, place it between two cooking stones and dry your legs by the fire.
The final leg was to sprint to the big house on your tippy toes since there were no slippers or crocs, squeeze your way in the common bed and before long snore the night away. I wonder what was wrong with Habel Kifoto though, he would always wake you up when you were having the most beautiful of dreams. ‘Hata wewe mwanangu, amka kumekucha, kwani hizi ndizo saa za kwenda shule.’ I think I’ll have a score to settle with him in the next life. What do you think?



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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