A sip

The sun is rising above the horizon, its warm light filtering through the hardly there piece of fabric; otherwise known as a curtain. The birds are chirping happily on the trees next to the window only too glad to be out of their nests. It’s a cold December morning; it’s been raining the whole night. As Charlie Pride would sing, ‘It’s time to arise and shine and start a hard works day.’ Being the designated breakfast chef of the day, I drag my lazy ass outta the bed. Upon reaching the kitchen, reality hits me with a bang. Not only did I I forget to preserve the fire but I also forgot to store firewood in ‘the itara.’
Consequently I have to rush to my neighbor’s place to ‘borrow fire.’ I look for the fire carrier and weasel my way to my neighbour’s place praying hard that they too didn’t forget to preserve theirs like me. By good luck as I approach the house I see smoke billowing out of the house. I knock and I’m ushered in by my friend’s mother who has compassion on me and gives me a cup of tea and some yesterday’s Ugali remnants. Who I’m I to refuse, after all, ‘kari nda gatiiyumburaga.’ What is in the stomach does not reveal itself. Yeah someone also said that the stomach does not have a mirror after all.
By the time I’m through she’s already put the fire in the carrier and I say my thanks and proceed to run home mostly becauce I don’t want the carrier to get too hot and burn my fingers and also because I want the wind to keep the coals red. I arrive home and manager to bring the fire to life and start the tea cooking chores. By this time my father is waking everyone reminding them it’s the coffee picking day. He be like ‘Asusena, now you sleep like the DC of Machakos.’ He orders me to go pouring water on everyone who is still sleeping and this seems to bring my siblings out of their dreams. Everyone is scampering out of bed as they look for a ‘kagethero’ and a sack. The tea cooking chore seems futile since the wood is just oozing of water. The sound of shhh coming from the soggy firewood and smoke seem like my eternal companions.Upon realizing that the tea will take much longer to get ready everyone is ordered to go to the coffee farm. Smoke fills my lungs and necessity being the mother of invention an idea strikes me. I’m on tippy toes heading towards where the timber is stored. I steal one piece which I chop and mix with the firewood and like magic, the orange goodness overcomes the sog.😂
Somehow I have to balance the kettle, cups, a tray of UGALI from yesterday, and kagethero on my two hands. As I approach the coffee hacienda, it’s rather quiet since mzee is still hovering around. The only audible sound is that of coffee beans being dropped into the tūgetheros. I put the things I’m carrying down and everyone comes rushing for their fill. We take the breakfast in silence and once done it’s back to work. Once in a while a coffee branch breaks and Mzee gives the breaker a constipated look. All you can do is cross your fingers and eyes as you await the worst. Today he seems to be in a rather jovial mood, the coffee prices were announced and soon he’ll be smiling all the way to Kiangararu.
Once Mzee is sure that the business at hand is flowing seamlessly he surreptitiously disappears. He’s the manager after all; his work is to make sure that we are working. Within a few seconds of his leaving, the news of his disappearance spread like wild fire. Before long someone at the other end has started the song, ‘ I found a crowd of Kiandutu girls singing a song, the jiggers in their legs shaking their heads while the lice on their waists gurgles saliva in hope that they don’t fall down and die.’ I don’t even know who sang that song but we all join in unison and the atmosphere shifts. We are reenergized as we sing, banter and compete for the fastest picker award.
Due to the atmosphere shift that brings a reenergized momentum we finish picking before the nimbus clouds finish gathering. Since the factory is far away we can’t risk selecting the coffee beans here and be caught up by the rains. The boys put the huge sacks on wheel barrows and off they go to our, ‘Mississipi cotton picking delta town’ otherwise known as Marūa. The pregnant clouds seem to give them the much needed time to reach the factory. Now the hardest bit is selecting and grading the coffee, while the inspection generals walk in an attitude looking at you through their noses. If you try to show attitude or argue with them you’ll walk out the last. This is their territory and they are in commando mode. When the say jump you ask, how high?
Just after managing to weigh and empty the coffee, its pitter patter raindrops and the coffee sack becomes your rain coat. The long drenching way back home is however fun ridden. Pushing the wheelbarrows through stagnant waters, spraying each other with the dirty water and sliding along the muddy paths can never be compared with video/ phone games. We always seemed to turn the most difficult situations into thrilling experiences and the rain seemed to make us taller 😉. We now look forward to eating meat from Kinguku’s butchery once the coffee payouts are out. The only meat we ate before Christmas.
Now penning off to take my sip of today’s coffee.Make sure to take your daily sip too.


ChroniclesWith adventures.

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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