So my good ole school Kangūbiri girls decided to live up to it’s name’s origin. I don’t know if you know the origin of the name Kangūbiri so here goes nothing;
Kangūbiri (kangūbiri)was a minimum security holding place for detainees who had been declared reformed and were in the process of reintegration back to society. The colonial DC would then declare that “those ones can go free” and the homeguards and waitinas would say muthungu oiga acio ni kangūbiri (mzungu has said those ones can go free.
Their grievances though are top notch; for a moment there I felt like saying, ‘comrades power.’ Then I remembered how going back to school was like during our days.
Waking up in the wee hours of the morning to the tune of Habel Kifoto’s, ‘uvivu ni adui mkubwa kwa ujenzi wa taifa, kwani ndicho kiini hasa kisabishacho njaa.’ was not your favorite cup of coffee. With groggy eyes I’d somehow manage to get out of the bed made of rubber. This bed served both as a bed and a trampoline. I’d walk with one eye open using my hands to feel around so that I don’t trip on something and fall. It’s officially back to school and I’m in full gear preparing for my grand exit.
First things first, light the fire and boil water for making tea, with kiondo and panga in hand; I’m off to the shamba, hoping no one has dug a hole 😂😂. My mission here is to pick the best of green corn to cook mītungo. Once I’ve harvested a good number of them I’m back in the kitchen preparing the corn for boiling as the tea starts to come to life. Something about milk and the way it likes to boil and pour should have made it to land in the precious commodities category in our then CBC. Reason being when it’s about to come up no one even dares to look at an Mpesa message.
I’ve by now managed to prepare my mitungo by the time the tea is coming up and so I warm a little water for the Chapati’s making business. Soon enough the mitungo is boiling and im sipping my cup of coffee as I knead my flour. Within no time the mitungo is ready and I’m now in full swing in the chapatti making process. Cooking chapatis in firewood was no small task. First of all the fire got supet hot at times you’d think you’d already experienced your stint of hell on earth. Then you had to lean in quite close so most of the smoke entered your nostrils as if it had found a chimney. If someone looked at you closely they’d think you were sniffing rūtūndū. By the time I finished cooking them chapos mama would arrive with a kiondo of sweet potatoes from the other end of the farm and so I’d prepare them and leave them boiling glad to leave the hell’s kitchen for a while.
Now I’m on to the fun part which included locating the biggest sweet bananad in the farm and climbing the avocado tree to pick them avocadoes. If you saw me hopping from end to end looking for the really fat ones you’d think I was the lead treasure hunting pirate in the, ‘Pirates of the Carribean.’ Tarzan of the apes couldn’t hold a candle to me. Somehow my brother who was in the National youth service always seemed to appear at that precise moment. He’d use his acrobatics skills gained in the program to help me pick as much avocadoes as I wanted. This was despite him knowing that the task of carrying the heavy bag was on his shoulders. He often used to say that I had packed stones on purpose just to punish him and then upon arrival to Gatitu I’d remove the stones.
Going back home, I find the sweet potatoes are all sweet and ready and so I start packing as I warm the water for bathing. Do you remember those bags that had zippers that when you unzipped the bags size trippled? They seemed like miracle bags and they swallowed too many a load. Then they had small wheels that would roll on tarmac somehow reminding us of that ‘muujiza’ in the set book, ‘Mashetani’ where the tree would turn into a chair. So I’d pack my digestive system paraphernalia and the little shopping and prepare myself for the grand exit. Once ready I’d summon my brother to walk me down the isle. Did I say isle? I meant escort me all the way to Marua town our ‘Mississipi cotton picking delta town.’ He’d give me so many stories about the National youth service most of which I knew were made up, but nevertheless I gobbled them up like a sponge. The long journey somehow seemed so short thanks to the jokes and stories.
Upon arrival at our uummmh delta town we’d find ‘Kahonoki’ waiting for passengers to fill the seats. Kahonoki was a face me Matatu. In the front it was written in bold letters, ‘Kahonoki nioka,’ and at the back, ‘kahonoki niathii.’ Somehow Kahonoki would fill up and I’d bid my bro goodbye amidst tears and just like that Kahonoki’s engine would spur to life and we’d be cruising along the potholed road to Gatitu town. The trouble with face me Matatu’s is that no one seemed to mind their business. Somehow you’d find yourself staring into a stranger on the opposite side who would in turn be staring at you. Things were not made any easier by the Matatu conductor’s who would be hanging carelessly at the door leaving it open causing the wind to ruin your hairstyle.
On arrival at Gatitu I’d look for another Matatu to take me to my destination.If I didn’t get lucky to get a direct flight I’d have to look for one headed to Tambaya, alight at the junction and carry my ‘bag of stones’ as my brother called it. The walk would be a long and tedious one and the sight of the school’s gate looked like the pearly gates of heaven. Maybe you are wondering why I had to carry such a variety of meals. It’s because for the next couple of months I’d have to take chai kavu. Think of it like a camel carrying water in its hump.
Bread was eaten once a month. So my dear girls, I think asking for a full load of bread daily is pretty overstretched.🤔


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.

6 thoughts on “Humpy

  1. Wao, a true story teller. Keep up my dear. The genesis of Kangubiri has come out well. It makes sense. Now I know.

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