The rainy season brings with it a myriad of activities including planting, weeding and picking coffee among others. Being born and raised in a humongous family had plenty of perks when it came to tasks execution. After all they say that, ‘tūnūa tūingī tūhītagagia oo tūkīrīa,’that’s French for many mouths only confront each other when eating.
A large parcel of land was mostly subdivided into smaller parcels by nappier grass called karūthanju. Nowadays let’s just say you could call it it mburoti maguta maguta. The beautiful part of it is that we used to spread ourselves on the karūthanju from one end to the other like blueband margarine on toast ya kupakwa.Bending slowly in a bottom up kind of manifesto the sounds of the hoes and pangas would be the only audible sound. Mama was so artsy in her farming that even though she doesn’t know when she was born, I’m so convicted that she’s a Taurus like me. Gakware being gakware always liked being stationed next to Mama dearest because if my mbere was left behind mama would always come back for you, ‘gūgūtūūnga.’ This taught us all about teamwork and that in order for the team to succeed there was need for all our gifts to shine. Remember that belief that when your mbere was dragging behind there was a toad somewhere along it? More often than not, this turned out to be true.
Now weeding with mama as I said was not just about removing the weeds from the crops. You had to arrange the weeds in a line in the middle of the corn rows. This taught us that you didn’t just have to do something but you needed to do it well; remember that song, ‘do what you do, do well?’
Last but not least, mama never forgot to carry something that she used to call rīgu. This was something that was meant to cool our rumbling tummies before lunch time and give us the much needed boost to finish the weeding. There was no redbull to give you wings and glucose was rather a Veblen good. Still we forged forward and finished karūthanju after karūthanju. We’d look back with pride after finishing and head downstream for a much needed cooling before lunch.
I can’t help but feel for our kids who have no place to learn all this. I think employers should rethink and give employees a day where they can take their kids to work and show them what to do. Otherwise these dear ones have no clue where to begin when they get jobs. Ni hayo tu kwa sasa.
Song of the day, ‘Mama tried, by Merle Haggard.’