The scramble

I didn’t think that the mūgogo bridges still exist but it seems they still do. As I walked across these logs to start the hike up kīrīmīri forest, I couldn’t help but remember my childhood days. You see being born and raised by staunch Presbyterian parents clearly stated that going to Sunday school was not an option but the only available option. Having to explain to a church elder why you had not gone to church was a task more uphill than this hike.
The most important period during those Sunday school times was during the Parish competitions. We’d start with rigorous practice on the set piece, choral verses, folk tunes and drama. The month’s long practice time meant that after school chores were waived since we had to go to church every evening for practice. It also meant that Saturday and Sunday afternoons would be devoted to the same course. That is how I crammed psalms 121 and can still do it in my dreams if demanded to do so.I still remember this set piece, ‘yes I walk the King’s highway.’ And ooh how we walked that highway.
The night before the material day, we’d hardly sleep knowing that tomorrow we’d get to eat the mini bread and drink a soda. Back then those were rare commodities. On the material day, we’d arrive earlier than expected. We didn’t want to be left by the canter. Don’t look at me that way, there were no school buses to ferry us so the only mode of transport was a canter. We’d hold onto that rope that was used to hoist one into the truck like that video of maroon commandos in, ‘wanamaruni shika shika kamba tupande, twendeni zetu tuchezee ngoma wanakomando.’ Truth be told when the whole group climbed into the canter we’d hardly have enough space to breath. We were like sheep being taken to the slaughter house, but our spirits would not be dampened. We’d sing the whole way to our destinations which would sometimes be as far as Maragīma. I wonder how we managed to arrive with our voices intact. Try that today and pharyngitis will be knocking on your pharynx.
Upon arrival each team would look for a base and that metallic blue box used for storing uniforms would be opened and voila a stampede would begin. Everyone scrambled to grab theirs some only managing to get pieces that were too short. It was like the scramble for Africa. However once we managed to wear the navy blue dresses which had a white collar we’d grin triumphantly like we had just auditioned for a place in the Brooklyn tabernacle choir and been successful. It did not matter if one had shoes or not, we felt dignified.
While on stage we’d give it our all, even though Kiganjo Police college used to scoop most of the trophies. The closest we ever came to a win was number three. All in all mkate na soda was the highlight of the day.
Once upon a time when Gakware was way younger and her dance moves were uncoordinated I was eliminated from the final group. I’d go to the left when the others were going to the right. I guess that’s why that Beyonce’s song to the left has always stricked a chord with me. Anyway after elimination I went home teary and told Mama what had happened. Mama was very comforting and assured be that I’d go to Gatei (GATE 1) and I leaped with joy. Little did I know that my little Feetsubishi would be sore in the evening from walking for several miles and crossing rivers on slippery logs. That day I became mpenzi mtazamaji as I watched my peers do their thing before the adjudicators. I still got to eat kamini 😂. Glad for those log bridges though, They made it possible to eat mkate na soda; and this log too it made the hiking possible.

Kîrîmîri Forest Is an area dominated by tree vegetation in the Mukuuri locality of Runyenjes, Embu, in the country of Kenya. It is recognised as an Ecologically Sensitive Site in Africa by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are a variety of rare indigenous and medicinal trees that continue to face the threat of deforestation. Its center lies at a latitude of -0.41667 and longitude of 37.55 and it has an elevation of 1520 meters above sea level. The predominant languages spoken are Kiembu, Swahili, and English. The Hill is culturally famous as a hideout for Mau Mau fighters including Embu’s most venerated fighter General Kubu Kubu. Several schools have been built near the reserve. They include the Muragari Primary and Secondary Schools and Kubu Kubu Memorial School.
Source: Wikipedia.


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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