As kids growing up on the slopes, discipline was taken seriously. Disciplining was not just bestowed on the parents but on the society as well. Neighbours, uncles, aunties dispensed this task without complaining. It’s what you’d refer to as, ‘kujitolea kwa hamu na hamumu’ or ‘kwa hamu na ngamu.’ Removing yourself completely.’
These phrases were common on the slopes; ‘ngūkuonia nganga mbute,’ ‘I’ll show you a feathers plucked guinea fowl.’ Also very common was ‘ngūkuonia kanyoni wa Ng’ethe’ ‘I’ll show you the bird of Ng’ethe.’ At the coast they’d perfect it in slow motion as they said, ‘utakiona cha mtema kuni,’ ‘you’ll see what the firewood cutter saw.’
Over the years people have wondered what this bird of Ng’ethe’ or this plucked Guinea fowl looks like. Or better still what the firewood cutter saw.
I’ll tell you what to see the bird of Ng’ethe’ means:
Being shown the bird of Ng’ethe is to be impregnated by a son of Jeroboam and then left to cater for the baby by yourself.
Being shown the bird of Ng’ethe is to be asked by your son/ daughter who their father is and having to lie that he was knocked by a moving lorry.
Yes being shown the bird of Ng’ethe is to wake up and find that same child has been selected to join a day school in Homabay County while you live in Kwale county.
Being shown a plucked guinea fowl is when you toil yourself to the blood and the bone to educate the said child all the way to university and after that there are no jobs in sight, only promises.
Seeing what the firewood cutter saw is when you take a ngumbaco loan/Shylock to start a small business for the graduate and when it’s just about to break even, the bulldozers come calling. Ooh this is a road reserve.
Seeing the bird of Ng’ethe is when the Ngumbaco owners/Shylocks comes calling since you haven’t honoured your promises to pay up.
So many other examples of the bird of Ng’ethe. So stop looking further for the bird of Ng’ethe, she’s always lurking somewhere. You’ve already experienced her in one way or another.


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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: