Well, of late I’ve had several of those. Plus I’ve never used numbers as my title( like 10 things successful people do or 3 things to do to be happy everyday). I hate such numbers because I think they conclude a matter that can’t be concluded. But if statistics are to go by, people like reading such kind of articles compared to titles that are general.
So here we go, several things you notice when getting by in life.
1. New neighbours who don’t speak kiswahili or English.
So I found this Somali families( I think 2 or 3 families) that moved in next to our shop who don’t speak either kiswahili or English. When they come to buy stuff, they only pronounce what they want, let’s say Royco, from there you can’t communicate the quantity or variety. When it gets bad, they use sign language which neither of us gets. But you know what, after 5 minutes of not understanding each other, they still come back the next day.
Yesterday they sent their small girl to buy an egg. She only knew how to say “Mayai”. And after struggling a bit wondering whether she wanted one or many, I gave her one. And as she was leaving, what she did made me wonder whether she knew what she was carrying.
That small girl started throwing the egg up and down in circles in pure oblivion. She looked excited about other things. The egg was just a thing she had to carry. So here I am trying to tell her to be careful lest she breaks it, while there she is twirling it in the air wondering what on earth this strange lady is saying. Her actions were so pure and innocent that she left me laughing wondering if that egg will arrive safely and if it does, has that small girl ever seen an egg really?
Imagine the guts it takes to move to a place no one gets what you are saying? What drove them out of home? And can i do that? Get onto a lorry then a train then a bus into Mozambique? With no Portuguese word on my tongue? Except Vasco da gama( I suspect the character was Portuguese). Well, should I tire of life, before I die, I would love to do that. It sounds frustratingly thrilling.
2. Donkeys are either stupid or deaf and tired drivers don’t know where the break is.
So we got late somewhere. And we were extremely tired. And we were in a lorry. And we were driving excessively fast for a vehicle that size. All that on an extremely rough road. And with every passing second we were getting more tired after a really long day. And to finally top it off, its at night.
So on the way we meet this bunch of donkeys carrying two young lads and many 20 litres Jerry cans of water. That’s how you know you are in ukambani by the way. From a distance away we start honking at them. And guess what? The donkeys continue walking on the road. Like they can’t hear that excessive noise. Their owners beat them to move them out of the way.
Well, they do move. And we sigh. And just as we get close to them, they decide otherwise. Like maybe the young lads were joking and they should move back into the road. So they follow their own advice. And next thing you know, we are in some thickets somewhere running away from some donkeys. We make it out alive. All of us, donkeys plus young lads plus us. Us in a thicket, them on the ground. But images of those donkeys have been haunting my head. I mean, are donkeys stupid or is it that they are deaf or don’t tired drivers know where the break is?
3. Kitui people are not as poor as I thought
So we travel to some parts of kitui county. Just so you know, in ukambani that period of after August to the next rains is usually the hottest and ‘poorest’. People have usually depleted their food reserves, and in most cases they harvest nothing of the rains of May hapo. And the sun has scorched up every green thing in sight and dried up every grass or tree so no leaves or fodder for cows and goats.
And so shock on me upon getting into the lower kitui towns and people have money to purchase basic stuff. While in Makueni County, the villages I go to, shops open in the evening only, like no one will come buy stuff the whole day. That shows you the state of people’s pockets.
I know believing stereotypes is bad, but I can’t wait to go to the upper parts of Kitui county and see people’s financial state. Is it as bad as people say it is, because if their lower region is the average then those people are not badly off.