When it rains there, the vegetation takes a day to turn from death to life. The next day insects that were extinct come back to life loudly. You can’t just run in the paths as before, lest you step on the thousands of black long millipedes with hundreds of red legs that appear everywhere. Its a season of bloom. Its a season of sleeping with nature singing loud lullabies. Its one of freshness and green. Utter green.
The joy among people is almost always palpable. Its a bad season for businesspeople. Because everyone goes home to farm. They’ll come to trade when their food is assured in the farms. But its a heavenly season for the farmers. There is a certain vibrancy to their faces. A certain assuredness to their walk. Kids stop disturbing as much, and learn to make toys out of the multitude of insects flying around.
I miss home.
Here when it rains, people scatter around in panic. Matatus increase their fares as if rains elongate the distance. Traffic comes to a standstill. Shoes get muddy. And for people vertically challenged like me, carrying an umbrella in the streets is a hazardous activity for anyone who comes close.
The drainage gets clogged up. Water everywhere. Mud everywhere. Anxiety as people carry jackets and umbrellas in the morning uncertain of the weather. And should you be caught unawares by the rain, you keep walking. No sheltering somewhere to wait for it to pass.
No joy for the rain of the city. No one likes it. No one smiles at it. No one sleeps smiling at the sound of it pounding the roof. No one greets their neighbour with the rain as an icebreaker. No one predicts how food will be in plenty next year. Its a distraction for them. An unneeded one at that.
And I miss home.
Not necessarily the people, though I do miss them dearly, but mostly the rhythm of the place. The way a time like this, signifies the end of the harsh sun that comes before these rains. August, and now September are usually the driest months at home, especially in terms of water. For those in our neighbouring county, they trek kilometers to get water. Till this rains come and everyone has water at their doorstep.
This season signifies the bloom after a particularly hard time. Its the time we get to seat and marvel that we made it to the end of the year. We roast maize and laugh, because at some point, we were at our wits end. We get to look at all the green that could have been mistaken as a desert some weeks ago, and wonder at the miracles of the universe. After all, aren’t our lives like that?
That ground, that foundation that through seasons remains the same. That after coming here to seek a fortune, after being beaten by the sun mercilessly, after wandering looking for ourselves in people’s souls, after taking ourselves out seeking for validation from our own hearts, after holding on and giving up and rising up again, after getting lost and finding new paths and getting lost now in those strange paths, home is where we go to lay our heads on, and know that we shall rise again.
Home is where we meet familiar flaws and weaknesses, and know that though we change, some things remain the same. Its where we go to church ceremonially and get immense peace, not from the service itself, but from the familiar circus that our hearts grew up in.
It is in getting a new pastor, who shall be no different from the tens that have stood where he is. It is in watching the girl who used to lead worship, and break her agile body dancing some years ago, run after her baby girl, who shall be dancing there some few years to come. It is in watching that man and his wife who insist on presenting a hymn every once in a while, knowing very well, that the young neighbour of mum’s friend, is the husband’s new mistress.
It is in looking at that girl who used to have the biggest ass we had ever seen, and a voice that though could sing averagely , be stretched to Celine Dion levels much to the detriment of our ears, and notice that she looks familiar with Kush Tracy’s back up singer. It is in seeing fellow ‘youths’ and see the new crop of youths that have taken over, and without acknowledging it to each other, deep down we know. We are young. But we are no longer the young.
Home is where we ran away from with all the energy we could master. Blood boiling in our veins. Our minds working at an overdrive and in need of new challenges. Our eyes tired of familiar sights. Our hearts eager for new heartbreaks. Home is where we left with our heads held up high and our chests puffed up.
And home is where we come back. Regardless of how life has been for anyone, every single person who went away behaves the same when they come home. No one comes home sad. Or forlorn. Even when you know that you didn’t pay rent for December back in the city. No one comes home looking like a mistake.
The ones who made it big in the city, and the ones the city made a pulp out of, we all go back home, with the same rhythm in our hearts. The familiar. The foundation on which we stand on. The substance we are made of. We go back home with pride. Because as my mum used to tell me, I never killed anyone in our home.
Its a loaded statement that people of the tribe understand deep inside their souls. That home has nothing to do with your achievements or failure. Its just home. Regardless of how your life turns out. Even when you become a president or the village drunkard, home is just home. No one can take that way from you.
I Miss home.