On 18th January 24 years ago, deep in the village at the heart of Laikipia County where men at work are not served ugali on a plate (they are very small and disrespectful), several women gathered at Kaguku’s to welcome the new warrior to the society. A number of ululations were heard all over the village and songs of the time sung.
Men could be seen from a distance nodding in acknowledgement that indeed a Hero had been born. The homestead became a beehive of activities for the next couple of days/or weeks. The young man had no idea of what was going on.
Life in the village was not the best. It was and still is survival for the fittest but that has made men and women. Those who hail from the village will confirm with me that the village had one old Land Rover which operated as a means of public transport. I wonder if that is true though. Milk was more important than the passengers and that tells you why it occupied the better space in the old locomotive.
Before arriving to your destination you could stop at least five times. Not to add more passenger to the already half breathing, but to check whether the primer was still in its right position and that milk was still safe.
Sometimes the engine would overheat which would demand at least an hour or two delay. The second last stop over was obvious; to confirm that all passengers had paid and that the sum was adding up.
Hell would break loose when it was time to board on your return journey. Women would be the first to board according to their sizes assisted by some men who had more skills in ‘packing’ passengers. Children would afterwards be thrown in to fill in any empty space under and on the already overloaded women.
After all the packing was done, the driver, who also happened to be the owner of the old locomotive would be missing. Women would starts complaining until cows came home. As for men it was a break. They would utilize the time discussing the trends of the day mostly in politics.
When it was the actual time to ‘take off’, men would push the old locomotive until it started and afterwards jump atop on the carrier. Sometimes missing on the rails and would sit on women’s head who would never complain owing to submission and fear of unknown which would be obvious (being thrown out of the only public transport vehicle ,this never happened though).
FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU, DECLARES THE LORD
I attended Raya Primary School. It was a school of its type. Teachers would take advantage of break time by sending several boys to buy them some rabbits at the prevailing market price of Ksh 50. They would later slaughter them on their behalf.
Smart girls or rather the cleaner ones would be used to prepare the meal. Non among the boys and the girls had a taste and we never minded so long as we missed classes. Missing a class was the biggest achievement from the pupils side.
If you are of my age and older, you don’t need a calculator to know that classes were hell by then. We would be beaten. We learnt the hard way while cramming all what the teacher said including his or her spelling mistakes.
Against all odds, was committed to the curriculum and I managed to do my best. God always answers the answer to the prayers of the oppressed as long as they remain committed to the course.
The plans of the Lord were/ are right and in due time. I would later join Waka Junior School where I laid my foundation firm before joining Nyandarua High School.
24TH BIRTHDAY IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY
At 23, exactly one year ago, I didn’t know that I would celebrate my 24th in The United States. I didn’t even know there existed Kalamazoo College.
Surprisingly, as I write this short piece, I would shout from the mountain that indeed God has brought me from far. From the small village to big cities, from using old locomotives which would be peeked several times along the journey to ensure that all its contents were still intact underneath to flying above 11kms in an air bus, from running down the village in search of rabbits on sale to please teachers to clicking a button to make purchase online and waiting my order at my doorstep.
To my family and friends, I am amazed by what the Lord can do. Dreams that are so big to dream. Fulfillment that are so real to believe. Its all about God. All glory to God.
Thanks to all those who have made me smile, my family (The Kaguku’s) my colleagues both at the university of Nairobi and Kalamazoo College, USA, lAIKIPIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT officials who made this dream a reality and behind the scene actors. God bless you all and increase in you.
Mwangi Kaguku @24.