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LETTERS FROM MY VILLAGE


On Tuesday mornings, about 10:30 a.m.  there’s a jet which flies over my village. Enemies of development will say that the jet is another place. They will conjure some bullshit about tangents and parallels. Stuff about longitudes and latitudes. How my village is not along the 11th parallel, “Such a longitude is not in your village and cannot be.” Pure nonsense, I say to that. The jet has been following the same flight path since I was born. I see it, my father grew up seeing it. My grandfather did not experience this though, that as much I am sure. There were no planes traversing my village at the time of his birth. In my grandfather’s age, they did not give two shits about flying objects. According to them, what could only take to air were witches and birds. They shot down birds with catapults, like the one David used to end Goliath. But witches eluded them, they still do.
Yesterday, the same plane flew over my village. Judging from trail it left behind, white smoke etched on a blue sky. It surely must have been a Virgin Atlantic flight. I could have told you the tail number and everything but you haters won’t believe me. You will say.

“What has happened to Osoch in Kisii? Surely, he has been bewitched.”
I am okay.
As that plane glided soundlessly over the sky. I thought, what happens should the plane crash? God forbid, let’s just say it happens because it can. If you’re on that fateful flight, be sure to die. There’s no way about it. Let’s not try to sugar-coat it, death is always with us. It follows around as the rat race takes it toll on us and one time, BAM! Death strikes. It will happen to you, it will happen for me. So, relax and have a banana. We will all die. Actually, we are living on borrowed time.
When that plane crashes, it won’t make news. What would paint the headlines is the remoteness of my village. And how investigators from CIA, flanked with journos from al Jazeera and some nosy Kenyan politician will try to locate the plane. After weeks of searching, they will stumble upon the wreckage in the annals of Kisii county. If you were in the plane, your body will be decomposing in the middle of nowhere.

That’s my village, where I will be spending my Christmas holidays. 

It is a rural outpost along the highway to Tanzania. What I love most about my village is that it doesn’t announce itself. There are no signposts, no lines, no demarcations or masars to tell you that you have arrived. But when you get to my village, you know without doubt that you’re in new territory. And here, the rules of life are different.

We don’t have much. There’s only one high school and last year, they managed a mean grade of D+. Which is considerably high, schools in neighbouring villages were panting with mean grades of E and below. This should tell you that I come from a serious village. We work our asses off and we never settle for less.

Tarmac roads are folklore, except this one which runs towards Magufuli’s bedroom.  The national government recently expanded it, to much joy and furore. The price of land has sky rocketed as a result and there are talks of gated communities springing up. Which is pure cock, its progress but it makes me sad. My village will lose its authenticity and vibe. I will no longer be telling people that I am headed to the village. Expansion of this highway has seen an influx of Chinese nationals around. They are all here and the minger faced bastards are running a small Beijing deep in Gusii territory. I am not a fan of the bloody Chinese and I am never going to change my tune. Damned Xi Jin Ping can send secret police to assassinate or deport me to china but my attitude will remain the same. Unchanged, unbowed. The Chinese are leaches to be honest. They are impregnating naïve chicks all over and soon, children will be born with funny, groundnut shaped eyes. And how will they be named?
Yu Ondieki, Ching Omari or Mokua Wu.

In my village, armed with 20 bob, you can drink your ass off. Our locals are not some makuti roofed pubs. Or clubs where you need to board an escalator, then a lift to access. And before you gain entry, some mean looking bouncer frisks you like a suspected criminal. In my village, they are known as drinking dens. Nobody will frisk you, nobody gives a shit about your age. Do you have 20 bob? Get a pint of changaa and you’re the true hero. The den is usually in the backyard of some shosho’s place. Here you will find the who and who in the village. Regaling in extraordinary tales amid intoxication by African chemicals. Alcohol here is famously known as Riseke, it triumphs over everything. Come here from the city bearing your Jack Daniels, your Hennessy, your Johnnie Walkers and nobody will listen to you. They won’t even care that the liquor you’re talking about can pay someone’s rent and school fees in some seedy school.
All the want is Riseke.
You will mention the city’s watering holes. 1824, Jiweke, Kiza but they couldn’t care less. You will receive a bewildered look. The same look that missionaries received when they came to spread the gospel. And this Riseke is lethal, trust me. I am yet to taste it but I experience its effects on a daily basis.

There’s a man named Mose in my village. Short form for Moses but there’s nothing about him which gives the slightest of hints that he cares about the biblical patriarch. People claim to drink themselves silly, but Mose trumps them all. This guy is just on another level. And when he’s caught up in the haze of the drink, he transforms into an artist. He sings mostly love songs and about the menace of capitalism. And what is it about alcohol? When you’re toasted good, there’s this stinging urge to sing. You feel like Beethoven of the generation. That sounds from you are so good that people shouldn’t die without listening to them. While in essence you’re a confused frog with no purpose in this world. Salaton, you’re reading, I hope.

I like Mose’s lifestyle. How he is so carefree. He isn’t caught up in the rat race. He is not chained by anything; no family, no house, no mad wife to come back to. Just him and his favoured drink. It beats me where he spends his nights, do dreams of better days rush through him? Does he think of doing things differently if he has the chance? What is his take on life? Who is his ideal woman? Does he think of leaving this tiny village sometime or he will spend all his days here? Getting drunk along its muddy paths until death finds him. And when he dies, who buries him? As Mose is devoid of friends.
He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about KOT or what went down in Imenti House. He just minds his business. Doing menial jobs to fund his next drink. We cross paths once in a while and I have always wished to interview him but all courage desserts me. How would I start? So, I just greet him and offer him 20 bob if I have loose change. I don’t feel philanthropic about it as I know it is leading him to the grave but I am short of options.  Mose is so charming that he even gave a nickname. I wont spell it out here though, it is my little secret with him.

Down here, there’s a pecking order when it comes to chicks. And on top of the food chain are boda boda riders. They are hot property, the alpha males of this unparsed land. Word reaching me is that chicks get wet at the sound of a motorbike. On Saturday you will find them shooting pool in the local as they follow up on the English Premier League.  Such places are normally swell. The jokes are savage and they carry with them a brutal sex tone. Trust me you me, if you understand ekegusii you will laugh yourself sick. (Did you notice the turn of phrase there, I have always wanted to do that before the year ends.)  I normally go there to pick on a sound lines and listen to men rip into each other with rhetoric of the absurd, its mad fun. You also find gambling experts. Men who talk about sportpesa as if they helped found the company. They understand everything about GG or handicap and everything placing a stake. Concepts which I have never wrapped my head around.

I love the obscurity that comes with my village. How the pace of life here is extremely slow. There are no city clocks to tell you the time. You either have a cock or know how to read the sun. Except the fact that data connection is an ass, I would like stay here forever.  Tending to poultry as I sing to rabbits. By the way, I keep this rabbit, I swear its gorgeous! There’s nothing like it, its pure white fur and red eyes are just something else. Aki, I love this rabbit so much. How it chills when I’m feeding it, nibbling at weeds and jumping around the shelter. What more can a man ask for in life?  The thought of separating when the new year comes as I have to go to campus fills me with dread. It’s like telling me that I’ll never meet my crush, Nicki Minaj. You feel me (sob) (sob) (sob)…..(more sobs) only people with real crushes can understand this.


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