‘Kaĩ wahanire atĩa?’ (what became of you)She asks after giving me a look over.
“ To mũtũrĩre kũnyamaria.”(it’s just, life dragging me by the ears) I manage to find a mild rejoinder but feel quite hot with adrenaline.
I’m restraining myself from the usual biting sarcasm. I pull my hat around my ears some more and smile.
“Habari ya Nairobi?”(how is Nairobi) I grin at her.
“Aaa, wacha tu, Nairobi ndiyo mambo yote. Hata siwezi kaa gicagi, naenda next week.”
(Nairobi is the place to be, I cannot stay in the village, I’ll be gone next week).
She must be recently turned 18. I knew her as the little brown chubby girl that always wore a mbocori.16, 15 years ago.
|This is a mbocori on the left: it covers head, ears and part of the mouth,it is an essential in the highlands|
Three months ago, I came to the village. And was immediately acquainted with her, for we often met at the dairy. She was accompanying their farm-hand, carrying the dairy board.
And I was balancing eight litres on each hand, with the dairy board tucked into my back pocket, along with a book.
|tools of the trade. The dairy board is in my armpit.|
There was not much company as my age mates had transferred to Nairobi, Mombasa and U.A.E on turning 18.
The others married other school mates and now raising teenagers. And I, a woman of twenty five preferring to spend my time in the farm while I could be....
I could be anywhere. But I choose to be here.
I must look quite; well, quite. To anyone that thinks a lot about fashion.
I’m wearing the same pair of jeans I wore, 12 or 10 years ago. Gumboots, a knitted sweater and a dark green jacket.
The other day the vet found me grazing and asked,
“ĩĩ Kĩhũni, nĩ ngombe ĩrĩkũ ndĩretagĩrwo?”(young man, which cow is the matter)
I don’t look any different from those farm men sitting on the wet grass smoking rolled tobacco. A misty afternoon, with fog covering the country all around. Visibility reduced to two hundred yards.
The girl is talking about her college.
I don’t mean to deny her an audience, it’s just her remark, it has given rise to my vanities. Uncle said the other day,
“You would rather walk barefooted, amazing, your mother would never venture out of bed without some sort of slippers or shoes.”
And a visiting neighbour said:
“Gathoni nĩehaana,” (She is an original.)
I feel like, by being me, doing what I like, I am often raising eye brows.
Well educated. Fashionably dressed.
Combed, straight hair
I'd rather gain wisdom and experience
Dress for comfort
And be equal to every effort.
The land-cruiser arrives and weighs our milk.
"Na muuge kwĩ na mbeca cia iria,"(it's pay day) the driver shouts, driving off.