With a few unforgiving barbs still buried deep into the back of my right thigh, as I hang precariously over the wire fence, my leg carrying the full weight of the suspended body, I felt helpless and completely over the barrel.
I couldn’t scream or send an SOS as doing so would no doubt attract the attention of the neighbour and his wrath or his shamba boy who would come with even more wrath.
I found myself silently singing a Mitha Mùgìkùyù (kikuyu mass) song that goes like this ….
Ndingìgwa hatìkainì wee nduta kuo.
Ingìcingimanìrwo wee he ùtheri.
Ngai wakwa, Ngai wakwa.
Ndakaya nyamùkíra mwenenyaga.
(If I fall on a k-apple/barbed wire fence kindly take me out)
(When I am chingimanwad, give me light)
(My God my God)
(When I let out a painful shrill, receive me owner of glaciers)🎼🎺🎻
This song aptly captured my predicament because at that point, I was in real shit. I heard some movement and ruffling of dry leaves coming from inside our coffee bushes but then my hopes rushed into the throat after it turned out to be a stray dog.
Juzi, I narrated a story about Mama Maina’s oil , our modern day Moses’-snake, that healed all manner of cuts, wounds and abrasions. I am not going to retell the story but I will, due to public demand, tell a story that was within the main plot and here it goes.
One sluggish afternoon, when I was about nine, I discover that the neighbour’s loquat tree had its fruits fully ripe. This tree was right on the fence with a few branches on our side of the shamba but the tree trunk was on the neighbour’s side proper.
Majority of you know about loquats and how sweet these little fruits can be. Eating the fruits in the village involved climbing the tree, picking the fruits one after the other, expertly rubbing off the ‘fur’ between the thumb, index and the middle finger, bitting off the top with the front teeth, squeezing out the twin seeds into the mouth, spitting them, pushing the rest of the fruit into the mouth, chewing it lightly, swallowing the perfect nector with eyes closed due to overwhelming sweetness (impossible to eat excessively sweet things with macho kondo and it applies to everything), swallowing or spitting the fibrous material according to your preference, lather rinse repeat.
I therefore climb the tree and perch myself on the most comfy position as I embark on eating the golden yellow fruits. They are so sweet so much that I can’t swap them for a night with Nicki Minaji and a bucketload of ground nuts. At first, owing to the fact that the fruits are all ripe, I am not choosy and I go about my business systematically. I am sweepingly picking all the fruits around me. But this would change after an hour or so of nonstop eating as the marginal utility (satisfaction for those challenged by economic terms) approached zero. I discover that the fruits on the lateral branches which are exposed to direct sunlight are a bit sweeter than their counterparts inside the crown and since I am no clown, I start singling out such fruits.
The more the blood rushed to the stomach to aid digestion depriving the brain much needed oxygen, the more I threw caution to the wind forgetting that I was not a bird to outstretch to the weakest of the branches. Leave alone a small bird, a straight thinking lady bird could have been more cautious sitting on some of those twigs.
Without warning, the branch I am standing on snaps. I trying clutching to the twigs above me but they too snap and follow me in a plummet through the foliage.
Come Sunday, mother was bathing me when she felt a lump at the back of my thigh.
Jesu! Nìkì gìkì? (Holy crap! What is this? )
Kìaumire kù? (From where?) as if wounds originate from some place.
When I failed to answer promptly, I received a ‘kimanyoko’ slap.
Ndìrakùria!? Gìkì kìronda kìnene ùù kìamire kù (am I not asking you!? This big wound, where did it come from?)
Ndagùire Mùharùinì ngìtarùrwo nì thìgìngì. (I fell from the loquat tree and got lacerated by the barbed wire), I said with a hangdog look on my face.
Na ndùngiuga!?(and you never bothered to bring it to my attention or your father’s?)
Mother, after administering a sevens aside beating, took me to the local dispensary where I received a tetanus jab and some GV. She said that she solely beat me for staying with a gut-churning wound for almost one week without uttering a word about it.
It was characteristic of her to discipline us not for what we thought was the main makosa but some other makosa committed in an attempt to conceal the original sin. (Not Adams though).
My younger brother’s would find me hanging on that fence by the thigh weary and knackered. I couldn’t maker any slight movement because doing so made the barbs to dig in further. On seeing me, they registered initial short-lived shock and then laughed their little asses off as they methodically “unhung” me from the fence like a piece of cherished cloth from the drying line. There was a gaping wound at the back of my thigh. Amazingly, there was very little bleeding. You could only see some whitish stuff inside.
They administered Mukindùri tree (croton) sap and I was good to go.