If it looks like Minnesota, then it probably is Kericho.mercy bor.
I know I am in the land of my fathers because the women hawking peas and carrots have teeth that have been browned by hard water. However, that does not stop them from smiling from ear to ear in an attempt to make the most of their sales. They forcefully open the windows and thrust all sorts of things which could possibly grow on soil. My nostrils are grateful for the smell of onions that look so fresh. I care less for any though. Don’t blame me, I love travelling light. We are in Bomet. Just a couple of miles away from home, Kericho.
It is drizzling. But no one is in a hurry to take cover. It is a shame to take cover from the rain. It brings disgrace to your ancestors and to the whole clan. Folklore has it that it is a very efficient way of chasing the rain away. In fact, kids are always encouraged to play in the rain for the first few minutes when it begins pouring. Yes, that is in fact right, Kalenjins will always be running to each and every place but will walk in the rain.
The lassie that was seated next to me alighted in Narok and so the driver stops in Bomet town to pick up a passenger. There is a middle man (famously known as manamba) who already has a client. He ushers the fella into the matatu and goes up to the driver to ask for his dues. He stretches both his arms to receive the paper. The driver, well acknowledging his current place in the food chain hands an old fifty-shilling note to him with not so much as a humble demeanor.
‘Nataka unirudishie change hapo!’ he demands.
The other guy dips his hand in his pocket and immediately brings it out saying that he had none. Eyes begging for sympathy.
This fish has already mastered the subtle art of boot licking and is making it work for him because the driver delightfully wafts his left hand to give the middle man the go ahead to walk away with the whole amount. Delight is written all over his face, as is common with all people who know their true position in the food chain. It is called self-awareness and it comes with a big belly.
The bloke who is now seated next to me is a huge guy, dark complexion, no sense of fashion and a brief case to match. He says hi to me immediately after settling in and I realize that his breath smells of tea. The kind that was brewed for hours on end until the tea leaves could not lose color anymore. We go by the mantra, any time is tea time. We will offer you tea when you visit us in the morning. and in the afternoon when the sun is above your head. And at night too. Forgive us, because we grow tea and bathe in milk. What else could we possibly offer?
There are different ways of measuring the economic position of a household. And tea is one of them. Not the tea that grows on shambas as is on the above picture. But tea, the beverage. You know, if the tea is thick and filled with milk then times have been good to that household. Either that or they once had many daughters. Then there are times when tea in a cup gives away the color of the bottom of the cup. See, this is life. Plenty will not always be there. The lessons were right there, in our cups. However, going to bed starved while in campus is what it took to know the value of wise spending.
A story of my journey to Kericho from the big big city is not what this is. But it is all about Kericho and the female form that is mother nature in all it’s glory. Photo credits go to Amos Tank. Yes, Tank. Some parents are just cool that way eer Ian. The watermark on the photos read his IG handle. Show him love.
All about Kericho.
Did you know? A man’s cows not only bring him honor and dignity, they also give him the right to speak where a council of men sit. You see, in the dead of the night when all evil is at its optimum, you will hear mooing in your shade and will wake up with your spotlight to confirm if the big red bull and the other cows are fine. Then after you are satisfied that it was just sighing from eating too much grass yesterday, you will go back to sleep smiling then you will thank God nothing happened. To your big red bull.
What you will not know is that at the end of the night, you will have modeled out to the young ones in the home what courage is. What a man ought to do. And that will be the hallmark for manhood for years and generations to come as it will be passed down devotedly but silently.
The environment here is quite different from the city where there is always traffic bustling and hooting. Right here, right now, my thoughts could never be any clearer. No clogged thoughts. No procrastination of reflection time simply because I can’t find a place with more than ten trees. Sort of like the dog and bell story of conditioning. i have to be around trees to think clearly. Why? ever looked at trees in all their majesty? Aren’t they a manifestation of tranquility?
Kericho is where it all began for me. The place that offered us a lot of playgrounds where we would jump up and down and ask airplanes flying up above to bring us bread, sweets and all other things our small minds deemed desirable. This is the place where I first had a boy smiling at me in a dubious way at the age of five despite the fact that my inner shorts were much longer than my tunic.
Over here, men introduce their wives as matam(madam) and sleep peacefully at night like everything is alright. Except that it is. This place right here taught me names like Kures, Elichah, Etwet and had me disagreeing with the class one CRE teacher when he said they are pronounced as Grace, Elijah and Edward.
I love that people here in Kericho take corporal responsibility for children. How negligent mothers who happen to accidentally knock their babies on the matatu while squirming to get in face a thorough backlash. In fact,this mistake earns you a slap or a couple of index fingers sternly pointing at you in some parts of Fort Ternan. Growing up, the gesture meant that all you had one strike. What would follow would make you know cha Mtema kuni.
Lastly on Kericho.
A world informed by Light and life and Chamgei FM. In this place,where boda boda guys will have you listening to how they brought a girl home but proved that they cannot be good wives and how they (boda boda guys) plan to chase them (wives) away.
This is a picture of a gourd, fondly referred to as sotet and used to prepare mursik.
Happy holidays from the wordy corner and karavic at large.