You’re on the slopes of Mount Kamwala. Seasoned readers of this column must be wondering why you’re here while it’s not Xmas yet.
Like most modern-day Wabongo, you only travel to your ancestral village when there’s something really serious to attend to. Like when some mzee declares he’s certain he’s going to die very soon, and you must go home to receive his last blessings or else, shauri yako!”
There’s nothing that scares a typical African like the prospect of being denied one’s parent’s blessings. Kukosa radhi, we call it in Kiswahili. It’s even worse when parent utters a curse against you for being stubborn—kuachiwa laana, which is when your mzee reaches the extent of pronouncing with his own mouth he has cursed you. Very scary, isn’t it?
All this explains why we strongly revere our elderly kin and kith. And when they die, nothing will stop us from going to participate in their burial, which is one way to pacify their spirits. Yeah, just in case you had unwittingly wronged them during their lifetime.
This is why you travelled, against all odds, 500km to the hillsides last week. A younger sibling of your late mom passed away at the “ripe old age” of 82 on July 27 and you had to be there to see him off to his final resting place the next day.
A sad occasion but, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The burial ceremony of Liana Chachika, a retired teacher and village elder of great stature, provided a reunion opportunity to many of us.
You encounter many old schoolmates and ndugus, including some you had last seen over 30 years ago.
One such person is Tesua (read Tethua). The guy goes agog upon learning you’re “the Muyanza” who pens ‘The Pub’ He introduces you to his two grown children, a daughter (a teacher) and a son (a computer expert). Both youngsters declare that they too, like their mzee, are avowed readers of this crap you call “my column”. Indeed, the son, Eman, excitedly narrates in detail a couple of “episodes” you can hardly recall, written quite some time ago.
In due course, after the younger Tesuas have left, the guy literally grabs you and leads you, together with a certain ndugu, to Kwa Anna’s Pub. We find Eman is already there.
You’re all welcomed with a beer by the young man. You’re hardly through with Junior’s offer when Tesua gives an order entailing one-one for himself and Junior, plus three for you!
“Why three for me,” you ask.
“You deserve it… it’s not everyday I meet and share a drink with an important person… journalists are very important people,” he says.
Journalists are important people? Where? Since when? You want to laugh, but you don’t, for in any case, we’re in the village where everybody, including journalists, is considered respectable.