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As the year draws close to end, there are two things involved: the village gets in the mood of Christmas and the candidates for the imbalu start their preparations. Through isonja, the young men are not only trained in the ways of the tribe but also taken through the drills in preparation for the 3 days imbalu ceremony. It is through these drills that we strengthen their limbs to withstand the first pull (litaayi); we also train them on how to standstill and stay long without blinking. After all when circumcising, even a mere blinking can make you lose marks. You’re expected to standstill, and not show emotion for those 30 seconds when traditional experts dip the knife into your skin and without error peel off the foreskin from your manhood. It is then that a boy becomes a man. Or else you will forever be called “umusani sani” or “mateleesi”

On the other side is the preparation for “Christmas”. Being a Tuesday Wakauna went to Kimwanga to buy Christmas clothes for his family but did not return. Being a man of two wives, Nangoti’s family was not bothered knowing that he may have chosen to sleep at his other house. Wakauna’s wives are known to be the most quarrelsome women in the village. Nangoti is from Buwalasi and Wakauna got her when she came to nurse her late cousin Namwatikho. Nalyaka comes from Bukatsa and we commonly refer to her as “Umukatsa” meaning one who hails from Bukatsa.

As the saying goes two axes cannot stay in one basket without knocking against each other, when Nangoti and Nalyaka start quarreling, they bring the whole village to a standstill. That is why the clan leader, Woshooru advised Wakauna to build their houses far from the other. But even the distance has never deterred them from carrying on with their quarrels.

Naturally Nangoti had to become restless as bed time approached. Men who have married more than one wife draw a timetable of where they will be ‘eating’ on a particular day. But it is said that Wakauna has a habit of sneaking from one house to another in one night. Some people say he does it to scare away any man who could sneak on any of his wives. But isn’t it known that he is the one who moves at night with cats throwing them on people’s roofs? Wakauna is rumored to be a night dancer. He is said to have been a good sprinter in his youthful days.

It is a habit of night dancers to move with cats and throw them on other people’s roofs. The soft target are however those houses without a man in them.

“How can your father take my money and not return home? I expected him to return with your clothes for Christmas”. Nangoti said as she led her children to check at Nalyaka, her co-wife’s house. Even as she spoke with sound of bitterness, you could feel her anxiety. The last time Wambi Wapondo did not return home from Kimwanga, he was picked from Marekerero having drowned in the flooded stream.

As she approached Watundu’s courtyard, Nangoti heard a suppressed scream then Watundu’s door was immediately flung open. As Watundu raised an alarm to raise the Village to a night dancer, a dark figure sprinted across almost knocking Nangoti over but in a flash the figure disappeared into a banana plantation. “Angatima ne namuwunile lifumo khwitakho” Watundu bragged.

Till then, we shall keep you posted!



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