X-files From The Village
X-FILES FROM THE VILLAGE
There are stories about the presence of mukoboyaka (pythons) around Manafa. We are therefore told never to move alone especially along the river bank. We hear that even Chetulita, Wekwanya’s wife was almost swallowed by the Mukoboyaka had Kaloli not been brave enough to fight it off. They say that when mukoboyaka grips a person, it can even swallow them alive and it was at this stage that Kaloli came to her rescue. Due to the shock, the huge snake is said to have spat hitting her hard on the ground.
There is however another story to her death. It is said that Chetulita was not killed by mukoboyaka and it has never existed in Manafa. Instead, Chetulita was bitten by a snake as she eloped with Kaloli. It is said that they had made a bed out of banana leaves near an antihill rumored to be harboring a “mamba leo”. It was that time of the month when the snake is thought to be sick and cannot come out of the “shishili” because Chetulita had just harvested bumekele (mushrooms) and given a child to take home.
For those who don’t know bumekele, they are tiny white mushrooms that grow on antihils that harbor a big snake which patronises that antihil. When the bumekele sprouts upon the antihil, it is a sign that the snake is inside there and sick. Therefore the women can go and pick the mushrooms without threat of the snake.
On that particular day, Chetulita could have thought the snake to be sick and there she lay with her lover, Kaloli. It is said that when the snake bit her, she had not taken it seriously. Being a ground with “mukwate” sticks littered allover, she had thought it to be a prick from “mukwate”.
Some people even joke that the ecstasy of the moment was so much that by the time Chetulita saw the snake, the poison had already moved to the heart and she could not be saved. How this version came up, they say that Kaloli told it to his wife in confession. “Women can never keep a secret”, they add.
So many scary animals are said to be in Manafwa. One time Namaumba claimed to have been chased by imbulu. Imbulu is a feared alligator and rumored to have a sharp tail that if it found its prey, it cuts off your legs first. Nonetheless these stories never stop us from going to Manafa and engaging in all the interesting games that one can think of.
Life in our village is lived to its fullness. We grieve and celebrate together. Not that we never fight and not a few times suspicion arises but to the boys of our age, it is all about living life.
On a particular day like today, we woke up very early and joined the rest to clear the garden in preparation for the millet planting season. We usually do this communally and therefore allocate a day to each family. For families like Wetaya and Yowabu who do not have much land, we combine the two for a day.
In such communal work, not much can be accomplished without Watenga. He is known for his funny stories and gimmicks that keep us lively as we clear the hard ground. He also has a way of captivating us with songs that form rhythm with the movement of the hands as we work.
We then take the cattle to Manafa for grazing; here we are always on our own with our younger brothers. At Manafa, the boys are on their own, you don’t even carry any food but we spend all day grazing, fighting, cheering the cattle and then wait for the evening to lay the girls.
Most girls come in the evening to draw water after helping with all the work at home. A girl will bypass so many wells and come to the river because there we are on our own without the preying eyes of the parents.
Of course girls swim from another side of the river but who doesn’t want to hide and watch the girls dive into the water; those who are shy bathe in their skirts knowing that they have carried an extra skirt into which to change.
We are also aware of those soaps that attract snakes and we never carry them to Manafa; boys just dive into the water then after walk home, girls carry greasy stuff with which to smear after the swim. The common one is Reys which is normally carried in a paper or a piece of polythene.
But today, Wekwanya’s cow ate Watenga’s shirt because he had hidden soap in the shirt. He is going back home shirtless hoping that the elders will help us solve this. Why should Wekwanya’s family pay for the shirt and yet it is the cow that ate the shirt and was out of Watenga’s carelessness?
Till then we shall keep you posted!