X-Files from the village
Our village is deeply rooted in the traditional ways of life. For us, whoever is president of the country matters less. The RC of the area is everything. We lined up to select him but some were chased from the line for being young and short. Some people were counted twice. They could count you from the front and you sneak to the other line also. For Namawulula, it was a complicated thing; he had drank Wambalu’s alcohol in promise of a vote and the same time he was given a piece of soap as “Chai” to vote for Wananda. To pay back he and his elder wife stood behind Wananda while his second wife and elder child stood behind Wambalu. He explained this to both and they agreed, “It was the right thing to do”.
We remember in that year women who did not stand behind their husband’s choice suffered consequences. Some were beaten severely while others were chased from their homes. In fact many people vowed to never participate in elections again. We had never had such a divisive event before. But since then, wounds have healed and people have gone back to the old friendships.
Last night was quite a disturbing one. An owl was bleating as early as 10pm and that is a clear communication that a person is going to die or someone has died or someone is going to get a terrible sickness.
Whenever we could chase it with burning wood, it would go silent for a few minutes then resume its scary irritating noise. We the lads were asked to run to our uncle Watundu and borrow a torch. It is said that the owls are averse to light. When we got the torch from Uncle Watundu, we reached home when the owl had stopped bleating. We then realized that even the torch does not light. It must be faulty and that is the only torch we have in the two villages. It was left by Musuya who died of “silimu” which she had got from Kenya.
The story of Musuya is sad but it is also a long story. When she ran off with her suitor from Buganda, her father had decided to disown her because her suitor’s family had disrespected us by not bringing a single cow for our daughter. They instead brought very many baskets with a few tomatoes and onions. In anger we told them to carry their things and go back. Musuya’s pleas fell on deaf ears and she decided to go with her husband against her parents’ will.
“Because you have got some prickly breasts and a longer neck doesn’t mean you disobey your father, you cease to be my daughter the moment you leave this house for that uncircumcised boy” her father had said.
When we heard that the man who was taking our sister is not circumcised we were tempted to forcefully circumcise them but they were lucky that it was “a year of girls” as it is commonly known. It is a taboo for our girls to get married to “boys” as we refer to uncircumcised male creatures. Musuya insisted and went. With her hand upon the cheek she tried to persuade her daughter but in vain. “Nangakambila akwa khumuwanda kwe tsoffu”
Musuya went with her “boy”. The next time we saw her, she had come back with a truckload of things from Kenya. How she got to Kenya has remained a mystery just like what had become of her marriage. With all those things her parents forgave her. The whole village organised a feast and her father performed rituals to cleanse her of the curse. Many people could flock Watundu’s home to ask Musuya about so many things like the “mijini” of Mombasa, the women who were partly fish, partly human, the big lake that goes grazing. Nothing fascinated me like hearing Musuya tell us about the grazing lake. That the lake can go to a distant place to graze then return later with bigger force. Then she told us about the mijini women. She recounted the story of a man who had taken in a woman for the night. That as they went to bed, she had stretched her hand from the bedroom to close the door in the sitting room.
Then Musuya started getting sickly. She started getting skin rashes and when she started scratching her skin, she could go on till blood comes out. Word started making rounds that the owner of the things had bewitched her. At that time, Musuya had fallen in love with Wainaina and was at the same time sleeping with Wotsomu. In succession they also started developing the same conditions as Musuya. Whoever had been offered anything by Musuya started returning the items. We knew without doubt that the Swahili people that she had stolen from had come to reclaim their property but Musuya insisted as she had inherited the property from her childless bosses who had died mysteriously a month after the other. Of course sometimes Musuya had been sleeping with her boss as she confessed; “the Swahili women don’t know how to make love”.
Musuya, Wainaina and Wotsomu died in the same house. They had been placed in the same house to stop the voodoo from moving to another person.
Their painful death will be recounted in the future. They were dejected, abandoned, cast off to the Swahili charm.
Till then we shall keep you posted.