Monday, 5 June 2017

GEMS OF WISDOM FROM KAKAMEGA AND BUNGOMA

EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR edchirchir@yahoo.com edchirchir85@gmail.com

PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY

Thanks to my love for shortcuts, there is this one time I found myself inside a private car, heading to Western Kenya from Nairobi. I had initially hoped to use the North Rift Luxury Shuttle, but I was not patient enough to wait for the long queue to be cleared,so I hopped into a private vehicle.

It was a white Toyota Corolla vehicle, which I must say - at the risk of sounding ungrateful-that it was being driven recklessly. Along the Nairobi - Nakuru highway, the driver outdid himself by overtaking huge, lazy lorries as well as smaller vehicles, from every imaginable position, left right and centre of the highway.

Inside the car, on the front seat was the driver and his younger brother who had just been released from prison (lucky ex-convict that one. To have your brother waiting on you when you leave the penitentiary is a blessing, only directed at a few prisoners). On the backseat, I was uncomfortably sandwiched between two well built gentlemen, who must have been loyal members of some gym in Nairobi. This was because while each of their biceps were comparable to a packet of two kilograms of Mumias sugar, my mini-biceps were in the same league with scones. But I was glad because I felt safe between them, thanks to the driver's questionable driving skills. I was glad because in case Satan paid us a visit and something nasty happened, the two gentlemen would act as my airbags (quite selfish, not so?)

My destination was Eldoret, while the other four occupants of the car were headed to Bungoma and Kakamega, but this story is not about Ugali and chicken.

To break the monotony, we engaged in some conversation about politics. A conversation which was not heading anywhere, because who after all is not tired of politics? We all seemed to be in a state where politics was an unwelcome hindrance to our privacy. It did not help matters that we belonged to different political parties and none of us had benefited in anyway from our various political affiliations. There was also the risk of contradicting the driver politically, hence having him force you to alight, some where between Naivasha and Gilgil, before telling you, "Hii gari si ya mamako bwana" (This car does not belong to your mother). Then you would be forced to beg him to have you back in the car and flattering him with names such as 'Boss,' 'Mkubwa tafadhali' and even resorting to speaking to him in his mother tongue, because mother tongue speaks to a man's heart, but because you do not understand his mother tongue, you pick any random words and say,

"Wewe ni mundu khu mundu kabisa" while showing him the Nike sign using your thumb. We tried to use the choicest and most flattering words to talk about politics but the words refused to grow wings, hence the story could not fly, so we let the story die a natural death.

After we had mourned and burried that story about politics, we retreated back to our silent cocoons, until somewhere close to Nakuru when someone started talking about night runners. The conversations became lively. That was where our interests converged and hugged one another. We were all united by the mystery which normally surrounds any story about night running. Take note that the guys in the vehicle seemed so informed about this night running business, even though none of them had ever encountered a night runner in real life.

I learnt one or two things about night runners, that they are mostly adult males who like running naked and disturbing people at night, using their bare behinds to knock on people's doors. What I fail to understand is, what can drive an adult male to run around naked at night apart from madness? Are these guys not afraid of dogs? Or wild animals who might roam at night? Are they not afraid of running into dangerous criminals or policemen? What satisfaction can one get from unleashing terror at night in other people's homesteads?

Sam, the guy to my left, said that should you catch a night runner in the act, you should whip him until his skin gets bleached, to avoid any bad omen. Apparently, the night runners are 'cousins' to witches, hence can bring ill luck your way. The driver on the other hand added that you should never negotiate with a night runner, in case you get hold of him. He said that whenever you arrest a night runner, he will promise you several gifts, to buy your silence, but accepting them is like signing you own death sentence.

Another thing and this applies to ladies who are planning to marry night runners. My partners in transit said that if your husband leaves to attend to his night running duties, you should remain by the fireplace in your kitchen, frying groundnuts and taking care not to burn them, while one leg rests on the stones supporting your frying pan. Take note that you should not leave the fireplace until your beloved husband returns or else, he will get caught in the act.

A few minutes before I alighted at Eldoret at around 7:20pm, the guys warned me that should I ever find myself in Kakamega or Bungoma and an old man or woman asks me for money, I should decline, regardless of the amount in question. That statement dried up my only remaining oasis of generosity. They told me that the money could be used against you, in the sense that the old man or woman would use some black magic to make you broke. How you may ask? They told me that if you are employed and you gave them (old man and woman) some money, your employer will call you a few hours later to break to you the news that your services are no longer needed. Again, if you are in business, all your business deals will go south hence leading to the closure  of your business. The most frightening thing is that they gave me a number of examples, to support their arguments, but again you may ask and I am also asking the same question. how now? How is this possible? And for your information, I ain't got an answer.

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