Tales We Tell: African Edition

Mornings.
How best could I describe an African sunrise? Oh yah! “Naaaahhh… Siveenyaaaa…. Babathiii Baba…” or whatever way you mistook it. This would last until mom rudely interrupts it with her morning speech that’s basically a concoction of threats. A morning cocktail! And you just have to admire the level of creativity in it. “Eeeehh!! Utatoka kwa kitanda ama nitoe kitanda?” Loosely translated; exclamation, you either get out of bed or I get the bed out. One way or another one is getting out. I’d have loved to say that’s exaggerated but you never want to place bets on African parents. Especially mom.

I hurriedly leave bed coming out as if I was awake ages ago. My face obviously betrays me but I put up an act worth of an oscar. “I heard Dad going out EARLY in the morning, when is he coming back?” Obviously I had not but I had mastered Dad routines to know. In these lands you never admit sleeping in. Ever! It’s the way of life. My mud house creaks as I shut the door. Honestly, I’d give it a rough estimate of one rainy season before it comes crushing in. Besides that, it’s a mark of accomplishment. I had finally moved out of my Dad’s place and that’s celebrated here. On the down side, it’s still there compound so I don’t get to enjoy certain priviledges. For example, sleeping in. It’s a bargain. Or better yet, dramatically put, “A small price to pay for salvation.”

I am the first born in a family of nine and being the first born in these lands is really a full time job especially with seven other siblings to spice it up. The only career you get born into! I have acquired several titles through this career; the GPS tracker, the go-to-guy-when-there’s-trouble, and most importantly, the support beam to my career, The Scapegoat. Shortly put, I’m a living example of not reading the terms and conditions before clicking on accept. Anyways, it’s not like they had a choice. I was the best one for the job.

Being the first born also meant certain responsibilities lie with me. For instance, taking out the one hundred and thirty seven heads of cattle, largest herd in the land, but who’s keeping count? Oh yah, me again! Every evening after grazing the cattle because that’s how precious we regard our “pets”. Walking Wealth as I like to refer to them as but most importantly, The Bride Price because I’m so pulling over with this herd to Nzilani’s barn, my neighbours daughter who I’ve been eyeing for God knows how long. It’s reason enough to graze these bad boys with a passion only my pious friend Jacob from the Bible could understand.

Afternoons.
Hot! Super Hot!

Evenings.
Quite subtle. Perhaps the only time you’d appreciate being around here. We play paper football where one team has to part with their shirts to differentiate them from the other. They’re no rules here and the game only comes to a stop when either someone’s seriously injured or the owner of the ball gets mood swings. Basically he calls the shots so you have to be very careful how you play him. NEVER embarass him or it’s game over. Literally! We’d later realise that football is a game we play throughout our lives. Just abit evolved since we graduated from chasing balls to chasing girls. How else would they be called Couple goals? Or cheaters called Players? Think about it.

Mom calls us later on for supper. “Sitawaita mara mbili” – I won’t call you twice. As usual her creativity never fails but we wouldn’t mind this time round because we literally camp outside the kitchen. With the smoke bellowing outside the mud hut it’s a wonder how she survives in there and we’d take turns going to find out if the food is ready, or atleast they because this is a privilege I no longer enjoy. One by one I’d send my siblings to go find out and they’d come out more excited than they went in everytime. A clear indication we’d be feasting today. The sun has set. The night’s calm and the moon rose with it alongside distant hoots of owls and occasionally flapping bats. It’s a wrap.

Photo credits by Oladimeji Odunsi 

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