my old man owned a maize farm very far from home. the farm, a 12acre piece of land was situated in Lufere, a two hour drive from kinamba town. kinamba is a pastorolist town on the very north western tip of Laikipia county. since non of his wives would dare reside there, he had hired a man of Turkana origin to man the farm. Mutokaa was his name. He lived in the farm with his wife, two daughters of - one three years my senior named Alice, the other my age mate named Esther-, and an assortment of other children of indeterminate ages. the homestead comprised of a two roomed timber house, a granary, and a mud walled kitchen. the granary, in keeping with the design of the day, was storied. meaning it had a growing floor, and a first floor. the first floor was three feet high. the ground floor was walled too using timber and inmost homes, it was used as either a goat pen, a chicken house or a store for fire wood and stuff. the homestead was fenced and had a drawback gate. tuko pamoja? stop thinking of the Spoon.
a week prior, mzee mutokaa had come to my home to inform my old man that the maize was dry enough for harvesting. we all, SNF especially me, was perennially scared of mzee mutokaa. he was a thin tall man who always carried a rungu. he spoke very funny Swahili though he could understand Greek. his fsmily , psrticulary the children, were fluent in Greek albeit with an accent. mzee mutokaa also had a funny way of clearing his throat every three minutes.
it was during the December holidays of my third years in leisure-oh secondary school.
my old man thus organised his sons, eight of us plus two cousins to go maize harvesting. we had done this several years. a one day affair that saw us leave home at five in the morning aboard Kvx driven by my eldest bro. we were at the farm by eight. not much ceremony. salute our hosts, hand over the shopping, then we all went down to the farm and commenced harvesting. all except the eldest daughter Alice, who was left home to do the cooking for the pose. she was also pregnant. about six months. the younger daughter, Esther, was the candy of my eyes. she was a sweet gal who was fascinated by my ability to drop English words at will and tell of stories of travels to Nairobi. she had never gone to school. none of her siblings had.
wacha tuvune maindi. we harvested, the children and mother carried the maize to the pickup kvx. when full, I drove home, emptied into the granary then went back. did twice. on my third trip, tea and chapos were ready so I ferried it down to the farm. before seating down to eat, they all helped to fill the pickup and I drove home as they ate the midmorning brunch. parked at the granary and was busy emptying the maize when a voice called from below.
she was under the granary. had gone to reteive firewood, and her skirt got stuck on a rafter something akward. now you can think of the Spoon…
…to be continued.