Think about your culture. What is the name given to a fool who only wastes resources? Suppose we were back in the olden days would you be respected or detested by the villagers? Would you eat abattoir remains or feast like a king?

Colour landscape photograph of sparse makeshift homes amongst lush  vegetation and crops, taken in Kangaita village, Meru county, Kenya Stock  Photo - Alamy

Kai, the son of the wisest elder in the village,

or who they call” the brains of the village,”

Yet, Kai possessed a peanut-sized brain,

so much that when his fellow young lads ran errands in the village, he would be lamenting on why the sky is blue,

By the time he clocked twenty,

the Njuri ncheke (village elders) advised his father to find him a wife,

for it was uncouth for a man of his age to be live in his father’s house,

for all his agemates had married by sixteen,

so as they say “culture is a way of coping with the world by defining it in detail,” 

his father gave his share of land and his mother gave him seeds so that he may plant them and never lack food,

As soon as Kai was given the required items to start off his life of independence, he set off for the hills,

Away from home for a month, he became lazier than ever,

dawn to dusk he chewed miraa or perhaps roamed around,

Sooner rather than later, he was detested by all in the village,

Like anyone who has ever had a downfall, he did the expected,

He took an opportunity and seized it,

it was after harvest and the neighbouring community was coming to trade,

it was the norm to exchange your excess harvest for produce you didn’t have,

knowing he had nothing he did what he could out of desperation,

Kai, made a deal to exchange his hereditary land for a mere herd of cattle,

knowing too well that it was uncouth, he gave no second thought,

he only saw the fame of possessing the largest herd of cattle in the village,

He made the necessary arrangements and in no time he was ready to be the talk of the town,

When the long-awaited day bloomed he did what he hadn’t done in years,

he went to Kirimara (Mt Kenya) to pray to Murungu (God) for good luck,

he wore his finest attire and set for the market not forgetting to carry along his pride,

his wife and relatives tried to stop him but as his name states he was and always will be a fool,

At the market place, all the negotiations were done and he returned home with a face that suggested desperation,

from the deal he made , he only managed to come back with a heifer,

the language barrier between him and the person he traded with, betrayed him,

Poor Kai, if only he thought twice or maybe thrice he would still have his land,

He spent the last night on his farm uncertain of the future,

The next day he was summoned by the elders,

due to his poor choices needed to face the consequences of his actions,

till date, no one knows of the decision made by the elders,

maybe he was given a second chance or maybe banished from the community,

Everyone has to pay a price for their actions.

By Joy Kirima.

NB: In the above narrative the name of our character and some phrases such as Njuri ncheke is derived from the Meru language.

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Still learning more under the sun.

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