By Kura Kipkura
Back during my younger days in the village, i had this friend whose life has really fascinated me over time. We lived together, he was my greatest childhood friend, friend in need. When we played till late in the evening, i would drag my friend along to use him as a human shield should my parents contemplate on hitting my butt. Life was just crazy… and fun. A life that oscillated from learning numbers and reading in school to chasing after squirrels in nearby Cherangany forest. When one day, his female hunting dog bore eight puppies, all with a perfect resemblance with my male dog, we were startled at our our friendship had gone far and wide.
I remember i would cry all not night long when my mother threw my hard heard squirrel meat to the dogs for supper.
My pain would be heightened the next day when Kipkelat (my friend), would narrate to me how delicious it was and how his mother had cooked it together with few bitter herbs she had collected from a neighbour’s farm they worked on to support their lives. How that used to happen and why i was denied my delicacy while Kipkelat was allowed to enjoy his in peace was a story i later in life came to realize, i will tell it another day. Now, this hapless friend of mine was not our peers’ favourite.
No one, of course except me, used to go close to him for rumour had once been sparked by a big eyed and noisy daughter of a policeman that he had lice in his clothes. There efforts to pluck me from him bore no fruits. Kipkelat was my friend, i just found him irresistible in a bewitching manner. Me being the son of a no nonsense whip welding teacher and him being the son of a humbled village casual labourer and us being friends to dead left all my other friends mouths agape. Our chemistry was so complicated.
Our mathematics teacher who my father had apparently hired to kick my posterior until i got all sums right kept asking me what i liked about Kipkelat. Of course i had no response. Teachers have answers to everything so i would just laugh him off and disappear. When Kipkelat liked a girl, i would feel so much for him ;so much just like my own brother. I would marshal all my resources and pull all my strings to ensure he got ‘it’. I would even steal my mother’s vegetable coins at home, call the girl, buy her some round chalk like sweets. After then, she would just hold her breath and have a talk with my good friend, after all nothing goes for free. If she refused we would scare her that we were going to tell her mother than he exchanged her ‘bad manners’ with sweets.
That is how i cared about him. My friend was a total no go zone for all village girls. That was the greatest undoing that his status was doing to him. Now eight years elapsed and we did our final exam. As God would even dictate, my friend topped in our class. After all he his state had denied him other distracting sideshows. We unfortunately parted ways as i moved on to a a different secondary school and he, having won a scholarship, went to the city in one of the national schools. Though different we were, we were still good friends. Majority of the girls who had been blowing mucus to him just performed dismally and retreated back to their homes.
The average ones joined nearby vocational training centers to learn cooking pilau, modern day tailoring and hair braiding. Time has really gone by, years have flown without our notice and my friend… Listen to this, last week Kipkelat came back to the village and everybody was almost jumping off their skins, of course except me for we have been in touch. He drove to the village in a sleek, black and ‘silent’ vehicle! Not only that! A tomato like thing was dangling on his left biceps! a brazen lass he had brought from Kambaland to show the village girls how life can be good. The girls we schooled with, majority of them now colourless and with a series of dirty brats popped their heads from their maize stalk fenced compounds.
Others saw it all via the cracks on their mud backed walls as their husbands rushed by the roadside to shake the hands of the people from the city and lucky enough maybe get some coins for their next booze. For the village girls, the making of a husband material had just happened before their eyes, out of their realization…
Good morning from Marakwet.