I squeeze in just before the lift doors shut and everyone looks at me like am to blame for their lateness. What? Get over it. Some give a not- so- sincere smile and as we exchange pleasantries. I shrug off the wrinkles on my otherwise well draped suit as I watch the doors close again. Good grief! The lift stop on every floor and it’s a long way to the 13th. My luck I guess or simply lack of it. This is going to be along week. I loathe people who stare. It reminds me of my first year in campus when I used to do the walk of shame in noisy heels half way through a lecture. I did not have time to have my face all caked up in makeup nor were my eyebrows tweezed. Its 1969 people all the way. They don’t come any natural as this so go on and stare.
“She is here, the girl from Nyeri,” said a colleague who has been patiently waiting at my desk. As I settle down and attend to her, the lights go off. I could use a break as the cursing and the hysteria with those trapped in the lifts come alive. It’s total darkness longer than usual. Usually, the backup generator goes on immediately but not this time. There is a hitch somewhere. As the technicians figure it out, I enjoy the darkness. It is funny how I derive some inspiration from staring in the darkness. I probably picked my nose while at it.
The lights flash back on after a few hours and it is time for the morning drill. I check my work email, personal email; catch up on this and of course on all the social media platforms. I don’t have anything on my mind. Scrap that. I have a lot on my mind to put up as my status update but since I know not even my friends will hit like on my very creative update, I decide to try my fate on this app that predicts how it all ends. I know most of you have shared their results on this but my instincts tell me to send it straight to my inbox first. The results are as astounding as they are laughable. The devil is a liar! The word suicide catapulted my faith to a new high of fanatics. There is a fine line by the way; between faith and religious fanatism where one blames the devil for even missing that all crucial 5 o’clock alarm. A closer look at the date and I shudder with amusement because I must have missed my death. On this date, I was probably dosing off a boring speech on my graduation.
The procurement officer walks in with a works order on the generator repairs. There had been some electric fault and after all the jargons in his explanation, which I only grasp the word TRANSFORMER, I sign the paper work.
There are ‘transformers’ going off in my county too.
As the memes on this matter hit an all time high, so do the comments tend to yield into a controversy. It appears that some quarters will be putting me and my kind in the same category with the notorious ISIS group for a very genuine stereotype. Some one of great importance queried me on this matter in a job interview not so long ago so you will understand how profound the concern about their security around me is.
It is in this regard that I seek to demystify the myths around the Nyeri woman. This is not in any justification of the atrocities committed by a few irate and irrational women with ill fitted jeans not to mention the old, overstayed, smelly, borrowed weave of a hairdo that was supposed to be a Mohawk, only it turned out wrong. Please, who would not jilt anything with the above description?
Allow me to call her Waitherero, meaning she is of the West. This is not the kind of West that the greedy yet lazy middle class seem to adore so much as the land of opportunities; not the kind of west where her peers have been married as many times as she has had to bear children for her husband. Her name is simply appropriate for she goes to bed long after sun set. On this hot afternoon she sits in the shade of the blossoming jacaranda tree as she digs into her plate of her staple food that is maize and beans. Today’s serving is a bit tough and rubbery; the maize did not soak well enough before boiling. She chews and chews as her host pours a mug full of unsweetened tea to wash it down.
She is dawned in an Egyptian cotton dress that has lost identity in color over the years. She loosens the knot of her otherwise well fastened head scarf as the sweat drips along her chin. She takes a deep breath and suddenly clears her nasal cavity on her dirty palm and wipes off the spurge on the grass that she sits on. Her rusty machete lies just next to her. It is her bread and butter. She is a casual laborer; the only job she secured since her realization that it was her sole responsibility to raise and provide the six children that God had blessed her and her husband. She has had a cordial relationship with her neighbor for quite a while now. She is not a widow; at least not just yet. She can however not deny that sometime she wished she was one. Her life would be much easier.
You see, her husband loves the bottle. It’s all he has does with his life but Waitherero has the stomach for this piece of work. She has learnt to be grateful that not a single day has her brood gone hungry, not when she knows she could go the distance for them. She doesn’t know why he crossed her mind. He is beyond pity or any redemption. She prefers thinking of her first son who has done her proud. He is waiting to join a public university. She smiles at how ridiculous it seemed but the admission letter affirmed her dreams. She knows she has to come through for her son. She has always done it. The future is bright. She has bought a heifer in calf with her savings in her chama and a few chicken from the piggy bank labeled tea leaves maybe to keep the pair of sticky hands in her house at bay. She would not call her husband a petty thief, but she knows he would sell his soul to get another sip of the local brew.
Her host pays her daily wage and after a small chit chat, she carefully secures firewood over the neatly stacked Napier straws on her back and with her machete in her hand, she goes home. As she approaches her house, she does not take notice of the unusual quiet. All she wants is to put the load that weighs twice her weight off her back. The cow does not moo like it always does. Just when she is about to sigh with relief, not only from this load, but one that she has carried all her life without any help: being both a mother and a father. There is a very rude welcome. The emptiness of the cowshed can only mean one thing. Her world spines for a while but her mind is quick to process shock then stupor and when she comes to terms with what has happened, she looks at the machete still in her hand. This time the proverbial nut just cracked. The center can no longer hold. Now all she thinks about is not thinking about doing the unthinkable.
Author: I think my main style is humour and satire. I can do complex academic but what is the point of boring the audience with all those economic theories. I would rather do what they can relate to. Grace W. Muraguri-Mamo, Bachelor of Economics & Finance, C.P.A (K)