Written by James Macharia 

Great were the days when “beer used to be beer”, “money was money” and “girls were girls” those were the days when you were woken up by a cock crow, wash your face, armpits and clean your feet with a wet potato leaves and put on your bellbottom trousers which was our favorite, get hold of your transistor radio and sit outside your hut sipping matoke porridge listening to croak voice from the radio which its batteries were running low, the voice was even surpassed by birds chirping and singing.

Those days I was called longlilo because of my style, I would brush my hair backwards smear one kilogram hair oil and ground mtunduliu flower leaves on my armpits to smell nice and fresh then hold my transistor radio and raise my shoulders as I walk, I was the bomb of the village, girls would crash each other for me, village men once tried to pour on me hot matoke porridge for I was making every village girl crazy about me, I was the envy of every men.

There was this village girl whom I was so much into her, she was dark as pots bottom, she made her hair matuta, that style was in fashion those days and it looked hot on ladies am telling you, on Sunday she could wear her sandaks shoes except she could remove it during midday I don’t know why but I presumed that it was because of the sun’s heat anyway she also looked beautiful barefooted but what made me wish I could carry Mt Kenya for her is the green petticoat she would occasionally reveal to me when we were out on a date…

Men of today spend a lot of monies on dates; I could take wesakhulila out oh! I didn’t tell you her name that was her name I think she got her name from her grandmother they say that her name symbolizes something to do with abnormal crying behavior of some sort anyway I would take her out on a date and chew cassava arrowroots and guavas but trouble is after the date there was a problem when it comes to excreting the food out I would take around five hours in a bush doing that operation and six litres of water to gulp.

Being the envy of the village is not that easy, men would challenge me occasionally. one time I found my bed infested with ants I had to sleep on a tree hence caught a stiff neck but a week later I came to know that it was mapunda who did that to me, the guy was the least sorted man in the village by girls, he used to have this bad male sheep smell that would actually block your nostril if he had to pass by you, he was blessed with a big nose I imagined he would create a vacuum in a room because of the volume of air he could breath, once he was caught trying to make love to a goat, the village elders made him eat that goat’s dung  for one week.

One time a girl from the city came for a visit, the girl was ugly I did not know that city girls were ugly, she smeared something red on her lips as if she had eaten raw meat, she pierced her ears and put on some metallic things that danced when she shook her head, those metallic things are for babies to play with, in fact she shaved her eye lids! And drew some lines with a sharp charcoal she looked like an idiot of some sort, to add salt to pepper she shaved her head! Oh my I cannot imagine a woman having no hair at all, I would say she resembled mapunda except that she did not have that sheep smell, she wore tight trousers! Trousers! Crying out loud the village elders would banish her out of the village if they see her; the trousers were revealing her geography also her legs because her trousers reached somewhere on her kneecap, in the village the only thing you could see on the village girl is the face, toes and probably if you are lucky the elbow, if you see the elbow you would not sleep at night you would fantasize things…let me not go there!

Money…huh…money! Today money has no value a beer goes for one hundred shillings it is this same beer that is diluted and has no taste, you consume and urinate it at the same time does it make sense? A hundred shillings is pretty expensive, that I call daylight robbery! In our village if you sell kon’go expensively like that you will be inviting trouble firstly you will not be elders’ favorite then secondly you won’t simply sell. I used to enjoy my evening with my wesakhulila by my side with just a few cents, of course she does not take kon’go but I take! No doubt about that at all…and it was great! What you only do is to pay a few cents and mama colleta as she was referred to that is the lady who prepares kon’go would give you a straw and then join a group of five guys sipping beer from a pot in fact the, money was for the straw not for kon’go so if you had no money then there would be no straw for you.

While drinking kon’go we would then discuss village politics and if there was a disagreement between individuals the group would arrange a fist fight between the two parties and the problem would be ironed out, very simple. Today I see people disagreeing and they mention something to do with courts, getting a lawyer and paying money so as to sue, I think that is wasting time and wealth if that money would be put to good use like paying for bride price or buying kon’go that would be great,  actually in our village you cannot argue or join in a debate if you know that you are a weakling, one would be recommended to hear, nod and zip your mouth because of the outcome if at all you engage in a fist fight.

I also hear wives beat their husbands today!! I don’t really know what happened to men probably is because of the food they eat nowadays, they are malnourished and grow big bellies as if they are pregnant they call that nowadays kitambi, they say that if you have a kitambi you are rich and popular I don’t see why a man who resembles pregnant woman can be rich and popular maybe…being popular by making people laugh because of the size of the belly, this food that men eat does not give them strength I hear men eat potatoes boiled in oil and smear chemical called sauce what! If my wesakhulila cooks me that type of food that would be end of her, I also overheard that wives can divorce their husbands and share wealth; these facts really make men look like hell! Imagine wesakhulila divorcing me…Even she cannot imagine doing something of the sort or even close to that, if she does that then she would be divorcing the whole village.

People nowadays waste a lot of time watching this big boxes they call them television sets, and moving pictures they call movies that is crap!! why waste such moments when you could view mountains, rivers, lakes, and animals I do that often with my weskhulila sometimes I take her swimming which well…one day we were attacked by a hippo on heat  but we manage to escape, you know you get real adventure, these rivers makes the skin to be soft naturally not chemicals I hear city girls smear themselves with and I heard also that people change the color of their skins I mean from black to red I don’t know which color exactly but just close to red in my village if you change your color overnight people would think that you are a demon and they would burn you up.

Something interesting I heard is that nowadays men marry other men! How can a man climb another man? Even a bull cannot climb another bull if it does then it would be beckoning for a bull fight, I’d even say mapunda is cleverer than these men, he climbed a goat. How does a man tune his mind and portray another man to be beautiful? Do these men forget the beauty, smooth skin, loving nature of a woman? These men must be possessed by ancient demons I must say, I cannot even tell my brother that I love him!!! The point in which I keep wondering to myself is how a man gets courage to say “I love you” to another man, even if I am drunk with kon’go I’d distinguish between a man and a woman!

In my village you do not have to access this thing you call a computer for you to be able to make friends through this club you call facebook, actually you just need to attend village night dance for you to be able to meet ladies or pop in mama colleta’s place for you to be able to socialize, if you are mapunda type of person you cannot make friends but I hear he can be able to get a girlfriend through facebook well…after physically meeting, the girl would know that facebook has fraudulently misrepresented mapunda and the girl would simply disappear. Why can’t people meet and talk face to face, what do they fear? If I want to tell wesakhulila to cook for me sweet potatoes and porridge I don’t have to go to facebook, I call her and she comes running, knells down and I tell her what I want.

That is the life that I live full of adventure, entertainment, simple and long life. People nowadays die at age of 50 or 60, in our village a fully grown cockroach shares that age in fact I have a donkey that is 75 years and it’s still breeding! I wish the good old days to come again now don’t you agree that old days used to be fun?


James Kamau reserves the copyright of the information provided, any photocopying, plagiarism and copying of the above information above will be deemed as criminal offence and serious action will be taken against the defaulter.


Author: Faith Oneya

Lover of the written and spoken word.

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