Occasion: Celebration of loooooove
In kikuyu custom, marriage proceedings begin with a man proposing to a woman, and then a couple of events follow. Now being a half kikuyu-half luo girl who never bothered to learn either tongue, of course I did not know this. However, thanks to my cousin’s hunk of a man popping the question, I got to experience all of it, and it opened my eyes to just how many things I should care about.
On this particular journey, we were heading for the last proceeding, Itara, where the bride is introduced to the groom’s home. And for me, naturally, the 4am road trip found me in Westlands. I mean, why go home when you can sleep the hangover en route?
I woke up in Nakuru after what seemed like an hour, and the looks of the guys in the car indicated that I was either snoring or talking in my sleep. Either way, some respect was definitely lost. I woke up again in Eldoret. The sleep was sweet, and the hangover… I was more tired than I thought. Sleeping through a whole 7 hour journey has to go on my resume(just thinking out loud).
At the meeting point called ‘Cafeteria Supermarket’ which, shock of shocks, is a cafeteria AND a supermarket, I hurriedly put on a t-shirt over my tights, which I realised too late during the ceremony, was fighting against Multiple Sclerosis.
One thing struck me about Kitale though, the trees. They are so many and so pretty and so beautifully arranged, they remind you of the days you went to stay with cucu* for a while, and you kept being chased by the neighbour for playing on his field of crops. They air around was so cool, you could stare at the trees sway for hours. I fell in love. I dreamed of owning a farm there when I grew up, I saw my children getting chased from other people’s shambas*, and me thoroughly whipping them with a branch from the wonderful grevellia tree for lack of discipline.
The stars at night came out to play, and I mean all of them. The moon was too shy to join them at first, but when it did, we switched off the lights because its shining grace was enough. Save for a few bugs here and there, and a few ghost sightings (no thanks to my supernatural addiction) I knew I was definitely ready for countryside living.
Kitale hardly struck me as luhya land, as everyone I told seemed to remark. The amount of chicken available, and their accents, should have given that away, but what difference would it have made to me if I knew the predominant tribe living there. The people were so kind, nothing else mattered.
Going home, I was awake the whole time. I had missed out on so many things; I purposed to make the trip back worthwhile. If only I had one of those VSCO* cams. Lord Delamere’s nose near soy was a magnificent find for me. The mountain really looks like someone lying on his back.
By Pauline Ayuko
cucu* – Grandmother in Kikuyu, Shambas* – Swahili for farms, VSCO* – VSCO Cam is an iPhone & iPod Touch camera app w/ elegant, minimal processing options.