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The Village That Never Slept

Too small yet so wide. Stoney, thorny and dry is what makes up her cracked skin. With grass that's always drying up and bushes wider than the homes within. A neighbor to that village that once hosted the famous, huge snake_Omieri who one night gathered all her children and went back into the lake, leaving her host broke and dry. 

Her women always went to the mountain community, locally known as Lango (Kipsigis) to work in their large farms in exchange for maize and sweet potatoes. They would even stay for up to a whole season, leaving their children behind. Most of these women were widows except one or two. They would pass the word across the village that it was time to climb the mountain for the season had yet rotated.

In a large group, they'd leave only to separate ways once on the other side since the hosts came from different parts. The offers never came easy as they would knock at one door to another, asking for the jobs. Once their time was over, they would hit the road again, trekking. Sometimes crawling down the steepy hills off Nyabondo to avoid providing for the monkeys. A slight fall would leave one empty-handed, all the ten tins of maize, spilled on the ground.

The monkeys found this moment an opportunity to attack the women, chasing them away and threatening to cane them. Some women came back from the far land extra full, ready to deliver after a few months. Just in case they lost a relative, he/she would be buried in their absence. Whether it was her child or husband. All credits to technology for changing the history

We grew up already exposed to hard work because we were warned of the difficulties that lay ahead. Since our village had no clean water point, we would wake up by 4:30 am to cover the to and fro fourteen kilometers in search of water. Child or adult, the journey was the same. Coming back with buckets full of water on our heads, our knee joints would all be shaking and cracking from the effects of ascending the Kandaria hills and going round the meandering paths that connected our village to the neighboring with water on our heads. 2 hours ordeal, every morning.

Sad were the moments when the other villagers sent us away from their water point after hours of queuing in the cold but that did not deter us from going back. The only water point we owned as a village was a pond that existed as long as the heavy ponds of rains did. It was a collection gathered from every corner of the village, including overflown pit latrines and stools from bushes and paths.

Shared with all the animals, the water was always green and salty. All thanks to the additional animals' wastes that they proudly dropped after quenching their thirst. Being strong was never an option, it was a necessity

Then came the season of Nyawawa, an ordeal that sent shivers down the spine of everyone. It was the visit by the dead spirits to the village. It was believed that they came from the Lake. The drumming of metallic pieces of equipment was like the the relay race, passed from one home to the other. One would start drumming once he heard the neighbors doing so.

This was an act of pissing off the spirits just so they could pass by the home without a stopover. Their timing could hardly be told. This wind-like kind of human beings would milk someone dry if they happened to have had a stop at their home. They would sweep the granary clean of the harvest, carry any food available in the house including the pot on the fire. The spirits were only to be heard, not seen. They could be heard speaking, referring to each other by names, babies crying and what have you. After their ceremonious torture, many deaths and sick people would be reported.

Did I mention to you that they once set my neighbor's house on fire? My grandma tells me that the husband happened to have been one of the squad members but he had never cared to protect his home as his wife had abused him to death. Only those who knew Christ were saved from the wrath

During our bedtime stories, my grandma told me of how one of her village friends had lost her mind after a whole night encounter with these spirits. It was 6 pm and as usual, Min Anyunja was preparing the evening meal for her family. Being a young widow with nine children to attend to, she had slipped off into short minute nap with her last child stuck on her chest, only to be woken up by the drumming but she was already too late as the spirits had already taken over her home. She had beaten her water drum senseless and shapeless, hours end but the spirits had refused to leave. They served themselves the meal and drank all the sour milk that had been hunged up. 

Then a fight had erupted between her and the spirits as they wanted to take away her little child who was just months old. She'd fought them to her last drop of energy, winning but forever living a changed life. She became insane, forever living a changed life

Despite her ruggedness, my village was fun to live in.

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