Tell The Nations 6 : My autobiography I worked on for over 15 years, came off the press last July. Here, I write of my background and my world view.
Tell The Nations
Tell The Nations (6)
My mother passed away and I remained with my grandmother. My grandmother, my mother’s mother was a very old lady, but young in her spirit. She was not aware of her age, and she didn’t bother herself about that. She was on the same category, as that of my father and my mother. None of them had been in school. …
My child’s memory concerning my grandmother was that, she had a strong will. Besides that, she was a peace-maker. Numerous times I witnessed her being pushed, while standing between two people who were quarreling. As a small boy I was worried about her, assuming that she might be knocked on the ground. That never happened. No. Perhaps they feared to push her all the way because of ethics of ethnical culture that, that would cause curse on them. My grandmother was my educator. She taught me numerous, Meru parables and tales. Most of the nights we gathered surrounding her ready to hear bed stories. She was our story – teller. Her oral education laid foundation for my books education.
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Relationship with my grandmother was fantastic, until when she passed away. This happened when I was in standard three. That day I had walked back from school and found a crowd at our home. I was overwhelmed when they informed me that she had died. I sat down, still in my khaki’s school uniform, and cried terribly. “Let the boy cry!” I still recall what one of the mothers suggested. From that era, I was not sure of what my life would be like. Here I was half orphan without a mother or a grandmother. From there, I remained with my father and my two half-mothers; the second wife and the fourth wife of my father. My half mothers cared for me, and my father played his role as the strong support of the family.
Nyandoi and Nkaremu were my half-mothers who entertained me regularly. According to Meru customs, they were obliged to take care of me as their own son. However, time after time I felt that something was missing. I missed my mother. My father’s characteristic was that of a leader. No wonder they elected him as a clan’s leader at one time. His administration kept the family of four wives together. He occupied hundreds of acres of land. Meanwhile, most of them were bushes. We witnessed wild beasts in those bushes on regular basis. As a peasant my father was a provider. He organized for us to grow our own food. We grew maize, millet, beans, bananas, coffee, etc. Apart from being a provider, he was a tough, serious hero. On one occasion he killed a rhino by using his spear. His comrades talked about the episode endlessly. He was the first person to buy an old tractor at the village. His “Fordson Major” caused many at the village, to claim that our family was rich. If we were rich, how come I put on my first pair of shoes at the age of fourteen?
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Needless to say of how I put on: Urubeka: That piece of clothing for all those years.
To Be Continued