Its been quite a while now since I last set my feet upcountry, my birth place. And for that case am sure as hell that am among the most missed people back there given am their small ‘idol’, the only daughter who has gone to university. A neighbor nicknamed me ‘daughter of the highlands’ because although I come from the highlands, my home village is much more hilly and interior (at the end of the road) with shrubs allover. So the old man used to tell me that I was born to the highlands, to there I will return. And for that case, I did return his wish. Return to the highlands, my birthplace.
First and foremost, my grandfather has been on phone like all the time since I called my mom to inform her that I will be coming home for a visit. Being the village elder, he had to make my homecoming the agenda in their little ‘baraza’. Education can make someone really proud.
So everyone knew I was coming home and the women devised their own kind of red carpet made of all kinds of leaves and flowers they could gather. And like always, the men and the boys all stood a far by the roadside, others sat on the grass nearby. Poker faced. Portraying some manly attitude. Its always been a taboo for a man to openly display emotion. Atleast that’s what I know about African men. What a homecoming.
My homecoming welcome is now over and its now time to retire to bed for am leaving the next day. At dawn to catch the bus before it leaves for town. People are still there perplexed, staring at me in awe. Mothers want to talk to me about their sons who are looking for wives and fathers are ready to exchange herds of cows and goats to get an educated woman in their households.
Thanks to my un-opportunistic grandfather whom were it not for him, I couldn’t have gone to campus. He is a one of a kind Kenyan and I give him that. There is no way he’d want me to get married without having me working in one of Kenya’ s biggest banks. They know of Equity bank and the Kenya women microfinance Sacco. Ooh, I forgot about the local tea Sacco which normally comes by to give the villagers their tea money. My village relies on small scale tea farming.
So along with him, came a certain woman whose eldest son resides in the biggest city. Nairobi, Kenya’s largest city. There was a time when the woman went to visit his son in Nairobi and she came back narrating how big buildings were and how night time still looked like day. And how many vehicles the city owned. I forgot about the number of women in trousers driving awesome looking vehicles.
That was long ago, but I hear she recently visited Nairobi again and now, she came back raving about the big Thika super highway and the long time she had to spend aboard as the vehicles arranged themselves in lines, moving slowly (traffic jam) and how she enjoyed it.
She was ready to connect me with his son in the city promising he is a big person who would easily find me a job.
“yeye ni mtu mkubwa sana. Anajuana na watu wengi Sana. Atakutafutia kazi msichana wetu.” She eagerly said.
“nasikia uko Nairobi kuna kazi nyingi, sana. Na huyu mama utakuambia mahali mtorto wake anaishi uende akutafutie kazi.” Grandpa added.
I remembered her son was our primary school head boy who actually din’t complete his primary school yet was a hero since he went to Nairobi and came back with two photos. One, he standing in that ‘afro’ pose with the full view of the KICC in the background. It made me imagine how much milk he must have taken given i confused KICC with KCC. Another is of him near the Kenyatta statute.
We were served with a meal of ugali and some beef as I let my elders arrange my trip to Nairobi. I thought it was all foul play until the next day when I woke up to the village bodaboda man on our doorstep ready to take me back to where he’d picked me up yesterday. So that I can head to Nairobi where the village son would be waiting. A job in handy.
But, why do the people upcountry always think that whoever stays in town has got it all, that is money and a good job? The people back home sent me to their son to find me a job only to realize that he himself doesn’t have one. He makes a living taking the small vibarua available while his wife operates an unlicensed business via their one roomed semi-permanent house which houses a family of five.
Am like, ‘omg’ am now an additional mouth to feed and head to worry about. Why in the first place did I come here? Well am a jobseeker but mot a pocket wrecker. Am gonna head back to my hood tomorrow and look for a kibarua around there. I don’t have to be a burden to our village boy and his household.