It is now twenty seasons since I was told this scintillating tale by Nyar Alego, my first wife(grandma) who is now sleeping eternal sleep under the great Siala tree in the middle of her homestead now a gunda(ruin). Her eyes defied the normal twinkling and her nosetrils went dump and numb eighteen seasons ago, when I was still a young boy with smooth chin and fair face. I still remember everything as if it happened yesterday or the other day. It is among the many tales that have stood tall like seme hills in my minds and shows no recent evidences of fading away. Something precious can’t be thrown away that easily. I cherished Nyar Alego’s tales but loved this one most. A tale of mean people burying themselves.
We were around fifteen grandchildren sleeping in the round grass-thatched muddy house which was the grandma’s “palace”. The brown soil used to mud the house gave it an aesthetic value and as a true African woman, she would struggle to decorate her house every Christmas season. “A Warm way of welcoming Christ in my house” Nyar Alego told us every Christmas season when she re-mudded and decorated her house. Those of use who used to sprinkle our bedding with the magical midnight rains(urinating on bedding) would have it rough that season. She would clobber us and remind us how our lazy mothers didn’t help her mud the house. We had to keep it to ourselves in order to get refuge in her house the following night.
We never slept earlier than 10:00PM. After meals grandma would assemble us for the night tales in her big round house to give us long lectures on the African tales. Tales that she told us was to teach us the luo “Chik” (culture). She could tell us the stories of Luanda Magere, the great Luo legend the magical stories of Naam Lulwe( Lake Victoria) Simbi Nyaima and the Nyawawa(the magcal spirits associated evils). She kept promising a tale on “The mean will bury themselves” and I waited. To me it seemed to be a good story because I was eager to know how the dead would bury themselves.
It was a chilly night and the silly long rains of April were raining heavily. Outside was as dark as a thousand midnights and I could not step my foot out of grandma’s house which was nothing but another dark dungeon. The small,weak Nyangile lamp made of a metallic can had already “succumbed” to the violent heavy wind storm that penetrated through the balangewa (ventilation) at a threatening speed. Atieno, one of our cousins hit the door and entered. She had been rained on and was “raining” profusely. Nyar Alego looked at her with a scorn on her face. Sighed a sigh of disgust and escorted her with the eyes as Atieno sat on her sleeping mat. She had some groundnuts which she didn’t want to share. She could wait when everyone was concentrating on stories, scoop some groundnuts from the pocket and swallow. Nyar Alego noticed that and told her, “Nyakwara( my grandchild) you will bury yourself when you die. You are so mean”. We all looked at her and laughed.
Nyar Alego sat on her three legged stool, swallowed saliva and cleared her husky voice ready for her daily tales. “Nyikwa Ramogi( the grandchildren of Ramogi) today I will tell you a story of a mean man who buried himself” I pulled my stool closer and leaned forward to listen to this story I had been waiting for so long. It was a long lecture of tales but we looked more energetic and ready to listen and hearken to the sweet words of my first wife. Oduol Wuod Mireri was the name of the man. His agemetes called him Thuon Chuor Mon( cock the women suitor). He left the village to the islands of Rusinga to search for life. He worked with the white settlers for about a decade before he came back home to guard over his tyranny of lands. He then settled to enjoy the fruits of his labour and plant the seeds of life in full co-operation of his four wives. He managed to reproduce three football teams plus the substitutes(thirty eight children).
Oduol was wild. He never allowed people to mingle freely with him. His mean nature kept him away from his kinsmen and prefered sitting in his mansion which was juxtaposed from the other kins grass thatched muddy houses around. Oduol will always be remembered for what he did to his mikayi(first wife) when he realized that she had given food to Rabuor, the village elder. He rained on her with canes and hurt her leg to almost amputation. People feared him and no one would go to him for help. The villagers would rather starve than getting help from the “kettle handed” man.
Five years later, he begun growing thin and his future grew dim. It was a strange disease that the villagers knew nothing about. The few who visited him said it was chira but for me it looked like chir-a (courage departs). He was weak and could not “bark” as he used to do while he was full of life. Villagers avoided him like a plague because he had cut connections with them due to his mean nature.
One dark evening when the sun had just rested in Ugwe (west ) and its golden beauty lost behind the tall Siala tress and the misty steams of Naam Lolwe, we heard a loud gweyo(wailing) from Jaduog Oduol’s home. The elder was no more. The female children wailed as the sons chanted their father. The villagers still looked through the fence as they sighed. No one could invade Jaduong Oduol’s home. “He will bury himself.” One of the middle aged woman said as she passed by, looking not to be concerned. During the burial only close friends, and I repeat “close friends” attended, the other villagers went on with their daily chores. Leaving Jaduong Oduol, Thuon chuor mon to bury himself.
© 10th July, 2018
ELITES EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANCY
AYIEKO JAKOYO is the writer of the most read “TENAGE LOVE” and “MERCHANTS OF FLESH” available in PDF formats.