Another story, a tale from the immense sweet, scintillating sacculent tales from my first wife(Grandma). Today I hurl this stimulating and heart-soothing tale from the subconscious part of the grey matter of my brain to edutain my readers and the lovers of African tales. Those whom reading is their opium. “Treasure what you have more than diamonds, more than gold” Nyar Alego, my granny used to tell us these words every time we visited. She was on her ninenth decade and she couldn’t walk as fast as she did when she married Obuoro Ja’Karungu though her voice was still very clear. She had deep clear and commanding voice that we couldn’t ignore her tales. That was my mikayi(first wife) ageing and greying gracefully. Her body had already appealed to the force of gravity and she walked while leaning forward, a sign of graceful old age. Indeed old is gold because the delicacy in her educative tales doubled. The tales were sweeter then the Brazilian mercury sugar.

Nyar Alego struggled to make ends meet after her King, Obuoro Ja’karungu bed a goodbye to the cold of Seme hills and the sweet, warming breeze of Naam Lolwe. His heart defied the normal beating one chilly morning when he was hit by the deadly Juogi(spirits) while grazing his cattle. It was belived that the spirits were brought by a certain family during Tero buru ceremony(Mourning their relative who was killed brutally). According to the old Luo chik(culture) some ritusls were performed at the place where a person was killed brutally. This was done at the middle of dark midnight, when the moon had hibernated to the Bed of Naam Lolwe, and outside was as dark as the devil’s house. The first person to pass by that spot would curry the roaming Juogi and if he/she don’t get manyasi (concoctions) immediately, death would follow. Obuoro met with the spirits and that was his end
“Treasure what you have more than diamonds and gold, because greed kills”. Nyar Alego told us as she served the brown ugali of Nyauganda cassava(cassava from Uganda) with osuga-the bitter traditional vegetables. Aunt Atwech used to call them bitter herbs. This is what made your fathers to be who they are. “I couldn’t afford meat for them because even the small, ever seeing fish(omena) was a luxury in my family. Troubles built a castle in my house immediately after your grandpa died” Nyar Alego said as she gave us the portrait of my kwara(grandpa). I never set my big oval shaped, succulent myopic eyes on Obuoro Ja’karungu. I only saw his portraits and heard his stories told by the kinsmen. From the black and white, ground general view photographs taken when the sun was still pregnant with shiny light, kwara was full of life. With well build strong body, American height(cherished by nowadays slay queens) and well trimmed moustache. Nyar Alego must have married him because of all this.

It was during the December holidays and we had visited Nyar Alego to teach us the old golden luo chik(culture). Our parents never had time to do that because they were obsessed by the digital spirit where parents leave children to be suffocated and overfed by the white magic in soap operas and telenovelas in the name of civilization. It happened in all households in our Mwembe tayari estate. The children were left with remotes to watch the fictions in the movies which added no value to them. I was deeply rooted in my culture and was eager to learn more of it. I always visited rural home every holiday. The weather was calm with sweet breeze flowing from Naam Lolwe, cooling our thirst and refreshing our bodies from the daytime sunburns. Daytime was hot and the shiny rays irritated the eyes. We instead saw with our teeth in replacement.

“Nyikwa Ramogi”(grand children of Ramogi) greed kills. Never allow greed to rule over your life”. My Mikayi begun her usual edutaining tales. The story revolved around otoyo(hyena) though it sympolized the greedy people in the society. Hyena is depicted as the most greedy animal in most of the luo tales to warn people on the dangers of living a life of greed. Nyar Alego paused for a while, cleared her husky voice and irrigated her throat with fermented chak(sour milk). She looked at at me directly and continued with the tale. The tale about otoyo-the hungry and greedy hyena.

It was on a bright morning and the sun had just risen in the east with all the beauty acquired from Naam Lolwe. Its golden shiny rays added anaesthetic value to the dark land of the energetic black people. Siaya Thur gi Obama(land of Obama). The land of the learned people, the land of great literati Margret Agola of the River and the source and Grace Ogot, just to mention a few. There were two mega feasts around. That was the day Odera Kang’o was being crowned as the paramount chief in Bondo. The whole village was to be hosted in Jaduong’ Odera’s home. It was indiscipline of the highest order to miss such a mighty inauguration. In the next village the villagers were celebrating the initiates of Nak(removal of six lower teeth). Nak was one of important luo rites of passage just like Birth and death.

The sweet aroma from the two villages robbed the greedy Otoyo’s peace. Otoyo was caught in tenderhooks-a dilemma of the season. How could it miss the delicacy of inauguration of the paramount chief? What about the sweet luo dances and feasting, drinking and eating in Nak ceremony? The greedy Otoyo stood at the junction to the two villages for a while and made up minds to attend the two functions at the same time. Otoyo decided that the two left legs attend the inauguration and the two right legs attend the Nak cerememony. The celebrations were at peak in both places and people were singing and the sweet sounds of Nyatiti and Raombo(Luo musical instruments) hit Otoyo’s ears. The greedy hyena felt so betrayed and decided to stretch, two opposite legs in opposite direction. Otoyo stretched…. Stretched and stretched. It was painful but kept the spirit up to a point where it could not stretch anymore. A point where students of science call elastic limit. It tried one more mega stretch but couldn’t succeed. Otoyo burst into two pieces and that was the end of greedy Otoyo. Greed kills.

©14th July 2018
Ayieko Jakoyo
(Contact academic mentorship for schools)

AYIEKO is the writer of the most read MERCHANTS OF FLESH, TEENAGE LOVE and THE MEAN WILL BURY THEMSELVES available in PDF formats


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