They say you can get a villager from the village. But the village from the villager, that’s a different issue altogether. Meet Kiarie. Village weddings, Kwa Nguku village, Nakuru County.
Back in the village, it’s the rice that matters in wedding ceremonies. What else do you gain from weddings? The bride is not yours, the bridegroom is not yours, the bridesmaid is your sister, other bridesmaids are too young for your age. The one that seems a little bit mature you hear is from Nairobi. She has this kacity accent whose origin you cant fully comprehend. She refers to God as Guard. Ati
“oh my guaaard its beaurifu”
And you are wondering si aseme tu oh my Goood!! Alaaa!! I think she thinks she has made it in life. Self-actualization. Haha. She has this kiguy (I think he is also from the city) all over her. They don’t do Swahili. English is their main. They keep on whispering tuthings to each other and laughing. I think he is trying to make a statement here. You, therefore, have no option but rice. Cake is for the chosen few whose parents and the cake matron know each other.
Rice is served after the official union of groom n bride. They are supposed to hold hands all the way from that moment to their honeymoon. With the brides gown-tail on the groom’s shoulder. As they leave for a photo session to one of those gardens in your village that is used by all new couples in town, you line up for what brought you here. It’s what takes you to weddings. Rice. It’s now your area of expertise.
You line up among the first ten or so guys so that it will give you ample time to work on your plate and still go back for a second share on time. You are holding two plates just in case the line ends and you are not done with your plate for round two. Students from Lower Subukia C.D.F self-sponsored Jitegemee P.T.A secondary school (Esther Joj‘s school) call it paper two.
In case you still make it on time, paper 3 will be an added advantage. Tripple blessings. There is a person on the other end of the Sufuria serving everyone. You tell them that one plate belongs to your grandmother sitting in church. Ati she is too old to come to the line. Deep inside, you are laughing because your grandmother lives five counties away. She is probably winnowing millet with not a clue of where you are. You find a secluded place, set one plate aside. Hidden. Hold on the other to start working on it. Then you decide to first find your best friend Kiarie. You need to show him your prowess in dealing with matters food. Set the plate next to the other safely hidden and leave.
In such a wedding, there are people and then there are very important people. People serve where you have just come from. V.I.P have their place. A table set aside specifically for them. They call it High Table. Here, the bridal party, relatives of the spouses and ‘Men of Guard’ are served. This table is no ordinary place. Children are supposed to stay 400 metres away. Elections style. Here they eat like kings and queens. All kinds of food you have ever wished for. Masquerading as a member of the bridegrooms family, Kiarie the genius has his plate full of these goodies. You have no prowess to brag about now. The guru himself ousted you on your own game. You want to pick a plate as well and pull a Kiarie stunt as well. The high table matron has something different for you though,
“Kijana hii ni ya bridal party na familia. Yenu iko ire pade igine” she says.
You want to add that you are the cousin to the nephew of the bride’s grandmother’s son’s but she adds in finality;
“Si wewe ni wa mama gatheca ule wa makaa?! “
Saitaaan!! You walk back to where Kiarie is and lead him to where you left your two plates but Alas!! Except for the bones on the ground, evidence of someone having had a sumptuous meal minutes ago, there are two empty plates safely tucked behind the leaves. Some boys from the village are standing some metres away looking at you. They look suspicious. That’s all you can say about them.
All is not lost though. The devil is a liar. The people’s line has not ended. You pick yourself up fast and join it.
“Wewe hujakula wewe? Si nilikuona hapa na sahani mbili?” The lady serving asks.
You hurriedly explain to her how you had to give your second plate to a guuka who was sitting next to your grandmother. She praises your selflessness. She says you deserve two plates.
Whaaaat!! Kiarie gotta here this.
Misery just went a notch higher
You pick up a second plate before she changes her mind. You hurriedly brush the praises off saying its part of social responsibility. And anyone in your shoes could have done the same. Deep inside you still have a grudge with those boys. If only you could have evidence of their involvement in bringing you misery. Then you look at the Sufurias. Empty apart from one. The one with cabbages. That’s the only thing everyone in the line is being served.
“Msijali hio harusi ingine tutapika mingi.” She says.
Your legs are now shaking. A tear is quickly forming on your left eye. You shrug it off fast. No strength left in your limbs. The reality is hitting hard on you. You didn’t see this coming. It’s your turn to get served.
“Heh! Kijana wetu. That was heroic of you. Advice vijana wenzako… ” You, however, cant even hear what she is saying. You place the plates on the table instead…
“Ama wacha tu.” You say as you leave the line. Downcast is an understatement. You feel defeated.
Walk of shame
Go to check on Kiarie see if he will give at least some bite of what he has left on his plate. He is on his last chunk of meat before dropping the plate on the ground. He says he wants to mourn with you. The serious grumpy face you put on cannot help though. He bursts out laughing. First bits then uncontrollable. He has one statement for you amidst the laugh. You know the situation is funny. You could laugh too. only the victim today is you. So you just look at him.
“Enyewe siku ya nyani kukufa miti yote huteleza…hahahaha” He says as he signals you that its time to go home. You agree with him. The activity that brought you here just disappointed you. So you walk towards the church gate. Thinking of whose wedding is next. Then you look at Kiarie.:
“Ata sijaskia vibaya by the way”