In a cosy and comfortable seat, at the back of a taxi, Kioneki sat; his mind was in a jumble of thoughts. He felt like doing something but he did not know what exactly that he wanted. He felt unfulfilled; a malaise that whirled his mind and body acutely. Apparently, he was a prey to deep and bitter melancholy, yet absent-minded.
His forehead glossed with a firm of sweat and salty dampness had commenced gathering. He wound down the side window to allow some fresh air in. He then slackened a red tie knotted meticulously at his throat. He was impeccably dressed in a black-charcoal, silk, tailored suit, a white shirt and black polished shoes.
Definitely, his piercing jet-black eyes, a bit long nose, succulent lips, and his large but not floppy ears mounted on his chocolate-creamy sparkling face, and his sculptured features made the attire fit him squarely, thus striking handsome.
He took a copy of Mambo Yalivyo newspaper he had bought when he was entering in this taxi. He ploughed through until he landed his agitated eyes on the page with the topic of which recent he had grown interested in, politics. Before the article written by Mzalendo Kamili, entitled“Who Kills me than me?” was a beast with strange features. This beast had a pig head, a tummy that was dangling beneath its knees_ almost twice as that of an elephant. Beside it, on both sides, it was flanked with red, white, blue and yellow people with gigantic black briefcases. They all seemed reluctant to give the beast those briefcases as they salivated for the huge calabash before the beast. The calabash had unearthly prettiness and sparkling, which seemed to escape the attention of all attendants. At the margin of the calabash on the other side, opposite the beast were people who had clung to it grimly. Immediately before the calabash, in front of the beast was a small table on which the beast laid its huge legs on. Immediate beside it on both sides, just by its legs were other tables. The one on the right side had a golden mug scalding hot coffee, the one on the left side had four boxes of different pizzas and beneath them were different types of wine in their bottles.
The people clinging on the calabash had cast a martyred look on the beast crying “Bw. Ghuruma we voted for you to help us,” the beast responded to them, “Can’t you see how I’m allergic even to water as I think about you? I’ve been around the world to look for your help, just because of you! Can’t you see the people who’re standing in front of you? Soon you’re going to see a lot of changes in our nation, trust me.”
Kioneki proceeded on to pore over the article with perturbation. “For yonks, our continent has been orbiting around the yokes of slavery. It isn’t my wish to churn up the poignant memories of how some of our forefathers were abducted from their homes by their own relatives, friends, and neighbours; how ruthlessly they were taken along the various shores of our continent, paraded nakedly for willing buyers and sold to the highest bidder, and how hundreds and hundreds of those who were shipped died en route to our lord; although brutally fettered in shackles. In such a plight, they decided to jump into the sea for hunger, thirst and the fetid condition in which they were consigned.
By then, our lord had not discovered the feuds that exist among us and greed that is deep-rooted among to a point of selling our own people so cheaply and mindlessly. When he learned that our social-political cohesion was not diamantine as his. He sneaked and crept among us, little by little. Little did he rapaciously partition our continent among his family. By the time we were waking up, tables were already turned upside down and what belonged to us, was his. We had refused to break away from cocoons of tribal aggrandizement rivalry. Therefore, as we were fighting against ourselves, he coasted through our beautiful land, grabbing almost everything. A few who were awake and vigilant managed to resist him. They were not just vigilant and awake; they spoke with one voice, walked and flew together in one direction to accomplish one purpose, which is defending their nation and their resources. The country to the very head of us is a great epitome. Do you think she was stronger than our lord was? I don’t think so; her unity was her strength. Allow me to say that our lord was very wise since he went farther and partitioned our countries off into tribal planks to stoke up our dirt differences so that when we wake up, the process of reuniting those tribes would be another problem.
Finally, we joined hands, revolted against our lord. A lot of blood was shed and unfading scars still remain with us. At least we got our freedom but still, the yokes of slavery are still dangling from our necks; stronger yokes than were the former.
About forty-five years ago, we all Nyakans jumped, shouted in battalions of ululation, and applauded thunderously_ heavens were almost brought down. We were really freaked out. What unsaid joy; we all had a fraternal kiss and hug, enraptured with the tidings of freedom.We had scrambled from a dark and sad night in which our eyes were red and sore from incessant weeping and found ourselves in a cherubic smiling day. We were free indeed! However, what’ve we achieved other than accumulating other stronger material of slavery and cauldron of hatred among ourselves?
I know you are going to tax me with all criticisms which I challenge and inspirit myself to take since for sure I know it’ll be for a reason and for a season. However, I’ll not keep quiet at all because Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and humanity cannot enter. The truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
For instance, take the recent incident in Kiu County where the governor took so many crocodiles in River Hai in the name of attracting more tourists. The river was being used for irrigation by the people around. Currently, more than eight hundred people have died and a lot of livestock devoured in the river; the governor was doing this to evict these people, most them were Taja tribe, so that he could give the land to a foreign cement company for his own gain and of course to gain populace and confidence among his tribe for removing Taja tribe from their so called land.
Besides, how can we forget what happened in Mega Forest?; landless peasants were evicted from the forest whereas vast tea and coffee plantations owned by politicians and other great business men were left untouched nor was their action taken for the people who grabbed land in the forest.The eviction was meant for the benefit of all Nyakans not only a few others. That’s why I daresay whoever did this acted with a cavalier attitude and asininity. Justice should have been done to all, particularly to the landless peasant, and not to pave way for the few others to continue fattening themselves at our expenses. What then was the reason for eviction because I completely to not see any or understand why?
Wasn’t it so recently when our country was bedevilled with famine? When our sisters and brothers suffered and some died of excruciating hunger? When one of our friends offered to give dog’s food to our dying fellows. Anyway, he was just demonstrating the sincerity of his offer after he saw a heart-wrenching story of our poor hunger-stricken good fellows. This condescension, however, didn’t gall me as asininity exhibited by Koko, our very great politician but the unscrupulous businessman who had intersected tonnes of our corns going to help this very person and hoarded them in his warehouse, five months before the plight. But didn’t manage to sell them; they got spoilt.There and then, his heart was torn with kindness and decided to offer the food to the ‘owners’ so that he could gain paeans of praise for himself. Unfortunately for him, a few people discovered his unhallowed act and curbed the situation.
He marshalled support from his fellow politicians and people from his tribe; the very people he denied and disgarded their rights and wanted to poison.And everything about him was purified. Funny enough, he was elected again as an M.P by the very people.We all lampooned a lot about what the friend did but so less of Koko. Now I’m forced to wonder who showed kindness between them. The act of Koko and the likes, I suffice it to say that is the very demon that’s devouring our nation and until and unless is exorcised from our mind, boast not that you a nation is secure. Of course, we need not to distance ourselves as citizens of this sovereign nation from this folly because we’re the catalyst.
On this panoramic view, I see danger lurking a head of us if we don’t care a rap about our future. If we don’t sit down and define ourselves so that the world can see us by who we really are. As we think, we are, and so are we made to be. We think we can’t, how can we? We think we can, so indeed we can as a continent, as a nation with one mind, one spirit, and one motive to free ourselves. If only we can steel ourselves against this foolish ostracism orchestrated by them, forget our small differences and remove demarcations laid down by our lord and his family, we shall find our strength.
Two are better than one. Should we define… oh, yes define our problems which we’re embroiled in. We shall abate our infinitesimal differences driven by tribalism, greedy and all sort of nonsensical arguments. Then, relish our resources peaceful without leaving any orifice for anyone who would come with an intention of taking advantage of us through our tribal ‘lords’ who only lust for power, populace and wealth_ squander our resource with abyssal appetite and sell our resources and us to the highest bidder, just like some of our fore fathers were. Shouldn’t we be thinking of giving our nation a hope rather than letting its future go ghut?
I think we all have failed in one way or another particularly on the character. As other countries around the world are capitalizing on building up character. We too should follow the suit; we’ve cocooned ourselves in greedy for so long, now I think it’s time to break up the camp and build up on the character. Where our nation will be founded on integrity and grounded on justice. For sure you can bear witness with me that this nation is cemented on blood and violence which is driven by the conflict of interests of some individuals, all in the name of conflict of social class, tribalism, racism or religion. This’ what I mean, only a few, especially at the top there, are the one who benefits most from bloodshed and violence exhibited on this land of ours.
You may by now have wondered why I’m evincing rancour against the ‘pillar’ of our national cohension and our character as individuals. Okay. I’m just but worried about us, our floundering: culture, economy, and oneness, more so our future that seems to be so uncertain and bleak. Where will we be tomorrow?Our problems are our problems if we don’t solve them, wait for no angel from heaven or from hell to solve them. Therefore, men and women of heart and duty, rise to the occasion. It is the time.” Kioneki finished reading the article and immediatelythe carb stopped. He moved out and thanked the taxi driver after he had given him fare and told him to keep the change.
“Phew!” Kioneki lamented as an old truck went past him belching monster-like black smoke _ the piquant smell of warm petroleum and acrid smoke temporarily suffocated him; another vehicle recklessly drove ran into a young boy, two hundred yards away from him and varoomed off without caring about the boy, the boy died instantly. For a moment, he lingered behind as others crossed the road, thinking about the truck and the road; full of potholes, flooded with sewage and the fate of the boy. An old man in tattered clothes went past him carrying a small radio. On the radio, he heard Kunaru’s mayor saying that those who had not paid their tax due would face the wrath of the law. Contrariwise, immediately after the mayor statement, he heard Kunaru town had lost more than a hundred million Nyakan shillings through embezzlement of funds which the mayor had promised to look into. He blinked his eyes repeatedly and crossed the road very first because he knew his client Edwin must have waited for him for a longer period of time. Immediately, he crossed the road he met with Madi, one of his best friends while he was on the street. They talked a little bit then they parted.
He walked through Frica Hotel’s glassy spinning door carrying a smaller silvery briefcase. Perturbed that he had delayed Edwin, he hastened his steps up stairs looking at the smooth white washed painted wall divided half way with a bar of oak wood horizontally. “Huh!” Michelle screamed as she scrambled to clutch at the metallic smooth handrail. Her phone hit Kioneki right leg and bounced a yard behind him. Kioneki shot up his eyes to see where it had fallen from; he saw white couples who were coming down were not aware of anything of such. They walked past him. He decided to collect it. Michelle was still stuck on the handrail, quite petrified. She had almost fallen; she had suffered from cramp that left her left leg temporarily paralysed. She had suddenly stopped her physical exercise a month ago and had decided to commence it on this particular day in the morning.
She immediately recovered from the cramp when she saw a glimpse of someone collecting her brand new mobile phone. She scrambled down stairs to catch up with the man. Kioneki was staring at the phone in a great perturbation. On inclining his face, his agitated eyes met with Michelle’s slightly lavender darting eyes. She pursed her lips, caked with light berry lippy and creased her cheeks of apple but oily complexion and glowed in a saccharine smile. Kioneki was lost of words for her bulbous nose; ripen silken skin, long dark black hair, and antique statuette body. She was daintily formed and incredibly beautiful. Ultimately he said, “I suppose this is your?” as he handed it to her smiling gleefully.
This time Michelle’s eyes were riveted on Kioneki’s face; he appeared to be a man she had met before. Kioneki recognized her immediately but feigned he did not know her at all. He gave her the phone and started to walk up stairs if he was the busiest man in the world. Michelle thanked him as he was some yards up stairs. She felt as if she could follow him, but she feared. When he had disappeared, she reluctantly walked daintily down stairs repeatedly looking back.
Kioneki was cordially welcomed by a waiter who was impeccably dressed and directed to an empty well-laid table with three seats. As the waiter went to bring him his order; a cup of white coffee, he scanned around the room; his client had not yet arrived. So he started thumbing through a silvery menu. “Here it is my dear customer,” the waiter welcomed.
“Okay, thank you. Someone must have forgotten her pulse here. Do you know who was here before me?” Kioneki asked.
“Actually I don’t know, you can just look inside maybe it may help as to identify the owner,” the waiter advised. Kioneki was surprised to find Michelle’s national ID, a Visa card and five ATM cards of different banks in the pulse. In addition, the pulse had two thousand dollars. He showed them to the waiter and scrambled to the door to take it to her. Just after he had stepped out of the spinning door Michelle’s chauffeur coughed her hummerH2 SUT into life and varoomed off. Kioneki ran after them shouting, he knackered after running about two hundred yards. “Hold on … stop … er, reverse the vehicle please,” Michelle said perturbed. She had seen Kioneki staggeringly wavering at them through the side mirror and thought probably there might be something crucial he wanted to say. Her chauffeur immediately took u- turn and drove the vehicle back towards Kioneki, about forty yards back. Even before the vehicle halted, Michelle was out. She looked agitated but when she saw her pulse in Kioneki’s plumpish-bronzed right hand, her agitation abated. Although she was still in wonderment of how in the world she had forgotten her pulse.
“I guess this is yours,” Kioneki ventured.
“Yeah it’s mine, thank you very much… I’m grateful for…” Michelle said with an incandescent smile but the waiter interrupted her. “Excuse me please gentleman, you have a phone call, now,” Kioneki in hurry excused himself and rushed to receive it. Michelle was left wondering what to do; follow Kioneki and profusely thank him for his kindness and perhaps give him something or hurry home where her parents and her friends were waiting for her for her birthday party. After battling with the dilemma over where to go, she decided to follow Kioneki.
Kioneki heaved a deep sigh of relief as he leaned against the hotel wall, nigh a dull blue glass window which its navy-blue curtains drawn way. His agitated eyes clinked into an angle that enabled him to see Kunaru national park vividly: the lake, hills, and acacia trees. Above the sky, was a swarm of pelicans soaring in the sky. Apparent, they had come from Lake Kunaru. His inquisitive eyes, traced on through the umbrella-shaped huge and medium size acacia trees yonder the lake. Beyond the horizon, he saw columns of thick smoke rising in the air. In a nostalgic memory, he was carried completely back to plaque, which befell him in Maluburnt, in a dark night, about ten years ago.
Kioneki was in a latrine at two in the morning, when he heard rattling of feet and whispers at the rear of the latrine. He could not have discovered the presence of intruder if his dog had not alarmed him. There was deathlike silence and pitch darkness, only glittering stars cast their little light on the earth. Suddenly, the curtain (the door) of latrine which he was in, flung open. Some men who were armed to teeth stood some yards away. He hid behind the mud wall of the latrine, inside.
A few minutes elapsed then he saw three men coming towards the latrine. Shocked to death, he haplessly tried to enter into the latrine’s hole. Fortunately, his head did not fit; he had thought they had seen him and were coming to slaughter him. When he saw that that was impossible, he planned behind his mind to shoot from there when they draw the curtain. Luckily, they passed him obliviously. He was paralyzed with fear and his heart hammered against his chest exotically. The environment inside was immensely hot than outside. He felt like he could wail for help.
The villains set their compound and everything in it a blaze and lingered behind for the fire to spread. The fire spread faster and licking everything it got on its way into ashes. He heard his mother screaming trying to escape the blazing house, calling him and his sister, Joan.
“Uh! Auuu! Help! Help!” she wailed as she tried to escape through the window. Her petrified eyes met with a terrifying swarm of bellicose silhouetted in her compound and immediately she thudded down. “Do justice to her, now!” the man in front of them commanded. As he was finishing his statement, arrows rained upon her. One of the arrows penetrated through her back and emerged out through her navel. Kioneki could hear her screaming at the top of her voice. He felt like he could scramble from his hiding and go to help her but feared they might kill him too. The villains left her bleeding having chopped, pierced and sliced her awfully with swords, knifes, spears, axes and arrows. This happened so fast that she had no last minutes of pleas for the mercy, no clarion cries for true justice or statements of innocence to the blithering monsters who devoured her alive as she watched! What was it her mistake? She knew completely nothing that had triggered the plight.
When they were about to leave, they heard Joan crying in the house. Abruptly, they stormed inside and came out carrying her. They removed her clothes and banqueted on her nakedness. When they were slaked with their unhallowed act, they swung her first, second and the third time then they hurled her brutally in the same house they had drawn her from, to burn and die. “Let’s go… do we have to compete on our own soil? _ so unfair, insult, pooh! Die, if you cannot play fairly and justly on me!” the ringleader stated sarcastically.
Ultimately, they vacated the compound. By the time the foes were leaving, the house was glittering, not with fireworks as in New Year eve, but spangled with sparks emanating a monster of the fire. Kioneki was highly stung for seeing his mother skinned alive. Nevertheless, he had no choice other than swallowing the sour rage in him for his sake and his family. “My son, I’ll be ok, go for your sister,” Kioneki’s mother winced. Kioneki rushed to rescue Joan. The fire was growing weirdly because of whirling wind. He removed his clothes, remaining only with his black pant and bravely stormed into the house. Although he was enshrouded with heavy dark smoke, he staggeringly drew Joan out unharmed by fire.
“Oh Mum, I’m so sorry that I wasn’t in a position to help you,” Kioneki said in sobs. “There’s no need my son. Is Joan okay?”
“Yes, she is alright,” tears were welling up Kioneki’s face for seeing her mother butchered bloodthirstily. Blood spurted from her veins profusely. Kioneki hurried ran to his cottage and came out with a blue wheelbarrow; they had just bought it a week before. With great difficulty, he laid his mother on it and took her by the road about a hundred yards away from their compound. Joan was still unconscious. After he had laid her in a ditch, he came for Joan. As he was unloading her from the wheelbarrow she temporarily gained her consciousness.
Kioneki was doing this to see whether he could get a Good Samaritan who would help them vacate that place or perhaps take them to a hospital. They had waited in the ditch for about one hour then they heard a vehicle coming. Uncertain of whom the vehicle belonged to, Kioneki left his sister and his mother in the ditch lying doggo and emerged on the road. The vehicle came slowly; it was a truck. Kioneki identified it and hid because he thought they were other villains being deployed in the village to continue annihilating and killing innocent civilians. The truck coincidently halted where they were; three yards from where Kioneki was. A man alighted and moved towards Kioneki. Fear ran its icy hand through his spine. He felt like he would shoot from his hiding and pounce upon the man coming towards him.
“Man, this place in a shit of mess! Do you hear wailing?” the man who had alighted said addressing his colleague in the vehicle as he pissed on Kioneki. When Kioneki heard that they were talking in a Black America accent, strength rippled through him and he confidently rose up. “Woo! Woo! Who the…!” Kioneki interposed,” help, help me, sir. My mother and sister in the ditch are bleeding!” the man had not finished pissing, the remaining urine, diffused into his cold blood streams.
“Hey, buddy what’s it going on?” the man in the vehicle asked doubtfully.
“Buddy I even don’t know. We should be out of this place it seems to be invaded with a malicious ghost!” the man who had alighted hastened towards the truck ignoring Kioneki. Kioneki insistently pleaded with them and showed them where his mother and sister were. They were loaded on the back of the truck and wrapped themselves with UN tents. These American were UN army officers bypassing the region towards Kunaru town.
On the way, they found mutated, decapitated and other bodies burnt beyond recognition. Some were lying on the road and others beside the road. At a point, the truck was signalled to stop and naively searched by young energetic villains. They wanted to know whether the truck had carried anybody from the region. Luckily, they were not found.
“Kioneki…Kioneki?” Tabitha, a nurse, called. Kioneki was playing with Joan outside, in the Nursing Home Hospital lawn. The two UN armies_ David and Lincoln had taken them there and paid their bills for five days. This was on the third day. Kioneki had heard his name being called and rushed to hear what the nurse was saying. For the three days they had been in the hospital, the nurses had found Kioneki quite amusing and lively. Therefore, the rapport between him and Tabitha was great. “Oh, you were just here. Go and see your mother she wants to speak to you,” Tabitha told him. Kioneki hastened to the ward that his mother was laid. He walked closer to her and started fondling her hands gingerly.
In difficulty, she opened her mouth, “Kioneki I love you so much and I would forever like to live by you. My son, I seem so odd in my remarks but I just want you to understand something here. I’ve been your mother, but, I’m not your real mother. This’ a long story, all the same; I had a husband, a son and a daughter, that’s about seventeen years ago. And there was this day when we were coming from an overnight vigil; three of my neighbours and I. hardly had I stepped into my compound when I saw a swarm of young men flooded in my compound. They burnt everything, killed my husband and my son. After they had killed them, they took my only daughter, Monica, my sheep and goats and cattle. Monica was about nine years old when she was kidnapped. It took me three months to grieve over the death of my husband whom I loved so much together with my son. Thereafter, I started searching for my daughter, hoping that she was still alive. I looked for her everywhere I knew and all the places I thought I could have gotten assistance.
In the process, I acquainted with the Kunaru Children Officer, Mrs Okoa. I can’t remember the date but I do remember the day; it was on Friday after I had bought my farm input: a sack of fertilizer, seeds and grains. I bypassed in Mrs Okoa’s office to see whether she could’ve heard of the whereabouts of my daughter. Luckily, I found you, in her hands, crying. Although I hadn’t broken through my integuments of grieve, repugnance and vitriolic scene of the bloodthirsty act of those young men, I decided to take you. Mrs Okoa was in a hurry because she had to attend a meeting chaired by the Minister of Education and there was no one else who was left behind other than her. I returned on Monday of the preceding week to report on my progress but she was not there. I returned again on Friday of the same week, which of course, I found her. I had found you, loving and calm especially when you were with me. Consequently, I decided to take you as my son. I signed papers and made vows before Mrs Okoa about taking care of you.
You looked very handsome and lively; I suppose more than you seem nowadays. But anyway, I’m only joking, though you were and still are. You made me happy because although I had lost my family, I could enjoy life by just seeing you play. You’ve been of great encouragement to me. Through ups and downs, I’ve brought you up. I can always say that, although we’ve been through huge difficulties; your ever smiling face and non-complaining character have stirred me to work hard so that I never fail you in your life.
As for Joan; she’s Monica’s daughter. I found her with Aunt Atieno about five years after I took you. I presume you can still remember the time I had left you with Aunt Jane, my sister because of these tribal skirmishes? … Oh, before I forget I have a racket that I got you with when I found you. Aren’t you so lucky? I don’t know how I put it my cardigan’s pocket a day before this plight occurred,” she showed him a silvery racket with a distorted photograph of a young lady that could not be seen clearly. “This woman could be your mother; about your name Mrs Okoa mentioned it, so I decided to baptize you with that name. You belong to the great and you’re great, so never give up; He who is just will grant you justice in the long run. Kioneki I believe you can make it even if I’m not there for you, it’s would be good that I am with you but it is better that I go! In God’s hands I put my spirit and leave you and Joan His hands…” she quieted instantly. Kioneki shook her gingerly as his cheeks flushed with unrepressed emotions. Tears squeezed out from his eyes as he wrestled to bring his mother back to life.
The death of Kioneki’s mother ushered inglorious series of happenings, strange and harrowing experience. Days of perfect happiness were gone as despair and desperation paved it way in Kioneki and Joan. For Kioneki it was still difficult to believe that her mother was dead until disbelieving had no meaning. Three months had passed since his mother passed away. Kioneki was feeling stressed out and in a jumble of thoughts. He had never imagined a life without his mother, although he later discovered she was not his real mother; she was more than even a mother to him. She provided everything for him and his sister, now that she was completely erased from the face of the earth, a vacancy was created of which Kioneki was to take and play a parental role to Joan.
Were it not for the assistance they got from donors and some of their neighbours, they would not have managed to bury their mother, about a month later after her death. Joan came limping, and before she sat by Kioneki, her stomach rumbled. Kioneki had pulled himself into a pitiful curl. His hands were hedging his squarely positioned chin and some of his pale cheeks, quite engrossed with thoughts of his deceased mother. The deceased was all about his life.
“Kioneki I’m feeling hungry, what can we do?” Joan asked him after she had sat down. Kioneki did not hear her coming leave alone her question. “Kioneki?” she shook him after seeing that he wasn’t responding to her. “Er… say something I’m hearing,” he withdrew from his reverie.
“Why are you not listening to me?” Joan huskily asked.
“I’m listening to Joan. It’s just that you don’t seem to understand me,” he defended himself.
“I do understand you. Okay then, let’s go and look for something to eat.”
“Sure we should be,” they stormed in their shamba and chopped off a bunch of bananas which had not yet grown well. It was the only food they could find to eat. After then they had nothing to look forward to as far as food was concerned. At five some of Kioneki’s class mate came to visit him. They were sent by the school deputy Mrs. Oyes. Mrs Oyes had loved Kioneki. Actually, she was the one who had proposed Kioneki to be an Assistant Head Boy in Maluburnt High School, although it only took a few weeks after he was appointed that the plight struck him. Through the assistance of Mrs Oyes Kioneki and his sister returned to school. Mrs Oyes was providing for all of their needs. For a half of a year, everything was working well for them until Mrs Oyes passed away; she was involved in a terrible mishap. All the hopes of both Kioneki and his sister were swinging in a darker pendulum of confusion. They did not know where to start again.
Kioneki dropped out of school because of obligations that surrounded him; his sister to look after and himself to fend for. Once, Mrs Oyes died the school forgot that Kioneki and Joan were in existence. He was employed to pasture a flock of sheep, goats and a number of cattle about five miles from their home by Nguya. Sometimes it was quite difficult to return home, so Joan found herself alone. After working for two months the man that Kioneki was working for gave him a cottage to stay in since he saw him trekking for long distance to and fro, not that he really wanted to help him. He did not want to pay Kioneki his salary for that month and the only way he had was to make sure that he offered him a place to stay and provide him with some food. Kioneki worked for the next four month without even a pittance of a salary. When he went to claim Nguya hurled volley of insults at him and told him he was the cause that his sheep and goats did not give birth to two and three offspring as they were before he came, in a week. In fact, Nguya told him that he was the one who was supposed to claim from Kioneki for rent and food expenses. Adding insult to injury, the next day the Nguya went to file a case against him alleging that he had sold ten of his sheep and five goats to make him his slave.
Mtunguya, a chief ascertained that Kioneki had indeed sold the sheep and goats, although he really had not; the chief had been bribed d by Nguya. The night of that day Kioneki and Joan eluded from Nguya’s home. As they were walking along a gravelled road the next day, Mama Zuri drove past them and happened to drop a five-kilogram sack of Chick Mash obliviously. Kioneki called her in vain; she was in hurry and very tired. They carried the sack and followed her because they saw the home she entered. They went and knocked at the gate. Jibuu opened, “Hi, this belongs to the woman who’ve just driven in. She dropped this on the way about four hundred yards from here,” Mama Zuri found them talking.
“Jibuu, what’s the matter?” she asked curiously.
“They are saying that you dropped this sack of Chick Mash on the way.”
“I don’t know, Mum,” Jibuu answered looking at Kioneki. Mama Zuri came closer. Kioneki told her what had happened. He also didn’t hesitate on revealing their plight to her. She was so touched by their story that she absorbed them in her home. A month later, she enrolled both Kioneki and Joan in schools. Kioneki in day school and Joan in a boarding school. For the first term thing was flowing in the right direction, but the mid to the second term everything started going haywire. Mama Zuri, a woman who seemed to carry herself with high dignity and civility started coming home boozed up, her tongue fastened with flirtation and flattery.