In the slopes, visitors are considered a river, that they come and go. People love having visitors in their homesteads, regardless of what they have to offer. There however is always a limitation to this, like in any other village, not all guests are good guests. Whenever people want to show directions to their home for occasions, like ruracio or burials, they make markings on the road in chalk, so their guests do not miss a turn. This strategy never works during the rainy season, sadly.
It was a warm Saturday morning, Mugo lay on his wooden bed nursing the blues from the previous night. It had been a long night for him at magongo bar, and he reminded himself to leave the bottle alone. Outside, Kago was busy feeding the cow, which had recently calved. He loved the new calf, it had the black and white colour pattern of a Friesian cow. Both of them were confused though since it had been served by After finishing up with the cow, he walked to the gate and sat on the two logs that acted as the gate.
Mischief was in his head and wondered how to make his day more fun. It was a couple of hours before the other boys in the village showed up with a football to kick around, so it would be a long wait. Then he noticed it.
On the dusty road, he noticed some unique markings, made in white chalk, like the one they used to mark the football grounds whenever a visiting team came to play at the Mathome grounds. The markings were an arrow, pointing towards the slopes, and were just next to the junction heading to Kagicha village. Without a second thought, he ran home, and fetched a tin-full of the white chalk, and ran back to the gate. Being the team captain, he was responsible for storing the team equipment. Wasting no time, Kago wiped off the part of the arrow pointing to Kagicha and drew an extension pointing towards their gate, then he ran off towards the river, where boys who don’t play football had started preparing their fishing rods. He knew Waceke would be around, and he had to see her smile.
A few minutes to 10, Mugo was woken by blasts of vehicle horns. The last time he had more than one vehicle in his compound was when his wife had planned for an exorcism for their home, where the village priest had come in his Peugeot, and Kigo too had shown up in a beat-up Toyota 110.
‘What is going on…?’ He was not expecting any guests, at least not guests who drove cars. He got up and half stretched, and almost fell from shock when he peeped out towards the small clearing where village boys played football. There were 6 cars parked, and a number of well-dressed men and women chatting in small groups. A group of millennials was taking photos a short distance away, and the two logs that acted as a gate lay on the side. He walked slowly, hoping it was a crazy dream. Then he noticed an elderly man taking a leak on the shaggy hedge made from tea bushes. The man quickly zipped up and rushed to greet Mugo. Mugo avoided the greeting. If asked, he would have preferred a hug to shaking that hand.
‘Hello, where is everyone?’ The man asked, with a slight fold on his forehead.
‘Where is who?’ Mugo scratched his head and remembered he had no shoes on.
‘We were told to follow the white chalk on the road, that it would lead us to our destination.’
‘You clearly did not follow the chalk.’
‘We did, and it pointed to this gate.’ The man said, pointing the gate with the hand he had been using. The hand Mugo had refused to shake.
‘No it didn’t.’ Mugo threw his hands up.
Another man joined them. He had spectacles on, but they seemed uneven, with the left lens a bit larger than the right. He had a suit on, and he swung the keys to his car around. He introduced himself as the transport coordinator.
‘Mister, what kind of jokes are these you people are playing with us? You should have advised us not to come! We have driven all the way from Narumoru to get here early!’ Mr Transport was clearly irritated.
‘What games? Who are you…? What are you talking about?’ Mugo was starting to have an urge to take a leak too.
‘You people really want to fine us that bad, eeh? We were told you would try these jokes to make us lose our cool.’ As he spoke, his belly heaved up and down.
‘What are you talking about?’
‘Do this, old man, go back…’
‘Am not an old man, and you will tell me what you want here.’ The more they stayed there, the more Mugo’s call of nature pressed him.
‘Wait, he is not old?’ Mr Transporter asked Mr Handshake. Mugo heard them but ignored them. He wanted them gone urgently. By now, a couple of women in their lesos had noticed the commotion and walked close to the three men. Mugo looked like a politician flanked by hungry citizens, piling lie after lie. The only difference was, instead of a suit, he was barefoot, and wearing a loose and old Arsenal jersey and Savco jeans.
‘So there is no ruracio today?’ One of the women, who had clearly overdone her lipstick asked from behind the mob.
‘The most boring ruracio ever..’ Complained a youth close to the fence.
‘The only thing you can raciria here is my son or his dog. I wouldn’t miss any of the two anyway.’ Mugo answered, more to himself. In one of the vans, a goat sneezed, and another one bleated. They were tired too.
According to the transport coordinator, the entourage had been invited by their church member, and none of them knew the hosts. The only instructions they had received was to follow the markings on the road once they left the main highway that headed to the big city.
‘I see Mugo you have some visitors around?’ Called Mwaura, the village molecatcher from the other side of the fence. Mugo had invited him over to catch some rodents that had been chewing on Mugo’s sweet potatoes. It was so serious a time, that Mugo did not check Mwaura’s pockets for dead moles.
‘I don’t know these people…’ Mugo complained, as Mwaura jumped over the fence. It felt better-having company.
‘Let us go to the gate and see the arrow you are talking about.’ Mugo said in finality. ‘If it doesn’t point here, you people will have to leave my home.’ Mugo and Mwaura walked side by side, like kings, flanked by the well-dressed crowd. Mwaura never had a sense of fashion, and even if he had, his job involved digging holes and kneeling in dirt, so he just wore what his eyes fell on. Most were the cases where his eyes fell on the clothes he had been wearing for a week.
At the gate, Mugo could not believe his eyes. The arrow was there, and it sure pointed at his gate. In addition to the arrow, there was a dying banana vine that hang on either side of the makeshift gate. He rubbed his eyes.
‘Well, you cant argue with this.’ Mwaura said, shaking his head. ‘Let me go ahead and get busy, call me when the food is ready. You know you have to ook a lot of food for this ruracio.’ And he sped off to the
‘You people still have to go!’ Mugo swore. ‘I don’t want to open the kernel and let my dog out.’
‘That dog?’ Mr. handshake asked, pointing to bosco who was busy chewing a bun one of the guests had thrown him. Mugo’s face turned pale.
‘This is my home, and I don’t know who drew that there, but there is no ruracio here. You better be on your way now.’ He was now shouting to everyone. ‘And bosco! Go home!’ The dog looked at him and the bun, stuffed it inside the mouth and ran off towards the house, tail under the belly.
After talking with some women, the transport coordinator decided they were in the wrong home, and advised his people to get back into their vehicles. They were disappointed at the time they had lost, and they all looked at Mugo in cursing eyes. As the cars drove off one after the other, Mugo was busily relieving himself at the edge of the fence, not caring who was watching. His stomach growled, and he wished the ruracio was real.