May i remember well, and in the process receive accolades from those of us favored to spend our childhood together in spontaneous games and jests as the weather dictated. No did i say the weather? We welcomed the oddities of nature and on most occasions had to be pulled forcefully by the ears to get indoors away from dancing in the rain and even After the rains had subsided and the remaining mud sludge was forcing every other person to skim-walk, we the children were without skates yes! But skidding like hell on the mud, free style!! That and the other ingenuous catastrophic games we hacked that guaranteed us several cane lashings from the parental class-yes, the home environment was much of a communal set up, both praise and beatings could come from the corresponding party wherever, whenever spontaneously!
I wish to delve into the full episodes detailing why i still miss my childhood days but am sore afraid the tinkering laughter will make my jaw bone ache as i move through the ”cock’s broken leg”, ”the long goose chase after ‘ndrrr‘….’- the insect that looked and sounded like a flying plane, ‘Hey! run‘- when the act of pulling away the young maize plants was not as innocent as it looks. Lol.
Over and above, i have realized that these are but apart of the reasons why i love children, why i feel for them, why i would advocate for their full blossom to put an umbrella over their heads when it rains like it did yesterday much in style, fashion and volume as predicted by the met department just recently. Only this time the were no children running about like in the village atmosphere i grew up on, neither were there those running and skidding afterwards but both we hunched together indoors as the rain zoomed down in huge torrents which lasted for hours and soon, the Nairobi river overflown it banks to terrorize the nearby houses, creating total displacement of immediate families who had to scamper for safety and watch from a distance the water’s mud rush through their belongings even as they hoped to salvage whatever shall remain of their hard gotten belongs…
Young Becky 5′, Peres 4’ and their mother stood pensively in the outside cold perhaps oblivious of the rain beating them as their eyes are completely focused on the mad rushing waters and what shall become of it, they had woken up an hour ago after the waters had gained entry into their abode forcing them to vacate in a hurry towards the higher grounds, a group of other victims have also gathered standing a safe distance away, It’s the norm here wherever the huge rains knock and every-time following, though we might not remind our children to keep vigil, yet somewhere in their conscience it is written ”Sleep not Child for the Rains are Here…”
You think you have grown grey hair and qualified to be much wiser like an old sage, but you have to lean closer to learn further simpler truths for “simple is king”-so they say!
Yesterday at the ‘Grao’
In life is a thousand alleys to cross and each step of the way leads us either far away from the people we love or closer to their warm embraces that lightens the hearts countenance.
In other occasions you stop and watch as life flows in different forms. Yesterday evening was well spent at the far end of the slum, past ‘mabatini’ as we call it here to mean iron-sheet houses or structures, in a large enough opening the size of a football pitch, its the ‘grao‘ in our localized dialect meaning playground. This space survived miraculously two years back when the clamor for housing units was at its peak
and every available inch of free space was furiously converted into housing units.
The play ground barely survived a second time as many folks we busy extracting soil to use in raising the foundations of the already standing structures only this time it almost became unusable and a major health and environmental hazard for the inhabitants of Kiambiu slums, mostly younger children roaming around in the absence of their parents. The deep gullies looked much like a mining zone and when the rains came and the gullies were all filled with water, with garbage dumped right inside the stretch and the chemistry became explosive with putrid smelly gases polluting the environment- the play ground was slowly choking away.
Thanks to Nairobi country government, the ‘grao’ is picking up a gain this time after lorry loads of sand were brought and poured here to cover the gullies, at-least the youths teams practicing and playing football here can now put a smile on their faces as they kick and follow the mad ball around in continuous circles. That’s where i was with my niece Erick , 16′ who is on holiday after they closed school two weeks ago. ‘it is much colder here as compared to our school environment’ he says. So how do you cope with the cold, i ask, ‘every other evening i come here, play football with my friends for 30minutes after which i rush back straight to shower, it’s the only way to beat the cold otherwise you end up not bathing..’ i agree for after the session i feel much warmer now.
For now the play ground lives on and continues to host Kiambiu youth football club-the home team. It will continue hosting several political meetings that are held here every time the push for votes come calling and the younger children can now run about without the danger of drowning or suffocating in dangerous garbage fumes.
One can only hope that funds will be availed to construct it into a better recreation facility some day.