25th December, what a day! It is a day set a side by Christian faithfuls, to mark (note I said ‘mark’, it doesn’t necessarily mean he was born on this day) the birth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus must be smiling and hurting at the same time wherever He is. Smiling because his birth is still relevant thousands of years after His death, what a fete! He is seemingly sad too, sad because the same day has now been commercialised and every evildoing seems to have overtaken the goodness! Orgies and everything criminal and ungodly.
The reason others chose not to celebrate and have fun on this day just makes no sense. Christmas,to me, is no longer just a Christian affair. Business booms and the hospitality industry creates overnight millionaires all over the world. Tourism hits its highest peak. Muslims, to Hindu, to Buddhist, to Atheists. My country, Kenya, though majorly Christian, has set aside Eid Al-Fitr … did I get the spelling right?… as a public holiday. Christians, pagans, atheists and all funny characters join in merry making; the usual nyama choma (barbecue) and beer drinking topping the list.
This year’s Christmas wasn’t any different. The number of hired cars gracing the village this time round was almost uncountable. Most by youths evidenced by their loud music, audible even 5km away, haha! That’s an exaggeration… Let’s say 2km. How they still retain their hearing just beats logic.
My village had something new, something never done before!
A local group in liason with the local member of Parliament, came up with what I feel was a very brilliant idea: organising a sports competition in a bid to raise funds for the group. Printed posters dotted every tree,stone and building, advertising the highly anticipated event.
“COME ONE! COME ALL!” announced one of the posters, listing a dozen activities to be expected this day. There was to be ; soda drinking competition(coke for your information), running, dancing, cooking, pot-balancing … participants are required to balance a clay pot on their heads and walk around a field, egg balancing – here participants are to hold a spoon with their teeth then an egg is placed on the spoon and you do some rounds on the field, football tournament, hot tea drinking and bread eating competition. In each category, the winner had a prize to take home.
On 24th December, a day earlier, the group decided to mount a megaphone on a tuktuk and traversed the entire village to further drive the message and ensure people attended in large numbers. After serious considerations and eliminations, I decided I would try my hand in the competition, bread eating to be precise. Unlike hot tea drinking, it had no fatalities, atleast that’s what I thought.
As preparation, I decided to buy two 400gm loaves of bread. I had to do some rehearsals if I was to stand a winning chance. So, as other people waited for the clock to tick, ushering in Christmas, I sat down with my loaves of bread. I unwrapped the first loaf and examined it before finally squeezing it with my palms until it formed a small ball. I tossed it on my palms and took in a deep breath. When I was now calm and enough saliva in my mouth, I sunk my teeth into the ball and took a good chunk out of it. After laborious munching and with moderate effort, I managed to push it down my throat.
I took some time to let it sink down. I took another bite but this time round I wasn’t so lucky as my mouth was dry and when I tried munching, my tongue hurt and my eyes started tearing. A crumb found its way down my windpipe. I coughed so hard and repeatedly with other crumbs splashing out of my mouth and tears rolling down my cheeks.
This rehearsal thing had been secret and no one knew of my intentions, not even my family. This coughing just screwed up everything…
“Tony, is everything okay?” I heard my brother’s voice as he pushed at the door. Luckily I hadn’t locked the door.
More coughs followed utill finally, the crumb came out through my nose. More tears followed. My brother who was already in, handed me a glass of water. I took a sip and it helped me calm down. The floor was in total mess. My brother stood there in front of me wearing some sheepish smile. He stared at me as if trying to get out an answer but I just smiled back. I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t know how to start explaining what had transpired. Thankfully, he just walked out and closed the door behind him.
That was the closest I got to winning in the competition. Maybe next year I should start practising early to stand a chance in the competition and avoid humiliating myself. Don’t you agree?
Please do have yourselves a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR! Don’t do anything silly please!
Posted by Mr. Jagweng