Tag Archives: baking

How To Kill With Flaccid Breasts.

Killing with flaccid breasts you ask? Yes, I mean exactly that, what you just read. It’s ridiculous, that I agree, but not to everyone. At least not with my tribe. I have heard this since I was old enough to  make sense out the the words that reached my ears. How true this assertion was I didn’t know, until few weeks ago. 

There are numerous taboos embedded within my tribe that seem control how people relate with one another. I remember when we were young, we were always warned not to look at female kids while they are passing urine. Let me make it clear to you that we never did look at them with ill intent, but mostly it was out of curiosity. We had a pipe with which urine jetted out, but they didn’t and our young minds found that fascinating, very fascinating.  But we had to stop, as we didn’t want mother lose her breast. We were also warned against crying or wailing at night, as evil spirits would pick up our voices and we would loose the ability to talk. 

In adulthood, existed more serious taboos, that lead to death. If someone, out of anger showed you his or her butt hole, you were done for. The only remedy is to whip that person’s butt instantly or show them yours too. Hahaha. Crazy, huh? Another bizarre incident is when a wife hits her husband with her panty, food or cooking stick ,this means death unless special intervention by elders were done immediately. How true this beliefs are, I can’t tell. Woe unto you if an irritated woman unleashed the the curse of breasts on you, by undressing and slapping them, or even her thighs. Death visited you immediately. It is this last one that I was set to prove after I witnessed it in play, a few weeks ago. 

It’s around 10:00am, and the market is just warming up for the day. It’s a fair weather and most people are busy setting up there wares of trade, so the market is relatively calm and quiet. The eerie silence is disrupted by Otieno, preaching at the top his voice. He stops it abruptly, just as he had began, and the serenity is restored. Now, Otieno is just the market lunat, the only twist is that he preaches the word of God. Wasonga, another of Otieno’s kind , runs and prances, and leaps across the market. He makes a sudden halt, then starts dancing to some imaginary tunes . These are normal occurrences that rarely draws peoples’ attention. 

I’m drawn to my work when I here someone wailing, a woman’s voice. It’s a mix of screams and words that at first are inaudible. The voice gets closer and the words are getting clearer. A look at the marketers and I realize their attention is trained to the source of the noice. 

Atieno, you have destroyed my house! ‘ the voice screams. ‘I’ve been quiet for so long! ‘

Finally, the source of the voice comes into view. A woman, noticably around 60 years of age, medium height and dark in complexion. She had no blouse or bra on, just her dark trunk with two loose pricariously hanging socks-like breasts, flapping like elephant ears on her chest. I stepped out of my shop and my eyes followed her to where she was headed. Then she stopped right in front of her, Atieno. Atieno is a maandazi vendor. She’s somewhere in her 30’s. She’s blessed herself with a light skin, thanks to the cheap bleaching lotions sold in every salon and beauty shop. She must have been accustomed to this kind of attacks from other women, because all this time she remained calm, handling her maandazis. Or it must be she was waiting for the old woman to dare touch her, she must have been confident the woman was no match. 
It is this calmness that irritated this woman more, she jumped slapping her grotesque breasts, unleashing curses, insults and threats at the sametime. I feared for Atieno. She was going to die, if the beliefs were true. Seeing that Atieno wasn’t shaken, she dared to undress and curse her with her womanhood. As she began lifting up her skirt, some two women rushed in to restrain her, offering a shawl to cover herself. They walked her away, calming her down and trying to keep the shawl in place. She had totally lost it, she was fighting for her husband. 

It’s almost a month since that last incident, and I have been watching Atieno closely, monitoring any change in body weight or business falling, but nothing. She seems to have won the battle. The other woman lost her dignity. The woman was justified in her course, but it was misguided by belief that she could cause someone’s death by embarrassing herself. Maybe there was another way of handling the whole issue without causing unnecessary loss of dignity on her part. 

Cooking Fat For Mandazi!

Maandazi

Photo by Merufm digital

Hello villagers! I bet the word maandazi sounds alien to some of you. You my fellow villagers are of different races, but I believe you are familiar with English, otherwise this sentence wouldn’t have made sense to you. For the sake of fairness and to avoid straining our lush camaraderie, allow me to explain what it means. Maandazi is a Swahili word for doughnuts or bread kind of – sweet bread. Forgive me, but I don’t know how to explain it better than that, it’s just maandazi. Are we good? As for cooking fat,  I believe you do have an idea. Let me just break it down for you, cooking fat is a semi solid cooking oil or thick paste if that makes it easier to comprehend. It’s common back here in my village, and it cheaper too. Most folks are able to enjoy a fried meal courtesy of the cooking fat. From as little as Kshs. 5 you are guaranteed a fried stew for lunch or supper. It has attracted a number of pseudo names with the most popular being nyakatuda (which I  can’t explain to be honest) and Mor Achodha.  The latter meaning scooped fat.

Now that you know, let me save you the megillah and get to my story…

A few days ago something happened in my the village that got everyone laughing. But I didn’t laugh at what happened, I laughed rather at what the villagers were laughing at. Is there any difference in what I just said?  I don’t even know what I’m saying. OK, the whole village was left nursing painful ribs after what seemed like a scene out of some Hollywood comedy movie, became the centre of attention one sunny afternoon. The scene was at a neighbouring homestead, and the main characters were two co-wives; Nyar Alego and Nyar Asembo ,both widows. The cause of conflict was a maandazi and cooking fat. How you ask?

And it occurred that…

Nyar Alego the eldest wife had been bedridden for what seemed like two months. She had grown lethargic and senile. She was somewhere around 78 years. Nyar Asembo on the other side was still strong. Since they both didn’t have their children staying with them, as they were either married or living in the city, she had to assist Nyar Alego.

On this eventful day, Nyar Asembo was going to the market to buy groceries, and what to prepare for lunch that day. She passed by Nyar Alego and inquired if there’s anything she felt like eating. ‘Maandazi’ she had said. On her way back from the market, Nyar Asembo had remembered to bring her co-wife the maandazi she had requested.  She had everything she had bought packed in a polythene bag. On reaching home she passed by Nyar Alego’s house to deliver the maandazi. Being in hurry she dipped her hand inside the bag and felt for whatever was wrapped in a piece of paper and handed it out to Nyar Alego in the bed where she lay half asleep then walked out of the house to her own kitchen to prepare lunch for both of them.

Water for Ugali( thick paste of maize, sorghum or millet flour) was set on the three-stoned fireplace to boil as she prepared onions and tomatoes she was to use in frying eggs that had been left unhatched by one of her chickens early that morning. She sang as women do while preparing a meal or doing a chore. I don’t know if it’s only my observation! At least, I have noticed my mother and sisters doing so, but I have never understood the logic behind it. If you haven’t, then take time today and pay attention to any lady or woman, most of them prefer Gospel music.  Done with the onion chopping and tomatoes, she beats the eggs and takes to preparing her ugali. When it’s ready she sets it on a plate beside the fireplace and puts another sufuria on the stones for the eggs. She reaches for theold polythene  bag she had brought from the market and takes out a wrapped piece of old Newspaper. On unwrapping she discovers it’s maandazi,  and not  cooking fat she had bought at the market. She scampers out to Nyar Alego’s house on realization that she must have given her the cooking fat.

‘Nyar Alego kara ne aweyoni mana nyakatuda kar mandas!’ (Nyar Alego I must have left you with cooking fat instead of maandazi) She had said apologetically.

‘Kara ema omiyo ne oyom kabisa!’ (So that is why it was so soft ) Nyar Alego responded  innocently.

‘Ichamo mora!'(You have eaten my cooking fat ) she exclaimed in shock. It couldn’t be true, Nyar Alego couldn’t possibly have eaten it, she was bluffing. She inched closer to where she lay and beside her noticed the fat stained piece of paper. A wave of fury overcame her and she almost threw herself on her with rage. She looked at the grotesque figure lying on that bed  and she got madder. She wanted to tear her apart. Storming out of the house, she threw away the maandazi.

A strong smell of something metallic burning hit her nostrils and she remembered the sufuria at the fireplace. Dashing inside, she found the cooking pot glowing hot red. The sight of this only added to her already rampaging rage, she pushed it off the fire, burning her fingers in the process. Now it was a mix of anger and pain. What a terrible combination. This gave her flaring temper a new boost and she came out of the house spitting insults to the helpless Nyar Alego, who was still in her house. It is this that attracted onlookers drawn, from within the neighbouring homes and those who had been passing through the village. 

One woman walked close to her to inquire what had transpired, a small crowed followed her and it became a small political  rally.  She was like an opposition leader delivering a  harangue to the rulling President, all attention was on her and she had her loyal supporters with her, she was the vox populi. When she narrated the earlier occurrence, her supporters laughed and others jeered. They started  filling out of the compoured leaving her behind, dampening her spirits. She lashed out at them, driving them out her homestead, they were ungrateful and disloyal to her, their leader. How could they dismiss her like that?

It was now her against the villagers. Words were exchanged, jibes flew laced  with mockery. The village came alive. They had something to talk about until another could come back- a comic relief. They  found a momentary break from problems bedeviling their lives and enjoyed some good laugh, though only for a brief period…the maandazi and cooking fat moment. A Luo would say : A mandas and nyakatuda moment!