Everyone is busy considering the tasks assigned for that day. Movement up and down offloading the sacks and spreading the maize on the veranda to dry out in the sun. The August weather is not so accommodating at this time of the year so we had to utilise the little sun that was there. After a week at least the maize was ready for shelling. We embark on the most difficult part to me. No do not get me wrong. Im not a lazy person on the contrary, I enjoyed getting busy as it kept us away from mischief. At such a time grandpa’s mapera (guava) were ripe and so inviting. It was quite a distraction really. To get to them it meant we had to climb the garage roof to pick the best lot. We were forbidden from doing that as our cousin Princess had broke her arm after falling from the guava tree. Back to reality everyone is busy shelling the maize. I can’t help but notice the blisters already forming in my feeble hands. People are chatting, hearty laughs here and there very busy if you ask me. Grandpa is not around,.he left for work early in the morning and grandma is left in charge to oversee the whole process to completion.
We are so engrossed in the process that we do not notice grandpa walk in just in time for lunch. He brings along with him an equipment that makes shelling easy. We call it a machine for lack of a better name. Everyone sits down to enjoy the sumptuous meal made by Dani (grandma). This would be the routine for the next few weeks until all the maize is properly dried, treated and kept in the store house. It is time for some cousins who came visiting to go back. It is a sad moment but we manage to bid them farewell. Going back to school was not welcome by all I assure you (I will put a different post about this). It is Sunday, we.go to church. Kwaru (grandpa) had a grey pick-up, at the back two benches were well placed that would give enough room for everyone that boarded it.
My Kwaru was a dedicated Christian. He attended every Sunday service and made time to attend weekly Church meetings. He would even host Church meetings on Sunday afternoons for the group members who dwelled around Manyatta. This man’s zeal was something I admired and hoped to implement when I had my own family. He would call on everyone after supper to gather in the humongous family sitting area. Every family was assigned a Bible study activity. We would start by singing ‘tuku tendereza Yesu’ then one or two luo hyms followed by reading the Bible. We would then pray together and later depart to our houses to sleep. This made us closer to each other. The bonds formed were unbreakable, thanks to my grandpa.
He believed so much in Education and expected us to excel in everything we did. He used to pass by our school gate every lunch time on his way home for lunch. My sister Anty had known the exact time he passed and it was around 12.40 p.m. So Anty, Toto(I will be using our childhood names) and I would look forward to getting lift home. We would bring our friends along, he did not mind. It was our duty to work hard in school and make him proud. The term would come to an end and we would gladly welcome December holidays. We always looked forward to December as it had a lot of festivities. Kwaru would spoil us. On the eve of Christmas he would call all his grandchildren to gift us. He would bring a whole packet of balloons that everyone would get a chance to choose the.desired number for equality purposes. You get the chance to reap what you sow. Our cousin Avalo would always get the biggest. I was always unlucky as time and again got the smallest(actually I think this is a perfect explanation why I have never been lucky with lotto) and he would encourage me to always try next time. He bought Christmas tree and the lightings ,we would then decorate his sitting room ready for Christmas day. It was always a day well spent.
I remember vividly December of 1995, I was nine years old. Kwaru looked frail. He was a strong man, but it was evident that whatever was eating him up had taken a toll on him. We kept praying for him. On this particular day, he felt so weak and I came just in time(I was away visiting my maternal grandma) when he was being rushed to Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu…..