Of well-enjoyed holidays before virus, curfew lingo

Monday, April 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Covid pandemic tricks.

Long before the world knew about viruses and covids and curfews and slay-queens and the rest of latter-day lingo,  I was a little boy enjoying school holidays out there in the hilly slopes of the mountains otherwise called Nyeri. 

You note I said I used to love the holidays.  That tells you something about me and school those days. The mutual dislike persists to this day but that is a story we must tell another day. 

I was telling you about the hills of Nyeri. Those hills are the reason folks in Central Kenya as a whole are good volleyball players.  They call it farebo. 

You see, volleyball does not require large tracts of land that could be put to better use like raising livestock or stuff like that.  

Score goal

Those hills are also the same reason folks in the hills do not make good soccer players. At least generally.  

In my  time, football was trying to make itself popular without a lot of success. 

You can imagine a group of excited lads with runny noses and makeshift,  home-made balls trying to hone their almost primordial skills in soccer. 

The result is that the football field of choice is not large enough but has a natural mountain between the two goalies.  

It means one goalkeeper does not see the other and vice versa. The players could be out of sight for so long that he can afford the rare luxury of sitting down to listen to stories from one or two supposed spectators.  

Then suddenly, eight sweating lads emerge from the other side of the mountain running after the ball in no particular fashion. 

By the time our goalie scrambles to his feet, the rival group has scored an easy goal. 

This process was repeated back and forth until the sun went down. 

In between, team A would dribble the ball to come and find the goalie for team B was “called” by his mother and promptly abandoned his post. Imagine finding no goalkeeper!

Matters would get even trickier if the bloke who abandoned the game midway was using his shoes as goalposts. You could not score. The game ended prematurely.  

Walk away

In other instances the chap who obeyed instant summons from his mother happened to own the ball. He just cornered whoever had the ball, grabbed it and walked away. End of game. No questions,  no fuss. Finito! As the Italians say. 

Fast forward to the present imbroglio where kids can not venture out even to bask as we guys used to do.

Of course,  kids out there in central and other bundus are fully occupied, milking cows, digging out tubers such as sweet potatoes and arrow roots and listening to grandfathers’ tales about real and imagined exploits during the second world war. Are such grannies still there?

Of course there still exist a few TV channels that show movies that are accompanied by a narrative in either mother tongue or Kiswahili. 

In some, the characters are given local names and exclaim in say Kikuyu. So you will find Angelina Jolie has become Waitherero or Wanjiku.  Or  Wakonyo. 

This level of innovation also ensures a guy like,  say,  Jamie Fox has become Njuguna.  

Make calls

The movies are watched when parents step out. It is one way the genes of mischief and truancy are perpetuated and kept alive. 

Talking of curfews, a wag was overheard waxing conspiratorial with the observation that men in the flat he lives in have a ritual every evening.  They step out of their houses to make and receive calls. 

Our mutual friend is contemplating calling a local mobile service provider to investigate if the houses have a connectivity problem. Maybe he has a point. Or maybe not if you see what I mean. 

Either way, we are living in very interesting times indeed.  

Have a sanitised week, folks and wash hands often even if you are not eating anything! – The writer is Special Projects Editor, People Daily

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