By Onguso Ochengo (Guest Blogger)
It is the remotest part of remote Gusiiland so wear no stiletto heels, the hills of Kisii will make you ill. Wear flat shoes you will hurt no part
Shisha shisha not, my dear. O, that civilized smoke from the pot, to the mouth to the nostrils’ south! Why give my mum’s kitchen-chimney stiff competition when fed with undried firewood?
Veil thy flesh with baggy fashion. At least when the sun is still on shine. Let nothing of yours shake like a dog’s wagging tail lest you awake every ‘tamed dog’. The burden nature placed behind you, should be reserved until the sky draws the blanket of darkness and thence shake all you please.
Whenever you sit, ensure that your right leg is in congruence with your left lest they ask me, ’we have enough shops around, why did you bring a supermarket along?’ For legs apart in my culture are synonymous to an open kiosk, everyone can shop at will.
Reduce the make up. What is this thing you call foundation? When at all times men’s eyes rarely perch on the face? Other than the heart they look at what is fundamental or is it fundamentals? The red lipstick must be avoided-why compete with the man-eaters of Tsavo?
The flow of English must be curtailed, lest you molest my kinsmen’s ears with so foreign a language. For heaven sakes my mother is no grandchild of William Shakespeare. Reduce the Sheng, it is Gusiiland not Eastlando!
When the story is sweet, smile in style. Suffocate the loud laughter. It is associated with idle Nairobi house-wives (the ones that cause trouble in village funerals). The smile must be limited. Show them thy pretty teeth, but no more than 16 at a go. Don’t forget, out of excitement, and shout TIBIM! Why give my relatives heart attacks before their time to join their ancestors?
However much sleep creeps in your eyes, as early as anyone else wake up. Too much sleep and my mother will in her thoughts weep. ‘O, how my grandchildren will suffer of hunger, in the hands of a lazy daughter-in-law!’ She will wonder and curse my choice and sing ‘sare sare maua, asiyejua kuchagua!
I will pay for the manicure once back in the city but while at home, let your hands behave like justice. The learned say, ‘Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.’ Your hands must not only work, they must also be seen to work. If that means just walking around the whole day with a broom at hand, so be it, you will succeed in making me the bridegroom.
When you see the backs of my old folks bent. Laugh not. The backs bent for years for toil that sent their son where him you foundeth. If only the city ladies could bend with a hoe in the shamba half as long as they bend over to Demarco’s lyrics at the night club, who could dare apply the less virtuous meaning of hoe?
O, how chips and kuku has always hit my eardrums in the city! In the village, nothing is ready made, maybe guavas. As for kuku, you must learn the art of promoting the hen to the dinner table. It begins by feeding it, no Luhyia pet should die hungry! And once full, its guard is lowered, move swiftly and hold it hostage. Once under siege, proceed to kindly rest one foot on the hen’s wings and the other on its legs. This is the demobilization stage. The rest you shall learn practically.
Lastly, thou must learn the Lord’s Prayer. If asked to pray, call God by his famous names. In Kisii, we know no God called Jah! If you don’t volunteer to pray, the village folks will gladly grab the opportunity and my kinsfolk are so religious that they pray for everything-Napier grass in the shamba, the cows that will eat it, the women in maternity, the unborn children and even the corrupt area MP. By the time the prayer is over, you will have known all the problems of the good village and a lesson in why it is good to volunteer.
Ochengo is a lawyer, political scientist and Board Chairman of Intellectus Consultancy.