Meanwhile, it’s Saturday morning…
Back in Uyoma, mum is fixing tea in the kitchen. Normally this is a lazy day where everybody wakes up at leisure. You see, we had many cows and this forces the boys of the family to rise up at break of dawn to catch up with the milking.
My senior, Owanoh Francis has taken charge of milking this time. Manuar is an expert; his turns always deliver more milk. He is very articulate for the entire process up to the end. He perfectly times the breaks (what we call ‘ajieke’) so accurately that the calf doesn’t suck all the milk. This is the fourth cow, three more to go, Frank is patient.
Back at the main house, Berita Atieno is busy preparing to report to school for the Saturday tuition, she has bathed, has perfectly applied that oil and is now shinier than Dumu Zaz. Bera wetu loves water and mum always complained about the time she takes to bathe…girls take long to shower anyway.
Far away, my other senior Owanoh Remmy Elias is tethering the goats. He is almost done. Am hungry and since am still young, love is in the air and possibility of my wishes being granted are so high so I alert mum that we should buy bread today for breakfast. All this time, I have been near the three stones where tea is being prepared, roasting maize, keenly turning the sides so it doesn’t burn. Am observing too, at mum’s excellent culinary skills where she only scoops one handful of sugar, a table spoonful of tea leaves and that’s enough for the whole family.
Then there is dad. He has no errands or a planned schedule today so he decides this is the best day to fix his bike. In no minute, he turns it upside down. Saddle on the ground, break lever and shift are dismantled, chain and crankset are loosened, he is now unscrewing the skewer to fix some broken spokes and probably check on the fork as well. At this point, I innocently ask mum again if she can signal dad to buy bread, at least for me. The hot brands this time were Elliots, Sunblest and United, which came in two variants, a yellow sweeter version and a white type which came in slices. Mum sends Elias to deliver my plea to dad. Elias was athletic, well built, great physique, you know… So in case there was luck, he could run to Pap Kodero market both ways without stopping unless he forgot what he was sent if they are more than five items
Elias: Mama kwayoni imiya pes makati (mum is requesting if you could give me money to go and buy bread)
Dad: Mabati…!Mabati otimre nade? (Iron sheets! What has happened to them?)
Elias: Makati baba, miya pes makati (No dad, bread, money for bread…)
All this time, am strategically standing at the door so that should be feel generous enough, he has the liberty to send me into his pocket and get that money since his hands were dirty with brake fluid oil.
‘Can’t you see am fixing the bicycle’
We ate sweet potatoes with tea that morning….