A MESSAGE OF FOOD(continued)


After minutes of agony, she regained her sight.

Suddenly, in the horizon she saw a white wavy figure. Her memory reminded her that there was originally nothing at the end. Was it her failing eyesight?

The figure was approaching their hut. Leshao, linking the figure to her trembling foot, shuddered with terror. She felt dizzy again. Worry was fast filling up her already full cup. She fought the thought that something bad was impending.

Rings of dust rose up high into the sky as the white structure came to a stop. Leshao had seen this big moving thing years ago when the Red Cross people had brought them food. Her hope for food rose steadily like a balloon being inflated.

Three people jumped out. They were fat and imposing. Their white polo shirts were brownish with all the dust. They had a huge camera and small bags. Leshao was baffled by their soft and bright skin. They had lots of energy.

“Hello? We are from Nairobi and we come with food”. One of them in clear spectacles could speak her native language.

Leshao did not respond. She wadded off flies from her eyes. The mention of food did strike a chord in her but she did not disclose any sign of excitement. The word sounded mysterious. It had not been pronounced in her hut for so long.

“What is your name?” the man was crouching close to her with her gloomy expression on his face.

“Leshao.” It came almost as a whisper.

All this while, another man held the camera on his shoulder and focused it on Leshao and her sickly children. None of them moved or said a word. They stared through squinted eyes while flies hovered around their faces.

“Where is everybody else?”


“You mean everyone?”

“Some moved to look for food.”

There she said it! She had savored the word, suckled on it but it still sounded out of place. Like a river of cool water flowing right through Kachepin.

“And your husband?”

Leshao wanted to demand for food the man had said he had brought over. The little strength she had was draining away. The fact that she had managed to speak at all was a miracle. Her throat was dry. Her lips were dry. Her skin was heavily dehydrated. Her surrounding was dry.

The woman in long dark silky hair took a bottle from the truck and drunk from it. Leshao watched in disbelief. She swallowed hard.  She stared at it, gulping it down in her head. Her eyes danced with the water in the bottle whenever the woman disturbed it. Faintly, she raised an arm as if receiving the rare commodity.

“Do you have a husband?”

“Yes” she replied, her gaze arrested by the water.

“Where is he?”

“Went to look for food.”

The woman tool another sip. Leshao plunged into a world of fantasy. Her whole world was filled with flowing river feeding big lakes. A faint wind blew dust towards her and she withdrew.

“We will tell the government to bring you food. Okay?”

“Who is that?”

“Don’t worry. Someone will come with food.”

As the dust embraced the hot air, Leshao embraced bitterness and desperation. She watched as the white truck disappeared into the horizon the same way it had appeared.

Her last born child broke into frail wails.

Days later, Leshao moaned the death of Nanok, her fifth child. Hunger was taking away their thirst. She was never strong enough to offer her children a decent send off. So, she watched the vultures wrestle over the remnants of her offspring.

She sat in sorrow watching the horizon where the truck had disappeared to. The darkness would soon blanket the hut and its miseries. And in deep pain, her heart shrunk and her spirit wilted. Leshao had seen life commence and end. She was alone and all around her was sand, dust, bones and vultures.

Her body like an old engine was coming to a stop. She could feel gates close up. Pain eloped from her body and she could feel it drift away until she could feel nothing. Despair was winning. Her limbs disconnected from her body, then her head. Finally, she let out the last gulps of breath and in the gloomy light and dust saw a figure approaching.





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