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.





Chocolate Man

He is a queer man who chooses to lug behind the shadows. Very little about his features is in the public domain. With every nerve in his being, he disowns camera fame. He wants to be that figure hovering around. Dark and formless.

He whines about his forehead. It seems to be so big it could fit in a room. And then he seems to be troubled by the silence he keeps listening to when he thinks of his father. The most he can remember is the towel clinking to a waist and a lathered beard and a blade. Perhaps wisps of the soap.

Due to his love for whiskey, he so glorifies it in his pieces, one can be forgiven to envision him sitting in a bar while his sturdy glass oozes a golden luster as he studies the room for anything worth penning. He reads faces alright and later fits them in whatever scene he dims appropriate.

Whenever he settles to write, he is a man in the robe about administering justice. He can be many things but a good writer is not one of them. Because he is great. His words easily fall upon each other to form a pattern that is luring. It takes on shapes never before imagined. He makes his sentences snappy that they leave the reader writhing with desire for more.

And then he is thoroughly addictive. A single article wadding in the waters of his blessing goes a long way in towing you into digging for more of his work. The marks of his pen are like a sidekick woman. She is not your legal wife but you find yourself trooping to her place again and again.

This man paints with his pen. He has made the saying a picture is worth a thousand words literal. While a photographer is killing himself finding that picture, he hurls ink on paper and ends up with a beautiful picture. Certainly he knows the right paint for the right picture. He might add a little flavor but still it serves to alleviate the end product.

In pain and in pleasure he writes. Even after recently losing his tooth to a dentist who offended him by calling bwana. He stays true to his pen, perhaps it is because it feeds him. But that notwithstanding he can still show love for his work.

He has a blog that is stooping due to a multitude of followers. People are fighting over parts of his witty sentences. Laughing their hats off at the comics he exudes. No one stops at refinement from the story for after the baptism by fire, they share with anyone they can reach who in turn share. A classic case of spread like wild fire.

Evidently, all his prowess comes from voracious reading. He loves reading so much that he fantasizes meeting a woman who after sex sinks into a swinging chair in her nakedness and loses herself into a book. He confesses to munching on this stories even late at night while everyone is sound asleep like a form one student crunching biscuits under blankets at school dormitories.

There’s more to this man than meets the eye. So much more to explore and appreciate. But for now it would be wise to make do with the little he rations. One day he will pull it off and dump at our feet. And then start hiding again.