BACK TO BETHLEHEM by Daisy Waitherero

Now I am all grown up, calling everywhere and anywhere home. I bear
both Kikuyu and Kamba blood, Kangundo my father’s origin and
Buruburu my mother’s origin. Technically, Murang’a is my maternal
side but my grandparents have lived in Buruburu for decades.
Therefore as far as I know, Buruburu is my ‘shags’ though people say I
look like a Giriama. Then you talk about an identity mix up.
From time to time I visit my grandparents or the people in the
neighbourhoods I used to be in. It serves as good memory and it keeps
the connection alive. I have to admit I spend more time in Buruburu
than Kangundo and you will soon know why. Going back to upcountry is
like cold water on a hot day; refreshing. By upcountry I mean Kangundo
not Buruburu. Considering I live in Rongai, then it’s double refreshing
for me. It’s like I never left.
The bus will be high speed heading to Kangundo today; all thanks to
miraa. The good thing about my upcountry is that it’s just around the
corner; no need to kill time on the road. However, I am not a huge fun
of the trip; there are one too many hitches. In the car there is always
the guy at the back who keeps on singing about his lost ‘kivevelo’, the
woman who talks in high pitch with her partner, the drunkard
constantly whining about the hiked fare and his relation to Kalonzo
Musyoka and then me, the bored stiff lady thinking of hitch hiking next
The car is now ready to go. Wait, not yet, the conductor went to chat
with the house help in the next car. Let’s all wait for him to get her
number. He proudly walks doing the Kamba dance and sits next to me.
Maybe it’s just me or there is a sign on my forehead written Oprah. He
asks me a couple of questions in Kamba about his new found love then
after a few minutes he goes silent. Soon after he passes out and since I
also bear the name bed, he leans on me. He was just dipping his finger
in hot water without knowing.
An hour down the line, we reach Tala. I test my hearing and smelling
since the ‘cologne’ the conductor wore smelled like ‘heaven’. It was
time to get another car to Kangundo. I was busy crossing my fingers
and legs that I don’t ride with the Kamba delight. I board the car and
who do I see? Almost everyone!! How lucky can I get? I sigh a couple of
times and sleep. Rather I pretend to be sleeping since the driver wants
us to hear how much he loves Ken WA Maria. Thirty minutes down the
line, I arrive at my Bethlehem. At that time I am so excited, I can even
speak Kamba fully!
There is nothing as good as a warm welcome home from your loved
ones. I usually make an entrance with a huge smile plastered across my
face and narrow my eyes. It feels good to be home but where is
everybody, it is Christmas? I stood at the gate for a few minutes then
reached into my bag for my phone and got out a stone! What was going
on? Then I thought I was on Naswa so I powdered my nose for the
camera with grass. Now I am puzzled.
By then I was sure somebody was in my handbag, maybe it was that
crazy woman or the drunkard. The next minute water was pouring on
my face out of nowhere. Then I woke up, all that time I was lying on our
lawn and guess what? It’s raining. Soon after I was drenched, my nail
polish ruined, my face covered in mud and in my nose, blades of grass.
Three words; I hate daydreams.


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