Mt. Kenya Slopes, 2001-
With the end-of-the-world stories finally coming to rest, there has to arise a new fad, because, like the Science teacher said, nature does not support a vacuum. So now there are stories of devil worship everywhere. Literally everywhere.
On the way from school, there is a ‘pastor’ who has pitched a tent, complete with a public address, telling people about devil worship. Apparently, the pastor himself is a reformed devil worshiper who was saved from the chains of evil by God Himself. You know those situations so serious that my people ask God to come in person and not send anyone from heaven?
That is what happened to this pastor.He tells stories of how it used to be like in the kingdom of Sháitan- scary rituals like drinking human blood and sacrificing your relatives. In return? You get all the wealth you want and basically anything you ask for. He tells of how they used to enter inside a pot and just mention where they wanted to be and pap! You’re there! Our pastor used to say ‘Mauritius.’ I have no idea why anyone would choose Mauritius faced with the option of the whole world.
Recently, the Man Beater brought home a booklet from my uncle’s place: Devil Worship in Kenya: How to Identify it and Protect Yourself. I think this is the book for me. But it is scary. The cover picture has an overturned cross and a beheaded man lying on an altar, blood dripping as another man drinks from the ‘fountain.’ I cannot stand it, so I cover the book and read a bit. Stories from people who have been to the dark world. The Devil’s commandments. I have bad dreams from it.
Around the village, there is a tale of a certain group that is residing at the caves by the river. They are patrolling the course of the river in search of young children to sacrifice. I hear they pluck your tongue and, for boys, the penis which they take as an offering. The story of their affiliation varies from devil worship to Mungiki. And they do not want circumcised boys. My quick calculations tell me there is no way I can procure an urgent cut because:
1. It would be suicidal to tell the man beater of my intentions. Around here, circumcision before class 8 is closely followed by dropping out of school; you do not want the MB to suspect you of harboring such thoughts.
2. People only ‘Go’ in December. To go is to, well, go….go to be circumcised.
3. Naskiaga huko hakutakagi upuzi….weeh!
Which is why I have to think of a counter-theory. I try to convince the lads that this is just a tale invented by adults to prevent us from going swimming and fishing, because:
a) How comes they don’t know for sure if its Mungiki or devil worshipers?
b) The story only comes up during the day, but in the evening they send us down the river to buy sukuma wiki.
I think I have them convinced, but the problem is when Ngé asks “So, can we go swimming?”….”Naaah! Kuna kitu niliacha nimeambiwa nifanye.” My authoritativeness in giving stories is under serious threat!
The usual routine: Go to Sunday school, come home, remove Sunday school clothes, play ball, go to the field -kivarori- to watch big people play ball so we can name ourselves after our stars all week. Personally, I always pick ‘Mathavu’ or G2, depending on who played better. My mates think I should pick Maganga though! Idk why, he is so poor at the game. I think they are jealous.
Today’s game is largely appetizing, they should have just charged entrance fees. But I bet they did not have time to fence the field, or the coffee factory denied them ciandarua.
The game is going really well. We are leading 3-1 and playing well. Then a commotion erupts by the roadside just beside us. Many kids gather to see a vehicle speeding away.Then the announcement comes from someone in the crowd. “Kare niwocwa!!!” (Kare has been taken) Kare is another stylish way of saying Caleb, just like you can say kidnapped instead of being taken.
It hits like a thunderbolt. So these people are real!! We break into chants of ‘Kare niwocwa! Kare niwocwa!’But they are not activist chants, rather warning calls to all uncircumcised boys around as we each flee to our respective villages and homesteads before those people come back.
And I am never venturing outside again until I get circumcised!!!
PS: It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered that the people who took Kare were actually his relatives who just picked him up, so my theory of adult tales was watered down for nothing. How Kare had a relative with a motor vehicle at that time is still a mystery to me!