It has been three months since I ‘arrived’ in my village. Three months which seem like just three weeks because I have enjoyed myself thoroughly; I like the peace and tranquility in the village, reconnecting with my roots. During this period, I have built a shed for some two little goats, I have waited for hens to hatch eggs and some squirrel like creature ate a number of chicks as soon as they hatched. Then I became wise and sealed all holes in the little shelter, after which another hen hatched eleven chicks but as nature would have it, eight survived. Then there is the other more serious chicken rearing project, which I have watched as my little brother has taken care of small chicks, slaughtered and sold (after they have grown) and shockingly deposited all the cash in his account he he he ( ok, it was not pure ‘thuggery’ as I
make it sound). Then we went to some distant land to buy what is referred to as a ‘grade’ cow. Now, the dilemma with this cow is that when it is on heat, it does not mount other cows, it is hard to know when to call the vet, and I am sad to announce that it has missed insemination two times. Treason!
Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with being accosted. Stop wondering if these animals and birds are not accosting me (I don’t mind when one of the goats comes and wants to be cuddled – yeah, even goats, village goats love cuddles). But this is not what I am talking about. See, much as village life is nice and moves at its own pace, there are things that village folk consider to be within the norm and will not shy away from voicing their concerns and dishing out unsolicited advice, and this is what is accosting me – the questions and advice. Here is the root cause of my problem: the fact that an Adam has not turned up with his clan to tether a goat or a cow or a sheep in our homestead is what is getting some village folks very worried. This ‘accostation’ is disturbing my peace and tranquility in the village. It is threatening to make me pack up and leave the other hen before it hatches its eggs he he he. Accosted to the extent that I have written about it? Yes, I am accosted!
One family friend came home and told me, “Fridah, if you do not want to get married, you should just get a baby”. You can’t blame me for wanting to ask her if she knew of a place I could do some sperm harvesting. But I let go, I realized she was giving me what she considers to be valuable advice. I can understand why she decided to take matters to this level – she is 70 and I am sure by the time she was my age, she had finished popping out them babies, so she must be at a loss wondering kai ni kii? (what is it?). For your information, here in the village, it does not matter how much you have
achieved, or how happy or responsible you seem, if you are of ‘knottable’ age and you haven’t shown any serious indication that you intend to head that way, as sure as day and night, you will be accosted.
Then there is my cousin who came to help us to harvest coffee. She saw a ring on my finger and asked me if I was finally engaged. The conversation went something like this:
Cousin: “Wow! Were you given a ring?”
Me: “No. I bought one for myself.”
Cousin: “It is nice; where did you buy it?”
Me: “From the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”
Then she went to my room and saw another ring
Cousin: “You have another ring?”
Cousin: “And where is this from?”
Me: “This is from Jerusalem, some place near the tomb of Mary.”
Me:”Yes. Why do you look surprised?”
Cousin: “Is that a good sign that you bought a ring some place near a tomb?
To be honest, I am not sure why this would generate interest. I thought maybe I should have bought one from the resurrection place of Christ to signify life?
Me: “Stop being superstitious.”
She just does not seem to understand that Eve can buy a ring and slip it into her finger just as an accessory.
Me: “Let’s go harvest coffee now, mum is waiting.”
She gives me a look that says “we will talk about it later” and off we head out to the plantation.
Mind you, I have only given you examples of the ones that stand out the most; there are others such as when an acquaintance asked me “hujapata bwana?”(you, have not found a husband?”) or when one told me that I need a ‘ndume’ (which when directly translated from Swahili means a bull). Now I did not know that Adam can also be called ndume – this is the village.
Anyway, at the plantation, it looks like the coffee harvest will never finish, so everyone was kept busy. But coffee or no coffee (break), my cousin was not done with me. After a long silence, of which I thought she was either thinking about her hubby or kids or something important, she said “Fridah, I think you just do not want married because I do not understand “hao wazungu unafanya kazi nao,waarabu na hata wayahudi unakutana nao,hujajishindia mmoja wao?” (“Fridah, I think you just do not want to get married because out of all the ‘whites’, Arabs and even Jews that you have met ,you have not won over one of them?”)
I was not sure how to tell her that it is never that serious without sounding like I was brushing her off. See, village folk sometimes do not seem to know when to stop pushing the button. Or maybe they know but they decide the button needs to be pushed and they just leave it on buzz mode?
One of my close friends said that this ‘accostation’ sometimes makes someone feel like a miserable failure and it takes a grounded person to ride above that, even joke about it and let people be. This is especially when some meetings and even family gatherings look like an emergence from Noah’s Ark – everyone is paired and there are all manner of
questions about why you are alone:). What these ‘accosters’ do not get is that we are not called to the convent, so we acknowledge that the desire is still there (for those who desire), but it will not take precedence over everything. I mean, you cannot just take that step for the sake of ticking a box. Now, this seems like common sense but no, it is not that obvious to all.
So this is to all Eves who are still in the maze, waiting for the moment but are accosted by external forces; take heart, get busy doing what you love doing, take care of yourself the best way you know how, make yourself available and I am told that when you do not overthink it, that is when ‘ndume’ cometh !
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