Back then, in a time strange to contemporary historians and unknown to walking encyclopedias, and, in a place unexplored by vigorous geographers but beautiful beyond photographic capabilities, an undesired thing happened.
A part very dark, too short, and quite sharp eyed, and part small legged, thin lipped, and fox shaped headed young girl, barely past her later teenage years had to abandon her demanding duties on the field she was cultivating to do something that she wished she had stopped doing more than a little while before.
Out of a body that was made up of an enormous pair of breasts – for her age and size – and moderately sized hips, she had no option but to emit – as only, and only nature had called upon her to do – another poor, hopeless, and, preferably, unwanted creature that was a product of both mandatory and obligatory conjugal relations with her rather useless husband.
She, without the help of anyone – as she worked tirelessly alone on most days, rolled in the tillage she had made in the morning of that fateful day, and helped herself to the birth of what would, she reluctantly prayed, would, in years to come, be the blessing of a child.
When she had finished with discarding of the afterbirth in a nearby shrub, cleaning herself, and wrapping the thing which she carried in her arms, she gathered just enough strength to whistle a familiar sound, the same sound whose echo had summoned either her hardworking herself from the low-lying valley where she spent her days, or her leisurely husband from the top of the hill where their mud, wattle, and grass thatched house made a home.
As she supported herself against a pole which made part of a temporary structure that had been constructed on the side of the garden to provide a much needed shade – especially during akatogo, obushera, and akalo breaks, she petted her newly born burden, and took mental notes on what would be the future of the unfortunate thing that she held in her hands, breastfed it off the pair of her enormous breasts, and waited for any glimpse of help from anyone in their unfathomably lonely village.
Its future was not by any measure bright, or at the very least, meant to be. All its predecessors had died. Some had died before they were born. Others had died during birth. Others had died before they could figure out the difference between sight and breath. Others had died before they were assigned names. Others had died before they could learn how to bellow out mama. They had died. She was not even in her twenties but was, like the rest of her contemporaries, giving birth at the rate of a rabbit. It seemed that she was interested in catching up with her peer’s numbers. Unfortunately for her, none of those births had ameliorated her fortunes in the sphere of child births. If there was anything that they did, it was that each of those deaths had sufficiently contributed to increasing her sadness.
This new, unfortunate one, had come at a critical time in her life, a special moment, when she had already made up her mind. There were to be no normalities, the normalities of a celebration of the continuity of life.
As she looked up, and saw her unhelpful husband unwillingly saunter down the hill in an exaggerated S-letter fashion – to control his pace, and save his useful energy, he said – she knew what had to be done; the poor child of theirs that found comfort in her hands had to be sacrificed.
Dagoretti Corner, Nairobi, Kenya,
Tuesday, April 14, 2015.