#Timbitii: The day stolen ‘Múratina’ made us sing in the morning

13. Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

14. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15. For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Acts 2: 13-16, KJV)

 

In the year of our Lord 2004, I, and a few other chimps were involved in an incident similar to the one above.

Let me explain.

I had just come home for the holidays, and boy had I missed some village mischief! Around then, there were not very many public service vehicles in my area. My neighbour was lucky to own one of these few matatus.

However, my neighbour was not well educated on property rights, so when he went to sleep, he would leave his 14-seater outside. No blanket, no tent- nothing! As a result, the matatu was always grumpy in the morning, always complaining of a cold and/or a cough. The driver would then spend around 30 minutes taking the vehicle for a walk downhill, sweet-talking it to go to work.

You see, from our neighbour’s to our place, the road is like this….aaah, sorry, I recently appeared on TV now I can’t shake off this habit of explaining things using body signs. Anyway, the road is a downhill slope from my neighbour’s to our place and past. At the very end of the slope lives an old man, Mgema.

In 2004, I, and many of my village peers, had not seen that many vehicles, so we always came out to see our neighbour soothing and threatening his matatu every morning.

On this particular morning, as our matatu appeared uphill, Mgema appeared downhill, carrying a ‘Daso’ backpack whose source investigations have not unearthed to date. Mgema announced that he was going to town, and took his seat at the back of the matatu as the coaxing went on.

As luck would have it, the matatu was taking none of the sweet-talk that day, and eventually the owner announced that the battery would need a thirty-minute recharge at the nearby market.

Would Mgema mind waiting? No, actually, that would give him a chance to go back home and collect his ID which he had forgotten in the huff to leave. Old people place this queer importance on carrying IDs around, yes? Would we, the lads, mind keeping watch over the matatu for the 30? No, of course not, it would be a pleasure.

And just like that, we, the village boys, had a Toyota Hiace 14-seater to ourselves! As everyone scampered to the front to look at the speedometer etc, I was quick to get to the back seat. I could hear them telling each other, this is the gearbox, this one here shows how many people the vehicle has carried since it was bought (mileage) this one here is the calculator (carburettor) e.t.c.

But me? I was more interested in finding out what was contained in Mgema’s back pack. From outside, I could feel it was carrying a plastic container, so I carried on with curious excitement. After a few moments of negotiating with the zipper which was begging for a sabbatical, it gave in and lo!

“DR. LIVINGSTONE I PRESUME!!?” Do you know who said those words? Find out.

Anyway, that was my feeling when I saw what sat before me. 20 litres of Múratina brew from the famed brewer, Mgema. Within moments, we were onto Mgema’s package like calves released from their pens onto their mothers’ udders.

Only when we realised that we had consumed at least three quarters of the rich brew did we take a pause, a wave of panic washing over us like an onshore wind. But then, just as soon, the ever idealistic Cosie Mkenya hatched a plan- water.

In less than a minute, the deal was complete with water from Dangooh’s house and Mgema’s back-pack was safely zipped up. And, a moment later, Mgema and the battery wielding driver arrived from opposite directions. The driver fitted his battery, Mgema checked his package and they were soon on their way.

The vehicle was not gone for ten minutes before Sir broke into song. For some reason, I felt like the song was really nice and I joined in. Soon everyone was at it, and we walked the entire village singing and dancing. I do not really remember the song, but haters say we were hysterical in praise.

Harry cartoon
An impression of a typical drinking set-up in Kenya |Image: Harry/ sde.com

We ended up under a mango tree at kina Elias Nge’s, where we slept for the better part of the morning.

Rumor spread quickly that we were tipsy, but it made little sense since it was 7.30 in the morning, and, also, clown behavior was not something alien to us. For that reason alone, the story did not get to the Man Beater. Otherwise I don’t know who would be narrating this right now.

Later that evening, Mgema was heard complaining how the devil is a liar; he had brewed his best brew for his town friend but had ended up confused and carried a jerrycan of water instead. I do not understand how no adult got to join the dots.

The real truth as to what happened has remained a closely guarded secret until, well, now!

 

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