The air smelled of fresh cow dung and manure. As I peered in the nearby compound, I saw the little chicks eating growers marsh as their mothers clucked endlessly, making their presence known to ward off any potential enemies.
From afar, I saw my friend the goat herder guiding his source of living with his staff firmly held in his hand. We smiled at each other, as acknowledgement of our friendship. No words were exchanged, ours is the silent kind of friendship.
All these activities occur routinely in my daily walk around the neighborhood. Without fail, everyday in the evening at around 4:00p.m. I take a walk around my neighborhood. This is my alone time in which I collect my thoughts together and do a thorough analysis of my life and my intended purpose of existence. Sounds strange, a bit off…oh well.
In the midst of my power walk, around this time two weeks ago I came across a group of 10 young men who were performing some menial tasks. Some were uprooting a large tree, outside a gated house whilst the rest dug a trench to facilitate better water drainage. In this part of the world, a good number of people survive on income generated from doing manual labor, I digress. As I approached the unfolding scenario, they all stopped what they were doing and started hollering, whistling and most importantly calling me “Kssss Kssss Mrembo”. Mrembo is a Kiswahili word that means beautiful. They hollered for at least a good minute, but failed to get an immediate response.
So what did me in? When one of them made a statement that made me laugh. ” Look at her, she is not even beautiful, she is quite ugly. Stop feeding her ego with your mrembo insinuations”. He told his colleagues. I stopped in my tracks and addressed this young man, who upon inspection was quite a looker. “Why can’t you guys be gentlemen and ask, habari yako leo? Why do you guys feel the need to constantly vie for every woman’s attention and yet do so without any etiquette. That’s why some of you are single!” To which he responded, ” Woi, usiongee tena utatuma nilie!” (Woi, don’t talk any more, you will make me cry). We all laughed, and he asked if I could stop over the next day and teach them about being gentlemen and how to properly get the attention of women. Before, I left the young man apologized for his earlier comment, and he only said so to get my full attention. I must say it worked.
The moral of the narration above is simple, Kssss Kssss, Mrembo is a daily part of living in this part of the motherland, matter of fact it is a transitory ritual of initiation of boyhood to manhood for these young men. If you are like me who takes random walks in the neighborhood, acknowledge their hi’s, keep it moving and enjoy the smell of cow dung.
From me to you……Kssss Kssss, Mrembo