Monday, 16 January 2017

THE FATE OF MAINA'S DONKEY

EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR edchirchir@yahoo.com edchirchir85@gmail.com


 IMAGE CREDIT: https://www.pinterest.com/dmddashshund/donkey/

It is true that water is a scarce commodity in Kitengela. You can actually tell a crowd in Kitengela that water will flow endlessly from available taps for the next one week and they will laugh, mistaking it for a joke. I am even suspecting that you can build a fruitful career in standup comedy by talking about water (at least in Kitengela). So scarce is the commodity that some people are making a living just by selling water to the residents. Most houses do not even have taps. What is the use when they are almost always dry?

One of the beneficiaries of this perennial water problem is my good old friend Maina. He owns a handcart which he uses to ferry water to his regular and loyal customers including yours truly and sons plus wife minus daughters company limited. For a long time, he would personally pull this handcart from one customer's house to another, but sometime in November 2016, he decided to upgrade and work like a boss by buying himself a donkey. The donkey was to do the dirty work and he was to reap the benefits.

He personally travelled all the way to Naivasha. Let me remind you that travelling from Kitengela to Naivasha is not as easy as munching roast goat meat at Arusha meat den in Kitengela. I am not kidding here. You have to travel from Kitengela in Kajiado county , through Mlolongo in Machakos county where you will see beautiful flowers planted by Governor Alfred Mutua, to Nairobi city in Nairobi county, where you will pay homage to Kidero grass, planted by Governor Evans Kidero (so the grass grew at last phew!). You would then finally proceed to Naivasha in Nakuru county. Does that sound like a joke?

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Finally at Naivasha, Maina bought his donkey for Ten thousand shillings and that was after bargaining. He then transported the same donkey to Kitengela at the cost of Four thousand Kenya shillings, bringing the total cost to to a whooping, fourteen thousand Kenya shillings. He even told me that he used a Toyota Probox to ferry the donkey back to his work station. I am not lying here. I equally marvelled at the thought that a Toyota Probox could carry a donkey, but you know very well that in this country, miracles do happen. I will no longer take a Toyota Probox for granted. Besides I have seen worse things like a Toyota Probox meant to carry five people ending up carrying twenty people, leaving me wondering whether people shrink in size when they get in there, so don't be shocked my dear reader. I do not know whether the donkey sat at the co-driver's seat in the the car with it's forelimbs on the dashboard, next to the driver or at the booth. I also don't know how the human occupants of the car faired on as a result of the donkey's habit of passing wind without any apologies. But, let us not worry so much about these things. The most important thing is that the donkey arrived safely at Kitengela.

For a whole month, things were good at least as far as Maina was concerned. He was no longer pulling his cart, because he now had an assistant called a donkey who did the hard work of pulling the cart. He loved his donkey and made sure the donkey never lacked anything. His donkey worked harder. The donkey loved him too (I am not sure about this) and some kind of friendship based on mutual trust developed. I bet they even shared secrets.

Then on 24th December 2016, when Maina was worshipping God in church, awaiting the birth of Jesus Christ, the bad guys struck. They stole the donkey and slaughtered it somewhere near Athi river, next to the railway line. Maina only found the head of his donkey the following day at the crime scene. There was no evidence of the donkey having been tortured before slaughter. (I have actually heard horrible stories of seven grownup men, with fully grown beards, raping a donkey!).  Neither was there any evidence that the meat was sold outside Kitengela.

Now I am feeling guilty, and by guilty, it does not mean that I am the one who slaughtered Maina's donkey. Some of you might start having funny ideas. I am having this feeling because I might be one of those who enjoyed thedonkey's meat during the Christmas holiday. You never know, especially because where I buy meat, the butcher normally cuts the meat from the larger piece in the display area, then proceeds to add some smaller pieces of meat to my portion, from somewhere below the counter, where my curious eyes cannot reach. What if those pieces of meat belonged to Maina's donkey? I am also sad that the donkey died before Maina could even recover the cost of his investment.

And now, Maina's source of livelihood is gone. That donkey and his cart was his office. Now he has to personally take the place of his donkey and continue pulling the handcart.

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