EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
PICTURE CREDIT: PIXABAY
Trust a missing child to drive the women crazy in the neighbourhood. Every woman and a number of men get extremely worried. Prayers are said in silence, rumours are peddled around. You will hear stories about a new church in the neighbourhood which sacrifices children. You will hear things about children being stolen and sold in Tanzania, to support the activities of those who trade in the area of witchcraft. You might even hear whispers of real names being peddled around as the main suspects of witchcraft and child trafficking.
So, last week in my Kitengela neighbourhood, where I spend most of my school holidays, a neighbour's child got lost mysteriously. One minute the boy was playing with other children and the next minute he was nowhere to be seen.
You should have sees the mother at around 7 pm, running up and down the dusty roads, searching for the lost child. She searched under vehicles, in the bathrooms, on rooftops, under stones, inside most houses, on top of trees and under trees.
She (the mother) even summoned all the children in our compound and ordered them to produce her one year old son. She spoke in Kikuyu, Swahili and English languages simultaneously. She scratched her head several times. She was trembling uncontrollably. At some point she wanted to cry. She even accused a certain guy for always failing to close the gate whenever he comes into the compound.
Everyone within the compound was worried, some genuinely and some out of a sense of collective responsibility in the children's care and safety. After all, we are neighbours and we are expected to weep when our neighbour is weeping.
Now, listen here. There is this guy who happens to be a drunkard, who lives in our compound with his wife and children. Being a weekend, his wife was out at the market buying some household items, while his sons were out there having a good time around the neighbourhood.
Being a generous man, the children in the neighbourhood refer to this man, who loves the beer bottle as 'Uncle' because he always buys sweets for all the children within the compound.
When the search party, led by the lost boy's mother was almost giving up, uncle staggered out of the house with the 'lost' boy. Apparently, 'Uncle' had been entertaining the young boy (he likes playing with children) in his house. The boy had strayed into his house when 'Uncle' was drunk and alone and he had entertained him for some time, before he was overwhelmed by his drunkenness and he slept heavily. The boy stayed on, because he felt safe in the presence of 'Uncle' whether asleep or awake. The one year old boy stayed on, unaware that his mother was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, after looking for him everywhere and expecting the worst. I smiled, as the commotion died down. I smiled knowing that at least, the incident came to a happy and hilarious conclusion.
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