Sunday, 2 July 2017

MY CHILDHOOD 'SUGARY' ADVENTURES

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

 Sugar, Spoon, Sugar Scoop, Sweet

 PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY

 Let me take you back a little bit. It is sometime between 1992 and 1994 AD. I am still a very innocent looking little boy, but old enough to be entrusted with a little money to take to the shops and come back with some household goods. One of the items on the shopping list is sugar. Of course, there are other items like salt, tea leaves, cooking fat among others, but those ones are not closer to my heart, compared to sugar, which is the golden item in the list. An item which deserves a standing ovation whenever it is brought into a room where human beings have congregated. I even remember wondering why cows loved indulging in salt and not sugar.

Now, just in case you have forgotten, because forgetfulness is our nature as human beings, sugar is sweet to the tongue. It is sweet to the sides of the mouth and throat. It is sweet to the large and small intestines. I even dare say that it is sweet to the soul. You can take it (sugar) as a child without any qualms, unlike when you are required to take modern medicines or herbs. Don't you remember for example, that you always took the initiative to steal some sugar when no one was watching? Then what happened whenever you were required to take some herbs, just because grandma said so? You always put up a fierce fight, not so? It almost always took the effort of the whole clan to make you take those herbs.

Another thing ladies and gentlemen. Entrusting a small child with the duty of buying and delivering sugar back home is like requesting a hyena to take care of your goats. I remember this little cousin I had and still have, who was once sent to a neighbour's house to borrow a glass of sugar (I know I am starting to sound like a fossil). He got the sugar alright, but then proceeded to eat the whole of it, about fifty metres away from the neighbour's gate, as the neighbour watched helplessly. I wonder what he told his mom when he got home.

The surprising thing was that, it seemed as though girls were not so much into this sugar eating thing or may be they did it through osmosis. It was almost always the boys, who engaged in sugary politics. You would hear for example that Simeon was caught stealing biscuits in the nearby shop, or Thomas was caught stealing sugarcane in a neighbour's farm, or Titus has been rushed to hospital after camping in their maize plantation chewing maize stalks (which is quite sugary by the way). Did you see that? It was always the boys, in their endless quest for sugar.

It is also good to note that our childhood days were very different from today. This is because unlike today, where parents entice their children with sweets in order to bribe them into running some errands, our own parents and guardians always ensured they gave you the exact amount of money for the goods and no extras for your personal pleasures. You only got sweets, biscuits and other related stuff during Christmas. It would therefore be understandable that as a child, you would be sent to the shops to buy 1 kg of sugar and you got back home with only 3/4 kg, having licked a whole 1/4 kg. Some children even got carried away and ate the whole of it, only to realize that they would now have to look for alternative accommodation, rather than going back home to face the wrath of a scorned parent.

In my case, I would quickly dash into the bush, on my way back home, from the shops, then proceed to quickly lick my self awarded share of the sugar, then head back home, mouth wiped clean, humming a Sunday school song and looking as innocent as is humanly possible. As I edged closer home, I would start crying and of course, mom would want to  know why. I would explain that it was 'Kina Deno's' dog, who attacked me, making me spill some sugar in the process. I think psychologists call this behaviour 'Emotional Manipulation.' Trying to make your  parent or guardian, see you as a victim and not the perpetrator of the crime, which led to the disappearance of 1/4 Kgs of sugar.

My sobbing and explanations would lead to some soothing and that day I would even get the 4 o'clock tea, which was a preserve of adults only. Then mom would go about quarreling no one in particular, about some manner less families who didn't know how to tame their dogs. I would still pretend to be sad as I took tea, but in the real sense my heart was smiling.

Then, later in the evening, a problem would present itself in the name of Makena. Makena was a beautiful little thing, but with a dark soul. She would come get milk from our place, because their cows had apparently refused to produce milk. The cows were on strike, if human standards were to be applied. As Makena was leaving, she would announce to my mom that she saw me in the bush, eating sugar. Apparently, she was collecting firewood in the same bush where I was enjoying my sugar. How the hell did I fail to see her? I would freeze for a moment, knowing that a 'Syria like situation' was brewing deep inside my mom's heart and would erupt any moment from the time Makena opened her mouth.

I would also be frowning, while ugly thoughts concerning Makena raced through my mind. I was thinking of when an opportunity would present itself, where I would put hot coal on a chair, then make Makena sit on it, then I would watch with satisfaction as she got roasted in her own malice.

But then, at the moment, Makena has created a recipe for conflict between Mom and I, thus endangering my behind and in such a situation, an elderly relative like Grandma or Grandpa can save me from the whip, but since we are living in the same compound, they may not be of much help. The next plan is to look for my Auntie, who happens to be married nearby. I therefore make a quick exit as Makena concludes her summon by declaring that I will not go to heaven, because I danced with Satan by eating 'just' a little sugar.












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