I have a super girl in my life. She was born during the precolonial Kenya to a relatively wealthy family but because she was really tough headed, she refused to school and opted to herd her father’s cattle. I totally understand her because, at that time the idea of schooling wasn’t fancy, especially to girls. She later got married to a man who unlike her, was soft spoken. He also had a great sense of humor and probably that’s what attracted her to him. Those were the days when girls would get kidnapped on their way to the river and taken to their husbands but I can bet my entire salary that super girl got married on her own consent. Together they had 15 kids and lived in Nairobi in a neighborhood called Kaloleni now popularly known as ‘Ololo.’ Unfortunately, she lost 5 of her kids to infant related ailments as the child mortality rates were very high at that time. Super girl was (is) stern and her children can tell you that she would discipline them accordingly whenever they went wrong.
Some of her in laws never really understood what super girl saw in her husband. They were like two extremes, one even swore that if super girl had gone to school, she wouldn’t have looked at their son twice, leave alone marry him. But all in all, super girl loved her husband dearly. Good things don’t last forever and in 1988, super girl lost her beloved husband in fatal road accident. Strong willed, she continued selling fish at Gikomba Market, to fend for her children, 5 sons and 5 daughters. Today, she has 9 children as she lost one some few years back, and a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know super girl so well because she is my maternal grandmother. We call her super girl by the way and she proudly owns that name. Some people call her ‘Otia’ a Luo name that means, a person who is ever young.
Most of us grew up calling her Mathe and she accepted that name too. I normally stay in touch with her over the phone because she is rarely in the city. She prefers the calmness of the village. Early last year she was invited by Aunty Carol, Aunty Stella and Uncle Ken (mum’s siblings) to visit them abroad. A few days after her arrival, Aunty Carol sent me super girl’s number and we would stay in touch through WhatsApp calls (my grandma is cool like that). On the eve of my graduation, last year, my mum called me and informed me that super girl wanted to talk to me and when I called her, she couldn’t hide her joy. She went on to tell me how she was so proud of me and had she been around, she would have worn a trouser (something she has never done) to my graduation ceremony. Those words made me feel like such a big shot.
During our many WhatsApp calls, super girl would tell me of how awesome the USA is, her cool babysitting job and that she even had an admirer. Being the journalist I am, I would interrogate her keenly just to get all the juicy details of this budding romance because let’s be honest, who would want to know about the prospects of getting a step grand dad? Super girl however, was very stingy with details, all she would tell me was that her boyfriend was a mzungu and that he was cute. Hehehe! Cute I tell you! Super girl even refused to share his name! I asked for a photo of him but it was never availed. Smh! She would giggle a lot when talking about him and even though it started out as a joke, I could tell maybe things were getting a little too serious. Super girl liked this dude, sorry………man. When I told my mum about it, she laughed it off and said that no man would ever replace her father. My mum was a daddy’s girl by the way.
Early this year super girl came back and I was still curious about her mzungu boyfriend. When I saw first after coming back from the states, it was at my paternal grandma’s funeral read Burying Grandma Part 2. Surely this wasn’t an appropriate place to get juicy details so I suppressed my curiosity for a more opportune time. Due to work, I had to fly…….I mean travel back to the city before we could catch up. So one evening after supper, I called super girl and put her on loud speaker so that my mum and sisters could hear for themselves the developments in her active love life.
Hello Mathe habari?
Msuri sana Nyakinda (She calls me by my clan name) wewe naendelea msuri?
Eeeeh! Niko salama. Na wewe?
Mimi iko salama. Mvua ndo nanyesa mingi huku. Mvua nanyesa huko? (I have never understood super girl’s fascination with the weather)
Hapana huku kumekauka. Mathe umekula?
Ugali na mboga?
Wewe kila siku tu ni ugali na mboga?
Hehehe! Nakula na kuku.
Hehehe! Umekuwa ukiongea na mzungu?
Hehehehe! Ndio. (Now she will start giving me one worded answers nkt!)
Natosana na mimi. Yeye ni msee kama mimi. (At this point, my mum couldn’t stop laughing)
Kwani mmeongea aje na simu yako haina WhatsApp?
Sisi onaongea tu.
Aaah mathe mbona unanidanganya?
Sidanganyi wewe. Ata yeye nitakuja Kenya.
Mwesi wa Saba (that is July for those who still trying to figure what number saba is)
Tutaenda kumchukua kwa airport?
Sasa mathe hakuna hata selfie mlipiga na yeye?
Mago tang’o Nyakinda yawa? (What is that Nyakinda?)
Yaani picha. Hamkupiga picha?
Hehehe! Hapana. Unataka ona yeye?
No problem. Kama wewe nataka ona yeye, tutaenda chukua yeye akifika. (‘No problem’ is one of the few English phrases she knows)
Na wewe taletea mimi wajukuu siku gani? (Warathese? Am still my mother’s baby)
Nitaleta tu siku moja. (I lie)
Hehehe! Nyakinda wewe nadanganya mimi.
Mathe nitamleta huyu kijana kwanza umwone alafu tufikirie wajukuu.
(giggling) Sawa mimi pia onangoja.
Hehe! Goodnight Mathe. (Better wrap things up before the tables turn)
Despite this phone call my mum still thinks that this boyfriend is a joke. I seem to be the only one who is curious to meet super girl’s guy, not even my cousin Kliph who is super girl’s number one fan. That man, better treat her right because if he dare breaks her heart, I will meticulously deal with him. He also better be nice to super girl’s children especially my mum because she was daddy’s girl and she might give him a really hard time. Our plan with super girl was to talk to my mum really nicely so that she can agree to introduce herself as super girl’s youngest sister instead of the eldest daughter, but the way things are going, I don’t think my mum will entertain that mzungu one bit! So we will just say the truth. After all true love is not built on lies. The guy also better know that super girl is a strong and hardworking woman who despite being in her 70s still does her house chores. She is one fine fine gal and if he snoozes he will be replaced with immediate effect, am sure there are plenty other admirers at our village in Ligega. He should also know that super girl is also a clean freak and I suspect that she believes in heaven, there will be no dirt. In fact, we will be singing praises to the Most High in clean gowns that have been neatly ironed. In heaven, everyone will shower daily and there will be no bad odor. In short, super girl hates dirt.
Since he promised to visit in July, he better not show up a second after 31st July 2017, because if he does so, I will look at him in the eye and tell him, “hatukutambui boss!!!” I don’t know how these two communicate, maybe it is the miraculous language of love. Or maybe they have a secret translator and that would really break my heart because I am the most qualified candidate for that job, I mean I fully support this romance. Even though I never got to meet my grandpa the late Ambrose Nyambedha, I just hope that this guy genuinely loves my grandma. What if it is a joke? No it can’t be.
******The bag on the cover photo is one of the gifts she got me when she came back home. Great taste she has, right?