9 of 21
We are crowded in our house, crammed in the three-sitter couch like goats in a pick-up. Wekesa’s nose is caked with dry mucus and he keeps picking it. One of us is smelling of dry urine, but it cannot be Lumbasi. My father has allowed us to watch the tv and he has put for us some cartoons of Jesus.
Once he leaves the room and we are all alone, Majimbo says, now this nonsense is why we came all the way? Put for us Dj Afro.
Yes, this cartoon is for children, says Sifuna.
Go and watch Dj Afro in your imaginary tv! Wekesa says.
You and your jiggers don’t talk to me, says Sifuna.
And why is Jesus a cartoon? Is it not like a sin? Timina asks.
I can’t hear what Jesus and his cartoons are saying, Majimbo says. It is better we just go and play brikicho or bablican.
But Wekesa says he cannot skip the rope because his toe nails are getting worse.
Then you will spin the rope for us and we tie the other end on a tree, Majimbo rules.
But the sun outside is not the one to play in. My father walks back when the committee has agreed that tv was not the best decision we had made that day and as if knowing, he switches channels to Citizen tv and we are all quiet, afraid that we have annoyed him and Jesus.
You see! I said it, he says, flying his hands carelessly, now this corona has arrived in Kenya!
Father is holding his head as if it is now too heavy for his neck. We exchange glances with my friends. Corona for people who ate bats and rats and snakes and snails. We cupped our mouths, our faces creased with disappointment of fellow Africans eating things that Jesus forbade.
Baba Truphena’s, you mean people in Kenya have also eaten rats and frogs and bats? Majimbo speaks our minds.
No, it means the virus has been brought by people who interacted with those that were sick.
Is Sifuna also sick? Timina asks. He smells like someone with corona.
I am not sick! Sifuna protests, pushing Timina.
No, he is not sick. Corona disease has arrived in Nairobi, not here. And people with corona don’t smell.
How do people with corona look like? Majimbo asks.
Before father responds, Timina says, I will not go to university in Nairobi! as if anybody had taken her stupid dreams seriously.
Everybody, listen up, Father says, his eyes on the screen. They are saying we should not shake people’s hands or sit close. That way we don’t get infected with corona.
Majimbo is looking at father like he wants to say something but changes his mind. We stay put, our eyes and ears on father. We are trembling on the couch.
#Quarantinestories #Villagelife #9of21