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My father is angry rather than sad when he talks to mother about the disease finishing white people in America, in Italy, in China.
Mama Truphena, three hundred people all dead just today!
My mother is a clueless chicken. She is bursting peas pods and sitting across father. Father is shaking his head painfully, as if he knows those people, as if he shakes hands with them, shares with them straws of busaa. Mother mmhs and father is getting angrier.
It is those Chinese people eating everything and now it has reached other white people like Italians and Americans. I won’t be surprised if it reaches Kenya.
And he says Kenya as if it is far away in America and not our country. Mother’s mind is far and the things father is saying are noises of a faraway plane to her. Mother is like that when things far from her mind’s reach are mentioned. Even death of Italians does not stir her heart. Italians, Americans, chicken, goats, all were the same to mother, I guess.
I thought wazungus have plenty of food. But it looks like we are richer than them even if we live in the village, mother says.
They are strange. Everything about them is strange. Their eyes, their skin, their noses, their hair and their eating habits! Father says and bangs the table.
How does one eating a bat in his country affect other people in another country? Majimbo asks when I tell them what father was telling mother the previous evening.
Humans eating bats and rats? Don’t they have chicken and cows to eat? Wekesa is asking and I am wondering why they are asking me as if I am president of China.
White people are like that. They even eat people, Timina says.
We all knew of Namaswa who went away to wazungus and they ate her because her body was never returned when it was said that she died. We buried a banana stalk in her place. And every girl who thought of going to be a maid for wazungus in Omani and Qatar said they better just marry a bodaboda or a cane cutter and till land than be eaten.
So now that China people ate bats and rats and snails and snakes and now Italians and Americans are also sick? It means they also ate those things China people ate.
No, the China people got sick, then gave other white people the disease. Father said it is a flu.
So how can a flu kill people? Your father is lying, says Wekesa.
Your father does not have a tv or radio and you are asking me stupid things? I say.
Everyone is now laughing at Wekesa and he wants to cry and has lost his voice.
But if you eat a snake or snail or rat or bat, you will die. That is what they said in Sunday school, Timina says.
All those wazungus are going to die and then we will take their land and even live there, Sifuna says.
We start clapping and singing victory songs, dancing round and round in a circle.