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Our faces are oily and we are unbelievably clean including our slippers, save for Wekesa who is barefoot. We give him slippers in turns because they make him walk faster. We will be late if he keeps dragging this way and we will miss food in Makinia’s funeral. The assuring thing is that Wekesa’s aunty was assigned in the kitchen department. That is why we will not, for anything, miss this wonderful funeral and even if it means carrying Wekesa on our backs, we will carry him.
Since Lumbasi thinks he is god, we have decided to leave him out of our plans. Let him eat his father’s property. It is better he is not here and we will eat his share. We will stand at their gate in the evening and sing mwenye wivu ajinyonge. We will be diamond in the evening. He will cry badly, but will not care. Then we will sing his song and Sifuna will be our new Wizkid. And we will sing his song until he cries because the agreement is nobody should sing another person’s song. Some songs like Wekesa’s are pathetic; instead of looking for important English songs, all he sings is mulongo cheni since the year began. And it is the best song when we dance on our way home because of its tempo. Timina’s boring Christian song has no tempo and we only sing it when we are sad. When we cannot play anymore, which happens maybe once a year. We sang it already on the day Lumbasi locked us out of his life and when Niki died.
Word has it that people in Nairobi said we should not crowd in funerals. But the sweetness of a funeral is the crowd and scrambling for food when some people think they are important skip the queue. Also without a crowd? Are you an outcast with no family? They have also said funerals should take at most an hour which is a joke. By the time the big aunt talks and recounts the deceased’s birth and events surrounding it , then mulamwa talks about the deceased’s marriage, then mukhwasi eulogizes him, then masalawe wails in the middle of her speech, then bakhwe, the sun is tired and the deceased’s nuclear family has not even spoken.
The peak of the funeral at five pm when hunger has reached its limit and is threatening to eat our stomachs. Everyone now wants to eat and leave to milk cows or pluck vegetables for supper or drink busaa. Nairobi people’s directive of no crowds and a short time are not deterring us from going to Makinia’s funeral. He is important to us and to the whole village because he was our veterinary officer.
Corona is for those people in Nairobi and those who are weak, Majimbo says. His strides are impatient.
It is just a cold. Is common cold even a disease? Timina says.
I want to get corona and see how it feels. I want to feel like wazungus, Wekesa says.
Me too. And the government will give us sodas every day, Sifuna says.
Are they giving people in Nairobi sodas? Wekesa asks, his eyes radiant.
Yes. If you just cough, they take you to hospital and give you fanta and bread, Sifuna says.
Majimbo has stopped and looks at us with expectant eyes. We now want corona. We want corona! We are singing, running with Wekesa’s speed and then we are now singing mulongo cheni.
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