This plastic ban should have come earlier. Like maybe a day before I tried to run away from home. I was I think seven or eight years old then and I felt like I was grown and could make my own decisions. This is one of my very first memories. The other memory is of me fighting a person twice my size because of a marble. I feel like these two stories have had a hand in who I am. I have several memories that would seem out of character for me because I was a loud-mouthed, know-it-all kid with no sense of fear. I mean, I watched Nigerian movies with ghosts appearing left right and center and even watched the undertaker come to life. (This was horrendous and scarred me for a while though) So life was no big deal, I got this. I was a tiny drama queen person.
We’ll start with the running from home story. I was in class two and this is a story that no one knows about. I did not know how to keep secrets then but I kept this one because if I am running away, no one should find out. The fact that I failed should also not be known lest I get an ass whooping from every adult in my family. I had just had an argument with my aunt about something and the previous day, I had had an argument with my mother. I am pretty sure it must have been something about my four o’clock porridge and the fact that I took seven years to finish it. It also might have been about my aunt telling people where I had hid during brikicho (hide and seek) so the game would end early and I would go and take a shower or something. It was nothing monumental.
It was a sunny afternoon, right after lunch. I took a plastic bag and packed my newest denim skirt and vest. I then went and took my doll and the clothes I had made for her and packed that too. As I was leaving, I remembered that I also needed a towel because when I shower to wear my nice denim skirt and vest I would need to dry myself off first. I went back and packed a towel too. When I reached at the gate, I looked at my doll and I panicked. This was supposed to be my last doll ever and I remembered my dad’s words, “Nitakununulia hii dolly na ujue ndio ya mwisho kwa sababu wewe ni msichana mkubwa sasa.” (I’ll buy you this doll but keep in mind it will be your last doll because you are a big girl now).
The shocking thought of that I will need to go share my doll with other people did not sit well with me. Then I remembered that the girl I was supposedly going to live with on the side of our marketplace had a big dog and I feared dogs. I went back in, unpacked and showered. I then went to my aunt and asked for porridge. I, me, Rachael, asked for porridge! I tell you some things can humble you. Things like being a parent to a blonde haired doll with a mullet or a fear of dogs.
This other one is a long one. I am the third born in a family of four so I had to take care of my younger brother. He did not play any of the games I played because why would I let him come and play games with the grown-ups. He would sit on the sidelines or run for the ball during Kati or football when it was thrown too far. I was not a bad sister, I was just 90% pride and 10 % human and the human part sometimes would work overtime. When I bought a bano (marble) for myself I bought one for him. If I got a chance to ride a neighbour’s bike, he would go next no questions asked. I was not a bad person.
So this day I am concentrating on playing bano, being the best bano player I have ever been and then I see a familiar bano in the field. I look at my brother and tears are welling in his eyes. I went and asked him what’s wrong and he said that a certain boy took his bano. (His was the normal sized ones with an orange pattern inside). I went to said boy to confront him and he said that he had not interacted with my brother in days! Then this girl, bless her dear soul, came and told me everything. Ati this boy came bullied my brother into handing over his bano and he even shoved him onto the wall. I got furious. I myself didn’t shove my brother, who are you? Are you dumb?
I went and tapped the boy again on the back he turned and I punched him in the face. A fight ensued. I held him by his tshirt’s neck and twisted it, just like I had seen in the movies. I asked him why he lied to me. He told me he didn’t have said marble. I told everyone to pick their marbles from the field so that only two were left. I called my brother over and asked him to come and pick the marble he thought was his. I asked the guy to show us his marble since it was only mine remaining on the field. This is when he cried, “Si ati ata alikuwa anaitumia.” (It’s not like he was using it). I punched him again on the chest and told him, he should have asked me if he could borrow my brother’s marble. Then the stupid children I was playing with started chanting ‘Piganeni! Piganeni!’ And we fought. I even bit him until a loose tooth I had fell off. And when he tried to run away, I threw a stone at him. I then took my brother home because I had a tooth I needed to take care of. That boy never played a game I was playing ever again.
Yes, I hate liars and I have a hard time telling lies. If I feel like I’ll have to lie to you, I just remove myself from that situation completely. Even the white lies, I hate them too. This hasn’t been an easy thing because as I came to find out, people lie in interviews and come to prove their skills later. Never have and let us hope for never will. I also have a soft spot for my family and I once cried while in class four because my dad scraped his knee while hailing a matatu and I felt bad for him. Family always comes first to me. I had a person telling me that work and family each need to get 50-50 of our attention and love and I disagreed. I work with 80-20. 80% for family and 20% for work because family always comes through.
As always, share with your friends. XOXO