Posted: January 28, 2011 in In Living Memory, Kiguu na njia, My People

Happiness is so overrated.

It’s Friday evening. My friends are plotting the weekend’s rendezvous. I on the other hand am sandwiched between a box of stationery and a steaky screamy rambling mammoth of a woman in a ramshackled contraption destined for the land of my forefathers. Some melancholic composition by one Bahati Bukuku (sp) is playing. Let me educate you a little about my people.

You’ve probably heard a lot about the despondency surrounding my motherland but kindly allow me to put things into perspective for you. Most of the land that birthed the seeds of my existence is dry and arid. Poverty, misery and despair are a permanent visitor. And with the kind of leaders we have, our fortunes don’t seem to imply much will change anytime soon. Yet my people still very desperately cling on to the hope that as the distant rays of tomorrow’s sunrise begin to advance, their forlorn looks of despair shall blossom into beaming smiles brimming with happiness.

My people have an unshakable attachment to salvation. Ask any random person amongst my kinsmen and I promise every other one of them will pledge their unyielding allegiance to He who has no beginning and no end-The Alfa and Omega. It is in Him that they believe all happiness comes from.

I am here to send off the remains of my grand-uncle who just kicked the bucket. No need to wear any sad faces, he died out of illness emanating from old age. He had reached the end of his long winding lane. In his time, he had seen many sorrowful and grim times. Not for any particularly unique reason, but because sadness is a demon that continuously stalks my folk. So you understand why I was sneeringly amused when in his eulogy they were desperately trying to paint the picture of how happy he had been.

Tonight I spent the evening with my cousins. I realized how little it takes to be celebrated in these here parts. Simple gestures which to we ‘civilized’ urban folk would seem like a mountain of a task here are rewarded with tons of goodwill and blessings. And with utmost sincerity. Somehow, with all the turmoil that clouds their gloomy existence, my people still care to share the little happiness they can spare.

After the funeral, in the company of my fellow visiting cousins from the city, we proceed to sample the groggy swallows of my kinfolk. Many mouthfuls later, the conversation veers towards examination of the achievements of our toils in the city. It strikes me that everyone present is straining to present a decorated report card. Each with the ultimate goal of gloating about how happy they are.

On my way back, my old man and his Mrs. offer to let me hitch hike on their automobile. Typical of my mum, always eager to show how together her home is. Even when she has to bend over backwards to do so. Never mind that her back is already cracked from the years of labouring in an effort to ensure our tomorrow would be a tad better than yesterday. Her youth ebbing off, along with the dwindling traces of happiness she once glowed with.

Even as I retire to my bed this evening, my thoughts still linger on the smile from my little cousin from the village. Filled with innocence and peace. His heart-prodding eyes beseechingly cast in an empty gaze. Oblivious of the twists and turns that beckon his sprouting existence. His disillusioned father and desolate mother too deeply drenched in poverty to ever notice the potential of his future. Shall he know happiness?


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