The Burning Land by Peter E. Njoroge

pg 8 n 9

In a small village in kapsabet, deep into the Rift valley province stands a humble hut. Humble because though recently erected, the medium used to construct the house was mud; a sign perhaps of the simple nature of the occupant. The hut did not stand alone for the compound had other similar huts loitered all over the compound. This family was one of the oldest family in the village and it was well known for its ability to sire great warriors for generations past. The old man, known my many as kiprop was always telling any who would listen stories of how great his family has always been.

In fact, it was only yesterday that he entertained some local missionaries with tales of blood long spilt when Morans had invaded their land in the hope of acquiring new grazing grass. needless to say, the old man shocked the poor missionaries with his unrepentant nature and his longing for youth so as to go back into battle.  But this story is not about kiprop, though it would be interesting to go back to the past and really validate his claims about his families prowess. Our focus is on his grandson, Kip short for Kipruto named after the great old man himself.

There was a time Kip loved to sit by his grandfathers feet and listen to the tales slowly recounted by his aged mentor. he used to close his eyes and imagine himself as a great warrior, brandishing a spear with bows and arrow as he faced his enemies. he would feel the exhilaration as his arrows pierced the hearts of the enemies, scream as his spear tore into the flesh of his foes. The fantasy always appeared to be so real, perhaps too powerful as to shape his own sense of reality. In trying to relive his glory days, the old man unwittingly fashioned the will of a young boy to long for nothing else but the chance to spill blood of his fellow country men.

But now the young man labors in the land of his father, working hard as he plants the maize seeds trying hard to beat the inevitable storm. But perhaps what he fears most is not the rain that threatens to come down with the fury of heaven, but rather the storm that rages deep in his soul: a storm that refuses to fade. Memories continue to plague his consciousness, pursuing him into the black of night in nightmares that leave him haunted and scared.

he remembers the words of his pastor, the good old reverend down at his local church. “God forgives those who come to him in repentance, and takes away our heavy burdens when we seek him.” But he does not think that he is worthy of such love, nor does he believe in his heart that anyone or even God can forgive him. He has been talking often with the reverend, seeking perhaps reassuarance that absolution is possible. bu most times, he only wishes that God can be merciful enough to take away his life; to give him eternal rest from his personal hell.

But without the courage to take his own life, he must learn to live again. he does not know how yet but he feels that a way might be cleared for him. that amidst confusion, clarity might be born again and that he might be given another chance to redeem himself. he wonders about the rest of them, whether they suffer as he does. And at times, he perceives that perhaps he is a weak warrior, a shame to his community and brethren. But he always dismisses that thought for he knows, murdering innocent people cannot constitute greatness.

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6 responses to “The Burning Land by Peter E. Njoroge

  1. In a small village in kapsabet, deep into the Rift valley province stood a humble hut. Humble because though recently erected, the medium used to construct the house was mud; a sign perhaps of the simple nature of the occupant. The hut did not stand alone for the compound had other similar huts loitered all over the compound. This family was one of the oldest family in the village and it was well known for its ability to sire great warriors for generations past. The old man, known by many as kiprop was always telling any who would listen stories of how great his family has always been.

    In fact, it was only yesterday that he entertained some local missionaries with tales of blood long spilt when Morans had invaded their land in the hope of acquiring new grazing grass. Needless to say, the old man shocked the poor missionaries with his unrepentant nature and his longing for youth so as to go back into battle. But this story is not about kiprop, though it would be interesting to go back to the past and really validate his claims about his families prowess. Our focus is on his grandson, Kip short for Kipruto named after the great old man himself.

    There was a time Kip loved to sit by his grandfathers feet and listen to the tales slowly recounted by his aged mentor. he used to close his eyes and imagine himself as a great warrior, brandishing a spear with bows and arrow as he faced his enemies. He would feel the exhilaration as his arrows pierced the hearts of the enemies, scream as his spear tore into the flesh of his foes. The fantasy always appeared to be so real, perhaps too powerful as to shape his own sense of reality. In trying to relive his glory days, the old man unwittingly fashioned the will of a young boy to long for nothing else but the chance to spill blood of his fellow country men.

    But now the young man labors in the land of his father, working hard as he plants the maize seeds trying hard to beat the inevitable storm. But perhaps what he fears most is not the rain that threatens to come down with the fury of heaven, but rather the storm that rages deep in his soul: a storm that refuses to fade. Memories continue to plague his consciousness, pursuing him into the black of night in nightmares that leave him haunted and scared.

    He remembers the words of his pastor, the good old reverend down at his local church. “God forgives those who come to him in repentance, and takes away our heavy burdens when we seek him.” But he does not think that he is worthy of such love, nor does he believe in his heart that anyone or even God can forgive him. He has been talking often with the reverend, seeking perhaps reassuarance that absolution is possible. but most times, he only wishes that God can be merciful enough to take away his life; to give him eternal rest from his personal hell.

    But without the courage to take his own life, he must learn to live again. He does not know how yet but he feels that a way might be cleared for him. That amidst confusion, clarity might be born again and that he might be given another chance to redeem himself. He wonders about the rest of them, whether they suffer as he does. And at times, he perceives that perhaps he is a weak warrior, a shame to his community and brethren. But he always dismisses that thought for he knows, murdering innocent people cannot constitute greatness.

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