The Lost Mzungu and other Short Stories- The tale of Catherine

Pg 1, 2 n 3

I must be in a happier place right now, or it would all have been in vain. Rest is a beautiful thing sometimes, and eternal rest cannot be bad in this regard. To bring clarity and not cause much confusion to you, my dear reader, is that I recently passed away. I fell sick and in line with the norm of this world, passed away. But I’m not whining nor do I wish that I can come back to this world of the living, for it is not a perfect world. But I was perfect, made so by my devotion of God and the divine realization that only that truly mattered. For we were made of a perfect God, and it is only by going back to him that we gain back our perfection; lost so long ago when we became of this world.

My name when i breathed was Catherine, but i do not know yet how they’ll call me in heaven. I hope I can still keep this name, even though it is one created of mortality. It is not necessarily a beautiful name, but its one that immortalizes my experience with those I had held dear. And what is more beautiful than love, and what I wouldn’t do to remember that love forever. I hope even at this juncture, that those I love will have the strength to go one; and i pray that grief does not derail them from the path i strive so hard to steer them.

To many i passed on too young, only 43 years old. Perhaps they are right, led to believe so by their earthly tendencies. But does age truly matter? For we must all pass in the fullness of time, and old and youth does not deter that eventuality. For this world is just an arena, a chance for us to overcome a heritage of sin. In my opinion, the time I had in this world was enough. i know this because unlike many, I knew the truth as clearly as the light emanating from the side of a pure crystal. The purpose of life so simple, and one’s success but the unrelenting pursuit of that single purpose.

I was born in a small village in a beautiful land called Kenya, a place called Miberethi in my native language Kikuyu. Loosely translated, the name means pipes and the name was occasioned by the presence of several water pipes in that area. I was the fourth child in a family of seven kids; a large family by all means. And if my eulogy is anything to go by, I was a good child by any standards. The person charged with the task of writing the eulogy might have been compelled by tradition to write that, but it does not matter since his intention ran similar to the truth in this case.

I started my primary education when I was a young girl, and worked hard in order to gain academic success and get a good foundation in life. My father was particularly supportive of our school efforts, always checking our work every night to ensure that we not only finish our homework but do it well. Such devotion was not common and portrayed a kind of care that was touching and inspirational. In fact, though I was not to know it for a long time; it would help shape me to become a good mother who will inspire my children to greater academic heights.

Life during my child hood was not about school only and my folks always strove to ensure that we learn to appreciate the value of hard work. Since our home is based on the highlands of central province, agriculture becomes a vital aspect of any homestead and ours was no exception. My mom had several cows and goats and we were expected to help out with feeding these animals. Needless to say, it was always a disappointment when we had to spend so much time after school gathering food for them when we should be busy playing with  the neighbor’s kids.

There were several games I liked back then, when life was full of innocence and simple pleasures. There was a game of catch very popular with boys and girls, and we would spend hours playing it whether at home or during school breaks. The game involved a small ball made of several leaves wrapped in a polythene bag and usually played by three people at a time. Two people would stand at both ends while a third would be in the middle, between the two players. The objective of the middle player would be to duck the ball aimed at them by the two players. The middle player would strike out if hit by the ball and be replaced by another player in a pre agreed manner.

Other games that shared my favor were ‘bladder’, hide and seek and playing house. Bladder is a common game in Kenya and is usually preferred by young girls, hide and seek on the other hand was a favorite across the gender divide. I was a master at bladder, more so because I was blessed with a tall height; an advantage usually frowned upon by my peers. Bladder was a game played by a large elastic bad stretched by two girls with the main player standing in the middle of the stretched bladder. The player would then jump up and vacate the bladder with her legs settling on different sides of the bladder and the height would be raised until the player cannot achieve that feat. Those were beautiful times indeed and those memories, though distant, are worth more than any worldly gold.

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