I am reliably informed that some areas in the hilly county have been hit by landslides. Landslides aren’t fun; it’s not a thrilling experience to go to bed in one location and wake up in the neighbouring one. Let’s cross our fingers and hope everyone stays safe and no one ends up with unexpected new neighbours overnight!

Some landslides come with a silver lining, though. Gicheru my neighbour tells me that back in the day, a massive one hit our village. As usual then, the village crier went round, urging youths to converge at the affected homes.

Gicheru and his fellow young men were tasked with rebuilding the damaged mud walled houses. The girls fetched water from Boyo river. In between, Gicheru noticed a daughter of Mumbi with priceless dimples and well-toned Murang’a girl calves. In her eyes, where pupils should have been, were two shinning diamonds. Gicheru’s heart suffered a major landslide that left it broken into a thousand pieces.

He lit a pungent Rooster cigarette to steady his nerves, but this didn’t help. When he could no longer hold it, he opened his mouth and a melody in praise of Waiyego floated in the air. Waiyego, sweet as sugar like all girls from the hilly county, reciprocated by bringing Gicheru some ‘nyamuiri’ sugar canes from the riverside. If that is not romance, tell me what is.

In the evening, there was a landslide party to celebrate the communities triumph over the calamity. A gramophone was provided and the young folks danced like there was no tomorrow in a noisy jamboree. Waiyego sneaked from her mother’s bedroom through a window, crossed a couple of angry rivers and hiked over three steep hills to be in Gicheru’s arms.

When dawn crept in and the dance came to that romantic part called ‘lala salama’, a dreamy eyed Gicheru asked Waiyego: Maitu, will you go home to face your father’s sharp machete or snuggle up in my warm Vono bed? Of course he had no Vono bed-a novelty then-but a man had to be creative at such moment.

Waiyego drew some circles on the wet ground below with her big toe then shook her head. Gicheru took the hint, grabbed his wind breaker jacket and strutted home like an Alejandro returning to his hacienda. Shortly, Waiyego knocked softly at the door of his ‘thingira’-and never went back home again. Vono bed or no Vono bed.

That’s how Gicheru’s family journey began, all thanks to a wild landslide in the ‘70s.

Gilbert Mwangi

Creative writer,dreamer,and Drum Major for all things true.

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