Weh Judy kwani hio order haifiki?” She asks loudly and laughs boisterously. She turns and proceeds with her chat with her friend in Kikuyu. Still loud.
We are in a small food joint that neighbours the university hostels. Everyone who dines there is used to her being all loud and chatty. Some find it unfortunate that not only do they have to tune in to the sweetness of their food but her conversations as well. I bet now they do appreciate. You will know why.
Judy is the head chef in the food joint. She must be used to all kinds of customers. Those who shout their way into the kitchen because they’re friends with the management and those who yell their moods into the same kitchen because perhaps the food came cold or they are running late. The Mjango who just shouted her way into the kitchen lies in the category of those who are friends with the management. She has been having her meals at this food joint that is known as Smiles for as long as she has been in campus in Masinde Muliro University. Though I was not in campus when she joined.
My friend Besh and I are seated at the next table. I am treating myself to ugali, kales and scrambled eggs while she is having rice, potato stew and scrambled eggs. Besh is ever amazed at how I am able to make sure I summarize the ugali and mboga on my plate at the same time. Most ugali eaters who have no Western upbringing are not able to do that. The mboga gets finished before the ugali and they end up leaving the rest of the ugali because there’s no escort for it anymore. Whoever I will put a ring on in years to come, please, I wouldn’t want to disqualify you because you also waste ugali like that.
So Besh says, “Gosh! This girl is so talkative!”
“Is it interrupting your ingestion and digestion?” I ask.
She chuckles, “Aki wewe!” If we were somewhere else outside she would slap my back. She doesn’t like it when I embarrass her before myself. You got that? No in fact she does like it because she laughs at herself most of the time. I can count the number of chics I know who don’t laugh to my punchlines. God is watching them.
“Although she is too talkative, she is quite entertaining,” I say. “Some people may not regard people who talk a lot. But others do. They do because they feel like people who talk a lot do talk on their behalf too because they lack ways of expressing themselves through their speech. Are you that kind of person Besh?”
Besh withholds her answer. Perhaps because she is contemplating over hitting me with the avocado seed lying helplessly beside her plate.
While Besh and I were still fighting mentally, she who was waiting for her order had already received it. She is now making comments about it as she swipes a spoon across an avocado flesh.
Judy, standing on the other side of the counter says to her, “Unaona vile nimekutengenezea hio order yako vispecial?”

“I can see you value your esteemed customers.” She says as she giggles.
We didn’t stay long enough to tune in to the rest of that conversation. Well, I know you’re wondering why I had to write about some girl’s chatty small talk in a food joint. Three days ago, I got to learn who she was and apparently, after taking an inward trip, I was able to draw that small talk as the last memory I have of her in my mind. I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me either. But since fate served me with the privilege of dining with her at the same place, I wouldn’t want to take that as just a coincidence.
Her name is Priscah Njoroge. I didn’t know she was the one comrades all over campus were mourning over until my mjango, Jose, mentioned something to do with her chatty character while talking about the girl the whole university is heartbroken about. Chatty nature? That rang a bell. I didn’t want to believe it. I took out my phone and downloaded her pictures that had been sent in Whatsapp groups. Ah! Mjango! The shock! The disbelief! The agony that comes with the dare of imagining that our very own comrade was among those that passed on in the Homeboyz bus accident last week that claimed 55 beautiful souls.
Priscah was on her way to school to sit for her special exams that would see her confidently say that she would graduate in a few months to come. That journey didn’t end. Or rather it ended with her being in the best place any soul could ever be and that is with the Lord our creator.
When we hear such a thing happen to other mjangos, it’s in our human nature to withdraw for a while and think about ourselves. We dare ourselves to slide one foot into their shoes for a minute to get the slightest picture of ‘what if it was me?’ We quickly draw out our foot and we say, “Death is so cruel and life is unfair.” Well, cruel? Yes. Unfair? I don’t think so.
The very moment we leave our respective and respected wombs that borne us, we are born into an arena, a bullring for that matter. And the Corrida de toros begins. This is what the Spanish bullfighting is called. Everyone who is alive or has ever been alive is a matador, Spanish for bullfighter. So life is the bullring, you are a matador and the bull is death. The rules of the game has it that the matador has to have a red cape. It’s a misconception by the way that the red colour makes the bull more furious. The matador has to have it on anyway and as long as he is in the bullring, he is the bull’s target. The matador is highly experienced and trained. But why do you think even with all the prowess they hold, some or even most of them die in the bullring? Just like life is, sometimes we die because of the mistakes we make. The matador can make a wrong move that automatically makes him fall prey to the horns of the bull and the rest of its wrath. In other occasions, like the life we know again, the matador does everything right but the bull eventually catches up with him. The matador is sometimes trampled upon by the bull and left for dead but he miraculously survives. Sounds similar to occasions we have locked eyes with death itself but we survived, right?
In the corrida de toros, the matador may or may not go back to the sport after being trampled upon by the hooves of death. But in life, every new day we are alive is a new event in the bullring. Whether we like it or not, we have to face that bull every day. That’s why life is not unfair. It is serving us as it should. Death is part of life. And without death, the essence of life is absent just like the corrida de toros makes no sense without the bull. And by the way the bull has to be wild and furious. That explains why death is cruel on the other hand.
So Mjango, we have to keep fighting until there’s nothing left to fight. When the bull overpowers us to our last breath, we have not lost the game. That’s a win, just like Priscah won her corrida de toros. Rest in peace Priscah. We celebrate you in this corrida de toros we call life.


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Written by The Mjango

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4 years ago

very true mjango we have to keep fighting

4 years ago

“Its the simple things in life,” they said