Regina Gichunge

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I find Kikuyu fascinating, compelling even, you?  On second thought, let’s leave this out for a minute to dry.  From time to time, I listen to two guys having a conversation in Kikuyu, and in my head I jump into their vibe head first, grab a stool and sit beside them.  As though to prove understanding of the subject at hand, I interject with wisecrack, I nod at things I consider nod worthy and all it feels right. Then when the two end the conversation I walk away thinking men! That conversation was intense. Might you also be guilty of this? You know you want to say yes.

As a result, I don’t mind sitting through a Kikuyu sermon. Not explicit ones anyway, just the ones that bow to the theory of Darwinism; those that begin in English, mid Swahili takes over after which the speaker reverts to his default; Kikuyu.

A few weeks past I attended such a sermon, I followed through to the point where the preacher cracked an inside Kikuyu joke the congregation was cracked up for eons. At this point my Kikuyu-Kimeru translators come to a screeching halt. The situation was not helped by the preacher breaking into a deep Kikuyu hymn that had almost everyone singing along.

During such awkward sessions am in awe of whatever that got us to this point where Kikuyu was so intimate, and confidential you just had to be off the lineage of Gikuyu and Mumbi to get a joke. I wonder if it was that serious for them, that they decided one day let’s create a language so closely guarded, Or was the language such a labour of love it just had to be buttoned up.

I imagine Gikuyu and Mumbi possibly having a disagreement on the fruit to have for dinner, being hunters and gatherers. Mumbi has by now discovered that Avocado makes her skin glow and her hair, less kinky. She thus has on several occasions impressed upon Gikuyu the need to have this fruit daily.

Problem is she expresses this need by wildly punching at the air with one hand, with the other simultaneously cupping her face and running through her hair.  Daily Gikuyu struggles to decipher the charade but fails time and again, ergo he dutifully smiles, nods at Mumbi and runs off into his hustle.

On this particular day Mumbi is feeling particularly ignored after rummaging through the bounty Gikuyu brought and not finding her coveted fruit.  She then turns to Gikuyu hands akimbo and throws him a long hard gaze; he has no option but respond, which is akin to pulling a pin off a grenade. A squabble inevitably erupts and all sort of words are thrown around literally because they argue by demonstration.

Mumbi simply doesn’t understand how Gikuyu would daily forget one thing. With no end in sight to for the argument, Gikuyu does what any sensible human would do, he takes a walk.

Gikuyu’s selective amnesia is the one jolt that sends Mumbi to the end of her tether. Slowly Gikuyu notices his needs are no longer urgent to Mumbi, for instance she stops laying out his skin for the day before heading out to her chores. He also notices his food is burnt on several occasions.  Generally Mumbi withdraws from their arrangement.

One day Mumbi would possibly get bored with playing mind games and tell Gikuyu what was bothering her; ‘Makondofia’ (avocado), rather the lack of it, to which Gikuyu would possibly titter to and think ‘gal you are twisted, though he would keep this to himself.

Then they would both agree to come up with a language to replace their non-functioning Morse code.

Mumbi gets busy being the good wife and leaves the tasking task to Gikuyu. Gikuyu takes it all in stride and comes up with a working model that he explains to Mumbi. Mumbi nods to the list till they get to pet names; she listens intently and is intrigued that there is none for her.  At this Gikuyu is taken aback and just asks her the pet name she would most prefer.

Mumbi as though on cue giggles, and cocks her head to the side like she is in deep thought. And there and then Gikuyu is convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that he has found an appropriate pet name; Kindu wanie.

And they live happily ever after communicating in fluent and profound Kikuyu.

The hymn and the inside joke are now done with so my translators join in the tide just when the preacher is teaching from Mathew 10; 29-31.

He is preaching of our worth as children of God, he refers to sparrows  as tujia and he says even if you bought a thousand there is nothing really you would have to boast about for each one was worth a cent. Hehe, Kikuyus and money!

The preacher lowers his voice and further reads …’that not one will fall to the ground without the Father knowing.  Even those things we consider worthless do not come to ruin without the father’s knowledge. Deep huh? And to think I almost dismissed this sermon as pedestrian.

He then proceeded to bring in a point I thought was really worth some good thought, on verse 30’….But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

His discourse on the verse was that if the bible had recorded that the very colours of our hairs are known by God that would have been easier to relate to, aye? God would just need to keep a record of the coloured weaves manufactured to the date of count and deduct these from his original number, Hehe.

That’s pretty relatable and reasonable right? But our God doesn’t roll like that; he goes an extra step and numbers our hairs, white, black, blonde, brunette every single one of them. So if any one of our hairs falls off he knows it’s fallen, we may not know we lost it, but he who dwells in heaven takes note.

Thus the conclusion of verse 31, ‘So do not fear you are more valuable than many sparrows’ fully brought it home that to God we are beings of worth.

Makes you think of how great and good our God is doesn’t it? And possibly how Mumbi and Gikuyu saved us a great deal by developing a language, right? Hehe.


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