The first time I was sent to the shop, I was 4 years old and I was sent to buy sugar. I went singing sugar, sugar, sugar all the way to the shop. When I finally arrived at the shop, I found other customers being worked on. As I waited, I resorted to swinging on a rod laid horizontally, mid way in the doorway of the shop – to keep customers at a distance from the merchandise.
After the all the customers had gone, the shopkeeper turned and asked me “what do you want, young boy?” interrupting the swinging. I stopped and somehow the word ‘sugar’ went on a trip at that moment. But like a city born, I asked for sweets and headed back home.
“Spare the rod and spoil the child” was a proverb my parents took time to understand, preach and also put in practice. That day I was supposed to be the subject, but, I survived because we were in the festive season – two days to Christmas. And apparently in the festive season many people if not all, tend to be more kind, generous and thankful.
That very day my older brothers were going to hunt for cut down a Christmas tree. I was told to keep the sweets for the Christmas tree decoration. The sweets were counted, with very strict instructions not to eat any – that was the roughest temptation in my entire childhood. I didn’t die, but I prayed sort of the same way Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, like Jesus, I got the same answer, the situation didn’t change.
To differ a bit from many families that travel to celebrate the festive season in the villages, our family always celebrated the festive season in the township. We visited our village usually during the short-term school holidays and in that short period we got to know about our roots and backgrounds, played a lot, equipped with basic life skills to mention but a few.
Holidays in the village had a lot highlights from which we told a number of stories to our classmate at school. When school resumed after a long holiday, my siblings and I didn’t have village stories rather movies, cartoon episodes, Power Rangers episodes and a lot more to narrate though at a cost, they had to pay either in kind or in cash. It’s called a hustle of a city born.
Being a city born opened my eyes to so many things at a tender age; I smoked, a piece of paper after a long day of walking and matching following a musical band that passed-by next to our home. By the way, I usually tell people, judging me is useless. Also being a child raised on the shore of Lake Victoria, I had countless moments of swimming in the lake.
Swimming was prohibited, and my parents used to sing that every day more often during the holidays, but, what is life without breaking a few rules! On several sunny days my brothers and I couldn’t help it, swimming was the ultimate plan. The hardest part wasn’t the return journey, rather the hunger and pale faces after swimming. The moment we were sighted, Even the stones could tell we were from swimming and that was the beginning of a long evening – punishments and lectures.
On days that involved swimming, our showering was on a probability arrangement. Showering was something so simple yet so difficult. It was like being a math paper and you couldn’t start, yet you had everything to need to start.
My childhood was one awesome and epic stage, I don’t miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in both the small and big things, I don’t only go through childhood but rather I lived in every moment both sad and happy moments.
“Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” ~ Flannery O’connor.