RACHIER IS NOT THE CHAIRMAN II
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
[IN CASE YOU MISSED PART I, THIS IS A RELOADING OF NOVELIST GRACE OGOT'S 'THE BASKET' STORY FROM THE SHORT STORY NOVEL, LAND WITHOUT THUNDER]
Nyakaradolo, consumed with relief felt her knees weaken. She went and sat by dero. The escape commotion stirred the baby who now slightly awake reached out for the mobile food storage to breast feed.
The village mates were also stirred into murmur and bewilderment at the spectacle they were witnessing this Saturday morning. The co wives moved to back-slap their heroine with praises. Fresh battle lines between husbands and wives; sisters in law and brothers in law had just been drawn on top of the snake battle that was in pause mode. The grandmother also stuttered to go and throw saliva of blessings at the grandchild.
The crestfallen men moved into action now that the women had surgically dissected the baby from the bed. It was clear women had won the battle of the house but the war of the house still remained. And that was their domain. Some pride can still be restored and they now moved to limit the damage to their pride.
To be told that they were beneath jokager is something that had to be corrected to day. It was commando time. With visiting giggling in-laws as witnesses they approached Nyakaradolo's hut led by Obat. There was a covenant between Obat and Nyakaradolo. Such covenants between in-laws were not drawn in writing but I will explain.
Obat led the crack squad with a mission to spot rachier, fight rachier and kill rachier. Tension returned as the search started. Outside in the courtyard sisters in-laws were teasing that they would relocate to the nearest manly Kager homes nearer Ukwala area. There is a settlement of Umira Kager there of the a family who came from Sumer-ro. They are famous as they represent the local chief Muganda’s maternal side. Actually the jakager bother to Muganda's mother was the regency hand-holding Muganda's hand in ruler-ship. The Kapuny were not happy that the kingship had passed to a juvenile Muganda Kokwako upon Chief Odipo’s death. Aluoch the Queen mother knew only her brother of Umira Kager could be trusted with Muganda's life. So he invited him to live close by.
As the men were searching the house for the snake the younger sister in-laws were audibly rubbing it in. And Luo ladies can rub a defeat in. They always think they are the best and pity the rest who settle for less.
They searched the house for one hour turning everything upside down, but there was no snake. They tried smoking the house with cow dung and urine which is used to plaster a house to keep off snakes and rodents. Still no snake. Nobody wanted to move to go to their own houses because of the terror the snake had brought in the village. It's rachier we are talking about. I wish to remind you that it is not the chairman of Gor Mahia Football Club.
As the men were tiring and desperation grew because everybody was wondering where they would sleep at night, Nyakaradolo rose clutching the baby to go and instruct Obat to pass to her handy essentials to stay over the night in a nyieka house.
Carefully and warily Nyakaradolo got near the door way and started instructing Obat. What to grab and throw to her. To lighten up the tense mood and mask his own fears Obat joked, that he did not want to touch anything that had Nyakaradolo's inner garments. Nyakaradolo laughed heartily now. In Luo custom even looking at a woman's inner garments can cause sudden death. Well those days.
To the amusement of other sister in-laws paying attention, Obat prodded Nyakaradolo with kidology , "Are the witchcraft you use to dolo my brother for a year in that basket in hangers?".
Nyakaradolo chuckled, "Not really I am a tidy woman. But I need the basket to be emptied to carry these stuff."
Then Obat climbed on a stool to heave the basket of the hanger. As he did so he commented under his breath, "Wuonyo yuoro is this the latest stock of love potion to hold on to my brother?"
Nyakaradolo excitedly commented, "Aah Obat what is so heavy in that basket?"
Obat did not take her seriously. Then the disturbed snake all of a sudden smelling the earlier scent of the predator now return in the door way. It knew the hunted is now being hunted for sure for the scent had returned. Rachier decided it is now from the known to the known. It must abandon the unknown aerial battle re engage the enemy on known ground battle.
Still in the basket with Obat hesitant, rachier raised its head with flicking tongue, just for Nyakaradolo to see it sticking out of the basket. Nyakaradolo let out a chilling scream "yuora rrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuun".
Without thinking Obat threw the basket down but towards the doorway. You know how spoonerism can mix things like in e.g. take the floor and sweep the broom. The basket hit the door frame and the snake slithered out agitated and angry.
Obat wanted the door but was the inside. Rachier wanted nothing to do with the door because the fresh soil whiff plus greenery scent was back blocking the door. Rachier thinks Obat is smoking it to be killed by a sucker punch at the door way. Obat thinks Rachier has decided to go down with a last bite. Whatever the snake did Obat thought he was being set up. And Rachier thought whatever Obat did, it was just a set up for the trap at the door way. This is the point where Probability theory of "I know you know I know you know" in decision theory can awfully go wrong. But all management schools have never been caught with a deadly rachier in one room. So textbooks will continue to write that lecture hall stuff for academic scenarios in examinations.
There was a small window on the wall. And sure Obat could squeeze through it in time. But who wants to be bitten in the buttocks by a snake. Ukwala health Centre is far off and nobody will administer first aid on your buttocks. Not when you can one day brag "He kissed my ass". You know Luo’s with their bravado like. "We saved you when the white man was bombing your living shit!"; "President manade, we hid you in a car boot when Kenyatta died", " Dhog chiegi riek to we gave you the presidency when you were immobile in a wheel chair";” Nobody wants to be on the end of a Luo bragging rights. At least not another Luo. Luo Union FC fans brag about beating Gor 4-2 in 1977 when they are long dead and Gor Mahia is now playing in English Premier League.
When you are bitten in the posterior by a snake in Luo land, you are dead my brother. I can guarantee that. In itho, omera!
This went on for the longest 3 minutes. Luckily nature gave animals immense speed but did not give them endurance. (Not Kipchoge alone). The snake retreated towards kor mach and Obat found himself panting on the court yard with sweat like someone who has been swimming in river Ndhoya.
Now with Obat out, the infantry moved in to try and smash this snake. The women folk and kids were huddled at grandmother’s hut. The snake knew it will go down. The men of the village knew if they don't kill it then they might as well run away from Kagonya, never to return in shame.
People threw everything at rachier. Rachier is a lightning fast snake. It is so clever that is why it felt defeat when Nyakaradolo got to the doorway without its knowledge. But right now it also engaged full groundwork tactics. No cowardly spitting. No unnecessary and wasteful attacks. It was avoiding being killed just to land a final bite. The time for fighting was long gone.
Bricks flew, still sticks, stools, stones, you name it. It had the freedom of the house. It could move like an ice scatter. Sometimes lying flat but try to strike and it's gone. Or raise its head and when you throw a stick it ducks down. It could move its tail to trick you that it is in motion but actually its head is monitoring you. It could charge to the door just to scatter the men, then retreat back into the house where it had made a bunker. And to those in the window it could raise its head to window level and make as if it is going to spit.
The men were exhausted. They could see rachier but they could not catch rachier. In all this one hour commotion nobody realized that Obat had disappeared. It's only when he approached from the gate that Nyakaradolo noticed him hurrying back. The sight of Obat coming back made Nyakaradolo shed tears of joy for the second time this morning.
I have to tell you about the relationship between the two before I tell you why she warms up to the sight of Obat. You must know what Yuoro law kwach means.
And for that we have to cross the gulf of Nam Lowe to milambo side. But not exactly where that Ugenya son, Kanyada crossed to reach Homa Bay but a little southern towards Tanzania.
CONTINUED Part 3 (Final).