The rain spluttered away with no evident sign of ceasing anytime soon. Pelts of thunder roared from a distance. I was scared of it, the thunder, made me feel as if the heavens were breaking apart. At times i wondered what would happen if the heavens did break; would the angels fall from up above, hanging on grey clouds for dear life, wings drenched in rain?
I had a habit of covering and opening my ears with my palms as it rained. I loved that feeling and the sound it made; a sound close to “huuuuuuuwa….huuuuuuuuwa!” and i would imagine myself out there in the rain, sliding, splashing, singing at the top of my voice. I would definitely catch a cold from such theatrics but what the hell; life is too short to waste it watching the rain from the window.
The down pour would continue, at times steadily aiming straight to the ground where numerous drops would form minute holes which gradually joined together to create massive puddles. The frogs would come alive from their hiding places, hopping about trying to escape the drops. I envied them, the frogs; at least with them they would not catch a cold!
What i loved most about the rain was the sweet smell of the soil after a few drops. It was the kind of smell that made me want to burry my face in the soil and eat it up.
I loved watching the rain from the massive window of the main house, the house that grandpa had built with his retirement money from Kenya Breweries. He was a character, my grandpa, i tell you he was! The original plan was to have a beautiful four bedroom maisonette master en suite, a chimney and brick roofing. That’s what the architect had drawn and i always imagined how it would feel having our own room, Nelly and i where we could decorate it with clippings of Mickey Mouse, Maradona, Pele, Flash Gordon, Spiderman Bret Hitman Hart and Big Boss man the wrestlers.
That was never to be, grandpa altered the whole plan and the final product was a stone house with an oversized sitting room, two huge bedrooms and a much smaller one which could only fit one bed, a small bedside stool and a closet. The roof was iron sheets and the interior walls were not painted, just smooth plaster which was cold as the snout of a bear. There was no kitchen, bathroom or loo.
He said that the new house was a massive improvement and leap of living standards from the mud house we used to live in.
The bathroom and pit latrine were exactly twenty seven metres from the main house. If anyone suffered a running stomach they would have a hard time running all the way to the loo. Anyone from the shopping centre facing our home would have a clear view of someone walking to the loo and they would perhaps even set a timer to see how long you would stay in there. The shopping centre was on higher ground which gave the onlookers quite a view!
I hated it when i knew idle citizenry were setting a timer for me as i crapped, so i devised a method; i would walk into the loo, drop my pants, assume firing position, take a deep breath and with one mighty effort push and release a canon of eish that would go tumbling down the latrine. At times i would wait for the ultimate thud, other times i would not; i would just walk out like a boss, whistling!
Staying longer would make the on lookers curious and they would probably laugh when you walked out later and say, “Aisee kai kihii gikii gikumeaga munyororo omothe?” [was this boy was shitting a chain today?]
Our pit latrine was very deep, i think the guys who dug it had the intention of reaching hell. At times i could wait for a whole minute before hearing the thud. We used to throw ashes and used torch batteries in it, someone said that doing so kind of “compacts” the eish together and stays longer before it fills up!
At night it was even worse. We could not manage to go all the way to the loo for fear of wild animals like Hyenas which inhabited Ngong Forest very close to our home. We could hear the Hyenas laughing and clapping high fives and i used to wonder whatever it was they found so amusing at night to get them that merry.
Grandpa had allocated himself one of the bigger rooms and he moved in even before the house was complete, him and his giant hardwood bed and heavy blankets. We stayed a bit longer in the mud house before his highness allowed us to move in with him.
At night he would not take us out to pee, grandma would. She had this long torch which would cast a wide beam in the dark night as we fished out our tiny penises to pee, eyes half closed so that the sleep would not disappear into the night. Peeing at night was awesome; we would aim our penises into the dark night and release a jet of urine as if we were insulting it for being so dark and scary.
The would form a semi circle up to the point it made contact with the ground, and then become smaller as the urine decreased. The sound of it hitting the ground would rouse the demons of the night and the hyenas would laugh more, perhaps at the pitiful sight of two boys with small penises displaying their lack of respect for the night!
After doing our thing we would dash back into the house and tuck ourselves deeper in bed, picking up our sleep from where we had left it.
I once bathed under the shade of a tree right behind the kitchen, just to indicate to grandpa that he had made a mistake for not having a bathroom inside the house. It was fun, bathing in the night until one fateful evening when a girl i had a mad crush on came to borrow salt and she saw me in all my glory, tiny bums glistening against the moonlight. I did not see her, but grandpa took the liberty of mentioning it to me later:
“Hehe, Muthoni ouma haha, niakuona ugethamba ja we noi!” [hehe, Muthoni was here and she saw you bathing naked outdoor]. He laughed at me in a way I interpreted to mean that i should know who the boss in that homestead was.
The next day the paparazzi in the village splashed my story all over the tabloids with Muthoni even doing a hit song on how tiny my little man was; she said it was the size of a baby’s pinky finger and that i had a protruding navel!