My dear green basin, how I mourn for you

IN life I know it is very difficult to notice something that belongs to you, even if you see it from a distance.

A good example is how the mother of my clan can be able to spot me from a distance even if it is only my arm which is visible.

I remember there was a time I was dead broke and my throat was so dry it could make the Sahara Desert cry in shame.

My brain went into overdrive and it convinced me that because we usually drink so that we can become smashed, then any alcohol is as good as any.

That is why the same brain directed my feet towards a dingy place where they sell illicit brew, where the menu on the list include dangerous liquids like ‘gongo’ and ‘mnazi.’

For those who are putting a holier than thou attitude and pretend that they don’t have no idea what Illicit brew is, they should know that this is alcohol which is produced illegally, outside of the approved and regulated production processes of registered and legitimate manufacturers.

There is no way that you can go to these places where they sell the brew and see a bottle branded ‘Gongo Lager’, because they are usually unbranded and don’t comply with standards that ensure the quality and safety of products.

I entered the semi dark room which was filled with the smell of cheap cigarette smoke and alcohol, and sat myself between a man who smelled as if he had never taken a shower his entire life and a thin woman who was missing several front teeth.

I took out the 500/- which was the only money between me and poverty and ordered for a glass of gongo.

It is unfortunate that the dingy structure is located near the road which leads to the market, that is why Mama Boyi spotted me from nearly 50 metres away, and that is after she only saw my shoulder.

I was about to put the lethal brew on my mouth for my first swallow when I froze midway after the voice of my loving wife rang above the din of the local bar, calling my name.

I should confess to you that after being frog marched home like a notorious terrorist and endure a lengthy lecture about characters of being a responsible husband and father, she escorted me to Zakayo’s Pub and bought for me enough beers to last me for a few days.

That is why just the other day I was able to notice something which belonged to me although it was from a distance.

I was coming home from work and the rain was threatening to pour any second, that is why I told the bodaboda boy to drop me at Zakayo’s to avoid arriving home wet.

I had just sat at the counter when the heavens opened and it started to rain heavily. One hour later, we began to get worried because the volume of rain increased and before long a temporary river was rushing outside the bar.

I called home to find out if they are safe, and mama Boyi told me that in case I decided to go home I should be ready to wade through water because the whole compound was flooded.

As I ordered for my sixth beer, the rain shifted gears and poured as if it was on an evil mission, and we watched as a goat and a dog were swept by the rushing water.

We were watching in awe as a refrigerator swept by, when I noticed something very familiar in the raging water, a green basin which looked like the one we were given as a gift at our wedding almost 30 years ago.

I was sure that was my basin being carried away by the water, but to satisfy myself, I called mama Boyi again and asked her if by any chance she can locate my dear basin.

“Baba Boyi, we are busy here trying to save the dog from drowning and all you can think of is a silly basin!? She shouted, but I told her that the reason I was calling was because I was sure I had just seen the basin swimming towards the ocean.

She disconnected the phone but called me a few minutes later to tell me that indeed our beloved basin has been washed away, including three plastic chairs, and as she was telling me that, I saw the three chairs bobbing in and out of water as they followed the basin.

I was not ready to see my favorite basin heading to god knows where, so I called several boys and told them I will pay them handsomely if they rescued my basin, with a bonus if they rescued the chairs too.

Those boys worked gallantly to try and save my basin and earn the money I promised them, but the water happened to be too fast, so I just watched as my green basin disappeared.

I am sentimental about the basin because all my three children were washed from that basin, but apart from that, my wife poured water from that basin on me the first time I came home in the wee hours of morning, a few months before she started using her favourite weapon, the greasy frying pan.

I was determined to send a search and rescue team when the rain subsided, but mzee Zakayo, that wise old man, placed his hand on my shoulder, looked at me with sad eyes and told me to accept that the basin was gone.

“I have a feeling you loved that basin son, but just let it go, God will give you another basin to replace that one,” he told me before ordering one of the girls to give me four cold beers on his bill.

I sat forlornly as I sipped my drink, thinking of my green basin, how my wife used it to put bathing water for me, how I washed clothes in it when she was sick, and finally how she ‘baptised’ me with water from that basin when I returned home late.

I told mzee Zakayo it was okay to console me, but there was no basin that could replace my green basin.

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