In my world, my grandmother is the strongest woman God ever placed on earth. Raised 6 children, lost her 1st born (who was a son named 'Nganga", who died as a baby), lost a daughter i.e my aunt Ann who we all dearly miss and eventually the death of my grandfather Moses Gitau, a man Cucu was married to and spent nearly 85% of her life with. On today's memoir article, I will talk about the 1st time I ever saw my grandmother cry.
When I left Nairobi to go and keep my Cucu company in the countryside at the age of 6 years, my arrival in what we call "ushago" (the countryside) was treated like a superstar had landed. Oh Lord was I spoilt. Every child in the village viewed me as what many would call today "a local celeb". I only could speak Swahili at the time no Kikuyu at all, I wore shoes at school while others walked barefoot, cucu groomed me well with expensive lotion while other kids used either soap or "mafuta ya kukamua 'ngombe" (I recall how young girls would touch my skin ni kunyororoka lmao) and how can I forget to mention that I used to have Weetabix, Cornflakes, bread with peanut butter for breakfast while other kids were served with either "Githeri" or "Ugali" for breakfast. Yaiks!!! Not cool at all! These qualities combined with the fact that I was a smart kid in class did not go so well with some of my local teachers.
I was in the 2nd grade. My teacher Mama Jimmy who is actually our direct neighbor was my home science teacher. One afternoon during our class, Mama Jimmy insisted that one item she had prepared for teaching us was missing. She shouted, "I will not teach until the item is found." The devil is a liar but this woman who always had the habit of pointing me out turned against me and shouted "Mithamo, you know where the item is. You know it." She summoned me in front of the class and gave me a world record ass whooping (excuse my french). By the time she was done, my hands and face were swollen. I was in so much pain and could not tolerate the pain and soon as Mama Jimmy left the class, I fled school and walked home. (By the way my primary school was right next to our home, 2 minutes walk)
Cucu saw me from a distance open the main gate, sobbing but trying to remain tough. She met me half-way and asked me what had happened and I narrated the details. The unexpected happened and suddenly my Cucu started to cry. When I mean "crying", I mean crying out loud! I was shocked. I was only 7 years at that time and here was a grown woman crying loud? "What? I thought grown-ups don't cry?". To console my grandmother I told her "Cucu, please don't cry. Please don't. Everything will be alright." Can you paint that picture? A 7 year old boy telling a grown woman "please don't cry."
Cucu still tells that story to the tiniest detail. Back then as a kid, all I saw was a grown woman crying, but the reality is, it was a loud expression of her love for her grandson. By the way.............the item Mama Jimmy claimed was missing was later found in her bag. I have never forgiven that "nasty woman" up to date. Ashindwe!!!