KIBONDI’S FARM MISERIES!
(The environment seen is like that of a kingdom/royal family. The family compound is large with the master house at the furthest corner with a solid brick fence. Servant’s quarters are some meters from the master’s residence. Sons and daughters houses are between their parents’ house and the servants houses. Servants are about twenty in number. Sons are eight. Daughters are three.
It is in the morning and the master, Mr. Kibondi is seen as a stressed up man. His wife. Mrs Kibondi appear to be distressed. Their eldest two sons and one daughter arrives hurriedly in master’s living room. Maidservant, Atiso has finished arranging the breakfast on the dining table. But Mr. kibondi and his wifelooks like they had a quarrel. She leaves the breakfast on the table without serving them. She leaves as they enter. Some boiled arrowroots and yams are in one tray. Milk, grape juice, and other fruit juices are seen on the other tray placed next to the main one containing the boiled tubers. The third tray has some jars with hot water. The fourth one is full of some dried meat and some boiled eggs. Kibondi is seated on the couch at one of the corners. His wife is seated at the adjacent corner)
Thanga: (The elder son enters in the room ahead of his siblings, he knocks the door and opens it.) Hey folks! What is wrong again? Father! What is wrong again? (His father is still seen folding his fingers and frequently scratching his head. He responds not.)
Thingira: (The second born also enters) what is up mother? (Looking at his mother). I mean what has happened again?
Mrs. Kibondi: (She clears her throat) Nothing wrong son! Just get in and take your breakfast! (All this time, Clara, their daughter is keenly observing her father!)
Clara: What is up father? (Looking at her mother) Did you quarrel him again Mother? What is happening guys? (Looking at her father as she moves towards him.) Tell me father! Did she quarrel you again?
Kibondi: No! No! It is Mangiro!
Thanga, Thingira and Clara: (Altogether at once). Mangiro?!!
Thanga, Thingira and Clara: (Altogether.) What did he say?
Kibondi: He was here with his endless shenanigans!
Thanga, Thingira and Clara: (Altogether at once). What?
Kibondi: He says that some of our servants have informed him that some deadly snakes have been seen on our neighbours’ farms!
Thanga: Agrrrr!!! What is the problem with that?
Thingira: Just that? That one alone makes people here look like they are bereaved?
Clara: As if all of our siblings have been bitten by those snakes and died??! Agrr!!
Mrs. Kibondi: (All this time, she has been observing her two sons and their sister. Clara! She shrugs her shoulders in a show of disprove.) To the four of them. You guys! It is not as you think or as you may take it! I have always warned you in this room of handling matters in a casual ways!
Thanga, Thingira, & Clara: (At once again). Agrr!
Thanga: That is not our issue. Is our father responsible for other people’s farms? Is he their watchmen?
Clara: I also wonder if that is surely an issue to pressurize our father for no reason!
Thingira: Cool down guys! Why are you people attacking our dear Mother? Did our father say that she has pressurized him? You people always disturb our deer mother for no any reason!
Kibondi: (Pointing to his wife.) She is responsible. I haven’t slept enough. She kept on telling me that those snakes might arrive in our farm. It is like that she had requested that stupid to come and brief me about the same this morning!
Mrs. Kibondi: (As a shocked person in disbelief.) what?? Me informed him? I told you that I got that information from Mwema’s wife. We were with her yesterday in town? She informed me how their neighbours farm has been reduced into nothing! Then what about the armyworms?? That have been spotted two farms away from northwards?
Thanga & Clara: Whoa!! Again Mother?
Clara: I knew! Father can’t frown like this in these early hours without any reason. Dear Mother! Please give our dear father a smooth time and life. Can’t you see how he has worked hard to have all what we have on table? Let me serve you breakfast guys. (She stands up and picks one of the trays with arrowroots and yams. She starts serving from where her mother is seated, then to Thanga, Thingira in that order finally to her father. As she serves, her mother responds to her statement)
Mrs. Kibondi: Has he worked really? All what we have is from our able slaves! Whom you are rubbishing here when they give you the right information that needs to be acted upon!
Thanga: (As he is being served by Clara.) Now that you see that what we have is from these slaves why don’t they have them on their own and not our able father?
Clara: (As she finishes serving Thanga:) mmmmhhh!! Tell us mother! How that is possible?
Mrs.kibondi: (All this time Mr. Kibondi is still yawning and scratching his head) Were not of your grandfather’s efforts, from the setting up and expansion of this farm having fought several battles to set it up. You could be barely having anything to put in your stomachs. Otherwise you could be slaves to other men working in their firms.
Kibondi: Eeerrr. Now you have started your insults? Now go and work on your own in those other men’s farms! Agrrr! Mbarraaka katuk kiam!!(Only fools talk like you)! Nkt! Katuk! (Fool!)
Clara: (In a show of being angered. She directs to her mother). Heeey! Mother! For heaven’s sake let’s have our breakfast in peace!
Thingira: I think you were saying something mother! What were you talking about mother?!
Mrs. Kibondi: You see. Mangiro, and your brother Ammon! Who is in wilderness, sent a message that some invisible creatures have been detected in the north! They are not good creatures. If they pass through any crop, the crop retards. The crop never flowers and in case they were at flowering stage. They die without producing anything like fruit!
Kibondi: Now how am I responsible for that?
Mrs. Kibondi. Yesterday you ordered some sand from north! Right? Those creatures are believed to be living in the northern sands. They are said to be moved with the sand from north to other parts! It is believed that they might be living in the sand may be young ones. Can’t you wait for the summer and have your sand?
Thanga: (All this time he was keenly observing her as she was explaining to Thingira. He kept an eye to his father and realized that the old man was bitter about it.) Mother! Give our father a break please! The sand is not going to be used in the farm. It is just here at the compound! And upon it arriving, it will be used instantly! That is a no cause for any alarm.
Thingira: (To Thanga and Clare.) Let our mother finish what she was saying. What did you say mother? What is in the sand mother?
Mrs. Kibondi: Your brother said that some unknown creatures have been found to be inhabiting in the sand from northern lands. When they are carried in the sand, they mysteriously invade firms and no produce can be gotten. The information he had has it that they will die in the next two months. The old men from north informed them that whenever there is such creatures, they disappear during the summer time.
Clara: But we need sand mother! If we don’t have sand within this period, when the crops are flowering, then our slaves will be free. Majority of them will not have duties to perform!
Kibondi: Exactly! Those are my sentiments! We cannot have a multitude of people here not working! Just eating and drinking all the way to summer time?!
Thanga: That is not a big deal. Let the sand come and they work on it as soon as it arrives! The sand will be restricted at the compound. Are they going to take sand to the farm?
Mrs. Kibondi: It is not as easy as you think guys. What if some of them goes to the farm while sand is in their attires?
Clara: We can control that! That a very easy task! Everyone working will be required to be at the kiln construction site the moment the sun rises without leaving the compound until the sun sets.
Kibondi & Thanga: (simultaneously like parrots.) Exactly!
Thanga: No movement till the sun sets.
Thingira and Mrs. Kibondi. (Simultaneously also)What?
Thingira: You are not aware of what you are talking about folks! They will work like that in the first day! The following day they will work not! Again, some of them may enjoin some of their female counterparts tending to calves in the grazing fields for some nuptial moments! Will they not have gone to the field with some of sand particles in their attires? Again who really knows how invisible creatures work or move? What if they land here on the compound and fly directly to the farm?
Kibondi: If they work like that do you think that you can have a control of them?
Thingira: Yes father!
Kibondi: Will you control them from our neighbouring farms?
Thingira: How do you know that our neighbours have sand in their farms?
Clara: We are not nosy to peck on other people’s fields!
Mrs. Kibondi: No one of our neighbours is building kilns. The Western farmers builted theirs twenty years ago! The Easterners have never builted such and they don’t farm grains! So they will not be in need of some sand at this moment!
Kibondi: We have an international spy here! Who spies on other people’s farms!
Thingira: Not like that! Our slaves always gathers information from the surroundings! Therefore, mother is right!
Thanga: That is not a big deal father! We are just receiving such rumours! After all what kind of invisible creatures that can be in sand particles? That is too mythical!
Kibondi: (Pointing to his elder son, Thanga.) Just go and authorize Munoro to have his workforce on standby mode! The moment that sand arrives they must start working immediately! And give him these instructions! That that kiln must be completed within one month! Again! Don’t forget to instruct him that all the workers will be required to start working before the sun rises and leave the workplace after the sun sets!
Thanga: (As he sips his drink) Ok father!
Mrs. Kibondi 🙁 Directing to Thanga) Wait! There is no work that is going to start at this moment!
Thingira: My sentiments too!
Clara: (In a low tone.) Heeey! For heaven sake! Can’t we have one central command?
Kibondi: (Angered as Clara reaches him serving him the breakfast.) Get the information delivered and the work set in motion! (Thanga Exits. Looking at Clara.) What is this you are serving me? I can’t take this! Call the cook who brought this and inform him right now I need my wine! Let him serve me the old wine and from the old wineskin!
Thingira: (Asking his father while looking at him with his mouth wide open.) At this hour you need wine?
Kibondi: (Angrily.)I am neither using your mouth nor your stomach!
Clara: To add on that, neither the wine is yours!
Mrs kibondi: (Nods her head in disbelief and showing signs of fatigue. to Thingira and Clara). Your late grandfather’s father, once narrated all these things to me when I was as small girl. He narrated to me how the whole fields of crops were invaded and swept away by the invisible creatures that were living and hiding in sand. They were attacking the fields at night! When the crops failed to produce, there was a great famine! Animals weathered and almost all of them succumbed to the famine! (She lets out a loud and prolonged yawn showing fatigue again) People were left with no food. They were forced to rely for food from only two old men who had foreseen the pandemic. They had been informed by their great grandparents while young of such pandemic and signs! When it was rumored to be taking place, they sent their servants away and they were left with few maidservants who only milked and cooked for them. The rest came back at summer time and they found their crops intact. They harvested and made hays for their animals from the crops matter after the harvest. They were all paid their dues well on leave. These two old men made big profits and they never suffered at all with their families!
Kibondi: Now you are the old men! Your grandfather might have been a mad man!
Clara: I guess that your grandpa either was drunk or mad!
Kibondi: Hehehe! He was a mad man!
Mrs. Kibondi: May be! But if it was being drunk. I never saw him drunk. If it is being mad, he could not have brought his children up and healthy among his peers!
Thingira 🙁 In show of being in total agreement.) Exactly! Not like some men we know!
Clara: (As she hands over the wine to her father. Directing to Thingira. In full disagreement and bitter with what he has just uttered). It is good for some people to show respect for what they have and be grateful to their gods if not their fathers!
Kibondi: (Takes a deep sip.) Don’t be bothered by mad people! Don’t be bothered by disrespectful spoilt boys my daughter!
Mrs. Kibondi: We know who are mad and drunkards at this hour of the day! (She stands up to leave. But there is a knock at the door. She opens it. Ammon enters while carrying his luggage.) Oh my son! Welcome! You come without sending a word? You never change!
Ammon: Thank you mother! Good morning all of you folks! (He hugs her mother with a deep hug. He hugs his brother Thingira, and finally greets his sister Clara who is carrying some wine on a tray by shaking of hands.) How have been all?
Thingira & his mother: We have been fine!
Mrs. Kibondi:What about you in the wilderness son?
Ammon: (As he moves to his father who is still drinking his wine without a break. Like someone who has been exposed to a harvesting scorching sun heat such that he is too thirsty and now served with a cold pot water.)Hey father! (His father is still glued to his golden wine cup). Hey father! (He looks at him)
Kibondi: What is it again?
Ammon: (Clara is still busy arranging the utensils. Thingira and Mrs. Kibondi are all watching at the two.) I am greeting you father! It has been for a while since I left you here at home guys! (His father shakes his hand and continues drinking his wine. Ammon takes a seat. Thingira serves him some milk and a piece of boiled yams.)
Thingira:Have something to eat brother. I know you have missed them much there at the wilderness!
Ammon: (As he takes the milk and the yams.) Very much brother! Thank you very much. You should have been born a girl. Our mother would have been the happiest woman on earth!
Kibondi: (To his two sons as he hands over his empty cup to Clara.)You two! You should have been born women! You could not be here with your endless disturbances of oh! Invisible sand creatures! Oh! Deadly snakes in our neighbours’ farms. Oh prevent them! Are snakes invisible also? Can’t we see them and kill them on the spot?
Thingira: (In disbelief) where could we be father?
Kibondi: You could have been married to some slaves out there because no serious farm owner would have allowed his sons to marry such disturbing daughters like your mother!
Mrs kibondi: your daughter is here! Make sure that Clara is married to those slaves! (Thingira and Ammon are quite observing their father. He is handed over another cup full of old wine by Clara.)
Clara: Mother! When will you stop your hatred towards me?
Mrs. Kibondi: Oh! No! No! My daughter! You are your father’s favaourite daughter but a spoilt brat!
Clara: (She starts crying as she throws some boiled eggs that she was serving Ammon with back to the tray. Thingira says some words to Ammon.) You hate me! Am I not your daughter? Have me dead now then! (She weeps bitterly)
Thingira: (Aside.) Hey bro. is our mother aware that her daughter do elopes with some servants on errands?
Ammon: I am not aware brother! But who knows. A mother could be aware of what her kids go through.
Kibondi:Hold on my daughter! (He stands up, moves swiftly but somehow staggering to Clara. He holds and hugs her deeply) Leave mad people alone! You are my queen darling. Serve me another cup please and leave them alone!
Mrs.kibondi: (As if she is not aware of what has happened. to Ammon.) Now my son. Tell me more of what you know about these miseries am hearing about? What exactly this is?
Ammon: (Takes a deep breath.)That is why I came abruptly mother! I have been informed by some old wise men that we need to stop any sand use immediately until summer!
Thingira: (He interrupts.)What about the snakes brother?
Ammon: These snakes are also small. In fact you might think that they are normal earthworms that we are used to. But they are not all that harmful when they bite any animal. However, they are somehow harmful to people. More so elderly and any other person who is not well health wise.
Kibondi: Now is it me who has created the snakes also? Spoilt sons! Who gave birth to these people?? I am not the one!
Thingira: They are harmful to any living animal. Whether people or animals.
Ammon: No father! But they are also spread by the chariot horses. When they bite animals like horses, they live their eggs on horse’s fur! If you have any unrestricted horse movements, these eggs might be transferred from one animal to the other?
Thingira: What is your suggestion brother?
Ammon: We lock our entries! We can either, that is through our able father directives! Allow some slaves to have a two to three months’ vacation but they leave all their belongings here so that they can come back. Once they come back, we pay them their dues in full!
Kibondi: (With some guttural utters.) We pay them full! With your silver or with what? I have already directed that all the slaves must make the kiln starting tomorrow! The sand will be ready by today! It will have been brought!
Ammon: (Shocked) what? Waa! Ntaara maiyu! (Oh my God!) This sand will bring us the two epidemics father! Please cancel all that!
Thingira: (In agreement with Ammon and directing it to his father). Why can’t we suspend this issue of kiln?
Clara: Suspend what? We need the kiln for drying of wheat and corns. It is our first time to farm them and the kiln is needed for now and for future uses!
Mrs.kibondi: And you will build it using sand and… (Cut short by her husband)
Kibondi: (With guttural utters again.)And you will build it with sand and… and… We don’t need your and… and… here right now! (He rises his tone). Construct it with soil and cow dung then!
Mrs. Kibondi: Not like that my husband! We will get huge losses and even loss of our slaves. It will be difficulty to recover! We will all regret it!
Kibondi: Not even a single slave will leave this farm! I can assure that!
Clara: (In agreement with her father.)Not even a single one!
Ammon: (Clears his throat.)While! Not necessarily that the slaves leave! I think this kiln will need water. And in our previous brainstormings, we realized that our source of water from our neighbour’s farm is dwindling and it is not enough to serve us. Our slaves have increased in number from ten to over twenty. As a matter of facts! By next year, we shall be having more than thirty of them. Our animals have increased tremendously also not to forget about it! Likewise, our neighbour’s slaves and animals have their numbers shoot up. I can bet by next year, a time like this, we will be having a serious water shortage!
Clara: (She interrupts abruptly) How is that one our current issue now? Our main problem is the drying kiln before the summer starts. If it was winter, we could think otherwise. It is summer, we will need less water but our grains won’t dry up!
Kibondi: (Celebrating Clara’s statement.) Exactly! My daughter! You should have been born the firstborn or as a man! I could be the happiest father on earth! Add me more darling! (Clara adds him some more wine).
Mrs. Kibondi; I pity you. (She stand up in a show of disagreeing with everything and wants to leave them.)
Thingira: (He stands up as to obstruct his mother. By show of hands, he requests her to sit down.) Sit down please mother! This issue is becoming serious. If we are not careful. We may pay a huge price of our indecisiveness! (She sits down. He directs to his brother Ammon again) what is your alternative brother?
Ammon: (He coughs as a way of clearing his throat once more). My point is this! Since we are due to summer in few months, we can use this time to dig up at least few wells that will serve us immediately summer is over! This will minimize our chances of coming into contact with the pandemics. Besides that, our crops can be let to mature enough and instead of harvesting the grains directly. They can be left to the crops to dry!
Clara: (She looks to be pissed off.)Our issue as of now is the drying of the grains! We need no water at summer spell!
Kibondi: (Celebrating Clara’s response.) Punctilious!
Ammon: (With his voice tone raised.) Clara! I mean we uproot them and stock them across the fence and some under the granaries! They will dry slowly. All this time our workers will be digging wells!
Mrs.Kibondi: (Referring to her husband.) You seem to be unaware of what is staring at us in few days to come!
Kibondi: (Rubbishing his wife’s comment) Listening to foolish people is like paying attention to madmen!
Mrs. Kibondi: Well! We know who mad men are!
Thingira: I think mother and Ammon have got points that they are driving home!!
Ammon: Let’s use that time to dig some wells. For the grains! Leave them to me and my brother Kamali, sister Dora and brother Mekanite! We shall get that issue sorted out! (There is a knock at the door. Clara opens. Enters Munari.)
Kibondi: (Angry and raising his tones. Directing to Munari.) What is that you are bringing here again? Haven’t you seen my son Thanga?
Mrs Kibondi, Ammon& Thingira: (All of them at once.) Tell us Munari
Kibondi: Oh Ntaara maiyu! (Oh my God!)………
CATCH UP WITH US ON THIS SERIES!
PART TWO TO BE CONTINUED ON WEDNESDAY!
LIKE IT? SHARE IT!
GET OUR PLAY SERIES ON EVERY WEDNESDAY OF THE WEEK!
SHORT STORIES ON EVERY FRIDAY OF THE WEEK!
PLUS SHORT STORIES ON ALL FRIDAYS OF THE WEEK!
VISIT US !!
@ kichui.com. Home of literature