“Where did you hide it today?” “Just making sure the rats won’t eat them like they did with yours.” Last week the rats enjoyed the juicy taste of my finished homework. I had left my books on the dining table, which is also our study table, only to find pieces chewed up in the morning. Mr. Kamau had suggested we either leave some leftovers for the rats, or we domesticate a cat. We finish our homework silently, except for some grumbling about where to put the lamp. Its light is too dim to serve us both effectively. “Why isn’t Denis back yet?” asks Eva. I look at the wall clock and it is about 10:00 pm. “He must be on his way. He’ll be here soon.” “Don’t you remember Mama said we should not be outside at night? She said hyenas from Mount Katito eat people at night. What if…?” “Eva, nothing will happen to Denis. He is a man. Also he is not walking alone.” The door rattles and we both rush to find out who it is. “Why did you lock the door?” a wearied voice asks. “Safety measures,” says Eva. “Is that you Denis?” I ask. “Yes! Open up!” he replies.
We open the door. Denis is empty-handed. Eva and I look into each other’s eyes then into Denis’s. He collapses on the chair and sighs. We both kneel on the opposite side of the table, waiting for what he has to say. He smiles, scratching his chin. He leans forward and fidgeting with his fingers, breaks the silence. “I have to go back tomorrow. There was a delay with the money transfer. I tried to wait for afternoon transactions unsuccessfully. Can you imagine how I had to trek the 16 miles back home? But I am sure we will have the money tomorrow.” “You must be tired brother. Can I make you warm water to clean up? I fetched a lot of firewood today, you know,” says Eva. We all laugh. “Thank you Eva. The firewood will be of use tomorrow.” We laugh again. “We better get to sleep then. We’ll be waking up early for school tomorrow, you know.” “Goodnight my ladies,” says Denis. “Goodnight brother,” Eva and I reply.
Jackie Odhiambo ’14 is chemistry major from Kisumu, Kenya. She loves community service, playing volleyball and singing. Fall 2012
Published on Dec 19, 2012