NOSTALGIC EASTER

Easter has never been complete without some nyama choma, ugali and hot kachumbari to accompany the festivity of having a thigúku after a cumbersome njaanuary . Normally, it’s an arrival to the village for everyone to skin the selected goat, cow or chicken. The men, uncles, brothers, cousins, armed with already sharpened knives and big sufurias are in character as they merrily skin the animals. My uncle, Uncle Kamau, was the loudest of all. He knew exactly where to cut and when to cut. His skills of separating the skin from the flesh was meticulous. We the children, found the cutting of gatauro- the inside lining of the cow’s stomach, very mesmerizing. The shitty smell hit our nostrils, but that would never stop us from enjoying matumbo. Auntie Olive made sure that no unwanted green stuff was overlooked. This was routine. An animal had to be fell for the thigúku. Eggs were never in the picture. They were never heard off, not unless one had decided to bake a cake. But with so much meat to feast on, who would still want a cake? Trees were meant for climbing or playing hide and seek games. It would take me eight thousand miles to actually realize the significance of a tree, eggs and a color palette. This was another world. Another world of creativity, which we didn’t learn in the Art & Craft classes, because learning about types of building angles was more significant. The teacher had forgotten that not all children were blessed in that way. A world where slaughtering an animal was enough reason to get you arrested. Whereas we worked with knives back at home, this new world was working with painting brushes. For an adult, an unaccustomed easter tradition can and is boring. There are no actual gatherings. If there are any, they aren’t even lively. It’s all cake and coffee. Yes the cake! Mostly it is fruit cake. Narrating how we do it at home got the wazungus wondering at how much meat we feast on. For the extremely creative minds, they spend their time putting plastic eggs on the tree branches, which were yet to recover from the bitting cold of the winter. Once the eggs were cooked and cooled, it was painting time. Painting the egg or keeping it in paint had the same results: colored eggs. This consumable paint though, was nothing but food color. But where was the fun in it? Both cultural practices towards Easter either way, brought families together.

Article by Wambui Witten