This is a story as told to me by my African mother. There are a few words in Swahili and a local dialect but in each case, I have explained what they mean.

Truphena had had a long day. In fact, she could not remember when she had last sat down simply to relax. At that rare moment she stood outside her one room apartment and gazed at the sun as it sank down into the western horizon. “Such is a married life for a woman,” Truphena thought. From dawn till dusk everyday, she labored in the shamba (garden). She had to plant her own food to sustain her family of eight. The little money her husband made as a policeman fed them for a mere few days before they had to rely completely on the produce from her shamba.

For a moment, Truphena was confused with the silence of her surroundings. Her eight children ranging in ages from 16 to 4 years old rarely left any room for quiet meditation. Then she remembered that her children had all travelled to Kambare village in the western part of Kenya for their annual visit to her mother-in-law, Herina Lando. It was customary for grandchildren to visit their paternal grandparents at least every year and help out with chores around the homestead. During these visits, they were not allowed to just sit around doing nothing. They had to please their grandparents by being ready to do their bidding. Truphena had no problem with that especially since she loved and really appreciated her mother-in-law. Needless to say, she missed her children. A mother does not go through hard labor eight times only to be indifferent in her children’s absence.

Letting out a huge sigh, Truphena decided to clear up her small compound. She started by putting out the cooking fire and clearing the pots. She had a small outdoors room in which she kept all her cooking-ware. The system of housing those days was such that every individual room was detached from each other. There was a room for cooking just a few feet from the sleeping room and so on and so forth. Afterwards, Truphena swept the fallen leaves that had littered her compound through the course of the day. Truphena was anything but untidy. She loved cleanliness because she believed in the saying that it was next to Godliness. Whatever she had to do to ensure a clean environment, she did and to this her children, especially the girl-children, bore witness.

Having done all the outside chores, she retired to her room where her small bed took almost half the size of the room. Taking her bug wer (religious song book), she proceeded to look for her favorite song in the catholic-based literature. As far back as she could remember, she had always been saved. She held it true in her heart that when she passed on to the next world, Yesu Kristo (Jesus Christ) would be there to welcome her to heaven. This belief made her life spotless. Every one who knew Truphena could tell you that you would never find her talking badly about somebody behind her back. Thinking about how many of her friends loved to backbite, she began to hum rather absent-mindedly:

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  • Kathryn Anderson on Nov 22, 2008

    wow! great story! I wonder what happened when she woke up, and when her family heard, etc.

  • jackie on Nov 23, 2008

    good story,it’s really kenyan……….i love it.You still have your good wrtting skills thanks to Flamingo High school.

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