Growing in the village those days, many interesting things used to happen.
Mutegi huko, was a short stout man, those fellows who can push to a start, your manual Ford Escort with low battery.
This guy had the energy of dunamis, ever strong and active, a great story teller and I think a good liar too.
Mutegi huko had one notable profession, gutega huko (catching moles in the shamba).
For those town dwellers/ born tau, moles are nasty animals, the size of a rabbit, they eat farm crops, not from the top, but from the bottom by pulling the crops into their underground bunkers. It’s almost impossible to see a mole with your naked eyes, since a mole burrows underground making extensive burrows that can extend wide throughout the farm, just like our young Thika graduates who dug a trench into KCB Thika branch, some time back.
Mutegi huko, never missed to catch a mole in your farm. He would carefully craft a trap made of a tensioned stick and a favourite root that moles love. Once the mole bit the root, the mole would be hamstrung by the tensioned rope.
All moles were trapped at night. None was caught during the day. Mutegi huko was simply a nocturnal human being, always active at night, how he managed his family affairs is another story.
Early in the morning Mutegi huko, would walk into your compound asking you to go and witness the trapped huko (mole). We somehow believed that guy was a con, he was simply transferring one dead mole from one trap of one farm to another, but since we didn’t have proof or an alternative mole trapper, we kept quiet.
Once he showed you the trapped mole, you parted with a cool 20 shillings, a good sum those days.
Mutegi huko would then disappear with the mole. He used to tell us that custom does not allow someone to leave a trapped mole in the very farm that it was trapped. But, we believed he used to roast them, and this is why.
Every time you passed near his secluded homestead, smell of roast meat always lingered.
He was fat.
His many children were fat and healthy.
His wife was a super weight.
The children never mingled with us villagers and were secretive.
I hear mole meat is the cleanest, most fresh, and most nutritious because those animals choose to eat the most succulent of the farm crops. I’m tempted to think that they run NCPB, since that behavior is evident in that parastatal.
I pray you don’t have moles in your farm, for Mutegi huko is now very old and retired, and I doubt if anyone took after him.
Find more pieces from Mundia here