The Diary of a Kenyan Village girl in Europe…
By Winfred Nyokabi
Weeee, the things this land has shown me! I will tell tales when am old.
So after I had just gotten used to walking to a bathroom right next to a boys’ room, I find out I have to take physical education classes. The teacher in me thinks of how many laps I made those little rascals take on a cold Laikipia morning, and I agree Karma exists.
I look at the list of games and sports they have that sound similar to what I know, but I draw a naught. Eventually I decided to take up Aikido. Since I went to school in a fancy military primary school, I always believed in my physical aptitudes.
Having an unbroken marathon world records also got to my little head and I felt top of the world, though I cannot run to catch chicken meant for dinner at Christmas. Yes, now I call it dinner, not supper. I think am eating too much cayenne pepper.
Anyhow back to the PE class. So I show up, sign up and buy new black pants to fit in. As if I needed any more blackness anyway.
First day of class, and the Sensei makes us do cartwheels. Me, with all my 55 kgs, legs up in the air and head down? Lawd have mercy! After that, we have to roll across a hall. The only rolling I have ever done is down a green lushly carpet of fine grass on the slopes of Mt. Kenya at Karatina each time we went to visit the real Nyokabi.
Now I have to even calculate for how my hand and elbow bend under my head. Am now convinced I will never survive that one and an half hour class. Turns out that is just the beginning. He was just getting started. Sigh.
Next comes the partner practice. This is when I sing a Maa dirge summoning all my borrowed relatives that I am a progeny of. Everyone in that room is at least one and half times bigger than me in all aspects. And guess what? We have to change partners after every 2 minutes of practice!
Have I mentioned that the class has men?! Yes, you read that right! Men, who at home I have to bend my head to receive blessings from when I walk into a room they are in. The moves look like they are straight out of a mwomboko dance.
Wait until you try to execute them. I very humbly realized nothing I ever did in my childhood had prepared me for this. At one point, I had to lift an 85kg, 5 ft 11’’ tall man over my butt and drop him on the ground. I have to admit after I mastered I couldn’t help letting out an ululation.
Never mind that the man was a black belt, hakama wearer who let me drop him every time. Operative word, let me, I stand no chance trying anything on him. The next move had me clap my hands to call off practise one minute into the steps. The look of confusion on their faces was enough encouragement to try it one more time, this time crying with my inner eyes.
I think the Maa blood in me needs some transfusion with some Taita one for docility. Can you believe it that in one instance I challenged the sensei that he could not get out of my grip? It’s been five months since that incident and I am still trying to rewind in slow motion what happened to me in those 3 seconds between me finishing the statement and me lying down flat with a spinning head.
Future husband, if you are reading this, just know am planning on keeping these classes going even when I can only spit at an angle.