To be honest, if a balanced diet had been thrust in my grandfather’s face, he wouldn’t have recognised it. The guy wouldn’t be caught dead slaughtering a goat in pursuit of some fangled thing called protein.
There probably were a few guava trees near his hut but for him, an elder, to be seen munching childish ‘vitamins’ would have been a matter serious enough to be brought before elders.
His diet consisted mostly of ugali made from cassava flour, a fare whose carbohydrates are nearly indigestible. This was accompanied by herbs whose nutritional content had been neutered by some traditional salt so potent that when you sunk a bolus of ugali in it, the whole mess turned yellow.
If the gentleman ever did any exercise, it was limited to chasing after his errant wives for purposes of corporal punishment. And yet he lived to a ripe old age, dying in hospital, his only second visit in 79 years.
What was his secret? Simple. Walking. The guy and his generation seemed to have crazy abilities for legging it over vast distances. It is said that he walked nearly 100km to seek employment on a white settler’s farm in Kitale.
By the time my mother got married, the only medical facility in those parts was a dispensary nearly 10km away, meaning pregnant women walked that distance with a toddler in their arms, another strung on the back and yet another in the ‘stomach’.
Where is this headed? Last week, I saw a very healthy man board a bus at Kencom House in Nairobi, only to alight at GPO — barely 400m away. And for his laziness, he coughed up a large amount of money!
He’s not alone. Many city passengers declare war when the matatu bypasses their stage merely because they have to walk a few metres back.
And the reason why our roads are a mess is because Kenyans are too lazy to walk to the bus stop. Walking from their houses is extremely tiring and matatu crews are only too happy to oblige by stopping right in the middle of the road.
It’s no different in villages. Boda bodas are a menace because these days, no right thinking villager walks to the market. They simply ‘flash’ a bicycle taxi and wait to be taken to the market and back — like ‘big people’ — or to the mortuary.
Easy like a,e,i,o,u
The Maasai wait for a whole day for a lift that may never come because walking is so 1940 while cattle rustlers are too lazy to fight with spears these days — a bullet will do, thank you.
Mama mboga has to slice our vegetables, potatoes, carrots and what not for us. Soon and very soon, they will start slicing tomatoes and onions for us.
Butchers have to cut our meat into smaller pieces. We have mama nguo who wash our clothes at a fee, even for house wives!
Even livestock for dowry is no longer driven to the bride’s place by young men. A vehicle must be hired. In fact, we have become too lazy to seduce mates — we just want FM radio stations to give us ‘love’.
Isn’t it a surprise, therefore, that making babies has become so tiresome that we steal them instead? I mean, what is so difficult with jumping in bed and making a baby? Something that takes seconds? So easy like a,e,i, o,u?
I know of young men who now prefer dating and getting married to single mothers because they find the job of making babies too tiring! And as they say, we are yet to see the worst.