My desire to ensure environmental sustainability.

Point blank on environmental issues.

Thursday, 23 August 2012


My siblings always complained that I was dad's favorite son. That was true because I was the one who could always welcome him home after a long and tiring day. Running at him and clutching on his legs every evening touched him to the heart. He could never miss a polythene bag and in it my favorite food. My dad used to work at a rich farmers shamba in our village. His work was to trap moles that were a nuisance at the shamba. The abandoned telephone wires helped out so much in his mole trapping business, thanks to the wireless communication that has seen a abandonment of the wired one. It happened that the farmer had large herds of cattle- some for milk and others for beef. His good friend, Ken, working at the abattoir could give him a share of sneaked meat. In fact my dad could help out when meat demands were high especially at nights. Life was really good. I could not eat if meat was not one of the foods on the table. My elder brother could be forced to rush to the butchery for it.
There was something strange with the butchery meat as always. It tasted differently! It was never delicious as that dad brought home. I never liked it. What was wrong? It could leave me worried because it was cooked by the very person-mum, same ingredients incorporated and taken with ugali as always. It just ruined my nights. This was a mystery but I never dared mention this to dad.

It was on Saturday evening when my dad received that his help was needed at his boss's abattoir. He hurriedly dressed up in his long black coat, black lace-up shoe and a yellow 'seng'enge ni ng'ombe' cap. I searched for his torch which was always a constant to him, in fact he could better miss the coat but not the torch. Dad promised to come back with my favorite food and disappeared into the darkness. I was so happy to hear that, meaning my night was going to be a good one because the following day the delicious meal could be on the table. It took him long to return. Dad had never gone for more than four hours. He had left at 8:00 pm and it was approaching 1:00 am but there were no signs of him returning. My mum was so much worried and could not take it anymore. He woke my elder brother up who hurriedly rushed to uncle David's house. The three of them- my brother, uncle David and his son set out to the rich farmers place.

The boss's words left all their mouths agape. His words were short and to the point: ' I haven't called John today. For you information my abattoir has never operated at night!' Wait! Where could this man be going all those nights he gets out? Where was he getting that meat? Maybe there another abattoir he worked for those nights he went out. Worse of all, he had left his phone at in the house! All his close friends' phones were out of reach. Only one went through. Francis could spend most of his free time with my dad. He didn't pick his first call. All the heartbeats accelerated even more. 'Were they robbed?' asked uncle David. ' But where were they going?', he countered himself. May be they were at the bar. We assumed it was the case though we knew dad was not not a frequent drunkard. A second attempt to call delivered. The snoring voice over the phone was an indication that Francis was dead a sleep. He had seen dad two days ago. Ha said he knew where dad could have gone. Francis promised to be back early the next morning from his eland across the neighboring town. He promised that everything will be alright. It was a long night.

I can admit that I have never experienced such a morning in my life. Cattle mowing in the closed shade, noisy chicken in the kitchen and the cold hearth because the fireplace was not operational. Worse of all, it never anybody's mind that it was Sunday, the family worship day. My grandmother was grumbling all over the compound mourning her eldest son's sudden disappearance. This sent mum into tears. She almost collapsed, thanks to aunt Jane who patted her shoulders all through. The rest of the family totally confused as well.

Then came long awaited Francis. He immediately summoned my elder brother and David all the to Ken's homage. Ken is that man who worked at the rich man's abattoir.He lived across the stream next to the village market. They met Ken so tired in such early a morning catching some warmth from the jiko. Here they received a mixture of good and bad news at the same time. Dad was alive. Thanks be to God. 'John is at the police station and will arraigned in court tomorrow', Ken said this winking at Francis. My father wasn't a robber! Neither was he a cattle rustler! Why did the police have to take him to court? How did Ken know? Francis hurriedly cut the interrogation short and Ken was left quite disturbed. Did he know what has happening behind the curtains?

The following day in court. Francis was not with us. Dad at the right chamber and another man in a green uniform at the left chamber. I wondered why he was limping as he entered the court room? It was the first time I saw my dad cry, worse, in public. Maybe because he had missed his family overnight. I was happy hat he would be out, a clean an harmless man as he was. I would enjoy eating the tasty meat ever and ever. The prosecutor went through the charges. Nobody believed what they heard. The court room went silent for a couple of minutes . . .there was John- dad, defending himself in all manners. I never believed a single word this man was saying. He unveiled a very touching secretive project they had been carrying out with his two other friends who were not in court that day. I then understood why Francis and Ken went missing on Sunday evening.

My dad was partly employed at the farmers home.He could leave by 3:00pm together with Francis and and Ken head out to their elands. Ken himself never worked at the abattoir. The telephone wire was not used to trap moles but something else. The higher the successes, the more we could feast on the family table. If they failed during the day, they could set out at night to try their luck. Dad's favorite torch was used to blind the target. I was almost getting the answer to that mysterious meat.

That night was not a lucky one for the two. I think Francis' God guided him to the neighboring town during those two days. Otherwise he could have been in the mix too. The guards were very armed that particular night. Ken managed to escape the wrath but alas to dad. He got short on his left leg while carrying that goat-like animal on his shoulders. That green uniformed officer in the left chamber of the court was leading capture troop . . . 'According to chapter 44 section 6 c of the Wildlife Act, this court has found you guilty of. . . you will therefore serve a term of ten years imprisonment as a lesson to those people acting in such a manner', the judge hit the table. Aunt Jane was again their for mum though she was overwhelmed too.

Mystery was completely unveiled. The soft, tasty delicious meat did not come from cattle. It was bush meat! In fact that goat-like animal in the courtroom was a dik dik they had blinded before the wardens tracked them down. My dad was a wild game hunter which is prohibited in our country.

Why did you have to do that dad? Do you know how my mum and your mum are crying for you? You took a very big risk just to feed your family! We dearly miss you.

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