The chuckles and shrills from the playground can only come from well fed kids. All seem happy except the cattle herder who has to trail the herd as it forages and ranges the pastures. That is one village chore countryside boys hate with a passion.
Anything can happen and be found at the pastures, unsolicited fights, snakes, pasture bullies and straying beasts. Losing a couple of cows is such a transgression with unfathomable consequences.
The herd boy would rather sleep elsewhere than facing his father to tell two oxen were missing. The offence needed no arbiter because no one had sympathy for a son 'who lost cattle'. The beating was such that witnesses would be forgiven to think you were being robbed.
A father's rage could not be toned down until the beasts were found and penned. It is a different story in the kitchen during summer season.
Stating fire with wet fire wood needs a 'fire engineer', one may take a good two hours and still fail the task. This is were the village girl comes tops because she can make the fire 'live' with little effort. Green mealies everywhere, people are munching and chomping till late.
"Mvura naya naya, tidye Mupunga".
Thomas Tondo Murisa. Chinehasha.
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