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I’m in Ahero, Kano and the village drunkard is at it again. Normally I snub his ramblings but tonight I’m eavesdropping his tirade. He’s out in the cold, probably alone on the murram road. He’s hurling epithets at imaginary adversaries. He’s talking smack and is impressively good at it. I’m tempted to leave the house to see him just to put a face to the voice but I decide not to. He’s very audible so I figure I’ll just listen in on him at the comfort of my couch; like it’s a live podcast recording.

Like most inebriated men, he gloats of his cojones. He rants on and on about how he is the cock of the walk in Tura (my village). He extols his virility. Asserting that he’s capable of impregnating all the girls of age in Tura if they prostrate before him, if only they will. He speaks glowingly of his brute strength and courage, of men who crossed him and ended up dead courtesy of his meanly clenched fists.

He says that he is a war hardened soldier and that he could best a battalion of 10000 men. He dares anyone who cares to doubt his stripes to show up and square up, mano a mano. Nobody does and he remains undisputed. He keeps on carrying the day till someone in Tura determines otherwise. So far, it is his slurred word against nobody’s. Each night he emerges and has his way and say.

Atta boy! I think. In many ways I’d like to be like him and have the world submit to my will and feet every damn time I challenge it to do the opposite. That’s our village drunkard guys. Haggard but undefeated. Winner by T.K.O for all the times he showed up on the murram road and left unopposed. Unlike most of us he is a dude on a streak of invincibility.

I am also in awe of his timing. How he ensures he’s the only one present from the alpha and omega of his encore. How at the gulp of his last drink so have all the inhabitants of Tura scampered into their homes. Awaiting his lengthy oration.

Contrary to his gusto filled chest-thumping spats. He has his low moments. He bemoans the absence of his wife. It’s hard to tell if she died or left him because of his vice. But that matters less. What matters is he lets us in. For all his glory he has an Achilles’ heel. He speaks of their dalliance wistfully with profound nostalgia. Almost sniffling as he revels in the joys of a love gone by. In those moments, he is a broken man begging to be pieced back together. Preferably by his ever so elusive lover. Whenever he wears his emotions on his skin and parades his bareness. He endears himself to me. He has a chink on his armor just like our favorite superheroes do. He is a superman surmounted by kryptonite, a balanced character.

Meanwhile my mother snores on with her mouth ajar. She is seated on a chair I like to call, ‘the throne’. It’s an unspoken truth but unless you foot the bills around here, you don’t settle your gluteus maximus there. Everyone knows it even guests notice at first glance. The throne belongs to her. All the other chairs in our living room would surely refer to this particular one as, ‘Your Excellency.’ It’s a chair that reeks power and responsibility. And she epitomizes that.

Normally she can’t stand the drunkard’s bouts of word salad but tonight she’s knackered so she won’t hear any of it. Side effects of brown ugali. We just had a mound of brown ugali and mala. Brown ugali is fatal and lethal. Once it settles in your gut it takes you out. It is the heavyweight champion of carbohydrates because it literally extinguishes your consciousness pound for pound. And so tonight she takes her leave courtesy of brown ugali, the food pugilist. She escapes the drunkard’s loquacity, tonight she sits this one out.


My trips to the village are often for reconnaissance purposes. I come here to take stock, reconfigure and recalibrate whatever metrics that I use to measure my life. Dala (home), centers me in a world that spins relentlessly. Here, I find my footing and as a son of the soil, I feel deeply rooted to the ground.

We are but various breeds of horses competing and chasing the wind in the city, galloping faster and faster to secure wins for our own lives. It matters less whether you are a mustang or a thoroughbred, we are out here on a track and we have to race our legs off to live because surviving Nairobi means you are only as good as your last run.

But horses too do tire and waver. They seek reprieve and retire once their legs cave in to fatigue. They rest their hooves and call it a day upon realizing they can’t keep up with the goose chase. And finally retreat to their stables. Back to the paddock and munch hay for as long as the sun shines its rays on their faces. That’s shags for me. It is my ultimate place of dwelling. It is my hideout.

I keep insisting that the city is not our home, especially for the African child. The city is a place we loan our energies, talents and skills hoping it pays dividend so that we can use those returns to better who we are, our people and where we are from. That’s just how I see it. Despite the copious amount of time I spend in Nairobi, to me it will always be a foster home. And ultimately even orphaned children grow, make their bones and soon feel they have overstayed their welcome in a foreign abode and embark on finding their descent.

If I’m to take a more morbid look at it, we all end up in shags anyway. We will build empires, forge reputations and dynasties in Nairobi. We will sip the fizzy drink, eat the fleshy steak and live the cushy life in the city but at the footnote of our eulogies we know the refrain. ‘The cortege leaves city mortuary on Friday for….’ (Insert name of rural area). And end up in a grave the size of a prison mattress next to a banana tree. As such I’ve never seen myself as an urbanite.

Maybe at this point this article is starting to read like a tabloid titled ‘5 things you didn’t know about going to the village’ but for me it’s an acknowledgement. The fact that Tura will always be my ancestral terrestrial home on this earth long as I live. Whenever the exotic concrete jungle in Nairobi bloodies my nose and threatens to bow my head into submission with its demands, I find my way here for restitution. The graves of my forebears, feeling nature’s pulse, seeing my country people and being in my mother’s presence are solid reasons why I find Tura cathartic. My village is an ointment to my healing.

In ancient Greek mythology there is the towering figure of Odyseuss. A great King and poet in his own right, who accompanies the likes of Agamemnon and Menelaus to wreak havoc in Troy. Once they achieve their said goal of setting Troy ablaze an reducing it to rubble. They all set out to travel back to their respective homes. Including victorious Odyseuss who begins his long trek to his beloved kingdom and home, Ithaca. Eventually he gets there but there is moral to this story. No matter how far our names and fame travel, we all need a home to return to.

And if you are still wondering if this Tura place is related to the name of the blog. Your hunch is right. JaTura means man from Tura and that’s just what I am.

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