is a word coined by the Aembu people in Kenya, meaning land on top of the hill. You would still be right to title this blog post as Embu, Kenya.
It is a now a month since I landed in this economically vibrant town in Eastern Kenya. Born and raised in Western Kenya, Embu to me was yonder and a place I had never been.
I am here to do what people do – work. Given that it’s an agriculturally rich county you would be forgiven for thinking am an agriculturist. Embu is in a semi arid area with high temperatures that make you sweaty and thirsty; if you actually find it hard to gobble 6-8 glasses of water a day,Embu is the right place to change that. I myself have been doing with 4litres of water half a day given the hot working environment. I find myself taking shower two times a day to relieve the body of heat and sweat. For the hydrophobic guys, this is not your place, flee away very fast.
So what does my job entail!? I work in a growers farm majoring in the production of horticultural crops namely Demon chilli ( kanyenje) for local name, French beans ( mishiri), water melon, bananas and onions. My typical day begins at 5 a.m. Wake up hot or sweaty shower up, prepare and take a hurried breakfast and jump on the next motorbike to my place of work. By the time am leaving my place of stay it’s 6a.m so I arrive at my place of work at about 6:30a.m thanks to a bumpy 11km ride over a rising and falling terrain with roads that are quite unfriendly, showering you with dust in a dry weather and slippery, sticky mud on a wet season. By virtually 7:30 a.m almost all employees and workers have reported for duty. A normal working day usually begins at 8:00a.m. Walking on gumboots the whole day is now a part of me; I work in the production department and my key responsibilities include supervising labour in blocks, supervising bed maintenance and general routine management practices on the crops in various blocks. By 4p.m am done working but due to the distance, transport logistics and sometimes the nature of work on a given day I arrive at my place at about 6 or 7 p.m.
Here in kirimari, two local tribes exist the Aembu people and their cousins the Mbeere people. I am in Mbeere south, Kiritiri to be more precise. Though other tribes have also found Embu hospitable and liveable such as the Akamba, Agikuyu and Abaluhyia like me. The Agikuyu resonate well with the Mbeere people and therefore can communicate effectively. The dorminant economic activity is agriculture with miraa being the main cash crop that sells like hotcake. On entering a pub or a club one would mistake revellers as people suffering from mumps. Their left or right cheeks can be seen bulged with shovings of miraa (muguka) accompanied with roasted groundnuts ( to make it tastier) , taken down by a bottle of beer and wound up with smoke puff from cigarettes. What a stuffy and breath taking place to be.
Given the side effects the sour or rather tasteless plant may have on your health young men and women consume it with relish enjoying every bite that goes by. However, it leaves behind a wake of irresponsible father’s and husbands that lazy around making their unusually beautiful women more productive than men; no proclivities here, save me your curious mind. Women walk as far as 11 kilometres to go work to and fro something I have not seen in Western Kenya. Most women there would prefer to stay at home doing house chores or be forced to stay at home by their husbands who go to work instead. A lazy,irresponsible husband will be harangued with an avalanche of insults and contempt from an irate wife.
In Kirimari, agriculture thrives more so because of River Thiba backed by the seven folks hydroelectric irrigation schemes namely Kamburu, Kiambere, Kindaruma, Gitaru, Masinga ,Mutonga and grandfalls. The last two are still not operational.
To anyone with misgivings about this place I would advise you on the contrary that it’s a place to be. Tourist attraction sites within include the 7 folks, Mt. Kenya and the Karue hill picnic site off Embu- Runyenjes road.