A Genesis Story – Ambala

It was a hot and sunny day. The leaves crackled and folded in complaint, and the earth boiled in anger. Grrrr, grrrooo, grrrr, grroooo. Crackle, crackles, crisps, crisps. Hotter than a February afternoon at Industrial area, or at Jua Kali. Hotter than the feeling by onions as they dance rhythmically to the sweet tunes of hot cooking oil, and as they burn their feet on the close-molten dance floor. Burn,  burn. Heat, fire..The sun was cooking a beef recipe, baking skins. On this day, the ozone layer had absconded duty. It was hot.

Evelyn sat restlessly on a cassock seat. Her fingers aching with activity..one minute they were flapping paper across her face, and the next they were wiping drops of ammonia off her black aquiline nose. Adamba, her husband was busy as bee and hive too, helping Noah. Noah, the ever-present guide and voice of wisdom -Noah was the closest to sibling Adamba could ever have. Fold, organize, instruct, oversee; he was doing it all. The event had to be a success; it was the launch of Noah’s restaurant.

The launch had been the talk of town. Many had wished to attend, but few were invited. Only the crème de la crème of society. As a premiere touch, Noah’s had an offer; buy one get one free. So everything came in twos..two chicken, two chips, two pattes, two glasses of water, two buns, two. Two grains of salt, and two of pepper. Noah double-double; no other could beat that.

And so came the beautiful part. The part where the tongue appreciated God’s creations. When the different tongue parts separated bitter, sweet, sour, salty and such phenomena. The hour of reckoning between good and grim table finesse. The seated, after a 3-hour wait, were more than delighted by the idea of food. They tossed, tagged, swept, kicked and picked, licked and gulped; all in the blink of an eye. And when a loud garlic-scented burp escaped Evelyn’s jaws, she could do nothing but bow her head in shame. Sumptuous were the meals, and elated was the crowd. And at the end of it all, piles of bones and left-over vegetable were guiltily piled at a corner of Noah’s previously pruned and propered green lawn. At the sight of his new damaged-beyond-repair-of-the-once-beautiful lawn, Noah was saddened. Tireless nights and scrupulous amounts of money had been spent on this yard. Things had been okay, but now they were starting to go wrong. He frowned, and two folds showed on his forehead.

Tout a coup (suddenly), there was a garbage breakdown. Monsieur Garbage just couldn’t handle the heat. He danced to Mc Hammer’s tunes. He wore a satin pair of bell-bottomed pants and did a jig…break-break, dance-dance.. Miss Fungi was panting and sweating as Bacteria pushed her around on the dance floor. A little sway of hips here, a rhythmic move of shoulders there..but Bacteria wouldn’t let her be. So when she finally recoiled back to her seat, Bacteria knew he had won. Like a an auctioneer chasing a rent defaulter, the bacteria and heat had cooked the fungi into a healthy plate of manure. Fresh and fertile.  And at this sight, Noah got overwhelmed with emotion. They vacillated(the emotions); his eyes suggested that they should cry. But his fists suggested they should fire up someone’s chin. Then they finally came to a decision..and Noah took some water to aid them. Two glasses to be precise, just enough for him to weep two fountains, and rivers too.

And as Noah wept, Adamba reached out to give him tissues..when he realized there were none. How could they have run out so fast?? So into his car Adamba hopped, just to discover that he had a flat tire. Luckily, his lovely wife was busy licking a large doughnut, ready to lip it and lavishly gulp it down.. “Please, I need it..I’ll get you another”. Those were the words of one Adamba to his love, as he quickly rimmed the oily doughnut and whisked away. The crowd remained baffled and began to depart, this was too bizarre an event.

As Noah continued to weep, the earth began to grind and gruggle. Grr, grr. Like Grogon. Grr, grr. It was singing freedom songs, inspired by Mandela. A revolution was about. It had to break free; free from the arms of the earth, free from the warm embrace of the soil. Up and running, taller and taller. Taller than Hansel and Gretel’s adventures, taller than Jack’s beanstalk. And there behold, was a tree. The most beautiful one ever seen, perched with the rosiest of flowers right at its fore.

These were the most bizarre shenanigans that Evelyn had ever set eyes on. At least the much that her eidetic memory could recall. And yet, they were only a week old at Edenville Estate. With mouth agape, she wondered what more atrocities the future held for them. The devil and his menacing antics were truly alive. Right at the moment, a Mercedes ML350  pulled up right at the yard’s front. Out came a stunning work of art; perfect was his everything; face, body, poise. Oozing Paco Rabanne’s One Million man. Charm. Evelyn suddenly lost her sense of who and where she was. All she could hear was the work of art introduce himself, “Sabi is my name, full name Sabend”..in a crisp Kalenjin accent.

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Genesis – Ray Mwihaki

Shadows dance to the rythm of the night,
moon lighting more than just paths,
more than birds and drums breathing melody into the air,
more than shadows…

Words more than echoes bless the ears,
more than a meteor in space,
more than wind kissing earth,
more than spirit, soul, body.
More than dancers…

Stone joint to stone, locked.
Atoms and heat said be involved,
more than energy in the universe,
more than moulding or weaving, zapping
a bomb scientifically impossible,
odds and ends
more than nature….

Links, a chord to a plug
a lot more to clarity than just clear,
sparks in the dark open sky,
something not of a reflection,
not in summary, a revelation twice removed
more than the beginning.

Genesis – Chief Nyamweya

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” opens the first line of the “Good Book” in the chapter which shares a title with this essay. The Judeo-Christian creation myth put forward in the book of Genesis is easily the most successful of the thousands of foundational myths of all the world’s cultures. That being the case dear reader, I shall not insult you with a detailed reproduction of the seven day creation story which culminated in the molding from mud of a lonely and impressionable man with a weakness for apples.

What is behind the worldwide success of this tale?

Every culture on earth, from Polynesia to South America, after all has some myth or other about how everything came into existence. So what prompted billions of native peoples in Asia, Africa and Roman-occupied Europe to abandon their firmly held myths and defer to Adam and Eve?

The Maasai for example had a lovely tale of how their ancestors descended a giant hide that stretched from the clouds into the plains of the Rift Valley and the Kikuyu had the tale of Gikuyu and Mumbi as their Adam and Eve equivalents, to name just a few low-hanging examples I remember from primary school. Few people, if any, still take seriously these stories, yet the Genesis creation myth has somehow escaped a similar transcendence by logic in Africa. One need not squander much time pointing out the flaws in the Genesis since a child could easily show them to you, as indeed many often do. It’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, for example, to point out that with only two sons, Adam’s bloodline should have promptly been arrested with the death of Cain. As with the tale of the Emperor’s new clothes, it’s only the innocent or the impolite that remark on such absurdities.

Is this what once proud African nations yielded their own myths for? Did this suggestion of the incestuous population of the earth by way of the Middle East strike them as superior logic?

I can only speculate as to what my ancestors’ motivations were for swallowing this story whole. To this end, I’ve concluded that either:

  • a)      They were impressed by the soundness of it’s logic, or
  • b)      They had pragmatic reasons quite separate from the truth of the story (coercion or bribery etc), for adopting this myth.

I strongly distrust the first assumption. As for the first possibility, as I’m sure you by now suspect, I see nothing logically superior in the proposition that a talking snake and an human affinity for apples is the cause of all our current woes to the proposition that the Maasai were space aliens before they descended a hide-coated escalator. That is the benefit of the doubt I’m willing to extend pre-colonial Africans. This is not at all to say that they were not superstitious, because they very much were, but because they would need a good reason to abandon their own brand of superstition for the imperial variety. This brings me to the second possibility.

Few modern commonwealth Christians are willing to concede the point, but the reasons for their ancestors conversion (and by extension their own) had little to do with the power of “the holy spirit” but by pure unbridled pragmatism. Missionaries rarely ever came empty-handed, as would need to be the case for a control test of this point. Along with their bibles also came social goods such as education, healthcare and in some cases security. (Read if you will Caroline Elkins’ Britain’s Gulag, and see what a world of a difference it would have made to your fate as an unfortunate resident of the native reserves of Tetu or Fort Hall if you couldn’t prove your Christian credentials.)

So was it “the word”, or the goodies?

Personally, I’m reluctant to confer too much nobility to our forbears. And though I do not mean to criticize the extraordinary contribution of Christian charities, if I’m right, then it would appear then that secular charities such as Oxfam and MSF are that much more deserving of our support and respect for not exploiting such a great opportunity for proselytizing. For heaven’s sake let’s help them!

Last but not least, we have no right to forget what great difficulty Africans must have had distinguishing between the visitors who came with guns and those who came with bibles. Is it inconceivable to think that the massacred native would have fatalistically concluded that the gods of these white men with fire-sticks was more compentent than his?

As for me, the book of Genesis remains largely unwritten. Its pages only slowly filled in by the tireless efforts of astrophysics and evolutionary biology. And though I may never learn the full story, I’m far happier living in this age of wondrous mystery, than I would in a slave state where the dictated story is the only story.

 

Adam’s Apple – Linda Musita

Paintings of Adam and Eve show that each has a belly button (navel or umbilicus). Think about it.

-ITM-

 

Exiled. Naked. He looked up the apple tree. Boredom and a talkative, nagging woman were his punishment. His sin; questioning the existence of The Enigma after another cruel desert storm. Eden is a vegetative hell hole that offered nothing else but trees and fruit. He missed home. He missed the food, the camels, the dryness, the mirages, the confusion and his dysfunctional polygamous family unit. His father was a rolling stone that gathered no moss but a lot of fungi and virus that explained the old man’s loose nuts, the boils on the mothers’ lips and their itchy vaginas.

 

“Hey Adam, you are the man and by default the smarter of the pair?” Eve asked as she plucked an apple from the tree.

 

“Go figure,” why wouldn’t she just keep quiet? Did she have to ask those questions; closed yet wide open questions. Questions that led to more questions that he alone had to answer.

 

“Alright,” apple in hand bent over his head, naked, her privates covered by a mass of kinky-curly black hair. She had abnormally large areolae that made her breasts look like half-rotten coconuts. He did not like looking at her. He closed his eyes.

 

“Adam, I think that worms come from an apple. They do not infest an apple. Instead the apple gives birth to them. You know, like a mother after nine ripe months?”

 

“No Eve, I do not know.”

 

“Adam, you liar,” she stands straight.

 

“You do not have to keep saying my name every time you speak. It’s just the two of us here, you milk- less goat.” He rolled over and lay on his stomach. A man should not be forced to look up at a woman, especially when she is standing upright and nude.

 

“Adam, why are you so unkind?” She asked and sat next to him slightly bothered by the shade of the tree. She missed the desert heat. Why did The Enigma choose her to start a cursed race with this unimaginative sod?

 

“I am not unkind. You talk too much and think only when you are asleep. What would it cost me to have you quiet for…say…an entire moon?”

 

“Adam, you could help me prove that an apple mothers a worm or twin worms or triplet worms or a multitude of worms. I am certain that it will be a groundbreaking theory. A theory a lot like the Chicken-Egg Theory that puzzles your father.”

 

“You are as crazy as he is, I can see. Where do you suppose you will put that apple. There is no place here that is not already infested by worms that will eat your silly apple. The ground is burrowed with them, the tress and flower bushes camouflage them…Really, Eve? Do you want to prove that the worm is so ungrateful as to eat his own mother?”

 

She looked around. He was right. Defeated she transferred her eyes to his bare back and left them there, transfixed. An hour went by. He was grateful for the quiet.

 

“Adam, I have it!” she yelled, fell on her back, laughed, waved her legs instead of her arms, swung her arms instead of her legs, created unnecessary commotion.

 

“Holy Enigma! Affray! Affray! Why shout and kick? ” Her shrilly proclamation had interfered with his peace.

 

“Adam, if you want me quiet, we will have to put the apple on your back. You do not have worms…and well, if you do, they cannot wiggle out through your skin and attack the apple before it bears.”

 

“So?”

 

“Adam. Let us strike a saliva handshake- disgusting body fluids type of deal. Binding and hard to go back on. I will shut my trap if you let the apple sit on your back for an entire moon.”

 

“How will I function? Release my bladder? Eat my food? Stretch my limbs?”

 

“Okay, Adam, I will take those four questions and assume that you don’t want the deal. I, consequently,  will keep talking. I will talk without ceasing. Rumble, nag, chatter, squeak and shriek till the day or night you die.”

 

He knew she was capable.

 

“Alright, we have a binding contract.”

 

Adam spit on his hand. Eve wiped her pudenda then her armpits. They shook hands.

 

She put the apple on his back. He was happy for the calm but wondered if he would still be fine after the moon and whether after that same moon, he would have to bear her probably stinky loud mouth again?

 

Linda Musita © 2011

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