The slopes of Mount Kenya, The great Rift Valley and parts of the lower Eastern region of Kenya are some of the major coffee producing zones in the country.
In the vast coffee fields, semi-divided into small portions ,each individually owned by different families ;hard working Kenyans, coffee farmers are tirelessly taking care of their coffee farms. Their hope is that the coffee will fetch better prices “this time round”
The women are the most hardworking (it is no secret). They want their children to feed, their son to go to school , their daughter to graduate, grand pa to get adequate medication ,so forth and so forth ,simply the basic needs. For the time being anything luxury they peep out through the window! Better still gaze up the sky, at the sight of a passing air plane, That is the nearest many coffee farmers in Kenya get to luxury. No kidding.
Somewhere in one of the sloppy hilly landscaped farms, drenching in the early morning dew is a mother and her son .It is on a weekend so he is out helping his mum in the coffee field. The weeds seem to be longer than the previous seasons and if not her imagination is playing some damn tricks on her. After every other three minutes either of them has to bend and pull out a sharp weed that has penetrated his /her bare foot.
” At least this Christmas we should be able to afford two packets of baking flour’’ the mother signs in thought as she takes a standing a rest supporting her tired body on the fork stick gazing off into the distance, absent minded.
Her young son examines himself up from his toe to his chest carefully dusting off his right arm, he then runs his soiled arm on his face in attempt to eradicate any dirt on his face ! Surely his mother could not be staring at him that weirdly just because of his torn shirt!? It’s a sight she should be used to already , he wears it almost on daily basis and she has never before raised an eyebrow about it .Confused he asks her why she has been staring at him that much!
‘’Oh’’ she signs as her left hand holds the top part of the digging fork while the right hand holds the middle, ‘’it is just that you are growing up too quickly’’ she lies then avoiding his gaze steadily resumes her digging. How on earth would he understand that she was not even seeing him? That she was miles away in thought . He is way too young for that. By the thought of it she lets out a thunderous laughter, that magical African laughter. A keen person would notice that it has some traces of sadness in it, but so well concealed. It is contagious so the son joins in. It is one brief happy moment .
Inwardly she hopes and prays that the Gods would smile upon them and send the winds of favor to blow their direction, for the rains to fall abundantly, a bountiful harvest and better coffee returns .
Just as she resumes her digging, there is a soft humming coming from down the path, it is her immediate neighbor ,another lady, a coffee farmer too. On her back is a load of clothes tied up with a leso, she is from washing at the stream. On her head is a water can. She must have woken at the break of dawn for her to be returning home this early. Up the slope she goes ,still humming beautifully. Little drops of sweat forming at the edge of her wrapped head ,you can see yellow stitches randomly appearing on the hem of her over sized blue skirt. Her once white T.shirt has two holes both at the lower front side.
You should note it is not the ‘unfinished’ design people are flaunting nowadays though they can be easily confused to be but clearly its faded nature throws a shade of doubt, Even so, thank Heavens such a design exists, it camouflages a lot! She looks tired and worn out but hopeful. They exchange a few pleasantries as she continues up the slope. She cannot afford to stop, time is not on her side. She must get home quickly and prepare lunch for her husband who as usual would later in the day be going out to take care of ‘business’.
Later in the day she will be setting off to tend to her coffee farm. She is … hardworking,she deserves a decent life at least…
As you sip that delicious cup of coffee remember that someone, for instance this mothers who represent so many people out there has worked so hard for it to end up in your cup, as tasty , flavored and delicious as it is.
Get yourself one more please for that hardworking mother out there whose hopes are in that cup of coffee. Put a smile on her face and perhaps next time she lets out that thunderous laughter it would have clear traces of happiness. Cheers