On the Heels of the Hill

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Chapter 15: Win and Burn

Ronah tried to get a tight grip of her hands behind the big boy’s back. She fidgeted as she tried to get her hands together because the boy was really a big giant. The giant boy lifted his big fatty arms and folded them across his heavy chest. Ronah had a very big problem that smiled in front of her. She couldn’t circumference the giant, but she still kept going and one by one makes a bundle. She had covered a few inches and she just needed a few more inches to finally lift up her bundle into the air. She started squeezing his fatty sweaty flanks until she finally got the tighter grip. She then felt and sensed a strong stance of the boy who was trying as much as possible to remain planted deep on the ground. The boy never wanted to be a disgrace to all men. Ronah tilted the boy side ways to feel any more resistance. The boys started jeering Ronah whose cheek was already covered in the boy’s sweat. She had rested her head on the boy’s sweaty tummy. The sweat started to cause her hands to slip but like her grandfather once told her, a good hunter must never be covered in his own blood, but the hunt’s. Ronah then brought her two tiny legs closer so she could lean at a straight angle. The two looked like they had been tangled up into a tango. Ronah took all her time until she felt the boy relax his muscles and she abruptly swept him off the ground. The boy felt so ashamed and fought to plant himself back onto the ground. Once uprooted, a maize plant is never in position to beg to be replanted. Ronah held the boy higher that he couldn’t come back down. Ronah was fast losing her balance. She wanted enough proof that she was a winner but she could not do it any longer. The boy was trying as much as possible to run out of the embarrassment he had subjected himself to. Ronah completely lost her balance and brought the fat boy down to a crash landing. Everybody started throwing all kinds of Buzina abuses on the fatty boy. He looked like a zombie as he had nothing to say for himself. Some girls had come closer to the pitch to watch what was going on when they were invited earlier by noises at the start of the wrestling match. Every girl knew that they were not allowed to step foot on the pitch and so they respected the tradition by just watching from the sidelines. But a messiah had come. Ronah had just negotiated some time for them to also throw their small balls as they played kwepena. Darius was so happy that his sister had won. But his happiness was short lived. The boys immediately started to refuse the deal. They had thought fatty boy was going to win and he had lost, which meant the long standing tradition of young men on that pitch had been threatened by an intelligent brave feminist. Darius thundered,

“Real men respect their words” he then tore down his tone and added with a smile “so try and be real men. And have you forgotten that strength is not measured in weight. You should have counted twice before agreeing to the terms of the deal”

Darius’ speech caused two fractions between the young boys, those that wanted to be real men and those that wanted to be real men, for just being so sexist. The friction was oiled by Ronah who suggested that the boys accept defeat and fry their nsenene on the side of the pitch as the girls celebrated their victory. Some of the boys were hesitant to leave the pitch because they never wanted to lose their pitch like that to girls. Others were running very fast to be the first to roast their nsenene. They went to the flat rock next to the forest where they sat and started making a fire. The hesitant boys’ group kept dwindling and their idea of never letting go of their pitch and tradition was left dangling at the top of the hill. They one by one left the pitch leaving Darius and his sister at the center. Ronah beckoned the girls that stood at the side lines to come and play and Darius had to excuse himself and get out. He however stayed close to watch his sister celebrate her victory with the girls. The boys on the side of the pitch were getting bored of roasting small insects on stakes over hot fire whose heat was being complemented by the sun’s to make them feel drowsy and the noises of the girls playing and running all over the pitch. They each started leaving the fireplace into different directions until the fireplace was finally deserted. As some girls sat in circles on the red earth at the top of Buzina juggling stones, others running around as they dodged small boys, the fire on the rock was still heating. It was too freaking hot on Buzina. A faint stir of wind blew the free uniform dresses and the old rags worn by different young girls. The wind became stronger and blew away all the charcoal from the rock and swept it into the dry grasses. The dry grasses welcomed the fire and gave it a few tongues of frames. The dry fallen tree leaves also beckoned the frames and passed them on amongst each other and a wild fire went really wild. The girls on the pitch next to the forest were brought to the attention of the fire outbreak by the big thick cloud of smoke that suddenly engulfed the pitch. Some of the seated girls stood up very first, others bent down and hid their faces from the smoke in. The fire was spreading on the other side of the hill at a speed ten times that of swine flu.

The smoke at the top of the hill invited the attention of all the people hunting for nsenene down the hill including Brian and Ruth who had been busy picking.. Loving and concerned parents were seen running up the hill and calling out the names of their children. The smoke had covered the whole top of the hill that even the usually visible chair stone couldn’t be seen anymore. Whoever picked his or her children ran down the hill disregarding the other lives on the hill. A number of buveras of nsenene had been abandoned as everybody ran away from the fire. Only the hawks that could risk suffocating in order to grab the buveras of nsenene picked the buvera.

Brian and Ruth had come up the hill to see what had happened and save their mother’s forest. They found a number of confused younger children that were in the smoke searching for their mothers and older siblings. Brian and Ruth entered the rescue mission and a number of those children. Muriisa too came running to the site. He wasn’t interested in saving humans, but the hill, the pastures that his cows fed on and forest where he had secretly stolen firewood for his waragi brewing business. But was that the only reason he needed to save the hill from eternal destruction? Muriisa, had always been a man of the people and he had never missed at any community meeting, and other activities. He quickly climbed up a lone tree that stood erect in the grazing area and plucked off a number of branched from it. He jumped back to the ground shortly after throwing down the branches he had just thrown down. He did everything in such a haste the he almost stumbled on rocks. A number of young boys and other men including Rubahamba, the village rapist, Rukondere the village rain maker and many others followed suit. A number of trees suffered broken branches that Muriisa and his colleagues used to beat the fire off the dry grasses around the forest. The fire was just stopped from spreading down to the dry grazing lands. But they could never enter the forest to stop it. It was so hard to enter that too much heat and put off a fire that hard seen its way into a dry forest. The men decided to instead put off the fire around the forest but deep in the forest it was heating. After putting off the fire half way around the forest, the men were brought to the attention of the rain that roared in a distance.

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