Nomadic humour

It was a hot day in Isiolo it was dustier than usual. Lumyang’ was tired and strolling as usual with his herd of goats. He slowed his pace because he was tired of inhaling dust from the rampant bursts of dust devils. A clattering sound drew his attention. He stared and then gave a knowing nod, as usual; it was Moha hawking his iron wares sharing unsolicited neighbourhood gossip. Lumyang’ had heard his fair share and been part of the fair share of gossip as well. He did not feel like engaging with Moha at all.

“Vipi Waria!?” He yelled and waved at Moha.

“Vipi mchungaji! Wapi nyama leo?” The usual exchange, Moha was always asking for meat. You would think the pot bellied ironmonger had had his fill with meals. But Moha always had space after clanging across town.

Lumyang’ stood across from the lone bank in the town under the shade of an acacia tree, he bowed his head and gazed at his dusty feet. There was a sense of self loathing that he felt that began to manifest itself in his iron grip on a branch of the tree. He began to shake it, playing out something violent in his mind, he began to tear and groan in anger. The goats that had settled under the tree started to fidget from the sound. He looked around and realized that people were beginning to stare curiously at him. He bowed his head and then pulled out his wooden baton from his side. And slit to the ground. He sat and faced his goats that now faced him.

His gazes shifted from his goats to the restaurant nearby and then the sky with an occasional sniffle. Then he began to shake his right leg impatiently. He stood up looked at his goats and then grabbed one of them which gave out a lame cry. He looked at the Maasai sword in its sheath hanging from his belt. Looked at the goat which got the hint of where things were going and started bleating and butting back and forth. It set off the others who now stood and began to run toward the road.

Lumyang’ clicked and started hissing while shoving the knife back into its sheath. He picked a dried twig which he whisked around in the hear hissing the goats away from the road. He sighed so hard so exasperated. Then as he was guiding his goats, his phone in a little tied pouch on his belt rang.


“Naongea na Lumyang’?”

“eeeeee!” he responded still curious before demanding to know who it was. The person introduced themselves as a radio show host.

“Umeshinda shilling elefu mia moja!”

Lumyang’ dropped his phone looked at his goats about to be hit by a truck on the road and began to cry. He leaned forward and whispered “Asante Mungu” and then picked up his phone again.

“Nikweli?” Then he heard laughter. The show host told him to hold on.

“Lumyang’ Vipi?” the other jocular voice asked him, it was familiar.

“Somin?” Lumyang’ responded? Then Somin burst out laughing. It was a prank call and there Lumyang’ was staring at his 10 dead goats splattered across the road because of a prank. Somin was just about to face his wrath.


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