Born For the Adventure: The Story of An African Girl

We love hearing stories about what inspired our Delegates to join us at the Millennium Campus Conference! Share your story with socialmedia@mcnpartners.org and have your voice heard!

The following is a beautiful story written by MCC15 Delegate Phenny, who is a sophomore agronomy student at EARTH University in Costa Rica.

---

I loved walking down to the river, along the winding paths in the meadows covering the valley. I loved making adventurous journeys during the evenings when the birds came back to their nests from the day’s hunt and made sweet sounds. The setting sun inspired me and gave me energy to walk down these creepy paths. Occasionally, I would put my hand over my eye to look at the sun going down between the hills. The sight of the burning orange horizon gave me inner peace. The cold dry winds from the windward side of the hill blew over my face. I occasionally gasped for breath. On the way, I collected wild berries to eat as I enjoyed the eerie quietness of the evening. Sounds of the birds and crickets, the beauty of the setting sun and the cold dry winds descending down the valley were all that summed up to one word: Adventure.

I was an adventurous little African girl. I did it because it fulfilled my soul and made me happy. I lived in a rural area in the Western part of Kenya. I loved my home. I loved the village. It was such a magnificent paradise. The music, the food, the graceful fig trees and the land were all so beautiful. The rivers flowed and whispered peace and joy, the on looking Nyabondo plateau watched with charm, the Komala hills always toned the morning sunrise giving it a truly spectacular view, the fig trees were divine as they brought a warm sensation of liveliness into the village.

I woke up early each morning. My sisters and I went to work in the potato farm. A famous bird commonly named osogo winyo accompanied us to the field. We sang along to its melody and enjoyed weeding, harvesting, planting or whatever work was there to be done for the day. Later on I went to collect mushrooms from grandmother´s farm. She lived on the hill slope and I loved climbing the hill because I falsely called it mountain hiking. The mushrooms I collected were some peculiar brown type which grew freely on my grandmother’s garden as soon as the rainy season came. My mother had taught me to boil, fry and spice this kind of food. Since a tender age, as an African girl, I learnt how to prepare most of the native foods. I loved the aroma which came from it. It was enriching. Everyone delighted in eating such a tasty lunch after a long morning in the farm. I usually prepared the mushroom dish with ugali, a common Kenya meal made from maize flour.

My afternoons were dedicated to grazing the only cow we had that provided us with milk. Her name was Zainabu. My father called the cow so because there was a very old song that he liked which praised a girl called Zainabu. I think it was for the 40´s. It had good lyrics and rhythm. I fell in love with the cow because of the famous Zainabu song. By then it was the best song I had ever listened to the whole of my life.

The grazing field was the home of an old lady. It had been abandoned for some time. It looked like some haunted lighthouse somewhere by the sea. She had died because of depression. It was sad, almost tragic for me because she was such an adorable and kind old woman. She offered my sisters and me ripe fruits and told us a lot of stories. She told us stories of the ogres, of the great legends of our land and of love. She offered my mother a clay water pot. This pot was, to me, a royal artifact. It had such great meaning in my life that drinking water from it was almost like my daily ritual. It was a strong human-pot bonding.

My poor old lady had no family, so she lived all by herself. She lived in my favorite part of the village. A river passed right behind her maize farm and close to the river there were thickets with colorful birds. Each afternoon was a brand new story of adventure.  I walked around the compound trying to look for good pasture for Zainabu to eat always making sure that the cow does not destroy the abandoned old house. This house was magical. As old as it was, it never showed any signs of falling down. So many owls lived there. Sometimes I saw a lot of them that I felt scared. Perhaps it was really a haunted house. Who knows? Anyway I did not care so much. I was too busy finding interesting things to touch, smell, taste and dance to.

Sometime we played hide and seek or jumped ropes. My favorite part of the evening was when we had to go and collect beads from plants to make necklaces and bangles. I love necklaces and bangles .I treasure beads. It is said that the beads are a sign of African beauty. But long before I even came to hear that, I adored beads so much.

Just before leaving the grazing field and finally closing the day´s adventure, I ran to the river to collect my favorite guava fruits and have a last glance at the sunset because the riverside had a splendid view of the hills behind which the sun set. Then I walked away towards home behind my favorite cow: Zainabu.

That was all for the day: adventure and love for whatever I found around me. I made such strong connections with such little details that I wanted to adventure more and more. However my mother would not allow me because she thought I was too young to cross to the other villages and find out more, for curiosity.

All my day´s adventures culminated to nights which brought along a strong but strange desire-a yearning for more adventure. The nostalgia of remembering the series of the day´s events, the peace of mind that the moon gave me, the satisfaction of knowing that we finally had milk for the vegetables because I had taken Zainabu to graze, the joy of seeing the maize roasting over the fire, the awesome sight of our tall shadows all behind us and the warmth of the laughter from each one of us welcomed another phase of my adventure: an adventure in silence.

I triggered my mind to replay all that I had seen during the day in a quick flash then in slow motion. Wow! Amazing! Only if I could write about this feeling but I did not know how to write. I struggled with my alphabet, my father helped me. I really wanted to write about my life, adventure, travel stories, the old abandoned house at the grazing field, about the kind old lady and about how much I yearned to live in the village forever. Maybe I needed more time: to learn alphabet and start writing words.

I was a desperate, adventurous little African girl. I wanted to write. I yearned to put this nostalgia and memories on paper. Time has passed by, I have changed a lot, and so much has changed. I am now a writer, an adventurous young woman who enjoys art and poetry. I look back and appreciate the power of words, of learning and of passion.

*The words written in Italics in the text are native Kenyan names.

 -----

Thanks for sharing your story with us Phenny!