The crowd outside the chief’s office is restless. It has happened again. Sinewy arms hold hoes and machetes aloft; khanga-swathed, baby-carrying women bounce up and down in motions of protest and cooing.
The occasional baa heard from the surrounding fields reinforces the fervour in which they cry for action. It has happened again—and this time the chief seems angry too. “Tayari wamemeza mbuzi na kondoo tano,” he says.
Forked tongued, cold-blooded and short on cash to purchase mutton and chevon, two pythons have taken to raiding homesteads in a forested Narok village. Now children are escorted to and from school and animal pens are bolted tighter. Yet the wily pair continues to slither in and out of the peasants’ compounds, taking their ill-gotten prizes week after week.
The crowd outside the chief’s office can’t take it anymore. An agitated chief quickly passes the baton to the KWS officer on site. They turn to him with expectation. “Tumepokea malalamishi yenu. Tutawaondoa,” he reassures the angry crowd as he exits the heated scene.
Shoulders droop and heads shake at the impotent words of a broken record. The villagers hasten to return home because no help will be coming tonight, yet again; only a pair of brown eyes and a deadly hiss.
First Published on Wanjeri.