Kenya Village Voices: Those Tenacious Kikuyu Women of Soko Mjinga

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Kenya Village Voices: Those Tenacious Kikuyu Women of Soko Mjinga

Kenya Village Voices: Those Tenacious Kikuyu Women of Soko Mjinga
A Kikuyu Women

At the Soko Mjinga, an outdoor market 10 kilometers from Kijabe Mission, you will find the most tenacious business people in Kenya. This market represents a group of Kenyans without whom many Kenyans would go hungry. Soko mchinga expresses the greater food production area, which is part of the Abedares mountain ranges. It is from around soko mjinga that people in Limuru, Nairobi and all the way to Mombasa get their carrots and most of the cabbages and sukuma wiki. Though one cannot see the farms in Kinangop, Nduyu Njeru, and Kinare from the main upper Nairobi-Nakuru highway, a drive inland from Kinare forest reveals Kikuyu women in their shambas. As a Kijabean, I envy these red eyed women.

 

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These women don’t ware make up or go for manicure. They do not ware high-heeled shoes or spend money in the hair solons. They ware head coverings, and their hands are not smooth. Their nails are not clean but black from days spent digging grounds to plant seeds. These women don’t cover their faces with chemicals to hide their wrinkles. They do not know what a manicure is or trim their eyelids to win the admiration of men. These women live that natural life that our mother’s lived before the modern revolution. It is these women, not their looks that feed the country.

 

Every time you stop at soko mjinga, these women run after your car until it comes to a stop. Then they storm you windows with produce. When other parts of the country go through draught, these women are always there with produce. Whether it is raining or shinning, you will not miss these incredible women. And it is not only at soko mjinga where you find these Kikuyu women.

 

At the Junction of Nakuru – Eldoret highway at Molo, you will find them on the side of the road. They have onions, pumpkins, peas, and all kinds of greens. Then as you drive to Timboroa after passing the equatorial divide, there you will find a Mukurino woman. She and her sons and daughters stand from 6 am to 7 pm. They run after cars, Matatu, and trucks trying to sell them produce. Every time I stop there, the sellers know whom I stop to see. “Wapi mama?” I ask. They point to this wonderful woman who has sold boiled maize for years. Her son sells mahindi choma, and her daughter sells peas, carrots and potatoes. During the season of plums I enjoy buying several buckets of red delicious plums.

 

This is the character of Kikuyu women. Women who do not care how they look outside but care about keeping their inner values intact. These women wake up early in the morning. They prepare their children for school. They go forth carrying on their backs the produce from their garden. They lay them on the side of the road in the heat of the day, or in the greatest of storms. They do not coward away because of these natural adversaries. Rather, they stand firm until their produce is done. Then they go home to cook for their children and husbands, only to do it again the next day.

Some of these women are in the streets of Nairobi. You find them outside ATG radio on Temple road. They have their sweet potatoes lined up on the road. Others trying to find money for their children join them. It is these women who buy milk, sugar and unga for their children. While many of them are married to men who have been overcome by the love of tusker and kumi kumi, these women remain focused.

 

You ask me what inspires me daily to seek greater heights? It is these Kikuyu women who, like my grandmother who went to the garden daily or my own mother, Harriet Muthoni, who made sure our garden had cabbage, carrots and potatoes. These women don’t sit around complaining. Rather, they not only appreciate the providence of God, but some of their hard earned money goes to support church women groups who we see in weddings, funerals and every event. These Kikuyu women cook, clean, and provide the country with food.

 

If there is one thing about Kikuyu women, they never give in or give up. They keep working and for that, they are the most blessed women in Kenya.

 

Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)

HTBluff Associates

Diapora Messenger Senior Columnist

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