I hadn’t expected something to come between the moments I am sharing with Wandia and Tesh.
But as fate would have it, something ominous happened. The other day Wakageorge, Muchiri, Wekesa, Mzee Jeremiah and other villagers flocked my home to pay their last respects to Munge, my favourite cow.
Well, that is what I believed as they surrounded the carcass waiting for Karinga, the village vet to conduct a post-mortem.
The sound of Karinga’s motorbike struggling in the muddy farm road announced his arrival. This time he never removed his vet paraphernalia from his old dusty brown leather bag like he has been doing for the last one week trying to treat Munge.
Instead, he requested for a knife. Wekesa handed him the kitchen knife. Karinga complained that it wasn’t sharp enough. He honed it on the carborundum stone ready to tear Munge apart. I closed my eyes in disbelief.
“As a blessing, I give you this calf for your future farming endeavours,” these were my grandfather’s last words, which reverberated in my hand as Karinga dissected Munge.
Then, I fed Munge on porridge and ‘waste milk’ that I bought from Mashambani Cooperative.
To say that I loved Munge more than anything else, including Wandia and Tesh combined, would not be lying.
She kept me company the night I was chatting Tesh. I thought the soft kicks she was giving me were an encouragement to keep on the ‘kilimo-penzi’ chats, but little did I know that she was complaining because of pain.
Mashambani people adored her. Many people booked her calves before they were born.
She has always assured me of a female calf every year for the last 10 years. Every visitor to Mkulima Mixed Farm took a photo of Munge, which they widely shared on social media, newspapers and even used for advertising.
Her white and black smooth, shiny coat earned her the name Munge from my grandfather.
Her udder was medium size, supple, sack-like and non-pendulous, that is, it was firmly attached with strong suspensory ligaments high up near the vulva region.
SHE WAS TO PARTICIPATE IN BREEDERS' SHOW
Her teats, evenly placed pointing straight down on the udder, combined well with her docile mother character, making Munge the best cow to milk.
While getting into my farm, Munge was the first cow you would have noticed. She was always alert. She would face you with her almost smiling face.
Her front legs were strong and straight giving her a steep strongly attached pattern.
Her stature portrayed a deep, long body with wide, sprung ribs that provided ample space for the rumen and other digestive system organs.
No wonder she was a heavy feeder with high yields of 40 litres per day. Her wedge shape, long neck, good width between fore legs, wide pin bones, broad muzzle and strong straight backline always impressed the judges in agricultural shows.
She was to participate in this year breeder’s show.
Munge first showed symptoms of sickness by standing humped with elbows out away from the body.
Her head and neck were extended and she was breathing hard. The following day, she looked dull and breathed heavily.
She refused to feed and was reluctant to move. Few days later, she was unable to chew cud and died.
After doing a post-mortem, Karinga retrieved three rusty four-inch nails that were nearly dissolved by the stomach fluid. “Munge had hardware disease,” he announced to the curious villagers.
“Hardware disease? I have never heard of such,” Mzee Jeremiah said.
Once Karinga assured that Munge had died because of the nails, Wakageorge declared the meat fit for human consumption but Karinga dismissed him saying its unhealthy to consume such meat.
I am writing an elegy for Munge, who was the love of my life, as Wandia still dilly-dallies.