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People of Color Indigenous Black

It was my favourite time of the year, everyone's favourite time of the year if we are being honest, Christmas and I was packing my clothes and shoes from school for the long anticipated holiday. I hummed in unison with the old Christmas track album our hostel matron played. It was distant but yet gloriously divine. We had something similar at our family house and we would play all the tracks on repeat for the whole night into Christmas.

"Where are you going to spend your holiday?" Victoria, one of my hostel mates had asked me.

"I am not sure," I had replied. It was a lie, I was sure. It was the same place every year, My grandmother's house. Remembering her made me feel nostalgic, especially after the aroma from the steaming intoxicating stew of our matron, oozed the air and filled my nostrils. The scent choked my red spongy breathing organs that inflated and deflated in perfect harmony. I could almost taste it on the tip of my tongue and the deliciousness made me bite my lower lip. It was just like my grandmother's.

The Christmas Celebration of the previous year, had us in our little village earlier than the other years. I was super excited and would sing along with the old tracks my father played in our car, look through the windows and admire the majestic works of art nature birthed, the singing birds ever so joyous, the tall palm trees with clusters of palm fruits hanging from the top, the plains and the hills with the grasses that erupted from within the earth encircling the hills like a carpet, little puddles of muddy water and the people that inhabited the lands. Few thatched houses were seen as we progressed and I noticed they had hays for roofs and their hard clay walls shone under the bright sun.

My bubbly self unintentionally drifted into a peaceful state of slumber as I woke up curled beside my little brother who inhabited the backseat with me. I recall pulling off the dried scales that formed on my eye lashes losing track of time and to see if really I was at my grandmother's place and indeed I was. The earth was tilled with the early rains of the year and never ending activity of the red ants the old rickety roof with patches of extra zinc to retain coolness and my personal favourite, the outdoor kitchen, the place where all the magic with food items happen.

I stepped out of the car and looked around and saw shabbily clad children running around and into the many puddles of muddy water. Their mothers with slightly faded wrappers gracing their skins, would scream and reprimand them but would eventually give up when the unyielding children still continued. Nursing mothers with saggy breasts, would carry their crying babies by their side and rock them to quiet or a peaceful slumber.

I ignored the ruckus and walked right into my grandmother's compound. A stray mother hen was followed by the cacophony her baby chicks produced. They poked their beaks into the earth as they searched for grains to feed on. I wandered into the living room and sighted the very large living room. The cushions were widely spaced with a large slightly shaky centre table made entirely from wood and similar smaller sized tables were by the sides. The floor felt cool and extremely neat as I stepped in, that I shuffled my feet repeatedly to find a speck of sand but I did not. 

A large portrait of my grandmother and my grandfather, who I had never met because he passed away long before I was born, was hung up on the wall alongside other framed pictures of their children and I spotted my dad in one of the pictures on his little boy hat and a very large short held firmly by the waist with a belt. Laughing so hard that it caused my father to laugh too, we listened to him narrate his few childhood experiences and that was when I perceived the aroma from my grandmother's cooking pot.

Th aroma from the stew in the pot just like the one from my school matron, had me hold unto my stomach. I looked around and observed that my grandma had escaped from our captivating topic of discussion and had excused herself to the kitchen at the back, to prepare something for us. In small villages like ours, the kitchens are an extension of the main building and not a part of it. Following my grandmother into the kitchen, I perceived a strong smoke coming from the pots on fire but was neutralized by the stew that balanced perfectly on the tripod stands.

She nudged a stool closer and opened up a wrap seasoning. I was shocked because the aroma was breathtaking but she wasn't done with the food. Although old and a little rusty, the kitchen was neat. The other utensils that weren't in use, still shone in their majestic silver ware. There was an old cabinet that rested above the tripod and she kept her ingredients there.

Grandma stirred the stew with a long spoon and heavy chunks of meat came into display. She smiled as they perfect harmony was coming to display. I licked my lower lip and the growl in my stomach increased. I believed she heard it too as she immediately told me to get a plate from the rack of clean others, for myself and my little brother for lunch. She dished out with a spoon, white rice and garnished its top with red stew and two meats at least. I remember rushing the meal presented on the plate and downing a bottle of soft drink. I already felt the holiday and it wasn't Christmas even.

"Are you OK? You've been staring towards the matron's room for about fifteen minutes," Victoria said.

"Yes dear," I smiled and returned my gaze to her eyes. "I just miss home so much," I added.

September 30, 2020 14:14

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Dr. Katherine
20:58 Oct 06, 2020

You're a wonderful storyteller! I could see the grandmother, see the kitchen, taste the red stew, and feel Christmas.


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