He had been with us for ages. Nobody remembered when he joined us. Nobody cared to know. It was never important. What mattered was, that he was here to stay -albeit perpetually-. We became accustomed to him as a brother. Because we loved him. And because Matolo loved his job.
He had mastered the repertoire that comes with being a Cabinet Secretary for Livestock…..Wake up at 5.00 am, milk the cows, sell the milk to the daily customers and the rest to the market centre…. And so on. Matolo was perfect at his job. He seemed to speak a coded language only he and the animals could understand. He knew how they mooed when they were hungry, and when they were thirsty. How they mooed when they were sick and even when they were on heat. He knew what to feed them on. He knew that, just like humans, animals had likes and dislikes. Nalonja- named after my clan- loved green Napier grass but avoided hay like plague. Mary- named after my late grand mother Mary Mutiembu- produced more milk when Matolo played soft music as he milked her. And not just any soft music. Matolo had Mary’s playlist.
Matolo knew where to get the highest pedigree bulls when the cows were on heat. He must have known this because he highly discouraged artificial insemination of the cows. Of course for valid reasons and myths. There was a legend that had been told by Matolo for, many a year, that had now become text book truth. That the sperm from Artificial Insemination had been frozen for too long that it would never replicate high pedigree calves like that of bulls he knew. Then he had fears that a man inserting his shapeless hand into the V of a cow might cause unpalatable repercussions. Mum always yielded and let him have his way. After all, he was a faithful and hardworking farm manager. He knew his trade. And had almost achieved perfection.
But I always had the feeling that Matolo had more than meets the eye in his spirited fight against artificial insemination. He sneered at the Vet if he ever raised the subject of AI on his routine checkups. Called it “Interference of nature.” On one occasion, Mary went on heat at that ungodly hour. Matolo awoke and had a “chat” with her. A rhythmic whistling…….. Calling out her name…….. Gently touching her back and Poof! Mary was quiet. I figured he must have been telling her that “You know this thing can wait for sunrise” Or maybe “In the morning I will take you to Tope, the cream of the bulls around” And Mary must have been enticed by the thought of Tope. And chose to delay her gratification until she finds the Mollis of the Village.
6.00 a.m. We usher Mary into Mzee Kamawe’s Compound. Mzee Kamawe is already up. He smiles from the corner of his lips. Knows what we have come for and wastes no time. We e the normal pleasantries and he orders us to send Mary into Tope’s den as I slide Ksh 500 note into his course hands. Clean business. Prepaid. This is where Tope does his business. A –roughly- 20m by 20m, wooden fenced enclosure with a strong stump at the Centre. Matolo ties Mary on the Stump. Tope comes running. Dick stuck out hard and long. Obviously excited by his early morning catch. Horny thing. Matolo dashes out of the den, jumping over the wooden fence lest the beast thinks he is interfering with his prey.
Tope must be an experienced beast. He rises high and mounts Mary. Shit! No foreplay? Mzee Kamawe goes into his house. He has closed his deal. He has faith in Tope whose unspoken mantra is “one shot one goal.” I look at Matolo. He is smiling. Tope’s front legs are now hanging in the air. His hind legs stuck deep into the ground. Waist moving back and fourth. Great rhythim. I steal a glance at Matolo again. His right hand tightly holding his trousers by the loin. He is laughing hysterically. Fighting the air back and fourth mimicking Tope.
In the animal Kingdom………………..
I can tell you gratis, that in the animal kingdom, there are Momos and “Laptops.” as well. There are the Masculine body builders and kawaida men like you and I. Mary is the Laptop type. And Tope the Masculine type. And he screwed her like there was no tomorrow. Matolo loved it. I think it is the one thing he looked forward to. It must be the subtle reason why he ferociously abhorred Vets and artificial insemination per se.
One day, without a notice. Without an ounce of smoke for the impending fire, Matolo left. No clue that he would leave. No nothing. He didn’t even tell his parents where he left to. Left all but a handful of tattered clothes. And we began missing him and his demeanor. Until recently when, on my visit to a client in Kitengela, Matolo opened the gate. Donned in a lean blue uniform. A club about the length of his arm under his right hand’s arm pit. He noticed me first and let out his trademark voice…… “ Sema Angoo.”