LESSONS FROM CHA-BABA NA CHA-MAMA

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It’s close to a week since I last blogged!! I can’t even believe how fast days are! Anyway, I am happy to be here again and today I am into village thinking. Call it “Village Mentality “.

Now, ‘cha-mama na cha-baba’ can be loosely translated to ‘for-mother and for-father’. It’s actually a game for young children and the best way to run a family.

For my “born-town’ readers, this is a kind of game played by young children that symbolizes a family set-up. How would you have known it yet you didn’t have the time to? Most of your time you spent it with your strict maids or housewife mothers in the house. The only opportunity you got to go out is when you are send to the shops or going to school.m my international readers, this is a time to know some tiny but meaningful Kenyan games.

The game has a father, mother, children, neighbors and mostly a thief, a preacher and a teacher. The families are mostly staged in between banana plantations. The teacher literally lives in school which is staged next to a wall – which acts as a chalk board – while the priest lives in a church – that is under a tree. The thief has no permanent dwelling and is always on the run.

Within the family, the father is the head of the family with the responsibility of going to work and bringing home money to be used by the mother to buy food. The father determines what he is paid because he makes for himself the money from yam leaves. He does this with the aid of a razor.

The father is also responsible for the children’s discipline and education. Whenever the thief attacks the family, it’s the father’s responsibility, with the help of the male children, to chase him away. He is also charged with the responsibility of constructing a house.

On the other hand, the mother is supposed to always obey her husband. She is to use the money brought home by her husband to look for food. On ‘sundays’, she is to take the children to church as the father remains at home cleaning the compound. She is to wake up and prepare the children before going to school and ensure that lunch is ready before the children come back.

The priest is to ensure the moral upbringing of the children. He can quote imaginary verses from an imaginary Bible and try as much as he can to mimic the local pastor or the preacher who recently preached in a crusade. He leads the congregation in singing hymns.

The teacher is supposed to instill knowledge into the children’s minds and help them grow intellectually. Letters of the alphabet, vowels and numbers one to twenty are mostly taught.

A community isn’t complete without havoc. This is the duty of the thief. He attacks at night – as usual. Funny though, he announces his coming so loud that he wakes up the family he wants to steal from! He then goes ahead and tries to steal; if he fails, the family chases him away and the game continues!

The thief represents a vital part in cha-mama na cha-baba because when he succeeds in stealing whatever he intends to steal, it could mean the end of the game!

The family from which he steals will want to repossess whatever he had stolen and therefore they will end up chasing him all over the ACTUAL COMPOUND. In the process, some members will get tired and abandon the game; others will find something more interesting than the game and leave the game.

At times, the running CHILDREN. will pass in front of their PARENTS who would rebuke them of running on the sun. This will mean the end of the game!

Well, that is it!! Did you ever play such a game in your childhood??

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