Black Out on the banks of river Turkwell, Lodwar

The morning wind was dizzy, It was a slow day and I thought I should have some adventure.

I walk past Moi Gardens in Lodwar, cross the dry river bed to the other side.

It had been months before the seasonal River had filled up.

I reach Mama Pima Natalie’s compound.

She had been a friend, of weird stories when we lived next to her in Lodwar Town near Kobil petrol Station.

Her husband a community organisation leader, had built her a house on the other side of town across the river and she had moved to those sides and in order to add to the meager stipend she was being given, she had decided to brew chang’aa.

The chang’aa is what I was chasing after.

So I reached a few minutes past 11 am.

‘Hey Natalie?’

‘Ekoroi’, she replied. (she’s the one who actually gave me the name Ekoroi)

We exchanged other niceties and then I asked her to bring me something to drink.

The hint was in the air.

There’s no other drink I could have at Natalie’s place apart from Cham (the short form of Changaa)

Natalie was a young woman with about 9 kids. The youngest was just recently suckling.

That was not my problem.

I had soon gotten into the adulthood, past 18 years jungle and there were a lot of unanswered questions and I thought I could find the answer in alcohol.

I drank many half-cups of chang’aa and after a few hours I was in ‘heaven’.

I prolonged the drinking and soon I was knocked-out

Lodwar chang’aa is one of those cooked with maize flour and yeast and due to the hot weather, it cooks faster

Natalie’s was a potent poison and I loved it.

My frustrations were drowned and I decided to go sleep at home

My mom, a single mom. A businesswoman wasn’t aware of my drinking ways

In fact, I used to drink with co-wives. Natalie was a co-wife to another who loved drinking alcohol too much and I used to drink with them at different times.

Natalie was the most wild. Her stories were unending and out of this world.

I listened to those repetitive steamy stories and was moved.

Adulthood was a mess. Nasty.

I soon began to doze off and decided to follow the same route across the river to get home.

No sooner had I reached the river bank than I felt I couldn’t take it anymore

I didn’t know when I slept. Knocked-out cold and was only woken up by shouts of villagers.

‘Kotosi, kotiso!, ai, ebunit ng’ akipi’

The River Turkwell was filling up and I was on the danger of being washed into Lake Turkana.

I had dozed off on the river bank!