New romance brewing in Jiji Ndogo?

Sarcastic mama finds nothing to fall for in the village except...

In Summary

• One woman's meat is another woman's poison, from the look of things


As I mentioned in my last post, my future mother-in-law landed in Jiji Ndogo last week and turned everything on its head. Not only has she been crinkling her nose at the mere sight of the poor sod who fancies wedding her daughter, she has a disparaging opinion on just about everything in our village.

“Only one bar in town?” she said the other day. “If you can even call Shimo la Tewa a bar.”

“It’s Shimo la Pewa, ma’am,” I correct her.

“Looks more like Shimo la Mawe to me. What bar doesn’t sell Bailey’s? Did you know your barkeeper never even heard of it?”

“Neither have I, to be honest.”

And that was only the beginning.

“And that… is it Kula Unilipe Hotel?”

“Kula Ulipe.”

She rolls her eyes. “Like that’s better? I’d understand if I was being reminded to pay for a prime steak at a classy establishment, not a hovel under a roof that looks ready to cave in. When was the last time a health official visited that place? Roaches and rats are having a ball.”

Nothing in Jiji Ndogo is good enough or worth praising for Mrs Kali.

“Oh, boy, is she getting on my nerves,” Sgt Sophia complains of her mother. “What was my father thinking inviting her?”

“I may not have an answer to that,” I say, “but some good has come of it.”

“Are you kidding me?” She shoots me daggers. “I dare you to mention one good that’s come of Mother’s visit.”

“You called Inspector Tembo ‘my father’. You’ve never called him that.”

Sophia only learned our boss was her father a couple years ago.

“Absent as he has been,” she says, “the man’s the better parent, given what my mother has taken me through.”

“She’s still your mother, though. Some throw their infants in the garbage.”

“I can only wish. Which reminds me.” She looks about. “Where is she?”

“Come to think of it. I haven’t seen her all day. I’d have had an earful about the poor quality of zebra in our butchery.”

Sophia’s eyes grow wide. “Wanyama sells zebra at the butcher shop?”

“Your mother seems to think so.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s fed me worse. I’ll go look for her. We need to have a serious talk.”

I clasp my hands at my chest. “Please don’t do anything that will jeopardise my dowry negotiations.”

She laughs, which can be both attractive and demeaning. “What dowry? You barely have two cents to rub together.”

I close the report book I’m working on. “Tembo says I need to be more assertive. I’ll come along. Besides, four eyes are better than two, right?”

“Assertive?” She laughs again, more demeaning this time. “Makini, I like my men as strong as my coffee.”

“But… you don’t like coffee.”


Not looking forward to more Sophia-isms, I keep my trap shut as we search for Mrs Kali. Our first stop (off Sophia’s strong hunch) is Shimo la Pewa.

“The woman’s like Sponge Bob,” Sophia says. “Only her Bikini Bottom is at the bottom of a glass.”

Mrs Kali isn’t at the bar. Or the hotel. Or the butchery.

“You think the Inspector might know?” I posit. “After all, he invited her to Jiji Ndogo.”

Deciding it’s worth a shot, we head to our boss’ and knock on the door. Tembo comes out in nothing but a towel around his waist.

“Yes?” he says, frowning.

“Who is it?” Mrs Kali calls from inside the house. “Make it snappy and come back to bed.”

As Sophia’s eyes grow to the size of golf balls, she yells, “Oh! Hell! No!”

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