How we buy tomatoes on a Sunday


It’s Sunday at midday. I am seated on the Verandah, slowly sipping some green tea and eating an orange. That is after reading I need a daily dose of Vitamin C for my skin and immunity and green tea aids in weight loss and keeps the potbelly at bay. I am a woman, such descriptions win me over.

On the other side of the house, is my mother in the kitchen, making a meal for the family. See, my mother travels every week due to her job and travels back home every weekend. Being in the kitchen and making a meal for her family, and especially husband, is something I know she delights in. So, despite her busy schedule she always finds the time.

In the living room, is my father with his two sons. He is audibly giving them advice on good performance. His two sons are sitting their final exam this year, better known as KCPE. Every parent, being as concerned as they always are, will do everything possible to have their children perform well. Aside from education, they are discussing if they feel like having barbecue that night. Of course, they all agree on that but they never agree on who will do it. Because they are all feeling lazy, they give it a pass.

I am done with my cup. As I rise to return it and dispose the peels, I can hear my mother humming. That indicates everything is going fine. The food must be cooking well, I think. Then she stops. Seconds later comes this:


That indicates, something is missing, or something is wrong. Because I am not far from the kitchen window, I willingly ask,

“Nini mbaya?”

“Hakuna nyanya.”

Guilt. You see, before my mother leaves for work, she shops for enough groceries and I am left to manage them. If anything, I am aware of everything that lives in or has just moved into her kitchen, and if anything misses, I am the one to report. But I forgot that tomatoes were over.

Thanks to mama mboga that set up her kibanda just a few meters from our gate, this is not an emergency. My mother calls out to my brothers, who are always ready to run errands. They are sweet gentlemen like that.

“Mike! Enda ulete nyanya.”

My brother shoots up from his seat, gets his shoes on and is on his way out to get the tomatoes. He knows well about punctuality. My father is now interested in the happenings, it is after all about food and he is visibly hungry.

“Nyanya imeisha?” he asks from the living room.

“Eeeh, iliisha jana!” I answer from outside.

“Na hajaenda na pesa!” My mother says.

You see, in our house, sometimes we conduct conversations with people in different rooms. Yes, we shout:)

My father gets out a two hundred shilling note and hands it to my other brother, who heads out.

“Mum! Nilete ya how much?”

That is Mike. He is back. To ask. Yes, ask how much he should use to buy the tomatoes. His brother, Nick, apparently just handed him the money and because he bumped into a friend he is now performing the act of kusindikiza/kuzindii (I have realized different geographical areas say it differently), just because they met at our gate.

“Ya twenty, yaani umerudi?”

“Sikujua unataka ya how much”

He runs out again.

“Itatosha?” I ask.

“Ama alete ya hundred?”  My mum now asks me.

“Alete ya hundred?” My dad asks from the living room.

But before we answer he is already at the gate and I can hear him saying

“Leta ya hundred!”

At this point I am just down with laughter. My mum is shaking her head. Minutes later they are back and they all head to the kitchen with the tomatoes.

“Tumeleta” Mike says.

My mother just laughs and says thank you to all of them, and gives them all some meat to have.

That is how we buy tomatoes on a Sunday. Well, last Sunday.

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