the good Lord
When the good Lord created the villagers of the Remote route, He didn’t declare or intend that they shall be washing every day. In the tablet of the dos and don’ts handed over by the great river Kathita, nowhere did it indicate that we have to change our clothes, whether inner or outer, every day. Further, not a single text, word or paragraph decreed that we shall shave our bodily hairs every twenty four hours.
Kindly understand the next time you interact with this bearded, grey haired villager if you have not heard, seen or suspected him of showering for the last 48 hours only. It’s a great improvement from the seven day rule practised in the Remoteroute.
Indeed, our ancestors, whom we deeply revered and constantly consult didn’t think it was necessary to cut ant hair at all. Since there was a general consensus that matters water weren’t part of our culture- otherwise the good creator would have set us near a lake or ocean- we never developed any friendship, attachment or intimate relation with the liquid form of ice.
As young bucks, we avoided water beyond our hands at all cost. It was not uncommon to hear squeal and shrieks from many a village boma as the young and not so young used all their vocal prowess to resist a bath. It at times took the combined effort of both parents, with one standing guard with a bakora to subdue the young gentlemen to a bath. An exasperated father once took a hose pipe and a brush in an attempt to brighten a particularly notorious shower skipper. Unfortunately, the end result was scratches and the young fellow disappearing into the squealing and naked .
inadvisable cloth washing
It was not acceptable that the same clothes which shall be used in the farm the following day be washed. Both in practice and as a matter of home economics, it was inadvisable that one keeps washing clothes which the following day would be immersed in the soil in the name of farming. So for six consecutive days, same outfit was worn to the farm- with a break on Sunday as we bathed changed to our Sunday best.
As earlier alluded in these muses, the neck- both throat and nape- could nurture a garden of roses. Added to the fact that the boys shared habitat with all manner of fowls, birds and animals, it was no wonder our bodies played host to all manner of vermin and insects.
stratagem, skill and wit
A bath was not just a matter of walk in dirty and smelly and come out shiny and all roses. No, my friend, it was a process where stratagem, skill and wit won the day. As earlier alluded, the good lord did not place Remote route near any large water body. However, there was a chilly river at the base of the hill in which flowed water colder than the ice at the top of the mountain.
The river was actually used as an aesthetic in the good days when boys would be turned to men openly, publicly and without fear or favour. All the then boy to be turned to warrior needed was to dip self in the river and would be so cold that he would not feel pain as the knife sliced its way to manliness. This was any time, especially at noon when the sun was hottest and therefore dipping self to the water was most discouraged.
A young fellow had two options- go down to the river and dip self in the cold water or take a container and fetch water to bath at home. The main advantage of the river shower, apart from the privacy as one could hide among the reeds, was the available of a certain herb- a fern to be precise- which grew near the river. A young fellow just needed to scrub with it and it would produce soapy substance. Thus one needed just to take self to the river and the natural soap took care of the dirt and sweat.
However, this was not a good option for the fellows about or after faced the knife. The young villager then was forced to carry the cold water uphill to his samba/hut. Since there were no raised showers, the young man would squat to use a basin to bath. The hiss as the cold water hit him would tell all. More often, the water thrown would miss his back and thud on the wall. Bathing was a self torture.
cleaned, rinsed and buffed
Our homesteads and compound would be cleaned only if and when the visitors were expected or appeared. It was also time to bring out the visitors utensils including all manner of Chinaware. This would be promptly put in the cupboard as soon as the visitors left, cleaned, rinsed and buffed till the next visitor.
fronds and vines
Another cleanup period was the ceremonies . any ceremony but especially marriage ceremonies tended to bring out the clean side of the village. Christmas was that period when after general cleaning, fronds and vines would be hung strategically all over the compound to give a Christmas cheer to the compound.
These were the times when, despite there being no text or writ declaring so, it was apparent that cleanliness was indeed godliness.