By Eric Kathenya
When Nkunjumu Catholic Church was established in 1982, we worshipped in open air. Then the Christians built a temporary structure with ruthiru (fern) walls.
Then they started fundraising to build a permanent structure. The church would hold monthly fund raisings. A lot of the Christians were small scale farmers and they would bring farm products from arrow roots to beans to cabbage, carrots, chicken, eggs, onions, sugarcane, yams etc.
The farm products would be auctioned at the end of the fundraising. Mr Samuel Kiambi Kirima was the designated auctioneer. Blessed with a great voice and a greater sense of humour, he brought life to the auction. When he came across some item like beans or eggs in an obaque container, he would say in his deep and loud voice: iji ni butonwa (this item has never been seen. It is a mystery).
In other words, even he didn’t know what he was selling. Of course he knew! He then would say: ni nkwendia butonwa! Im selling the unseen! And he would proceed to sell butonwa with great energy!
Samweli, as we all called him, was also a farmer. He woke up as early as 3am to tend to his crops and livestock. For a time, he was the leading tea farmer in the village. Kajagi his farm help rode a small bicycle which carried the biggest tea basket as far as we knew.
Three years ago, Samweli suffered a stroke and became bed ridden. Yesterday, he asked that he be hoisted on a couch in his sitting room so that he could follow Christmas Mass on TV and witness the birth of Jesus. And that is how he ended his journey here on earth – celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ!
May he rest in peace. Sending my love to his family. His daughters Idah Njeru and Doreen Kathure; his nephews Samson Ndege and John Mawira and his nieces Purity Kimathi, Christine Gakii Ndege and Josyline Mwendwa.