The hardest part about not travelling is missing my mother’s embrace, not just my biological mother, all my mothers. There are several. I am a village boy. Not raised in the village but by village people, who all still look at my siblings and I as their babies. I think of Amaiguru, old, ever-smiling, who mollycoddled us growing up and still dotes over us when we visit.
Preparing for the trip is the hard bit, there are many people and personalities to please and appease. Don’t get me wrong, as I am sure we all know, the month before the journey, we are on family groups taking sizes, colours, brands and yes for Sekuru Sam we only look at bottles above 12 years. Family is everything and we do not all get to see them regularly, we spoil where we can right? And nothing says “I love you” sehembe dzeChristmas (like clothes for Christmas).
Personally, the drive kumusha sets the tone for me. A 19-hour Sungura playlist starts with Alick Macheso “Monalisa,” has been this way for as long as I can remember and is also the start of many a Sunday car wash session. Our children have learnt chiShona from “Daddy singing with his people…” The trip home is an extension of this, I can reconnect, speak Shona, visit kwaMereki and be an urban tourist.
What is Love?
The last few months under COVID 19 travel restrictions have been particularly difficult for many that travel home regularly as that trip has not been possible. Not only have we been forced to explore new ways of sending goods to our loved ones, but we have also had to learn how to express love differently. Believe it or not, chiShona does not have a word for love… Seriously we could debate this. “Love” the word does not exist in Shona. Before I am crucified, the wording understood to mean and define love “Ndinokuda” actually states “I want you!” Back to my mothers.
Home – Kumusha
My earliest memories going kumusha (kumusha directly translates to ‘home’ which is usually the rural area where your parents are from) are of us piling into my father’s Peugeot 504 Station Wagon (registration was 520-561B), my mother always drove. One of her sisters in the passenger’s seat, a cousin, maybe 2, in the back seat and my brother and I with the luggage. There were benefits to being in the back, that’s where the rice and chicken stew, assorted biscuits and Pine Nut were! When you know…
I remember our Dad pulling us aside before we left, he would always say “Take care of your mother and check oil and water in whenever she stops.” Yeah right!! Back then the trip was an easy 3 hours and Cheso was not the soundtrack on repeat. Our biggest concern was who gets the drumstick and “Can we stop at Turnpike for Pork Pies?” These were not Colcom Pork Pies, they baked their own, my brother and I would stuff our faces whilst the car was refuelled. May as well have been a race to see who could inhale the most pies. We barely chewed.
I miss the food, Sadza reZviyo, Nyimo, Muboora, Nyeve, Dovi, Lacto, Maputi. Call me nostalgic but these are the little things that scream “You are home!” What I miss the most is the welcome, “Tell me about the children what are their names,” “Uyu ndiani?” “Sit down let’s talk,” “Mubikirei tea neMbambaira anenzara uyu!” The warm embraces.
COVID isn’t forever, We will travel again and will see you soon.