The Tears of A Villager
by Mazuba Mwiinga
“What happened Zach is that, when a manufacturer wanted to test the popularity of their drink, they would go in the street and pitch up a tent shop where passers-by would be invited to sip their drink and that of their competitor and then be asked to judge which was the better drink, and why the sipper preferred drink x to y; and based on those results the manufacturer would go and celebrate if the result favoured them, or re-branded their drink if the result became negative”, Jethro elucidated. I wondered where the drink theory was coming from and where he was taking us.
“Is that the reason you prefer Mosi to Castle Light?” Zachariah asked, wiping his face with a handkerchief. I sensed it had nothing to do with alcohol if anything. There was no way the whole lot of Jethro with his lopsided mind could bring out a topic of drinks just to discuss alcohol.
“The fun thing is that, based on the CLT results, manufacturers still got huge sales losses”, Jethro announced. And Zachariah and I chorused a ‘why’ if at all they used to get positive results during their researches.
“Wiser discoverers later found out that the CLT taste tests weren’t accurate in the sense that there are two different reactions to sips. People have one reaction after taking a sip, and another reaction after taking a whole bottle of a drink, and so they needed to find which of the two reactions most interested the people, and it was discovered that the latter was best for them”, Jethro said, taking a gulp from his beer bottle.
“So in other ways, sipping is more fake than drinking a whole lot of a drink?” I asked, placing plates on the table.
“It’s just like marriage decisions Boy. It’s not that when you meet a very beautiful lady, you instantly get attracted to her, have hotly passionate sex with her in a short while later, then it means she is the right person for marriage just because she gave you the best romantic love making you have never had before in your life”. Zachariah bleated with so much amusement.
“Central Location Testing, ka?” Zachariah remarked amid sobs of laughter.
“For you to be sure of her, you need to have a longer period of time with her. You allow her to be visiting your place; you see her how she looks like during awkward times; how she behaves when you are broke, how she reacts to your stupid actions, and so on and so forth. But our friends nowadays, the moment they get the love making in a space of a day after meeting, the following week they arrange for a wedding, in month one they wed, month two they separate, month three they divorce, just because they used the CLT method of choosing”, Jethro lectured. His theory was so much sensible, but I still wondered why he brought such kind of a peculiar topic when we were all with no girlfriends.
“Have you found a chick to lead to the altar Jet?” I asked curiously.
“What has happened in court a while ago is a pure result of CLT”, Jethro revealed his line of thought. I stopped what I was doing and I could see Zachariah placing his beer on the table sitting upright looking at Jethro with bewildered eye-shots. His disclosure was so interesting that we needed to get the kernel of it all.
“That’s the only single reason I like being near you”, Zachariah affirmed.
“Why is that so Zach?” Jethro asked.
“You like towing the line of lawyers without boring someone listening to you”, Zachariah complimented but Jethro waved it off with his left hand.
“Residents chose, not on the basis of the whole personality of the person. They took a sip on the street-side and thought the flavour of the person was the best. But when they went home after buying the whole package and drunk under a relaxed atmosphere, they realised they had been duped”, Jethro reasoned.
“How did they get hoodwinked Jet? They had a choice to make, and they chose” Zachariah argued.
“One great mind, Lao Tzu once said that, ‘to know that you do not know is the best. To think you know when you do not is a disease. Recognizing this disease as a disease is to be free of it.’ There were two choices to be made, but out of ignorance of how things work, residents looked at something which they thought was closer to them than the other. Mufasazi is villager”, Jethro went ahead with his analysis.
“Just like you”, Zachariah interrupted, and Jethro laughed out asking Zachariah not to patronise him.
“Surely you are Jet. The kid whose brains were stolen by a wizard and given to a chicken remember?” I added laughing in the process too.
“Mufasazi as I said is a villager, okay” Jethro continued ignoring my remark. “No matter how intelligent and bright he may be, those born from typical shanty townships would not align themselves with him, because regardless of his bright and sweet taste of his flavour, shanty brought-up residents would still regard him as a villager who knows nothing because for them a village is an ancient bushy ruin, out-dated place full of wizards and poverty with unimaginable suffering, and whoever comes from there is a good-for-nothing person like a leper. His taste is sour. His story of rags to riches appears fake and cocky so they would not buy his message”, Jethro explained. I didn’t fully agree with him, but I didn’t argue either, for I wanted to hear the other side as well.
“Kachenjela is a shanty township born and bred resident. His appeal to the squads of his background is almost like rocket science. No matter how boring or equivocal he may appear to be, those from typical shanty townships would still align with him because regardless of his wayside or novitiate abilities, shanty brought-up residents would still regard him as an upright man, who knows a lot because for them a shanty township is more advanced and civilised a place than a village, and whoever comes from there is worthy some salt, so to them the taste of his flavour feels more sweet when they sip it”, Jethro explicated. Zachariah looked drunk. He seemed to have had some loose threads of thought hanging that needed tightening up.
“But what about those from the village; how do they look at Kachenjela?” Zachariah asked.
“Villagers have a natural instinct of fairness for one distinct reason. They recognise their situation and accept it, then make a decision to come out of it”, Jethro started.
“Like what your Lao Tzu once said that, ‘to know that you do not know is the best and that to think you know when you do not is a disease, while recognizing this disease as a disease is to be free of it?” I asked, trying to connect his arguments.
“Thank you Boy; I didn’t know that you are reading my mind?” Jethro said.
“Villagers recognise their disease and immediately work towards healing it. That’s why they leave the village and walk round the length, width and breadth of the land looking for ways to improve their lives. When they come to the city, they get to high cost, middle cost, and low cost and even shanty areas, either working or staying with their relatives in those places. This makes them so much exposed that they get to know different kinds of life styles so are people. This makes them more tolerant of others regardless of their birth places, as long as these people give them hope of a better future. Shanty township dwellers get easily complacent with their situation. They bear the sight of a high cost area. If anything they blame rich people for their poverty. And that make them lazy, vindictive and vengeful and of limited creativity; their world revolves round the boundaries of their shanties” Jethro thesised. It was an amazing theory, but I still regarded it as highly debatable.
“Are you telling us that this whole Choice thing was a game of birth place; about who came from where?” I noted so curiously.
“You are so pious you guys. Your knowledge of the book of life as you call it is so wide. I have always wondered why Yesu was nailed to a tree. Was it to sacrifice for you that you may live? I don’t know; but what I feel is that, Yesu was killed by the Romans because his message appeared so fake and unrealistic to the kind of life they were used to. And to hear a stranger tell them of life after death, of wealth and jubilation; of salvation and eternal life was like insulting and fooling them. Their life was that of misery, suffering, sweating, anger and mourning, hence their bitterness towards a message that was out of their mental range”, Jethro kind of preached. I was somehow getting convinced but needed to be surer so that I did not misunderstand him.
“Are you telling us that Mufasazi’s message sounded fake to the people?” I asked.
“Everyone continued calling his message neo-imperialist. That simply meant that his message was too good to be true because the residents had been led in the past by people who had all along given them miserable lives which became part of their living. And such kind of life grew roots in their brains; it became an established pattern by which they believed beyond any reasonable doubt to be the best they could have. And to hear someone tell them something sweeter than the lives they had been used to, sounded so cocky and foolish, hence the hate” Jethro put it so clearly.
“But later the residents took their drink home and realised actually Mufasazi was the right drink, but it was too late to change the course of their choice”, Zachariah added.
“Yes and those who were sipped at first and chosen as the best, got so pissed off because their lies had been exposed and the only way was to make sure before everyone else knew, he was to be put off the radar”.
“How can that be possible Jet. Remember you said these residents are ignorant, but who would they realise later?” I confusedly asked.
“Every dog has his day. Natural instinct is not taught and cannot be manipulated Boy. One clever man Louise Cheskin called it ‘sensation transference’. As you look like, so will common people judge you. Malcom states of this, that things that people hate, they don’t necessarily hate them in the natural sense of the word, but that what they mean is that, these things are new and unusual that they are not used to them. But that the problem is that, buried among the things that they hate is a class of products or things that are in that category only because they are weird. They make them nervous. They are sufficiently different that it takes them some time to understand that they actually like them” Jethro was above par; far away from my level of articulating things. He made me feel so ignorant and un-knowledgeable.
“So in other ways the word ugly may not be ugly as such”, I suggested.
“Wow…that’s exactly what Malcom suggests too. He says, ‘maybe the word ‘ugly’ was just a proxy for ‘different’. Yet people did not realise that, hence their finding themselves liking the person they did not choose in the first place and regret the chance they wasted”.
It was breath taking. I served the food. Rice with meat balls and we ate in intellectual silence. Jethro’s talks always made us appear children. He challenged us so much that, sometimes I would hate the time I wasted being at school taught to memorise things by heart instead of liberating the educational curriculum to make us critical thinkers. He was an admirable person; very thrift with his sense of humour but highly quick-witted and selfless. After our quick meal, we set drive back to the court.