Vuta N'Kuvute

Pull and I'll Pull Back

kimeandikwa na Shafi Adam Shafi written by Shafi Adam Shafi
© Adam Shafi, 1999  © Adam Shafi, 1999

Sura ya Kwanza

Chapter 1

Mara tu baada ya kuvunja ungo, Yasmin aliozwa mume. Alikuwa mume wa jamii yake ya Ithnashiria ambaye alikuwa akiishi jirani naye hapo Mtendeni.Soon after she began menstruating, Yasmin was wedded to her husband, a member of her Ithnashiria community who lived near her in Mtendeni.
Alikuwa ni mume asiyelingana naya hata kidogo. Si kwa umri wala tabia kwani wakati Yasmin ni kigoli wa miaka kumi na tano tu, mumewe Bwana Raza alikuwa zee la miaka hamsini na mbili. Wakati Bwana Raza keshazeeka, Yasmin alikuwa mtoto mbichi asiyeelewa kitu chochote.Her husband had absolutely nothing in common with her. Neither in age, nor in terms of personality, for when Yasmin was a young girl just fifteen years of age, her husband Mr. Raza was a fifty two year old elder. Yasmin had been but a newborn child, incapable of understanding anything, back when Mr. Raza had begun to grow old.
Kukubali kwake kuolewa ilikuwa ni kwa sababu ya kuwaridhi wazee wake tu. Yeye mwenyewe hakuona fahari ya kuolewa na mzee anayeweza kumzaa. Hakupenda kufuatana na mumewe pahala popote pale na hata ile siku inayotokea wakaenda senema, basi yeye huwa hapendi kukaa karibu naye.She had agreed to be married only to please her parents. She herself had no desire to be married to a man old enough to be her father. When they went out anywhere she hated to be seen with him, and even that day when they had gone to the movies, she hadn't wanted to sit next to him.
Yasmin alikuwa na kijiuso kidogo cha mdawari mfano wa tungule na macho makubwa ambayo kila wakati yalionekana kama yanalengwa lengwa na machozi. Alikuwa na pua ndogo, nyembamba na chini ya pua hiyo ilipangana midomo miwili mizuri iliyokuwa haitulii kwa tabia yake ya kuchekacheka, huku akionyesha safu mbili za meno yake mazuri. Alikuwa na kichaka cha nywele nyeusi zilizokoza ambazo zilianguka kwa utulivu juu ya mabega yake. Alikuwa si mrefu lakini hakuwa mfupi wa kuchusha, na matege aliyokuwa nayo yalizidi kuutia haiba mwendo wake wakati anapotembea.Yasmin had a small, round face like that of a cherry tomato, and big eyes that always looked they had been crying. She had a small, thin nose, and underneath it were arranged two pretty lips that were never at rest on account of her proclivity for laughing, which showed off two rows of pretty teeth. Atop her head was a shock of healthy black hair that fell gently down and rested atop her shoulders. She wasn't tall, but wasn't extremely short either, and her bowed legs only added to her attractiveness whenever she walked.
Yasmin hakupenda hata kidogo kuolewa na mume kama yule kwani yeye mwenyewe angelipenda sana kupata mume kijana kama yeye mwenyewe. Alipenda ampate mume ambaye yeyote angelimwona angelisema, "Kweli Yasmin kapata mume." Alikuwa anatamani kupenda lakini hakumpata wa kumpenda. Yeye alitaka kijana wa makamu yake ambaye angelimwonyesha pendo na yeye angelimiminia pendo lolote moyoni mwake.Yasmin didn't like to be married to her husband one bit; she had wanted very much to get a young husband her own age. She would've liked to get a husband who anyone would have looked at and said, "Yasmin has really got a fine husband." She wanted very much to love, but she hadn't a husband worthy of loving. She wanted a partner who would truly show her love, who would shower her with all the love in his heart.
Kama desturi ya Wahindi wengi Afrika Mashariki Bwana Raza alikuwa mfanyabiashara mashuhuri pale mtendeni. Alikuwa na duka kubwa la biashara ya rejareja. Kwa kuwa duka hilo lilikuwa barabarani, basi kutwa lilivamiwa na washitiri waliokuwa na haja mbalimbali. Mara huyu kataka kibao cha mchele, huyu kataka fungu la tungule, huyu kataka bizari ya nusu shilingi na kutwa Bwana Raza alikuwa na kazi ya kupigizana kelele na washitiri wake. Tokea kuolewa kwake, Yasmin alikuwa ndiye msaidizi mkubwa wa Bwana Raza katika kazi hiyo.As is the custom of many Indians in East Africa, Mr. Raza was a prominent businessman in Mtendeni, Zanzibar, where he ran a big retail goods shop. The shop was right next to the road, so it was always flooded with buyers in need of all kinds of things. This person wanted a sack of rice, that one a bushel of cherry tomatoes, another half a shilling's worth of curry powder, and all the time Mr. Raza fighting to be heard over the noise of his customers. Once she was married to him, Yasmin became Mr. Raza's main assistant at his store.
Kutokumpenda Bwana Raza pamoja na utumishi wa kutwa dukani pale kulimfanya Yasmin ayachukie maisha ya unyumba na mumewe. Alitamani kufa kuliko kujitolea miwili wake kwa bwana yule. Inapofika usiku yeye huwa amejichokea na hulala mara tu baada ya kukiweka kichwa chake juu ya mto.Not being in love with Mr. Raza, along with having to work in his shop every day, made Yasmin hate married life with her husband. She would have preferred death over surrendering her body to that man. At night she was so exhausted that she slept soon after laying her head down upon her pillow.
Hata baada ya kulala, Yasmin alikuwa haipati ile raha ya usingizi kwani mara kwa mara alikuwa akishituliwa na sauti nene ya kukwaruza ya mumewe ikimwita toka ukumbini kumwuliza swali hili au lile.Even after falling asleep, it was not a peaceful one; often she would be awoken by the deep, raspy voice of her husband calling out to her from the front room, asking her this or that question.
"Yasmin! Leo Bi. Mashavu alileta vitumbua vingapi?" Bwana Raza aliuliza, ameshughulika anafanya hesabu ya biashara ya siku ile. Yasmin huwa hajali maswali hayo na huendelea na usingizi wake bukheri. Anapokuwa hapo Bwana Raza hushughulika kweli hataki mzaha hata kidogo na mara kwa mara Yasmin humsikia akikasirika na kugombana peke yake. Inapokuwa hivyo huwa amekwisha pata hasara ya kitu fulani. Malalamiko ya kupata hasara yalikuwa hayamwishi na hata siku moja hutamsikia akisema amepata faida. Hiyo ilikuwa ni siri aliyoijua yeye mwenyewe tu."Yasmin! How many rice cakes did Ms. Mashavu bring today?" Mr. Raza asked as he busied himself with the day's accounting. Yasmin wouldn't respond to these questions and continued to slumber. During these times Mr. Raza was truly busy and wouldn't tolerate any joking around, not even a little; oftentimes Yasmin heard him becoming angry and arguing with himself. When this happened, he'd usually lost money on something. His complaints about losses never ended, and there wasn't a single day where you'd hear him say he'd made a profit. This was a secret about which only he knew himself.
Anapokuwa katika kazi hiyo ya kufanya hesabu Bwana Raza huvuta biri moja baada ya moja na moshi wa biri hizo huhanikiza harufu yake mbaya nyumba nzima. Baada yakumaliza hesabu zake Raza hufululiza moja kwa moja mpaka kitandani ambapo humkuta Yasmin amelala fo fo fo.As he crunched numbers, Mr. Raza smoked one cigarette after another, the smoke from these cigarettes filling the whole house with their terrible scent. After finishing with his accounting, Raza went straight to bed, where he found Yasmin sleeping peacefully.
Chumba cha Bwana Raza kilikuwa kimejaa makorokocho. Mifuko ya unga, mikungu ya ndizi, maboksi ya majani ya chai makopo ya maziwa. Kuta za chumba hicho zilikuwa zimepambwa na picha mbili tu, moja ni picha ya maandishi yaliyokuwa kwa nakshi ya Kiarabu majina ya Fatma, Ali, Hassan na Hussein. Picha ya pili ilikuwa ni ya farasi aliyebeba mkono ulioonyesha vidole vyote vitano. Mlikuwa na kiti kiziri cha msaji kilichochongwa kwa nakshi pembeni na miguuni. Bwana Raza alinunua kiti hicho Darajani kwenye mnada. Kwenye pembe nyingine ya chumba hicho mlikuwa na kiti cha marimba na juu yake palikuwa na rafu iliyogongomelewa kwa mismari ukutani. Kwenye rafu hiyo palitundikwa maguo machafu na kwenye kijiti cha mwisho cha rafu hiyo ilining'inia tabishi ndogo.Mr. Raza's room was filled with clutter. Bags of flour, bunches of bananas, boxes of tea leaves and cans of milk. The walls of the room were adorned with just two pictures. One was of the Arabic names Fatma, Ali, Hassan, and Hussein, all written out in decorative script. The other was of a man on horseback, all five of his fingers spread out as he waved. There was a beautiful teak chair, sculpted decoratively on its sides and feet. Mr. Raza had bought this chair in Darajani at the market. On the other side of the room was a chair for playing the marimba, and above it a shelf that had been nailed to the wall. Dirty clothes hung from the shelf, and on the last peg hung a small rosary.
Chumba hicho hakikuonyesha kuwa ni pahala pa mtu kupumzika. Palikuwa ni pahala pa kupitisha usiku tu, kuche, asubuhi ifike biashara iendelee kama kawaida. Anapoingia chumbani humo baada ya kumaliza shughuli zake Bwana Raza hana mazungumzo tena. Ni kuvua nguo na kujitupa kitandani. Hapo hujigaragaza na kugeuka ubavu huu na huu. Mara hulala kifudifudi au mara hunyanyuka ghafla na kuwasha taa akitafuta biri na kiberiti. Akisha vipata vitu hivyo huwasha biri yake na kuivuta nusu kiasi cha kukifukiza chumba kwa moshi wa biri na halafu hujilaza tena kitandani. Hapo tena humgeukia Yasmin na kuanza kumpapasa na kumtomasatomasa akimwita na kumwuliza, "Yasmin ushalala?" Yasmin huwa kalala kweli yupo mbali katika ndoto zake za kitoto. Bwana Raza humgeuza huku na huku na kumpapasa papasa na mara mojamoja Yasmin huzinduka na kulala tena hapo hapo.The room didn't look a place for someone to rest peacefully. It looked like a place to merely pass the night, rise, and continue with business as usual in the morning. When Mr. Raza entered the room after finishing his work, he was silent. He merely got undressed and threw himself down on the bed. Then he'd toss and turn restlessly. Sometimes he slept face down on the mattress, other times he'd stand up suddenly and switch on the light to search for a cigarette and a match. When he found them he'd light his cigarette and smoke half of it, fumigating the room with its smoke before laying himself back down on the bed. Sometimes he'd turn towards Yasmin and start to feel and press on her, calling to her and asking, "Yasmin are you already asleep?" Yasmin would be fast asleep, far away in her youthful dreams. Mr. Raza would turn her here and there and keep pressing on her; Yasmin would awaken suddenly but immediately fall back to sleep.
Kama kawaida yake, ghafla Bwana Raza aliinuka na kuwasha taa. Alichukua kiberiti na kuchomoa biri moja kutoka katika mfuko wa shati alilotundika juu ya rafu. Aliwasha na kuanza kuikupua mikupuo mikubwa mikubwa na kuyajaza mapafu moshi tele. Aliutoa moshi wote mara moja kupitia puani na mdomoni na mara hii badala ya kuivuta nusu alimaliza yote. Moshi ulijaa chumba kizima na hata ukampalia Yasmin. Alikohoa mpaka akaamka lakini alilala tena hapo hapo na alipoweka kichwa tu Bwana Raza alizima taa na kulala huku akimkumbatia mkewe.As usual, suddenly Mr. Raza got up and switched on the light. He got a match and took out a cigarette from the pocket of a shirt hanging on the shelf. He lit it and began to smoke, inhaling deep breaths, filling his lungs with smoke. He exhaled the smoke all at once from his nose and mouth, and this time instead of just smoking half, he finished the whole cigarette. Smoke filled the whole room, so much so that Yasmin began to choke in her sleep. She coughed until she awoke, but then laid back down again; when she put her head back on the pillow, Mr. Raza switched off the light and laid down with her, embracing his wife.
"Usinikere Bwana mimi nataka kulala.""You shouldn't bother me sir, I want to sleep."
"Mbona unalala mapema? N'do kwanza saa mbili. Amka tuzungumze," Bwana Raza alinguruma. Yasmin alipuuza akalala."Why are you sleeping so early? It's only 8pm. Wake up, let's talk," Mr. Raza intoned. Yasmin ignored him and went back to sleep.
Bwana Raza aliamka tena akawasha taa. Alimwangalia mkewe na kuanza kuuchunguza uzuri wake. Huo ulikuwa ndiyo wakati wa pekee ambao Bwana Raza anapata wasaa wa kumwangalia. Bwana Raza alirudi tena kulala baada ya kuzima taa na mara hii alimgeuza Yasmin ikawa nyuso zao zinatazamana. Alipotaka kujigeuza, Yasmin alihisi mikwaruzo mikali ya visiki vya nedevu za Bwana Raza, ndevu ambazo leo ya nne hakupata nafasi ya kuzinyoa.Mr. Raza got up again and switched on the light. He looked at his wife and began to take in her beauty. This was indeed the only time of day Mr. Raza got the opportunity to do so. Mr. Raza laid back down after switching off the light, and this time he turned Yasmin so that she was face-to-face with him. She wanted to turn back away when she felt his beard scratch sharply against her, a four day old beard he hadn't had time to shave.
Alihisi mikunjo ya uso wake na alipovuta pumzi alivuta hewa iliyojaa kupuo la moshi wa biri. Yasmin aligeuza uso wake huku na huku kumkimbia mumewe kijana na mara alilala tena.She could feel the wrinkles of his face against hers, and every breath she took was filled with the scent of cigarette smoke. Yasmin turned her face this way and that to escape from her clever husband and once more fall back to sleep.
Kwa Yasmin usiku haukuwa mrefu mara kulipambazuka asubuhi ikaingia, kazi ya kuuza duka inamsubiri kama kawaida. Shughuli anayokuwa nayo Bwana Raza usiku kucha yeye hana habari nayo, yapitayo usiku kucha humkuta yeye katika dunia nyingine kabisa, dunia ya usingizi. Bwana Raza hakuwa na raha ya kuwa na mke na Yasmin ya kuwa na mume. Maisha ya watu wawili hawa yalikuwa ya bahati nasibu na hakuna mmoja kati yao aliyekuwa na raha na hali hiyo ilimfanya Yasmin kuondokea na tabia ya unyonge akiona kama dunia imemwonea kuozeshwa mume asiye makamo yake wala asiyemvutia hata kidogo.The nights weren't long enough for Yasmin; morning always arrived too soon, and with it work at the store waited for her as usual. She never had any recollection of what Mr. Raza had been up to the night before; no matter what, at night she could only be found in another world, the world of sleep. Mr. Raza wasn't passionate about his wife, and vice versa. The life of these two people was a product of fate; neither of them were satisfied, and this suffused Yasmin in a state of misery. She looked at the world as if it were against her, for it had cursed her with a husband of an entirely different generation who wasn't even a little bit attractive.
Ijapokuwa Yasmin alitumia muda wake mwingi dukani, lakini alipata muda wa kupanga ushoga na jirani yake Mwajuma. Mwajuma likuwa ni msichana wa Kiafrika na tabia yake ya ucheshi na masihara ilimfanya Yasmin avunje miiko ya Kihindi ya kutoingiliana na Waafrika.Even though Yasmin spent much of her time at the store, she managed to find time to hang out with her neighbor Mwajuma. Mwajuma was an African girl whose playful personality and constant jokes made Yasmin break with social expectations discouraging Hindi people from associating with Africans.
Si ajabu kwa Yasmin kuvutiwa naye kwani yeye alikuwa ni kuvutio cha mtaa. Watoto, vijana na vizee, kila mmoja alijua namna yake ya kuzungumza naye. Pale panapojiri mzaha, furaha na busara basi yeye anazo nyingi.It was no wonder that Yasmin gravitated towards her, for she was the attraction of the neighborhood. Children, teenagers, the elderly - everyone had their reasons for conversing with her. They'd go there to listen to her jokes, to bask in her happiness, or to learn from her infinite wisom.
Alikuwa ni mwanamke wa makamo tu, hazidi miaka ishirini na tano lakini umbile lake la wembamba lilimfanya aonekane yuko chini ya umri huo. Alikuwa na kisauti kikali azungumzapo kila jirani hujua kwamba Mwajuma yupo.She was a young woman, not more than twenty-five years of age but, her slim appearance made her look younger than that. She had a strong voice; when she talked, all the neighbors knew that Mwajuma was around.
Alikuwa na uso mwembamba uliochongoka sawasawa na macho remburembu yaliyowafanya wenzake wampe jina la utani macho ya urojo, kwa kuwa yalirembuka kiasi ambacho asingeweza kutofautisha wakati amelewa na pale asipolewa. Majirani wengine wakisema eti anakula kungumanga.She had a thin, perfectly slender face, and eyes that rolled so much her friends gave her the nickname "crazy eyes," for she rolled them so much that you couldn't tell whether or not she had been drinking. Other neighbors said she was nutty.
Alikuwa mrefu wa wastani na avaapo lile vazi lake alipendalo la kujifunga kanga moja kiunoni na nyingine kujitupia mabegani, huku nywele zake amezisuka vizuri nne kichwa, huwezi kupita ukamtazama mara moja. Kila alipopata nafasi, Yasmin hupenya na kumtembelea Mwajuma nyumbani kwake, na yeye alikuwa ni mtu wa pekee ambaye Yasmin alimhadithia dhiki anayoiona kuishi na mume zee kama lile.She was of medium height, and when she dressed up in her favorite outfit - one kanga around her hips and another thrown over her shoulders, her hair plaited into four braids - you couldn't pass by without looking at her immediately. Whenever she got an opportunity, Yasmin escaped and visited Mwajuma at her house. She was the only person Yasmin told stories to about the problems she faced living with her elder husband.
Hivi leo Bwana Raza amemaliza hesabu zake mapema na kuingia chumbani. Alikaa juu ya kile kite msaji na kuanza kuvuta biri zake bila ya kuzungumza na Yasmin ambaye alikuwa bado yu ngali macho. Alikuwa amejilaza chali kitandani akiangalia boriti za chumba kile kama kwamba anazihesabu. Alikuwa mbali katika mawazo akifikiri vipi ataweza kumwepuka mzee yule, lakini kila alipofikiri hakuweza kupata kisingizio chochote cha kumkataa mumewe.One day Mr. Raza had finished his accounting early and entered their bedroom. He sat on the teak chair and smoked his cigarettes without speaking to Yasmin, who was lying motionless under his gaze. She had spread herself out on the bed, staring up at the ceiling beams as if to count them. She was lost in her thoughts of how to avoid her husband, but every time she put her mind to it she couldn't come up with a suitable excuse.
Bwana Raza akiwa na kipande cha biri mdomoni alianza kusema, "Siku hizi biashara hakuna. Kila nikifanya hesabu naona hasara tupu. Yule tajiri wangu wa Kibaniani amekataa kunikopesha vitu kwa sababu sikumlipa pesa za vitu nilivyochukua mwezi uliopita. Madeni yamenizunguka sijui nitafanya nini." Yasmin alimtazama macho tu hakuwa na la kumjibu kwani mambo ya biashara hayakuwa kichwani mwake aslan.Mr. Raza, with part of a cigarette dangling from his lips, began to say, "These days business has dried up. Every time I do the accounting I just see losses. That rich friend of mine in Kibaniani has refused to lend me some things because I've yet to pay him for the things I took last month. I'm surrounded by debts and have no idea what to do." Yasmin just looked at him; she had no response, for business matters weren't on her mind at all.
"Mimi siwezi kuendelea na biashara namna hii, lazima nikatufate pahala pengine nifungue duka," Bwana Raza aliendelea kulalamika huku kipande chake cha biri amekikamata mkononi kwa ncha za vidole. Yasmin aliyapuuza yote yale akageuza ubavu upande wa pili, mara usingizi ukamchukua. Alipozinduka asubuhi ilikuwa ishaingia, Bwana Raza kashughulika anafungua duka."I can't continue with this kind of business, I need to find another place to open up shop," Mr. Raza continued to complain, clutching what remained of his cigarette with the tips of his fingers. Yasmin ignored all of this and turned on her other side, falling asleep shortly thereafter. By the time the sun had risen and morning was upon her, Mr. Raza had left to open his shop.
Haikupita mwezi Raza alimwandikia Mamdali, mjomba wake anayeishi Mombasa na kumweleza matatizo yake ya kibiashara. Mamdali ni mtu wa Unguja aliyekwenda huko Mombasa zamani. Alikuwa mtu mashuhuri huko na kwa ajili ya utu uzima wake alikuwa na madaraka makubwa katika jumuiya ya Ithnashiria Mombasa. Yeye ana duka la fahari hapo Salim Road na wafanyabiashara wengi walimjua mzee huyo. Alikuwa na itibari kubwa na kwake yeye haikuwa vigumu kupata mkopo wa hata shilingi laki moja kutoka kwa tajiri yeyote yule.Not a month had passed before Raza wrote to Mamdali, his uncle living in Mombasa, and explained to him his business problems. Mamdali, a native Zanzibarian, had gone to Mombasa a long time ago. He was well-known there, and due to his established reputation, had an outsize share of responsibilities in Mombsa's Ithnashiria community. He had a magnificent store on Salim Road, and many other businessmen were familiar with him. He was highly trusted - it wasn't hard for him to take out a credit of even 100,000 shillings from any of the area's rich merchants.
Mara tu baada ya kupata barua ya Raza, Mamdali alimjibu na kumshauri ahamie Mombasa akaanzishe biashara ya mboga mboga ambayo inatija kubwa huko.Soon after receiving Raza's letter, Mamdali responded by advising him to move to Mombasa and start a grocery business, which would be highly profitable for him.
Yasmin na mumewe walikuwa wamekaa ukumbini wanakula chakula cha mchana. Bwana Raza alikuwa anawaza atayaanzaje mazungumzo ya kuhamia Mombasa. Waliendelea kula kwa muda kidogo bila ya kusemazana halafu Bwana Raza alianza, "Mke wangu mimi naona bora tuhame Unguja."Yasmin and her husband were sitting in the front room eating lunch. Mr. Raza was thinking about how to broach the subject of moving to Mombasa. They continued to eat for some time without speaking to each other before Mr. Raza began, "My dear wife, I think it's best that we leave Zanzibar."
Yasmin alipigwa na mshangao hakujua yameanzaje hata yakaja ya kuhama Unguja. "Kwa nini?" aliuliza.Yasmin was struck with shock, unaware of how this matter had come about, or even how it had reached the point of leaving Zanzibar. "Why?" she asked.
"Ala! Si nimekwambia kwamba biashara siku hizi haziendi vizuri.""Ala! I thought I told you that business isn't going well these days."
"Tuhame Unguja twende wapi?""So we should leave Zanzibar and go where?"
"Mombasa.""Mombasa."
"Tukafanye nini?""Then what will we do?"
"Kwani sikukwambia?""Didn't I tell you?"
"Kitu gani?""Tell me what?"
"Kwamba mjomba amenijibu ile barua yangu.""That my uncle has replied to the letter I sent him."
"Aa, mimi hukuniambia.""Aa, no you didn't tell me."
"Ala! Basi labda nimesahau, mjomba amenijibu ile barua niliyompelekea na amenishauri kuhamia Mombasa nikafanye biashara ya mboga.""Ala! I must have forgotten. My uncle replied to the letter I sent him, advising me to move to Mombasa and open up a grocery store."
Yasmin aliinama chini akiwa na kipande cha chapatti mkononi.Yasmin dropped her gaze to the floor, a piece of chapati still in her hand.
"Unasemaje?" Bwana Raza aliuliza, akiwa na hamu ya kutaka kujua mkewe atasema nini."What do you say?" Mr. Raza asked, eager to know what his wife would say.
"Ah! Haya maisha tunaoishi mimi na wewe, mimi yashanitumbukia nyongo. Mimi nahisi bora unipeleke kwetu wakati utakapokwenda Mombasa," Yasmin alijibu kwa sauti ya hofu huku bado kipande cha chapati amekikamata mkononi."Ah! This life you and I are living is making me miserable. I'd feel better if you sent me to my family's when you leave for Mombasa," Yasmin replied timidly, still clutching the piece of chapati in her hand.
Yasmin alikuwa akimwogopa sana mumewe kwa sababu ya mafahamiano mazuri yaliyokuwepo baina ya Raza na wazee ya Yasmin. Alihisi kumkera mumewe ni sawa na kuwakera wazee wake, ingawa Yasmin hakupenda kabisa kuishi na Bwana Raza. Yeye alitamani amwache lakini hakuthubutu kumtamkia maneno hayo. Alimwomba mumewe amrejeshe nyumbani lakini alikataa kata kata.Yasmin was afraid of angering her husband due to the mutual understanding between Raza and Yasmin's parents. She felt that to bother one's husband was equivalent to bothering one's own parents, even though Yasmin had absolutely no desire to live with Mr. Raza. She wanted to be rid of him but didn't dare bring herself to say these words to him. She begged her husband to return her to her family's home, but he steadfastedly refused.
Bwana Raza alianza kuandaa safari mpaka ikanoga. Pasipoti yake na ya mkewe zilikuwa tayari na lililobaki ilikuwa ni kumwariifu Yasmin siku ya safari tu. Alisubiri wakati unaofaa kumpa habari hiyo na hapakuwa na wakati mwingine wowote isipokuwa usiku.Mr. Raza began to work out the details of the journey until everything was arranged nicely. His and his wife's passports were ready, and all that remained was for him to tell Yasmin which day they would leave. He waited for a suitable time to do so; there was no other window of opportunity except at night.
Raza alikuwa keshavuta biri zake zimemtosha wamelala yeye na mkewe. "Yasmin," Bwana Raza aliita taratibu.Raza had already smoked his cigarettes as usual, and both of them had laid down to sleep. "Yasmin," Mr. Raza said slowly.
"Unasemaje Bwana?""Yes sir?"
"Safari imeiva, tutaondoka kesho kutwa, safari itachukua siku nne kwa meli. Tutapitia Pemba na Tanga.""Our trip has been planned out - we'll leave the day after tomorrow, travelling for four days by boat. We'll pass through Pemba and Tanga."
"Sasa kwani vipi yale maneno niliyokwambia n'do hukuyatia maanani?""So you didn't pay any heed to what I said to you earlier?"
"Maneno gani hayo?"What are you talking about?"
"Nilikwambia unipeleke nyumbani na wewe utanguliye mimi nitakufuata baadaye.""I told you that you should send me home, that you should leave first and I'll follow you there later."
"Wacha maneno yako, tutafuatana mimi na wewe!" Bwana Raza alisema, tena sasa kwa hamaki. Yasmin hakuthubutu kujibizana na mumewe kwani hii haikuwa desturi yake. Alinyamaza kimya. Haikupita muda, kama kawaida yake usingizi ulimchukua."Drop it - you and I will go together!" Mr. Raza said, angrily this time. Yasmin didn't dare try to discuss it with her husband; it wasn't her custom. She remained silent. It wasn't long before sleep took hold of her as usual.
Siku ya pili duka la Bwana Raza halikufunguliwa na majirani walikuwa washapata minong'ono kwamba bwana Raza na mkewe wanahama. Siku hiyo kutwa Bwana Raza na mkewe walikuwa kazini wakifunga funga. Yalifungwa makapu makubwa makubwa na siku hiyo biri zilikuwa zinavutwa mfululizo, moja baada ya nyengine. Kazi ya kufunga ilimalizika saa moja usiku. Yasmin aliona bora amwombe ruhusa mumewe ili apate kwenda kumuaga mama yake hapo Kiponda. Ruhusa ilipatikana na Yasmin alioga na kubadili nguo haraka na muda si muda alianza safari yake.The next day, Mr. Raza didn't open his shop up, and the neighbors had heard rumors that Mr. Raza and his wife were moving away. That day Mr. Raza and his wife went to work closing everything up for good. They packed everything up in big boxes as Raza smoked his cigarettes constantly, one after the other. Everything was finished at 7pm. Yasmin figured she'd better ask her husband for permission to go say goodbye to her mother in Kiponda. Permission was granted, and Yasmin bathed and changed her clothes quickly, setting out a short time later.
Kiasi cha saa mbili usiku alimkuta mama yake amekaa juu ya kochi ukumbini. Kabla hakuwahi kumsalimu, Zenabhai alianza kumvurumishia mwanawe maneno kwa Kiswahili chake kibovu kilichosababishwa na kujitenga kwake na Waswahili kwa muda mrefu.Around 8pm she found her mother sitting on the couch in her front room. Before she managed to greet her, Zenabhai unleashed a torrent of words on her child, speaking in broken Swahili on account of being separated from her family and other Swahili people for so long.
"Mbona umekujisha saa hizi peke yako?""Why have you come at this hour by yourself?"
"Nimekuja kukuaga ma.""I've come to say goodbye to you ma."
"Unakwendesha cha wapi?""Where are you going?"
"Kwani Bwana Razi hakukwambia ma.""So Mr. Raza hasn't told you."
"Kunambilisha nini?""Told me what?"
"Sisi tunakwenda Mombasa kufungua duka.""We're going to Mombasa to open up shop."
"Raza hakukujisha hapa mezi nzima sasa mimi nafikirisha yeye iko gonjwa.""Raza hasn't been here for a whole month, I thought he was sick."
"Ah! Yeye mzima lakini kazi nyingi.""Ah! He's fine, he's just been busy."
Yasmin hakukaa muda mkubwa kwa mama yake na baada ya kuzungumza kwa muda mfupi aliondoka kwa safari ya kurejea kwake.Yasmin didn't stay at her mother's for long; after speaking with her briefly, she left to return home.
Alipokuwa njiani Yasmin aliwaza kwamba haitakuwa jambo la busara kuondoka bila ya kumuaga hata mtu mmoja mtaani, kwa hivyo kabla ya kufika kwake alipitia kwa shoga yake Mwajuma.As she walked, Yasmin thought it would be unwise to leave without saying goodbye to anyone in the neighborhood, so before she arrived at her house, she stopped by her girlfriend Mwajuma's place.
Ngo, ngo, ngo, aligonga mlango. "Hodi, hodi wenyewe mmo humu ndani?"Knock, knock, knock, she pounded on the door. "Hello, anyone inside?"
"Nani mwenzangu?" sauti kali iliuliza kutoka ndani."Who is it?" a voice boomed from inside.
"Mimi," Yasmin alijibu."Me," Yasmin replied.
Mara Mwajuma alifungua mlango akiwa na taa ya kandili mkononi. "Oh! Yasmin, mbona saa hizi? Kwema?"Then Mwajuma opened the door, a lit candle in her hand. "Oh! Yasmin, what are you doing here at this hour? Is everything fine?"
"Hakuna lililozidi shoga yangu, ila nimekuja kukuaga tu.""Everything's fine, I've just come to say goodbye to you."
"Umekuja kuniaga, pita ndani basi.""You've come to say goodbye ... come inside then."
"Ah! Nna haraka, siwezi kupita ndani manake sikumwambia mume wangu kama nitapitia kwako, yeye anajua kwamba nimekwenda Kiponda kwa mama tu basi nikichelewa yatakuwa mengine kwani kama unavyojua, baba lenyewe lina wivu kama nini sijui.""Ah! I'm in a hurry, I can't come inside. I mean, I didn't tell my husband I'd be coming here, he only knows that I've gone to Kiponda to see my mother. If I'm late it'll be a big deal; you know, that man gets jealous like no other."
"Haifai hivyo, hebu pita ndani angalau dakika mbili," Mwajuma alisisitiza."That won't do, just come inside, even if just for two minutes," Mwajuma insisted.
"Ah! Babu we, unayajua maneno ya mume wangu tena akianza kusema hamalizi.""Ah! You know how my husband speaks to me, and once he starts he'll never stop."
"Ah, shoga yangu we, hayo yasikushghulishe, hiyo ndiyo desturi ya wanaume wazee wanaoowa wanawake watoto wadogo, basi maneno yake usiyajali.""Ah, my sister, you shouldn't let that bother you, all old men with young wives speak like that, don't worry yourself."
"Basi n'takaa kidogo.""Alright I'll come in for a little bit."
Mwajuma alimkaribisha Yasmin ukumbini. Aliipandisha utambi taa aliyokuwa nayo mkononi ili wapate kuonana vizuri. Alimwomba akae juu ya bao lililokuwepo ukumbini pale na yeye mwenyewe alivuta mkeka pembeni na kukaa.Mwajuma ushered Yasmin into the front room. She raised the wick of the candle in her hand so they could see each other better, then welcomed Yasmin to sit on a bench in the room before pulling out a rug to one side and sitting down herself.
"Ehee! Hebu nieleze za wapi tena?" Mwajuma aliuliza akitabasamu, sauti ameishusha chini."Ehee! So explain to me where you're going again?" Mwajuma asked with a smile, her voice low and quiet.
"Nasafiri mimi na mume wangu, tunakwenda Mombasa.""My husband and I are leaving for Mombasa."
"Tena babu maneno hayo niliyasikia yakizungumzwa mtaani lakini mimi sikuamini hata kidogo.""I heard people talking about this in the neighborhood but didn't believe any of it."
"He! Ama kweli duniani hakuna siri, hivyo majirani washayajua?" Yasmin aliuliza, amepigwa na mshangao."He! There's no secrets in this world - the neighbors already know about this?" Yasmin asked, dumbfounded.
Mwajuma aliondoka pale alipokuwa amekaa juu ya mkeka akakaa juu ya bao yeye na Yasmin. Alimsogelea karibu na kumwuliza kwa kumnong'oneza, "Ati nasikia hutaki kumfuata?"Mwajuma got up from her spot on the rug and sat on the bench next to Yasmin. Sliding close to her, she asked in a hushed voice, "I hear you don't want to go with him?"
"Ah! Mwajuma we, hata la kukwambia sina, lakini funika kombe...""Ah! Mwajuma, I haven't even told you that. Put a lid on that..."
Yasmin alipoinua mkono na kuangalia saa yake alistuka, "Lo! Saa nne kasarobo! Mtume! Si maneno hayo nikifika nyumbani, kwa heri, inshalla tutaonana tukijaaliwa."Yasmin turned her wrist and was startled when she saw the time. "Lo! It's 9:45. Lord! I can't talk anymore, I need to get home. Goodbye, God willing we'll see each other again."
"Haya kwa heri shoga, hata mimi nna safari. Hivi unavyoniona nilikuwa nakwenda kuoga, leo kuna dansa la kukata na shoka hapo Mpirani wapigaji wanatoka Dar.""Alright girl, goodbye. Even I've got somewhere to be. I look like this because I was going to bathe before you came, today there's a big dance in Mpirani, the dancers are coming from Dar."
"Basi kama hatukuonana n'do kwa heri," Yasmin aliaga kwa sauti ya unyonge."Alright, well if we don't see each other again then this is goodbye," Yasmin said sadly.
"Ahsante shoga kwa kuja kuniaga, usinisahau kwa barua ukifika Mombasa.""Thank you sister for coming to say goodbye. Don't forget to send me a letter when you get to Mombasa."
Yasmin aliondoka kwa haraka kuelekea kwake, wasiwasi umemjaa. Baada ya kukata vichochoro viwili vitatu alijikuta ameshafika. Alifungua mlango taratibu, alipoingia ukumbini alimkuta Bwana Raza amekaa juu ya kiti amevimba kama kiboko.Yasmin left quickly and headed back to her place, filled with worry. After cutting through two or three alleyways she was back. Opening the door slowly, she entered the front room to find Mr. Raza sitting in a chair, swollen up like a hippopotamus.
"Mbona umekawia?" Raza aliuliza kwa kelele, amehamaki, moshi wa biri aliyokuwa akiivuta unatokea puani na mdomoni wakati huo huo."What took you so long?" Raza asked loudly in anger, the smoke from his cigarette pouring out from his nose and mouth.
"Mazungumzo ya mama yalikuwa marefu na mimi ilibidi nikae nimsikilize tu. Unajua tena akianza kusema.""The conversation with my mother lasted forever, I had to stay and listen to her go on and on. You know how it is when she gets to talking."
Raza alipumua kwa nguvu kama mtu aliyetuliwa mzigo mzito, "Haya basi saa zishakuwa nyingi twende zetu tukalale."Raza took a deep breath, as if unloading a heavy weight from his shoulders, "Alright. It's late now, let's go to bed."
Siku ya safari ilipofika, waliamshwa alfajiri na sauti kali ya muadhini wa Jamatini iliyokuzwa kwa kipaza sauti kilichoifanya isikike waziwazi mpaka Mtendeni na sehemu zote zilizopo kando kando ya mtaa huo. Yasmin aliandaa vipochopocho vilivyotayarishwa tokea jana usiku. Walikula na walipomaliza walianza kuvalia. Walipomaliza kuvalia walionekana kama n'do kwanza wanatoka kuoana kasoro ujanja wa Bwana Raza. Hapo Raza alianza kumtania Yasmin, "Nilikwambia tutasafiri kwa meli lakini nilikuwa nikikudanganya tu, tunasafiri kwa ndege. Ushawahi kupanda ndege wewe?" Raza aliuliza, akitabasamu na kuonyesha mikunjano iliyomjaa usoni.The day of their trip arrived. They were awakened at dawn by the loud voice of Jamatini's prayer callers, amplified by loudspeakers which carried the deep male intonations clearly to Mtendeni and every surrounding area. Yasmin gathered all the luggage that had been prepared the previous night. They ate breakfast, and when they finished they got dressed. Once they had finished dressing they looked as if they were headed off to be married, Mr. Raza's elderliness notwithstanding. Then Raza began to joke with Yasmin, "I told you we'd travel by boat, but I lied to you. We're going by plane. Have you ever boarded a plane before?" Raza asked, his smile deepening the creases of the wrinkles that lined his face.
Yasmin hakumjibu kitu ila na yeye alibakia kutabasamu tu utasema kwamba anaifurahia kweli safari ile. Ilipofika saa nne na nusu za asubuhi wote walikuwa wameshughulika pamoja na wasafiri wengine ndani ya kiwanja cha ndege cha Zanzibar. Baada ya hekaheka ya kujadiliana na watumishi wa Idara ya Uhamiaji na askari wa forodha, waliingia ndani ya ndege. Muda si muda walikuwa wanaelea ndani ya hewa ya Unguja iliyokuwa ikipepea moja kwa moja kutoka baharini, wakiacha chini yao ufukwe uliotambaa na kukizunguka kisiwa kile huku ukiwa umepambika kwa minazi iliyokuwa ikiyumba kwa maringo hewani. Walikaa bega kwa bega ndani ya ndege na Bwana Raza alimpisha Yasmin upande wa dirishani ili apate kumwonyesha maajabu ya kusafiri kwa ndege.Yasmin didn't reply but simply stood there smiling; if you'd have seen her, you'd have said she was elated to hear that she'd be travelling by plane. At 10:30am the two of them were among the crowd of other passengers inside Zanzibar's airport. After the madness of conversing with the officials at the Immigration Department and the guards at customs, they finally boarded their plane. Soon they were floating in the air above Unguja, the wind blowing straight at them from the ocean. They left the beaches they were so familiar with behind, circling the island as its palm trees waved ostentatiously in the wind. They sat shoulder to shoulder inside the plane, Mr. Raza making room for Yasmin by the window so he could point out to her the wondrous sights below.
Ijapokuwa Yasmin alipendezewa sana na mandhari aliyokuwa akiyaacha chini yake, lakini mara kwa mara starehe aliyokuwa akiipata kwa kuangalia mandhari yale ilikuwa ikiharibiwa na jiso la Bwana Raza lililokuwa likimsogelea ama kumwambia kitu au kumwonyesha kitu. Walipaa juu kwa juu na baada ya safari ndefu walisikia sauti ya muhudumu wa ndani ya ndege akiwaarifu kwamba wanakaribia kutua. Walianza kuukabili ufukwe wa bahari ya Mombasa na baada ya muda kidogo walitua kiwanja cha ndege cha Mombasa. Jinsi Mamdali alivyokuwa maarufu Mombasa, aliingia mpaka ndani ya jengo la kiwanja sehemu ambayo raia wengine hawaruhusiwi. Aliwapokea Yasmin na Bwana Raza kwa furaha na heshima na msisimko wa furaha ile ulifikia kiwango cha kulizana. Vauxhall kipya lilikuwa nje likiwasubiri na baada ya safari fupi waliingia ndani ya jiji la Mombasa.Although Yasmin was in awe of the view below her, the peace she felt from taking it all in was disturbed by Mr. Raza, who was talking and pointing things out to her constantly. They climbed higher into the sky, and after awhile they heard the voice of the flight attendant notifying them that they were beginning their descent. They began to approach the beach separating Mombasa from the sea, and after a brief time they landed at Mombasa's airport. So well-known was Mamdali that he had arrived at the airport and entered the restricted area where other citizens were forbidden to go. He received Yasmin and Mr. Raza happily and respectfully, the thrill of their arrival causing him to ask questions at a rapid clip. A new Vauxhall was waiting for them outside, and after a short drive they reached Mombasa's city limits.
Walipofika nyumbani kwa Mamdali waliikuta nyumba imeshatayarishwa kwa wageni, kila kitu kimepangwa vizuri ndani ya ukumbi wa nyumba ile uliokuwa umejaa kila aina ya mapambo ya nyumbani. Nyimbo za Kihindi zilikuwa zikibembeleza kutoka kwenye radiogram kubwa lililokuwepo kwenye pembe moja ya ukuta wa ukumbi ule na vijukuu vya Mamdali viliingia na kutoka vikiwa vimeshikwa na umbea wa kuwaona wageni.When they arrived at Mamdali's home, they found it had been prepared for their visit; everything had been arranged perfectly in the front room of the house, which was adorned with all kinds of decorations. Hindi songs floated soothingly from the large radiogram sitting against one wall of the room, and Mamdali's great-grandchildren, curious to see their visitors, flitted in and out.
Wiki moja tu baada ya kufika Mombasa Bwana Raza alitengenezewa kila kitu na Mamdali. Lilifunguliwa duka kubwa la biashara ya mboga. Ilikuwa hapana mboga utakayoitaka dukani hapo ukaikosa. Mchicha, kabichi, karoti, koliflawa, njegere, kisamvu na aina ya mboga kadha wa kadha.After just one week, Mr. Raza had arranged everything with Mamdali's help. A big produce shop was opened. There was no vegetable one could want that wasn't sold there. Spinach, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, peas, cooked cassava, and all kinds of other vegetables.
Bwana Raza alikodi nyumba nzuri na kuipamba kwa mapambo ya kila aina hata ikakurubia ile ya Mamdali na mara hii chumba chake kilipambwa vizuri tofauti kabisa na kile chumba cha nyumba yake ya Mtendeni kilichokuwa kimejaa kila aina ya makorokocho.Mr. Raza rented a nice home and festooned it with all kinds of decorations in the same manner as Mamdali's home. His room was now decorated attractively, a far cry from his room in Mtendeni that had been filled with miscellanous clutter.
Nyumba yake ilikuwa katika ghorofa ya pili ya jingo kubwa la roshani tatu. Dirisha la upande wa mashariki ya ukumbi wa nyumba lilitazama njia ya Kilindini jinsi ilivyonyooka moja kwa moja kuelekea bandarini na lile la upande wa magharibi lilitazamana na dirisha la nyumba ya jirani. Nyumba za mitaa ule zilikuwa za kizamani zilizoshikana moja baada ya nyengine, na zile za upande mmoja zilitenganishwa na za upande mwengine na barabara nyembamba za lami zilizouzongazonga mtaa ule. Kuta nene za udongo, chokaa na mawe zilipunguza joto ndani ya nyumba zile, kwani ifikapo mchana na, jua linapowaka mji wa Mombasa nao huwaka ukawa joto mtindo mmoja, lakini "Mombasa kongwe" ilikuwa na afadhali.His home was on the second floor of a large building with three balconies. The window on the eastern side of the house looked out over Kilindini Road as it unfurled itself directly towards the harbor. The western window faced the window of the neighbor's house. The homes in the neighborhood were ancient and built one next to the other, with groups of them separated from each other by a narrow paved road that surrounded the neighborhood. The thick walls of dirt, limestone, and rock reduced the heat inside the homes, so that when afternoon arrived and the sun scorched everyone in Mombasa, the "old Mombasa" was the best place to be.
Mtaani hapo ndipo Bwana Raza alipoanzia maisha yake mjini Mombasa, mchana yuko sukoni jioni yuko nyumbani. Lakini tofauti na alipokuwa Unguja ambako mkewe alikuwa humsaidia katika biashara ya kuchuuza pilipili na bizari, biashara ya kuuza mboga sokoni Mombasa ilikuwa ni kazi ya peke yake, na Yasmin akawa ni wa kubaki nyumbani tu.This was indeed the neighborhood where Mr. Raza began his life in the city of Mombasa - in the afternoon he was at the market, in the evening he was at home. But his life here was different than in Unguja, where his wife assisted him in the business of selling chili peppers and curry powder. In Mombasa he operated his grocery by himself, while Yasmin remained at home.
Kwa kuwa Mombasa kongwe haukuwa mtaa wenye maduka, wakati wa mchana ulikuwa shwari na walio majumbani kila mmoja huwa kashughulika na lake.And in old town Mombasa, an area without any shops, every afternoon was quiet as everyone who remained at home kept to themselves.
Kazi ya kumsaidia Bwana Raza ingawaje ilikuwa ikimchosha lakini ilikuwa ikimchangamsha, lakini leo wiki ya pili Yasmin anajihisi amepwaya ndani ya nyumba amezongwa na upweke kila pembe, hana wa kuzungumza naye. Kutwa kuchungulia madirishani. Tumbuizo pekee alilokuwa nalo zilikuwa nyimbo za Kihindi alizosikiliza kutoka katika raidogram kubwa lililosambaa kwenye pembe ya ukumbi.Although helping Mr. Raza with his work had bored her, it had kept her active; by the second week Yasmin felt restless inside the house and smothered on all sides by loneliness, without anyone to talk with. During the day she stared out the windows. The only comfort she had was the Hindi songs she listened to from the big radiogram broadcasting from one side of the front room.
Lakini Yasmin hakutoshelezwa na kukaa akisikiliza waimbaji wakighani na kutetea, bali mara mojamoja husimama katikati ya ukumbi akacheza. Huuyumbisha mwili wake, akatikisa matiti na kurembusha macho yake. Mikono huinyanyua na kuishusha, akijibenua na kujinyonganyonga mithili ya mkunga aogeleavyo kupitia mapangoni. Alijifananisha na mchezaji nachi stadi wa filamu yoyote ile ya Kihindi. Siku zote afanyapo vituko hivyo hudhani yu pekee, yuko mbali na macho ya kiumbe chochote kile ambayo labda yangemtazama akatahayari. Ni macho ya Bwana Raza tu ambayo hayamtahayarishi na siku ambayo Yasmin hufurahi, Bwana Raza huwa ndiye mtazamaji pekee wa tumbuizo kama hilo. Akimchezea, akijipakatisha mapajani na kumbusu mashavuni na hapo ndipo Bwana Raza anapohisi maisha Mombasa yamenoga, biashara inamwendea vizuri Yasmin anamchangamkia hana wasiwasi.But it wasn't enough for Yasmin to just sit there and listen to the singers, and one time she stood in the middle of the room and danced. She swayed her body back and forth, swinging her breasts and batting her eyes. She waved her hands up and down, darting back and forth the way an eel swims through underwater caves and resembling an experienced belly dancer from any Hindi film. Every day she did this under the assumption that she was alone, far away from the prying eyes of anyone who might be shamefully spying on her. But it was only Mr. Raza's eyes who looked on shamelessly, and one day when Yasmin was dancing happily, Mr. Raza was an audience of one to her show. She danced for him, undulated on his lap, and kissed him on the cheeks, and it was then that Mr. Raza felt that life in Mombasa was excellent, that business was going well for him, and that Yasmin made him happy beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Jumapili ile kulikuwa kumepambazuka vizuri mbinguni kukiwa na wingu kubwa lililojitandaza likawa kama mwavuli uliofunika mji wa Mombasa usichomwe na jua. Bwana Raza alitoka mapema kukimbilia sokoni kwani siku ile ya wiki ndiyo Wazungu na wale wanaojiweza wanapofanya manunuzi ya mahitaji yao ya wiki nzima. Tofauti na makabwera ambao kwao Jumapili ni siku ya kupumzika na wengine kulala mpaka saa nne wakiyabembeleza maruirui ya pombe ya jana, kwa wafanyabiashara wa sokoni, Jumapili ndiyo siku ya kazi hasa. Siku ya kuchuma fedha.Day broke pleasantly that Sunday, large clouds spread out across the sky like an umbrella protecting Mombasa from being burnt to a crisp. Mr. Raza left early to run to the market, for that day of the week is when foreigners and others of means do their shopping for the entire week ahead. Unlike everyone else, for whom Sunday is a day of rest, and some of whom sleep until 10am if they are hungover from the previous night, for businessmen Sunday is just another workday. A day for making money.
Yasmin naye aliamka na furaha iliyokuwa ikiendelea tokea jana walipokwenda senema na kutembea tembea madukani. Waliporudi walikuwa na furaha. Furaha ili iliendelezwa kwa kila namna ambayo mume na mke hufurahishana ndani ya nyumba.Yasmin had risen still feeling happy from the day before, when they had gone to the movies and wandered around the shops. They had returned content, a feeling which grew as the pair joked and entertained each other back at home.
Baada ya kunywa chai alijihisi nyumba imemwelemea amezungukwa tena na upweke, akaanza kuufukuza upweke ule kwa kusikiliza muziki. Akajiwa na shauku ya kucheza, akasimama katikati ya ukumbi akaaza kujipinda na kujipindua. Hakuwa na habari kwamba siku zote anapokuwa mchezoni kuna mshabiki ashki wa mchezo wake, anayemwangalia bila ya yeye mwenyewe kujua. Ili ilipomalizika, leo yule ashki aliamua kumpongeza, akampiga makofi na kumwambia, "Shabash."After drinking tea, she felt the house weighing down on her, once more surrounded by loneliness; to chase it away she put on some music. She danced passionately, standing in the middle of the front room twisting and turning to the music. She had no idea that her dances these days had attracted an adoring fan who watched her without her knowing. Today when she had finished, the onlooker decided to congratulate her by applauding and exclaiming, "Good Lord."
Alipogeuka kuangalia dirishani, dirisha la nyumba iliyotazamana na ya kwao, akamgundua msungo aliyekuwa akichungulia unyago aliokuwa akiucheza. Walitazamana lakini Yasmin hakuweza kuvumilia mtazamo wa kijana yule aliyekuwa na macho makali kama kurunzi. Alisindika dirisha, ikawa ndiyo mwisho wa mchezo kwa siku ile.When she turned to look out the window, the window that faced that of her neighbors', she was startled to find a young girl observing her dance routine. They held each other's gaze, but Yasmin couldn't stand the young girl's brazen stare, her eyes like shining searchlights. She slammed the window shut, and that was the end of her dancing that day.
Hakutahayari kama alivyokuwa akifikiri ila aliona fahari kuwa ngoma yake imepata mtazamaji zaidi ya bwana Raza kwani hata mwenyewe baadhi ya wakati alikuwa hujiuliza, "Ngoma gani hii isiyokuwa na mtazamaji? Hata ngoma ya giningi huwa na watazamaji!" Na kuanzia siku hiyo ikawa na desturi, Bwana Raza akishatoka kwenda kuchuuza mboga, ukumbi wa nyumba yake huwa uwanja wa mchezo wa nachi, mchezaji Yasmin mtazamaji jirani yake. Alikuwa kijana barobaro mwenye umbo la wastani. Alikuwa na macho makali ya rangi ya hudhurungi na nywele ndefu za mseto wa kipilipili na singa. Chini ya pua yake yalitambaa masharubu machanga yaliyodhihirisha kwamba n'do kwanza anaingia katika baleghi. Nyusi zake zilizokoza weusi zilianzia kutoka katika pembe zote mbili za uso zikaja zikakutana chini ya kipaji. Alikuwa ametulia dirishani akimtazama mwanamke yule jinsi anavyojibahashua mbele yake.She wasn't embarassed as she realized that her dancing had attracted an observer other than Mr. Raza; sometimes she had asked herself, "What kind of dancing is this, with no one watching? Even giningi dances have an audience!" Starting that day a routine began: once Mr. Raza had left to sell groceries, the front room of the house became a dance stage, with Yasmin performing for her neighbor. She was an adolescent of average appearance. She had sharp, light brown eyes and long, straight hair the color of pepper. Under her nose one could see the faint outline of a moustache demonstrating that she was only just reaching adolescence. Her dark black eyebrows sprouted from both sides of her face, approaching each other to meet at the bottom of her forehead. Relaxed at the window, she watched the woman dancing before her.
Kichwa cha santuri kilikuwa kinateleza juu ya njia za mwisho za sahani, mwimbaji anahitimisha nyimbo yake na ilipomalizika Yasmini alitulia akamtazama yule kijana, naye akamwuliza, "Nani kakufundisha?"The head of the record player slipped as it reached the end of the disc and the singer concluded her song; when it was over, Yasmin gathered herself and looked over at the girl, who proceeded to ask, "Who taught you?"
"Mwenyewe," alijibu, akitikisa kichwa kuzirudisha nywele zake nyuma."Myself," Yasmin replied, throwing her head back to toss her hair behind her.
"Unaweza kuwa mchezaji mzuri wa chakacha, ushawahi kuiona ngoma hiyo?""You could be an excellent chakacha dancer; have you seen that dance before?"
"Bado.""Not yet."
"Unataka kuiona?""Do you want to see it?"
"Ndiyo.""Yes."
"Jumamosi Ali Mkali atapiga Sarigoi, utakwenda?""On Saturday Ali Mkali is performing in Sarigoi, want to go?"
Yasmin akaegemea juu ya kizingiti cha dirisha wakakabiliana uso kwa uso anafikiri la kumjibu. Sasa hakuona haya tena ila ameingiwa na hamu ya kutaka kujua zaidi juu ya ngoma ya chakacha, ngoma ambayo sifa zake amezisikia siku nyingi na nyimbo zake nyingi amekwisha zisikia na nyengine kuzihifadhi. Kuna nyimbo kama "kijembe," "mgomba," "usiniseme," na nyingi nyengine ambazo haipiti siku mbili bila ya kusikia mara mbili au tatu redioni, naye anazipenda. Aliinama akainuka, akamtazama yule kijana. "Nitakujibu," alimwambia.Yasmin leaned on the window sill, face to face with the girl, thinking about how to respond. Her mind drifted away, caught up in a desire to know more about chakacha dancing. She'd heard its praises sung many times before; many of its songs she'd ceased to hear about, while others persevered. Songs like "Innuendo," "Banana Plant," "Don't Tell Me," and many others; not a day would go by without her hearing them two or three times on the radio, and she quite enjoyed them. Straightening herself up, she looked at the girl. "I'll let you know," she said to her.
Azue uwongo gani kwa mumewe ili ampe ruhusa ya kutoka usiku wa Jumamosi. Bado yungali mgeni mjini Mombasa, si jirana wala muhisani, si mjomba wala shangazi, hana wa kumzulia angalau akapata kisingizio cha kuomba ruhusa.What lie should she invent so that her husband would give her permission to leave on Saturday night. She was still a newcomer to Mombasa town, without a reliable neighbor or guide, no uncles or aunts - without anyone even to help craft an excuse for asking permission.
Kijana yule amempa mtihani mkubwa, wala hakumwona siku ya pili na ya tatu. Aliendelea na mtindo wake uleule wa kucheza ukumbini lakini kila alipoangalia dirisha la jirani aliona patupu, dirisha limefungwa. Alizidisha sauti ya radiogram angalau kama jiraniye yuko mbali asikie ishara kwamba ngoma imeanza, lakini wapi? Siku ya nne, wiki.The girl had given her a difficult test, and she was nowhere to be found for the next two days, then three. Yasmin continued with her usual dancing in the front room, but every time she glanced at the window she saw the space empty, the window closed shut. She turned up the radiogram's volume in case she was far away, so that at least she'd hear a sign that the dancing had begun, but the girl still didn't show up. Where was she? Four days, then a week passed.
Sasa Yasmin alihisi zaidi ya kukosa mtazamaji wa ngoma aichezayo kuna kitu kingine akikosacho. Anamkosa jirani, kijana kama yeye. Alikuwa kama aliyekuwa kizani akaona nuru ya kumpa matumaini lakini ghafla nuru ile ikafifia. Mawazo ya chakacha yakayeyuka kichwani mwake na zile nyimbo alizokuwa akizisikiliza zikawa siyo za kusikiliza huku akicheza bali za kumletea athari ya kumfikiri mtu aliye mbali naye. Jumamosi ikapeperuka kama kishada kilichokatika arijojo bila ya Yasmin ikukumbuka kwamba ile ilikuwa ndiyo siku aliyotaka kuipangia uongo ili aruhusiwe kutoka akamsikilize Ali Mkali.Yasmin began to feel as though she had offended her onlooker, be it with her dancing or by some other error. She'd offended her neighbor - a young girl at that. It was as if while shrouded in darkness she had glimpsed a light to give her hope, and then suddenly that light had disappeared. Her thoughts of chakacha dancing dissolved in her mind, and the songs she listened to were no longer those she had danced to, the ones that would remind her of the now-distant girl. Sunday blew by like a reckless kite cut from its string, without Yasmin remembering that that was the day she had been waiting for, when she'd prepare her cover story so she'd be granted permission to leave and go listen to Ali Mkali.
Sasa alibaini kwamba kumbe hamu yake haikuwa chakacha bali yule kijana ambaye alihisi labda atampunguzia unyonge kwa ile kuwa karibu na kijana wa rika lake, angalau akapata ile raha ya kuwa karibu nae wakaongea, wakacheka, wakafurahi. Kutoweka kwa kijana yule kukawa kama wimbi lililoipiga nyumba ya Bwana Raza likafagia furaha changa iliyoanza kuchipua ndani ya numba ile. Mpaka Bwana Raza mwenyewe alihisi kwamba ule uchangamfu aliokuwa nao mkewe wakati wapya ndani ya nyumba sasa umeanza kufifia, akashindwa kuvumilia kamwuliza, "Mbona siku hizi nakuona hivyo?"Now she realized that it wasn't the chakacha dancing she desired, but rather that girl, who she thought might possibly alleviate her sadness, for the girl was almost her age. She would have been happy talking and laughing with her, enjoying her presence. The absence of that girl was like a gust of wind that hit Mr. Raza's home and swept away the nascent happiness that had begun to sprout in that house. Eventually Mr. Raza himself sensed that his wife's cheerfulness had disappeared; when he could no longer bear to ignore it, he abruptly asked, "Why do I see you like this all the time now?"
"Vipi?""Like what?"
"Si hivyo ulivyo!""Like right now!"
"Niko vipi?""What do I look like?"
"Naona siku hizi...""These days..."
Kabla hata Bwana Raza hakumaliza Yasmin aliyachupia maneno, "Siku hizi unaona nini?"Before Mr. Raza could finish, Yasmin jumped in. "What do you see these days?"
"Naona siku hizi huchangamki, hata nachi huchezi tena.""You're sullen all the time; you don't even dance anymore."
"Kwani umenioa niwe nikikuchezea nachi? Kama unataka kuchezewa nachi si wende senema! Una nini mtu mzima wewe?"You mean you married me so I'd dance for you? If you want to be entertained go to the movies! What's the matter with you?"
Ulikuwa usiku wa kawaida tu. Bwana Raza keshakoga amejifunga kanga kiunoni amekaa kitini mguu wake wa kulia ameutundika juu ya wa kushoto anautikisa tikisa, sigara senti iko mkononi imemkolea anaikupua mikupou mikubwa mikubwa.Everything about that night had been routine. Mr. Raza had bathed and wrapped a towel around his waist. Seated in a chair, his right hand hanging onto his left, he swung them back and forth, a cigarette in his hands as he enjoyed his usual deep drags.
Ilikuwa karibu imdondoke lakini aliibana vizuri kwa kidole chake cha shahada na kile cha katikati. Amekaa kinywa wazi kama aliyepigwa kofi la ghafla, ameuachilia moshi wa sigareti ukijizongoazongoa taratibu kutoka kinywani mwake ukatanda pale ukumbini. "Unsaemaje?" aliuliza, moshi bado ukimtoka kinywani.It was precariously close to falling but he gripped it between his middle and index fingers. He was sitting there with his mouth open, as though he had just been slapped, neglecting the cigarette smoke as it uncurled slowly from his mouth and spread across the room. "What did you say?" he asked, more smoke bellowing from his mouth.
"Kwani hukusikia?" naye Yasmin aliuliza, amekaa kwa maringo juu ya kiti, ameshika tama akimtazama Raza bila ya wasiwasi, pua ameikunja, mdomo ameufidua, jeuri ya kitoto inamwenda ndani ya damu yake. Bwana Raza akaona sasa maji yamezidi unga, hajui la kulifanya, Yasmin amechachamaa, amekuja juu kama mtoto wa kifuu lakini naye akajikaza ikambidi aonyeshe urijali wake. 'Siku hizi umekuwa huna adabu!'"You didn't hear me?" Yasmin asked, sitting defiantly in her chair, staring curiously at Raza without a trace of worry, her nose wrinkled up, smiling with the brazenness of a child running through her veins. Mr. Raza saw then that things were out of balance -- of how this had transpired he had no idea -- while Yasmin stood her ground. He emphasized to himself that he needed to show her who was in charge: "You have no manners these days!"
"Zinauzwa wapi? Hebu kanionyeshe nikaziununue.""Where are they being sold? Hey, show me where and I'll go buy some."
Bila ya kujua anafanya nini, Bwana Raza aliinuka akakitupa kile kipande cha sigareti alochokuwa nacho mkononi kikiungua tu bila ya kuvutwa, akamkamata Yasmin mkono akamnyanyua.Without realizing what he was doing, Mr. Raza stood and tossed his unfinished cigarette aside, seizing Yasmin and raising his hand in the air.
"Niwache au nitapiga kelele kama unataka kuniua mpaka majirani wote watoke madirashani.""Let go of me, or I'll scream bloody murder until the whole neighborhood is looking out their windows."
"Wewe! Nimekuchukua kwenu hohehahe! Huna mbele wala nyuma unanuka umaskini leo umekuwa jeuri enh?""You! I plucked you from destitution! You have nowhere to go poor girl, but today you've decided to be an insolent brat, huh?"
"Nani? Mimi? Unani...""Who? Me? What are you..."
Kabla hakumaliza aliyotaka kuyasema Yasmin alitandikwa kofi kubwa; vimurimuri kila rangi vikawa vinameremeta mbele ya macho yake. Nuru iliyojaa ukumbini pale ikatoweka mbele ya macho yake pakawa kiza kitupu. "Unani..." Hajawahi kumaliza akachapwa kofi la pili. Yasmin alianguka juu ya kochi kama mzigo anatweta kama mgonjwa wa pumu.Before she could finish, Yasmin felt a giant slap; stars of every color shined before her eyes. The front room glowed brilliantly before fading into a dark, empty void. "What are you..." She felt the second slap hit her. Yasmin toppled over like a sack, gasping for breath like an asthmatic.
Bwana Raza akili hana kichaa hana, midomo inamtetemeka, maneno yamemkwama hayatoki kinywani. Alitaka kumnyanyua Yasmin pale alipoangukia lakini Yasmin alichomoka ghafla akakimbilia mlangoni akaufungua. Mbio.Mr. Raza was neither smart nor stupid; he came to his senses as his hands shook and the words he wanted to say lodged in his throat. He wanted to lift Yasmin up from where she had fallen, but Yasmin suddenly sprung up, ran towards the door and threw it open in a flash.
Bwana Raza naye akamwandama, naye mbio nyuma yake akimlaani na kumtukana, ngazi akishuka mbili mbili, lakini kabla ya kufika ghorofa ya kwanza kanga aliyojifunga kiunoni ilifunguka ikamvuka akawa uchi kama alivyozaliwa. Sasa ikawa kashfa imezaa kashfa, akaona amwachilie mbali "mwana kharam yule." Yasmin akapotea ndani ya jiji la Mombasa.Mr. Raza chased after her, cursing and swearing, leaping down the stairs two at a time. But before he reached the first floor, the towel he had wrapped around his waist opened and fell away, leaving him as naked as the day he was born. What was initially embarassing had now become scandalous; he realized he'd have to abandon the chase. "Possessed by the devil, that girl," he cursed. Yasmin was lost to the city of Mombasa.
Alipotoka nje hakujua amepotelea wapi akabaki kuizunguka nyumba akiwa tumbo wazi, na kanga tu kiunoni. Angelitokea askari bila ya shaka yoyote angelimkamata kwa kumtuhumu mwizi. Siku ile ilipita. Ya pili ikayoyoma na zifuatazo zikapukutika moja baada ya nyengine, hakumtia Yasmin machoni ng'o akabaki kuumwa ndani kwa ndani.When he finally went outside he had no idea in which direction she had gone; he circled the building aimlessly, bare-chested and with only the towel wrapped around his waist. Had he encountered a security guard, no doubt he would have been taken for a thief. The rest of the day passed, then the next, and the rest vanished after them, one after the other, with no sight of Yasmin as he mournfully shut himself up inside his home.

Sura ya Pili

Chapter 2

Yasmin alifika Unguja kwa meli kiasi cha saa kumi na mbili na nusu za magharibi, jua lilikuwa linapotea upande wa magharibi na mbingu zilikuwa zimepambika kwa mawingu ya rangi ya dhahabu yaliyochanganyikana na rangi ya zambarau. Abiria wote walikuwa washateremka melini na kila mmoja alikwenda alikokwenda isipokuwa Yasmin ambaye alibakia nje ya mlango wa kuelekea gatini, amesimama, amepigwa na bumbuwazi hana zaidi isipokuwa kikapu alichokuwa nacho mkononi. Wachukuzi namba walimzonga kama nzi wanapouzongea mzoga, kila mmoja katika wachukuzi wale akitaka kujua mizigo ya Yasmin ilipo ili akamchukulie.Yasmin arrived in Zanzibar after twelve and a half hours, approaching from the west by boat, where the sun was setting in a sky adorned with gold and purple clouds. All the passengers had disembarked and were going their separate ways except for Yasmin, who stood dumbfounded outside the gate to the pier with nothing more than the basket in her hand. A number of porters buzzed around her like flies around a carcass, each one wanting to know if they could carry her bags for her.
Yasmin hakushughulika na yeyote katika wachukuzi wale ila aliwaona kama wendawazimu tu. Mawazo yake yalikuwa mbali na pale kilipo kiwiliwili chake na alikuwa akiwaza na kujiuliza, "Nende wapi sasa hizi?" Alijiuliza na kujishauri moyoni mwake, "Nende kwa mama? Nikenda kwa mama atanitukana asinibakishe. Nende kwa mjomba? Ah! Nikenda kwa mjomba anaweza kunifukuza kwa kashfa ikawa aibu mtaa mzima."Yasmin didn't engage any of the porters; she merely looked at them as if they were insane. Her body may have been present but her thoughts were far away, as she pondered and asked herself, "Now where should I go?" She debated with herself, "Should I go to mama's place? If I go she'll just swear at me and won't let me stay. Uncle's place? Ah! If I go he'll chase me away and humiliate me in front of the whole neighborhood."
Yasmin alijiuliza masuali kem-kem lakini jawabu linalofaa hakuligundua ng'o. Alianza safari yake ya kutokea bandarini kidogo kidogo akiwa na kikapu chake mkononi lakini wapi alikokuwa akienda hata yeye mwenyewe hakujua. Madereva wa teksi walizirambaza gari zao chini ya miguu yake lakini kwa wakati ule rasilimali yote ya Yasmin ilikuwa shilingi tano na kupanda teksi ilikuwa ni hasara asiyoweza kuimiliki ijapokuwa alikuwa amechoka na njaa kali imemshika.Yasmin asked herself plenty of questions, but didn't find any suitable answers at all. She began to press on, slowly leaving the harbor with basket in hand, but as to where she was headed she herself had no idea. Taxi drivers hustled their services but at that time, Yasmin's total assets added up to five shillings - to get in a taxi was an expense she couldn't afford, even though she was tired and gripped by hunger.
Alijikongoja mpaka senema ya Malindi. Alikwenda moja kwa moja mpaka "Passing Show." Alipinda mkono wa kulia na kutokezea kwa Amar Waga. Hapo tena aliingia ndani ya barabara nyembamba za mtaa wa Malindi mpaka akafika kwa Rasam na alipofika hapo alitamani kupumzika lakini baada ya kujishauri aliona bora aendelee na safari yake. Moja kwa moja aliendelea mpaka "Dagger Club" na baada ya hatua chache alifika mbele ya mlango wa nyumba ya mjomba wake. Alijishauri kwanza kabla ya kubisha hodi. Alipogonga mlango alifunguliwa na mke wa mjomba wake ambaye kwa sauti ya mshtuko iliyochanganyikana na mshangao aliita, "Yasmin."She shuffled towards the Deep Water cinema. Then straight until she reached "Passing Show." She turned right, eventually arriving at Amar Waga. There she turned down a narrow street in the Deep Water neighborhood, walking until she reached Rasam, where she wanted to stop and rest but spurred herself onward. She continued straight towards "Dagger Club," and after a few more steps she stood before the door to her uncle's home. Before announcing her presence, she gave herself some encouragement and advice. She knocked on the door, which was opened by her uncle's wife. "Yasmin!", she exclaimed, notes of shock and surprise registering in her voice.
"Mjomba yupo?" aliuliza Yasmin hata bila ya kusalimu."Is uncle here?" Yasmin asked without first offering a greeting.
"Hayupo, kenda Jamatini. Mbona ghafla? Habari za Mombasa?""No, he went to Jamatini. Why have you come so suddenly? Is everything alright in Mombasa?"
"Mbaya.""No."
"Kwa nini?""Why?"
"Kwanza usiniulize maswali mengi, njaa imenishika tena nimechoka, kama kipo chakula nigaiye kwanza nile halafu tutazungumza.""Please don't ask me so many questions right now, I'm hungry and tired. I'd like some food if you have any, then we can talk."
Yasmin alikuwa juu ya kiti na kukiweka kikapu chake chini. Palepale mke wa mjomba wake aliingia jikoni na kuanza kukaangakaanga. Kinywa cha Yasmin kilivuja mate kwa harufu nzuri iliyokuwa ikitokea jikoni na alihisi kwamba baada ya muda mfupi atakula kikomo cha shibe yake.Yasmin sat down in a chair and placed her basket on the floor. Her uncle's wife went into the kitchen and began frying some food. Yasmin salivated at the delicious scent wafting from the kitchen -- soon she'd be eating until she was completely full.
Kabla ya karamu aliyokuwa akiandaliwa haikuwa tayari mlango ulingongwa na alipokwenda kufungua alimkuta mjomba amemsimamia mbele.But before the feast's preparations could be completed, she heard a knock at the door; when she went to open it, she found her uncle waiting outside.
"Mbona upo hapa saa hizi? Umerudi lini? Mume wako yuko wapi?" Yasmin hakujua alijibu lipi katika maswali aliyoulizwa. Alinyamaza kimya kama mtu aliyepigwa na bumbuwazi."Why are you here right now? When did you arrive? And where is your husband?" Yasmin didn't know how to respond. She said nothing, struck silent by her confusion.
"Nakuuliza mume wako yuko wapi?" aliuliza tena mjomba wa Yasmin."I'm asking you, where is your husband?" Yasmin's uncle repeated.
"Yuko Mombasa, mimi nimerudi nimeshindwa kuishi naye.""He's in Mombasa. I'm back because I can't live with him anymore."
"Unasemaje? Umeshindwa kuishi na Raza?""What do you mean? You can't live with Raza?"
Mjomba wa Yasmin aliondoka pale mlangoni alipokuwa amesimama. Aliingia ukumbini na kukaa juu ya kiti. "Enhe, hebu nieleze vizuri."Yasmin's uncle stepped through the door and entered into the front room, seating himself in a chair. "Enhe, explain yourself.
Yasmin aliinamisha uso chini hofu imemjaa, "Mjomba, kusema kweli thawabu, mimi nimeshindwa kuishi na Bwana Raza. Kwa hakika mimi sikumpenda wala sikumtaka. Nilikubali kuolewa naye kwa kukuridhini nyinyi wazee wangu tu."Yasmin lowered her head, filled with fear as she explained, "Uncle, I tell you truthfully, I cannot live with Mr. Raza. I definitely don't love him, and I don't want to be with him. I agreed to be wedded to him only to please you all."
"Kama hukuweza kuishi na Raza basi na sisi hatuna pa kukuweka," mjomba wake Yasmin alisema kwa kelele. Kelele zilikuwa kubwa mpaka majirani wakaanza kuchungulia madirishani. "Tena upesi tuondokee mbele ya macho yetu utafute pa kwenda. Toka!" alifoka mjomba."If you can't live with Raza fine; we have no place for you here," Yasmin's uncle boomed, loud enough to make the neighbors come to their windows. "We all must live with our decisions; you've made yours, now go on and find someplace to go. Go on, get out!" her uncle exploded.
Yasmin alisita kidogo na kumtazama mjomba wake, matone ya machozi yakianza kuteleza taratibu kutoka kwenye macho yake mazuri.Yasmin hesitated as she looked at her uncle, teardrops welling up and slowly sliding down from her pretty eyes.
"Nakwambia toka! Nenda zako! Nenda kamtafute huyo unayempenda.""I'm telling you to get out! Be on your way! Go find someone you love."
"Niondoke nende wapi na hapa ndiyo kwetu?" alisema Yasmin kwa unyonge."Where should I go? Is this not also my home?" Yasmin asked mournfully.
"Hapa palikuwa kwenu kabla hujaolewa. Sisi tulikupa mume ili tupungukiwe na mzigo. Sasa madhali umemkimbia mumeo, tafuta pa kwenda.""This was your home before you were married. We gave you a husband so we could relieve some of our stress and burden around here. Now that you've run away from your husband, find a place to go yourself."
Yasmin mabega yalimporomoka, asijue la kufanya. Alitoka nje taratibu na alipofika nje mjomba wake aliufunga mlango kwa nguvu huku akilaani na kutukana. Majirani walikwishajaa madirishani wanamwangalia Yasmin akitoa na kikapu chake mkononi, amenywea kama aliyemwagiwa maji ya baridi. Aliwaza na kujiuliza, "Nende kwa mama?" alifikiri, "Aa, nikenda huku mambo yatakuwa mabaya zaidi."Yasmin's shoulders slumped; she had no idea what else to do. She slinked slowly outside, and when she crossed the doorstep, her uncle slammed the door behind her, cursing and swearing. All the neighborhood windows were crowded with onlookers watching Yasmin as she left with basket in hand, feeling as if she'd had cold water dumped over her. She asked herself, "Should I go to my mother's?" before thinking, "Aa, if I go there it'll be even worse."
Aliendelea na safari yake mpaka Darajani na alipofika hapo alisita kidogo. Alitia mkono sidiriani na kuzichomoa shilingi tano alizokuwa amezifutika na kuzitazama, akiwaza na chakula gani atakachoweza kupata kwa pesa zile. Alikwenda mpaka kwa mchoma muhogo akanunua wa shilingi mbili. Alijibanza pembeni na kuanza kuula, akiula huku akifikiri na machozi kutaka kumtoka, zamani alikuwa akila muhogo wa kuchoma kwa kuutamani tu, leo anaula kwa njaa. Alikula wote na kupangusa midomo.She continued on her way until she reached Darajani, where she stopped for awhile. She reached into her bra and pulled out the five shillings she had hidden there, staring at them as she considered what kind of food they could afford her. She walked until she found someone cooking cassava, buying a few pieces for two shillings. Stepping off to the side she began to eat, thinking as she tried not to cry that in the past she would have only eaten cassava when she felt like it; today she was doing so out of necessity. She devoured it all, then wiped her mouth clean.
Sasa alizidi kufikiri pa kwenda. Alihisi balaa limemfika na janga limemwangukia hajui la kufanya. Palepale ilimjia fikra, "Bora nende kwa Mwajuma, labda ataweza kunisaidia." Alikwenda moja kwa moja mpaka kwa Mwajuma. Alipofika hapo aligonga mlango na sauti ya Mwajuma ilimjibu kumkaribisha. Mwajuma alipofungua mlango na kumwona Yasmin alishangaa na kuuliza, "Yalikuwaje shoga yangu?"She returned to her thoughts of where to go next. This disaster and the troubles that had befallen her left her with no idea of what to do. Then a thought came to her: "Best bet is to find Mwajuma; maybe she can help me." She went straight there. When she knocked on the door Mwajuma's voice replied welcoming her in. Mwajuma opened the door to find Yasmin there; surprised, she asked, "What's up sister?"
"Ah, mambo makubwa, hata sijui nikwambie nini.""Ah, a lot has happened. I don't even know where to begin."
"Karibu jikoni basi tupike." Mwajuma alimsogezea Yasmin mbuzi na kumkaribisha akae yeye mwenyewe akiendelea na mapishi."Come into the kitchen, we'll cook something up." Mwajuma herded Yasmin inside and ushered her to sit as she prepared to begin cooking.
"Enhe! Khabari za Mombasa?""Enhe! How has life been in Mombasa?"
"Khabari shoga yangu mbaya. Maisa na Bwana Mkubwa yule yamenishinda. Sina raha sina starehe, mwisho nimeona bora nirejee kwetu kwa wazee wangu. Nimekwenda kwa mjomba nimetimuliwa kama mbuzi na kwa mama naogopa kwenda manake maneno yake nayajua." Yasmin alisita kidogo na kupumua. "Sasa hata sijui la kulifanya usiku huu," aliendelea huku akikiweka kikapu chake alichokuwa amekikumbatia. Alikihisi kizito ijapokuwa bidhaa zote zilizokuwemo ndani ya kikapu kile ilikuwa ni kanzu moja na nguo za ndani mbili tatu alizogawiwa na jirani yake kule Mombasa. Labda kilichozidi ni mswaki na dawa ya meno.""Terrible my sister. Life with the old man got the best of me. I've been unhappy and depressed, so I saw it best to come back home to my parents. I went to my uncle, who chased me away like a goat, and I'm afraid to go to my mother's because I already know what she'll say." Yasmin paused to catch her breath. "Now I don't even know where to spend tonight," she continued as she put down the basket she'd been clutching. It felt heavy even though its contents consisted only of a robe and two or three pairs of clothes that had been given to her by a neighbor in Mombasa. Maybe a toothbrush and some toothpaste as well, but nothing more.
"Maskini shoga yangu. Sasa una shauri gani?" Mwajuma aliuliza kwa huruma za dhati."My poor sister. What advice have you been given?" Mwajuma asked with genuine sympathy.
"Sina shauri lolote, nimekuja kwako kukusikiliza utaniambia nini. Tafadhali nisitiri, nisitiri aibu yangu!""None whatsoever. I've come to your place to hear from you. Please, help me sister, help me deal with this humiliation!"
Mwajuma alimtazama Yasmin akatikisa kichwa. "Basi karibu shoga, tutajibana hapa hivyohivyo, ijapokuwa kitanda chenyewe kimoja," alimwambia na kumwongoza chumbani akipangusa mikono kwa kanga aliyokuwa amejifunga kifuani.Mwajuma looked at Yasmin and nodded her head. "You're welcome here sister, we'll manage to squeeze in here, although there's only one bed," she said as she led Yasmin to the room, wiping her hands clean on the cloth wrapped around her chest.
Yasmin alikaribishwa chumbani. Baada ya kuingia ndani tu alikaa juu ya kitanda na kupumua kwa nguvu kwa machofu aliyokuwa nayo na wasiwasi uliokuwa umeyatawala maisha yake wakati ule. Mwajuma alimwacha Yasmin akipumzika na haraka haraka alimaliza kupika. Baada ya muda mfupi aliandaa wali mzuri uliokolea nazi, mchuzi wa chukuchuku na mboga ya mtoriro kidogo. Ilikuwa na bahati tu kuwa siku ile Mwajuma hakuwa na nyendo za usiku, na baada ya kula tu walilala. Yasmin alilala usingizi mzito kwa machofu aliyokuwa nayo. Labda alizindukana mara mojamoja tu kujikuna mbu au kunguni aliyemtafuna, lakini alipokuja kuzindukana hasa hulikuwa kushakucha. Huko jikoni alimsikia Mwajuma akihangaika kukosha vyombo alivyopikia jana usiku na huko nje alisikia mlio wa kinu kilichokuwa kikitwangwa na watu wawili.Yasmin was welcomed inside the room. Upon entering she sat down on the bed and took a deep breath, drowsy and burdened by all of her worries. Mwajuma left Yasmin to rest and quickly returned to her cooking. After a short time she had prepared a delicious batch of coconut rice, topped with a vegetable and banana sauce bursting with flavor. Fortunately Mwajuma had nowhere to be that night; after eating, they both went to sleep. Yasmin fell quickly into a deep sleep, so drowsy was she. She awoke suddenly maybe once, to slap away a mosquite or a bedbug that was biting her, but by that time the sun had already risen. She heard Mwajuma in the kitchen hastily scrubbing the dishes from last night, and from outside came the noise of mortars being pounded by a pair of workers.
Haukupita muda, chai ilikuwa tayari na walipokuwa wakinywa Mwajuma alionekana ana haraka. Baada ya kumaliza tu alilitafuta baibui lilipo. Alivaa baibui, akasimama mbele ya kioo kirefu kiliomo chumbani mwake. Alijipaka podari, akajiremba wanja machoni. Alizichana nywele zake fupi ambazo leo hakuzisuka na baadaye aligeuka na kumtazama mgeni wake. "Mimi natoka mara moja. Nafika hapo Mbuyuni kwa mshoni wangu kusikiliza kama kanzu yangu iko tayari, nitarudi sasa hivi."A little while later, tea was ready; as they drank, Mwajuma looked hurried. After throwing back the rest of her tea, she began to search for her veil. She put it on and stood before the tall mirror in her room, powdering her cheeks and applying mascara to her eyes. She combed her short hair, which she hadn't yet braided that day, then turned to face her guest. "I'm leaving now for my tailor in Mbuyuni; going to see if my robe is ready. I'll be back right after."
"Mimi utanikuta hapahapa ukirudi," Yasmin alisema kwa unyonge wenye kutia huruma."You'll find me here when you get back," Yasmin said sadly, looking for some sympathy.
Mwajuma alitoka na kumwacha Yasmin peke yake. Hapo tena Yasmin alikabiliwa na kimya tu. Sauti za pekee alizoweka kuzisikia zilikuwa labda zile za mwuza samaki au mwuza mboga wakitangaza biashara zao kwa kelele.Mwajuma went out, leaving Yasmin by herself to yet again confront silence. The only sounds she heard where the voices of the people selling fish or vegetables loudly announcing their business as they walked by.
Kwa Yasmin kimya kile kilikuwa cha sauti tu, kwani kichwani mwake mlikuwa mmejaa mawazo yaliyokuwa yakisokotana na kumfanyia kelele ambazo mtu yeyote hakuweza kuzisikia ila yeye mwenyewe. Aliondoka juu ya kiti alichokuwa amekikalia na kulala kitandani. Kitanda kilikuwa kimetandikwa vizuri kwa shuka ya rangi ya waridi iliyofumwa maua katikati. Wakati akigaragara juu ya kitanda kile, aliuchukua mmoja wa mito miwili iliyovikwa foronya rangi moja na ya lile shuka na kuukumbatia halafu akajilaza kifudifudi. Hapo tena fikra zilianza kutembea kichwani mwake na kuaza kujiuliza vipi ataweza kuyakabili maisha ilhali yu peke yake na yeye bado yu ngali mtoto hata ubwabwa wa shingo bado haukomtoka. Alijiuliza vipi ataweza kujiendesha? Mpaka lini ataishi kwa Mwajuma, mtu aliyemjua kwa mazungumzo tu? Nini jamaa zake watasema wakisikia anaishi Uswahilini na Waafrika. Almureadi fikra namna kwa namna zilikuwa zinaranda na kupigana vikumbo ndani ya kichwa chake.For Yasmin the silence was deafening; her head was filled with thoughts tumbling over each other noisily in a way that anyone would find unbearable, and she herself was no exception. She got up from the chair she was sitting in and went to the bed to lie down. The bed was covered tastefully with a rose-colored sheet with flowers woven in the middle. She rolled around the bed, clutching one of the two pillows wrapped in pillowcases the same color as the bedspread, embracing it before stretching herself out face-down. Then her thoughts started up again as she asked herself how to deal with her life now that she was on her own and yet still a young child, as early in her life as rice that has just been swallowed. How would she guide herself? How long would she live with Mwajuma, someone whom she knew only through sporadic conversation? What would her family say when they heard she was living on the coast with an African? All kinds of thoughts like these swirled and tumbled around her head.
Alipogeuka alikikabili kile kioo kirefu kilichotundikwa ukutani na kama kioo kile kilikuwa kikimtua, aliinuka na kukisogelea. Sasa mawazo yote aliyokuwa nayo yalipeperuka kwa muda na kuanza kujianglia kioni namna alivyoumbika. Alijitazama na kujitazama tena, halafu akachukua kitana kilichokuwepo juu ya meza ndogo iliyokuwemo chumbani mle akaanza kuchana nywele zake na kuzilazia nyuma. Alijiona akizichana namna ile hapendezi. Alizichana tena na kuzilazia pembeni. Aligeuka na kujitazama huku na huku na alipohisi hajajifaidi bado, alifunga mlango. Alisimama mbele ya kioo akavua kanzu na kubakia na nguo za ndani tu.She turned towards the tall mirror hanging on the wall; as if it was calling out to her, she stood and walked over to it. Her thoughts dispersed for a moment as she admired herself in the mirror. She looked at herself from different angles, then grabbed a comb sitting atop a small table in the room and began to comb her hair back behind her. Disliking the outcome she saw in the mirror, she combed it to the side instead. She turned this way and that, unsatisfied. Closing the door, she went back to the mirror and removed her robe so that only her indoor clothes remained.
Alijishika kiunoni kwa mikono yake na kujitazama tena huku na huku. Alijigeuza nyuma na kujiangalia lakini aliona bado hajajifaidi. Alivua sidiria na kujiangalia matiti yake na kuyainuainua huku akiyachezea. Alijigeuza tena mbele na nyuma na mara kwa ghafla, kama mtu aliyesituliwa, aliondoka mbele ya kioo na kuvaa nguo zake kwa haraka. Alipomaliza alijitupa kitandani na kulala kifudifudi na mara machozi yalianza kumtoka.She put her hands on her hips and twisted this way and that. Turning to scrutinze her backside, she still felt discontent. She took off her bra to reveal her breasts; taking them in her hands, she weighed them playfully. She spun around front to back; suddenly, as if she'd been spooked, she stepped away from the mirror and quickly donned her clothes. When she'd finished she threw herself on the bed, lying face-down. Soon her eyes began to droop.
Zilimjia fikra za kwamba mtoto mzuri kama alivyo, mwenye mwili mzuri kama ule, leo anaishi maisha ya dhiki na unyonge vipi atakosa kupendwa na kijana mwenzake aliye mzuri kama yeye, tena aliye Mhindi. Kijana ambaye angelifuatana naye wakatia ngosho njiani huku vijana wenzake wakimhusudu. Alijiuliza, "Vipi?" Alifikiri labda Bwana Raza amemtia kisirani au labda amekaa ndani sana hata vijana hawakuwahi kumjua. Lakini kabla hakupata majibu ya maswali aliyokuwa akijiuliza, zilirudi kichwani mwake fikra juu ya maisha yaliyomkabili. Aliendelea kufikiri mpaka fikra zikamwisha, usingizi ukamchukua, akalala.The thoughts that soon came to her would be expected of any child as pretty as her in a similar situation, one whose days were stressful and miserable, who feared she'd never be loved by a handsome boy her age, and a Hindi boy at that. A boy who would accompany her as they held hands walking down the street, his friends looking on with envy. "How has this happened to me?" she asked herself. Maybe her time with Mr. Raza had cast misfortune upon her, or maybe she'd been cooped up inside for so long that boys hadn't even had a chance to know about her. But before she could answer all these questions for herself, her thoughts returned to the more immediate problems of her daily life. She continued to ponder these until she fell asleep.
Hivi sasa Yasmin alikabiliwa na maisha mapya kabisa, maisha ambayo hakupata kuishi kwani ijapokuwa alikuwa akiishi Ng'ambu, lakini alikuwa haishi king'ambu. Alijuana na jirani zake wa Mtendeni kwa kuja kwao dukani kwa Bwana Raza tu, zaidi hapana. Ilikuwa ni bahati nzuri tu kujuana na Mwajuma, na hii ni labda kwa sababu tabia zao zimelingana.Yasmin was finding the realities of her new life daunting; although she had crossed the sea to leave Mombasa behind, she felt caught between these old and new chapters of her life. She knew almost no one in this new chapter; all her dealings with neighbors in Mtendeni had only been on account of Mr. Raza's shop, nothing more. It had been pure good luck that she had known Mwajuma, and only then because their personalities were similar.
Mwajuma, ijapokuwa ni mtoto wa kimaskini, alikuwa na roho nzuri ya ajabu na roho nzuri yake ilichanganyika na ukarimu usiokuwa na mfano. Alikuwa yuko tayari kumkirimu mtu chochote kidogo alichokuwa nacho. Alikuwa mwingi wa huruma na siku zote alikuwa tayari kumsaidia yeyote aliyemweleza shida zake, pindi akiwa na uwezo wa kumsaidia mtu huyo.Mwajuma, although a child of poverty, possessed a wonderfully kind spirit and unrivaled generosity. She was ready to welcome anyone into her home, no matter how little they had. Her heart overflowed with sympathy: whenever she had the means to do so, she would help anyone at all who explained their problems to her.
Kadhalika, alikuwa ni msichana asiyependa kujikera nafsi yake na aliutumilia uhuru wake wa maisha kama alivyopenda. Alikuwa tayari kufanya lolote lile ambalo alihisi litamletea furaha bila ya kujali wengine watasema nini. Kila Jumamosi alikuwa hakosi densini na alikuwa mpenzi mkubwa wa taarabu. Katika bahari ya muziki wa aina hiyo, alikuwa na sifa kubwa katika chama chake cha "Cheusi Dawa" kwa ajili ya sauti yake nyororo, kali wakati anapoimba. Asionyeshwe bi-harusi pahala popote pale, utamkuta Mwajuma amekwisha fika, amejitia kizoro pamoja na wasichana wenzake. Na hapo kwake, ingia toka ya vijana wa kike na wa kiume ilikuwa haishi. Yeye alikuwa hajali kusemwa na majirani ikiwa kwa wema au kwa ubaya, bali hufanya vile anavyopenda yeye mwenyewe.Furthermore, she was a girl who couldn't be bothered about time, who used the freedom of her lifestyle to do as she pleased. She was always ready to do something exciting, without caring what others would say. Every Saturday she never failed to go out dancing; she was a huge fan of Arabic music. Within the large community surrounding Arabic music, she was a well-known member of her group "White Medicine" for singing in a soft, clear voice. With no sign of the bride, you could arrive at any wedding to find Mwajuma already there, dancing alongside her fellow girls. Back at her home, young men and women who clearly didn't live there would come and go. She didn't care what the neighbors said about it, be it good or bad, for she did whatever she pleased.
Kiasi cha saa saba za mchana, Mwajuma alirejea kutoka safari yake ya randaranda mitaani na alimkuta Yasmin bado amelala. Ijapokuwa hakupenda kumwamsha, vishindo alivyoifanya wakati akibadili nguo vilimwamsha.At 1:30 that afternoon, Mwajuma returned from her errands out on the town and found Yasmin asleep. Although she didn't want to disturb her, the sound of her changing clothes was enough to awaken her.
"Nimekukatia usingizi wako?" Mwajuma aliuliza, akihisi amemkera Yasmin."Did I wake you?" Mwajuma asked, feeling bad that she had disturbed Yasmin.
"Ah, tokea hapo nilikuwa sina haja ya kulala, lakini usingizi umeniiba tu," Yasmin alisema akijinyoosha. "Je usharudi safari yako?" aliuliza."Ah, I wasn't really tired, sleep just got the better of me," Yasmin said, stretching. "You just got back?" she asked.
"Nimesharudi lakini yule mshoni sikumkuta. Nitakwenda kumsikiliza tena kesho.""Yes, but I didn't find my tailor. I'll try again tomorrow."
Baada ya kubadili nguo, Mwajuma aliingia jikoni na kutayarisha mlo na alipomaliza walikula. Baada ya hapo alifanya kazi ndogondogo za kusafisha nyumba. Kisha ndipo likaanza gumzo baina yake na Yasmin.After changing her clothes, Mwajuma went into the kitchen and prepared some food to eat. After eating she cleaned up here and there around the house, and a conversation between her and Yasmin started up.
"Mimi nilikuwa nikikuhisi kwamba humtaki Bwana Raza," Mwajuma alianza akiwa na hakika kwamba Yasmin atazungumza sana."I always knew you didn't want to be with Mr. Raza," Mwajuma began, certain that Yasmin would open up.
"Ah, yule alikuwa si mume wa kumtaka mimi mwenyewe niliozeshwa tu na wazee wangu na mimi sikuweza kuwavunja," alisema Yasmin akitabasamu na kuonyesha meno yake yaliyokuwa yaking'aa kama marmar."Ah, I never did want him myself; my parents married me to him, and I didn't want to disappoint them," said Yasmin with a smile, her teeth glinting like marbles.
Hapo tena liliendelea porojo baina ya Yasmin na Mwajuma kwa muda mrefu akizungumzwa Bwana Raza. Walimuumba na kumuumbua mzee huyo na mara mojamoja soga hilo lilistawishwa na hadithi za jiji la Mombasa. Hapo ulizungumzwa uzuri wa jiji hilo, jia pana la Kilindini lenye mtaa mengi, maduka chungu nzima ya Mtaa wa Salim Road na harakati zinazokuwapo katika jia hilo usiku na mchana. Vitambaa na mapambo kila aina yaliyojaa ndani ya maduka yenye kupendeza. Na zinapoanza hadithi hizo ndipo Yasmin anapopata uwanja wa kuzungumza.Yasmin and Mwajuma continued to gossip about Mr. Raza for awhile. They built him up and broke him down before their chat turned to stories of Mombasa: of the city's charm, of the sprawling Kilindini area, of the many shops spread throughout the Salim Road area, of all the vibrant activity taking place there day and night. Cloth and decorations of all kinds filled the insides of these vibrant shops. Having spent the most time in Mombasa, Yasmin held the floor as Mwajuma listened.
Aliyakumbuka mengi juu ya mji wa Mombasa, lakini katika huhadithia kwake kote mwisho huangukia juu ya maisha yake na Bwana Raza na hapo soga juu ya Bwana Raza huendelea. Mwajuma na Yasmin walizungumza sana utafikiri hawakuonana kwa muda wa miaki kumi iliyopita. Ilipofika jioni wakati bado wamo katika starehe yao ya kupiga soga, waliingia vijana wawili. Walibisha hodi mara moja tu na hata kabla hawajawahi kujibiwa walijitoma ndani moja kwa moja mpaka chumbani kwa Mwajuma.She remembered much about the city of Mombasa, but as her life there had been inextricably intertwined with Mr. Raza, they occasionally resumed their discussion of him. Mwajuma and Yasmin talked so much that you'd have thought they hadn't seen each other for ten years. They chatted amiably into the evening, at which point two young men entered. After calling out their welcome, the pair entered before either of the girls could respond, bursting inside and heading straight to Mwajuma's room.
"Halo shem! Habari za kushinda?" aliuliza Salum, amesimama mlangoni mkono wake mmoja amekamata ubao wa mlango, mkono mwingine ameutia ndani ya mfuko wa suruali ya kaki aliyoivaa. Mwenzake amesimama karibu na pembe ya kitanda alichokalia Yasmin. Yasmina alikaa katikati ya kitanda amekumbatia mto mikononi mwake."Hello sister-in-law! How are things?" asked Salum, who stood in the doorway hanging on to the wooden frame with one hand, his other hand in the pocket of his khakis. His friend stood next to the bed on which Yasmin sat in the middle, clutching a pillow in her hands.
"He! Leo umepata mgeni wa Kihindi?" aliuliza Salum bado yungali amesimama mlangoni. Hakuonyesha heshima wala staha kwa mgeni yule ambaye hakupata kumwona hata siku moja."He! You have a Hindi guest today?" Salum asked, still standing in the doorway. He looked at Yasmin, who he'd never seen before, with undisguised intentions.
"Aaaaa! Wacha maneno yako njoo ukae huku." Bila ya kuonyesha kwamba amekasirika au kuonyesha dalili yoyote ya furaha, Mwajuma alimkaribisha Salum kukaa juu ya kiti lakini badala ya kukaa pale alipokaribishwa alikwenda moja kwa moja mpaka kitandani na kujipweteka karibu na Yasmin."Aaaaa! Be quiet, come sit over here." Betraying neither anger nor happiness, Mwajuma ushered Salum to sit in a chair, but Salum instead went straight over to the bed and sat himself down next to Yasmin.
Salum alimtumbulia macho Yasmin akaanza kumchungua tokea utosini hadi dole gumba halafu akamwuliza, "Hujambo dada?"Salum stared at Yasmin, looking her over from the crown of her head down to her big toe before asking, "How are you sister?"
Yasmin alijibu kama aliyelazimishwa kusema akishangazwa na viroja vipya asivyopata kuviona. Aliondoka kwa haraka pale alipokuwa amekaa na kusogea mpaka pembe ya kitanda. Salum hakumshughulikia tena ila aligeuka upande wa pili na kumwangalia mgeni wake aliyemwandalia matembezi kwa Mwajuma siku ile.Yasmin gave a simple monotonous reply, as if struck by the shock of seeing something she wished she hadn't. She quickly stood up and moved down to the far side of the bed. Salum backed off, turning to face the guest he had brought with him to Mwajuma's that day.
"Roger pita ukae, usiwe na wasiwasi.""Roger sit here, don't worry."
Halafu Salum alimgeukia Mwajuma na kumwambia, "Shem, huyu rafiki yangu kutoka Dar es Salaam. Tulikutana mwaka jana nilipokwenda huko kwa shere za Pasaka."Then Salum turned to Mwajuma and said, "Sister, my friend here is from Dar es Salaam. We met last year when I went there for Easter holiday."
"Karibu Roger," Mwajuma alimkaribisha."Welcome Roger," Mwajuma said to him.
"Mbona mgeni wako kanikimbia?" Salum aliuliza akiingilia katikati ya mazungumzo ya kujuliana hali kati ya Roger na Mwajuma."Why is your guest avoiding me?" Salum asked, interrupting Roger and Mwajuma's greetings to each other.
"Eh! Basi wewe umeingia kama shetani moja kwa moja mpaka kitandani na kuanza kumwangalia mtoto wa watu kama umeona ajabu gani sijui.""Eh! You came in here like a crazy fool, went straight to the bed and started to gape at this girl."
"Roger, pita ukae bwana," Salum alimwambia rafiki yake aliyekuwa bado amesimama kwenye pembe nyingine ya kitanda amejawa na soni mbele ya wanawake wawili wale."Roger, come and sit man," Salum said to his friend, who was still standing on the other side of the bed out of respect for the two girls.
Roger alitabasamu huku akipita taratibu katikati ya chumba na kukaa juu ya kiti ambacho kilikuwa mbele ya kioo. Salum alimgeukia tena Yasmin akimtazama na kutabasamu akionyesha sura ya mtu asiyejali chochote. "Je, bibiye hujambo?" alimwuliza tena. Kwa sauti ya chini iliyochanganyikana na woga, haya na wasiwasi Yasmin alijibu, "Sijambo."Roger smiled and slowly crossed the room, sitting down in a chair in front of the mirror. Salum turned to Yasmin again, smiling casually as though he hadn't a care in the world. "So, you're fine?" he asked. "I'm fine," Yasmin replied, in a quiet voice laced with fear and worry.
"Mbona unaogopa dada; unafikiri si...""Why are you so afraid sister, are you thinking..."
Mwajuma alimkatiza maneno yake na kumwambia, "Hebu mwache huyo mtoto; unamtakia nini hasa? Na umetokea wapi saa hizi?""Leave her alone," Mwajuma interrupted him. "What do you want from her? And where have you been today?"
"Nimetokea huko mtaani," Salum alijibu, sasa ikawa ametulia amekaa katikati ya kitanda."I was wandering around the neighborhood," Salum replied, relaxing on the bed.
"Sasa vipi?" Mwajuma aliuliza."Now what?" Mwajuma asked.
"Namna gani?" Salum alitupa swali juu ya swali."What do you mean?" Salum asked, throwing a question atop hers.
"Kaonane na yule mzee basi hapo nyuma.""Go and meet with the old man out back."
"Hilo ndilo lililonileta hapa," Salum alisema na hapo hapo alisimama na kutia mkono mfukoni akatoa chungu ya mapeni yaliyochanganyika na funguo na pakiti ya sigareti iliyopondekapondeka. Alizihesabu zile pesa halafu akatikisa kichwa kukubaliana na hesabu yake na hapohapo alitoka bila ya kusema lolote. Baada ya Salum kutoka tu Mwajuma alianza kuandaa usiku wa siku ile. Alifungua kikabati kidogo kilichokuwepo karibu na alipokaa Roger ambaye alikuwa amekaa huku amepigwa na mshangao kwa mwenyeji wake kutoka bila ya kumweleza lolote."That is indeed what has brought me here," Salum said. He stood up and reached into his pocket, pulling out a handful of coins, keys, and crushed up cigarette packets. He counted out the coins, nodding his head approvingly upon completion. Then he left without saying a word, while Mwajuma began to prepare the house for the night ahead. She opened a small cupboard next to Roger, who was still sitting but clearly surprised that his friend had left without an explanation.
Mwajuma alitoa gilasi nne kutoka kabatini mle na kuzitumbukiza moja ndani ya nyingine mpaka zikafanya mnara mdogo. Alikwenda nazo uani akiwaacha Roger na Yasmin peke yao ndani ya chumba. Walibakia chumbani mle kimya kama mabubu. Haikuchukua muda, Mwajuma alirudi na gilasi zake mkononi amekwisha zikosha vizuri na baada ya kukiondoa kitambaa kilichokuwa kimtandikwa juu ya meza alizipanga zile gilasi.Mwajuma got out four glasses from inside the cupboard, stacking them one inside the other so that they resembled a small tower. She went out with them, leaving Roger and Yasmin by themselves. The two of them said nothing, as though they were mute. It wasn't long before Mwajuma returned with the glasses in her hand, having scrubbed them clean. After removing the cloth draped atop of it, she arranged the glasses on the table.
Kiasi cha Mwajuma kumaliza kuzipanga zile gilasi, aliingia Salum akiwa amefutika kitu kibindoni. Alisimama katikati ya chumba halafu akamtazama Roger. Alifungua kifungo cha shati na kuchomoa chupa ya rangi ya kijani iliyofungwa ki-stadi kwa kizibo cha jani kavu la mgomba. Aliinyanyua ile chupa juu, akiitikisa na mapovu makubwa yalitibuka ndani ya chupa ile, mapovu ambayo yalififia kila yalipopanda juu.As soon as Mwajuma had set the glasses down, Salum entered with something wrapped up in his shirt. He stopped in the middle of the room, then looked at Roger. He unbuttoned his shirt and took out a green bottle, which had been expertly stoppered with the leaf of a banana plant. Raising the bottle up, he swirled the liquid around, each slosh disappearing as soon as it reached the top of the bottle.
"Aha. Mali safi hii, mali ya Mzee Kiroboto safi kabisa. Tofauti na wale wezi wanaouza maji matupu, unamaliza chupa nzima hata nishai hazikai sawa, lakini ya Mzee Kiroboto nusu tu," Salum alieleza akikifungua kile kizibo cha chupa."Aha. What a treasure this is - only the best from Mr. Kiroboto. This isn't your typical watered down garbage, where you drink the whole bottle and don't feel a thing - just half of Mr. Kiroboto's will do the trick," Salum explained as he uncorked the bottle.
Kwa ghafla kile kizibo kilifunguka na Salum alimwaga kidogo tende iliyokuwemo ndani ya chupa ile juu ya meza na kuiwasha kwa kiberiti. Palitokea mlipuko mdogo wa moto wa rangi ya kibuluu na moto ule uliunguza tende ile kidogokidogo mpaka ilipokauka na moto kuzimika.The cork popped out and Salum poured a little of the alcohol onto the table, then lit it with a match. Small cassava-colored flames arose, burning off the alcohol until it was all used up and the fire died out.
"Unaona mambo hayo, nimekwambia mie kwamba mali ya Mzee Kiroboto peke yake," alisifu Salum. Aliinua ile chupa akaanza kumimina ile tende ndani ya gilasi zilizokuwa zimepangwa juu ya meza."You see, as I said, this is Mr. Kiroboto's finest," Salum crowed. He tipped the bottle and began to pour its contents into the glasses arranged atop the table.
Kabla hakumaliza kazi ile Mwajuma alilalamika, "Ala! Mbona hizo pegi unazitia kubwa? Umedhamiria nini leo?"Before he had finished Mwajuma began to complain, "Ala! Why are you pouring such big shots? What are you up to today?"
"Aaaa, Mwajuma we, unajifanya kama hujui desturi? Hujui kama pegi ya kwanza lazima iwe kubwa? Huyu mgeni wako vipi, nimtilie?" Salum aliuliza, ameikamata chupa mkononi tayari kumimina ndani ya gilasi iliyo karibu na Yasmin, "Ala! Nimesahau, Yasmin hanywi; au vipi utajaribu kidogo?" Mwajuma aligeukia Yasmin na kumwuliza."Aaaa, Mwajuma, now you're pretending not to know the custom of making the first shot the biggest? What about your guest, should I give her some?" Salum asked, gripping the bottle and holding it above the glass nearest Yasmin, ready to pour. "Ala! I forgot, Yasmin doesn't drink - or will you try a little?" Mwajuma asked as she turned to Yasmin.
"Kwani kitu gani hicho?" Yasmin aliuliza amestaajabu."What is it?" Yasmin asked, surprised.
Salum aliinama na kumwangalia Yasmin machoni na kumwuliza, "Bado hukujua nini hiki? Ulevi huu, utakunywa?" Yasmin hakujibu kitu ila aliinua mabega yake juu na kutikisa kichwa.Salum straightened up, looked Yasmin in the eye and asked, "You still don't know what this is? It's alcohol, will you drink it?" Yasmin said nothing, but hunched up her shoulders and shook her head.
Salum alivunjika moyo na kusema kwa masikitiko, "Ooo, sikujua kama hunywi kimwana. Kwa nini usiniambie Mwajuma, nikamchukulia soda? Lakini haidhuru, tukimaliza chupa hii tutakwenda kuchukua nyingine na wakati huo nitapitia kwa Ashuru, nafikiri anazo soda baridi."Discouraged, Salum said regretfully, "Ooo, I didn't know you didn't drink sexy. Why didn't you tell me Mwajuma, should I get her some soda? But never mind, when we finish this bottle we'll go get another, then pass by Ashuru's, he should have some cold sodas."
Halafu Salum alimwangalia Mwajuma na kumwuliza, "Sasa shem, hakuna asusa yoyote ile?"Then Salum looked at Mwajuma and asked, "Now sister, do we have any snacks?"
"Hakuna chochote," Mwajuma alijibu."I have nothing," Mwajuma replied.
"Basi katuletee maji, manake chuma hiki kikavukikavu hakipiti rohoni," Salum alitoa shauri. Bila ya kupoteza wakati Mwajuma aliondoka na haikupita muda alirudi na kata iliyojaa maji."Alright then bring some water; drinking this stuff straight would be rough," Salum advised. Mwajuma rose quickly and left, returning soon thereafter with a ladle full of water.
"Haya tunywe, tunywe kwa afya ya mgeni wetu, Bibi Yasmin," alisema Salum amenyanyua gilasi yake na kumwangalia Yasmin huku akitabasamu. Wote walinyanyua gilasi zao na kugugumia ulevi wote uliokuwemo ndani ya gilasi zile, kila mtu amekunja uso kama aliyekunywa shubiri. Na baada ya hapo kata ya maji ilipelekwa duru na kila mmoja akagugumia mafunda mawili au matatu."Let's drink, drink to the health of our guest, Ms. Yasmin," said Salum, raising his glass and looking at Yasmin with a smile. Everyone raised their glass and downed down their drinks, grimacing at the taste. Then the ladle of water was sent around, each person gulping down two or three mouthfuls.
"Aaaa! Pombe ya Unguja safi kabisa, inashinda hata ile ya Darsalama," alisema Roger, akatikisa kichwa, uso bado ameukunnja hata baada ya kuzimua kwa maji."Aaaa! Zanzibar alcohol is the best, better even than Dar's," said Roger, nodding his head, his face scrunched up even after chasing his drink with water.
"Unajua Bro, pombe kama hii lazima pawepo 'baiting' japo kidogo," Roger alitoa shauri lakini hapana yeyote aliyemjibu. Salum aliendelea kuzimimina pegi tu zikinywewa mojamoja, na kibao hicho kiliendelea mpaka ile chupa ikamalizika."You know bro, this kind of alcohol is the kind you drink slowly and enjoy," Roger advised, but no one said anything in response. Salum just continued to pour out more shots one by one, and the group continued to drink until the bottle was finished.
"Roger," Salum aliita, "Hebu nipeleke hapo kwa Mzee Kiroboto tukaongeze chupa nyingine, manake nahisi nishai bado hazijatulia kichwani, hazipandi wala hazishuki.""Roger," Salum called out, "come with me to Mr. Kiroboto's so we can get another bottle. I'm only tipsy, I need more to calm my mind."
Bila ya kupinga au kujibu chochote, Roger kwanza alitoa paketi ya sigara akaizungusha duru na kila mvutaji alichuka moja. Halafu alitoa kiberiti, mwanzo alimwashia Mwajuma, halafu alimwashia Salum na mwisho aliwasha sigara yake. Alivuta mikupuo miwili mikubwa moshi ukajaa ndani ya mapafu yake halafu akawa anautolea mdomoni taratibu akiviangalia viwingu vidogovidogo vilivyokuwa vikitoka mdomoni mwake. Baadaye aliondoka wakatoka yeye na Salum.Without contest, and without any reply, Roger got out a packet of cigarettes and sent it around the room. Taking out a match, first he lit Mwajuma's, then Salum's, and finally his own. He took two long drags, filled his lungs with smoke, and slowly opened his mouth to release two small puffs of smoke. Then he and Salum left together.
Walipokuwa njiani Salum alimshauri Roger, "Sisi tutakunywa roborobo hukohuko kwa Mzee Kiroboto, halafu tutachukua chupa moja, lakini kwanza tutapitia dukani tukamchukulie yule mtoto mzuri soda na nafikiri hapohapo tutapata asusa."When they reached the road Salum advised Roger, "We're going to drink some more ourselves at Mr. Kiroboto's then get a bottle to bring back. But first let's stop by the store and get a soda for that pretty girl. And some snacks too."
Waliingia vichochoroni, Salum mbele Roger nyuma anafuata tu kama mkia. Kila njia aliyoiongoza Salum, Roger alikuwa nyuma, kila kichochoro naye yumo tu, anafuata bila ya kujua anaongozwa wapi. Walipita uchochoroni na walipoumaliza uchochoro huo walitokezea mbele ya uwanja uliozungukwa na nyumba zilizojengwa kwa miti iliyotomewa matope na mawe. Mbele yao, mandhari yaliishia kwenye upenu wa makuti ulioteremshiwa kipaa kifupi na chini ya kipaa hicho palipangwa matunda. Matango, machungwa, machenza, vipande vya mabalungi, na ndani ya sinia moja iliyokuwa na maji ndani mlikuwemo vipande vya matango vilivyopangwa vizuri.They started through the alleyways, Salum in front and Roger behind him, like a tail. Salum charged down every street, with Roger not knowing where he was being led. When they finally emerged from the narrow alleys, they found themselves in front of an open square surrounded by wooden homes plastered with mud and stone. Ahead they could see a verandah, its coconut palm leaf roof hanging low over a garden. Cucumber, oranges, tangerines, some grapefruits, and inside a tray filled with water were some well-grown cucumbers.
Palikuwepo pia mafungu ya mboga ya mchicha, nazi, ndizi mbichi na pembeni yamepangwa mafungu ya muhogo.There were also piles of spinach, coconuts, and unripe bananas. Off the side were bundles of cassava.
Salum alisita kidogo, na Roger naye, kama askari aliyepewa amri na mkubwa wake, alisimama. Salum aligeuka na kutazama mkono wa kulia halafu akatazama mkono wa kushoto na pembeni aliona kikundi cha watu waliovalia maridadi kabisa. Kanzu nyeupe na vizibao na wengine wamejitupia kashida mabegani. Baadhi yao walivalia kofia za mguu wa suruali zilizofuliwa na kupigwa pasi vizuri. Kila mmoja katika watu wale alikuwa amepakata kitabu mapajani wamezama katika darsa. Mmoja wao alikuwa akisomesha na wengine wanamsikiliza kwa makini.Salum paused for a moment, as did Roger, like guards obeying an order from their commander. Salum turned, looking first to his left, then his right. He spotted a group of people dressed elegantly from head to toe in white robes and waistcoats, some of them with shawls draped over their shoulders. Some of them wore socks that had been washed and ironed immaculately. Everyone in the group had a book in their laps that they were studying intently: one of them taught from it as the others listened closely.
Salum alisikiliza kidogo darsa ile lakini hakuelewa chochote kile katika yalokuwa yakisomeshwa. Kwa Roger yale yalikuwa n'do mageni kabisa kwani yeye hakupata kuyaona. Roger alipigwa na mshangao kwani hakujua wanakwenda wapi. Alistahimili kufuata nyuma kama mkia lakini mwisho alishindwa ikabidi aulize, "Oha, mbona..." lakini kabla hakuwahi kumaliza swali lake Salum alisogea mbele na kuelekea kwenye duka la mboga. Hapo tena walianza kuongozana kama mwanzo, Salum mbele Roger nyuma.Salum listened in on the group a little but didn't understand anything they were saying. This was all new to Roger; he had never encountered a scene like this before. He didn't even know where they were going. He tried to trust Salum's judgement but eventually his impatience got the better of him. "Oha, why the hell..." he began to ask, but before he could finish his question Salum moved ahead towards the grocery store, Roger following behind as usual.
Walikwenda mpaka pale penye upenu wa duka na kukaa juu ya bao lililokuwepo pale. Roger alibakia kustaajabu, amesimama. "Kaa kitako," Salum alimwamuru.They walked towards the store's verandah and sat on the bench. Roger stopped short, standing behind in confusion. "Sit down," Salum ordered him.
"Mbona sioni mtu Bro?""Why is no one here bro?"
"Wewe kaa tu," Salum aliamrisha tena."Just sit," Salum commanded again.
Roger alikaa juu ya bao kama alivyoambiwa na Salum lakini kabla hata hajakaa vizuri mwenye duka alitokea. Alikuwa mtu wa makamo, amevaa fulana isiyokuwa na mikono, miguu chini. Alipofika Salum alianza kuuliza bei ya ndizi mbivu, bei ya chenza halafu akauliza pombe kama ipo. Waliagiza robo robo wakaibugia mara moja na baadaye walianza kutafuna vipande vya matango kuutuliza ukali wa pombe ile.Roger acquiesced, but just as he sat down someone came out of the store. He was middle-aged; he wore a T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off and was barefoot. Salum asked him for the price of some ripe bananas, then that for tangerines, before finally asking whether alcohol was available. They ordered just a quarter of a bottle, which they gulped down immediately and chased with tangerine slices.
Roger alitoa paketi ya sigareti, akachomoa sigareti moja na nyingine akamkaribisha Salum. Wote waliwasha sigareti wakawa wanazikupua harakaharaka. Baada ya kiasi cha mikupuo mitatu, Salum alitulia na sigara yake mkononi akisikiliza pombe inamwambia nini kichwani mwake. Alitulia kimya akili yake iko kule kunakosomeshwa darsa na darsa ile ilimvutia akisikiliza juu ya sheria za urithi za Kiislamu. Akifa baba, mtoto apate ngapi, mjomba apate ngapi. Lakini ghafla alipuuza ile darsa.Roger took out his packet of cigarettes, removing one for himself and giving another to Salum. Both of them lit up and inhaled quickly. After two or three puffs, Salum put his out in his hand and listened to the alcohol talking in his head. Then he quieted his mind enough to focus on the group before him, whose discussion of Ishlamic inheritance rules held his attention: if a father dies, how much of his wealth does his brother get, how much goes to his brother, and so on. Eventually he lost interest and turned his back on the group.
Kwanza alijihisi hahusiki, kwani baba yake kafa zamani na yeye hakuwa na chochote cha kurithi. "Mzee Kiroboto," Salum aliita. Mzee Kiroboto hakuwa mbali, na kawaida yake ilivyo yeye haitwi mara mbili kwani kila wakati masikio yake huwa kwa washtiri wake. Mara moja Mzee Kiroboto alifika pale alipoitwa na iliagizwa chupa moja kama ilivyopangwa. Kufumba na kufumbua chupa ya tende ililetwa. Salum naye hakukawia kuipokea na kuchomeka kibindoni huku akiificha kwa shati lake. Aliichomeka kistadi na hakuna mtu ambaye angeliweza kugundua kwamba alificha kitu kibindoni.None of their discussion concerned him, he thought. His father had died long ago and left him nothing. "Mr. Kiroboto," Salum called out. The man wasn't far away; one never needed to call for him more than once, ready was he to provide for his customers. Mr. Kiroboto arrived immediately, and the young men ordered another bottle as planned. After disappearing inside, Mr. Kiroboto returned with one. Salum didn't hesitate to take it, bundle it up, and hide it in his shirt, all with such skill that no one would be able to spot it.
Walipoondoka pale walikwenda zao mpaka kwa Ashuru. Walimkuta amezungukwa na watu waliokuwa wakihitaji vitu mbalimbali dukani pale. Ilipofika zamu yao walinunua soda mbili, samaki wa kukaanga kwa wingi na peremende kali. Roger naye alichomoa paketi yake ya sigareti na kuangalia. Alipoona sigareti zimebakia kidogo, alinunua paketi nyingine na hapo safari ilianza, tena mara mii kwa haraka zaidi kwa kuhofu wasije wakakamatwa na tende. Walipofika walimkuta Mwajuma anawasubiri kwa hamu kubwa kwani alikuwa amekwishachoka kujibu maswali kadha wa kadha aliyokuwa akiulizwa na Yasmin juu ya viroja vilivyokuwa vikitokea wakati wa karamu ile ya manywaji.When they left Mr. Kiroboto's they headed for Ashuru's. They found the shop surrounded by people in need of various items. When their turn arrived they purchased two sodas, a giant heap of fried fish, and some hot peppermints. Roger glanced inside his packet of cigarettes; seeing only a few left, he bought another packet before the pair started out again, this time walking faster for fear of being caught with alcohol. When they arrived back at Mwajuma's they found the girls waiting eagerly, and Yasmin asked so many questions about what had happened while they were out that Salum quickly tired of answering.
"Tumechelewa kidogo enh?" aliuliza Salum, jasho linamtiririka shati limefanya mabaka ya majasho kifuani. Alisimama mbele ya mlango na kupumua kidogo, halafu alifungua vifungo vya shati la mikono mirefu alilokuwa amevaa. Alifungua mlango na kulipachika pazia juu ili upepo mzuri uliokuwa ukitokea uani uwapitie na wao chumbani mle."We're a little late," Salum acknowledged, sweat streaking the front of his shirt. He stood in the door and caught his breath, then unbuttoned the long-sleeved shirt he was wearing. He opened the door wide and threw up the curtain to let in the pleasant breeze blowing in from the yard.
"Asusa hii," Salum aliweka furushi la samaki walofungwa ndani ya karatasi ya gazeti. Aliichomoa ile chupa kibindoni na kuiweka juu ya meza na halafu alitia mikono mfukoni mwake na kuchomoa chupa mbili za soda."Here's some snacks," Salum said as he set down the fish bundled in newspaper. Then he unwrapped the bottle of alcohol and placed it on the table along with the two bottles of soda.
"Haya tuendelee na kibao," Salum alishauri. Alinyemelea kidogokidogo kitandani na kukaa palepale alipokuwa amekaa kwanza, karibu na Yasmin. Roger naye alinyemelea kidogokidogo akichelea asije akapepesuka na kuziangukia chupa zilizokuwepo juu ya meza. Kabla ya kukaa juu ya kiti alichomo paketi ya sigareti akaiweka juu ya mkono wa kiti halafu alikaa taratibu."Now our gathering can continue," Salum pronounced. He approached the bed and sat down where he had been before, next to Yasmin. Roger, moving carefuly so as not to spill the bottle of alcohol sitting on the table, went over to the chair. He placed his carton of cigarettes on the arm of the chair before slowly lowering himself down into it.
"Tukufungulie soda?" Salum alimwuliza Yasmin. Yasmin alibakia uso chini kwa haya nyingi zilizochanganyikana na kustaajabu. Aliinua macho na kumtazama Salum."Should we open your soda for you?" Salum asked Yasmin. Yasmin held her face down, her expression a mix of shyness and embarassment. She raised her eyes to meet Salum's.
"Fungua hiyo soda Bwana!" amri ya ghafla ilitoka kwa Mwajuma. Salum hakujali amri iliyotoka kwa Mwajuma. Alipomwona Yasmin hakulijibu swali lake aliinuka na kuchomoa kutoka mfukoni mwake bunda la peremende kali. Alizitandika juu ya karatasi na kumkaribisha Yasmin kwa heshima kubwa. Alimgeukia Yasmin tena na kusema, "Chukua peremende basi ikiwa hutaki soda.""Just open the soda man!" Mwajuma commanded suddenly. Salum ignored her. Upon seeing that Yasmin wouldn't answer his question, he stood and took out the bundle of peppermints from his pocket. He spread them out on the table and welcomed Yasmin to them with exaggerated deference. Turning to her, he said, "If you don't want any soda, take a peppermint."
Sasa Yasmin badala ya kukasirika alitabasamu kwa mikasa aliyokuwa akifanya Salum. Alinyosha mkono na kuchukua peremende moja halafu akaitia mdomoni.Rather than display anger, Yasmin just smiled at the scene Salum was making. She reached out to take a peppermint and popped it in her mouth.
"Nmmm, wewe" Mwajuma aliguna akiichukua chupa moja ya soda. Alitoka nayo nje na aliporejea chupa ile ilikuwa ishafunguliwa. "Hebu Bwana Roger n'tolee gilasi moja humo ndani ya kabati," Mwajuma aliomba."Salum..." Mwajuma muttered in exasperation, picking up one of the sodas. She left the room with it and returned after opening it. "Roger, please get out a class from the cabinet."
Roger alifungua kabati na kutoa gilasi moja ambayo alimkabidhi Mwajuma. Mwajuma aliimimina ile soda taratibu akichelea isije ikafoka. Alimpa Yasmin ile soda, naye kwa sauti ya chini alishukuru, "Ahsante."Roger did so and handed it over to her. Mwajuma filled it with soda, pouring slowly to ensure it wouldn't bubble over. She gave it to Yasmin, who thanked her quietly.
Sasa ile chupa ya tende ilifunguliwa na pegi zikaanza kumiminwa kama kawaida. Baada ya pegi mbilimbili tu sauti zao zilanza kupaa na hasa ile ya Mwajuma. Zilipaa kidogokidogo kwa mazungumzo namna kwa namna. Baada ya kiasi cha saa moja hii, hewa yote ndani ya chumba kile ilijaa moshi wa sigareti. Kelele zilizidi ikawa hawasikilizani tena, kila mmoja anazungumza lake.Now the flow of shots from the bottle of alcohol resumed as before. After just two or three more, their voices began to rise, especially Mwajuma's, little by little as their conversation meandered through various topics. After an hour, the air inside the room was filled with cigarette smoke and noise as everyone simply spoke their minds rather than listen to each other.
Hapo tena Mwajuma jazba ilimpanda na kumjia hamu ya kutaka kuwatumbuiza wageni wake, na wageni wale walitumbuizwa kweli. Mwajuma aliimba nyimbo za kila mtindo, za taarabu, za unyago, chakacha na hata nyimbo za densi. Wakati Mwajuma alipokuwa katikati ya moja ya nyimbo zake, Salum aliyeonekana na nishai kubwa aliinuka kwa ghafla pale alipokuwa amekaa na kupiga kelele, "Ya salaam! Ukifa huozi mama!"Mwajuma's mood inspired her to serenade her guests, and what a show they received. Mwajuma sang songs of various styles: Arabic, unyago, chakacha, and even some dance music. In the middle of one of her songs, Salum, who by all appearances appeared to be in a good mood, stood suddenly and shouted, "Hey ... when you die ... you don't rot!"
Roger alimtazama kwa jicho kali kama akitaka kumwambia, "Mbona unatukera katika starehe yetu?"Roger gave him the evil eye as if to say, "Why are you disturbing this peaceful night?"
Baada ya hapo Salum alisimama na kukizunguka chumba, akicheza viuno kufuatishia nyimbo alizokuwa akiimba Mwajuma. Mwajuma aliendelea kuimba bila ya kujali vioja vya Salum. Chumba sasa kilikuwa kidogo mno ukilinganisha na tafrija zilizokuwemo mle. Salum naye katika kuufuatishia unsi ule, aligonga watu bila ya kujali na mara kwa mara aliisukuma ile meza iliyokuwa ikiandaliwa vinywaji. Katika kuzungukazunguka yake, alijistukia amesukuma na kuangukia juu ya kitanda pale alipokuwa amekaa karibu na Yasmin. Alipoinuka alimwona Roger amesimamia mbele, ametoa macho kama chui anayetaka kulishambulia zizi la ng'ombe.Then Salum stood and circled the room, twisting his hips to the rhythm of Mwajuma's song. Mwajuma continued to sing without paying him any mind. Now the room was beginning to feel too small for the festivities within it. As Salum careened about, he knocked into his friends without care and jostled the table on which their drinks sat. A particularly forceful knock sent him tumbling backwards onto the bed where he had been sitting next to Yasmin. When he raised himself up he met Roger's eyes directly across the room, who was looking at him like a leopard ready to attack a group of penned-in cattle.
"Mbona unatukera, Brother? Unatuvunjia starehe yetu yote!""What's gotten into you, brother? You're ruining everyone's time!
Salum alijikusanyakusanya na kukaa vizuri, "You fool! Wewe unajifikiria nani hasa ndani ya nyumba hii?" Salum alipiga kelele akitaka kusimama, uso umejaa shari. Mwajuma alinyamaza kuimba. Si uwanja wake tena. Sasa uwanja ni wa Roger na Salum.Salum gathered his composure and sat up straight. "You fool! Who are you to tell me that, especially in this house?" Salum struggled noisily to stand, his face filled with anger. Mwajuma stopped her singing. All eyes were on Roger and Salum now.
"Sikilizeni, sitaki shari ndani ya nyumba yangu! Kama mnataka kupigana tokeni nje!""Listen, I don't problems in my home! If you two want to fight go outside!" Mwajuma yelled.
Majirani waliojawa na umbeya walianza kutoka nje ya nyumba zao, wengine wamejitanda kanga, mwengine katoka na mtoto mkononi huku mtoto yule akilia, mwenye baisikeli mmoja alivunja safari yake na kutaka kujua kisa cha vurugu inayofanyika nyumbani mle.Curious neighbors began to step out of their homes; some were wrapped in kangas, another held a crying child, and someone on a bike came to a stop to find out what the commotion was all about.
"Wewe Roger siku zote unanisikia tu, lakini leo nitakuonyesha!" Salum alijinata. Alichupa na kutaka kumrukia Roger lakini alijistukia ameangukia meza na kuangusha chupa na gilasi zote."Usually you're a good listener and keep quiet Roger, now today I have to put you back in line!" Salum proclaimed airily. He leapt towards Roger, but tripped and fell on the table, knocking over all the glasses.
Sasa sherehe iliyokuwemo chumbani mle iligeuka ugomvi. Yasmin alibakia ameshangaa akifikiri labda na yeye atapigwa kofi sasa hivi. Matumaini yake yote yalikuwa kwa Mwajuma, amabye alikuwa na hakika atamnusuru pindi kikitokea chochote.Their party took a turn for the worse. Yasmin sat there in shock, thinking about the likelihood of Salum getting slapped for his behavior. All of her hopes rested with Mwajuma, who she knew could resolve any situation facing her.
Mandhari kama yale hayakuwa mageni kwa Mwajuma, kwani kwa ugomvi tu, amekiwshaona ugomvi wa kweli wacha vioja vile vilivyokuwa vikitokea chumbani mwake. Yeye aliokotaokota vitu na kuviweka vizuri, huku amisihi Salum: "Babu kama umelewa nenda zako ukalale, usituvunjie starehe yetu. Mgeni umekuja naye mwenyewe kwa salama na amani; sasa umemgeukia unataka kumfanyia ubabe."Such a scene wasn't new to Mwajuma; she had been witness to many arguments just like it. She rearranged the table as best she could, then firmly told him, "Go home and sleep, don't ruin our good time. Your friend is enjoying himself; your behavior makes you look like his child."
Salum alijizoazoa na kusimama. Alipangusa shati lake lililokuwa limejaa mchanganyiko wa soda na tende iliyokuwepo juu ya meza aliyoiangukia.Salum stood and brushed himself off, wiping his hands on his soda and alcohol soaked shirt.
"Salum naona siku hizi ulevi huuwezi. Bora uache. Kidogo tu mara ushakuwa unaanza shari. Bora acha! Tena tazama ulivyokukongoa, umebakia fremu tu," Mwajuma aliendelea kumsimbulia."Salum, these days you only cause problems when you drink. Just quit. A little is all it takes for you to go wild. Just stop drinking! And quit being so aloof, you're just standing in the doorway!" Mwajuma admonished him.
Moyo wa Yasmin haukutulia mpaka alipomwona Salum amekaa. "Sasa n'do pombe yote imemwagika siyo?" aliuliza Salum kama kwamba hapakuotokea chochote. "Come on Roger," twende tukachukue chupa nyingine.Yasmin's heart didn't slow down until she saw Salum take a seat. "Did all the alcohol spill out?" Salum asked casually, as if nothing had happened. "Come on Roger, let's go get another one."
"Aka, kwa leo iwe basi," aliamuru Mwajuma."No more, it's enough for the night," Mwajuma ordered.
Tafrija ya siku ile ikaishia hapo. Salum na Roger wakatoka kama sio waliotaka kugombana sasa hivi.It was then that their racuous night came to a close. Salum and Roger left together, as if they had never been arguing in the first place.

Sura ya Tatu

Chapter 3

Yote yale yaliyotokea yalikuwa mapya kwa Yasmin. Maisha yake yote alikuwa amefutikwa ndani na wote aliowajua ni wale waliokuwa karibu na yeye na labda washtiri waliokuwa wakija dukani kwa Bwana Raza. Alikuwa hawajui watu ila akiwaona tu. Akujua kabisa kwamba "Duniani Kuna Watu," watu namna kwa namna wenye kila aina ya tabia. Wagomvi, wenye kupenda amani, wenye roho nzuri, makatili, wakarimu, na mabakhili.Everything about that night had been new to Yasmin. Her whole she had been cloistered inside; everyone she had ever known lived in the immediate vicinity of her, or had been Mr. Raza's frequent customers. She knew no one but them. Yet she had been well aware that there was a bigger world "out there," people of every different personality: argumentative, peaceful, soulful, abusive, generous, stingy.
Kwa mara yake ya kwanza amekutana na watu kama wale. Amekutana na Salum, mtu wa mikasa ya ajabu, mtu anayeweza kuudhi halafu akafurahisha hapohapo. Hodari wa kuzungumza na hakuna litokalo kinywani mwake lisiwe na mkasa ndani yake. Halafu alikuwepo Roger, mgeni kutoka Dar es Salaam. Hapendi kusema na asemapo huwa ama anauliza au anjibu swali, lakini ana hamaki zilizo karibu sana. Na Mwajuma naye, ingawa wakijuana zamani lakini hakupata fursa ya kumwona kama alivyomwona siku hiyo.It had been her first time meeting people like those young men. Meeting Salum, someone prone to sudden mood swings, unhappy one moment, jubilant the next. Always speaking cleverly whatever was on his mind. Then there was Roger, a visitor from Dar es Salaam, who spoke only to ask or answer questions, his temper restrained but evident. Mwajuma knew people like them existed, she had just never had the opportunity to meet them in person like she had that day.
Maisha ndani ya nyumba ya Mwajuma yalikuwa kama yalivyo, yakitegemea ruzuku kutoka kwa marafiki na wahisani. Ingia toka ilikuwa haiishi, mara kaingia huyu mara kaingia yule, waume kwa wake, wakubwa kwa wadogo. Starehe za ujana zilikuwa haziishi ndani ya nyumba ile. Yote hayo hayakumkera Yasmin ijapokuwa yalimshangaza na hata wakati mwingine kumstua. Lakini kila siku zilipoendelea alikuwa kidogokidogo anakuwa mwenyeji kwa mambo na watu.Life inside Mwajuma's home went on as usual after that, varying only with the inclinations of the friends and supporters who visited them. They came and went without staying long, one person after another, men and women, old and young. Many of these people would come by unannounced; one person even entered without knocking. As a result, Mwajuma's home was not an idle place typical of other young people's homes. As time went on she was becoming the person that people in need thought to approach first.
Tokea kuhamia kwa Mwajuma, Yasmin hakuwa mtokaji. Alikuwa hendi harudi. Yeye na ndani na ndani na yeye, kama mwari. Mwajuma kama kawaida yake, alikuwa akitoka kwa mapana na marefu, kutwa kiguu na njia.When Yasmin moved in with Mwajuma, she wasn't the type to go out often. She would just remain inside, as is typical of young girls her age. Mwajuma, on the other hand, was inclined to go out often for all kinds of reasons, walking the streets as she pleased.
Si kama Yasmin aliyapenda maisha ya kukaa ndani au Mwajuma alipenda kutoka peke yake na kumwacha Yasmin ndani tu kama kizuka, la hasha. Kila mmoja kati yao alipenda kutoka na kwenda kutembea na mwenzake, lakini Yasmin alifikiri kwamba labda Mwajuma hakupenda kutoka na yeye ili asije akamvunjia starehe yake. Na Mwajuma naye alichelea kumtajia Yasmin mambo ya kwenda kutembea kwa kufikiri kwamba kwa vile yeye ni mtoto wa Kihindi asingelipenda kuonekana amefuatana na mtoto wa Kiswahili kwa kuhofu Wahindi wenzake wasije wakamsema.Yasmin wasn't thrilled with being stuck inside all the time, and Mwajuma didn't like leaving her behind as though she were a widower. Both of them enjoyed going out to walk alongside their friends, but Yasmin feared that Mwajuma would consider her an inconvenience if they went out together. For her part, Mwajuma was afraid to invite Yasmin because she thought that as a Hindi girl, Yasmin wouldn't want to be seen hanging out with an African girl like herself, thereby discouraging other Hindi youth from talking to her.
Lakini siku moja walipokuwa wamekaa jikoni wanakunywa chai, Mwajuma hakuweza kujizuia akamshauri Yasmin. "Hebu leo shoga yangu twende tukatembee, huchoki kukaa ndani?" Moyo wa Yasmin alichanua kama ua kwa furaha kwani fursa kama ile alikuwa anaitamani siku nyingi lakini yeye mwenyewe hakuthubutu kutoa shauri kama hilo maana hakuwa na hakika kama Mwajuma angelipenda kufuatana naye au la. Leo shauri hilo limetoka kwa Mwajuma mwenyewe na hiyo ilikuwa fursa iliyoje kwa Yasmin.But one day, as they sat in the kitchen drinking tea, Mwajuma couldn't stop herself from broaching the subject. "Hey, today let's go out together sister. Aren't you tired of staying inside?" Yasmin's heart blossomed like a flower, so happy was she to finally get the opportunity that she had been waiting so long for, and that she hadn't dared to bring up herself without knowing for sure whether or not Mwajuma would want her along.
"Tukatembee wapi?" aliuliza Yasmin kwa hamu kubwa."Where should we go?" asked Yasmin excitedly.
"Hapo Mbuyuni, nakwenda kusikiliza kanzu yangu kwa mshoni.""Mbuyuni. I'm going to see the tailor about my dress."
Basi baada ya kumaliza kunywa chai tu walikoga, wakajipamba na kujitia manukato kidogo wakapoteza kama nusu saa hivi wakjitazama kwenye kioo kama wamependeza na mara wakawa njiani moja kwa moja mpaka kwa mshoni.So after finishing their tea, the girls bathed, put on make-up, and applied a little perfume. Half an hour later, they checked themselves in the mirror before walking out to the street, headed for the tailor's.
Mzee Nondo alikuwa amezongwa na wanawake, vitambaa vimetawanyika huku na huku pembeni mwa cherehani yake kongwe. Ameshughulika akitaka kuzimaliza nguo alizowaahidi wenyewe waje wazichukue leo. Baada ya kumwona Mwajuma tu fundi Nondo alisema, "Kanzu yako bado kidogo tu, bado zipu tu, njoo baadaye kidogo, kiasi cha saa nane utaikuta tayari."They found Mr. Nondo surrounded by a crowd of women, cloth scattered on both sides of his ancient sewing machine. He was busy trying to finish up with the articles of clothing that he had promised the women would be ready for pick-up that day. Upon seeing Yasmin, Mr. Nondo said, "Your dress still isn't ready. I still have to finish the zipper. Come later, maybe eight hours from now, it'll be ready then."
"Lakini fundi unajua kama kesho Jumamosi na nishakueleza habari zote tokea siku niliyoleta kitambaa," kwa sauti ya kuvunjika moyo Mwajuma alisema. Alipotoka nyumbani alikuwa na matumaini makubwa kwamba ataikuta kanzu yake ishashonwa."But sir you know that tomorrow is Sunday. I already explained everything to you the day I brought the cloth," Mwajuma said dejectedly. She had left home with high hopes that she'd find her dress had been mended.
"Hebu nione," Mwajuma alitaka kuhakikisha."Let me see it," Mwajuma asked, wanting to make sure the job was indeed almost complete.
Fundi Nondo alipekua vitambaa vilivyomzunguka na kutoa kanzu ya rangi ya kijani iliyokuwa na viua vidogovidogo vyeupe. "Hii hapa," fundi Nondo alionyesha, amikamata kanzu hiyo kwenye pembe za mabega. "Kazi iliyobaki ni ndogo tu, lakini kama unavyoniona kazi zimenizonga. Lakini usiwe na wasiwasi kanzu yako utaipata leo."Mr. Nondo sifted through the piles of cloth surrounding him and pulled out a green dress with little white buttons. "Here it is," the tailor showed her before placing it aside. "There's just a little left to do, but as you see I'm swamped with other work. Don't worry, you'll be able to come get it later today."
Mwajuma alimuaga fundi wake na kumhimiza aimalize na baada ya hapo waliendelea na matembezi yao, yeye na Yasmin.After exhorting him to finish, Mwajuma bid the tailor goodbye. Then she and Yasmin went on their way.
Waliingia ndani ya kila duka lililowavutia wakitazama vitambaa, hereni, bangili na kwenye maduka ya vitabu pia waliingia na kuangalia magezeti yenye picha za wachezaji wa senema. Walipitia senema ya Mkunazini na kuangalia matangazo ya senema na walifika mpaka "Capital Tea Room" wakajiburudisha kwa maji ya machungwa.The pair went inside every interesting shop they passed, browsing for cloth, henna, and earrings. Inside a bookstore they flipped through the newspapers in search of photos of famous actors. They roamed the Mkunazini theater, checking out the announcements for upcoming new movies. And in the "Capital Tea Room" they cooled off with some orange juice.
Njiani mote humo Yasmin hakuwa akitembea kwa uhuru kwani mara kwa mara ilimbidi ajifiche kila alipokutana na jamaa zake. Lakini hata hivyo, mengi aliyoyaona yalimvutia sana.Yasmin was unable to walk too freely; every time she spotted someone from her Hindi community, she had to hide herself from sight. Despite this, she enjoyed many of the sights along the way.
Baada ya matembezi ya walirejea nyumbani Yasmin akiwa amechoka kwani haikuwa desturi yake kutembea masafa marefu kwa miguu.After wandering for awhile, the pair returned home. Yasmin was tired out, unused to walking on foot for such long periods.
Ilipofika saa saba na nusu Mwajuma alitoka tena kwa safari yake ya kwenda kuchukua kanzu yake ambayo aliikuta ishamalizika. Baada ya kuichukua alirejea nyumbani kwa haraka akiwa amejawa na furaha akihisi kwamba Jumamosi yake imekamilika.At 1:30pm Mwajuma left for the tailor's once again. This time she was finally able to collect her dress, and she returned home filled with happiness now that her Sunday plans were complete.
Nyumbani alimkuta Yasmin amelala na bila ya kujali alimwamsha na kuanza kumwonyesha kanzu. "Babu ile kanzu yangu nimeipata.""At home she found Yasmin sleeping. Without a second thought, she woke her and showed her the dress. "I've got my dress, girl."
Alikifungua kibahasha alichokuwa amekichukua na kuitoa ile kanzu. Alivua nguo alizokuwa amezivaa na kubakia na nguo za ndani tu halafu akaivaa ile kanzu ili kuhakikisha kama imeshonwa kama alivyotaka mwenyewe. Alijigeuza huku na huku akijitazama mara pembeni, mara mbele, mara nyuma akitaka kujiona namna kanzu ile ilivyompendeza.Mwajuma unwrapped the bundle she had picked up from the tailor's and withdrew the dress. She stripped off her street wear, then donned the dress over her underclothes to ensure the tailor had done as she had asked. She turned this way and that, looking at her sides, her front, and then her back to make sure the dress looked perfect on her.
"Vipi nimependeza enh?" Mwajuma aliuliza akitaka kujua kutoka kwa Yasmin kama kanzu ile ilikuwa na kasoro yoyote, huku amesimama mbele ya kioo na kujigeuzageuza."How do I look?" Mwajuma asked Yasmin, checking to see if she could spot any defects as she stood before the mirror, twisting around in various angles.
"Anashona vizuri kumbe fundi yule," alisifu Yasmin akionyesha usingizi haukumwisha."That tailor did an excellent job," Yasmin acknowledged groggily, still not fully awake.
Mwajuma aliivua ile kanzu akaikunja vizuri na kuitia ndani ya kabati ikisubiri shughuli iliyokusudiwa.Mwajuma took off the dress and folded it carefully before placing it inside the cabinet, where it awaited her Sunday plans.
Jumamosi imefika na kanzu imepatikana sasa Mwajuma yumo katika kujiandaa. Siku kama hii Mwajuma huifurahia sana na furaha hiyo huamka nayo tokea asubuhi. Siku kama hiyo kutwa yeye humtoka vipande vya nyimbo za kila aina, akiimba huku akifanya kazi zake za nyumbani. Mara huimba nyimbo za Kihindi, mara kipande kidogo cha nyimbo ya Kiarabu na kinapomtoka kipande cha nyimbo ya Kiswahili, basi mpita njia yeyote yule aliye ashki lazima atasimama na kumsikiliza.When Sunday arrived, with the dress ready as planned, Mwajuma's plans were on track. Mwajuma always anticipated such days with much eagerness, excited from the moment she awoke. She would sing all kinds of songs as she went about her household chores: some Hindi music, some Arabic music, and whenever she sang in Swahili, her voice would float out into the street, forcing any individual with a heart to stop and listen.
"Yasmin unasemaje Jumamosi ya leo?" Mwajuma aliuliza. "Nafikiri hukupata kuoona usiku wa Jumamosi," aliongeza. Walikuwa wamekaa jikoni, Mwajuma anamenya ndizi na Yasmin anamsaidia kazi ndogondogo, kwani kazi ya kumenya ndizi yeye hakuwahi kuifanya maisha yake."So Yasmin, what are your plans today?" Mwajuma asked. "I don't think you've had a chance to experience Sunday nights here," she added. They were sitting in the kitchen, Mwajuma peeling bananas and Yasmin assisting her with various other tasks, as Yasmin hadn't ever peeled bananas before in her entire life.
"Kwani leo kuna nini?" Yasmin aliuliza."What's going on today?" Yasmin asked.
"Leo?" Mwajuma aliuliza kwa mshangao macho ameyatumbua."Today? Mwajuma asked, shocked, her eyes open wide.
"Ama kweli shoga yangu ulikuwa hupo ulimwenguni. Leo mji mweupe, kuna dansa la kukata na shoka Raha Leo, kuna mbwa kachoka Kiembe Samaki na Malindi kuna taarabu.""Seriously sister, it's like you're a visitor in your own town. Today the whole town is celebrating: there are kukata and shoka dances in Raha Leo, a wedding street dance in Kiembe Samaki, and in Malindi there's Arabic dancing."
Yasmin alifungua kidomo chake kama kutaka kusema kitu, lakini hakuwahi kusema alilolitaka alirukia Mwajuma na kumwuliza, "vipi sasa, sista, utakwenda kutia macho nuru?"Yasmin opened her mouth as if to say something, but before she could manage Mwajuma jumped up towards her and asked, "So sister, you'll go and brighten everyone's eyes, right?"
Kwa sauti ya unyonge Yasmin alijibu, "Ah! Hata nikitaka, cha kukivaa sina, nguo zangu ndo hizihizi, nimeondoka Mombasa sikuchukua chochote maana safari yenyewe ilikuwa ya kutoroka."With sadness in her voice, Yasmin replied, "Ah! Even if I wanted to, I've nothing to wear. All I have are these clothes, I fled Mombasa without taking any of my belongings."
"Hilo si tatizo dada, mimi n'nayo kanzu yangu moja nzuri ya shifoni nafikiri utaipenda na itakufaa.""It's not a problem sister, I have a beautiful dress that'll fit you, I think you'll like it."
Mwajuma alimshikilia sana Yasmin afuatane naye akamwonyeshe maisha ya usiku, siku ya Jumamosi, na Yasmin akakubali.Mwajuma worked to convince Yasmin to accompany her so she could show her Sunday nightlife, and eventually Yasmin agreed.
Jioni ilipofika Mwajuma alipiga pasi nguo zake, akamtolea kanzu Yasmin ambayo alijilinga ikamfaa sawasawa.In the evening, Mwajuma ironed their clothes and gave Yasmin her dress, which looked just right on her.
Watu walianza kumiminika Raha Leo mapema na ilipofika saa tatu usiku ukumbi wa kuchezea dansi ulikuwa umefurika kwa watu. Dansa lilikuwa limestawi na wachezaji walikuwa wakitimka kama wehu. Wanawake walikuwa wamejipamba vizuri kila mmoja akitaka awe amependeza kuliko mwenzake. Juu ya kujipamba kwao kote, majasho yaliyokuwa yakiwachururika yaliharibu ile podari iliyopakwa kwa hadhari kubwa kwenye nyuso zao. Jasho hilo, pamoja na moshi wa sigareti uliojaa ndani ya ukumbi ule, pamoja na vumbi lililokuwa likitimuliwa na wachezaji viliyafanya yale manukato waliyojitia wanawake yasisikilizane hata kidogo.People began to gather in Raha Leo early, so that by 9pm the dance hall was overflowing with people. The dancing was in full swing, the dancers swinging about madly. The women were dressed beautifully, each wanting to look more attractive than her companions. Their make-up, which had been soo carefully applied, was threatened by the sweat that trickled down their faces. The smell of sweat, along with that of the cigarette smoke that filled the hall and the dust kicked up by the dancers, all clashed with the scent of women's perfume.
Dansa lilichezwa bila ya mpango maalum, kila mmoja alicheza atakavyo. Ilikuwa hatambuliki ajuaye wala asiyejua kucheza, kila mtu alikuwemo tu katika shangwe.The dancing was uncoordinated; each person danced as they pleased. It was impossible to tell those who knew what they were doing apart from those who didn't, so absorbed was each person in their own moves.
Zogo la watu waliojaa furaha pamoja na kelele za magitaa na matarumbeta zilisikika mbali. Wale waliokuwa wamechoka kulisakata rumba walitawanyika kila pembe, nje na ndani ya ukumbi ule. Huko nje kulikuwa kumechafuka kwa moshi mkali uliosababishwa na mishikaki iliyokuwa ikichomwa. Washabiki wengine walitoka nje kabisa kwenda kupata hewa safi na wao walijitupa huku na kule na kulala juu ya majani mazuri yaliyoizunguka bustani ya Raha Leo.The commotion of the festive mass of people, along with the sound of guitars and trumpets, could be heard from afar. Those feeling tired from all the dancing spread out on all sides of the dance hall, both inside and out. Clouds of smoke floated around the outside of the hall as people barbequed meat, so some walked even further away to escape for fresher air. Other threw themselves down in the grass surrounding the Raha Leo gardens.
Alipofika hapo Yasmin alipigwa na mshangao mkubwa, "Lo! Mbona kuna fujo?" alisita kidogo, "Aa mimi siingii ndani."Upon arriving at the door of the dance hall, Yasmin was awestruck. "Lo! Why is it so crazy in here?" she asked hesitantly. "Aa I don't think I should go inside."
"Eee dada we, hii haiitwi fujo, ni raha na starehe tu. Husikii hata pahala penyewe panaitwa Raha Leo? Kwani unaogopa nini?""Sister, there's nothing to worry about, everyone is just enjoying themselves. Haven't you heard about Raha Leo? What are you afraid of?"
Yasmin alifikiri mara mbili kabla ya kukubali kuingia lakini baadaye alikubali. Walinunua tiketi na kujitosa ndani ya vurumai ile.Yasmin thought twice, but eventually she decided to go in. They bought tickets and threw themselves into the pandemonium inside.
Humo ndani Yamsin alikuwa mgeni, hakuna aliyemjua wala aliyemwelewa. Ijapokuwa hakukuwa na jamaa yake ambaye angemwona amepotoka, lakini kwa ajili ya haya nyingi zilizoitawala tabia yake, baada ya kuingia ndani alikivuta kitambaa cha baibui lake na kujitupia usoni.Within the dance hall Yasmin was anonymous; there was nobody who knew her or who would recognize her. Despite there being no chance of a family member seeing her and shaming her for attending, she pulled her black veil down over her face out of habit.
Jinsi watu walivyokuwa wengi, Yasmin ilimbidi asimame pembeni peke yake baada ya kukosa kiti cha kukalia. Ama kwa Mwajuma, kukaa kwake halikuwa tatizo, kwani baada ya kuingia ndani tu aliingia uwanjani na kuanza kuchezea mfululizo bila ya kuchoka.As was the case with many others, Yasmin had to stand by herself at the side after failing to find an empty chair. This was no problem for Mwajuma, who leapt straight into the crowd upon entering the hall, dancing up a storm with no sign of being tired.
Alicheza mpaka wapigaji walipopumzika na hapo tena alipoanza kumtafuta Yasmin ambaye alimuta amejibanza palepale pembeni amesimama kama mlingoti.She danced until the musicians took a break, then went to find Yasmin, who had hidden herself off to the side, standing bolt upright.
"Umesimama tokea wakati ule?" Yasmin hakuwa na la kujibu isipokuwa alitabasamu tu."Have you been standing here this whole time?" Yasmin smiled but said nothing.
"Twende tukatafute pahala tukae," Mwajuma alitoa shauri."Let's go find a place for us to sit," Mwajuma suggested.
Baada ya kuzunguka huku na kule walipata viti na kukaa. Kiasi cha kukaa marafiki kadha waliomjua Mwajuma walianza kumkirimu vinywaji na vitafunio. Wengi katika wao walishikwa na shauku ya kutaka kujua ni kisura kangi kile alichokuja nacho na mara kwa mara vijana walimvuta Mwajuma pembeni ili kumwuliza habari za Yasmin.After circling the hall they finally found two chairs. As they sat, several people that knew Mwajuma came up to them offering drinks and snacks. Many of them were struck by the beauty of the new girl accompanying Mwajuma, and often young men would sideline Mwajuma to talk to Yasmin.
Mara takrima ya bia ilimfika Yasmin lakini yeye hakuwa mnywaji wa bia na badala yake alikirimiwa soda na alizinywa mpaka zikamkifu.Sometimes Yasmin was offered beer, but as she wasn't a drinker people would give her soda instead, which she drank until she could drink no more.
Baada ya mapumziko ya kiasi cha nusu saa hivi misakato ilianza tena na haikupita muda Mwajuma alikuja kuchukuliwa akacheze.A half hour after sitting down to rest, the festivities resumed. Mwajuma immediately got up to dance.
Alimwacha Yasmin amekaa peke yake juu ya kiti. Mchezo ulimvutia Yasmin na sasa alijifunua kile kitambaa alichokuwa amejiziba uso. Alitamani na yeye aingiye uwanjani lakni haya zilimzidi na fujo ilikuwa kubwa. Macho yake yote aliyatupa kwa wachezaji na kwa ghafla alistukia kijana mmoja amemsimamia mbele yake anayumba kama mpopoo unaopigwa na upepo. Alipoinua macho na kumtazama yule kijana alimnyoshea mikono na kumwomba, "Twe-twe-nde tukacheze."She left Yasmin sitting alone in her chair. This time the dancing called out to Yasmin, and she pulled aside the veil that had been covering her face. She wanted to join the mass of dancers, but the scene before her was still too overwhelming, the chaos too intimidating. Her eyes were focused on the crowd when suddenly she was startled by a young man who stopped directly in front of her swaying like a wind-battered coconut. Sha raised her eyes to look at the youth, who offered his hands and said, "Let-t-t's g-g-o d-dance."
"Mimi sijui kucheze," Yasmin alijibu."I don't know how," Yasmin replied.
"N-nn-ta-kufu-ndisha," yule kijana aliendelea huku akiyumba na chupa yake ya bia mkononi."I-I'll t-t-each y-y-you," he replied as he swayed, clutching a bottle of beer in his hand.
"Ahsante," Yasmin alijibu akitabasamu na kuonyesha meno yake mazuri."Thanks," Yasmin responded with a smile that revealed her pretty teeth.
"Twe-eende, u-uwacha kuona haya." Yule kijana alimvuta mkono Yasmin kwa nguvu."L-Let's go, d-d-on't just s-sit there," the youth said as he pulled Yasmin forcefully by the hand.
Yasmin zilimpanda hamaki na kusema, "Wanawake wote hawa hukuona wa kutaka kucheza naye ila mimi?"Overcome by anger, Yasmin admonished him, "There are so many women here to dance with, why does it have to be me?"
"Ha-waa wana-wanawake mimi n-n-nimewaona, mimi n-nataka kucheza na u-u-wewe.""I k-k-know, it's y-you I w-want."
Yasmin hakutaka kuyaendeleza mazungumzo na mlevi yule asiyemjuma wala asiyepata kumwona. Alimpuuza na kuangalia watu waliokuwa wakitimka na kufuatisha mpigo wa muziki. Yule kijana alivuta kiti na kukaa karibu na Yasmin akaanza kumsaili, "Kwani -u-wewe jina l-l-lako nani?"Yasmin didn't want to continue her conversation with the drunkard, who she didn't know nor want to know. She turned to watch the people dancing to the beat of the music and ignored the boy, who pulled a chair up next to Yasmin and began to ask her, "So w-w-what's your n-name?"
Yasmin aligeuka na kumtazama kwa jicho la jeuri akamwuliza, "Bwana wewe hasa umedhamiria nini?"Yasmin turned to look at him indignantly and asked him, "Man what do you want with me?"
"He! Ni - mekuomba tu-cheze umk-k-k-kataa, sasa nakuuliza jina hutaki, usiwe hivyo d-d-dada.""He! I s-said we should d-dance but you r-r-refused. N-now I'm just a-asking for y-your n-name. Don't b-be this w-way sister."
"Jina langu unataka kulijua la nini?""Why do you want to know my name?"
"Kwa-kwani watu k-kujuana vibaya?""So we c-can k-know e-each other b-better?"
Bila ya kungojea jawabu yule kijana alimaliza bia yake akasimama kwenda kuchukua nyingine lakini kabla ya kufanya hivyo alimgeukia Yasmin na kumwuliza, "Jee, u-u-takunywa bia dada a-au hutaki pia."Without waiting for her to reply, the boy downed his beer and stood to get another one. Before leaving he turned to Yasmin and asked her, "So w-will you drink b-beer or n-not sister?
"Mimi silewi.""I don't drink."
"B-basi nitakuletea soda.""OK, I-I'll b-bring s-soda."
"Ahsante nishakunywa soda nyingi.""Thanks but I've already drank way too many."
Hapo yule kijana aliondoka na kupotea katika shangwe lile watu wala hakurudi tena kwa Yasmin.Then the youth left, lost in the sea of people. He didn't come back for Yasmin again.
Dansa liliendelea mpaka saa nane za usiku na kwa vile Yasmin hakuzoea kuwa macho mpaka saa zile, macho yake yalikuwa mazito kwa usingizi mwingi aliokuwa nao.The dance continued until 2am. Unused to being up so late, Yasmin's eyes had become heavy with drowsiness by then.
Dansa lilipomalizika kundi la vijana waliojuana na Mwajuma lilikuwa linawasubiri na vijana hao waliwasindikiza mpaka nyumbani.When the dance ended, a group of youth that knew Mwajuma was waiting for the two girls, and they all walked home together.
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"Mazoea yana tabu tabia zikilingana." Japo sijui kama tabia za Yasmin na Bukheti zililingana, mmoja alikuwa mchezaji nachi na mwingine mtazamaji. Yasmin alicheza, Bukheti akitazama. Hapo ndipo yalipokuwepo mazoea. Yasmin acheze, akijipinda na kujinyonga kumtamanisha Bukheti uke wake na Bukheti akitazama na kutamani. Mazoea yale yalikatika ghafla. Kila aendapo dirishani akitegemea kumwona Yasmin akicheza ili akate kiu ya matamanio yake, dirisha limefungwa. Hapana dalili ya mtu. Sauti za waimbaji wa Kihindi wakighani na kutetea hazisikii tena. Nyumba imejiinamia. Kimya. Akadhani wenyewe wamehama. "Lakini Yasmin ahame bila ya hata kuaga?" alijiuliza Bukheti."People of a similar nature are brought together by routine." But I don't know if Yasmin and Bukheti were of a similar nature; one was a dancer, the other a spectator. Yasmin danced, Bukheti looked on. This was indeed their routine. Yasmin would dance, twisting and swaying her hips to impress her beauty upon Bukheti, who watched rapturously. Then one day their routine was abruptly shattered. Each time she went to the window, expecting to quench her desire to watch Yasmin dancing, she found the window tightly shut. There was no sign of anyone. The voices of Hindi singers never returned. The home had closed in on itself: completely silent. Bukheti guessed they had moved away. "But why would Yasmin leave without even saying goodbye?" she wondered.
Kama uchangamfu uliokuwemo ndani ya nyumba ya Yasmin ndio uliofika mpaka kwa Bukheti ukamchangamsha na yeye, unyonge uliomo mle hivi sasa uliiambukiza nyumba yake naye akawa hana furaha. Kama Yasmin alikaa siku kadhaa akitamani amwone Bukheti, amchezee nachi, Bukheti anamtamani yeye. Kila siku yuko dirishani, akitamani kumwona Yasmin, siyo akicheza nachi, la, amwone tu apate kuta macho yake nuru.Just as the joy of Yasmin's home had lifted Bukheti's spirits, the sad emptiness now infecting her house left Bukheti unhappy. Just as Yasmin had spent several days hoping to see Bukheti, to dance for her, Bukheti now did the same, pining for Yasmin. Every day she was at the window hoping for a glimpse of her, be it of her dancing or even just of her sparkling eyes.
Baada ya mwezi mzima, Bukheti kama aliyekuwa akiota akasikia sauti kali ya mwimbaji wa Kihindi, sauti ile ikapenya mpaka ndani ya moyo wake, ukachanua kwa furaha pale alipokuwa amekaa. Akadhani Yasmin amerudi na ile nyimbo ni ishara ya kumwita. Bukheti akanyanyuka kwa haraka kwenda dirishani na alipochungulia dirisha la nyumba ya pili alimwona Bwana Raza amesimama na biri yake mdomoni, anaikupua mikupuo mikubwa moshi umetapakaa dirisha zima. Pale aliposimama amekaa kama mwendawazimu. Tumbo wazi kifua kimejaa manyoya ya mchanganyiko wa meupe na meusi. Amekonda mabega yako juu juu kama mwenye maradhi ya kifua kikuu. Macho yote yameingia ndani amefuga sharafa la ndevu nazo zimechanganyika nyeusi na nyeupe hujui zipi zinataka kumtawala mwenzake. Mvi zimejaa kichwa tele. Walikabiliana uso kwa uso, na Bukheti bila ya kufikiri akamwuliza hali. "Hujambo Bwana Raza?"A month later, as if she was dreaming, Bukheti heard a loud chorus of Hindi singers from where she was sitting. The sound escaped from its source and flowed into her heart, which soared with happiness. Yasmin must have returned, she thought; the song must be her calling me. Bukheti bolted up and towards the window; looking through the second window of the home, she saw Mr. Raza standing with a cigarette in his mouth, inhaling big puffs of smoke that clouded the entire window. From where he was standing he looked insane. His shirt was open, his chest a forest of white and black hair. His shoulders were hunched up, as though he were sick to his stomach. His eyes looked empty; he had trimmed his beard, its white and black hairs struggling to overcome the others. His head was full of gray. When they met each other's eyes, Bukheti asked without a second thought: "How are you Mr. Raza?"
Akajifanya kama hakusikia. Akamwuliza tena, "Bwana Raza Hujambo?"He acted as though he didn't hear. Bukheti asked again, "How are you Mr. Raza?"
"Sijambo!" alijibu kama aliyelazimishwa, bado anavuta biri yake akipuliza moshi mzito kutoka mdomoni."I'm fine!" he replied, as though he had been forced to, still smoking his cigarette and exhaling heavy clouds of smoke.
"Bibi naye hajambo?""And how about my sister?"
"Bibi gani? Una bibi wewe hapa?""Which sister? You have a sister here?"
"Si jirani yangu Yasmin?""Doesn't my neighbor Yasmin live here?"
"Yasmin wewe unamjuwaje?" Raza sasa ameipaza sauti juu, amekasirika. "Wewe! Wewe ndiye uliyekuwa ukimzaini mke wangu. Ukimtiatia maneno. Kama huna habari nakwambia basi. Hayupo, kenda kwao Unguja. Wala harudi tena.""How do you know Yasmin?" Raza raised his voice angrily. "You! I bet you were a bad influence on my wife, gossiping and encouraging her. If you don't know, fine, I'll tell you. She's not here, she went back to her place in Zanzibar. And she's not coming back."
Raza alilifunga lile dirisha kwa nguvu, Bukheti akabakia palepale dirishani pake.Raza slammed the window shut as Bukheti stood there.
Hakuona ajabu kwa Bwana Raza kuingiwa na kiwewe, kwani Yasmin alikuwa moto. Mtoto wa kumtia mtu kiwewe. Na Bwana Raza kweli ameingiwa na kiwewe. Huranda nymba nzima akisema peke yake, akiwalaani Yasmin na Bukheti, Yasmin kwa kumkimbia na Bukheti kwa kumwenda kinyume.She was unable to see Mr. Raza's anger dissipate into depression. Yasmin was but a child, yet capable of dealing such a blow to the heart. Mr. Raza was truly despondent. Wandering around his home and muttering to himself, he cursed Yasmin and Bukheti: Yasmin for running away, and Bukheti for toppling him back down into grief.