Poem: Mooko-Hands. Celebrating the life of Arthur Kinuthia Thindiu

On the 15th of November 2020 at 5.30 pm, my uncle, Arthur Kinuthia Thindiu passed away in his home in Wangige. The firstborn in our mum’s family, he had been ailing for quite a while due to high blood pressure, diabetes and a brain tumour that, though non-cancerous, could not be operated on. My uncle suffered in his last days. When I got the call from my cousin that Sunday evening, guilt struck me so hard, I could not forgive myself for having gone home the previous weekend and not checking up on him. Like with everyone with everything in life, we always think we have time until we don’t.

Having been brought up by my mum and Cũcũ (grandmother), my uncle Kinuthia including my other 4 uncles were like fathers to me. On my wedding day, he was my father. He held my hand as I walked down the aisle. It was one of the greatest moments for both of us and for my mum.

This poem; Mooko which is the Gĩkũyũ word for Hands- is a dedication to him. It is my way of honoring his memory not just in real life (I read it at his funeral) but also to preserve it in this digital world for his great-grandchildren and their future generations. I wrote the poem both in Gĩkũyũ and English.

My late uncle with his nephew and name sake Gideon Kinuthia

Makĩria ma mama, ũrarĩ Baba
Makĩria ya ngeithi cia moko
tugĩkinyũkia o kahora
nginya o harĩa mwedwa wakwa 
etereire kanithainĩ.
Nĩwanyitire guoko.

Makĩria ma mũndũ harĩ we,
urarĩ mwana wake.
Makĩria ya mũtangĩki ngoro kũrĩ we,
nĩ arakũnyitire guoko,
uhitũkĩire mũkuru wa gĩkuũ
ona rĩũ, no akũnyitĩte gũoko.

Hurũka thayũ Mama
Nginya rĩrĩa tukonana rĩngĩ
All rights Reserved© Njeri Wangarì -Wanjohi
20th November 2020

Hands- A poem about grief & a Daughter’s love for a Father

More than an uncle to me
you were my father
more than a handshake to me 
you walked me down the aisle 
you held my hand

More than a man to him
you are his son
More than a weary soul to him
He walked you through the valley of death 
He still holds your hand 

Till we meet again
Hurũka thayũ Mama 

All rights Reserved© Njeri Wangarì -Wanjohi

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