On the other hand, parents found a way of deterring us from committing certain misdemeanors, perhaps because they always were not in the mood to beat us. They came up with mortifying consequences for certain actions, such as mimicking a bird.
In our village, Chororget in Elgeyo Marakwet, there was this bird that made a loud and unpleasant noise. It was called ‘Chebang’ang’yet’. As a kid, this bird was a marvel, and we’d mimic it. The noise would irk our parents, yes, but reaching for a cane would be something not worth. So they told us that whoever mimics it will go deaf. And so we’d hear the mystic bird with its magical powers, without making any noise.
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Whistling at Night.
The nightfall often signaled the end of the day. For kids, it is an inconvenience. Sometimes the urge to whistle is all so strong that one cannot control it. It is unpleasant nonetheless. Parents would warn us that we would be calling serpents out of the holes, and into the house. Snakes are still scary to date, even those that are particularly harmless.
Sneaking at someone’s privacy.
Another misdemeanor that would attract a fine as grave as losing your sight was peeping on someone attending to matters of personal intimate hygiene. Or probably chancing upon a person of opposite gender naked, even partially, anywhere else. Seeing someone’s nakedness was a grave taboo, especially if an adult.
Jumping over someone else.
It was said that you would not grow tall if you did so. Tallness was associated with adulthood, a thing we cherished so much as kids. It would make us evade punishments and running errands when we could be concentrating on completely childish, yet important things such as playing.
With all these taboos, we managed to grow up normal, with respectable desires and dreams. Although today’s kids are just obsessed with smartphones, and tantrums.
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