The shrieks of monkeys by our house in the KWS staff quarters was not exactly what Chastity expected for her morning greetings.
She came from her bedroom walking noiselessly on the wood tile floor,tip-toeing to sit on my lap.
I stroked her head to calm her down.
She was silent throughout this ordeal.
It was like watching a pantomime play.
She looked scared.
The house, for one thing was strange to her.
She had slept through the journey late into the night,and was still asleep on our arrival.
She slept on the lorry’s cabin as we offloaded our belongings.
I only unpacked the essential items that we could use through the night,and then put her to bed to continue with her slumber.
From her surprised looks,I could tell that the morning had come too soon for her.
Not to mention the strange animal noises in our new compound.
I knew she was not ready to take her breakfast,not before she ascertained what kind of racket was going on outside our door.
“Daddy,what is making those noises?”
“Some monkeys,baby girl(a pet name that I used on her),would you like to see them?”
“Yes. Draw the curtains daddy. Can I see them through the window?”
A tactful girl.
She wanted this show to come in small bits.
I carried her to the window.
Monkeys were doing their thing,swinging by tree branches and gracing their sport with numerous shrill shrieks.
Chastity held me tightly wrapping her small arms round my neck.
“They won’t bite you,but don’t try to throw any food at them,or carry your food outside the door”.
I took the opportunity to impress on her some necessary precautions she must now start adopting in our new home.
Some monkeys were atop the roof of a parked Landcruiser.
She watched these ones with both fascination and dread.
In her young beautiful mind,she could see that the clear cut bondaries between animals and humans were erased in this environment. She held me more tightly as she watched them,but relaxed her grip when she spotted a baby monkey clinging to her mother as she dashed across the compound.
There is something about babies that mellows the hearts of all of us.
Our reception at the Officer-in-Charge of the station was quite eventful for all parties.
Chastity was wary about the many monkeys that graced the compound as we walked to the office block.
She only managed to take a few steps before pleading with me to carry the rest of the way to the office block.
“Ok,but you will have to get used to them,baby girl. See,other children are walking all by themselves across the compound”.
“Will they be my friends?”
“No. The children. Will I play with them?”
“Yes,off course,after you get to know them. Make them your friends!”
The officer in charge had not expected me to bring along a toddler.
I had clearly indicated during my last interview that I was single.
That was only eight months ago.
“Welcome. Is she your daughter?”
“Well,yes. It is a long story,but I will explain it to you when I’m settled here”
“No problem. How was your journey? Did you enjoy the night here? It is rather noisy with all these monkeys around,but you will get used to it”.
He was a man with things to do and he did not waste his time on niceties.
He was not expected answers to his questions because he buzzed an intercom and a lady in her thirties was also ushered into the office.
“Meet Dr. Kimathi. She heads our veterinary department. She will take over from where I’ve left and show you around. Good day,and enjoy yourselves!”
He was already done in two minutes.
None of had said a word.
We were soon dismissed and ushered out of his office.
Dr. Kimathi held Chastity’s hand as we walked along an open walled corridor to her office.
“I’d like to apologise for Dr. Richmond’s abrupt demeanour,but that’s how is towards everyone around here,and not just you in particular”,Dr. Kimathi said as she invited us to her corner office.
“He must, however,have been taken off guard by your daughter’s presence,how old is she?”
“She’s three and six months old now. I’m sorry I didn’t declare her presence during my interviews for this position”.
“You should have done it…that declaration would have helped us to assign you a house in our married quarters,but you need not worry,I will correct that oversight and assign you the right house in the due course of time”.
Chastity who had been silent since our reception at O-i-Charge’s office looked more relaxed and was swinging her legs over her seat.
“Do you want us to move to another house,baby girl?”,I asked Chastity to deflect this uncomfortable discourse.
“No,Daddy. I like our new house,and the baby monkey!”
Dr. Kimathi burst into pearls of good natured laughter at Chastity’s comment.
I admit that her comment took me by surprise too.
“There it is,Dr. Kimathi. My daughter prefers the house that you have already assigned to us”.
“But her mother might prefer a bigger house…..”
“I don’t think so…..I mean,her mother is dead…it is a long story…”
“Oh-im sorry to hear that…what’s your daughter’s name by the way? Is it baby girl?”
“What a cute name!,come here Chastity”.
Dr. Kimathi held Chastity as she took me through the job description and responsibilities of my new position.
There was something motherly about the way she held my baby girl.
She finally ended her talk by saying that I was to embark on a six month induction course at Montana National Park in the U.S.A.
She cryptically added that she was going to be one of the courses facilitators,and both of us will fly out in three weeks time.
This information dampened my enthusiasm for my new position.
Having to fly out of the country would complicate matters for Chastity.
I could not figure out how Chastity would fit in on these new arrangements.
My mind had taken leave from the present,and Dr. Kimathi’s lovely voice jolted me back to the present moment.
“I’m sorry to bring this up too soon,but what arrangements do you have for Chastity? She can join our baby care unit,or join the pre-unit class”.
“Well,that would be very much ok for now,it is the six month’s induction course that I’m really worried about; I can’t afford to leave her behind too soon….”
“Mmmh…that’s right…I had not foreseen it from that angle,but please leave that to me. I will see what we can do,probably in the way of some local arrangements”.
“Thank you…but I wouldn’t want to leave her behind..”
“Worry not,I’ll see what can be done along those lines”,she said firmly
“By the way,I also live next to your house on the Singles Quarters,three houses along the row from yours. Chastity can pay me a visit whenever she likes,isn’t that so Chastity? Would you like to come to my house?”
Chastity started sucking at her thumb.
That’s what she does whenever she is facing difficult situations,or questions that she has no answers to. It is a game she played very well with the children’s welfare officer during her visits.
Dr. Kimathi introduced us to quite a number of other administrative officers as we paid them courtesy calls in their offices within the Admin block.
She also took us to the staff canteen during the lunchtime break where we met Range officers.
She is a very self-effacing lady without any pretentious mien. She was at home with her juniors as well as her seniors.
Late in the afternoon,she drove us for short game drive within the park.
We saw quite a number of animal,and one injured monkey that had been caught in hunting traps outside the park.
She darted it with anaesthesia gun from her land cruiser,and we took the opportunity to redress its wounds.
Chastity was fascinated by this game drive where she saw numerous number of wildlife animals.
She had sat at the front cabin with Dr. Kimathi who acted as her tour guide,pointing out and telling her the name of all different animals.
I was very happy for my baby girl who was quite happy and excited on this game drive.
I,however,was slightly apprehensive about the way she was taken in by Dr. Kimathi’s charm.
I was not ready to lose my baby girl to anyone too soon.
The afternoon drive ended right outside Dr. Kimathi’s house.
Chastity and I were invited for a cup of tea and biscuits before retiring to our residence.
Our host changed from a no nonsense professional to a motherly host who was eager to help us feel at home.
Her sitting room was graced with stuffed animals and Chastity had a rough time trying to figure out whether they were the real thing or what.
She clung to me,until our host demonstrated and explained to her that the stuffed animals were harmless.
The fish aquarium stole her interest.
She couldn’t get enough of the ornamental live fish swimming in the aquarium.
She happily asked a lot of questions to Dr.Kimathi about these beutiful creatures and she humbly obliged.
Dr. Kimathi had a lovely National Geographic DVD that she played for Chastity on Marine life.
Chastity was quite taken in by all this.
In the end,we took a lovely supper of green peas sauce and delicious chapatis and Dr. Kimathi’s before retiring to our residence.
It had been my most lovely evening since Chantelle left me.
After putting Chastity to bed,I had a train of thoughts swirling in my mind about my future,Chastity’s young life that was now under my care and guardianship.
I also thought and deeply missed Chantelle.
But I had not quite forgiven her for haughty attitude towards Chastity.
Why couldn’t she believe me?
Was it worth it,throwing away all the life we had shared together for this silly misunderstanding?
Why couldn’t she find it in her heart to treat Chastity the way Dr. Kimathi had treated her,after only knowing her for a few hours?
Will Chastity ever enjoy the love of mother in her life again.
What’s a man like me supposed to do….how can I raise up Chastity alone?
Will I leave her behind during my six month induction course?
Can I convince the office to allow me to take her along with me?
My sleepy mind was overwhelmed by these torturous thoughts.
By I had a brilliant insight about formalising my adoption of Chastity.
I will call the Mombasa Children’s welfare officer the first thing in the morning and request her to help me in obtaining an official birth certificate for Chastity under my Surname.
Chantelle,you left me when I needed you most….
Sleep came to me easily after this resolution.
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®