How Chapos Were Made in The 90s and Early 2000s

1. It started with a rumour.

You are drinking water when your sibling whispers in your ear, “Leo tunakula chapo!” Your eyes bulge before you shoot straight to your elder sister, the only person who can confirm this rumour. As always, she will shoo you away without an answer because everyone knew chapo for dinner was top-secret.

2. You will have uninspiring lunch

On that day lunch will be ugali with cabbage. Or something even less inspiring like boiled githeri. This would set the stage for a better gratification once the chapo is served. The uninspiring lunch was God’s way of letting you know that you needed to be patient because He was preparing a table for you.

3. Fault Finding

Your mother will stare at you and ask, “Na wewe umeoga kweli?” Or if you are just coming from the bathroom, she will ask, “Ni kuoga umeoga ama ni maji umejipaka?” It was witch hunting, if you ask me, so you could miss out on the chapo. You never missed out, really, (no mother was that cruel), but they had a way of making the threat look real.

4. More Threats

Your mother will start saying things like, “Na leo naona mkilala njaa. Sina pesa mimi.” Or, “Na leo sijui mtakula nini. Si mchemshe githeri?” That was a way of casting doubts on all your hope about having chapo for dinner. It was a way of squashing the rumours.

5. The Big Reveal

This usually came in the form of one sentence. A sentence that changed lives. A sentence that showed God really does exist. A sentence that made you proud to be a part of that family. And the sentence usually was “Nileteeni Hiyo ndengu niokote!”

By Jeremick Joe

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