By Evelyne Njeru for the standard.
A 16-year-old girl did the unthinkable when she mistakenly confused marijuana for vegetables and prepared them for dinner.
This baffling incidence occurred in Kiarimui Township, Runyenjes, Embu County.
Njeru, a high school teacher, is an enthusiastic farmer whose shamba flourishes with vegetables both during the rain and dry seasons. The vegetables are indigenous and of unique varieties — some from as far as Western Kenya.
That particular evening, his wife requested her niece who had come visiting for the holidays to get the vegetables as she prepared ugali. However, her niece, Jackie, was not conversant with most vegetable varieties and was reportedly, eager to try out any vegetable plant that she stumbled on.
However, when the food was ready, something peculiar happened. The lastborn child, who was the first to be served, started smiling after a few bites and fell into deep sleep.
The others, who ate with relish, also kept smiling sheepishly, apart from Jackie since she was eating her ugali with sour milk.
Shortly after, the smiles graduated into helpless laughter. Something as petty as a lizard darting across the wall would send the whole family reeling with laughter.
“Finish up, we need to go to bed,” Jackie said innocently, sending her cousins wild with laughter.
Drama escalated when the head of the family suddenly became irritable. Out of the blue, he attacked his wife, complaining that she was overworking his niece.
This agitated his wife who tried to defend herself. But when Njeru raised his hand to slap her, like her sons, she burst into uncontrollable laughter. Nevertheless, she still hurled a few choice insults at him
According to Jackie, the whole situation started generating into an absurd movie. The air was filled with unreasonable shrills and shrieks forcing her to scream for help.
Some of the family’s immediate neighbours who quickly responded were heard whispering about a curse having befallen the family. Others talked of witchcraft and ghosts.
But a village elder who was present suggested that the family seek medical attention. Njage, a neighbour, quickly rushed them to a nearby dispensary in the family car. Not that it was easy herding the laughing lot into the car.
At the dispensary, the nurse, after carrying out elementary tests, demanded to know what they had eaten. Jackie described the meal she had prepared and was asked to get a sample of the ‘vegetable’ before treatment could commence because according to a nurse, their meal contained a hard drug.
A close associate of Njeru later disclosed to Crazy Monday that the schoolteacher has been secretly growing marijuana in some secluded parts of his shamba. No one knew it. Not even his wife of 12 years.
While marijuana is a banned drug, few Kenyans know how it looks like.
High school students have been known to plant it in flowerbeds right beneath the Principals’ noses while many housewives only learn the strange looking herb on the farms is contraband when their husbands get arrested.