The Gentle Man from Iten, Kwani? 08

The Gentle Man from Iten

“In the hilly town of Iten, there is a man named Kipkirwok who runs a small pharmacy squeezed between a hair salon and a retail shop. He is known by his nickname Tala—the gentle one—and he is fastidious with his work. He is an early riser, getting on his Yamaha bike as early as 6 AM to go to work when Iten is still shrouded in darkness and the only sounds are those of barking dogs and crowing cocks begging for the sun to rise and of the steady tap tap of athletes running on tarmac. He squeezes through a narrow corridor between rows of tiny concrete constructions to get to a field of stinging nettles, creeping nderemia and tall Kikuyu grass where the building with his pharmacy stands. He might admire the proliferation of plants in the field for a while, but that is only when the field has not been cleared, the clearing happening once a month. When the field is bare apart from short-cropped grass, he parks his bike and opens his shop without looking.” ~ Book Excerpt


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