Her name is Sarah Wanjiku Kuria aka Wakamanda.
I speak of her in the present tense even though she has been dead for the last couple of years because, though dead her influence in our lives is very much alive and well.
One of the most outstanding values and characters of my Cŭcŭ was PRAYER. In the village, to date, they call her ‘Cŭcŭ wa Mahoya’ (The grandmother who prays). That woman could pray, woiii, jokes aside.
My cousin Esther captured the potency of those prayers well when she said,
“There is nowhere we will ever go that the prayers of our grandmother and our mothers (her daughters) have not arrived before us.”
Such was the foresight of my Cŭcŭ’s prayers. When she prayed, she would first ask all those present to be in the moment and then, most important, to lock the doors. Disturbance and intrusion during the time of prayer was NOT WELCOME, neither tolerated. And she would begin to pray:
Let us Pray
Ngaĩ wa Ĩbŭrahĩmŭ, Ĩsaka na Jakŭbŭ (God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob)
Ĩĩĩ we Ngaĩ wĩtŭ nĩtŭoka bere yakŭ (You who is our God we have come before you)
Nĩtwanyĩha, ambarara (We decrease, Increase)
Nĩtwathĩra, ambarara (We have become nothing, be exulted)
Nĩtwatŭĩka macebe, thamaka (We become like dust, Reign)
Ĩkarĩra gĩtĩ gĩakŭ kĩa ŭnene Ngaĩ (Sit on your throne of greatness God)
We nĩwe Mŭthŭrĩ wa mŭcĩŭ ŭyŭ (You are the husband of this home)
We nĩwe chaĩrman, ĩkarĩra gĩtĩ gĩakŭ (You are the chairman, sit on your sit)
Nĩtwanyĩha Baba (We decrease Father)
Nĩtwathĩra Ngaĩ (We are nothing God)
Ĩĩĩ nĩwe twĩroreĩre (yes, it is You we look upto)
Mwĩgĩto wĩtŭ, mŭtĩĩrĩ (Our shield, Our staff)
Mŭtĩrĩma wakwa, nĩndagwĩta (My rod, I call upon You)
Mwathanĩ, ĩĩĩ tĩwe ŭrarĩ na Moredekaĩ rĩrĩ mŭthamakĩ aragĩre toro (Lord, was is not you who was with Mordecai when the King was unable to sleep)
Ĩĩĩ tĩwe ŭragarŭrĩre njama cĩa ŭrŭ na ŭrambatĩrĩa Moredekaĩ (Was it not you who changed the plan of evil and exulted Mordecai)
Ngaĩ, ĩĩĩ tĩwe ŭrŭtaga mŭthĩĩnĩ rŭkŭngŭĩnĩ (God, is it not you who picks up the poor from the dust of the earth)
Nĩtwanyĩha, ambarara Ngaĩ (We decrease, increase ooh God)
Nĩtwakwambararĩa (We exult you)
Ĩĩĩ tĩwe ŭrarĩ na Shadĩraka Mĩshekĩ na Abedĩnego ĩrĩanĩ rĩa mwakĩ (Was it not you who was with Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace)
Ĩĩĩ tĩwe ŭramahonokĩrĩea (Was it not you who saved them)
Ambarara Ngaĩ (Be exulted ooh God)
Baba, nĩndoka mbere yakŭ ndĩnyĩhĩtĩe mŭno mŭno (Father, I have come before you very very humbly)
Ngĩkŭrehera cĩana ĩcĩ cĩakŭ waheĩre oŭgŭo tŭhŭ (Bringing to you this children you gave me without charge)
Oŭgŭo tŭhŭ mŭtherĩ (Just like that God)
Nĩndaĩga nĩwega Ngaĩ (I am very grateful God)
Cĩana ĩcĩ waheĩre, nowe ŭndeĩthĩtĩe kŭrera (These children You gave me, You are the one who has enabled me to bring them up)
Nĩwe Mŭthŭrĩ wakwa (You are my husband)
Nowe Mŭndeĩthĩa (You are my helper)
Nĩkĩo ndoka harĩ we tondŭ ndĩrĩ na ŭngŭ ĩngĩthĩe kŭrĩ we (That is why I have come to You, because I do not have another who can help me)
Ĩĩĩ we ŭcokagĩa mahoya (yes, You who answers prayer)
We wĩĩgŭaga kĩrĩro kĩa ngoro yakwa (You who hears the cry of my heart)
Cĩana ĩcĩ nĩndacĩrehe harĩ we (I have brought this children to You)
(Here she would enumerate name by name of her children and their children. You should have seen how my cousins and I would begin melting off our knees and seats. This part indicated that we were here for along long time)
Baba, nĩthengiŭ nĩgŭthĩkĩrĩrĩa (Father, thank you for listening to me)
Ĩĩĩ na tĩgŭgŭatha ndĩragŭatha (And I am not commanding You)
Aca Baba, nĩgŭkŭhoya ndĩrakŭhoya (No Father, I am asking from You)
Ndĩnyĩhĩtĩe mŭno mŭno (Very very humbly)
Na nĩ thĩĩnĩ wa rĩtwa rĩa Jesŭ ŭcĩo arĩwe Mwathanĩ na Mŭhonokĩa wa ngoro cĩĩtŭ (And it is in the Name of Jesus Christ who is our Lord and Saviour)
(then the kicker)
Hamwe na macĩo Mwathanĩ (Together with all those prayers Lord . . .)
(the groans would be so loud, this was indicator of part two of the prayers. Anything she felt she had forgotten would be added here)
Rĩrĩkana njĩarwa cĩakwa (Remember my generations)
Arĩa me haha na arĩa magooka (Those who are already here and those to come: my favourite part because it covers my offspring who never got the priviledge of meeting with her)
Arĩa me hakŭhĩ na arĩa me kŭraya (Those who are near and those who are far)
Ooothe nĩndamarehe harĩ we (All of them I bring to You)
Ĩĩĩ Baba, marathĩme (Oooh Father, Bless them)
Moongerere (Add unto the)
Maĩyŭrĩrĩe (Increase them to overflow)
Gĩthe tĩwe ŭrarathĩmĩre Hannah wa Erĩkana na Samŭel (Was it not you who blessed Hannah of Elkanah with Samuel?)
Marathĩme Baba (Bless them Father)
Maramĩrĩe mĩhaka Ngaĩ (Enlarge their boundaries God)
Moongerere Baba (Add unto them Father)
Oo we ŭrĩrĩkanaga, marĩrĩkane (You who remembers, remember them)
Ĩgŭaga mahoya mao Ngaĩ (Hearken to their prayers God)
Marathĩme (Bless them)
(sometimes she would do a loop and go back to Mordecai again, then to the conclusion)
These prayers are a lifeline for me and mine.
I remember them.
I pray them.
I laugh at the evoked memories of the groans and silent protests of the lengths of these prayers.
And I am grateful that Cŭcŭ dug in and prayed.
That she put her foot down and led us to the Father.
I am here because she prayed.