Once in a while, when travelling from Limuru or towards Limuru, you will hear your fellow villager say, he or she is at bio gas. The place along that road is associated with some bio gas digesters, 4 of them. These digesters were constructed years ago by the Korean government when no one in Ndeiya knew anything to do with bio gas. These bio gas digesters were constructed near the then shauri yako village current Mirithu girl’s grounds. The man who came up with this idea is my main topic here.
Dr Peter Njenga Kariuki.
His name clicks so many things on the minds of locals, of a man who lived many lives, of a man who was a jack of trades, to some, he was the genius of their days, to others, he lived a life full of conman ship, but to me, a villager, he lived his life to the best. Dr Kariuki started his education at Nderu primary school. He passed well and joined Ngenia high school. He would spot a turban (mukurinu). After Ngenia high school, he joined Njiiris boys but by now he had kept his turban off.
He then furthered his studies in the field of Industrial chemistry in Britain. Dr Kariuki was well known for the love he had towards his family. While in Britain pursuing his industrial chemistry he cut short his studies to come back and marry his wife, mama wambui as the locals used to call her.
After completing his degree, he started his masters and finally enrolled for his PhD. no one knows whether he graduated to become a full doctor. Locals talk in amusement over his education as being the first man to walk around the village wearing the graduation gown.
Dr Kariuki is believed to be the brainchild of Narok University where after carrying out an extensive feasibility study and making all things set, the then president Moi, and Biwott took over the project. This frustrated him so much that he decided to go back to the village and help his village mates. It’s during this time that he collaborated with the government of s.korea on establishing a bio gas system for locals. He wrote a proposal and the proposal went through. On the first stage of its running, Dr Kariuki is said to have left the project to the locals and joined other fields.
The small amount of money he got allowed him to travel to S.Sudan and then Swaziland where he started a coal mining company. He had already obtained a Swaziland citizenship. He got state recognition and even became a friend to the closest people of Swaziland government. The government of Swaziland decided to send him on some errands to Kenya. When a letter was sent to the Kenyan government that Dr Kariuki, a citizen of Swaziland and a close friend to the government of Swaziland would land soon, everyone was astonished as Dr Kariuki was a Kenyan living in Swaziland.
This issue saw Dr Kariuki head off to Lesotho (rumors say that one of his daughters is married there).
All this time, Dr Kariuki would travel with his family. Dr Kariuki later moved back to Kenya in Ndeiya where he was disappointed to find a collapsed bio gas digester.
In his many lives, he once went to a certain bank and took a loan using Nderu shopping center. After taking the loan he then disappeared. This prompted the bank to advertise the shamba that he had used as security only to be frustrated that the shamba they issued a loan against is a public land. Dr Kariuki knew how to survive despite having many struggles.
He at one point forged some signatures and documents in a bank. Twice he withdrew money but on the third time, he and his accomplices were arrested charged and imprisoned for one year. After he was released, he went back to mama wambui and together with his family, they settled at Rironi where he started making mandazi and selling to locals and other people. Word has it that this mandazi business grew tremendously that he bought a car and started a castor oil company. He would purchase castor seeds (mbariki) in Ndeiya and crush them, then pack them for market.
The business was among the many he had including packing of tea leaves into small bags sealing them with candle heat. They would do this together with his children.
At one point in his life, he took so many youthful people to America and on arrival at the airport, he disappeared. The people would be called by their families later telling them that Dr Kariuki was seen around, yet they thought he got lost in America. This was after he had pocketed to almost Ksh 300,000. Up to now, there are some Kenyans who attribute their living in America to Dr Kariuki.
Dr Kariuki lived to become the chairman of ANGOA, senior lecturer at Nairobi University among many other things. He was known to drive big cars and took his children to the best schools in the country.
He died out of heart attack. Dr Kariukis body was buried at his shamba near mirithu swamp. His burial was attended by hundreds of villagers who came to say a final good bye towards their kin who had not only lived his life well, but also the life that many people of his time dreamt of.
It was during his burial that I first saw a hearse and the siren which took people from their homes to come and witness the laying down of Dr Peter Njenga Kariuki.
(prone to mistakes)