Stephen Micalef

A farewell to alcohol

Laikipia Some are saved by Jesus and they are sober. For others, drunkenness is as natural as love-making, roasted meat and weekend football. In northern Kenya we brew a honey mead called muratina; then there’s a millet beer and strongest of all is a moonshine, changa’a, which you can smell from several huts away and it tastes like battery acid. Our neighbour Gilfrid produced an alcohol so pernicious the hangover hit as soon as it crossed one’s tongue Booze soaks into the corners of life in the village or the slum. I’ve been in places, on paydays for example, where the scenes resemble Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s tableaux of peasants