We Pushed the Governor out of the Mud

Author: Jill Simpson

1946 We rounded a curve on the wet road, chains spitting mud into the air, and found a big fancy car stuck in a mud hole.

We were on school holiday at our Mianzini Farm near Turi. My parents had left the house earlier in the morning to help organize the point-to-point horse show at Molo near Millington’s farm. Mother told us to follow in another car and warned us not to be late.  Richard and Antony Chater, who were brought up as our brothers after their mother died, helped my sister Rosemary and I to fit chains on our car as it was very rainy.  The chains helped us plough through the mud until we encountered this big car blocking the road.

We stopped our car and piled out. The chauffer, an African man wearing white gloves, asked us to help push. We noticed a well-dressed older white couple in the back of the car.  We heaved and slipped and pushed, but the car didn’t budge.  The Chater boys said the car needed chains.  The chauffer told the boys he had chains in the boot. We struggled in the squishy mud until we’d fitted the chains to their tyres.  Then we took the chains off our car and put them on their front tyres. Putting on the chains took a long time. It took even longer when the lady in the back of the car started handing us homemade fudge through the window. We’d work, then eat some fudge, then work some more. Finally we had the chains on. The chauffer revved the car. This time the chains bit into the mud as we pushed and their car slithered out of the mud hole.

We told the chauffer there were no more mud holes ahead and took off the chains. The driver thanked us and they drove off.  We cleaned off the mud from our hands, clothes and legs the best we could in the puddle and the grass.  Then we drove to the point-to-point. My mother was livid when she saw how dishevelled and muddy we were. And she scolded us for being late. The governor was about the start the point-to-point officially.

We looked up to see Governor Philip Mitchell stepping up to open the show.  I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was the old man who’d been sitting in the car we’d pushed out of the mud. The lady feeding us fudge had been the governor’s wife.

As the governor addressed the crowd, he waxed eloquent about the wonderful young people Kenya was producing and told them how the four of us had stopped and pushed them out of the mud. My mother’s wrath turned to wonder as Governor Mitchell personally thanked us for our help. Suddenly our muddy clothes made us heroes.

The governor’s wife continued to send fudge to our family until they left Kenya.