By Kainos Mwende

A long time ago in a land called Snack, there was a Village of popcorns.  In that village there lived Baby Popcorn and his family.

This Baby Popcorn was different from the rest; he always wondered why everything in the village was white and salty. His family members were all in white, so was everything in their home including the chairs, the tables, the beds, and the house. The entire village was also white and salty.

There were days he used to stare beyond the big walls that surrounded the village and wondered if there was something more, something big, something to fill his longing heart, something that could quench his young heart.

One sunny afternoon, he walked up to his father, and sat next to him, stared at his huge caring eyes, “Dad, can I ask you something.” He whispered.

Daddy Popcorn stared back at his young son, “Sure son, what’s bothering you?

“I am just curious, is this all we are meant to be, is this it and is it enough?”

Daddy Popcorn smiled at the young Baby Popcorn, “we are all meant for greatness, our job is to find that greatness, and have the courage to go after what we believe in.”

“I don’t understand Papa, what do you mean?” asked Baby Popcorn.

“I know son, tell you what, I think it is time you had a chat with your grandfather, he knew such a moment as this would come. He will tell you more than I ever could.”

Baby Popcorn hugged his father and dashed to find his grandfather.

He knew his grandfather was always sited on top of the hills, admiring the view of the great mountains and the valleys.

“Grandfather, grandfather” Baby Popcorn called out.

On seeing him, the old man beamed up, it was his favorite grandson. They had a special bond. He knew Baby Popcorn was special popcorn born to achieve greater things than his young mind could comprehend at that moment.

“Grandfather, can I have a word with you.”

“Sure Baby Popcorn. What can I do you for?”

“Grandfather, something has being bothering me for a while now.”

“What is it Baby Popcorn?”

“I have being wondering what is beyond these huge white walls, is there more to us than this land?”

“What are you looking for son?”

“I feel like I am supposed to be out there, and not just for me, for my family and for our entire village.”

Looking beyond the valleys and the mountains, his thoughts consumed with wander and curiosity, “grandfather, there is something that I am looking for, I may not know what it is, but when I find it I will know it.”

The old wise Popcorn looked at the younger popcorn, almost like he understood what he was talking about and what he was feeling. Because he knew someone who had being in that exact state like the young popcorn.

And then he looked past his grandson, past the present, past the past, into a time when only him and him alone knew of its tales…stories only an old man would be privileged to know.

“You have being told many stories of our Snackland, stories of heroes who lived before your time but there is one that no one talks about anymore although it is equally important as the rest of them.

Once upon a time, not long time ago but long enough to make it a tale, our village moved around in search of a place that we could make a permanent home.  A place that all those that were to come after us would have a sense of belonging, a home to raise young popcorns into who they were destined to be. A place where only popcorns belonged.

And so the village had these groups of popcorns, strong and courageous to face any storm, any obstacles, sent forth ahead to find that place, they were the finders called to find paths that no one could.

. It was believed that the finders even in their sleep, their minds could travel and find paths, so when the finders woke up they just walked like they knew where they were going.

One day , the finders returned home from a five days journey , and this time around they had found the a place, a place we could all make and call our home for years and years to come.

It was a place that had pools that were filled with different flavours….”

“What are flavors?” asked Baby Popcorn eagerly.

“Flavor is a distinctive taste and the main character of something.  It is believed that we are all meant to look different, smell different, taste different and our differences only make us strong as a unit.

The finders had found this place, and it was magnificent and beautiful it was called Promise-land.  It was a place where there were endless rivers of all kinds of flavors; place popcorn is held at high respect and treated with care and love. A place where every popcorn is unique in its own way.  We didn’t have to live in these white walls but walk around free, and live a better life of purpose. Our purpose was to make a child’s birthday beautiful, to give a human being joy while they are watching a movie, or talking to friends, and to unite families and friends together in laughter as they enjoy our flavour, colour and aroma

Everyone in the village knew this is where we were meant to be, where we belonged.

So the villagers packed up all their things and were ready to move, all but one.”

“Who grandfather?”, asked worried Baby Popcorn.

“You see that day, my little brother had wondered beyond the walls. I knew he always loved to do that and I let him., I mean he was only my little brother. But that day he took longer than he usually did. And the villagers could not wait any longer. So I let them go, promised my father I would wait for him, I would find them. We would all be together again.

By the time I found my little brother, it was already dark, and nor he or I were finders”.

“Grandfather, why did the finders not come back for you?” Now Baby Popcorn was hugging the grandfather.

“It was believed that a finder could never travel same path more than three times because the finders were governed by laws. One of them was they could only travel same path three times, one is the first time the set out to find the right path, second, was when they returned to their village and third was when they led the villagers back to the new promised land.

So here we were my brother and I, stuck, left in a past and our fellow popcorns forging into the future. We chose not to give up, one day, we believed a finder would be born and he will find us and take us where our family was”.

“Since we are still in the Popcorn village, it means a finder is yet to be born.”  Stated Baby Popcorn

His grandfather snapping from the past said, “Not until now.”

“You see, Baby Popcorn, finders are born, and I believe one was born, I am staring at him, right now.”

“Who, me?” he laughed, seeing how serious his grandfather was he asked again, “you truly think I am a finder?”

“I don’t think it, I know it, and I knew it the minute you were born, the minute I saw you looking beyond the walls, asking your father questions on what is beyond these walls.

You see Baby Popcorn, some popcorns are born as finders and others are born to prepare finders and that’s where I come in, I was born to prepare finders.  It’s my gift, I see a Baby Popcorn and in an instant I can tell if they are finders or not.  But what I know does not matter, what matters is do you know it, do you believe it? Because when you do, Baby Popcorn, then these walls cannot hold you, you will always be drawn to the outside, always in dire need to that path. Always in need to set yourself free and in doing so, you will find the promise land for your village.

Baby Popcorn sat down in awe, he was a finder, and he was born a finder that explains his longing, his need to find a way to fulfill this need that haunted his young heart.

“What do I do?” he asked his grandfather.

“First you need to let your parents know, although by now they already know, then you will set out for a journey, my dear boy you will find your own path, travel it bravely, be of good courage and there is no valley or mountain that can kill your young spirit. It is said a finder’s strength is in his longing to see his village into the Promised Land. Do you have it, son? Asked grandfather.

“Yes, grandfather, I do” answered Baby Popcorn.

“Then go, go find yourself and lead your people to Promise-land. Go son.”

The young baby popcorn hugged his grandfather, whispered a thank you, “maybe you will be reunited with your family, I would like that”, murmured Baby Popcorn in excitement.

“I would like that too, my boy” said grandfather.

And as the grandfather and grandson bid each other good bye they both knew a new future was about to be unleashed.  One they could not wait to live, it was a change they all wanted to be a part of.

Baby Popcorn did as his grandfather had advised him to do, he went home and told his father of his journey, he told him everyone has a path to follow and only the bold are able to walk on that path.

He bid his family goodbye. And as dawn approached, a horn was blown to alert the villagers that a finder was about to embark on a journey that was about to alter the course of their lives forever.

The villagers woke up; all gathered around the gate ready to bid their finder goodbye and hope for a new bright future…it was within their grasp. Once again they could dream and hope for the unimaginable.

After the farewell laughter and tears of joy, Baby Popcorn without hesitation took off, this was what he was meant to do.

Baby popcorn was excited to be beyond the walls, walking in new grounds, the hills and the valleys until, he could not see his village, the white, salty walls were behind him, and so were the valleys and the mountains.  All that was ahead of him was bare dry land, a dessert; no living thing was in sight.

But he forged forward, the same hope that he had started with still burning in his heart.

The first day was easier but on the third day, he had run out of water, and the heat was too much to bear and he began to wonder if he was really a finder. And as the strength failed him, he fell to his knees, feeling a total loss.

And as he looked up into the clear blue sky, and down to waste land, so plain and deserted, he was getting discouraged and wondered if he had made the right choice.

He had no word for where he was, he had never seen anything like it before…what was it? Then in a fraction of a second he knew what he was looking at, strength returning into his tiny body he got up, and started running towards what seemed like a distant land. When he got closer, he saw the massive gates written in bold letters, PROMISE-LAND.

He was here, he was here…disbelief, and excitement charged his heart.

At the entrance, he was welcomed in by a creature he had never seen before, maybe this is how the humans looked like.

“Hello Baby Popcorn” the human smiled. “Welcome to Promise-land, a place where you discover your flavor.”

Baby Popcorn smiled back, his anticipation was overwhelming him.  The human opened the huge massive gates, and what he saw stunned his young eyes.

Green trees surrounded the entire place up until where his eyes could see. The place reeked of life, youthfulness, bountifulness, even freedom. There were waterfalls drizzling onto the rocks making calm soothing sounds and at the bottom the water fell into a dazzling pool, it was almost like the pool was calling unto him, inviting him, ‘come closer, take a dive’ and it was not only one waterfalls but several…then there were popcorns lounging on the sidewalk, just laughing and enjoying themselves…almost like they had no worries in the world. Was he home?

And then there was an incense in the air, what was it, he wondered? He closed his eyes, just to take in the incense and before he could process it…

“Hey there“

Baby Popcorn opened his eyes, to find himself standing in the company of an outstanding …… he was shimmering and had a sweet aroma about him….what was he?  He wondered.

Hey there, am popcorn, everyone calls me Popine. as in popcorn Pineapple flavor. You know”, since I spend most of my time in the pineapple water fall flavor”.

“I am Baby Popcorn.”

“I can see that,” said Popine as he called himself. “Welcome to Promise-land”.

“what is that smell” asked Baby Popcorn

Popine smelled, “its aroma from different flavors…it’s all over the place. Do you like it?”

“I love it” Answered Baby Popcorn.

“Come on Baby Popcorn” Popine grabbed him by the shoulders “allow me to give you a tour.”

They walked through the tall brown trees rich with green branches  and every popcorn they met looked stunningly different …the further they went the more mystical and beautiful the place looked. From the thick ever green carpet of grass to the happy popcorns, to the skyscraper waterfalls, Baby Popcorn was all in awe.

Popine decided to take him to another sidewalk more beautiful than the one they were on, it was covered with red petals and this time he could hear the waterfalls louder and louder.

At the end of the path, the magnificent waterfalls drizzled down the rocks, Baby Popcorn eyes shone, something in him knew he was at the edge of a quest….his life was about to change…forever.

“Baby Popcorn, we both know what you are here for, and Promise-land is the place to find it, my only question would be, are you ready for it?”

“Yes I am,” he could not hide his happiness.

“Well then go find your flavour and purpose Baby popcorn”

“How do I do that?”

“Each waterfall is oozing with its own flavor, yummy colours that will beckon you into its pulsing heart, when you get to the one you are meant to dive in, you will not resist the need to be a part of it, it will sing to you. Allow yourself to accept the invitation”, explained Popine.

And so he walked, past the yummy red cinnamon flavor waterfall, delicious colada waterfall, super mouthwatering chocolate waterfall and green savory cheese waterfall, each telling its own story in a song, their sweet aroma stroking his young heart. Tempting him to give in to the invitation, It was when he got to the caramel waterfall he knew, he was about to witness a profound transition. He was about to accept the invitation and his young life would never be the same again. And so without hesitation he dove in, and when he came up for air, he felt different and looked different. .

His skin shone in a layer of caramel, he smelt so good… was at that moment he knew he had finally found what he has always being looking for.

Joy filled his heart; fulfillment overcame him because he had found what he was created for, his purpose. The quest was over, and a new purpose was born.

He looked at Popine who was sited under a healthy brown tree looking and smiling at him. “is that it? Popine asked.

“Yes, it is. I love it, I love the new me.” Screamed Baby Popcorn now called Caramel as he was gasping for air.

“Like you should, caramel suits you”, affirmed Popine.

“I feel like I don’t want to get out,” lamented Caramel.

“Then you should not” laughed Popine.

“I must come out,” said Caramel as he knew this was not something he could keep all to himself….he had to tell his family. His grandfather… his village depended on him.

“Ah, you are a finder, a true finder, go, go get the rest of them, and bring them home. Promise-land takes care of all of us. She helps us fulfill our purpose….we make a sad child happy, we add to the fun, we make an experience memorable.  Go Caramel, go get them.

As fast as his tiny legs could carry him, he headed to the beautiful scented sidewalk, to the massive gates, to the desert, to the wasteland and straight to his village.

He found his family but they did not recognize him in his new glowing coated brown skin. It was when he spoke they knew who he was. He could tell they were all amazed at how beautiful he looked and how magnificently his body was glowing.

He looked at his grandfather, “I found it grandfather, I really did and you will love it there.”

The old popcorn looked at him, his face filled with a grin. “You did it, my boy.”

He gathered his entire village and told them what had happened to him, and asked them to come with him and without hesitation they followed him.

When they arrived each one of them was filled with eager anticipation and curiosity. They headed straight towards the waterfalls.

His brother dived in and when he came up, he was all coated in beautiful Blue Raspberry flavor.  His sister shone in a Strawberry pink coated skin, while his mother smelled all Colada and yummy. His father was all Green Apple and majestic. They were all new popcorns.

As  they looked at each other all new and fresh, a new family emerged, a collection of popcorn  flavours, Tutti-Frutti   only found in one place, their new home, Promise-land . A place they all belonged to make humans happy, have fun, laugh, smile and enjoy life


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