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Village scenes that played out over the holidays

While some Kenyans went on vacation and others decided to just chill in the city, there are many who travelled to the village to spend time with family. And if you thought it was all about merrymaking and having fun, you are wrong. Sandra Wekesa tells us why some city dwellers have vowed never to spend holiday in the village in future

Wives became helps

The day would start by washing loads of dishes from previous night. Then making breakfast, washing clothes, making sure the people visiting ‘Nairobians’ get good treatment in the house. And cooking was done from a three-stone jiko that emitted a lot of smoke.

For the unlucky ones where the village does not have access to water, these daughters-in-law had to fetch water. These women who catwalked the city in mini-bodycon dresses and stiletto shoes now walked in the village in deras and lesos.

“My husband is a third born in a family of four, and is the only son. His whole family was there for Christmas. But it seemed all of them were there to relax and have fun apart from me. I cooked, washed utensils, made sure the house was clean, while the sisters did practically nothing.

Every time they would turn to me to do this or that. I complained to my husband and he said I should endure it because it was just for a short while and we would be back to the city. Were it not for my children, I would have also sat down and watched like everyone else,” Annete Macharia laments. Her chipped nails, evidence of what she went through.

When Leah Nasimiyu visited her in-laws place in Kakamega over the festive season, she came back disappointed. It wasn’t the first time this was happening, although last year her husband promised her she won’t go through the same thing again.

Living in a patriarchal society where men do nothing, but sit and watch women do chores made the situation worse. “Last year, my husband promised to help me even if it meant sneaking in the kitchen to handle some things,” says Leah. However, these remained just that, promises.

Lucy Kawira went through the same experience two years ago and vowed she would never go to her inlaws over the Christmas holidays again. “Last year, we went for a holiday in Naivasha. There is no way I would spend my holiday as a house help again, especially after a year of working. It’s time for me to relax,” Kawira says.

Nairobians turned Santa

When city dwellers landed in the village, Father Christmas arrived. The ‘child of the community’ has to buy sugar, milk, soda for mama so and so. And buy wazees some beer at a local pub. And dare you turn them down; you’ll receive a curse from the ancestors. Worse, they will gossip to the whole village of how stingy and proud you are!

If you visited the village and came back to Nairobi as stable as you were when you left, then ‘Hail to the Don’. “I had to limit the number of people I gave goodies, otherwise I wouldn’t have remained with any money to pay school fees for my children,” James Oraji says.

Shopping devoured in days

Now since everyone from the village is visiting to have a feel of the Nairobi bittings, one was automatically forced to rush to the nearest supermarket to have a refill of shopping.

Joyce Asunta knows this too well. “I did shopping in bulk while still in Nairobi knowing that it will push me through the holidays. I wasn’t able to control the number of children that would flock in to drink juice and take bread and biscuit in our house, therefore I let them be,” she says.

Few days before she came back, she had to rush to the supermarket in a nearby town. “My children couldn’t stand taking tea with maize and sweet potatoes for breakfast,” she adds.

Tweng’ generation landed

They communicated in queen’s English. The you guy my guy kids. Weee … great-grandparents had to get translators.  These children are used to play chess, basketball, badminton and the likes. Now they were reduced to playing football—never mind the ball was made from polythene bags.

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