10 Kinds of drama city people bring to the village during the festive season
When city people arrive for their December holidays, they bring with them, unique kind of drama.
Here is a look at 10 scenarios currently playing out in the villages courtesy of the presence of city people.
1. Selective Cold Treatment
There are city wives currently in the village who do not talk to one or two of their husband’s sisters. They greeted each other when they arrived and have been giving each other the cold shoulder since. Which is awkward because they have to meet at the main house, sometimes they even have to bump into each other in the kitchen. Usually it is a feud that has been running for a few months. The cause? The sister-in-law visited them in Nairobi and when she was leaving her brother gave her Sh 10,000 without telling the wife, and she found out. Or a birthday celebration that was missed. Or she said something about how her knee is darker than the rest of her legs the last time the city wife and family visited home.
2. City wives who don’t like feeding villagers
Fact is, village folks have a different way of welcoming guests. You walk in when it is not meal time, they greet you, bring you a cup of water, after a short while, they will bring strong tea and groundnuts or doughnuts or bread. If not, they will give you porridge or sour milk or githeri or mangoes or matoke depending on where you are. If you walk in during a meal, of course you join them.
City wives don’t get it. Why? And they hate it. Especially when she is the one to warm to tea, pour them water to wash their hands and serve the guest. They protest vehemently. They don’t get why they have to feed every guest. The grandparents and the villagers judge them for it.
3. Irritating ‘why are you not yet married’ sessions with aunts
There is always that aunt who is trouble. Strict, a straight shooter, is a treasurer in three chamas, and chair-lady of one community based organization. She is now retired but you grew up hearing that she works with the D.O or the P.C. Somehow you still find yourself tucking your shirt in when she comes if you are a man or wearing a kitenge/ covering your skirt with a leso if you are a lady.
This affects single ladies above 28 years old or 35 year old bachelors. She will sit you down for three hours. Talking about the responsibility of starting a family, and why it has to be done when you are still young. Then she will ask personal questions: Is it money you don’t have? Can’t you get a good woman? Do you want me to look for a wife for you? What is the name of the man you are seeing currently? Why does he not want to come see us? Her questions will always be answered, that is the only way the meeting can end in three hours.
4. The ‘You are so thin’ battalion
Village folk like big people. Fat means you are eating well. But if you are thin… ‘We know that life is hard, if Nairobi is too tough, come back.’ They will say. ‘What do you people eat? Rice is nothing.’ ‘Does your really wife cook for you?’ ‘That woman is starving our son to death.’ Others will question your health; ‘Umepima damu?’
Thin girls are put in two groups, the ones whose health status is whispered about and the ones who are suffering because the husband they are married to is not feeding them well.
5. Going to church
Church in the village in December in colourful. There are two groups of city folks when it comes to church; the ones who attend regularly, and the ones who don’t. The ones who attend can’t miss church services in the village. They are excited about it, they dress well, dress their kids in shoes that light up as they walk or those shoes that make funny squeaky sounds. They sit front row, and generally love the thing, mostly because they are the center of attraction. Then there are city folks who hate church… but they have to go because it is a rule at their home that everyone has to go. That is how it has been since 1981 when he/she was born. So they wash their faces, grab the first thing they find and go sit at the back or they sit outside.
Church leaders in the village know city guys when they see them… so they will be called forward to introduce themselves (even though they grew up there) and at the end of the service, offerings will be collected in two rounds- the regular one and another round of collection to repair the church roof, or build a new toilet.
6. City teenagers and babies who hate village food or don’t speak the local language
They don’t eat omena because they don’t like how it looks at them in the plate, they don’t eat brown ugali because they’ve never seen anything like it and they are allergic to sweet potato.
Alternatives have to be sought. Most of these alternatives are never there. And so the headache begins – send someone to get him spinach, remember to boil the beans for an hour only, so and so does not like overcooked beans.
Then there are those who only speak English and Kiswahili to grandparents. Grandparents resort to sign language with them or just speak Luhya or Kamba. It hurts the eyes and ears when they force old men to speak to them in English or Kiswahili that seem to drop dust particles and cobwebs as they come out.
7. Dealing with guys who want money
There are these random people in the village who believe that since you work in Nairobi, you should be having money. And most importantly, you should give them part of that money. Forget relatives, just random villagers who you meet at the shopping center. They know you of course.
They never ask for much. Just Sh 200 for food or Sh 500 for the hospital or Sh 50 for chang’aa/busaa. They are easy to handle, the problem is that you can’t handle all of them. The friction that comes with turning them down if heart breaking.
8. The secret drunkards and the open drunkards
Young city boys and girls who drink and don’t want their parents to know often form interesting alliances with ‘bad’ village boys and girls who supply them with their contraband. They always think they are smart, meeting outside gate, drinking then chewing orbit menthol. Until they are discovered. Then there are adult city drunkards who pass out at the village bar or at mama Night’s chang’aa den.
9. Dealing with the hovering boys if you have a daughter
If you have a teenage city daughter in the village, you have perhaps seen Oscar, the posho mill guy or Jonah, the young man who dropped out of high school or Bobbi, the one who just did his KCSE exams. Or that other young man whose name you don’t know, the one who never wears shirts – he is always in a white vest that is brown at the armpits and a pair of jeans trousers. Dealing with the hovering crowd of young men is a nightmare for city dads.
10. The party that always go wrong
On the 25th, 31st December or 1st January, the entire family or most of it gather up. They slaughter a goat, buy the local brew, some beer and whiskey. The ladies cook everything imaginable. Breakfast at 10.00 am, lunch at 2.30 pm, beer, food, beer. A jovial and nice occasion till uncle Tom gets drunk and starts talking or Tim, the cousin with no filters, arrives. Then it all goes South. ‘Someone is cheating on his wife, Diang’a, I’ve not said it is you.’ ‘Robert you are mean, you never contribute in anything.’ ‘We need to talk about the land behind the fence to the West.’ Before long, someone’s wife will be crying, and a man will be running away, his trouser split open at the crotch area – from a kick he tried to throw. His yellow boxer shorts peeping. You don’t want to be near a December family squabble.