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Etiquette to observe while upcountry for Christmas

As some Nairobians pack and go to upcountry for the holidays, their presence in the village could turn out to be a blessing or bother.

Here are some tips to ensure you do not become a pain for your childhood friends, neighbours and even extended family members in the village this Christmas:

1. Drop the English/Swahili

Put on your mother tongue groove if you want to effectively communicate with the elderly at home. Do not torture your grannies to try composing sentences in broken English/Swahili just because your mother tongue is not polished. They all know you live in Nairobi and don’t expect you to be perfect in a language you rarely use.

2. Respect other people’s opinion

Do not dare pull a ‘you know back in Nairobi’ on people living upcountry. They will either shame you publicly or you will become the subject of gossip early next year when calm returns. Listen to their opinion and differ with a lot of respect and countless explanations.

3. Dress the part

Leave your too revealing clothes back in Nairobi and carry along decent pieces that are comfortable for you as well as not insulting to the elderly. Do not be the girl whose granny wakes up with a shuka to cover her in public because she wore a short summer dress.

4. Avoid exaggerations

If its not that sunny, drop the sunglasses and hats. The people who live there may have acquired stronger melanin to deal with the rays but you too have some melanin that can keep your skin okay for a few days of mild rays. Carry the sunscreen lotion/cream though, do not let sunburns destroy your 2017.

5. Leave the stroller

Most roads and paths upcountry are all weather, carrying your baby for a day won’t break your back. Just wear your baby to the shopping centre or church instead of trying to push a stroller up a rocky terrain.

6. Your car key is yours

You see, you don’t have to point at everything using your car key. After all, we all have fingers that can do the job. Flaunting that key will only breed bad blood between you and the village hustlers who have never dreamt of having a car.

7. Buy a real bible

This year’s Christmas falls on a Sunday so as you travel upcountry, buy a Bible if you usually rely on a phone or tablet. Phones in upcountry churches are usually put off during church services (they receive few calls a day anyway) but since you have to keep in touch with fellow Nairobians (and prove that there is electricity in your village), just mute your phone and let it stay in the pocket the whole time.

8. Remain social

Just because you moved to the city doesn’t mean you do not have anything to talk about with your peers and family. Strike interesting conversations that are comfortable for the different individuals you meet while upcountry. Do not be the person everyone will talk about but not dare talk to.

9. Don’t be a whiner

You surely cannot afford to complain about everything in upcountry. People living there have their way of life and if it doesn’t suit your Nairobi way of life just be patient, its only for a week. Concentrate on creating and sharing memorable moments with your friends and family rather than being a complainant.