HOLIDAY SEASON: Survival manual for newly-married city women this Easter
Many weddings have taken place since December last year, with many couples taking advantage of the heat wave to make sure their special days are as sunny as their dispositions.
For new brides, Easter will be the first big holiday that you will spend with your new family, without your people nearby. It will be a challenge, especially if you intend to spend the holiday with your newfound family.
For the city wives heading to rural Kenya with the family for the first time as married women, be warned. You are no longer a girlfriend that people will bend over backwards to please. You are now a wife and your role has changes significantly since “I do”.
This is the time when in-laws will look for excuses for you to be dumped. Go with an open mind. If you will be housed in your in-laws compound, leave your airs behind.
The toilet will most likely be a pit latrine that you will be expected to keep clean. Keep your chin up and do your best. If you can, just for these few days, keep a stock of toilet paper there for your peace of mind.
SISTERS IN LAW
Please note too that there are no showers there. Bathing water is heated on a three stone fire and the same basin is used by everyone. Have a little Dettol to kill the shared germs, but don’t let anyone see it, you will not hear the end of it.
Sisters in law, women married to your husband’s brothers, and his sisters, will want to make the most out of you. If the family happens to live in a shared compound and duties are meant to be evenly distributed, do not expect this to happen.
Please leave your manicures and acrylic nails in Nairobi. Invest in a good smell-proof headscarf to keep your hair from getting what in my family we call “Eau de Smoke”, a fragrance characterized by woody tones and fiery accents of cedar, oak or eucalyptus. This fragrance will be obtained from the kitchen, where most of your duties will be.
Also get a good leso and don’t bother to bring your nice expensive outfits, you won’t wear them anyway.
Back to sisters-in-law. Since they are usually left to do the most work at all other times of the year, they will want to test you and see what this new bride is made of. And please don’t kid yourself, you will never be good enough, not to them or their mother. So, just do your best and don’t take to heart the comments that will most likely be generated from the shape of your chapatis to the lack of milk in the tea.
SHOP FOR THEM
If you are not originally from that community, please make an effort to learn the language. It will become handy when people are talking behind your back while you are in the room. At least if you know the local dialect, they will accord you the courtesy of back-biting you in your absence.
Oh, a very important point is to make sure that you do not step in the compound of your in-laws empty handed. Please, just don’t. Make sure that you have bought things to eat during your stay there.
If the home has multiple wives, do their shopping separately. If your brothers in law have their families close by, shop for them too. Please get something special for your new nieces and nephews. Children are hardly seen, but they absorb a lot of information. Make friends out of them, you never know what vital things they have heard.
Remember to be nice to all you meet. Fortunes reverse and you may have to be their neighbour. I think you would prefer to start that relationship on a high note.
Enjoy your Easter holiday!