As is Kenyan tradition, many of us will travel upcountry or to smaller hometowns for Christmas. The upper middle class who consider themselves lovers of travel with disposable income, will however head to the coast or to an exotic hotel somewhere in the middle of the wilderness teeming with wildlife and have themselves a wonderful, drama-free Christmas surrounded by a spouse or partner and/or children.
For the rest of us headed upcountry or to smaller hometowns this Christmas season, here’s what to expect;
1. An Overflowing House.
A house that once consisted of ageing parents, will soon be transformed into a house teeming with humanity. All the grown children will decide to come home for christmas together with their offspring and hapless spouses, who lacked believable excuses to remain behind. Children from the city will suddenly whip out tablets laden with downloaded games, to which the neighborhood children or children belonging to cousins who never left the locality, will gawk at in awe as these “enlightened” city borns tap away with such dexterity.
Granny will suddenly want to
brag introduce her successful children to her church women friends. They will always seem to come trooping in every single evening and struggle woefully to pronounce the city names of the little ones. Names like Tamara, Chantel, Kian, Jason…will prove such a huge task to grasp for these church mamas who are more conversant with the missionary names, Margaret, Jane, Lucy and the likes.
For the hapless spouse, they will only have to endure the inconvinience of a houseful with a most believable smile plastered on their faces, all the while vowing silently to skip next Christmas’ journey to their in-laws.
2. Sharing beds.
Most of the time, the youngest of the adult children who is not yet married and probably still in campus, will be requested to share beds with the children who sleep the worst. Just to appear polite, he or she will probably agree all the while knowing that texting away in the cover of darkness will soon be proven extinct, by these young ones who sleep as if they are in the middle of a swimming lesson.
Mornings will be terrible as waking up with aching and tired muscles and stiff necks from all that kicking and turning of the new bed occupants during night time, will be the order of the day. Plus they risk being dumped by that hot chic or guy who probably has started assuming they are cheating, that’s why they nowadays do not seem to keep up with night time texts.
3. Never ending chores.
With the daily influx of visitors coupled with the increased population in the house, chores will appear to stretch the entire day. The hapless spouse who can whip up some tasty chapatis will automatically be expected to cook two bundles of chapatis come Christmas day.
She will most definitely spend the whole day in the kitchen wrapped in a lesso while sitting on a low stool, cooking chapatis for everyone else in the house. When done, she will probably have a splitting headache from sitting too close to the carbon monoxide laden jiko and lacking in appetite, as the smell of cooking chapatis has bloated her tummy already.
Again there will be utensils to wash, a kitchen to clear, diapers to change for the toddlers who have eaten too much for their little stomachs to handle and tea to make for the older generation. By the time Christmas season is done, many who did the house chores will feel as if they had been to a bootcamp rather than a holiday.
4. Family drama.
Of course there’s that brother or cousin who never made anything of himself and has since decided the world must be against him. Or that sister who started giving birth in class 7 and over 20 years later has 5 children, with 5 different men and is married to a jerk, who beats the daylights out of her.
Those ones will decide to settle scores over Christmas lunch with relatives from the city they think abandoned them at their most vulnerable. The sister will start with sarcastic remarks aimed at a sister, who is probably doing well which will eventually escalate into a bitter exchange of words. The brother will visit the chang’aa den, add some weed to it and decide to smash the windows of another brother’s car. Chaos will erupt. Some will fight, some will cry, some will start packing up in a bid to return back to the city where they came from…
In the end, the elderly man of the house will bring order by threatening to curse anyone who misbehaves and reminding everyone, that they are related by blood incase they had forgotten. Christmas will still be celebrated and grandparents will be happy to see their children and grandchildren and to receive gifts from those who came home for the holidays.
For everyone else celebrating Christmas across the world, I wish you a Merry Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!