Sunday, 8 April 2012


Yesterday was an epic family gathering. One of our beautiful sisters is jumping the broom soon; we had to be there for moral support. The interesting bit for me started with my rather dramatic arrival. These wedding things are quite unpredictable at times. I was accosted at the gate by my other sisters, no greetings or anything: just subtle hints to get me to pay for a badge that would act as my entrance key to that event. Something similar to being coerced to purchase an insurance policy: a brother of mine remarked. And after the tension of rattling my pockets and taking one for the team, things were settled. The usual ‘hugs’ and ‘umepotea sana’ commence.

The first good thing about family gatherings is the food. So after a bit of small talk; I took to the buffet. And I must remark, my mothers and sisters do have a way with the kitchen. The servings were tantalizing, nothing I had eaten in a while could equate. Once my tummy issues were sorted, the mingling and fundraising was next.

The ambience was just what I expected. The sturdy Ngong’ hills in the background, cool winds sweeping down their slopes to amply grace the occasion. The sun above, some fuzzy could cover around it… a picturesque scene. The bark of a country mongrel, a few cackles by the chicken in the farm beyond, the muffled ‘moo’ of a distant heifer and cheerful talks punctuated by bouts of laughter were the sound effects to the occasion.

The master of ceremony rolled in to conduct the fundraising. Like most brothers in my family, he was a juggernaut of a man. I don’t get how these people get to gain that much weight while I don’t. Not that I'm jealous or anything, but I guess that it’s my own way of standing out. I smile at myself as this thought dissipates in my mind. Back to reality now, our sister is getting married. This MC guy is good, real good. I bet he would get the devil to give an offering at his own exorcism. I chuckle at the thought.

Afterwards, my mothers (aunts) summon me to their corner. It’s the usual family drill. ‘Are you ever going to put some meat on those bones?’ ‘How is your very tall brother?’ ‘Why didn’t you bring your pretty girl today?’ e.t.c… I love their concern. I defend myself with the usual wild card, being a medic doesn’t allow me to put on weight anywhere else except in my brain. We laugh about it; they have so much hope in their son, in all their children actually. You never get that elsewhere except in family.

As the evening staggers in, we huddle around to talk about this, that and the other. First is wedding stuff, then the other things. This is my first wedding committee. I put my naivety in the background and listen to the experts as they talk. I have a lot to learn I realize. Despite the creeping cold around, the family company is ever so warm.

Stories come next, with them, a bottle or two of alcohol. Meat is in abundance. We are in Maasai territory. Here infants get weaned on roasted ribs. The mutura is awesome too. Next thing I know, I am being referred to as ‘Daktari wa Wafu’ (doctor of the dead); something to do with how I usually talk about postmortems. I give a different story this time to defend my position as a doctor of the living. The alcohol starts kicking in. You know, those moments when people start confessing their love for each other. Then we pour some alcohol for a fallen brother: R.I.P Leimayan.

Stories go on and on. The laughter is too much. Maybe it’s the euphoria of family. Everyone is elated. It’s a no-holds-barred talk. Everything from Thwathinigga (with lotsa love to uncle) and Maranatha (don’t ask), to some good brotherly advice. At one point, the biggest ‘mzito’ pinches the dog’s ears. He does that twice. That’s officially the funniest moment of the evening. I'm asked to update it on face book and make it official. As we gear up to part, one thing rings again and again in my mind. We always have each others’ backs. These are the moments to remember, times we all live for. I truly love my big family.

Todo para la familia- everything for the family.

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