A Week Away From Home

I have spent this week at Kawangware, with an aunt and her one week old baby. I must admit it’s a challenge.

First, I have to wake up at six. The first two months of this year had me waking up at 8 a.m earliest. I was in campus, doing internal attachment. We reported at 9 am and by 12.30 p.m. our work for the day was done. All day and night was spent in not-so-useful activities. Bedtime was 2 a.m or later. As late as 7 a.m. So my mornings are spent in bed and my nights watching movies or other such stuff…

Second, every free morning at home is spent watching TV. Now, when you are in Kawangware, some people might say it’s a low-income neighbourhood. In other words, ghetto. If you thought electricity in Juja is unreliable, you have’t lived in Kawangware. First, the light go without warning. Then when they come back, they are so low, the TV won’t turn on. Also, since am a guest, I have no say on what is to be watched. I can’t stand political talkshows and all that stuff journalists interview people about. The primary goal of the TV for me is entertainment. In fact, that’s the only goal. So I choose to go to bed at 9 p.m. I haven’t slept this early since..since class six. Neither can I choose the radio station. Ethnic ones don’t work for me. I have tried.

If you are going to be moving to a ‘low-income-neighbourhood’ you need to get a curtain for your door. Here, there is no sense of personal space. What I mean is, at home we have a walled compound and no one just walks in. But here, every space in front or at the back of your house is a potential path. Anyone can pass by and when you leave your door open, curiosity will have people peeking in as they pass by.

My aunt is yet to get a househelp. I came by to bring her ‘some medicine’ for the newborn. Some medicine here means some mixture of like 40 different herbs to be boiled for the baby. I have a feeling the people who pick this medicine are doing guess work. Perhaps one out of those 40 plants has medicinal purposes but they don’t know which.

Anyway, my mum was convinced it was best. She claims she fed us with it and look how healthy we turned out.

At home I do plenty of housework, but that is after I wake up at 9 a.m. Afternoons and nights are spent on TV. But with my aunt’s help on the way, am doing plenty of housework. Of course at first I wished I’d pack my bags and go..but how can I do that? Most, ok all, of my aunts think highly of me. They are proud of how disciplined and hard working I am. I wouldn’t describe myself so glowingly though. But I couldn’t let her down. So housework be it.

Between washing dishes and cooking lunch and washing the baby’s clothes…I am reading Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. It’s like a 40 day spiritual journey. The only reason am reading it is because there is nothing else to read. This is like the 3rd non-novel book am reading. And there is no way I can read a chapter a day..am too eager, and I have ended up reading it like a novel..so I have given up on it.

Back to my week away from home. You don’t want to go to the bathroom at night. Most of the houses, in fact all the houses I know here, are just built as rooms. Even the ones made of concrete and stones. Then the bathrooms and toilets are situated some distance away. Now you don’t want to go to the bathroom at night because it will entail getting out of the house, walking some distance in the dark hoping you wont step on anything, groping with a padlock while handling the torch and hoping you dont meet someone dangerous on your way back. What to do? You might want to limit your fluid intake after 4 p.m.

Sleep does not come easy at night. It could have something to do with the fact that bedtime comes way early. But mostly, it’s the porous walls. I sleep in the room below:

The room I sleep in..note the curtain at the door

The room I sleep in..note the curtain at the door


We have a Kamba neighbour whose entertainment system is just where I put my head. I usually feel like his music is in my head pounding away. I don’t think I can ever enjoy Kamba music after this. Not that I have enjoyed it before.

The little bugger who is making me stay over here is a sweet one. He even smiles though he is sooo tiny and is just 3 Kgs or thereabouts. He has spent most of his time asleep though..he sleeps like 22 hours a day. I know why babies are called bundles of joy..they are usually so wrapped up. But they have to otherwise you might not be able to hold them because they are too tiny.

When I started the week, I never thought I could get through with with it. But I managed and now as I go back home soon, I can only say I have learnt that babies are hard work, and who would want to have any?

The sweet little bugger..

The sweet little bugger..

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14 Responses

  1. Time to count our blessings big time don’t you think?

    The little bugger is cute though! Aren’t they all?

    Yeah… we should count our blessings.

  2. Fanya kazi wewe na wacha mchezo,ati kamba music in your head?Put your head phones and……….good night, tomorrow is another day!
    Your aunt will kill you akijua you are busy treating Kawa, her neighbourhood, in this manner! Look at that sun, why lie I would rather be there now than in this depressing weather!
    Then the kiddo……..OMG, so cutie

    Actually, I stopped complaining and now am just enjoying life there..it’s not such a bad place.

  3. Nice story, and yes I still want a baby. I don’t want the room though.

    The inside of the room can be radically different from the outside…

  4. watching tv is for entertainment purposes, i am so with you.

    it is really nice of you to be helping out your aunt coz she really needs the support now just after having a baby. you will so understand one day…

  5. Ooohh…baby..so cute!

  6. Cute Cute bugger

    I pity you though with your kao neighbour playing the infamous kamba tunes through the night.
    Lucky for you it was just music……….what is he was getting his freak on??

    He never did get his freak on, but he did fight once and I had no sleep that night.

  7. do try telling any mother that their sample of offspring is less than gorgeous. i dare you. anyone?

    perspectives eh? it is a good experience to do as you did. i did my time too. 🙂

    I wouldn’t mind hearing about the time you did. Anyway, babies are inherently beautiful..because they are so small and everything is reduced to a small clean scale..am I making sense? Perhaps when they become toddlers, then you can say some kids are not good looking but no when they are so small.

  8. Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  9. I had a good chuckle, yeah growing up in the ‘Mbati’ houses in the early 90s was something else. Hopefully it was not raining that just makes everything unbelievable unbearable. having to wash the dishes outside right next to the door to the one room ‘mabati’ shelter. The heat during the day and the bitter cold at night. The death mile…. like i would like to call the distance between ur bed and the choo at night. Imagine being 12 or 11 having to handle that. Memories……memories.

    So you remember the washing of the dishes on the verandah part? Thank God it was not raining, someone told me it can get quite messy. And the heat during the day, the cold in the night, those mabati houses are torture.

  10. Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.

  11. Dont hate on the Kamba DJ. You are better off with the radio music than the real, live, unedited ululations of him and the wife or girlfriend. The loud music saves you from that.

    Is there a baby boom or what? I have seen several of these cute ones this year! May be it has something to do with return of peace last year. But they look so delicate am so afraid of them!

    All the same its good work you’ve been doing for your aunt. I dont think she’d manage it without the help. Good story.

    Yeah, small babies are so delicate. As for the Kamba DJ, maybe there is a good side to every event. Never did hear other noises that indicated coitus activity

  12. Awwwwww!

    Is there something wrong?

  13. your story is very good.

    It’s a real experience, thanks.

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