I’ve been existent on earth 19years, inhaling and exhaling its amazing fresh air, enjoying its sunshine, drinking its clear waters, getting lost in its beautiful breathtaking sceneries and I must say the feeling has never been more exhilarating than during this festive season, when families gather together to celebrate the day that supposedly is the day of the birth of the Messiah. I particularly loved it more a decade ago. When I was a 4feet tall little girl somehow weird but amazingly clever. It was the time when we’d sit around grandpa and listen to his endless stories about the world wars and slavery, traditional gusii ways of life, African culture and practices, their significance in life, how he cope up with life in the olden days having been an orphan and the first born of the late Ondaris. At the age of 9 he’d been taken up by his aunty whose name he has renamed each and every female granddaughter of his for purposes of continuity, or so I guess. My grandma is a shy and quiet old woman, always has been but never once has she missed the opportunity to hug and kiss her grandchildren. I would say she’s the best cook in traditional gusii dishes but then what position would I give my momma who’s cooking is moreish. Yum! yum! My grandma having had 11 children of her own and other adoptive ones, always treated us with so much love and understanding we almost never wanted to leave her home. Ensuring we were always fed, bathed and happy whenever we visited. She’d teach us girls how to do house chores at a tender age, she’d take us to the river and on our journey there she’d shed some light on different medicinal herbs and stories of homesteads, their ancestors and such like stuff. It was always an amazing time, I’m filled with pangs of nostalgia as I reminisce.
Nowadays, December and more so the Christmas through to new years isn’t the same no more. I go into a state of prostration just by the thought of how the plethora of yearly Christmas preparations, the selfless cooking and giving of food items to family and friends, traditional greeting cards and gift boxes that we always were so eager to open on the night of Christmas and the family gatherings has completely dwindled giving way to people sending text messages and emails to wish each other merriment. I get to see my grannies once a year, my uncles, aunties and cousins once in 5years. There isn’t much bonding these days. Everyone is too busy still trying to make or rather save an extra coin even during this period when really family should be at the forefront of all our goals and dreams. We no longer feel the Christmas Buzz. No new clothes, lots food especially those not eaten all year long. It’s no longer that big a deal. I miss the old experience. I miss the offtune singing jingle bells and long time ago in Bethlehem. I miss going to church and acting as the virgin Mary riding on someone’s back pretending to be the ass. I want these sentiments back. I cannot even for a minute bear to think of what future years would bring. What will our children and our children’s children and their children’s children glean from Christmas? How will this celebration be like in the next decade let alone the next century? It’ll be fortuitous if they even get to know what “shags” or “ocha” means, if they even get the opportunity to meet our sisters and brothers; their aunties and uncles. Forget about the redness and whiteness of the Santa attire we get to see in malls and supermarkets or the raging force of the Indian waters whenever we take a vacay at the white sandy beaches of mombasa, will they realize the deep feeling of family, of giving, of sharing, of joy, of love, of charity that lies in the hearts of us who believe and that is associated with particularly this season? I get an ague everytime this voices begin to continually tussle in my head. I’m worried.
We’ll cross the bridge when we get there hoping we’ll be astute then but for now MERRY CHRISTMAS MY DEAR FRIEND! GLAD TIDINGS TO YOU AND YOURS!