Hangry travels

I had been looking forward to our Kauai trip for weeks, so much so that the week before we left, I changed my work email signature to a cheerful Mahalo!

On the morning of the flight, we woke up dark and early and headed to the San Jose International airport. We took a shuttle to our terminal and had just enough time left to grab a muffin and a bottle of water before we boarded our flight at 7.30 am.

In my culture, rubbing your eyes/ twitchy eyes indicate some kind of misfortune ahead. My eyes had been itchy since 2.am that morning, but I attributed it to allergies. I was sleep deprived and looking forward to some shut eye on the flight. Little did I know that my skepticism of superstition would cause me much misery.

The flight departed on time, and before long we were banking over the bay area. I love take off time, the weightless feeling during lift-off. I especially like it when a plane banks, it adds to the flying experience.

Two hours into our flight, a passenger suffered a medical emergency. I have to commend the ladies and gentlemen of Alaska Airlines for their prompt response to the emergency. They summoned a doctor and two nurses who happened to be on the flight to assist, and immediately made the decision to divert the flight to San Francisco Airport (SFO) where the patient would be quickly sent to an emergency hospital to receive medical care.

Two hours later, we landed at SFO and the patient was quickly evacuated. The pilot explained that because we had landed with an almost full tank of fuel, the airplane’s emergency landing system had to be inspected. The crew also had to replace the medical equipment, snacks, drinks and other amenities. This process took about four hours, and like most passengers, I assumed that a meal would be provided, since an extra six hours had been added to our flight time.

Our son got to make a few friends on the grounded plane. He is quite tall for his age, and we noticed that two of the other babies were equally tall for their respective ages. All the tall babies go to Kauai in April-May methinks.

Finally, we were ready for takeoff again, with the crew offering profuse thanks for our immense patience. Once we had reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants offered light snacks, and by light I mean light. There was a piece of chocolate, some crackers, a few nuts and a small drink. There was no mention of a complimentary meal for the passengers who were stuck on the plane at SFO and not allowed to off board to purchase our own meals.

On a typical day, I have breakfast at six, brunch at 9, lunch at noon…. you get the drift. I love to eat. Hunger + anger = Hanger. My son had his milk and snacks, and my husband, being the laid back guy he was, got by by eating some honey roasted peanuts and graham crackers we had brought with us. I needed something a bit more solid, and so we flagged the flight attendant to order a meal. She calmly told us that they were out of food, and would we like some crackers? I wanted to smack her with those crackers (hanger), but I politely declined to purchase crackers for $7. Daylight robbery I tell you.

We managed to subsist on the honey roasted peanuts and soda, and finally, after a long and painful flight, we landed in beautiful Kauai. My in-laws, who we were vacationing with, were kind enough to greet us with home-made sandwiches, which I munched down in record time. Hanger partially sated, it was time to get a car rental.

Everything in Kauai is on what I call “hakuna matata” time. It means no worries, take your time. No, really, take your sweet time. We got in line, and with four people ahead of us, I thought it would take 15 minutes maximum to collect our car. How wrong I was. One hour later, we were still waiting as we heard the typewriter like printing noises of the printer, and the admonitions of the Avis attendants trying to get passengers to upgrade their vehicle of choice and/or purchase insurance because “anything can happen”. What is this, Game of Thrones?

Our turn finally came and the lady at the counter tried to offer us a minivan, which I turned down immediately. She then offered us an upgrade, which we gladly took and were finally off on our way.

Kauai is a tropical paradise, it really is. The water is a deep blue, the weather tropical and the fruit great. Hakuna matata indeed.

Foul Creature

It is Lent. While I am aware that we are not supposed to ‘wear our sorrows on our heads’, and announce what we are giving up for lent, allow me to break with tradition to tell you about a foul creature who wandered into my life on this beautiful sunny California Sunday.

On Ash Wednesday, I chose to give up my daily ration of sweets and limit myself to eating sweets once a week. Now, anyone who knows me understands that I don’t just have a sweet tooth, no no no… I have sweet teeth, all 32 of them. So, as you can imagine, limiting myself to once weekly sweets has been a challenge that has tested my Catholic upbringing to its limits. To call this sweets Semi-fast (SSF) an uphill battle does not even begin to describe the magnitude of my love of all things sweet and the intense cravings that assailed me on the first week of my SSF. By the time my first weekly ration of sweets day (Sunday) arrived, I was ready for my sweets. I went and purchased what looked like a very tasty French-named pastry. That pastry should be renamed disappointment (pronounced Dees-aah-poh-eent-moh in an ode to its French roots).

Fast forward a few weeks later, and my husband and I decided to join some friends at the local Sunday Farmers’ market. We took our son with us and being the social boy he is, he quickly found other babies with whom to commiserate over the lack of muddy puddles to play in.

I told my friend that this was my sweets day, and she pointed out that a new crepe stand had been added to the usual fruit and pastries stands, and we decided to try it out. I ordered a banana-nutella crepe, which was divine gooey goodness. I am new to the world of Nutella, and I am still very much in the oh-my-goodness-where-have-you-been-all-my-life stage with this sugary goodness. So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled to have come across Nutella in a crepe for the second time in as many months.

Once my crepe was ready, I artfully arranged it on my plate, took a few bites and savored the warm banana-chocolate taste. I was so engrossed in singing praises of my crepe, and talking to my friend that I did not notice that a coup was underway. You see, while I was extolling the virtues of the right mix of Nutella and banana served at the right temperature, a foul creature was finalizing its plans to invade my beloved crepe. And so it was with profound shock and horror that I noticed the foul creature, newly landed on my crepe, its long legs sticking out of the melted Nutella.

In that moment, a few thoughts crossed my mind. Well, technically germs are in a state of shock, and Nutella is quite thick, so the germs can’t travel to the other side of the crepe, right? Wrong. The foul creature, having read my mind, stretched its long spindly limbs in a gravity defying motion and walked across my crepe! Any efforts to curtail the foul creature’s movement were immediately thwarted by the creature’s other limbs. In that moment, I had a reality check. My crepe was a lost cause. And there in lay a life lesson. Sometimes, life hands you lemons you can make into lemonade. But sometimes, life just sticks a foul creature in your Nutella banana crepe, and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it. I tossed the entire crepe, foul creature included, into the trash can. May that foul creature rest in Nutella banana bliss.

 

Influenzad

Whoever said that experience is the best teacher was definitely not in the throes of influenza. Let me tell you about my encounter with this disease. Like a good citizen, I have faithfully received my flu shots every year since 2014. And so far, the vaccine has done its job. I have been flu free since 2014. However, the flu madimoni decided to pay me a visit. They said, Awino, you have been in this country for over a decade. What kind of neighbors would we be if we did not visit you? Let us collect our brethren and pay you a visit.

Like most people, I had the misconception that the flu really was just an intense cold. You know, more sniffles, more coughing, but a cold all the same. So when I woke up last week and had difficulty swallowing my usual banana oatmeal breakfast, I put it down to another cold (‘tis the season).

Alas, it was not to be just a heavy cold or Homa kali, as we would call it back home. I drank my ginger extract (carefully processed by one of my older brothers, a juicing enthusiast who swears by his masticating juicer). After drinking the ginger shot, I went to work as usual, and it was not until later that evening that the muscle pain, fever and fatigue set in.

Had I been in my dala (ancestral home), I would have thought I was in the early stages of malaria. The mosquitos in my home town don’t play. They are the SEAL units of the mosquito world. They are Precise. They go in , do the job and get out. It happens so fast, and were it not for the sharp sting of their bite, and the tell-tale bump that follows, you wouldn’t know that one of these mosquito SEALs had visited you. They even sneak past tiny mosquito net holes. I am convinced that there is an elite mosquito (Suna) unit, HQ Kisumu.

I digress, but my point is, the flu is like a mild form of malaria (sans the anemia, extreme weakness and tendency of your gastrointestinal system to violently erupt). The flu leaves you with aches in places you didn’t think you had muscles . My little toe hurt. My nose hurt. My eyes hurt. Even my nails hurt. I was pretty certain I had an ulcer in my throat. I had the dreaded sinus pressure, my head (significant in size), hurt so badly, I cried. I am not a crier. I cry when people die, I cry when I’m very happy, I cry when I’m overwhelmed. Ok so maybe I am a crier. But that’s ok.

My fever was north of 104F- quite high. I am pretty certain an egg could have cooked on my foot (also quite large- so large in fact that I have been redirected to the men’s shoe department! Rude rude).

My body ached and groaned. My eyes were bloodshot. I looked like a moonshine drinker aka chang’aa or Alego clear in my neck of the woods. My doctor, a very jolly lady, somberly said, you need lots of fluid, lots of rest, and you can expect some “gastrointestinal discomfort”. More Prophetic words have never been spoken. Long story short. I spent four days in bed, with a water pitcher and a bathroom nearby.

I told my family back home that I had the flu, and one of my brothers asked, hiyo ni Homa? No, it’s malaria lite I said. Oh, to be that blissfully unaware of the awful disease that is influenza.

Hamilton broke my heart

I had hopes. High hopes. I had heard great things about the musical Hamilton, and was eagerly anticipating its debut in San Francisco. Imagine the excitement I felt when ticket purchase dates were announced. The cherry on top? American Express Cardholders got to purchase tickets a week earlier than the general public. Oh, the joy of belonging to an exclusive group!

Monday, December 5th arrived. At 8 am, I dutifully logged into my snhsf account, Amex card in hand. The tickets would go on sale at 10am Pacific Time, so I had plenty of time. I kept checking the web page, hoping for a preview of available seats, but, true to their word, snhsf would begin ticket sales at 10 am. So I got some work done while i waited.

I mentioned that I was waiting to purchase Hamilton tickets to a colleague, and as it turned out she was in line too! She informed me that a quick refresh of the snhsf page would direct me to a “Queue-it” page which would randomly assign me a number in the queue. I figured that since I had been waiting for an hour or so, I would get a favorable number. I refreshed the page and watched in dismay as the random number generator assigned position 47,700 to my account. 47,700!

Surely it had to be an error. I refreshed the page again, and, sure enough, 47,700 re-appeared. This is a situation that would be blamed on madimoni (demons) back home. If you know what madimoni are, then you must be from my country.

I was not going to be fazed by 47,700. I stared it down. I, Awino, would not be intimidated by 47,700. The number 47,700 became a living, breathing, malicious madimoni,  and I, brandishing my Amex Card, had no intention of backing down. Five hours later, the number of buyers ahead of me had shrunk from 47,699 to 26,000. I had hope. My Amex card would not let me down. It would get me in to see Hamilton.

Six hours after my vigil begun, the queue page suddenly went blank, and then an error message appeared. I blinked, and blinked again. I really should have my eyes examined. I am seeing things. So I refreshed the page. “Sold Out” greeted me. 47,700 had won. And like the madimoni it was, it was rubbing salt into my raw wounds where, until recently, the hope of seeing Hamilton had resided. I closed the browser, and heard the ping of an email in my inbox. I checked my email, and there it was, “the line has ended and your place in line has been cancelled”. They were kind enough to include a link to the ended line. Why would I want to see it? The ended line? How is that different from telling someone, “I’m sorry you missed your flight, the plane has departed, however, here is a link to a photo of the plane.” It’s just not done.

A week later to the day, I logged in to snhsf again,determined not to let 47,700 have the last word. This time, the malicious random number generator decided to gloat in my face and assigned me 78,000. Like, oh, did you not like 47,700? I will show you! I read that between the lines. I did. And you know what? I am from Alego. And we do not give up. We never, ever give up. We are nothing if not tenacious. So I decided to check on my number every few hours, and finally at 6pm, I was in. I expected this website to have bells and whistles. I expected mango juice and mandazi (doughnuts) to be served to us, heck I was even willing to settle for a steaming cup of uji (porridge). Alas, what greeted me was a slap in the face, a hot slap like those doled out by askaris in my home country. What form did this hot slap take, you ask? Tickets priced north of $500 apiece. Yes, you read that right. All the cheaper tickets had been snapped up by those who were in good terms with the random number generator. Those of us who were on it’s you-know list, were made to wait, and then hit with $500 plus tickets.

I closed that page and haven’t visited it since. I know that the show sold out. I know that I won’t be going to see hamilton in 2017. But I draw comfort from the fact that I stared down the “random” number generator, twice, and with my Amex card in hand, faced the madimoni head on. Shindwe!

Of kind childhood teachers, singing disasters, and other musings  

I switched schools at the tail end of my eight year primary school education. My new school was a 10 minute walk from home, a welcome change from the 30 minute school bus ride we had to endure before. Because the school was initially created for children of the nearby university faculty and staff, the classroom sizes were small, we all knew each other and were all new, so I felt like I belonged. I loved it there, and I especially looked forward to my English classes, taught by the incomparable Mrs. Muya, who had us reading the Moses series, the most memorable being ‘Moses and the school farm’. She asked us to underline ‘new words’, look up their meaning in the dictionary and use them in a sentence. She was a very kind and patient teacher. I also enjoyed my music classes, taught by Mr. Bett, who was in charge of forming the school’s first choir. He patiently arranged us in groups depending on our voices, and I found myself in the ‘alto’ category. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am both vocally challenged and tone deaf. This did not dissuade Mr. Bett.  He needed a certain number of people in the choir, and since the school was so small, we all had to be in the choir.

I found the choir training sessions to be very enjoyable. I love to sing. It is very liberating for me. It is not so liberating for those who have to listen to me sing. Once, while babysitting one of my nephews who was about 3, a song played on the TV, and he liked it so much that he asked me to repeat the song. I performed what I thought was a pretty decent rendition of the song, vocal challenges considered. My nephew gave me a very puzzled look, his head cocked to one side, slowly shook his head, said a definitive ‘si hiyo’, and walked away. Out of the mouth of babes.

Our Primary school choir participated in the district level music competitions, and I managed to blend in pretty well with my more talented schoolmates. We qualified for the Provincial level competition, meaning we would compete against choirs from all over Rift Valley. This was a very big deal because it included a road trip to Nakuru. I had never been to Nakuru, and I was looking forward to seeing Lake Nakuru and the Flamingos.

When we got to Nakuru, we went to the lake and while we stood on the shores of Lake Nakuru marveling at the beauty of the flamingos, we heard thumping noises off in the distance. The bus driver yelled at us to get into the bus, which we did in record time, and he started to speed away like a, well, bus driver. We turned back to see what the emergency was, and saw a large heard of buffalo running on the shore, passing where we stood just a few minutes prior. They were much larger than I had thought, and I was very grateful to be in the bus, and not under their hooves.

The next morning we had our competition. We were ready, and hoped to qualify for the National competition. We got on stage, started to sing, and everything was going well until we got to the pause in the song. In my nervousness, I continued to sing, so the audience was treated to my, shall we say, ‘unique’ voice. My music teacher looked at me in shock. I had ruined any chance we had of progressing to the National level. I wanted to die. I wanted that stage to open up and swallow me. To their credit, my choirmates recovered from their shock and finished the song. The mood after we left the auditorium was very somber. We knew we had lost. We knew who was responsible. My music teacher was very kind about the whole thing. That was the last time I sang in public. I confine my ‘unique’ voice to the shower now.

My hair chronicles  

I am an only daughter. Growing up, my playmates and friends were my brothers and their friends, who inadvertently tended to be boys. That pretty much meant I was bound to be a tomboy. My mother’s attempts at exposing me to girly things failed miserably, she even bought me this doll I named Dolly (I wasn’t a very creative child). Dolly was a green, plastic doll whose eyes and nose were pierced by my brother. I played with her sometimes, but most of the time I abandoned her and ran off to play with my brothers. So, as you can imagine, I wasn’t heartbroken when she met her tragic end.

Undeterred, my mother got me another doll, this time a pretty rag-doll with woolen hair just like mine. I didn’t bother to name her. She didn’t last either. RIP rag-doll.

I was more interested in playing with homemade wire cars, kicking footballs, climbing trees and basically playing with the boys because that is all I knew. I didn’t understand why I was singled out to wear the pretty dresses my mother made to match hers, in a Mummy-and-me inspired moment, and I certainly did not want to spend hours having my hair braided when my brothers didn’t have to endure that hardship. She managed to trick me into having my ears pierced, which was not a mean feat.

I vividly remember the woman who braided my hair in my childhood years. Her name was Ruth, a tall slender no nonsense woman from Alego. You see, I grew up in Eldoret, and so it was not common to run into someone who was from my dala.  Ruth would sit on her chair, outside her house, and would sternly ask me to sit on the low, wooden stool known as then in my mothertongue. I would sit obediently, and Ruth would produce the dreaded wooden comb, which she assured my mother was the only comb that could ‘draw’ straight lines to ensure my cornrows, or lines as we call them in Kenya, were straight and super neat. Ruth would proceed to part my hair in two sections down the middle, front to back. To achieve the perfect hair part, she would take her gapped, three toothed wooden comb and draw a line from the middle of my nose up my forehead and all the way back to my neck. I imagine the other comb-teeth fell off fighting to comb ‘steel wool’ hair like mine, which seems to suffer from separation anxiety because it clings to every comb I put in it in a ‘I will never let you go’ grip.

I was a very bold little girl, and I once asked her why she had to start drawing the hair part line from my nose, to which she haughtily responded. “hawa watoto wa siku hizi hawana heshima, ling!” (Today’s children are disrespectful, shush!). Seeing as I was sitting in a stool in front of her, firmly pressed between her knees, and with no eyes behind my head to see what she was doing, I decided it would be foolhardy to speak up, what with the sharp wooden comb she was brandishing over my head.

I have a lot of hair on my head. I also do not have a small head. I also have my mother’s forehead, which is really a small space above my eyebrows.  Like clockwork, halfway across the braiding, Ruth would sigh dramatically and say, almost to herself, “to wich nyathini duong’ ka then”. For those who are not speakers of the international language also known as DhoLuo, I had just had my head likened to the long wooden stool I was sitting on. I took this insult calmly, because as a child, my head was unusually large for my body. In fact, all of my childhood nicknames revolved around the size of my head.

My mother tells me that when I was born, visitors who saw me always remarked that she gave birth to a baby and a half, the half being my head and the sheer amount of hair on it. It took years for my head: body proportion to normalize. But I digress. Once Ruth was done braiding my “then” head, she took the can of Dax oil my mother had provided, and proceeded to slather an insane amount on my scalp until it was shining in the afternoon sun. Seeing as I have said non-existent forehead, some of the Dax would end up on my face, and I would go home with my head and face shining like a brand new coin.  Apparently Dax helps grow hair, although my hair must have been the exception, because it remained short and thick. When Ruth was done, she would warn me not to ‘play in the grass’ because she may have found a blackjack weed or two in my hair when undoing my lines. That advice went in one ear and out the other. As soon as I got home and saw my brothers and their friends playing, I ran to join them, completely ignoring the little girls playing girly games.

My hair troubles came to an abrupt halt one morning. The day before we were to return to school, my mother asked me to have my braids removed by my aunt, who was visiting for the week. Now, I had single braids on my head. It had taken almost an entire day for Ruth to put them in, and after she was done braiding, Ruth had calmly informed my mother that next time she would charge me ‘full price’ because my 9 year old head was not the size of a child’s head! Honestly. I know I had a big head, but was that really necessary? Anyway, fast forward many weeks later, it was time to get the braids removed because the school did not allow single braids, only simple lines. So, when my mother told me that I would be spending the last day of my holiday sitting and having my hair undone, it was not in line with how I had planned to spend my day, and so I waited for her to go to work and I snuck out to play with my friends. When my mother came back that evening and saw I hadn’t had the braids taken out she was quite upset. My aunt, who is my mother’s younger sister and like a second mother to me (she will tell anyone how she babysat me as a baby, and it wasn’t easy, because I was a very challenging baby who drank milk nonstop, slept during the day and kept everyone up at night) decided that she had heard AND had enough of my hair shenanigans. She calmly took a pair of scissors and chopped off the braids to almost scalp level. She then proceeded to wash and comb my hair. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the end of my hair misery.

My Dani- The truth extractor

My Grandmother Christina, or Dani in DhoLuo, is one of my favorite people in the world. She is actually my late paternal grandmother’s younger sister (a mouthful, I know 🙂 Because I was named Asin after my late grandmother, my Dani Christina refers to me as her sister. And odd as it may seem, that is the nature of our relationship. She is more of a sister than a grandmother. We talk on the phone at least twice a month. I get my loud laugh from her. We laugh at the same things, our phone calls are very uplifting for me. We share a bond that has grown deeper over the years, and now, in her early 90s, with recurring geriatric ailments, I am aware that my time with her is limited, and treasure it even more.

She is very perceptive, and will state her opinion in that brutally honest way the elderly tend to have. She will not hesitate to give me a stern talking to when I am out of line. I know it comes from a place of love.

On one of my visits to Kisumu, my Dani and I were spending a leisurely afternoon just catching up, when she suddenly sat up.

“Nyaminwa,” my sister, she said in DhoLuo,  “is it true that in the United States they find Luos and make them wash toilets and live in wooden sheds?” she asked in a mixture of DhoLuo and Oswahili, that bastardization of the Kiswahili language for which my people, the Luo, are infamous.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of the question, I was laughing so hard, my stomach hurt. And as it always is with us, when I laugh, she starts to laugh too, and soon we were both wiping tears from our eyes from laughing so hard. I eventually composed myself enough to ask her the source of this spurious information.

She informed me that her next door neighbor had two sons who had suddenly reappeared in dala proper after a decade away in America, having never come back to visit family, attend weddings and had even missed some funerals, to the consternation of their relatives. The two men, had upon their return from the United States become very taciturn whenever the subject of Obamaland came up. My Dani has an uncanny ability to extract information from even the most recalcitrant person. And so, one morning, she finally got one of the men to talk. He told her that he was better off living in the village than going back to the United States.  They made him wash toilets and he had to live in a wooden house. My grandmother asked him why he was specifically chosen for this unpleasant task, his response? Because he is Luo!

I did my best to disabuse my Dani of her neighbor’s claims. Yes, there are janitors in the United States. No, they are not Luo. No, ‘they’ don’t make Luos do any particular job. I am, and know many Luos who hold professional jobs in the United States, (this is not a ‘we has money’ moment).

She was very amused, and could not believe she had given him the time of day. Upon her return to dala, she had another chat with the sketchy young man from America, and he finally confessed to being a deportee who had overstayed his visa.

That’s my Dani, the truth extractor.

Storytime- Sospeter Chronicles- Tiffany’s wedding

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this auspicious occasoooon of my beautiful and very well educated daughter Tiffany. Just like the very high end jewelry store, our Tiffany does not come cheap. We have educated her in the finest institusooons. No expenses have been spared in raising our very beautiful and educated daughter. In fact, people who have heard her speak think she is British because that is the schooling system she went through. She did not go to these cheap and questionable Kenyan schools, no, we has money, and therefore, we must rub solders with people who has money like us, donge?

But I digress. My name is Sospeter Owuor Esquire, JD. For those of you who are wondering what the letters after my name are, let me enlighten you. I have read books, many books. I have read these many books well enough that I have reached ‘no class ahead’. In other words, I have a PhD. in law. I am a very prominent lawyer, and for those of you who are not familiar with my name, you might have seen me on several TV programmes, giving high profile and crucial legal advice when called upon as my schedule allows. Soon, you will see my name on the Forbes richest people list. In fact, I was just on the phone with a member of their staff yesterday.

Just to give you some background on how I began my journey to my illustrious career, I was born in Kasipul Kabondo, and attended primary school at Pand Gikmoko Primary School. Because of my outstanding performance there, I was selected to join Alliance High School, which as you all know, is the only Kenyan secondary school worth attending. I proved to be more intelligent than some of the brightest minds of my generation, I passed with flying colors and was admitted to Nairobi University.

When I arrived at the university, I applied my superior intellect on those books and the lecturers had no choice but to award me first class honors. During my time at Nairobi University, the ladies would see me and they would come flocking! They all wanted to be part of the greatness that is Sospeter Owuor, future Esquire, JD. I conducted a very thorough selection process, and the lucky lady is this woman here, my wife and the mother of this beautiful daughter of ours. If you are dazzled by my accomplishments, let me tell you about my wife, Dr. Pamela Awiti. Now, this Pamela of mine, is very beautiful, and she is the source of our Tiffany’s beauty. I am the source of Tiffany’s brains hehehehe. So as you can see, this is a great partnesiiip of beauty and brains. My Pamela is a very prominent cardiologist in this our Nairobi, in fact she is often invited to attend conferences and seminars in countries such as, but not limited to: America, the UK, Switzerland, and Germany, to mention a few. So, from that brief summary, you can see that we has money, and that brings us to this auspicious occasooon.

My Tiffany has always been the apple of our eye. That is Sospeter Esquire and Pamela, MD’s eyes. We sent our Tiffany to British system schools here in Kenya, and then to the London School of Economics for her Law degree. As I said, she got her brains from me, so it follows that she would study law and join the family business. While our Tiffany was in London, she met this man who is sitting here beside her, who is now her husband. When she called me on my latest model iPhone and told me that she wanted to get married, I conducted some research into the background of this man. He comes all the way from the land of Chinua Achebe. I asked Tiffany. What is wrong with Luo men? Could you not find one? But you know how these children are, once they make up their minds, that is it. So I find myself giving my daughter in marriage to a man whose ancestry I don’t know, who could be those Nigerian princes who send people questionable emails. Haidhuru, when my Tiffany told me this was the man she has chosen, I decided it is better to save my energy for real battles, and not fight a small boy from the land of Boko Haram.

Before we sent our Tiffany to the land of William Shakespeare, we did our research. We did not just launch our daughter into a foreign land full of people who speak through their noses when they have perfectly healthy mouths. Dr. Pamela and myself scouted a few locations and found the Grosvenor house apartments in London to be most suitable to our precious daughter’s needs. If any of you deign to google the rent there, please hold your jaw because it will drop to the floor.

As you all know, British weather is depressing, and if you look to their food to lift your spirits you will be sorely disappointed because their cooks are the worst in the world. The combination of the weather and the bad food is enough to compel a sane person to jump into the river Thames in despair. It is no wonder they escaped that land and conquered the rest of the world, where the weather was better and the food actually tasted like food. That said, their education system is the best, therefore we decided that Grosvenor house, with its spas, would relieve our beloved Tiffany from the depression of eating British food and persevering the horrid weather.

But again, I have digressed. We are here today to celebrate the union of our dear Tiffany and the man from the land of Chinua Achebe. Our Tiffany, being the daughter of JD, Esquire and Pamela, MD, has had the best life has to offer. As you know, these Kenyan roads are terrible. The potholes here are deep enough to be used as an underground granary, and the dust on the roads is enough to grow Sukuma wiki. Because we did not want our Tiffany to feel any discomfort, we decided that she will be ferried exclusively in German cars. All the other cars out there are unsafe. I mean, some of these mkebespassing for cars I see on the road today are beyond unfit. If they hit you, you can get tetanus! Some people might ask themselves, why is Esquire telling us all this? Well, I am saying all this because I want the people from Nigeria to know that they must maintain Tiffany in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. If the dowry they brought is any indication, then my daughter, utaona siku ndefu, or for our non-Kiswahili speaking guests, she has a rough journey ahead.

Once Tiffany told us that she was getting married, we hired the best wedding planners in town. Some of them had never handled a wedding of this magnitude, and we knew this by the low prices they quoted for us as if we don’t has money yawa. We wanted the wedding to be an exclusive and once in a lifetime occasion. The flowers on your table were grown especially for this occasion. The wedding party’s clothing was custom made by Vera Wang herself. My bespoke suit, which you will never see anywhere else, was fitted and flown in from Paris, but do I say. Dr. Pamela’s clothes and shoes are by Valentino himself. Everything around you is unique and special. We don’t want our daughter’s wedding to look like these weddings you see on the wedding show. In fact, we declined to be on the wedding show because this wedding will be on Mtv. Many people wanted to be here today to witness this special occasion, but you were chosen, so you should all be very honored to be here today.

To my new son-in-law, take care of our Tiffany. In case you haven’t gathered it from my speech so far, she is very precious to us. She is always welcome to come back home if she finds that your ways are too strange for her to handle, or that her classy upbringing did not prepare her for the rowdiness of your people. We are gifting you a brand new Mercedes S550, in addition to the home we have purchased for you. I hope you have the money to put fuel in that car because they are after all the best of the best and they tend to drink fuel like an elephant drinks water. Also, we do not want our daughter driving around in a non-German car, because that is what she is accustomed to. Cheers to you all and enjoy the caviar and the Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998, which, if you are wondering, cost $2,000 a glass. Let me now welcome my brother from the land of Oga to speak on behalf of the groom’s family.”