In Africa, we are normally one big family; all children belong to the clan in which they are born. In the good old days, even the “old man”(groom’s dad) sometimes demanded to “know” where his cows went! This means that, any elder in the clan is either your father or mother.
Now a day, it is common to find children calling any stranger who happens to pass by and habitually make “short calls” (read short visits) on them as an uncle if he is a man and an auntie if it’s a woman.
One day, I was amazed, when one my children came forward and announced that, auntie had said that, there was no milk for evening tea. I quickly looked at the “Chain Keeper” (my wife) seeking for an explanation as to why she had sent a visitor to the kitchen instead of being in the sitting room?
She retorted back “which visitor are you talking about, are you expecting someone to visit you?”
By the way things were progressing, I had to be very careful or else I could raise an “El nino” amidst the dry spell in Kigali of today; this was the last thing I needed in the house, I was planning an outing with the Diaspoman and so, I did not want any interruption in my progies.
Of late, I have come to like the Diaspoman, he is very generous when it comes to “emptying the bottles” and with such a company, one gets entertained till the wee hours of the night or rather, till the early hours of the morning.
I had to quickly oil the chain so that it does not bite.
“What auntie is the child talking about in the kitchen” I asked. “Ha ha ha” she laughed, “that is the house maid” (a.k.a. house girl) she replied amidst bouts of laughter.
I don’t think, I was going to love any of this nonsense, where one of my children calls a hired help an auntie. I would have killed someone (may be I will do so in the future), if the child happens to call the houseboy uncle.
The chain keeper was quick to take me to task, “papa w’abana (my children’s dad), it is polite for the children to address
people who are older than them as auntie or uncle, this is a symbol of good manners” she lectured.
No way, I will not tolerate any of those manners, be they good or bad, if they are going to mislead my own children into believing that, any Tom, Dick or Harry is an uncle and any Flora, Mary and Jane is an auntie, no way.
“Over my dead body,
Children with my own blood flowing through their veins will call no stranger auntie or uncle” I swore.
She tried hard to calm me down and I pretended to even get more furious. Deep inside, I was enjoying all this drama, wasn’t she the one who provoked me into it all?
“Wacha wa meza vidonge viao” (let them swallow their own bitter medicine). Did she think that, she held a monopoly to taking others to task, eh?
Once upon a time, in Mfashumwana Village, there was a case where, the house wife was habitually exploiting the houseboy in playing the “bedminton sport”, this was because the husband was such a busy man to the extent that, whenever he came home, he always dropped dead asleep and hence depriving the wife of the “bedminton sport”.
The couple (man and wife) was blessed with several children. They lived happily with their “trusted and loyal” houseboy for almost a decade.
When the houseboy felt he was of age, he requested for his retirement package and went to setup a family of his own.
Of course the man of the home was very grateful; he gave the loyal houseboy an attractive package and saw him off in style.
Word has it that, when their elder son was about twenty or so, the couple had a bitter disagreement to the extent that, the woman took her husband to task, “What kind of a man do you think you are?”
she asked, “you could not even father any of your children, had it not been for the good houseboy, we would still be childless” she announced.
In reality, the five children the family boasted of were none other than the houseboy and the wife’s children rather than the man’s own.
Do not ask me as to what followed; it is up to you to read between the line.