School holidays mean extending family time. And with Easter looming, family gatherings and ceremonies are a great opportunity to bond with relatives in shagz over roast goat ribs and a few horns of busaa and muratina.  It could be kula mbuzi ya mtoto,  rocking the new born baby girl, kupeleka  mahari or a plain get together to share mbuzi ya Easter for no apparent reason. In these gatherings, there are family characters who will make you laugh, cry or both. Here are 10 such…

1. The Mysterious

This is the relative whose name often escapes everyone. No one knows where they live let alone what they do. They never come with their families and no one ever heard they got married. They disappear from family functions as mysteriously as they came. Sometimes they are also the richest in the family, but don’t like being pestered.  

2. Mlevi-in-Chief

These are the incorrigible, certified family drunks. They don’t believe in eating on an empty stomach and thus come high on second generation alcohol, eyes red like nyanya. While they often have funny stories told through missing front teeth, they can bring aibu ndogo ndogo when they mistake mzinga from muratina. They are also adept at separating watu wa Nairobi from their money with tales of woe!

3. Mama  Yao

She is the jovial auntie who  has a  trail  of  new  toddlers  every  year. She  is always  nursing  a  baby  every time  you  meet  her. She  at  times  has  to  call out  a  register  to  ensure  her  children  are  fed. Often,  she  assigns  her  relatives  the  role of  looking  after  her  babies “huyu  usikubali  aende  kwa  barabara...huyu  aoshwe  miguu  alale....”

4. Mzee Kobe

This is the uncle who always comes late and high like a kite. But kids love him for his generosity and goodies. But you never see him without his black Godpapa hat, half coat under a kabuti and his rusty Volkswagen  Beetle has to be pushed downhill but not before warning “wacha  niwapange  vizuri  hii  gari  ata  inaeza  beba  watu  mia  mbili...Auntie  Sherrie  chomoka  kiasi  watu  watoshee  vizuri...”  

5. Mpishi Bora

Her culinary expertise is  the  talk  of  the village. She prepares the best chapati and and can do amazing thing with a goat head. Everyone   consults  her  on  food  matters and don’t be  dismayed  when  she  lectures  you   about  kujenga  mwili ,  kukunywa  dawa  za  minyoo,na  kupunguza  kitambi.

6. The Hungry Tigers

They  usually  want  to  have  a  taste  of  every  dish from the relative above. Their  plates  are  usually full of different  dishes which will later leave them constipated. Being  heavy  machines, they  make  orders  around  “ata  uji  nitakunywa  iletwe..chai  nayo  iko  kwa  njia...”

7.  Team Wajuaji

These are relatives who know it all. From where best to source mbuzi ya Waria, which are the cheapest mechanics along Kirinyaga Road to where best to educate your children. These consultants usually have their first car, but are thrice married, but know how to tell spouses to avoid. They often ruin gatherings with comments like “kama  mngeniuliza  hamngenunua  hizo  viti”  and “nilijua  tu  chakula  haitatosha...”

8. Discipline Masters

He knows the naughty kid’s hideouts and miraculously fishes them out. Canes  and  whips  in  hand, he  usually  commands  a lot  of  respect. He  is  known  for  kuweka  sura  ya  kazi and whistling and patrolling  while issuing threats.

9. The Time bombs

Silent  Silas  occupies the  darkest  corners  in  tents  and  buildings. He  only  affords  rare  and  wry  smiles  and  constantly  nods  to  everything  happening  around. Silent  Silas  seems  angelic  until  he  reactivates  his  vocal  cords  with  alcohol. He  then  turns  out  to  be  Drunken  Duncan.  There  and  then  he  begins  blurting  out : “Mnajua  mimi  ni  nani  ?  Mtajua  mimi  ni  nani...”

10. Flower Girls

They  are  usually  well  endowed  and  chivalrous  smiling  machines who  act  as  receptionists, welcoming  visitors during  ceremonies. They at  times  break  into  song  and  dance  “karibu  wageni  wetu...”  Later  in  the  course  of  the  ceremony, they  show visitors  around, often piping  “ hapa  walinunua  shamba  wakapanda  miwa...hii  paka  walipewa  na  nyanya  mzee...  hizi  ng’ombe  watauza  January...”