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Farrah has a terrible rash. Her whole body looks inflamed. Her mother’s hands are full of mosquito bites and she is recovering from the worst flu to hit her in years. You are going through their photos on WhatsApp, they look pretty ugly.
You are staying in Nairobi to vote for your candidate. Your hood seems deserted, it feels like that week after Christmas when the city is deserted. Your wife ran away because of the prospect of chaos. She took the househelp and little Farrah with her. And she will not be voting. Wasted vote, but safety first.
Two days in the village, and it feels like an eternity. Every day they have a litany of complaints; power outages, lack of clean water, often she has to go and fetch it from a distance or pay someone to do it. The weather is not the best for Farrah and her allergies seem to be getting out of hand. Every time you see Carol’s call, you know it is yet another complaint, or they want money.
“When do you think this will end?” she asks, trusting that you are well connected to know when earliest we can know the winner of the elections and our life reverts to normalcy. You know she is tired of life in the village and she has probably binge-watched all movies she bought, and she is about to call you to order some more from you and you send as a parcel. The reserved person she is (your friends consider her snobbish), she must be sick and tired dealing with all the petty relatives in the village.
People don’t think often how dreary life can be in the village. But the country’s fractious politics ensures that periodically we taste life in the village. Life is especially harsh for women used to the comfort and convenience of the city. Men can easily adopt in the village.
You do spend times in the village from time to time and things like rashes, mosquitoes and such are never a problem. But for Carol! Anytime she goes to the village, hers or yours, she always have a litany of complaints you have grown accustomed to. For one, she hates cooking using firewood when you go to your village. The smoke usually turns her eyes into large, reddish, bulbous and scary appendages. And she often has to be pardoned, and your mother often calls her ‘softie’. She has been accepted into the family the way she is.
Now, she can’t wait to get back to the city. You used to think that her ancestral home is friendlier but when you talk to Farrah, her description means it is hellish. The sight of snails in the bathrooms have tormented her. Locusts jumping on grass gives her hell. She likes staying in the house, but even lizards scare the living daylights out of her. But you assure that such things should excite her, instead of scaring her. She should be chasing them, instead of running away, but she can’t hear any of that.
You really don’t know how to comfort her, except that hope normalcy resumes and they be back to where they are comfortable. In the meantime, you are waiting for the daily dose of complaints, to which you only say,
“I feel you...I miss you guys...we hope the nonsense ends...”