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5 Peculiar Habits that Kenyan Mothers Had

first lady of kenya

In the book of Genesis we see God busy at work creating the universe and everything in it. Those who have read the good book might have come across this one sentence God uses when conjuring stuff, “Now let us create this or that”. I have sufficient evidence and believe that the ‘us’ here refers Kenyan Mothers. Aren’t they wonderful?

I don’t intend to take the shine off other mothers from around the world, but facts are facts, Kenyan mothers are not ordinary mothers. The strange bit however, is how they all exhibit the same traits you would think they graduated from the same class of parenting. We can all relate to most of the following encounters as we grew up.

5. Visitors Had to Be Impressed

 Young Mothers Club, Kisumu. Courtesy: Jhpiego.org

Young Mothers Club, Kisumu. Courtesy: Jhpiego.org

All mothers around the world love to impress, it is an obsession that is deeply ingrained in their DNA, but Kenyan mothers take this game to another level. Nothing ever provides the best opportunity to impress than visitors coming over, this mostly happens on weekends. It could be one of those merry-go-round women’s group coming over.  First comes the rigorous cleaning, the young ones would be ordered to pick all litter around the compound with the promise of chapati za kuonja and other goodies.  This task would be performed with much gusto. Then comes the cooking, preparations for this would start as early as 6 am, all this for visitors who will start streaming in at 2 pm. That is the day food you last saw during Christmas makes an appearance. Chapatis, Mandazis, Beef and others you only see on exotic menus. By 9 am everything is ready, all safely stashed in hotpots borrowed from Mama Kelvin; or  that good close neighbor.

Then the house gets a face lift, you would think it was Jesus H. Christ who was coming. Sofa set vitambaas you have never seen before come out of box you always saw your parents’ bedroom but were never allowed to know its precious cargo. Everything will be covered in these matching vitambaas, from the sofas, the table, the stools to the TV set and radio. That is the day you will also see cutlery you have never laid your eyes on. Out goes the mabati and plastic plates you are used and in comes glossy and shiny glass plates and cups meticulously arranged on the table. The the final act of this cult-like ritual, is when the kids are served some food (in your usual plastic and mabati plates and cups) and ordered to maintain a distance of  at least a kilometer away from the house, until the visitors are gone. You will pretend to be playing but every now and them you steal glances towards the house, to scout the situation, fingers crossed that the  visitors don’t get too greedy and finish everything in the feast. Of course they never finish. What follows that night is unfettered feasting, you will see people leaving the table without a word and either sliding into bed or asking someone to accompany them to the toilet.

4. Discipline was Strict

Straight Outta the Good Book
Straight Outta the Good Book

Kenyan mothers are the S.I unit of discipline. They never have any rule when it comes to punishing an errant rascal, anything goes, the severity of their punishment depends on how they woke up in the morning. I cannot even count the number of times I got smacked by my mother, you would think she was trying to exorcise Beelzebub out of me. One thing about our mothers is that they never compromised on matters relating to discipline, it is either their way or no way, they smack you real good until start suspecting you were adopted. My mother would use anything within an arms reach, woe unto you if the nearest weapon was a cooking stick, hell descends on thine body like hail stones in a hail storm.

It is what follows next that makes Kenyan mothers special. After smacking the daylights out of you, she goes ahead and whips up the most delicious meal for you. There you are, you ass smarting from the beating, even contemplating how you are going to pack your clothes in your school bag and run away from home, then out of the blue, she places a hot plate of your favorite meal on your laps. 2 minutes later, you are there smiling and chatting as though you did not just survive Armageddon a few moments ago.

After every beating my sweet mum would make some yummy porridge that would heal the pain of the lashes with every sip that I took. It got to a point where I would look forward to the beatings just for the porridge at the end of it. Lord bless our mothers.

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